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Alumnus to Give Commencement Address

Henderson, Tennessee - Apr 23, 2019

Dr. Phil Oldham, president of Tennessee Tech University, will deliver the graduation address at Freed-Hardeman University Saturday, May 18, at 10:00am in Loyd Auditorium. Oldham, the son of the late Reeder and June Oldham, grew up in Henderson as a part of the FHU family. He is an alumnus of Freed-Hardeman and a former member of the university’s Board of Trustees.

Oldham holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Freed-Hardeman and a doctorate in chemistry from Texas A&M University. He began his teaching career at Mississippi State University where he became the chairman of the chemistry department and then dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He then served as provost and senior vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga before becoming president of Tennessee Tech in 2012.

Under Oldham’s leadership, Tennessee Tech has improved its retention and graduation rates, increased the size of the physical plant and expanded its academic offerings. The university has become a nationally recognized research, doctoral university in the Carnegie Classification. Its degrees provide the highest return on investment of any public university in the state, according to Payscale, Brookings Institute.

Oldham recently announced a grand challenge for Tennessee Tech designed to address the uniquely difficult challenges facing rural communities across Tennessee.  "Rural Reimagined- Gen R" promises to leverage the unique assets of Tennessee Tech faculty and students to harness science, technology and innovation to transform rural living in a way that can be replicated to help rural areas throughout the country and the world.

“Freed-Hardeman is pleased to welcome home this distinguished alumnus,” FHU President David R. Shannon said. “His career in academia and his vision for the future of Tech and the state are impressive. I am looking forward to his challenge to our graduates.”