Classifying the MTSU Distinguished Alumni Award received from his alma mater as both "overwhelming and humbling," one of the motorsports world's leading executives said he felt somewhat at a loss for words.
Nashville native Eddie Gossage, who is in his 21st year as the only president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway, said he "was kind of surprised" when informed he is the 2017-18 MTSU Distinguished Alumnus recipient:
Gossage graduated with a communications degree from the former College of Mass Communications.
From 1960 to present, the MTSU Alumni Association has recognized accomplished alumni with the association's highest honor -- the Distinguished Alumni Award.
MTSU Distinguished Alumni Award
MTSU presents their Distinguished Alumni Award.Posted by Good Neighbor Station on Sunday, October 8, 2017
"It is overwhelming to think of it constantly," Gossage (Class of 1982) said after arriving in Murfreesboro with his wife, Melinda, following their flight Friday morning from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, not far from their home.
"It is humbling to think the university you graduated from remembers you all these years later," he added. "I have kept up with a few folks through the years. I follow the university a lot and talk with President (Sidney A.) McPhee."
He remarked about "how the university has changed so much." One of the changes occurred when mass comm became the College of Media and Entertainment two years ago.
Considered a legendary racing promoter with colorful and memorable promotions and an innovator on the business side of the sport, Gossage gives full credit to his university for his career success.
"My four years at Middle were the best years of my life," said Gossage. "They challenged me along the way. It was perfect. (My education) gave me everything I needed to succeed in life and achieve my dreams."
Gossage and the race track have hosted MTSU alumni at the prestigious speedway club level. He has served on the board of professional advisers for the MTSU College of Media and Entertainment and Speedway Children's Charities Board of Trustees.
Among many honors, he is on various halls of fame and the College of Media and Entertainment's Wall of Fame.
This year's Young Alumni Achievement Award, given to a graduate 35 years old or younger making a positive impact in the world, goes to Tierra McMahon. She has an expansive background in foreign policy and environmental and economic issues.
For the fourth consecutive year, the True Blue Citations of Distinction were awarded. Categories and this year's honorees include:
- Achievement in Education (current or retired MTSU faculty) -- Paula Thomas, who has deep roots at the university as both a former student, earning two degrees, and sharing her expertise with accounting students since 1983.
- Achievement in Education (outside MTSU) -- Chris Whaley, a former attorney who has become a college president at Roane State Community College in Kingston, Tennessee, in the Tennessee Board of Regents system.
- Service to the University -- Whitney Dix, who has shown great loyalty to her alma mater's aerospace department in various ways through her work with a major airline.
- Service to the Community -- awarded posthumously to Doug Young, a Murfreesboro native whose leadership and service to his city, church and university are immeasurable.