Six honored as 2011 Outstanding Alumni
Six successful alumni who made their marks as executives, educators and engineers were honored as Tennessee Tech University Outstanding Alumni at a dinner and reception on Feb. 4.
These six TTU alumni, representing each academic division, received recognition at a celebration in the Leslie Town Centre.
College of Agricultural and Human Sciences
Jackie McDonald Ramsey
B.S. Home Economics Education, '69
Jackie Ramsey attributes her professional career successes to her Tennessee work ethic and the excellent formal education and training she received during her years at Tennessee Tech University.
She began her teaching career in Huntsville, Ala., with the Madison County School System where she taught at New Hope, Madison Cross Roads and Sparkman high schools. In 1973 she began her Alabama Cooperative Extension System career, serving as County Extension 4-H Agent in Madison County. While in Madison County, Ramsey received her master's degree in home economics education from Alabama A & M.
In 1980 she transferred to Birmingham as the expanded food nutrition education supervisor, with focus areas in nutrition, diet and health for limited resource families. In 1996, Ramsey was promoted to county extension coordinator for the Birmingham MSA and Jefferson County, Alabama's largest county. She served in that capacity until her retirement in December 2009.
Since leaving TTU in 1969, Ramsey has remained actively involved with the Central Alabama TTU Alumni Chapter and the School of Human Ecology Advisory Council. Over the years she and her husband, Larry (1971, electrical engineering), have assisted TTU with various scholarship programs for deserving students. She has served on several search and selection committees for faculty and staff positions in her career field.
Ramsey was a charter member of TTU's chapter of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She and her husband currently reside in Vestavia Hills, Ala., and are members of Shades Mountain Baptist Church.
College of Arts and Sciences
William McGill Vaden
B.S. English, '47
William McGill Vaden's distinguished career began in Oak Ridge with the Atomic Energy Commission's Division of Technical Information in September 1947. His initial work involved editing and publishing the Manhattan Engineer District's wartime record of research related to development of the atomic bomb. Known as the National Nuclear Energy Series, more than 50 unclassified and classified bound volumes were completed for this project by contract group McGraw-Hill Book Company Inc.
By May 1951, Vaden was assistant chief of the McGraw-Hill contract group until he returned to federal civil service in July 1955. In January 1961, he was appointed deputy manager of the AEC Technical Information Center, a position he held for 17 years. He served as acting manager of the Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information for one year.
Vaden has been recognized for his work within national and international technical information communities. In 1968 he represented the U.S. as a delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency to help design the Vienna-based International Nuclear Information System. The resulting INIS Atomindex became the principal indexing and announcement medium on nuclear science and technology for all IAEA- constituent countries of the United Nations.
He retired from the DOE in January 1985 but continued to assist in federally connected scientific and technical information projects. From 1987 to 1992, he assisted in developing a 15-nation IEA Energy Technology Data Exchange program to be carried out at DOE's Oak Ridge Office of Scientific and Technical Information. He also produced a history of the Technical Information Center's first 30 years, which was completed in November 1992.
In 1979, Vaden received the Meritorious Service Award, the DOE's second-highest honor, for development work involving the DOE's information systems. He received the DOE's Distinguished Career Service Award in 1984.
Vaden is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, served as a board member of the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association and served for 10 years on the Board of Visitors of TTU's College of Arts and Sciences.
College of Business
Ann E. Massey
B.S. Geology, '77; M.B.A., '89
Ann Massey's career never stopped at a glass ceiling. Working in both geology and engineering services, Massey is an excellent role model for other professional woman throughout the country.
As an early admission student at age 16, Massey walked onto the TTU campus in 1971. She took geology as an elective and describes her desire to be a geologist completely driven by her interest in being taught the whys she had been asking since childhood. After graduating, she worked as a geologist in the oil fields for 10 years and then attended TTU again to earn her MBA in 1989.
As president and chief executive officer of MACTEC Inc., a leading consulting firm providing engineering, environmental and construction services to both public and private clients, and as president of MACTEC Development Corp., she has responsibility for 80 offices, more than 2,700 employees, and more than $450 million in annual revenues.
Through MACTEC's Sustainability Program, Massey promotes and participates in several company wide initiatives that benefit the environment and the community. Those include Adopt-A-Stream, Engineers Without Borders, Toys for Tots, North Fulton Community Charities, Partners in Education, Habitat for Humanity, Make-A-Wish Foundation, United Way and the Salvation Army.
Massey and her husband, Al, another TTU graduate, relocated to Alpharetta, Ga., but maintain a farm and other property in Tennessee. They still have close ties to Tennessee as their families reside there, including her two sons, Tom Blanchard and his wife, Bekka, and Cole Massey, who attends the University of Tennessee.
College of Education
William Pitt Rew Derryberry
M.A. '95, Educational Psychology & Counselor Education
Ed.S. '97, Educational Psychology
As a professor of psychology at Western Kentucky University, Pitt Derryberry concentrates on the research and teaching of moral development, specifically moral judgment and self-understanding.
Derryberry's work has frequently been published in refereed journals. Two of his more influential articles in his field of study are "Functional Differences: Comparing moral judgment developmental phases of consolidation and transitions" published in the Journal of Moral Education and "Moral judgment, self-understanding, and moral actions: The role of multiple constructs" published in the Merrill-Palmer Quarterly.
He often involves deserving students in his publication efforts. He collaborated with former students on recent works published in Ethics and Behavior and Beliefs and Values.
After earning a bachelor's degree at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., Derryberry came to Tennessee Tech and earned a master's degree and education specialist's degree in educational psychology. He went on to earn a doctorate in the same field from the University of Alabama.
Derryberry joined Western Kentucky's faculty in 2001 and was recently promoted to full professor. In 2010, he won WKU's psychology department's research award. He is actively involved in the Moral Development and Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of College and Character.
Derryberry is married to Amanda, a 1993 TTU business management graduate, and they have two children, Caroline, 6, and Will, 4. He is the son of Dr. Walter Derryberry and the late Alice Derryberry and grandson of former TTU President Everett Derryberry and First Lady Joan Derryberry.
College of Engineering
Robert L. Gower
B.S. Electrical Engineering, '65
Robert Gower started his 44-year-career in the semiconductor industry while still enrolled at Tennessee Polytechnic Institute. He secured a summer internship at Texas Instruments in Dallas, which paid for his education and led to full-time employment after graduation.
While at Texas Instruments for 21 years, Gower started four new business operations. During that time he earned a master's degree from Southern Methodist University.
In 1982, he moved to Colorado Springs to join INMOS Corp., a start-up semiconductor memory company. He worked in various engineering, manufacturing and management positions and also served as president from 1986-1990.
After INMOS consolidated with other companies, Gower helped start his current employer, United Memories Inc., an engineering services company supplying design and other services to dynamic random access memory manufacturers in the Far East.
As president and chief executive officer of UMI, which employs 24 engineers, he recently raised $9 million with the successful sale of 20 patents.
Gower and his wife of 40 years, Robbie, a 1964 TTU secondary education graduate, enjoy life in Colorado, skiing in the winter months and touring and racing their 458 Italia Ferrari and Porsche Boxster in the summer months.
School of Interdisciplinary Studies
B.S., Interdisciplinary Studies (Animal Husbandry), '10
Ronald Tiller was 76 years old when he walked across the stage at commencement to receive his bachelor's degree in May 2010. He had waited 50 years to finish his college education, and aspect of his life that he says nagged at him.
Tiller's life is filled with successes: A happy family, a high-flying career as marketing executive for two international companies, and now, enjoyment of his lakeside retirement home in Vonore, Tenn.
Tiller's road to graduation day isn't like anyone else's. He first arrived on TTU's campus in 1957 just 10 days after his honorable discharge from the Army's 11th Airborne Division based in Fort Campbell, Ky. He was fresh from service in Germany.
Tiller said he really didn't know what the college experience entailed. He majored in agriculture because he'd grown up on a dairy farm near Germantown, Tenn., and figured he knew something about that. Tiller attended TTU for more than four years and got within 16 hours of graduation when he was recruited to go work for John Deere.
While at John Deere, he launched the marketing activities for the then-new lawn and garden division for both the Memphis and Kansas City marketing divisions. He grew the Memphis division from infancy to $40 million in sales and the Kansas City division to $66 million in sales. After retirement from Deere, he next worked for Woods Equipment Co., another manufacturer of agricultural equipment.
Tiller and his wife, Marietta, have three children: Ronald Todd Tiller of Knoxville; Leigh Tiller Pearson of Denver; and Gregory "Trey" Tiller of Houston.