Former TSU Professor, African American Poet Laureate Harriette Bias-Insignares, Dies at Age 72

Dr. Harriette Bias- Insignares
Dr. Harriette Bias- Insignares

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Harriette Bias- Insignares, a longtime professor at Tennessee State University and the first African American Poet Laureate/Ambassador of Letters for the State of Tennessee has died. She was 72 years old.

A graduate of Fisk University, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, Bias-Insignares had been an educator for more than 40 years. She taught English as a second language, rhetoric and public address, theatre and journalism.

Bias-Insignares began her career teaching English and physical education in Bucaramanga, Colombia, from 1964-65. She later became the Spanish resource consultant for the Chicago Board of Education from 1966 until 1968, and the director of the Tutorial Center at the University of Wisconsin from 1970-72. From 1977 until 1980, Bias-Insignares was an assistant professor of Speech at the University of Tennessee in Nashville.

Dr. Harriette Bias- Insignares from the 1993 TSU yearbook, Tennessean. Bias-Insignares joined the faculty at Tennessee State University as an associate professor of Communications, a position she held from 1981 until 2000.
Dr. Harriette Bias- Insignares from the 1993 TSU yearbook, Tennessean. Bias-Insignares joined the faculty at Tennessee State University as an associate professor of Communications, a position she held from 1981 until 2000.

Dr. Bias-Insignares joined the faculty at Tennessee State University as an associate professor of Communications, a position she held from 1981 until 2000. While at the University, she received the TSU Outstanding Teacher Award, the TSU Foundation Scholars Award, and the TSU National Broadcasting Society Journalism Teacher of the Year Award. Her other awards included the Consortium of Doctors Trailblazer Award, and the Society of Professional Journalists’ David L. Eshelman Award.

Bias-Insignares started writing poetry in earnest following the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Bobby Kennedy. Since 1977, she served the state of Tennessee as its Official State Poet and Arts Advocate under the title “Tennessee’s Ambassador of Letters.” To honor her for her many years of service to the people of Tennessee through poetry, Bias-Insignares was named the first Poet Laureate of Nashville.

A native of Savannah, Georgia, Bias-Ingnares was widely recognized as a poetess, storyteller, and oral interpreter. In her role as Tennessee’s state poet she wrote poetry honoring men and women like Vice President Al Gore, Colin Powell, and Eartha Kitt, as well as groups such as The National Urban League and the Negro Ensemble Company.

Her awards in Poetry included the Society of Poets International Poet of Merit Medallion, the Phyllis Wheatley Poetry Award, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Award for contributions to American literature, and the Tennessee Governor’s Spotlight Award for Contributions to the Arts. In addition, Bias-Insignares was also recognized for the Desert Storm Poetry Memorial she created, the first poetry memorial honoring the military in the nation. For her efforts she received the Adjutant General’s Distinguished Patriot Medallion, for “singular sacrifice and commitment to sustaining the pride and patriotism of our armed forces.”

 

 

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 45 undergraduate, 24 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.

Birmingham BOE Names TSU Alum as New Superintendent

Dr. Kelly Castlin-Gacutan
Dr. Kelly Castlin-Gacutan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Birmingham Board of Education has named an alumna from Tennessee State University as the system’s new superintendent.

Dr. Kelly Castlin-Gacutan, who currently serves as the deputy superintendent of operations at Bibb County Schools in Georgia, was announced as the new superintendent on Tuesday. She is expected to start her work in Birmingham no later than July 1.

Castlin-Gacutan has worked in education for 20 years, serving in various roles ranging from a K-12 educator and assistant principal, to district-level administrator.

Dr. Castlin-Gacutan earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Tennessee State University in 1991, her Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from Brenau University, and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern 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 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 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.

Tigerbelles Claim Fourth OVC Outdoor Championship

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (TSU Sports Information) – The Tigerbelles took to the track for the final event of the 2015 Ohio Valley Conference Championships needing a victory and a little help to claim the team title for the first time since 2008. The Tennessee State women’s track program has been historically known for its sprinters and most importantly, the relay teams.

Amber Hughes, Diera Taylor, Christian Pryor and Kayla Pryor continued the tradition as they teamed up for the 4×400 relay and crossed the line first in a time of 3:44.96. The fourth outdoor championship was captured for TSU as Austin Peay finished two seconds ahead of Eastern Illinois, who entered the final event 2.5 points ahead of the Tigerbelles.

“I am so excited right now,” said head coach Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice. “These young ladies stepped up and got it done. We are down in numbers, but the numbers we had showed out against the larger squads. I am so proud to be a Tigerbelle.”

TigerbellesTennessee State finished 128.5 points and was followed by Eastern Illinois with 127, Austin Peay at 119 and defending champions Southeast Missouri with 105.5.

Cheeseborough was named Women’s Coach of the Year as she collected her eighth title, four outdoor and four indoor, as the head of the Tigerbelles.

The two-day event had many delays due to lightning and heavy rains. Despite the delays, TSU still managed to claim seven events and 23 scoring finishes.

Hughes led the way as she claimed four top finishes and broke a 29-year old record. The sophomore broke the tape in 13.27 in the 100-meter hurdles to erase a OVC Championship mark which had been around since 1986.

Hughes also claimed the top spot in the 200-meter dash (23.66) and the triple jump (12.90m/42-04.00). The Atlanta, Ga., product was also a member of the 4×100 relay team that placed third.

Clairwin Dameus won the heptathlon for the second consecutive year as she amassed 5,396 points. The total was three points shy of her OVC record of 5,399 set in 2014.

Dameus continued her busy weekend as she finished second in the long jump with a leap of 6.16m (20-02.50) and placed sixth in the 400-meter hurdles (1:04.35). The junior was also a member of the third place 4×100 team.

Freshman Kayla Pryor and sophomore I’mani Davis recorded the final two individual championships for the Tigerbelles. Pryor claimed the title in the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 1:00.18, while Davis won the high jump as she cleared the bar in her second attempt at 1.73m (5-08.00).

Davis, a member of the Lady Tigers basketball team, became the first athlete in TSU history to be a part of OVC championships teams in two separate sports. The Tulsa, Okla. native is a two-year starter with the Lady Tigers and just completed her first season with the Tigerbelles.

The Flying Tigers finished sixth on the men’s side with 34 points. TSU had eight scoring finishes led by Quamel Prince. The sophomore broke a record in the 800-meter run that was set in 1976. Prince finished in 1:48.41, besting the previous record by 0.63 seconds. The would-be record-setting run was spoiled by Ephraim Dorsey of Eastern Illinois who out-leaned Prince by .26 seconds to claim the honors.

Prince joined forces with Jason Griffin, Jakeenan Guthrie and Theodore Nicholson to finish in 3:18.84, good for fourth, in the 4×400 meter relay.

 

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 45 undergraduate, 24 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 Alum Judge Curtis L. Collier to Receive the 2015 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Sixth Circuit

judge_2938
The Honorable Curtis L. Collier

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Honorable Curtis L. Collier has been selected to receive the prestigious 2015 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Sixth Circuit. The award will be presented May 14, at the Sixth Circuit’s Annual Judicial Conference in Detroit by Chief Judge R. Guy Cole Jr., and Judge Pamela L. Reeves. Collier is only the second judge from Tennessee, the second African-American and the second District judge to receive the award.

A native of Arkansas, Collier earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from Tennessee State University in 1971, where he was an Air Force ROTC scholarship recipient. Collier received his J.D. in 1974 from Duke University.

Collier is a Senior U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and was nominated to the post by President William J. Clinton in 1995. Previously, Collier served as Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of the Chattanooga Branch Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the district.

Collier spent the early part of his career in the office of the U.S. attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana, eventually rising to become Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division and Chief of the General Crimes Unit. He was an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Tulane University Law School. He also has taught at the Department of Justice National Advocacy Center at the University of South Carolina and at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

He served active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Department, fulfilling various roles at postings in Georgia, the Philippines, and California. Collier litigated approximately 30 cases before Courts-Martial or administrative boards.

Collier is a member of the Justices Ray L. Brock Jr. and Robert E. Cooper American Inn of Court, as well as his respective local, state and national bar associations. He serves on the Criminal Law Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Federal Judicial Center’s District Judge Education Advisory Committee.

The American Inns of Court Professionalism Awards are awarded in participating federal circuits, to a lawyer or judge whose life and practice display sterling character, unquestioned integrity, and dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and the rule of law. The award is presented at the circuit’s judicial conference and recipients will be recognized in October at the 2015 American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence at the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

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 45 undergraduate, 24 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.

Graduation Fulfills Dreams for Many as Nearly 1,000 Receive Degrees at TSU’s 2015 Spring Undergraduate Commencement

Glover Wharton
President Glenda Glover and Commencement Speaker, Mayor AC Wharton, march in the procession during the Spring 2015 Undergraduate Commencement in Hale Stadium

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Michaiah Hinds’ greatest gift for graduating college at Tennessee State University today was for his 82-year-old grandmother to see him go across the aisle to receive his degree.

“When I was in the fourth grade my grandmother told me she wouldn’t be around when I graduated from high school,” said Hinds. He did not only prove his grandmother wrong by graduating high school, the Milwaukee native received a bachelor’s degree with honors as a double major in Computer Science and Mass Communications. He has already been accepted to study theology at Wake Forest University in the fall.

Grandma
Michaiah Hinds proved his grandmother, 82-year-old Wilma Weddle wrong by graduating from college while she is still alive, something she said wouldn’t happen before he graduated high school. Sitting behind, left, is Michaiah’s father Mark, and another relative who came for his graduation.

“I feel joy and blessed to still be here and see him complete college,” said Wilma Weddle, a retired nurse, who led a team of more than 30 people from Milwaukee, including Hinds’ parents and other family members and friend sporting specially designed T-shirts and carrying a congratulatory banner to cheer on Hinds. “Michaiah has always been a good boy who believes in himself just as we taught him when he was growing up.”

For Hinds, the commencement message about “being yourself” was a refresher, as Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, a TSU alum and renowned lawyer told the graduates that the key to success is having confidence and believing in oneself.

“With the advent of modern technology such as social media, there is too much distraction that has taken away our capability to pay attention to each other, and appreciate our own abilities because of gadgets that have taken away our sense of personal touch,” Wharton said. “I am not against technology, but sometime we need to leave our machines and give our full attention to someone who means something to us.”

On his emphasis to “be,” Wharton called on the nearly 1,000 students receiving degrees in TSU’s first undergraduates-only commencement in Hale Stadium to learn to adapt to the changing times and circumstances around them.

“Some of you may have changed majors several times, or life may not have panned as you planned, but you must learn to adapt by being creative, assertive and determined and believing in yourself,” said Wharton, who is in his second term as mayor of Memphis, one the nation’s thriving and fastest growing cities. “Fight to be the best in you than trying to be someone else. Believe in a better world by believing in the possibilities of today. You can be the difference in all the problems that is going on across the nation.”

Lewis
Outgoing Student Government President Markeil Lewis receives thunderous applause as he is acknowledged by President Glover as an outstanding student and leader.

For Wharton, speaking at TSU’s spring commencement is a “homecoming.” TSU is where he got his start in higher education, earning a bachelor’s degree with honors in Political Science in 1962. He did not miss on the opportunity to congratulate Memphis native and TSU President Glenda Glover, referring to her as “the best president” Tennessee State University has ever had.

“You are doing a remarkable job here at our alma mater. Congratulations for being a great leader at this institution,” Wharton said.

Earlier, the president welcomed Mayor Wharton, and congratulated the graduates for their achievement.

“I applaud you for achieving this extraordinary milestone in your life,” President Glover said. “You have endured and in the process you have increased your resources for success. Do not forget to thank your parents, relatives, friends and those who were there to see you through this journey.”

Today’s ceremony was a culmination of TSU’s 2015 Dual Commencement Exercises. On Friday, the University held its first graduate commencement, at which more that 300 received advanced degrees, including master’s, education specialist degrees, Ph.Ds., and Ed.Ds.

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 45 undergraduate, 24 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.

NAACP Leader Tells TSU Graduates to be Change Agents as More Than 300 receive Advanced Degrees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 300 students received advanced degrees Friday during Tennessee State University’s first graduate commencement, but not before hearing a strong appeal from the leader of one of the nation’s top civil rights organizations calling on the graduates to be agents of change.

“By completing your education and achieving at this level you have prepared yourselves to be the hopes and dreams of tomorrow’s generation,” said Dr. Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “Society cannot now hand you anything that you cannot handle.”

Brock Glover
Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover presents a plaque to Dr. Roslyn M. Brock in appreciation of Dr. Brock’s “inspiring” address at the University’s first Graduate Commencement Friday.

Brock, the youngest person to lead the 106-year-old civil rights organization, said the current wave of issues facing the nation will only be solved with everyone involved and playing their part.

“Our nation and communities are faced with economic imbalance, issue of race, unemployment and hunger. It is incumbent on you to recognize and ensure that all Americans have access to quality education, jobs and a fair legal system,” Brock said. “Become proactive and not reactive in addressing the issues going on in the country.”

Saying that success is achieved “by us helping one another,” Brock akin her remark to an African parable of a migration of a herd of elephants trying to cross a river, where the bigger elephants line themselves in the form of a bridge to help the smaller elephants get cross.

“So too as you have succeeded, do not forget to get back in the water to help somebody make it to the other side. Never forget that life is about others,” Brock told the graduates, adding, “The future is in your hands; you are going somewhere, don’t stop now.”

Earlier, before address the graduates, the NAACP leader extolled the “remarkable leadership” of President Glenda Glover, describing her as an “extraordinary woman doing great things at Tennessee State University.

“This is a remarkable woman who is doing great things at this university and molding students who are exemplifying the Tennessee State University motto of “Think, Work, Serve,” she said.

Brock’s remarks highlighted the first part of a dual 2015 spring commencement ceremonies. On Saturday, Memphis, Tennessee, Mayor AC Wharton, will give the commencement address when nearly 1,000 undergraduate students receive their degrees during a ceremony in Hale Stadium.

Those graduating Friday received master’s degrees; education specialist degrees, and doctorate degrees including Ed.D., and Ph.D.

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 45 undergraduate, 24 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 to Host Defense Department Center of Excellence on Cyber Security

University to be part of $5 million multi-institution grant

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Since the 1970s, the area of cyberspace has developed into a constant evolving system of internet-based technologies that could cripple the nation and the U.S. military.

TeamAFRLGlobeIllustrationNo longer is the battle confined to a geographical area. Military commands at every level now face threats from cyberspace of potential attacks that can cause serious damage to the military’s infrastructure, such as hacking into systems to introduce malware, malicious hardware and crashing networks.

Now, in an attempt to counter cyberthreats from other countries, the U.S. Defense Department will develop a new strategy on how to respond to foreign threat with, Tennessee State University at the forefront by helping reduce the potential risk stemming from cyber attacks.

To counter future threats to the nation’s military capabilities, the Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded a $5 million collaborative grant to three universities, including TSU, to establish a Center of Excellence in Cyber Security. Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University are the other members of the five-year cooperative team.

The Center, according to the AFRL, will advance the research capabilities of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority-Serving Institutions. It will also contribute to the education of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, and provide additional research opportunities for faculty.

“The Center of Excellence will respond to the Department of Defense’s demand for analysis, detection and response technologies to protect the cyber infrastructure,” said Dr. S.K. Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering. “The Center will further enhance TSU’s research capacity in cyber security.”

The research objective of the grant, made on behalf of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, is to create a Center of Excellence to develop a big data analytics enabled Cyber Analysis, Simulation and Experimentation Environment (CASE-V) to enhance situational awareness and decision-support capabilities for cyber defense and training.

Dr. Sachin Shetty
Dr. Sachin Shetty

The Center will have a satellite site at TSU, headed by Dr. Sachin Shetty, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He will operate specific task orders with the Cyber Security Laboratory within the TIGER (TSU Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Research) Institute, located in the Research & Sponsored Programs Building.

“The Center of Excellence will develop analysis, detection and response capabilities to counter future advanced persistent threats plaguing the DoD cyber infrastructure,” said Shetty. “In addition, the Center will also develop a Live-Virtual-Constructive test bed to conduct cyber planning and training activities, as well as enable increased synergistic research collaboration with government, industry and HBCU partners.”

This is the second award TSU has received from the AFRL to study the development, discovery and integration of warfighting technologies to support air, space and cyberspace forces with the Department of Defense. In November 2013, the College of Engineering received a multiyear grant worth nearly $2 million to study power sources for air and space vehicles, and to study how to intelligently adapt communications and networks to provide friendly forces unfettered and reliable communications during joint forces operations.

 

 

 

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 45 undergraduate, 24 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’s Tiffany Steward Named Maxine Smith Fellow of the Tennessee Board of Regents

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tiffany Bellafant Steward, director of New Student Orientation and First-Year Students at Tennessee State University, has been named a Maxine Smith Fellow with the Tennessee Board of Regents. As a Maxine Smith Fellow, Steward will have the opportunity to experience how decisions are made at the TBR senior administrative and governing board levels.

Tiffany Steward
Tiffany Steward

The fellowship, established in 2002 as a TBR central office Geier initiative, is designed to provide African-American TBR employees the opportunity to participate in a working and learning environment that enhances work experience and career development. The objective is to increase the academic and professional credentials of the fellows, as well as help to increase the number of qualified applicants from underrepresented groups for senior-level administrative positions at TBR institutions.

“It is a great honor to be selected as a Maxine Smith Fellow to represent Tennessee State University,” said Steward, who was nominated by TSU President Glenda Glover.  “This opportunity will prepare me for future career aspirations in higher education and help to impact student success on my campus.”

Dr. Maxine Smith, a pioneer in the civil rights movement in Tennessee, after whom the fellowship is named, was executive secretary of the Memphis Branch of the NAACP from 1962 to 1995. In 1971, she became the first African American to be elected to the Memphis Board of Education. In 2003, Dr. Smith and former President Bill Clinton received the prestigious Freedom Award by the National Civil Rights Museum.

“I thank President Glover for nominating me for this prestigious professional development program,” Steward said after receiving her fellowship.

Other former TSU Maxine Smith Fellows are Dr. Cheryl Green, assistant vice president for Student Affairs; and Tiffany Cox, director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, who were members of the Classes of 2014 and 2013, respectively.

 

 

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 45 undergraduate, 24 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 Spring Commencement Ceremonies to Feature Two Prominent Speakers

NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock and Memphis Mayor AC Wharton to Inspire Graduates

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The dual spring commencement exercises at Tennessee State University will feature two prominent national figures who will speak to the 1,312 undergraduate and graduate students receiving degrees in various disciplines.

Roslyn M. Brock
Roslyn M. Brock

Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, and the youngest person to lead the 106-year-old civil rights organization, will give the keynote address at the graduate commencement ceremony in the Gentry Complex at 5 p.m., Friday, May 8.

On Saturday, May 9, at 9 a.m., the Mayor of Memphis, Tennessee, TSU alumnus and renowned lawyer AC Wharton, will address undergraduate students during their commencement in Hale Stadium.

At the graduate commencement, Brock is expected to talk to the graduates about leadership, coping in the workplace, and a vision for the future. Named in Essence magazine’s list of the “40 Fierce and Fabulous Women Who are Changing the World,” Brock is a Diamond Life Member of the NAACP. She has served the organization in various leadership positions starting as a Youth Board Member representing the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

As vice chairman of the NAACP Board Health Committee in 1988, she championed the creation of a standing health committee to advocate for quality, accessible and affordable health care for vulnerable and economically challenged communities.

An expert grant writer, Brock has secured millions of dollars in philanthropic support for the NAACP. From 1999-2010, she chaired the NAACP’s National Convention Planning Committee, in which role she instituted fiscal policies that resulted in the Annual Convention becoming a profit center for the Association.

She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the George Washington University, the American Public Health Association; American College of Health Services Executives; Association of Healthcare Philanthropy; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and The LINKS Inc. Brock holds a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Union University, a master’s degree in health services administration from George Washington University, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.

She is currently the vice president for Advocacy and Government Relations for Bon Secours Health System, Inc., in Marriottsville, Maryland.

Mayor AC Wharton
Mayor AC Wharton

On Saturday, undergraduate students receiving their degrees will hear words of encouragement and how to cope in the changing word from a man who has achieved many “firsts” in his lifetime, and as mayor of one of America’s thriving and fastest growing cities. A lawyer for nearly 45 years, Wharton is in his second term as mayor of Memphis, having previously served for two terms as the first African-American elected mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee. He is known for initiating a number of programs that have reduced crime, improved city services, enhanced quality of life, and created new good-paying jobs for Memphians. Under Wharton’s leadership, Memphis is part of national conversations about cities, including the Obama White House, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Brookings Institution, CEOs for Cities, and the Mayor’s Institute of Civic Design.

Under Wharton’s leadership Memphis is reinvesting in safe and vibrant neighborhoods, creating jobs and prosperity of all, giving every child a fair start in life through early childhood development, and a high-performing government that fights crime and inefficiency.

For Wharton, speaking at TSU’s spring commencement is a “homecoming.” TSU is where he got his start in higher education, earning a bachelor’s degree with honors in Political Science in 1962. He later entered the University of Mississippi Law School, where he was one of the first African-American students to serve on the Moot Court Board and the first African-American to serve on the Judicial Council.  He graduated with honors in 1971, and three years later, he became the first African-American professor of law at University of Mississippi, a position that he held for 25 years.

At this year’s spring commencements, 925 graduating seniors will receive bachelor’s degrees, while 387 students will receive graduate degrees. Among those receiving advanced degrees are eight Ph.Ds., nine Ed.Ds., and 35 Doctors of Physical Therapy. Eleven others will receive education specialist degrees, and 32 will receive graduate certificates.

 

IF YOU GO:

Friday, May 8, 5 p.m.
Graduate Commencement
Gentry Complex

Saturday, May 9, 9 a.m.
Undergraduate Commencement
Hale Stadium

 

 

 

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 45 undergraduate, 24 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.