Convocation welcomes class of 2026 to Tennessee Tech


COOKEVILLE – Fall Convocation for the class of 2026 officially welcomed the newest members of the Tennessee Tech University family Tuesday afternoon.

The annual ceremony formally inducted freshmen students into Tech’s academic community and signaled the start of their college careers. With more than 2,000 students, the 2022-23 incoming freshman class is expected to be one of the largest to enter the university since 2013.

“By being here today you have shown that you have exactly what the world needs — talent and tenacity,” said Tech President Phil Oldham in his remarks to the class. “From this moment, you will be known as bold, fearless, confident and kind. It’s our job to help you grow in all those areas so that you soar into your future.

“And parents, I have a student of my own here at Tech and understand how the college experience is personal to each of your families. It’s personal for me too, and we put all students first when making choices and decisions.”

The incoming students were presented with the traditional Tech Challenge Coin, which students are asked to keep through their time at Tech as a reminder of the university’s promise to guide, assist and provide an education to them. Then, as they complete their studies as Tech, students are asked to pass the coin along with a letter of thanks to someone at the university who best kept that promise to them. This year, the coin paid tribute to the special relationship between the university and its hometown of Cookeville.

“You will see the phrase ‘Cookeville: Tennessee’s College Town’ on your coin,” explained Oldham. “You might wonder why there’s an image of a train on it too. A long time ago, students came to Tech by train and faculty members would walk to the Depot to greet them. 

Many things have changed since then, but at least one thing is the same. You are welcome in Cookeville. People are excited you are here.”  

The class includes students from 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties, 31 other states and 18 other countries. Among them are Eagle Scouts, athletes and four distinguished National Merit Finalists. More than 295 of the incoming students have a father, mother or both who have graduated from Tech. Additionally, almost 80 new freshmen have joined the Golden Eagle marching band.

Students ages range from 15 to 42 in this year’s freshman class, with 98% being ages 17, 18 and 19. This freshman class has an average ACT score of 24 with an average high school GPA of 3.66.

Classes for the 2022-23 academic year begin on Thursday, Aug. 18.

Tennessee Tech is ranked as the number one public university in the state, according to Money Magazine, as well as a “Best National University” by U.S. News & World Report. The university offers more than 200-plus programs of study, and Tech grads leave with the least debt of all public universities in the state. In fact, based on total cost and alumni earnings, Tech provides students with the highest return on investment for any public university in Tennessee, according to PayScale. 

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