Prominent Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump to Speak at TSU’s Fall 2016 Commencement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump will be the keynote speaker at Tennessee State University’s Fall 2016 Commencement on Dec. 10.

Crump is the noted Florida lawyer who represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Terence Crutcher in police shooting cases that made headlines around the world. Crump was also an advocate in the Robbie Tolan police brutality U.S. Supreme Court case, as well as the Martin Lee Anderson boot camp death case.

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Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump speaks at 25th anniversary gala for the National Association of African American Honors Programs held at TSU on Oct. 31. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Last month, Crump was the keynote speaker at the 25th anniversary gala for the National Association of African American Honors Programs held at TSU on Oct. 31.

During his speech, he said that those who see injustice and do nothing help to promote abuse. He told students, in particular, that as future leaders and educators they have a “moral” obligation to help stem out injustices in their communities.

“You’re the ones who are going to have the good jobs, you are going to have the education, you have the talent, and if you don’t speak up for our community, if you don’t stand up for our community, if you don’t fight for our community, then who will,” he said.

Crump is the 73rd President of the National Bar Association, the largest organization of lawyers of color in the world, representing over 60,000 black lawyers, judges, and legal professionals. He has received numerous awards, including the SCLC Martin Luther King Servant Leader Award, and the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award. Ebony Magazine has recognized him as one of the Top 100 trial lawyers.

“Attorney Crump believes in fighting to preserve the justice that minorities have achieved throughout the civil rights era,” according to Crump’s website.

The commencement is scheduled for 9 a.m. in the Howard C. Gentry Complex on the university’s main campus. More than 600 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines during the ceremony at the Howard C. Gentry Complex on the university’s main campus.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Agriculture students excel at Tennessee Academy of Science meeting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Eleven Tennessee State University College of Agriculture students won awards at the 126th annual meeting of the Tennessee Academy of Science.

More than 300 students and faculty from 10 universities converged on Austin Peay State University in Clarksville for the meeting on Nov. 19.

TSU was well represented with 32 student presentations in various topics, including agriculture, botany, cell and molecular biology, ecology and environmental science, geosciences, and microbiology.

Of the 11 awards TSU students received, four were 1st place; three 2nd place; three 3rd place; and one honorable mention.

Master’s student Jeronimo da Silva was honored for serving as the chair of the Ecology and Environmental Science section, the first time a student served as chair of a section.

The Tennessee Academy of Science seeks to promote scientific research and education in Tennessee. Its 800 members are primarily from academia, with additional members from government and industry.

For more information about TAS, visit http://www.tennacadofsci.org.

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Wall Street Journal lists Tennessee State University among Top 10 HBCUs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Wall Street Journal has listed Tennessee State University among its top 10 historically black colleges and universities.

The WSJ/THE College Rankings, which ranked TSU 10th, was released Nov. 21 and uses categories such as academic resources and graduate outcomes to determine rankings.

The resources and outcomes categories are weighed most in the overall ranking, according to WSJ. Resources measures things such as student-to-faculty ratio and schools’ instructional spending, while outcomes track metrics, including the salaries graduates earn and the debt they take on.

TSU Student Government Association President Aarian Forman said recognition by the WSJ validates the “excellent” work the university is doing, and will hopefully get the attention of prospective high school graduates seeking a higher education.

“It’s great to see our excellence is evident to the rest of the world,” he said.

Last month, TSU President Glenda Glover outlined new initiatives she says will continue a “legacy of excellence” at the 104-year-old institution.

They include raising admission standards and enhancing student success initiatives to increase retention and graduation rates. Beginning the fall of 2017, all students must have a 2.5 GPA and a 19 on the ACT for admission to TSU. The previous admission scores were 2.25 or a 19 on the ACT for in-state students, and a 2.5 or 19 ACT for out-of-state students.

The president also announced capital improvement and infrastructure enhancements. They include construction of a new Health Sciences building, as well as plans for new residence halls, an on-campus stadium, and a project that will encompass more than 80 acres along the Cumberland River.

Statistics show TSU contributes more than $610 million to the Nashville economy.

“We’re very proud of the economic value that Tennessee State University brings to the city and to the state,” said state Rep. Brenda Gilmore, whose district includes TSU.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Are Nashville Bridges Safe? Tennessee State University Engineering Students Are Checking

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – How safe are the bridges in Metro Nashville that you drive across everyday?

The answer may be in the work Tennessee State University engineering students are doing around the city.

A team of six graduate and undergraduate students, along with their professors from the Departments of Civil and Architectural Engineering, are conducting a study on five bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to assess their structural integrity.

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Kevin Nguyen, a graduate civil engineering major, left, and Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, are two of six TSU students and their professors assessing bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to ensure their structural integrity. (Courtesy photo)

As part of the fairgrounds improvement project, the students’ findings will be submitted to the city’s structural engineers and will be used to determine future use of the bridges.

The dean of the College of Engineering said the involvement of the students in the project is part of Mayor Megan Barry’s “innovative” vision and strategy to get more high school and college students working on real-world projects that enhance their skills and employability.

“TSU and the College of Engineering are playing an integral part of this strategy by providing our students with practical experience that complements their classroom learning,” Hargrove said.

Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, is the student coordinator on the project.  He said part of the inspections involve measuring the bridges’ dimensions to identify any structural damage, or distress, and compile a report.

“The purpose of the project is to assess if there is any need for renovation or repair of the bridges,” Musinguzi said. “This is a two-month project. We expect our final report to be ready and submitted to Metro by Dec. 15.”

Dr. Farouk Mishu, professor and interim chair of the civil and architectural engineering department, is one of two faculty members working with the students.

“These bridges have been here for a very long time,” Mishu said. “We are assessing them to see what kind of remediation we need to do to make them safe. This gives the students real-world experience before they graduate.”

Overseeing the students and their professors’ work is a field engineer from the fairgrounds project management team, who said he is impressed with the student’s skill level and attention to detail.

“The students are providing us with a preliminary structural assessment of these bridges to be approved by our structural engineer,” said Jonathon Schneider, of the project management team. “So what they are doing is pivotal to deciding what kind of money will be spent on either the repairing, the removing or replacing of these bridges. Their performance is remarkable. We are looking forward to receiving their report.”

The students’ work is not TSU’s first involvement with the fairgrounds improvement project.

Earlier this year, Hargrove served as a member of the review team appointed by Mayor Barry to make recommendations for the $12 million renovation of the fairgrounds.

Other students on the bridge project are: Kevin Nguyen, a graduate student majoring in civil engineering; and undergraduates SiVon Jiles, civil engineering; Matthew Miller, architectural engineering; Dwight Pullen, architectural engineering; and Darren Evans, civil engineering.

Dr. Catherine Armwood, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering, is the other faculty member on the project.

For more information about TSU’s College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Course helps TSU employees prepare for emergencies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is making sure its faculty and staff are prepared to handle emergencies.

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TSU employees participate in emergency preparedness course. (submitted photo)

More than 20 people attended a two-day course – Campus Emergencies Prevention, Response and Recovery – on the university’s campus Nov. 15-16.

The purpose of the course was to provide campus leaders with an understanding and ability to navigate difficult aspects of dealing with campus emergencies – both natural and human-caused events, including acts of violence.

“The expectations are for individuals who participated in this training to better enable university employees to aid the university in the event of an emergency,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s associate vice president for administration. “It’s also important that these persons spread the word about what they received here, and encourage others to get this training.”

The course consisted of small, problem-based, integrated group activities that required a coordinated, integrated approach to solve. Through tabletop scenarios, course participants observed a developing incident and responded in a manner consistent with currently established campus and jurisdictional emergency operations procedures.

TSU Police Captain Tony Blakely said the course was enlightening.

“One of the most important things as a captain over patrol that I got out of this training was a refresher,” Blakely said. “Time to time, we as professionals do need a refresher. The training was excellent, and I hope we have more of it.”

The course was led by representatives from the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training at Louisiana State University. The agency provides training to emergency responders throughout the United States and its territories.

For more information about NCBRT, visit https://www.ncbrt.lsu.edu.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Panel takes on global diversity and inclusion at TSU event

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Students attending a recent event sponsored by Tennessee State University’s Office of International Affairs were encouraged to be “curious of cultures other than your own.”

The event, “Where I Come From,” was held Nov. 5 and wrapped up the university’s International Education Week. A mix of students, faculty and staff were in attendance to hear a panel discussion on how to engage international and domestic students on the campus.

The panelists included James R. Threalkill, regional director for diversity and inclusion for construction management firm, Skanska USA; Marcela Gomez, president and founder of Marcella Gomez & Associates and the Hispanic Marketing Group; and Kasar Abdulla, a social justice educator, advocate and TSU alumna.

Even though the panel discussion took place a few days before the Nov. 8 presidential election, its topic of inclusion was quite timely, considering the increased division across the country following the election.

“Certainly the decisions made in the White House will affect your house,” said panelist Abdulla, a Kurdistan native who fled her home at the age of 6 due to the Iraq invasion. “The world is connected, and to seek to understand you have to seek knowledge and wisdom and apply that to a global perspective. TSU’s Office of International Affairs is making that knowledge available to you.”

Gomez, a native of Colombia, South America, has lived in Nashville for 22 years. She said it is important for students to take advantage of every opportunity to learn from diverse people.

“I was always a C-student and would sit and write notes to friends instead of paying attention,” she said. “I realized I missed many opportunities to do something greater in my life. African-Americans, Latinos, and Kurdish communities have unique struggles. We need you (students) to be leaders, make change and reach out to a global community.”

James Threalkill, an Emmy Award-winning artist and long-time diversity champion, said we must rekindle a thirst and curiosity for knowledge and education.

“It is important to be culturally and intellectually curious of cultures other than your own,” Threalkill said. “There’s a struggle for inclusion in this country right now.”

Abdulla said people shouldn’t be afraid to embrace their cultures, even if they’re criticized for their beliefs.

“I am visibly Muslim,” Abdulla said. “Some choose not to, but I refuse to fall into that fear. After 9/11 many of my friends wanted me to take it off (head covering) because they thought someone might try to hurt me, but I refuse to play into the fear and negative vibes of the uneducated. You can’t tell black people to stop being black just because there’s racism in this country.”

International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. It is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education designed to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and to attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

“The world is bigger than the United States,” Gomez said. “The world is bigger than where we are.”

To learn more about the Office of International Affairs, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/diversity/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

 

 

 

Professional Development Group Presents Discussion on National Leadership Crisis


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – A vision, collective destiny and the ability to motivate people to work together to accomplish extraordinary things are what distinguish a great leader, a public policy expert told a TSU gathering Nov. 16.

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Dr. Michael Harris, Dean of the College of Public Service, says a good leader is not arbitrary and capricious, as he addresses a forum on leadership. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and a nationally syndicated columnist, told participants at a forum organized by the TSU Staff Senate that the only way to transform is by having a clear vision of “where you want to take the people you lead.”

“A good leader makes decisions, not arrive at conclusions, and must not be arbitrary and capricious,” Harris said. “They must be grounded in values and integrity that lead the vision and the collective destiny.”

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Nearly 30 staff participated in the forum organized by the Staff Senate in the Student Success Center. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Organizers said the one-hour presentation aimed to examine the current global and national leadership crisis facing the nation. It included a scientific analysis of leadership and its elements based on years of experience and research.

Called “Leadership 101,” the presentation answered questions such as “What is leadership?” “Who is a leader?” “Why should I care?” and “Can leadership be improved?”

“The goal was to provide and support staff participation in any educational and training opportunities which enhance job performance and wellness,” said Jamal Coleman, chair of the Staff Senate Professional Development and Education Committee. “Dr. Harris’ presentation was excellent.”

Nearly 30 staff members attended the forum in the Student Success Center.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU police chief attends national conference to discuss campus-carry policies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Police Chief Greg Robinson is attending a national conference this week with about 20 other top campus law enforcement officials to discuss campus-carry policies.

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TSU Police Chief Greg Robinson

The conference, sponsored by the National Center for Campus Public Safety, is Nov. 15-16 in McKinney, Texas. Some of the attendees represent campuses in states where campus carry has been in existence for some time, and others are from states where legislation has recently passed or is pending.

In Tennessee, a law allowing concealed guns to be carried on college campuses went into effect July 1. Under the measure, full-time employees – including professors and staff members – with a valid handgun permit can carry firearms with them on campus. Anyone who wants to carry has to register with campus or local law enforcement first.

So far, Robinson said 18 people at TSU have requested to carry guns and are in compliance.

The police chief said he’s looking forward to the conference because it gives campus law enforcement and safety officials an opportunity to discuss their campus-carry policies, and their implementation process.

“We’re going to discuss what institutions across the nation have done, what we’ve done,” said Robinson, “and come away with better ideas.”

NCCPS Director Kim Richmond said the purpose of the discussion is to “identify critical items to consider during the development and implementation of policy and procedures reflecting current legislation regarding campus carry.”

“This forum will produce a report that outlines considerations that institutions should deliberate when implementing policy and procedures for campus carry,” Richmond said.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are currently 18 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Wyoming.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

TSU Veterans Day Ceremony celebrates service of U.S military men and women

 

By K. Dawn Rutledge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s annual Veterans Day ceremony revealed some stark statistics when guest speaker and Vietnam Veteran George Nichols gave a powerful history lesson on military service in the United States.

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Wreath honoring fallen servicemen and servicewomen. (By John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

In front of a crowd of more than 150 students, faculty and staff, Nichols pointed to the first conflict in 1775, the American Revolutionary War, and said since that time about 42 million servicemen and servicewomen have defended the nation in times of war. Of that number, 967,000 paid the ultimate price – death.

“Unless you have been there, it is not possible to understand the tragedy of war,” said Nichols, a highly decorated veteran who is the recipient of two Bronze Stars, six Air Medals, and two Army Commendation Medals, to name a few.

Nichols went on to share that only 1 percent of the population is fighting war in the Middle East today. Many who serve in the military experience challenges later in life such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), substance abuse, and the inability to find employment due to education deficiencies or lack of job opportunities compatible with their military training. Nichols also said homelessness, suicide and illness are all consequences of war.

“There are 50,000 veterans who are homeless every single night,” he said. “And even with President Obama tripling the amount of money dedicated to addressing this effort, that funding only reduced the number of homeless vets to one-third. Also, 20 veterans commit suicide every single day. When you see a veteran, thank them because you have no idea what that veteran has been through.”

Many other ex-service men and women working at TSU attended the ceremony.

“As a veteran I was pleased to hear the speaker recognize all the sacrifices of our servicemen and servicewomen,” said Monica White, administrative assistant for Facilities Management and a Retired Air Force Tech (Technical) Sergeant, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I was touched by what he said happens to many veterans when they return as far as unemployment and as far as their condition when they come back with PTSD disorders and how that affects their lives. I honor them and I appreciate everything each veteran has done for me, those that I don’t know and those that have gone before me.”

Blake Cleckler, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, was also among those in attendance. He served on the USS Miami for seven years and is an ex-U.S. Navy Second Class Petty Officer. Since enrolling as a TSU student, he has become active with the TSU Veteran’s Association.

“It is nice to have a Veteran’s Association on campus, and TSU has been very receptive to us,” Cleckler said. “When we decided to start an association on campus, we received very good response from TSU officials. The willingness for TSU to help veterans is there, the students just have to be willing to take advantage of the opportunity.”

TSU is a Certified Vets Campus providing support services for veterans to ease their transition from military service to college life. It is also a proud participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP), a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that allows veterans to attend private schools and graduate programs costing more than the state tuition cap.

“Our veterans, as well as our current servicemen and servicewomen, serve and protect us from potential danger and harm from aggressive threats,” said Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president for Academic Affairs. “We owe them our gratitude and respect, and we proudly celebrate them and all they have done for this country.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Conference Aims to Help HBCUs Attract More students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Historically black colleges and universities are looking for ways to increase enrollment.

A group of four HBCU presidents, higher education leaders, innovators and corporate executives met at Tennessee State University Nov. 10 for a one-day conference to dialogue on tactics to gain more students.

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Terrence A. Southern, a robotics and automation engineer at GE Global Research, and CEO of Illuminate STEM, a national STEM mentoring organization for K-12 underrepresented minorities. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

HBCUGrow, a group dedicated to helping HBCUs grow enrollment and alumni giving, organized the conference. The group also seeks to tackle the “changing landscape” of marketing challenges facing HBCUs.

But enrollment management continues to be a hot topic at these minority-serving institutions.

The presidents – TSU’s Dr. Glenda Glover; Dr. Forrest E. Harris of American Baptist College; Dr. Tracy D. Hall of Southwest Tennessee Community College; and Dr. Logan Hampton of Lane College – agreed that immediate, effective and innovative means must be developed to attract more students.

“At TSU, we have put in place new practices and processes to help our university grow,” Glover said, as she welcomed her colleagues and participants at the conference. “We have to improve on our brand to make sure we are doing everything we can to recruit and market talented students. We are thankful to HBCUGrow for putting this conference together, because if there was ever a time to grow our HBCUs, it is now.”

Terrence A. Southern, a robotics and automation engineer at GE Global Research and CEO of Illuminate STEM, an organization committed to promoting educational opportunities and mentorship in STEM fields for K-12 underrepresented minorities, was the keynote speaker.

He said HBCUs should do a better job at marketing their services if they are to succeed in attracting students.

“The first step in making our enrollment grow is to effectively communicate our capabilities and the caliber of education we offer,” said Southern, a 2003 TSU graduate with a degree in computer science, who credits his success to effective mentorship.

He is giving back as a result. From mentoring youth in Detroit and Dallas through after school programs for the last 10 years, he created Illuminate STEM, which is now reaching out to many more young people.

Southern said HBCUs account for thousands of graduates every year.

“But I hear major corporations like Google, Amazon, General Motors saying their diversity has not grown because they do not know where to get African-American students,” he said. “I say, ‘how is that possible?’ So either they don’t know about us or we are not making our presence known.”

Southern also called for better relationships between institutions, students and alumni, as a way of promoting the institutions and their offerings, and giving back to the school.

“HBCUs should also work together as an entity with the same vision to attract not only the best students, but those who need the kind of mentoring and attention HBCUs are known for,” Southern said.

In addition to the presidential panel discussion, the conference included breakout sessions on topics like “Branding’s Role in Increasing Enrollment”; “Marketing Segmentation”; “Integrated Marketing Strategies to Increase Enrollment Without Busting Your Budget”; and “Making Sure Your Website Attracts & Retains the Best Students for Your HBCU.”

Sponsors included Vitalink, Universal Printing and AndiSites.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.