Tennessee Tech’s Marc L. Burnett Student Recreation and Fitness Center has official opened after Friday’s ribbon cutting.
The three-level 165,000 square foot building has been open for the past year, but due to COVID, the ribbon cutting was postponed to allow attendance.
Students, faculty and friends and family of Marc Burnett attended the celebration. Burnett said everything he has done up to this point has been for the students.
“Cause the thing about the name for me is that it says student recreation and fitness center,” Burnett said. “That it says student on there. Cause it is about them. Everything I have done has been about them.”
Burnett was a five time basketball captain before graduating as a Golden Eagle in 1982. Since then, he has given over 36 years to Tech and played important roles in recruitment, diversity and student development. Burnett officially retired from Tech in 2019 as the Vice President of Student Affairs.
“You don’t expect these things,” Burnett said. “You just work. You do your job, and you work and you treat people with respect and dignity. I retired before any of this was announced, and you just don’t expect it. I am very glad to have been here at Tennessee Tech all these years.”
Burnett thanked many people on Friday for supporting him over the years, but Burnett said his entire career at Tech would not have been possible without his mother.
“When we were talking about schools, she said your going to Tennessee Tech,” Burnett said. “(…) And, I was like why do I have to go there? And she said because you’ll study and you’ll graduate and you’ll do well. What more prophecy do you need on the other end than then to hear that from your mom who doesn’t know much about a place other than what she has seen and read. She said you will do okay there, so you are going there, and I am still here.”
Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Robert Owens said there is not a better person than Burnett to have the building named after.
“There are many many things that Tennessee Tech gets right, but like any organization large, small sometimes you get somethings wrong,” Owens said. “You miss it sometimes, and sometimes at Tech we miss somethings here, but I must say, this is one of the many things we have gotten right.”
The fitness facility features many amenities such as basketball courts, a 13,000 square foot weight room and many other activities.