COOKEVILLE – From his rural West Tennessee roots to the vital role Tennessee Tech University plays in preparing students to become leaders in the agriculture industry, Tech President Phil Oldham has always had an appreciation and an understanding of the importance of agriculture.
Because of Oldham’s support and Tech’s emphasis on agriculture, Oldham was recently honored with the 2019 Friend of Farm Bureau Award.
“During President Oldham’s time at Tennessee Tech, he has become personally engaged in the success of the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology,” said Sam Tayes, president of Putnam County Farm Bureau. “President Oldham has demonstrated that he understands the importance of the School of Agriculture, and Tech’s unique reputation for producing hard working, highly sought-after agriculture graduates.”
Farm Bureau rarely hands out the distinguished award. This is just the second time in the last four years it has been presented.
“This is truly and honor,” said Oldham. “We appreciate the partnership we have with Farm Bureau and how important agriculture is in the state of Tennessee.”
Oldham’s award comes on the heels of Tennessee Tech hosting, in partnership with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, the first Tennessee Leadership Summit, which brought 60 of the best and brightest high school students from around the state to Tech’s campus.
“From its inception, President Oldham has been highly engaged in the leadership summit and supported this exciting new partnership with Farm Bureau,” said Tayes. “As we look to the future, we are confident of President Oldham’s support for the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology, and his understanding of the dynamic public and private partnerships with organizations like Farm Bureau. We know he will continue to encourage high school students who have an interest in agriculture and human ecology to pursue their dreams at Tennessee Tech University.”
As Tech president, Oldham has provided leadership for securing a $2 million grant for what will be one of Tennessee’s first poultry research facilities. He has also provided support for the operation and research conducted at the three farm laboratories, and he has ushered to completion the renovation of Oakley Hall, which houses the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology and the offices of the Tennessee FFA Foundation.
“We have outstanding faculty and students in the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology,” said Oldham. “Our students are ready to make an impact in the agriculture industry when they leave Tennessee Tech.”