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Tech Traditions

Derryberry clock tower at sunset

Do you remember these Tech Traditions?

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All-Sing -- Singing competition sponsored by Phi Delta Theta fraternity and started in 1968. Other than Homecoming, it’s the oldest student organization contest.

Awesome Eagle -- Beloved Tennessee Tech suited mascot. Although we first had a suited mascot in the mid-1960s, it wasn't dubbed "Awesome" until the late 1980s.

Big oak -- It was the largest tree in the quad for many years and pre-dated Dixie College, TPI and TTU.

Blizzard -- Since 1985, the traditional showering of "Tech squares" after the first Eagle basket during a home basketball game. Winters are milder now that "Tech Squares" are no longer available in the dorms.

Cadet Corps -- The 2,200 young men who attended classes on campus during World War II; Cadet Corps funds kept the university running financially...and kept our coeds very happy. Many women students went on to marry their favorite cadet.

Carillon -- Organ-like instrument that rings the bells of the Derryberry Hall clock tower. The carillon was the idea of Joan Derryberry, as they reminded her of the sounds of chimes she had heard in her native England. Daily, the carillon bells ring each quarter hour; on special occasions such as commencement, and at 5 and 10 p.m. each day, selected pieces are played.

Clock tower -- Tower atop Derryberry Hall, featuring a clock on each of its four sides. The clock and tower originally graced Jere Whitson Hall (then the library), but were moved in 1960 when Derryberry Hall was renovated.

Dammit -- Legendary dog buried beside the fire hydrant on the Quad. Also a commonly used phrase on campus.

Dixie College -- Church of Christ college founded in Cookeville in 1909 on the site of the current campus. Official name was the University of Dixie. Dixie Avenue takes its name from the school as it was the road "you took from town out to Dixie College."

Eagle -- Yearbook. First published in 1926.

Eagle bait -- Pep truck that drove around Overall Field following each Eagle score from 1966 until 1993. Also, a term used to refer to our athletic opponents during the '50s and '60s. Fans would yell, "Eagle bait, eagle bait," as the opposing team took the field.

East and West halls -- Now called, respectively, Kittrell and Bartoo halls. These were the original dorms -- the men in East, and the women in West. That's the closest we let men and women live to each other until 81 years later with the opening of our first coed dorm in 1996. (They do live on separate floors.)

Evil Eagle -- Mascot name from mid-70s to early-80s. Named after "Evil Knievel." Both "Evils" were known for daredevil stunts.

Freshmen beanie -- Hat all freshmen wore during their first term on campus. It was gold and purple and had the student's name in it.

Golden Eagles -- Nickname of our athletic teams. Chosen by vote in 1925, it was selected over Mountain Eagles, Lions and Mountaineers. The name is believed to have been inspired by four golden eagles who were often seen flying over the campus during the university's early days. Variations include the Golden Eaglettes and Eagleyes (NCAA champion rifle team).

Golden Eaglettes -- Though no longer used, this was the name of many of our women's athletic teams, most often associated with women's basketball. Under the direction of Marynell Meadors, the university was a pioneer in that sport, putting its first team on the floor in 1970.

Grill -- Place to grab food and hang out. Located on the first floor of the UC from 1971 until 1998, when it was renovated to include a new food court.

Hen House -- Nickname for the original South Hall (now Matthews Hall) during the 1940s. It was then the women's dorm. South Hall is now the old Library Annex. Which was originally the Student Union.

Home Ec House -- Served as a demonstration lab for home economics students from the '40s through the mid-60s. For a child, it was a treat to stay at its day care and be taken care of by the "home ec girls."

The Hoop -- Hooper Eblen Center, the basketball arena, named for our first athletic director and long-time coach.

Kazoo band -- Homecoming parade tradition started in 1979. Members of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity dress up in crazy outfits, play kazoos and entertain the crowd. They're more photographed than the homecoming court.

Main quad -- Original campus; location of Dixie College. The land was deeded to the state upon the establishment of Tennessee Tech in 1915. Many campus buildings were arranged into quads.

Memorial Gym -- Named to honor our students and alumni who died in World War II.

The Oracle -- School newspaper. Began publication in 1924. Replaced an earlier newspaper, the Tech Dynamo.

PD -- President Everett Derryberry.

Purple and gold -- School colors, selected sometime before 1925. Chosen because of two wildflowers, ironweed and goldenrod, which grew in abundance on campus in the early years.

Roll of Honor -- Displays all the names of Tennessee Tech students, alumni, faculty and staff who served in World War II. Located in the Alumni Center in the Jere Whitson Building.

Shinny-Ninny -- Totem pole that since 1960 has gone to the winner of the Tech-MTSU football game. In Murfreesboro, they call it "Harvey."

South Hall -- Most-used name for campus buildings. Three buildings have carried this name -- the current Matthews Hall, the current Dunn Hall, and the current South Hall.

South patio -- Refers to the patio of the south side of the UC, but has also come to refer to the entire plaza area between the UC and Derryberry Hall. It's been the main hang-out for students since the UC opened in 1971, although the term "south patio" did not really come into use until the plaza was built in the mid-'80s, providing more places for students to actually "hang."

TPI -- Abbreviation for Tennessee Polytechnic Institute, our official name from 1915 until 1965.

Tech Flag -- The official Tennessee Tech University flag, designed by first lady Gloria Bell in 2003, honors some of our most familiar and longstanding university traditions. The three main divisions of the flag represent the historic and idyllic characteristics of the university as well as its earned reputation for quality.

Tech Hymn -- Our "alma mater," written by Joan Derryberry in 1943.

Tech Players -- Our drama troupe, formed in 1955.

Tech squares -- Small squares of toilet paper that were used in campus buildings during the '70s and '80s. Gained fame as the “snow” in basketball blizzards.

Tech Training or Tech Campus School -- Elementary school located on campus from 1949 until 1976. The school also served as a lab for our education majors. One of Cookeville's most well-known phrases during those years: "All Putnam County schools are closed because of snow with the exception of Tennessee Tech and the Tech Campus School."

Tommy Tech -- First mascot name. "Tommy" was actually the struttin' Eagle logo, rather than a suited mascot. "Tommy Tech" came from the "TT" on his sweater.

Troubadours -- Student jazz group, organized in the early 1950s. Still plays today.

UC -- University Center. Hub of student activity that opened in 1971. Now called the Roaden University Center in honor of former TTU President Arliss Roaden.

Volpe -- As in Angelo Volpe, university president from 1988 to 2000, and first lady Jennette.

Walton House -- President's home. Name comes from the Old Walton Road, the main Nashville-to-Washington D.C. route, which passed beside what is now the campus.

Jere Whitson -- Leader of the move to establish a college in Cookeville during the early 1900s. He was Dixie College’s chairman of the board.


Please Share Your Favorite Stories About Tech Traditions.

Please share your favorite stories about Tech Traditions.
   

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