From 9,000 Miles Away in India, Abhilasha Vishwanath Finds Home at TSU, Says University Was Best Choice

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Going away to college and leaving home for the first time can raise students’ anxiety. And when home is thousands of miles away—sometimes on the other side of the world—the challenges of transitioning into a new culture and university life can be daunting.

Just ask Abhilasha “Abhi” Vishwanath, who at 18 years of age, left her home in Bangalore, southeastern India – about 9,000 miles away – to attend Tennessee State University.

Abhilasha “Abhi” Vishwanath

“I was scared and excited at the same time,” says Vishwanath, a senior psychology major. “Going so far away to a new country and knowing that I was going to be on my own, was a little scary but I was excited about the adventure.”

Vishwanath was not disappointed when she arrived at TSU, she says. She immediately felt welcomed, as many faculty, staff and fellow students jumped in to make her comfortable.

“The atmosphere was so appealing it was immediately like a family,” she says. “Tennessee State has been a home away from home. It was difficult at first, but the people at TSU, and especially from the international department, the psychology department, friends I made as soon as I got here were very welcoming.”

Vishwanath also had a lot going for her that helped make her transition faster and smoother. She came to TSU on a tennis scholarship to play for the Tigers. She started playing tennis from age 8, and gained national notoriety in junior and women’s tennis in her country. She played on the national level and in few international tournaments. Vishwanath was once ranked in the Top 40s in India.

“That helped me to build a recruitment video to apply to U.S. colleges,” Vishwanath says. “I sent the video to coaches in the U.S. and one to TSU. The TSU tennis coach was interested in me. He got back with me. We talked about scholarships and what I was going to play here. I found that there was also a psychology program. So, it worked out well. So I signed.”

Abhilasha Vishwanath started playing tennis at the age of 8. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Since coming to TSU, Vishwanath has become an all-around standout in academics and athletics. A star player for the Tigers, Vishwanath is also one of TSU’s most outstanding students. She has a 4.0 grade point average, has been on the President’s List of high achieving students every semester she has been at TSU, she is a member of the Honors College, and has a research project that has gained national attention.

At the last Honors Convocation, Vishwanath received the McDonald Williams Senior Scholarship Award, given to a rising senior with the highest academic average.

“Abhi is just an outstanding young lady, in her academics and in her personal relationship with all other students,” says Dr. Coreen Jackson, interim dean of the Honors College. “She has truly served TSU in a magnificent way. She has represented the Honors College at conferences, where she has presented her research, and is always willing to tutor and to be of assistance to other students.”

Currently, Vishwanath is an intern in the Infant Learning Lab of the psychology department at Vanderbilt University, where her talent was noticed a year ago during a visit with Jackson and some members of the Honors College.

“She was immediately recruited and asked to come back, and a year later, she is at Vanderbilt participating in a major research project,” says Jackson.

While giving credit to her professors and the Honors College for the care and mentoring, Vishwanath has not forgotten what brought her to TSU.

“Tennis has helped a lot,” she says. “I don’t think I would have been able to afford college in the U.S. if not for the scholarship I was awarded. Tennis also keeps me focused. I think tennis is an intellectual sport. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me thinking and occupied, so I don’t have to manage time. I think it is a good skill to hold. My coaches and team mates have been phenomenal.”

Monroe Walker III is the head coach of the TSU tennis team who recruited Vishwanath. He described her as “probably the hardest worker on the tennis court.”

“She always keeps a level head, never is down on herself, and competes harder than anybody that I have had at TSU,” says Walker. “You never have to worry about her giving up or quitting because she gives her all every time she is on the court.”

Vishwanath, who graduates TSU in May 2019, plans to earn a Ph.D. in psychology.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 helps promote new Agricultural Sciences degree in Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has partnered with Motlow State Community College to offer an agriculture degree in Fayetteville.

TSU Ag professor Dr. John Ricketts (left), TSU Ag chair Dr. Samuel Nahashon, and Lisa Smith, assistant dean of the Motlow Fayetteville Campus, outside TSU’s mobile agriscience lab. (TSU Media Relations)

Officials with TSU and MSCC have been talking to media and high school teachers about the “2 + 2” program, which allows students to get a bachelor’s in Agricultural Sciences. There have been two open houses about the program, and an “enrollment event” was held June 12 at the MSCC Fayetteville Campus.

“We’re trying to generate as much buzz in the community as possible,” said Dr. John Ricketts, a professor of agricultural sciences at TSU and a facilitator of the TSU-MSCC Ag program.

Ricketts, along with Dr. Samuel Nahashon, the chair of TSU’s Agricultural Sciences Department, traveled to Fayetteville in the university’s mobile agriscience lab earlier this month.

Under the “2 + 2” Ag program, participants get an associate’s degree at MSCC, then have the option of getting a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences from TSU, which can be conveniently done at MSCC.

“The 2 + 2 program is great because it’s going to allow them to continue to get a four-year degree in the field they love of agriculture, but do it by staying close by in Lincoln County,” said Lisa Smith, assistant dean of the Motlow Fayetteville Campus.

TSU professors will teach in a combination of ways that include traveling to Fayetteville and providing instruction remotely, according to TSU officials.

Ricketts and several TSU administrators spoke to Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) about the program this month.

“We make every effort for the students to see and interact with TSU professors, and to gain the same classroom experience they would if they were on TSU’s main campus,” said Dr. Sharon Peters, executive director of Community College Initiatives in the Division of Academic Affairs at TSU.

The program, which is scheduled to start in the fall, is a continued effort by TSU to help students in rural areas meet the demand for trained professionals in different fields.

“We don’t produce, as a country, enough graduates in agriculture to meet all the needs of the employers,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture. “In the rural parts of Tennessee, there are a lot of people engaged in agriculture. This program provides those people access to a higher education.”

The university currently has a similar program at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee, that leads to a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and criminal justice. A program on Motlow’s main campus in Tullahoma, Tennessee, leads to a degree in criminal justice; and one is planned for the Motlow-McMinnville, Tennessee, campus in 2019 that will offer a degree in engineering, with a focus on megatronics.

“TSU is committed to the growth of 2+2 programs because they represent sustained growth in our transfer student population and outreach to our neighbors in Tennessee’s rural communities,” said Dr. Alisa Mosley, interim vice president of Academic Affairs at TSU.

TSU Ag professor Dr. John Ricketts and TSU Ag chair Dr. Samuel Nahashon discuss program with marketing representative Sarah MacYoung with Fayetteville Public Utilities Channel 6. (TSU Media Relations)

In the case of the most recent TSU-MSCC partnership, the degree completion program will target adults who began college but never finished, and traditional age students with an interest in agriculture that would prefer to study close to home.

“Students will be able to finish a four-year degree program, which is required for lots of the different types of jobs they want to go into,” said Ricketts. “It’s a benefit all the way around.”

Peters said students who have an associate’s degree and continue their education usually have a “high rate of completion.”

“They’ve demonstrated they can make it through two years of post-secondary education,” she said. “They’re focused. A lot of these students end up being some of our high achievers.”

The TSU-MSCC Ag program is awaiting final approval from the TSU Board of Trustees.

For more information about the Ag program, contact Lisa Smith at 931-433-9350 or lsmith@mscc.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 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 Partners With Man Up Health Collaborative to Promote Men’s Health

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is partnering with the Man Up Health Collaborative and Mt. Zion Baptist Church to bring awareness to issues surrounding men’s health.

Members of the health collaborative, which grew out of the Men’s Health Ministry at Mt. Zion, met with TSU staff members last week to discuss plans for a new project called the Summer Men’s Health Series.

The series, which will include a One Million Steps in 100 Days campaign, kicked off June 2 with a Man-Up Men’s Health Symposium at Mt. Zion’s Antioch location and will culminate on Sept. 8 with a 5K walk/run at Tennessee State University.

Gerald Davis, TSU director of Intramural Sports and the Ralph H. Boston Wellness Center, said initiatives like this one are needed to encourage men to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Gerald Davis, TSU director of Intramural Sports and the Ralph H. Boston Wellness Center

“Most guys have this negative stigma about working out,” Davis said. “They think it’s all about getting bigger, stronger and faster, but when you are in your 40s and 50s, it’s just about maintaining wellness, just wanting to be in shape and do things longer without getting tired.”

Dr. Dedrick E. Moulton, associate professor of Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt Medical Center and the driving force behind the effort, said the project grew out of his personal struggle to live a healthier life.

“Men don’t tend to pay much attention to their health. They will find almost anything else to do to avoid taking care of it, and I most certainly fell into that same category despite being a medical professional,” Moulton said. “What we are really looking to do is let men know that when they choose to neglect their health, it impacts more than just them. It impacts their families, their wives, their children and all their loved ones.”

Moulton said the collaborative seeks to become a “resource bank” for men hoping to live healthier lives. He said the symposium on Saturday will include blood pressure and diabetes screenings as well as interactive sessions focused on mental health and stress management, fitness and nutrition, cardiology and heart health, and developing a health checklist.

“If you attend the symposium you will see that following the medical presentation, we will have real people who will tell you how they had diagnoses and made changes,” he said. “Then we will even follow that up with fitness experts and tell you how to get started.”

According to Moulton, the One Million Steps in 100 Days campaign is based on the American Heart Association’s recommendation for people to take10,000 steps a day. He said the collaborative is encouraging men throughout Nashville to participate, especially men who attend Mt. Zion or work at TSU.

While Davis said making health changes is about taking slow steps and setting realistic goals, he also said men need to make health a priority and get sound advice, which he and his staff are ready to provide to members of the TSU community.

“It’s about challenging yourself. If you go to work at 8 a.m., you may have to get up at 5 a.m., get everybody together, come on in workout, shower and then leave,” he said. “Everybody is looking for that perfect box to fit in work and working out, but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. Take a lunch break. Do it right after work. But you have got to get into a habit of doing something for your body. If not, nine times out of 10, it will come back and catch up with you.”

Davis recommended the walking/running tracks at the Hadley Park Regional Center for people who are not students or employees at the university. He said in the near future he hopes to make the wellness center available to family members of TSU employees as well as alumni.

Moulton said the group hopes men will bring their families to participate in the 5K walk/run scheduled for Sept. 8.

“It is more than just men that we are seeking to run,” he said. “We want men to run with their kids and their wives. And if you can’t run, walk with them.”

For more information about the Man Up Health Collaborative and the Summer Men’s Health Series, contact Dr. Dedrick Moulton at manuphealthfit@gmail.com.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

STEM students going to China for international research

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Three Tennessee State University students will spend part of their summer participating in an international research experience in China.

Shaniqua Jones, Christine Mba and Whitney Nicole Russell, all senior STEM majors and honor students, are part of the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program at TSU.

They will join students from the University of Memphis in a research collaboration between UofM and faculty and students at Donghua University in Shanghai. An internal review team in the UofM College of Engineering selected the TSU students to participate. The group’s research project in China will focus on the “Development of Next Generation Biomaterials for Dental Bone Reconstruction/Regeneration.”

The program runs from June 4-29.

“This is all part of our effort to get more of our students engaged in international experiences, not only in research, but also to give them greater exposure to the world around them,” said Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, interim dean of the College of Life and Physical Sciences. “We are excited about our students going, and we look forward to great things coming out of this trip.”

Shaniqua Jones

Dr. Dee Green, director of TLSAMP, said international research experiences, such as the China project, provide visiting undergraduate students the opportunity to “engage in high quality collaborative research” with mentorship from researchers at a host lab. The experience is also a motivation for participants to pursue graduate studies, Green said.

“The exposure also broadens our students’ cultural awareness, professional development and networking skills,” she said.

Jones, a mechanical engineering major from Toledo, Ohio, whose research focus is in the development of functional prosthetics, said the summer experience will help in her quest to understand global engineering and medical problems.

Christine Mba

“One of my personal missions is the advancement of minority women in engineering and a sense of globalization to debunk cultural stereotypes,” said Jones, who has been recognized as a “Dean Scholar Researcher,” for advancement in engineering research.

Mba, biology major from Memphis with interest in a cure for cancer, said her research and lab experiences have helped her navigate and understand different laboratory settings and protocols with ease.

“I look forward to the opportunity to conduct research alongside experienced professors in China, while expanding my knowledge base and gaining an enhanced perspective of the culture,” Mba said.

Whitney Russell

For Russell, also a biology major, from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with interest in formulation chemistry, her goal is to earn a Ph.D. and work in a lab with a cosmetic chemist to develop hair products. She minors in chemistry, and is the co-founder of Naturally Me, an “empowering program that teaches girls how to make their own natural hair products.”

“This opportunity will afford me the ability to advance my skills in the lab, while also enhancing my cultural experiences,” Russell said.

For more information on the TLSAMP at TSU, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/tlsamp/opp_info.aspx. The National Science Foundation funds the program.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 partners with Motlow State Community College to offer baccalaureate degree in agricultural sciences

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has partnered with Motlow State Community College to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural sciences in Fayetteville, Tennessee.

TSU officials will be in Fayetteville on Friday, June 1, to promote the program, as well as an open house that will be held June 12 at the MSCC Fayetteville Campus.

Under the “2 + 2” program, participants get an associate’s degree at Motlow, then have the option of getting a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences from TSU, which can be conveniently done at the Motlow campus.

TSU professors will teach in a combination of ways that includes traveling to Fayetteville and providing instruction remotely, according to TSU officials.

“We make every effort for the students to see and interact with TSU professors, and to gain the same classroom experience they would if they were on TSU’s main campus,” said Dr. Sharon Peters, executive director of Community College Initiatives in the Division of Academic Affairs at TSU.

The program is a continued effort by TSU to help students in rural areas meet the demand for trained professionals in different fields.

The university currently has a similar program at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee, that leads to a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and criminal justice. A program on Motlow’s main campus in Tullahoma, Tennessee, leads to a degree in criminal justice; and one is planned for the Motlow-McMinnville, Tennessee, campus in 2019 that will offer a degree in engineering, with a focus on megatronics.

“TSU is committed to the growth of 2+2 programs because they represent sustained growth in our transfer student population and outreach to our neighbors in Tennessee’s rural communities,” said Dr. Alisa Mosley, interim vice president of Academic Affairs at TSU

In the case of the most recent TSU-MSCC partnership, the degree completion program will target adults who began college but never finished, and traditional age students with an interest in agriculture that would prefer to study close to home.

“Students will be able to finish a four-year degree program, which is required for lots of the different types of jobs they want to go into,” said Dr. John Ricketts, a professor of agricultural sciences who will be teaching some courses in the “2 + 2” agriculture program. “It’s a benefit all the way around.”

Peters said students who have an associate’s degree and continue their education usually have a “high rate of completion.”

“They’ve demonstrated they can make it through two years of post-secondary education,” she said. “They’re focused. A lot of these students end up being some of our high achievers.”

For more information about the TSU-MSCC program, contact Lisa Smith at 931-433-9350 or lsmith@mscc.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 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Local TSU alumni chapter hosts president and administrators, spurs enhanced partnership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A presentation by Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover was the only agenda item for the Nashville Alumni Chapter meeting held Tuesday night in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center in the Robert N. Murrell Forum.

The meeting, which lasted a little over two hours, was led by TSU Nashville Alumni Chapter President Dwight Beard.

“We have to support Dr. Glover.  She has made it clear where she is trying to take the institution,” said Beard, a 1974 TSU alum.  “We as the alumni have to love and support TSU, get involved with the activities, mentor our students and give back to the institution.”

Beard said TSU alums across the nation need to “support the president by motivating students to come to TSU, and not only TSU, but all HBCUs.”

After a brief introduction by Beard, Glover updated local alumni on advancements the university has made in the areas of retention recruitment, enrollment, and marketing.

A little over 100 attendees listened attentively as Glover enthusiastically recounted her personal involvement in recruiting two of Memphis’ top high school seniors, Meaghen Jones and Jayla Woods, whose combined scholarship awards equal close to $19 million.

Glover informed attendees about upcoming changes to the campus landscape, including the addition of a new Health Sciences Building, two new residence halls, the Field Research Organic Laboratory, the Gateway Arch Entrance, a new engineering building and the Alumni House and Welcome Center.

Alumni also learned about a half million dollar gift from the family of the late Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., that will be used to establish an endowed scholarship fund in honor of the TSU alumnus and renown heart surgeon.

Following the president’s presentation, members of the audience were given an opportunity to ask questions and share their ideas and concerns.

“The meeting was great.  It was an awesome way of updating the alumni regarding the efforts of President Glover and her team to make Tennessee State University the best that it can be,” said Vivian Wilhoite,  a 1987 alumnae of TSU who serves as the Property Assessor for Davidson County.

Wilhoite said she was impressed by what the president is doing to move the university forward.

“It was just wonderful.  It says that we have a vision.  It says that the president has a plan. It says that President Glover is saying, ‘Hey.  Join us. We need you. We appreciate all who have been involved, but we want to reignite the spirit of those people who haven’t been involved by letting them know we have been doing those things you have expected of us to grow our great university.’”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Tennessee State University Attracts the Best; 9 Top Cincinnati High School Graduating Seniors Commit to TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University continues to attract the best and brightest from across the nation.

Nine graduating seniors, each with a 4.0 grade point average from Mt. Healthy High School in Cincinnati, have committed to attend TSU this fall.

TSU President Glenda Glover and university officials welcomed three of the students, who along with their school principal, Thomas Hill, visited the campus Thursday.

Derrick Sanders, left, Gelanie Jones and Jierre Franklin will attend TSU in the fall. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The other six students will visit TSU after their school’s graduation ceremony on May 26, Hill said. They are all being admitted with full scholarships.

Glover described the students’ visit as “a great day” for Tennessee State University.

“These high achievers made a great choice by selecting to come to Tennessee State University,” she said. “They are part of the elite scholars we continue to attract who value the world-class programs and quality education offered here in a caring community of faculty, staff and administrators who are committed to excellence.”

The three students — Jierre Franklin, Gelanie Jones and Derrick Sanders — said a special bond they share led them to attend the same college. They grew up in the same neighborhood, attended the same elementary and middle schools, and are about to graduate from the same high school.

“We have been friends for 10 years,” said Sanders, who plans to major in business, as well as join the gospel choir. “This school has a great legacy with graduates like Oprah Winfrey, Duke Ellington. I saw the choir perform with Jennifer Hudson, one of my favorite singers, and that really impressed me.”

Another attraction for the students is that they all wanted to attend an HBCU, according to Hill.

“I am a first-year principal in a school with a predominantly African-American student population,” said Hill, who is Caucasian. “We have kids who can compete with anybody in the country, and their desire to attend an HBCU was a preference of theirs. I look at them as my children. All of the students coming here are honor students and I am extremely proud of them.”

For Franklin, a percussionist in her school band, who plans to major in biology and join the TSU marching band, her interest in an HBCU started as a freshman when she accompanied a relative on a college tour.

“That tour was an HBCU college tour and I remember the environment was exactly somewhere I wanted to be,” Franklin said. “Here at TSU it feels like family, and I like the band here.”

Jones, who also plans to major in biology and play on the tennis team, is not a stranger to TSU. His older sister is a junior here, and he said that will help keep him focused.

“I think my sister being here is going to help me to stay on track,” said Jones, the second of three children. “I have been here plenty of times. I have attended Homecoming. I love everything about this school. It’s like a family.”

Audrey Strafford is TSU’s assistant director of Institutional Support (One-Stop Shop), and formerly a longtime financial aid staff, who received the students from Cincinnati. She thinks the students’ “unique” relationship gives them a big advantage to succeed.

“When I find students like these, it makes my heart beat faster because this is what TSU is made of  … this is our legacy,” Strafford said. “I am just so proud they have a principal who would extend himself to make sure these students get a quality education.”

Terrance Izzard, TSU’s associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, said TSU is “a perfect place for them to grow and to soar.”

“The fact that TSU is a place for family, it makes it wholesome that these young people, who have been knowing each other from grade school and now they are matriculating through college together, are joining our family here at TSU. It is going to be a great experience for all of them.”

Franklin, Jones and Sanders come to TSU as part of a millennial generation of high achieving students that the university continues to strategically recruit in its effort to improve retention and graduation rates. This comes on the heels of sweeping changes TSU President Glover announced in 2016 that raised admission standards to attract the best and brightest.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 receives 10 nominations for 2018 HBCU Digest Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is a finalist in 10 categories of the 2018 Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ Digest Awards.

The winners will be announced at the eighth annual HBCU Awards ceremony to be held on June 22 in Washington, D.C.

TSU is a finalist for University of the Year, and TSU President Glenda Glover is in the running for Female President of the Year.

Other TSU nominations are:

Best Marching Band: Aristocrat of Bands

Best Student Organization: Collegiate Citizens Police Academy

Awards in Academic Excellence: Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center

Best Science, Technology, Engineer and Mathematics (STEM) Program: College of Agriculture

Awards in Alumni Activity: James Shaw, Jr.

Female Athlete of the Year: Tia Wooten

Female Student of the Year: Theresa Lyles

Male Student of the Year: Naton Smith

Smith, a health science major from St. Louis, recently finished his freshman year with a 3.81 grade point average.

“I’m very honored to even be considered for this award,” says Smith, who was recently recognized as one of TSU’s “high achievers.”

The HBCU Awards is the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievement at historically black colleges and universities throughout the country. Winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, journalist, HBCU executives, students and alumni for the merit of accomplishment and for generating positive coverage for HBCU campus communities.

More than 700 nominations were received for this year’s nomination process, an event record.

Last year, TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands and the university’s College of Engineering received top honors in the HBCU Digest Awards.

The year before that, TSU got three honors: Alumna of the Year, Dr. Edith Mitchell; Female Coach of the Year, Track and Field Director Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice; and Female Student of the Year, RaCia Poston.

In 2015, TSU’s women’s basketball team got Female Team of the Year, and student activities received Best Student Organization.

To see all the 2018 HBCU Awards finalists, visit: https://hbcudigest.com/north-carolina-hbcus-dominate-2018-hbcu-awards-finalist-ballot/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Emergency management conference speaker urges attendees to stay ‘engaged’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Emergency management officials from higher education institutions across the country are at Tennessee State University this week.

TEMA director Patrick Sheehan and Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s chief of staff, talk to Fox 17 reporter. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

They are among more than 200 first responders, consultants and volunteers attending the Best Practices in Emergency Management for Higher Education Conference TSU is hosting May 22-24.

“We’re glad TSU could host such an outstanding conference,” TSU President Glenda Glover said at a luncheon on Wednesday. “We have some of the leading emergency management experts in the country right here on our campus.”

Patrick Sheehan, director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), was the conference’s keynote speaker. He said conferences like the one at TSU are important because they allow emergency management officials to stay “engaged” and share information.

“It’s so important that we seek opportunities to come together and to share,” said Sheehan. “You’re all trying to tackle the same problems, and you’ve come up with innovative solutions to those problems, or to prevent problems.”

TSU, the first HBCU selected to host the conference, has been recognized for its unique urban-agriculture and cutting-edge emergency preparedness initiatives that have earned the university many accolades, including a Storm Ready designation.

As a result of the recognition, TSU was presented with the Best Practice Trophy at last year’s conference at Virginia Tech, and subsequently was selected to host the 2018 conference.

Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s chief of staff, said the need for emergency management has increased over the years.

TSU President Glenda Glover speaks at emergency management conference luncheon. TSU was presented with the Best Practice Trophy at last year’s conference at Virginia Tech, and subsequently was selected to host the 2018 conference. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“The frequency in emergency situations have increased,” said Johnson. “And so, in turn, institutions of higher education have learned that we need to be better prepared for these situations, so many of them are putting resources where they can respond.”

One of the topics at the conference was about problems that arise from mental health issues, and how to address them.

“Mental health is a challenge in higher education because some individuals … don’t always take their medicine,” said Johnson. “And when they don’t take their medicine, they become a challenge. We have to be prepared to manage it, and work with those individuals to get them back to as normal as possible.”

Gary Will is assistant vice president for campus security and emergency management at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. He acknowledged mental health is an issue, but he said the biggest problem in northwest Georgia is the weather, and letting people know if there’s a threat.

Berry College got its Storm Ready designation in 2015.

“The biggest thing with being Storm Ready is advising people of what’s happening, at least having that inclination that there’s some sort of threat that’s on the horizon,” he said.

For more information about TSU’s OEM, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/emergency/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 Part of History: Four Alums Who Met at Tennessee State University 30 Years Ago Attend Royal Wedding in the U.K.

Courtesy: CBS This Morning

LONDON – (TSU News Service) – Almost 3 billion people around the world were expected to tune in to watch the royal wedding on May 19. More than 100,000 people gathered in the streets around Windsor Castle, hoping to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in person.

Among those well-wishers were four women who first met at Tennessee State University more than 30 years ago. The TSU alums have traveled all over the world together since then, and this year they made the trip to London to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

See full news video at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/royal-wedding-meghan-markle-prince-harry-american-friends-glamour-diversity/

Tiffany Gray, Margarita Jackson, Debbie Howard and Melanie Smooth kicked off their big weekend of festivities with a champagne toast to the royal couple, at their hotel. Courtesy photo

Tiffany Gray, Margarita “Margo” Jackson, Debbie Howard and Melanie (Melissa) Smoot have taken an annual vacation together for 15 years, and when they heard about the royal wedding, they couldn’t pass up the chance to travel “across the pond” to see royalty up close.

Howard, of Nashville, and Smoot, of Birmingham, Alabama, were all smiles as they began their journey to London on May 16.

“They’re young, they’re hip, they’re cool, he’s marrying an American girl,” Howard told reporters after arriving in the British capital. “Go Meghan!”

The four women kicked off their big weekend of festivities with a champagne toast at their hotel; “to Meghan! to Harry!”

Fashion and fascinators were very much at the forefront of the friends’ minds – and they had no intention to hold back: “It is the royal wedding. You have to be over the top!”

Like the rest of the world, they were still wondering on Friday what Meghan would wear.

“She is not going to do traditional,” predicted Gray, also of Nashville. “She is going to do something edgy.”

Howard said she foresees a “straight line with lace,” and hopes the royal bride will don something that belonged to Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana.

Perhaps most important for the American group, is how Meghan Markle – a biracial American actress – might change the British royal family.

“I think their love signifies diversity,” said Jackson. “By him choosing his bride and she is African-American, just makes it the best.”

“Her dreams came true. She got the prince,” added Gray.

The friends each bought new outfits for Saturday’s big event – hats and fascinators included. They claimed a spot outside Windsor Castle to catch a glimpse of the royal couple on what was an historic day.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.