Editorial: New president at TTU needs our support
Monday, Jun 4, 2012
TTU too important to our community’s success to take change lightlyIn just about one month, Tennessee Tech University will seat just its ninth president. Dr. Philip Oldham has been chosen by the state’s Board of Regents and Chancellor to take the reins of our prestigious university, a changing of the guard that is monumental for many reasons in our Upper Cumberland region.
Cookeville and the entire Upper Cumberland would not be the same without TTU’s presence. Not only the tremendous number of quality jobs offered by the university, but the supply of labor for many of our local food and retail establishments as well as the influx of sales tax revenue are all huge factors in weighing the importance of TTU to our prosperity and overall quality of life. For that matter, just having TTU as part of our society often makes a difference when attracting new business and industry to the Highlands region.
Obviously, for those reasons and more, Oldham’s role is extremely vital to all of us. We need TTU to remain strong and headed in a positive direction. We depend on TTU to continue to be a leader representing and promoting the Upper Cumberland. We need Oldham to see that vision and pave fruitful paths.
Oldham, by all accounts, is experienced and very qualified for this position and seems eager to get started. He and his wife, Kari, and their children will soon be some of the newest transplants to our community as the latest inhabitants of the Walton House on TTU’s campus. We should welcome them with open arms and give Oldham every chance to succeed as he can’t do it alone.
Some were greatly disappointed when local favorite and current TTU executive, Susan Elkins, was not chosen for the position. Elkins, no doubt, would have been a great choice to lead the university and her heartfelt feelings about TTU are well known. For whatever reasons, Oldham was chosen by the state powers that be over Elkins, and we should respect that decision and move forward. Elkins has, as she very professionally and eloquently stated in a public letter not long after the decision was made final.
TTU has been very blessed in its choices at the top. From Everett Derryberry, Arliss Roaden and Wallace Prescott to Angelo Volpe and Bob Bell in more recent years, TTU has been in great hands. Their leadership (and others’) has helped TTU emerge from just a small university to a force to be reckoned with and a nationally (and internationally) known educational institution with a growing enrollment.
This is all good for TTU, Cookeville and the entire Upper Cumberland region. Our support of Oldham will only aid that effort going forward and I, as a proud alumnus and citizen of Cookeville, am anxious to see the great things this next chapter reveals for TTU.
Jay Albrecht is the publisher of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (931) 528-8852.