Fred & Louise Culp
It only stands to reason that a scholar and a county librarian would be interested in education. When the studios of WCTE-TV first moved to Cookeville, Fred and Louise Culp were enthusiastic about having their own public television station located in their community. Fred was one of the first Tennessee Tech Professors to visit the small WCTE facility located in the football stadium. He talked about national programs and was also most interested in what the staff would do on a local level.
It didn’t take long for Fred and Louise to support the station financially. In 1982, they became members and have continued to be members to this day, 25 years later.
Being a professor of physics, Dr. Culp was very involved when the staff of WCTE decided to produce an Upper Cumberland Academic Bowl featuring all high schools in the broadcast area. He helped write questions, he became a judge and over the years decided something else was needed. In observing the contests, Dr. Culp realized that some of the teams that won the first four places were not necessarily the most enthusiastic, and he mentioned this to Steve Boots, the then host of the Academic Bowl and to Becky Magura, the producer. It was then that they established the Fred Culp “Spirit of Competition Award” for teams that might not win but who would give their best efforts in competition. Fred loves to see these teams receive their award.
Steve Boots in remembering Fred from those days said, “When we needed questions for the Academic Bowl, we decided to ask for volunteers from Tennessee Tech. Due to a lack of physics questions, Fred was one of the first contacted. He wrote several questions and asked what else he could do. Soon he was writing questions about everything. Before long, he was helping to proofread all of the questions for accuracy. Fred is a true Renaissance Man. His knowledge and expertise go well beyond his chosen field. His book, Understanding the Universe, deals with the realm of physics, but I remember thinking, when I heard the title that Fred might actually be trying to explain everything!”
Louise, an effective background supporter, helped the staff in any way she could. For many of the Great TV Auctions, she would come down to the station in early April and May and do auction paperwork which involved filling out forms, categorizing donations (a good job for a former librarian) and helping then auction coordinator, Joyce Hunter do whatever needed to be done.
“Louise and Fred Culp are very special people,” Joyce said. “Louise was always ready to do anything I needed her for, from organizing art reception mailings to working Pick Up & Pay. She also helped during the Academic Bowl, sorting questions and making zillions of copies for the judges and Steve.”
The Culps would help produce local programs for Upper Cumberland viewers. They also worked the Auction sometimes. “I was always amazed,” Louise said, “at the enthusiasm of the people helping out at the auction. It would get later and later and they would just stay and do what needed to be done.”
At one time, the Culps became very interested in the children’s educational programs and became underwriters of the morning block of programs and when the “Studio Club” was established, the Culps were one of the very first couples to join.
Dr. Fred Culp was Chairman of the Physics Department at Tech for more than 20 years. Louise worked as a Putnam Co. librarian at the Putnam Co. Library for more than 9 years. They have two children, David and Diane, and five grandchildren.
The Culps enjoy watching specials on science and especially liked the Carl Sagan series. Today, they watch “Nova” (“Of course,” says Fred) and they also enjoy some of the entertainment programs.
“Dr. and Mrs. Culp have not only been supportive of the station, but also encourage the staff both personally and professionally,” Station Manager Becky Magura said. “We are so fortunate to have them in our community and in our WCTE family.”
The Culps continue to support WCTE financially today, but Fred says he first became involved because “I was attracted to what you people did. You gave me an opportunity to help and I appreciated it. I think people continue to underestimate the importance of WCTE to the community. It certainly makes a major contribution to the City of Cookeville.”
Thanks Fred. We hope everyone thinks the way you do!
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