Commencement – Awesome Eagle makes an appearance at Tech’s spring commencement ceremonies earlier this year.

More than 1,050 graduates are expected to participate in Friday’s ceremonies

Cookeville – Tennessee Tech University will celebrate its fall commencement ceremonies Friday, Dec. 8, in the Hooper Eblen Center.

The morning ceremony, which starts at 9 a.m., will include the following colleges and schools: graduate studies, business, agriculture and human ecology, engineering and fine arts. The afternoon ceremony, which starts at 2 p.m., will include the following colleges: graduate studies, arts and sciences, education, interdisciplinary studies and the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing.

More than 1,050 graduates are expected to participate in Friday’s ceremonies. Fall 2023 graduates came to Tech from 71 counties throughout Tennessee, 21 states and 19 other countries. Those earning undergraduate degrees represent 45 fields of study, and those receiving graduate degrees represent 32 fields of study. 

The birth dates of students from the class of fall 2023 range from 1958 to 2003, evidence that an education at Tech can be for everyone, regardless of age.

As noted by Tech President Phil Oldham in the Tennessee Tech board of trustees meeting last week, “Fundamentally, you can get a better career, have a more flexible career and have more choices available to you – all with a college degree. Having a four-year college degree makes a difference, and this place is the best at doing it of any place I know.”

Retired Senior Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Mark Stephens will serve as the official macebearer for both ceremonies. Stephens only recently retired after 43 years of service to the university. He will continue to serve in his retirement as interim dean for the College of Graduate Studies, as well as teach an environmental economics class each year in the College of Business.

The fall commencement ceremonies will also feature several pre-recorded addresses from Tech alumni, including remarks from Dontrell Baines, a 2009 graduate with a degree in accounting and current chair of Tech’s Alumni Association board of directors. Baines works as a business transformation manager for Capgemini, a global consulting company. Graduates will also hear from alumna Tracy Church, a 1994 industrial engineering graduate who will be leading operations at Ford Motor Company’s Blue Oval City battery plant division, which is slated to open in 2025.

They will also hear from alumna M. Dianne Murphy, who received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in health and physical education from Tech and played basketball, volleyball, and tennis for the university as well. Murphy went on to earn a Ph.D. in administration, supervision and curriculum in physical education from The Florida State University and served as Athletics Director for both the University of Denver and Columbia University. Murphy was inducted into the 49th class of the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame last month.

“As you go forth in this world, I want to encourage you to continue the things you learned at Tennessee Tech,” said Murphy. “Be bold, be fearless and be confident. I can tell you from personal experience in the professional world that your degree from Tennessee Tech will enable you to do many, many, many things.”

Tech will also recognize three students who will be commissioned to serve in the armed forces as second lieutenants: Isacc R. Cole from Sparta, William O. Dunn from Mt. Juliet and Zachary N. Kindle from Murfreesboro.

To watch the livestream of the commencement ceremonies, visit

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