TSU remembers actor Barry Scott who established a theater at the University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Current and former Tennessee State University students and faculty say the influence of alumnus Barry Scott will continue long after the accomplished actor is gone.

Scott passed away last week at the age of 65. One of his many accomplishments was being the founder and producing artistic director of the American Negro Playwright Theatre at Tennessee State University, where his parents and grandparents graduated.

Scott was known to be an authority on the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He wrote and starred in Ain’t Got Long to Stay Here as a tribute to King. According to a biography of Scott on the website of his management company, he was so convincing in his portrayal of King, that Coretta Scott King once cornered him between acts of a play to compliment him on his realistic portrayal of her husband.

Scott’s acting credits include television’s “I’ll Fly Away” and “In the Heat of the Night.” He was also a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Actor’s Equity Association, American Film Radio and Television Association and served on the board of the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Scott’s voice could be heard on commercials and PSAs around the country. He did voice work for ESPN, CBS, ABC, NBC, Disney, SPIKE TV – TNA Wrestling, The Discovery Channel, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, McDonalds, The American Heart Association and more.

TSU senior Jayla Barnes of Franklin, Tennessee, says she’s proud to follow in Scott’s footsteps.

“He paved the way for me,” says Barnes, a communications major with a concentration in theater. “Having had someone of his caliber at TSU, and being able to say that I go to the college that Barry Scott was once at, is amazing,”

Theater major Justin Gunn agrees.

“inside TSU’s Performing Arts Center are posters of different plays, and there are some that Mr. Scott directed, like Romeo and Juliet,” says Gunn, a senior from Chicago. “Now, when I look at those posters, I think about him, and his influence.”

Former TSU dean of students Barbara Murrell says she admired Scott’s “focus on his craft.”

“I had great respect for him,” says Murrell, who each TSU homecoming has an oratorical contest in honor of her late husband, Robert N. Murrell. “He was a gentleman, and a talented actor and orator.”

Lawrence James is a professor of theater at TSU and former interim head of the university’s Communications Department. He says Scott’s theater company was among the first that was “founded by an African American and that produced predominantly black material.”

“A number of our students worked with him and for him,” says James. “I know they will carry a lot of what he gave to them during his time here at TSU.”     

TSU alumnus Jeff Obafemi Carr, also an actor, wrote in a blog about his opportunity as a youth to act in a passion play opposite the older Scott.

“Even then, Barry Scott was one of our heroes,” recalls Carr. “We couldn’t believe the number of lines he held in his memory with just a few days of practice. I still recall the pride in being cast in my first cameo role opposite Barry, as Pontius Pilate.”

Carr adds that Scott was an excellent mentor and someone he and his friends wanted to emulate.

“We wanted the power, presence, and voice this man projected. This man who looked like us; this man who was one of us.“

NOTE: The featured design is from Jeff Carr’s blog. To read his blog, visit: https://bit.ly/3mlChts.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU computer science major lands top-paying job with Fortune 500 company after graduation, urges others to follow in his footsteps

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Landing a job at a Fortune 500 company usually means earning a sizable salary and enjoying perks like a big signing bonus and paid moving expenses. Tennessee State University 2020 graduate Malik City recently had that experience. 

Malik City

The Nashville native and computer science major was hired by Bank of America as a software engineer. City will earn $94,000 his first year, which includes a $10,000 signing bonus. He credits his time at TSU and being a part of the Enterprise Systems Computing initiative for his new employment opportunity. 

“I feel very fortunate and very thankful to TSU for the preparation I received, which made all of this possible,” said City, who midway through his college career, switched from electrical engineering to computer science with the infusion of enterprise computing.

“TSU is a big part of who I became as a man and a professional. I had great professors in the computer science department who gave me a great foundation and knowledge in many aspects of computer science and the enterprise system.”

The enterprise computing initiative was launched at TSU in 2014 to help prepare students to compete for high-paying enterprise internships and jobs. Since then, up to 22 students have been placed with enterprise companies earning annual average starting salaries of more than $84,000. TSU is the only Tennessee institution that offers courses in enterprise computing.

Malik City attends the 2017 SHARE conference sponsored by IBM in Providence, Rhode Island. (Submitted Photo)

John Thompson, a former IBM senior manager, is TSU’s enterprise systems consultant.  He works with major Fortune 500 companies to identify their areas of need and pass that information over to the deans and chairs to identify the best way to infuse the requirements in the curriculum.

“The world’s largest banks, travel agencies, credit card transactions, global retailers, and communications service providers run on enterprise system,” said Thompson.  “This requires graduates in all majors such as criminal justice, mass communication, computer science, business, engineering, health science, agriculture, education, etc., to have some degree of base knowledge in enterprise computing concepts.”

There are 17 enterprise companies in Tennessee, including eight in Nashville, Thompson said. They include HCA, Mellon Bank, Comdata, BMI, State of Tennessee, Bridgestone, Amazon, and Vanderbilt.

While at TSU, Malik also served as a mentor in the VIL Kids Computer Science Program. (Submitted Photo)

“TSU, being the only school in Tennessee offering courses in this area, can be a major source to fill the huge demand for enterprise computing skills that is being created by the retiring baby boomer generation,” he said.

Dr. Ali Sekmen, chair of TSU’s Department of Computer Science, said enterprise computing and related courses are offered to ensure that students possess the fundamental knowledge that “major companies are looking for in this area.”

“Students like Malik, who have a fundamental understanding of enterprise systems, are more competitive as they enter the pipeline of a qualified workforce to replace the current retiring workforce,” Sekmen said.

Antoinette Duke, associate director of the TSU Career Development Center, added that TSU’s overall goal is to ensure that students leaving the university have the skill sets and experience needed to successfully compete for top jobs in business and industry.

“We are committed to providing services to our students that prepare them for meaningful career goals,” Duke said.

According to Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell, professor and Enterprise Systems manager, the program is opened to students in all disciplines.

“Malik’s success is one of the major achievements of the enterprise program at TSU, but we don’t want students to think this is just for computer science majors,” Mitchell said. “We want to attract other students to this program. It was designed under the Office of Academic Affairs for students in any discipline.” 

City, who will be relocating to his new company’s headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, encouraged other students to take advantage of the program, which he called a “high industry need area.”

“I was very fortunate to come into the industry right after college,” said City. “My mainframe experience did it for me. That extra edge separated me from the competition, because my manager said by having that experience proved that I had the willingness and appetite for knowledge.”

In addition to software engineer, graduates of the Enterprise Systems Computing would be qualified for jobs such as network support specialist, network analyst, network engineer, PC support specialist, and PC help desk.

For more information on TSU’s Enterprise Systems Program, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU remembers trailblazing golf coach Dr. Catana Starks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Catana Starks, a Tennessee State University alumna who became the first African-American woman to coach an all-men’s team at the collegiate level, is being remembered as a humble trailblazer whose legacy will live on in those she inspired.

Dr. Catana Starks

The history-making golf coach, whose story was made into a movie in which she was portrayed by Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson, passed away Sunday at the age of 75.

“Our hearts are saddened by the passing of Dr. Catana Starks,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “She was a trailblazer, a true champion, whose legacy will continue in all those she inspired, on and off the golf course. Dr. Starks epitomized the excellence that TSU strives to instill in all its students. The thoughts and prayers of the entire TSU family are with her family and loved ones.”

Starks coached the TSU men’s golf team from 1986 until 2005 when she led the Tigers to a National Minority Golf Championship. The team shot a record-setting 840 as a unit.

Starks returned to Nashville in 1980 to become the swimming coach for the Tigers. When TSU entered the Ohio Valley Conference, the athletic department dropped the swimming program to add golf and named Starks as the head coach.

During her time as a coach, Starks earned her doctorate degree, began teaching, and eventually became the department head of Human Performance and Sports Sciences at TSU.

Under her guidance, the team also produced Sean Foley, who went on to be Tiger Woods’ swing coach; Sam Puryear, who became the first African American men’s head golf coach in any major conference (Michigan State); and Robert Dinwiddie, an All-American who went on to play on the European professional tour.

Puryear called Starks a “true coach.”

“She was a true advocate and believer in the term student-athlete,” said Puryear. “She helped make me a better student, athlete and now coach. I am paying a lot of her messages and lessons forward.”

Former TSU golfer Eric Wilhite (1988-92) said Starks was “like a second mom for our entire golf team.”

“I have so many memories and learned a ton of life lessons that I continue to practice today,” said Wilhite. “Her dedication to the TSU golf program was amazing. But her commitment to develop us as men is what I appreciated the most. I am very grateful I had a chance to play for a special person and TSU Legend.”

In 2011, Starks’ story inspired the movie “From the Rough” starring the late Michael Clarke Duncan and Henson, who portrays a fictionalized version of Starks named Cassandra Turner. The character parlays a successful stint as coach of a women’s swim team at a historically black university into a shot at building a men’s golf team. With the availability of black players scarce, Turner scours Europe, Australia and Asia for hidden talent and constructs a uniquely multi-racial team.

Michael Critelli, a producer who helped develop the film’s story, said what stood out most about Starks when he talked to her was her humbleness.

“She was a very humble woman, who was very reluctant to talk about her many accomplishments,” said Critelli. “One of the of the biggest challenges I had constructing her life story for the film was that she would not brag about what she had done. I would have to find out about her achievements from other people.”

And it is through others, that Starks will live on, added Critelli.

“Her legacy is most pronounced in the many people she inspired, and who are inspiring others through her example,” he said.

 To learn more about golf at TSU and other sports, visit https://www.tsutigers.com/mgolf/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU makes history with first-ever virtual Student Government Association campaign, elections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In a historic move, Tennessee State University recently held its first-ever virtual Student Government Association campaign and elections for 2020/2021. Usually conducted in the spring after weeks of in-person campaigning on campus, the elections this year were held last week solely online as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Undergraduate and graduate students showed up in record numbers to vote for their favorite candidates.

New SGA leaders: From left, Dominique Davis, Executive President; Naton Smith, Jr., Mr. TSU; Mariah Rhodes, Miss TSU; and Toree Sims, Executive Vice President

The new student leadership, including a Mister TSU and a Miss TSU, was announced by the Student Election Commission on Saturday, August 29.

TSU President Glenda Glover, along with staff from the Office of Student Affairs, faculty, alumni, family members and guests, was on hand to congratulate the new officers when the election results were announced.

Danville, Illinois, native Dominique Davis, a senior business administration major with a supply chain concentration, was elected the new SGA executive president, while Toree Sims, a computer science major from Louisville, Kentucky, was elected executive vice president.

Dr. Tobias R. Morgan, Assistant Dean of Student Engagement and Leadership, left; and Akiliyiah Sumlin, Chair of the Student Election Commission, announce the winners of the elections.

Winning the coveted Miss TSU crown was Mariah Rhodes, a senior political science major from Memphis, Tennessee. Naton Smith, Jr., a health sciences major from St. Louis, will escort Rhodes as the new Mister TSU.

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said although the elections were delayed due to COVID-19, the students’ enthusiasm was “very high and the virtual presentation added a very positive dimension” to the whole process.

“Not only were they creative and very much on point, but the level of interest and enthusiasm of the students shown by the number of voters was pretty exciting,” Stevenson said.  “We have a great group of student leaders that is ready to work hard, and we are very proud of the political process and how our students presented themselves.”

Davis, who becomes the 80th administration executive president of the SGA, said she is excited about the core of leaders in the new administration.

“In this challenging time that we are in, we know that we have a lot to deliver to our student body,” said Davis. “I am just really excited. We have a lot of great student leaders who are very eager to serve the needs of our student body and I know we will be able to get a lot done.”

The theme of the new student government is “Trailblazing,” Davis said.

For Rhodes, the new Miss TSU, she assured fellow students that although the university is cutting down on activities because of the pandemic, she plans to implement a number of events virtually to keep students engaged.

“I am going to be the best representation for TSU,” said Rhodes. “This year is going to look different, but we are going to make sure students are part of everything. We will be more transparent with students, making sure they are included in all decisions we make.”

Dr. Tobias R. Morgan, assistant dean of Student Engagement and Leadership, congratulated the new student leaders and thanked the Student Election Commission under the chairmanship of Akiliyiah Sumlin, for the very efficient manner in which the process was conducted. Sumli is a senior agricultural sciences major from Langston, Oklahoma.

“Sumlin rose to the occasion and was able to adapt to an ever-changing environment as we reworked our plans numerous times to ensure the integrity of the election process,” said Morgan.  “We wish each of you leaders much success as you lay the groundwork for a new normal among student leadership and governance at Tennessee State University.”

Following is the list of the new Miss TSU court and other members of the SGA: 

Mr. Senior – Michael Caldwell from Atlanta – Mechanical Engineering major

Junior Class President – Imani Marshall of Tampa, Florida – Mathematics major

Miss Junior – Mallory Moore of Birmingham, Alabama – Health Sciences major

Mister Sophomore – Widmark J. Cadet, Jr. of Chester, Virginia – Business Administration/Marketing major

Miss Freshman – Taryn Henry of Tallahassee, Florida – Cardiopulmonary Science/Respiratory Therapy major

SUBG Chair – Sydnei Everett from Nashville – Public Health Major


Representatives At Large


1. Nzinga Ajamu from Memphis, Tennessee – Business administration/Supply Chain major

2. Kailyn Allen from Memphis, Tennessee Mass Communication major

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

SACSCOC Removes Probationary Status as TSU Demonstrates Academic Excellence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has demonstrated to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) that the institution is in compliance with the Principles of Accreditation. The accreditation agency announced Thursday that the sanction has been removed based on the successful report that TSU submitted which addressed one part of the eighty-five standards. In June of 2019, the university was put on probation for not fully addressing the one concern. TSU remained fully accredited during the sanction period and at no point were students, faculty, research, and any other campus activities impacted.

President Glenda Glover

TSU President Glenda Glover confirmed in a letter to the campus family that the one-year probation invoked by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges was lifted and that the institution remains in good standing with SACSCOC.

“We are pleased with the decision by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to remove the probationary status,” Glover wrote. “Our faculty, staff, and administration worked extremely hard to effectively address the one concern advanced by SACSCOC. I know that we are on solid ground for the future with our strong academic programs, record-setting research and grant awards, and unwavering commitment to provide students with a quality education.” 

TSU was placed on probation for failing to provide adequate documentation for the standard outlining the use of assessment findings to improve educational programs. The standard requires institutions to document and determine if students are achieving established outcomes for each academic program, then assess the outcomes, and demonstrate that improvements are being made based on the assessment findings.

“We are extremely pleased with TSU’s efforts,” said SACSCOC President Belle Wheelan. “University leadership along with faculty and staff implemented a successful plan that demonstrated their commitment to students and the university. The commission is always pleased when an institution is removed from this status and can focus on its future.” 

When SACSCOC notified the university of the sanction June last year, Dr. Glover called the action “unfortunate” but vowed to address the probation head on and made it clear to the TSU family that the institution was never in danger of losing its accreditation.

At the time, Dr. Glover stated, “We have a plan in place to meet this standard and we will submit the required documentation immediately. We have every confidence that we can address this standard going forward.”

Glover is confident that the institution now has the infrastructure and internal controls to make sure that the institution will not have to deal with this issue again.

SACSCOC provides accreditation for institutions in 11 states, Latin America and other international sites approved by its board of trustees. 

NOTE: Kelli Sharpe contributed to this story. 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

                                                                                           

TSU using $20K from Tractor Supply company to address students’ needs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is using a $20,000 donation from Tractor Supply Company to help fulfill the needs of students, particularly during the pandemic.

The funds will be used by TSU’s College of Agriculture to help “students in need of financial support,” says Dr. Chandra Reddy, the college’s dean.

Braxton Simpson

“We are very excited and are very thankful to Tractor Supply Company for this support,” says Reddy. “We have so many needs in the college, but our biggest need is providing support to outstanding students that are in dire need of funding. This investment in our students by Tractor Supply company will go a long way in preparing future agricultural leaders in the country.”

TSU senior Braxton Simpson of Atlanta is majoring in agricultural business. She says she’s glad the funding will be used to help students with financial hardships, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It allows students to stay focused and not worry about paying for school,” says Braxton. “We’re very grateful for the donation.”

Jamie Isabel with advancement and university relations at TSU says the contribution is the “impetus of a major relationship that we are currently working on” with Tractor Supply.

“Our students, graduates will be very pleased to have Tractor Supply as a corporate partner,” says Isabel. “The contribution is indicative of the support that TSU is receiving from corporate America.”

Over the last several months, TSU has worked diligently to ensure students have the tools they need to complete their coursework as a result of COVID-19.

Emmanuel Wallace

In March, TSU students had to transition to remote learning because of the coronavirus. The University purchased laptops and tablets for those students who needed them. TSU recently resumed classes for the fall, but has an alternate plan that includes students continuing to learn remotely if there’s a surge in COVID-19 cases.

TSU junior Emmanuel Wallace of Memphis, Tennessee, is an agriculture major concentrating on food and animal sciences with a pre-vet focus. He says he’s pleased with the University’s effort to help students, and is grateful for the contribution from Tractor Supply.

“As a whole, TSU is doing everything it can,” says Wallace. “This (donation) is very helpful, especially during the pandemic.”

To learn more about the College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

For more on TSU operations affected by the coronavirus, and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU economists discuss nation’s coin shortage with disappearance of pocket change during COVID-19

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University economists are expressing their views about what’s being done to address the nation’s coin shortage. They agree the coronavirus is a factor, but one says the issue actually began before the pandemic.

Dr. Achintya Ray

With more people staying home because of COVID-19, buying less and shifting their spending online, the natural flow of pocket change through banks, restaurants and retail stores has dried up. Businesses are feeling the pinch, and have gone as far as making announcements and posting signs to make customers aware while they shop.

TSU economist Dr. Achintya Ray says he believes there’s a deeper issue that began even before COVID-19.

“The coin shortage is definitely driven in part by the pandemic,” says Ray. “However, the decline in the circulation of coins is also driven by a movement toward cashless transactions that has been going on for some time. The pandemic has accelerated that movement.”

To boost circulation, the U.S. Mint is on track to produce more coins this year than it has in almost two decades, roughly $1.6 billion in coins a month, says TSU economist Dr. Fadi Fawaz. And then there are the businesses inviting people to bring in their rolled coins in exchange for cash, and maybe even a free sandwich, like one Chick-fil-A in a South Carolina mall.

“All of this is helpful,” says Fawaz, who is also a financial expert. “But the main thing is for people just to use them (coins) more.”

The current coin shortage is not new in American history. Fawaz recalls the penny shortage in 1999.

“We had what we called the penny drought, where people weren’t interested in using pennies anymore,” says Fawaz. “They started storing them in jars. Businesses back then were buying jars of pennies.”

The U.S. Mint back then did something similar to what it’s doing now.

In the first quarter of 1997, the Mint produced 2.1 billion pennies. In 1998, that increased 29 percent to 2.7 billion pennies and in 1999 it produced 3.6 billion pennies. It eventually stepped up its penny production to six days a week, 24 hours a day.

Dr. Fadi Fawaz

Ray says the use of “cash and coins may also be tied to socioeconomic status,” adding that there should be more of an effort to help individuals who are “unbanked or underbanked.”

“Sections of the society that are not closely tied to the financial system are going to be disproportionately affected by the coin shortage and movement to a cashless society,” he says.

“A quarter of the U.S. households are either unbanked or underbanked and they have very limited means to successfully participate in a cashless society. Focusing on a more inclusive financial system and reducing the unbanked population are going to be key” in helping resolve the problem.

In July, the U.S. Coin Task Force was established to pinpoint how to restart the supply chain. And last month, the Mint put out a public service announcement, with the head of the mint asking Americans to use exact change when making purchases and to turn coins in for cash at coin recycling kiosks. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted out a call for people to “help get coins moving!” by spending any extra change they have at home or depositing coins at a bank. 

For more information about TSU’s Department of Economics and Finance, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/economics/faculty_staff.aspx

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU College of Engineering receives $1 million NSF grant to benefit community college students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Community college students looking for a future in engineering will have a home at Tennessee State University, thanks to a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The TSU College of Engineering received the funding recently to recruit minority transfer students from regional community colleges in Middle Tennessee who are interested in pursuing degrees in engineering, mathematical sciences or computer science.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove

The grant award, “Promoting Recruitment and Retention of Minority Transfer Students in Science and Engineering,” or PROMISE, will provide 45 scholarships over five years to successful candidates who want to pursue their bachelor’s degrees.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, said the grant will also support the transfer students through cohort building activities, undergraduate research experiences, summer internships, graduate school preparation, and participation in regional and national STEM conferences.

“This represents our ongoing efforts of increasing the workforce pool of STEM graduates from TSU, and the needed collaboration of faculty from different colleges to reach this objective,” said Hargrove, who is co-principal investigator of the project.

Dr. Lin Li

Hargrove said funds will be available by January 1, 2021, and that scholarship awards will begin in fall 2020. Applications will be reviewed by the College of Engineering, evaluated on a grade point average of at least 3.0, as well as on discipline and career goals.

Ronald Glenn is an incoming freshman who was part of the TSU pre-college engineering program at Stratford STEM Magnet High School during his freshman, junior and senior years. He said although he is not a transfer student, he hopes many students will take advantage of the scholarship program.

“I enjoyed working with TSU professors during those years,” said Glenn, of Nashville, who is majoring in architectural engineering. “They care very much about bringing out the best in you. They helped me get a head-start on my college work.”

Dr. Lin Li, the project’s principal investigator and chair of the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, said the overall goal of PROMISE is to increase STEM degree completion of low-income, high-achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need.

Dr. Nolan McMurray

“We are excited to expand our partnerships with local community colleges, and provide opportunities for these students to pursue and obtain a BS degree in engineering or computer science from TSU,” Li said.

Dr. Nolan McMurray, interim dean of the College of Life and Physical Sciences, collaborated on the project as co-PI with Hargrove and Li.

“The opportunity to collaborate with the College of Engineering to attract more students in mathematics from regional community colleges, also supports our desire to increase our enrollment and graduation in this field,” McMurray said. 

Project investigators said PROMISE’s intended aims are to improve student engagement, boost retention and academic performance, as well as enhance student self-efficacy. 

To learn more 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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU joins other 1890 land-grant universities to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Morrill Act

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)TSU President Glenda Glover joined the presidents and chancellors of the nation’s 1890 Universities in a weeklong celebration of the 130th anniversary of the federal legislation that designated Tennessee State University and 18 other historically black colleges and universities as land-grant institutions.

President Glenda Glover

The Morrill Act of 1890 established a land-grant university system of HBCUs in states where African Americans were banned from accessing a public higher education. The first Morrill Act 1862 establishing the land-grant universities did not provide higher education opportunities for African Americans.

“On behalf of the TSU family, our students, faculty and staff, it gives me great pleasure to join in the celebration of the 130th Anniversary of the Second Morrill Act, legislation that authorized 1890 land grant universities,” Glover said.

“For 130 years, although underfunded, the 1890 land-grant universities have been true to their mission of providing essential academic, research and extension services to the public that sustains our nation’s food, fiber and renewable production.”

As part of the activities August 24-31 and due to COVID-19, Glover and other higher education leaders, elected officials and policymakers, business and community leaders will participate in an online celebration, culminating with a two-hour virtual forum on Monday, August 31. The forum will explore the history and accomplishments of the 1890 institutions and the important role they play in the nation’s future. 

“The 1890s, including Tennessee State, have a legacy of educating first-generation and economically disadvantaged college students, enhancing the resilience of limited resource individuals,  farmers, families and underserved communities and conducting innovative research to generate new knowledge and solutions to address regional and global challenges,” Glover added.

Dr. Chandra Reddy

Although TSU, founded in 1912 “came late in the game” among 1890 institutions, officials said the university has remained a leading institution in teaching, research and extension. For instance, the TSU College of Agriculture has more than 100 graduate students, 34 state-of-the-art laboratories, three field research stations, and about 70 staff providing outreach services in 50 of the 95 counties in Tennessee. Overall, TSU received more than $54 million from various funding agencies for 2019-2020, exceeding its annual awards goal, according to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

“We at TSU are doing extremely well relative to all of the other 1890 universities, thanks to federal, state and local government support,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the TSU College of Agriculture. “We have the largest outreach program. Our research program is very competitive, and for the last 10 years, TSU has continuously been the number one university among 1890 institutions in terms of securing competitive grants from the USDA, thanks to our faculty. So, we at TSU are very excited for the 130th anniversary celebration of the second Morrill Act that established 19 1890 universities.”

During the week of August 24, leaders and members of the 1890 university community, policymakers, business and community leaders will use an array of platforms to reflect on and celebrate the legacy of these land-grant institutions, including social media using #Celebrate1890s. They will highlight innovative programs at the 1890 land-grant universities and their role in developing solutions for local, regional, and global challenges.

The celebration ended with a virtual webinar on August 31. The webinar had two panel discussions. One panel featured several 1980 university presidents, and Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The second panel included private sector leaders such as Fred Humphries, corporate vice president of U.S. Government Affairs, among others.


The other 1890 land-grant universities are: Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University in Missouri, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University and A&M College, Tuskegee University, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and West Virginia State University.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU, UT partnership prepares Ag students for success in vet school

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University has partnered with the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine (UT-CVM) to help TSU agriculture students transition to vet school once they complete their degrees.

College of Ag Dean Dr. Chandra Reddy

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) identifies qualified TSU freshmen and immediately sets them on an academic trajectory to successfully meet the requirements for admission into UT-CVM, or other institutions of veterinary medicine.

“The MOU between TSU’s College of Agriculture and UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine provides a pathway for students majoring in animal science at TSU to get into the veterinary school at UT. We are very pleased with this new arrangement between the schools,” said TSU College of Agriculture Dean Chandra Reddy, who was instrumental in finalizing the agreement.

“It will help increase minorities in the veterinary profession and help us prepare our students appropriately for veterinary college. Health care for pets is a huge demand in society today. Many of our students are interested in the veterinary profession and we welcome this opportunity to prepare and place students in this competitive and demanding field.”

Dr. Mike Jones, director of Student Services, Diversity, and Recruitment at UT-CVM, shared Dr. Reddy’s sentiment about the TSU and UT-CVM Pre-Veterinary Emphasis (PVE) Scholars Program. 

Dr. De’Etra Young

“I’m very excited about it,” said Jones. “Veterinary medicine is considered one of the least diverse of all health care professions. We want to serve the needs of the underserved.”

The agreement between the universities began in 2016 when Jones, a UT-CVM professor of Avian and Zoological Medicine, came to TSU to speak to agriculture students in the student organization Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). Dr. James P. Thompson, the dean of UT-CVM, sent Jones with the mission to form an agreement with TSU to recruit its students into UT’s vet college.

There, Jones met Dr. De’Etra Young, the MANRRS advisor, who works closely with TSU’s top students. For the next four years, Jones and Young worked on the MOU, which was signed in June.

“We are excited to enter this new partnership with UT-CVM,” said Young, who is now interim associate dean of Academics and Land-grant Programs at the College. “We are increasing our efforts to provide experiential learning and hands-on experiences to prepare our students for graduate studies or the workforce. This new arrangement will assist us in preparing our students appropriately for veterinary school.”

TSU sophomore Cierra Woods, pre-vet focus

Students will be notified in September if they are accepted into the program. The students will be assigned mentors — one each from TSU and UT-CVM. The mentors will work together to advise each student, monitor their progress, ensure ongoing commitment, and support other training opportunities, such as summer jobs or internships.

Assistant Professor Carollyn Boykins-Winrow teaches animal science classes at TSU and will be serving as mentor to the students selected for the program.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students,” said Boykins-Winrow. “The students will know what to expect from UT and UT will know the preparation the student went through to get there.”

TSU junior Emmanuel Wallace is an agriculture major concentrating on food and animal sciences with a pre-vet focus.He agreed the programwill be beneficial to freshman students.

“I think it is awesome,” said Wallace, of Memphis, Tennessee. “It will tell them what classes they need to take, as well as give them the overall hands-on experience they need to be successful.”

TSU junior Emmanuel Wallace, pre-vet focus

Cierra Woods, a sophomore Ag major at TSU who also has a pre-vet focus, said she is glad students will have the opportunity to work with a variety of animals.

“People always think domestic animals, but there are so many animals you can work with,” said Woods. “I think everyone should have the opportunity to try something different.”

Both Woods and Wallace are interns in a partnership the College of Agriculture has with the Nashville Zoo to also prepare students for vet school.

For more information about the partnership and the TSU and UT-CVM program, contact Dr. De’Etra Young at (615) 963-5123 or email dyoung23@tnstate.edu.

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

NOTE: College of Ag communications specialist Joan Kite contributed to this story.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.