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2018 Alumni Award Recipients

Walter Derryberry Scott Stallings Dick Murphy Ottis Phillips John Rose Leo McGee Marc Burnett

Seven recognized at 2018 Alumni Awards and Recognition Banquet

Alumni of Tennessee Tech University were honored for their service to their alma mater and their distinguished life’s works at the university’s Alumni Association Outstanding Awards and Recognition Banquet Friday, April 13.

There, five Tech alumni joined the more than 200 award recipients since this alumni recognition program began in 1975, and two were recognized for their contributions, especially in the area of diversity, at Tennessee Tech.

arrows View a video of the awards ceremony.

Distinguished Alumnus

Walter Derryberry

One of the first physician-specialists to open a practice in Cookeville, Dr. Walter Derryberry is a 1957 pre-med graduate of Tech. A man of myriad talents and interests, he is the son of former Tech President Everett Derryberry and First Lady Joan Derryberry. He's a born leader, as his father was, and a lover of the arts, as his mother was.

In medicine, Walter was among the first specialists to open a private practice in Cookeville. A Fellow in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Walter served in various leadership positions at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, including Chief of Staff; he received CRMC's Fred H. Roberson Award in 2003.

In the arts, he's an avid collector. An accomplished musician, Walter served as music director at St. Michael's Episcopal Church for 37 years, and he was a founding member of the Cookeville Mastersingers. For many years, he starred in local theatrical productions, including The King and I, The Fantastiks, Oklahoma, My Fair Lady and The Petrified Forest. He's an avid supporter of WCTE public television and the Arts for Healing program at CRMC.

A 1959 graduate of the University of Tennessee-Memphis, Walter interned at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, served his residency at Vanderbilt and worked with the U.S. Public Health Service in Massachusetts and Ohio before returning to Cookeville to open his private practice. He is the father of two sons.

Outstanding Young Alumnus

Scott Stallings

In the history of Tennessee Tech golf, no one player has made a more dramatic and instant impact than Scott Stallings. A member of the Golden Eagle team from 2003 to 2007, Scott quickly rewrote the record books on his way to putting together easily the most dominant and decorated career in program history. Tech's only two-time Ohio Valley Conference Golfer of the Year, winning the award in 2006 and 2007, Scott became the first and only Golden Eagle ever to advance to the NCAA Tournament, earning a spot in the 2006 East Regional. There, he became the first player in OVC history to qualify for the NCAA Championships, firing a 214 to finish in eighth place, the second best showing in league history. Throughout his career, Scott took home seven individual medalist honors, also the most in program history.

Since rewriting the Tech record books, Scott has enjoyed a successful career on the PGA Tour since 2011. He has boasted three PGA Tour victories, including the Greenbrier Classic in 2011, the True South Classic in 2012 and the Farmers Insurance Open in 2014. As of early 2018, he had claimed two second-place finishes, 15 top-10 finishes and 39 top-25 finishes. He has ranked as high as 31st in the FedEx Cup standings and is easily remembered for his 27th place showing at the Masters in 2012.

In 2012, Scott helped establish the Tennessee Junior Cup, and in 2015, he started the Kids Play Free Junior Golf Initiative. He's a 2017 Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Scott graduated with a bachelor's degree in business management in 2007. He and his wife, Jennifer, and their two children live in Knoxville.

Outstanding Service

Dick Murphy

Known as a "passionate supporter" of Tennessee Tech, Dick Murphy's three decades' worth of service to his alma mater spans two colleges, the iCube, the Child Development Lab and Tech athletics. A 1959 graduate in industrial management, he has served on advisory boards in the colleges of Education and Business. He and his wife, Mary Jo, have established two scholarships: one each for Business and Education majors. Dick serves on the College of Business Advisory Board and the Alumni Advisory Board for the College of Education. They fund eight iCube internships a semester, the annual budget of the College of Business Clothes Closet, and an award for the College of Business Entrepreneurship Competition.

Dick and Mary Jo provided the majority of funding for the buildout of the Child Development Lab playspace. They visit campus each spring for the College of Business Etiquette Dinner, mentoring students and providing them with feedback. They're regulars at Golden Eagle football games and attend as many other campus events as possible, including the annual Alumni Awards Banquet and President's Club events.

Founder and president of McIntosh-Murphy Company, Inc., in Nashville, Dick has since retired from his professional career, but not from professional service to his alma mater. He's a 2000 recipient of the College of Business Administration Outstanding Business Leadership award. He and Mary Jo live in Nashville.

Outstanding Philanthropy

Ottis Phillips

Ottis Phillips' support of Tennessee Tech programs extends into the community as well, from serving at the first chair of the TSSAA Steering Committee to president of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce and Cookeville High School's Cavalier Athletic Foundation.

A 1974 mechanical engineering graduate of Tennessee Tech, Ottis played on the Golden Eagle football squad and earned an MBA in 1978. He's supported Tech Athletics since 1986, from the Football Alumni Golf Tournament to the Golden Eagle Scramble. He's established endowments in Athletics, the College of Business and the College of Engineering. A long-time member of the Athletics Hall of Fame Committee, Ottis joined the TTU Foundation Board of Directors in 2015.

He recently retired as president of Cherokee Distributing Company in Cookeville. He's a 2013 Outstanding Alumnus Award winner in Athletics (CNFRIM) and is vice-chair elect of the TTU Foundation Board of Directors. He and his wife, Cindy, live in Cookeville and have five children.

John Rose

Former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, as well as Department of Wildlife Resources, John Rose is president of Smith Fork Ventures, Inc., and Boson Software LLC of Nashville.

His support of the School of Agriculture is multi-faceted, from scholarship endowments in honor of his parents, to faculty development and initiatives, to a scholarship benefiting international students. He's been honored by the Tennessee Board of Regents with its Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Philanthropy.

While a fervent and long-time supporter of Tennessee Tech, John also serves the larger community as chair of the Tennessee State Fair Association and, until recently, as a member of the boards of the Tennessee Heritage Conservation Trust Fund and Tennessee FFA Foundation. A long-time member of the TTU Foundation Board of Directors, he has also served as its chairperson.


Leo McGee

Dr. Leo McGee is the model every African-American administrator and faculty member since the 1970s has tried to emulate. The first senior African-American administrator, Leo moved to Cookeville in 1977, a protegé of President Arliss Roaden, who'd been Leo's advisor at Ohio State University. Leo served as assistant dean of extended services, as well as an associate professor of education. In 1986, he was promoted to assistant vice president for academic affairs, then associate vice president, serving as interim vice president for two years before retiring in 2007.

Leo mentored those who followed him, including Marc Burnett, whose path was similar. As his children entered the workforce, Leo began offering formal guidance in the form of articles, letters and essays he later contributed to academic journals. Today, he stays in touch with a short list of junior faculty and administrators who he believes show leadership potential and who are benefitting from the kind of mentorship only a groundbreaker can provide.

Leo earned degrees from Philander Smith College and Ohio State University. He's married to Professor Emeritus Gloria McGee, the first black woman to join the TTU faculty. The McGees live in Cookeville and have two daughters.

Marc Burnett

TTU alumnus Marc Burnett represents the generation following his mentor, Leo McGee, and, by serving as vice president for student affairs, has reached the pinnacle of achievement by an African-American on the Tech campus to date. Last April, he received the 2017 Giving Back Award -- alongside 38 other higher education administrators in the nation -- from Insight Into Diversity magazine. The award honors superbly effective role models who promote diversity and inclusion on their campuses.

Marc enrolled at Tech 40 years ago to play basketball; he went to work as a student recruiter for his alma mater right after graduation. More than 30 years later, he has the longest tenure of a vice president on campus. He oversees 12 campus operations -- those with the closest contact with students.

Marc is pastor of Gainesboro First Baptist Church. An artist, his watercolors are collected across Tennessee. He's a 1982 English/journalism graduate, earning an M.A. in educational psychology in 1986 and an Ed.S. in administration supervision in 1993. He and his wife, Tammy, have two children and live in Cookeville.