Words of Remembrance Honoring the Life of Dr. James A. Hefner, Sixth President of Tennessee State University

Dr. Glenda Glover
President
Tennessee State University
“Dr. Hefner devoted his entire adult life to serving others and expanding educational opportunities to all. As educators, we have lost a visionary and one of the best leaders to ever serve this great institution. He loved inspiring students and challenging them.”

Dr. Stephen H. Kolison, Jr.
Associate Vice President of Academic, Faculty and Global ProgramUniversity of Wisconsin System
“Dr. Hefner talked about the future. He was very respectful and inclusive, and I liked that about him. He was also a very kind and approachable fellow who cared about the student and believed in high quality.” 

Mr. Wilson Lee
Director, Center for Extended Education
Tennessee State University

“Dr. Hefner always demanded the best and excellence from students as well as faculty and staff member. He taught me how to be humble to students. He was compassionate but at the same time very strong and goal-oriented. He had charisma and demonstrated dedication to the staff and students. In my opinion, he was a model president, especially to HBCUs.”

Mr. Thomas Martin
Former Vice President of Student Affairs
Tennessee State University
“Dr. Hefner was a strong advocate for positive student experiences academically and athletically.  During his tenure as President of Tennessee State University, he awarded countless academic scholarships and created “honor hall’ residential living accommodations among his many supportive initiatives.  He had an outstanding relationship with students.”

Dr. Nebraska Mays
Former Distinguished Professor of Education, Tennessee State University
Former Senior Vice Chancellor, Tennessee Board of Regents
“His leadership still was one of inclusion. I knew him to be a consummate academician and he was respected as an outstanding academician. He had a positive influence on and a respect and understanding of the faculty. What made Dr. Hefner so effective was that he came through the ranks of academics – from a faculty member to department chair to provost and then president.”

Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell
Professor and Director of Interdisciplinary Programs
Tennessee State University
“A Commitment to Excellence…that sums Dr. Hefner up. He lived by this and really wanted to put students first and he did that by exhibiting excellence. He also put into place opportunities for others to achieve excellence. He didn’t believe in 2nd class status. He meant to bring Tennessee State University to a level equal or superior to any school, anywhere. He was a trailblazer.”

Ms. Michelle Viera
Assistant Vice President of Conferences and Events
Tennessee State University
“As president, he truly believed in ‘students matter most,’” she said. “He encouraged them to keeping running and never give up and to be their best. He shared that story so often that the students began to join in with him when he told it.”

Mr. Homer Wheaton
Former Vice President, University Relations and DevelopmentTennessee State University
“Dr. Hefner was the kind of leader who would let you do what you could do to make a contribution – all he wanted to see was results. He respected people for what they did and was very complimentary of people who did a good job. The fact that he would turn you loose and let you do your work, made it so gratifying to work for him. I appreciated him so much.”

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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.

A BRIEF SNAPSHOT OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF FORMER TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT JAMES A. HEFNER

  • Positioned Tennessee State University as a premier institution of higher learning.
  • Kicked off the university’s first-ever “Students Matter Most” capital campaign in 2001.
  • Occupied the Thomas and Patricia Frist Chair of Excellence in Entrepreneurship, a $1.2 million endowed chair at Tennessee State University.
  • Established the $1.5 million Chair of Excellence in Banking and Financial Services in the College of Business, and a $1.5 million Samuel P. Massey Chair of Environmental Sciences.
  • Renovated nearly every building on the institution’s main and downtown campuses, and supervised the construction of eight new buildings including the Floyd-Payne Campus Center, the McWherter Administration Building and the Performing Arts Building.
  • Dedicated the TSU Olympic Plaza featuring a more than 45-foot tall sculpture entitled, “The Olympian,” honoring the university’s 58 Olympians and their 30 medals – 16 gold, eight silver and six bronze.
  • Increased the TSU endowment from $500,000 to more than $25 million (through fund-raising and settling a federal Consent Decree).
  • Established two of the nation’s top honor societies, Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi, at Tennessee State University.
  • Fostered total enrollment growth at the university to an all-time high of 9,100 students.
  • Led growth in research from $7 million at the time he arrived at TSU to more than $41 million in 2004, positioning TSU with the highest research productivity among all Tennessee Board of Regents institutions.
  • During his presidency, Tennessee State University was listed in S. News & World Report’s “Guide to America’s Best Colleges” for 11 consecutive years (1994-2005).
  • From 1991-2004, TSU won two OVC championships in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, and four OVC Championships in women’s track.

    Department of Media Relations
    Tennessee State University
    3500 John Merritt Boulevard
    Nashville, Tennessee 37209
    615.963.5331

    About Tennessee State University

    With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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 National Night Out Event to Highlight Fun and Dialogue with First Responders, Emergency Management

LogoJPEGblueNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In what is expected to be a fun evening, Tennessee State University, in collaboration with emergency managers, first responders, safety advocates and the community, will host a crime and drug prevention awareness event Thursday, Aug. 27. The event, which takes place on the Presidents Administrative Lawn on the main campus from 5-8 p.m., is in observance of the 32nd Annual National Night Out campaign.

IMG_4367The NNO is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. It is a yearly campaign aimed at highlighting crime and drug prevention in neighborhoods across the country. In addition to fun activities, NNO provides residents the opportunity to interact with local first responders in a relaxed setting and learn more about safety in their communities.

Called the Tigers Night, the TSU event is sponsored by the Office of Emergency Management. It is designed to:

  • Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness
  • Generate support for, and participation in, campus crime prevention efforts
  • Strengthen campus community spirit and first responder partnerships
  • Send a message to criminals to let them know TSU is actively fighting back against crime

More than 300 individuals including safety and security-oriented vendors, non-profit organizations, and government entities are expected to attend. Families are urged to bring their children for fun activities and concessions.

“This is not a student event, this is a TSU community event,” said Aerin Washington, Crime Prevention officer in the Office of Emergency Management. “Children are welcomed and they are sure to have a great time seeing the police horses, touring mobile booking, taking a picture on the Fire truck, and getting to shake hands with “SherRuff” of the Davidson County Sheriffs Office.”

Giveaways will include a free $20 first ride coupon from UBER, TSU paraphernalia from the campus bookstore, and a chance to win a hand-turbine radio/flashlight/cellphone charger courtesy of Metro Health Department.

For more information please contact: Aerin Washington at (615) 963-5928 or awashi14@tnstate.edu.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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 President Glenda Glover Announces Creation of Two New Colleges in State of the University Address

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover gave an upbeat assessment of the state of the university Monday announcing the addition of two new colleges for the coming academic year, but said much work needs to be done in the areas of retention and graduation.

At 60 percent, the 2013-2014 first-time freshman retention rate showed a 1 percent increase over the previous academic year. The 2015 graduation rates are still pending, but she said a 1 percent increase in graduation in 2014 is not where the university wants to be.

Faculty I-4
Faculty and staff listen as President Glenda Glover gives her State of the University address in Kean Hall Monday. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“We have to do better than that,” Glover said as she announced several new initiatives to improve retention and college completion. “We must do everything possible to help students do better and make them want to stay and graduate. This is fundamental to why we are here not to mention that graduation and retention are key to our funding.”

President Glover announced the addition of the College of Life and Physical Sciences, acting upon recommendations from faculty and students with the approval of the Tennessee Board of Regents. The new college brings all of the STEM degree courses under one umbrella. The new college will include biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics, the only non-degree program.

LSharpe7
Dr. Lonnie Sharpe is the dean of the newly created College of Life and Physical Sciences at Tennessee State University. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, a long-time TSU professor and Massie Chair of Excellence, has been named interim dean of the College of Life and Physical Sciences. Sharpe is also the executive director of the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, which recently won a $987,000 National Science Foundation award to increase the number of minority students who earn Ph.D., in STEM education.

Glover also announced the elevation of the TSU Honors Program to a college level program. Like all the other academic units, the Honors College will exist as an equal collegiate unit within the university structure, with a dean reporting to the vice president for academic affairs.

In another move, the president announced the change in the name of the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs to the College of Public Service, while Early Childhood Education is moved from the College of Agriculture to the College of Education.

“The recommendations for these changes have been reviewed by us and found to be appropriate and sound academic steps, and with the approval of the Tennessee Board of Regents, we are implementing them,” Glover said.

On other institutional achievements, the president touted recent national accolades TSU has received, such as the no. 1 ranking among the Top 10 HBCUs that Produce Teachers; no. 1 among Most Affordable Colleges Online in Tennessee; and no. 34 of the 100 Most Affordable Universities. She also spoke about the university’s expanded marketing campaign through billboards, social and print media promoting its programs, offerings, community college and distance learning initiatives.

Glover announced upgrades in dining with the adding of Starbucks on the main campus and POD and coffee shop on the Avon Williams campus, which received a rousing chant of approval. A 2-percent across-the-board salary increase retroactive to July was also announced.

With nearly 1,400 new freshmen expected, Glover called on faculty and staff to “join hands” in making sure the new students receive all the support necessary to make their fall freshman move-in Tuesday successful.

“Let all of us show up and give our new freshmen and their parents a rousing TSU welcome during the freshman move-in tomorrow,” Glover said.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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.

Eloise Abernathy Alexis, Longtime Development Expert, Named Vice President for Advancement at TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover has announced the appointment of Eloise Abernathy Alexis as the new associate vice president for Institutional Advancement. Alexis will serve as the University’s chief advancement officer providing strategic advocacy and leadership for alumni relations, annual giving and development.

“We are delighted to welcome Eloise Alexis to TSU in her new role as associate vice president for Institutional Advancement,” President Glover said. “She is an accomplished advancement professional with a wealth of campaign experience. Her successful career in alumni engagement, maximizing fundraising and outreach efforts and developing a culture of giving will advance TSU’s vision and priorities.”

Eloise
Eloise Abernathy Alexis has extensive experience in constituency relations, campaign execution, program development, giving and volunteer management. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

With more than 20 years of experience in advancement and development roles, Alexis previously served as vice president for college relations at Spellman College, where she served in various capacities for nearly 24 years.

“It is an honor to have been chosen to lead the development efforts at Tennessee State University,” said Alexis, a Nashville native with a long list of family members who attended TSU. “TSU has always been central to Nashville, the nation and the world in research, academics and scholarship. I look forward to working with the alumni, Foundation and donors who are integral to the university’s success. It will be a particular pleasure to work with the talented people in advancement; they have played such a large part in TSU’s growth over the years.”

Alexis has extensive experience in constituency relations, campaign execution, program development, giving and volunteer management.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Spelman College and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt University. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, where she is an appointee to the CASE Commission on Alumni Relations and served on the CASE District III Board. Her civic and social memberships include Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, The Chautauqua Circle, Kiwanis Club, and the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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.

Tennessee State University Wellness Center Makes Fitness Fun for Faculty, Staff and Students

Center Plans Aug. 31 Open House to Introduce New Programs,           Activities    

Ralph
The Ralph H. Boston Wellness Center, located in a 3,304 square-foot facility, is part of the TSU administration’s effort to promote fitness and healthy habits for faculty, staff and students. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With a facelift and tons of new equipment and added activities, the Ralph H. Boston Wellness Center at Tennessee State University rivals any commercial fitness center in the city, and the TSU facility is free to users.

For Alexis Warner, that’s a big draw. “It is very convenient, you don’t have to pay membership, just show your ID and get a free workout,” said the senior Mass Communications major from Memphis, Tennessee, who visits the center about four times a week while attending summer school.

The center, which is opened to students, faculty and staff with university IDs, sees about 300 users a day, and that number is expected to go up with the new equipment and a new look in this school year, according to center coordinator Felicia Sweatt.

Alexix
Alexis Warner, a senior Mass Communications major from Memphis, Tennessee, visits the Wellness Center about four times a week. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“We are here Monday through Sunday about 12 hours on the average a day, and there is never a shortage of students, faculty and staff coming to the wellness center,” Sweatt said.

The redesign is part of the vision of Dr. Michael Freeman, associate vice president for Student Affairs, who rejoined the university about a year ago, according to Gerald Davis, director of the Wellness Center.

“The moment Dr. Freeman came on board he immediately saw the need to do something to make sure students not only had a first-rate facility to work out in but one that was safe for their use,” Davis said, adding that this is the first major renovation since 2003.

“We have been using some creative means to keep it (the center) going, but Dr. Freeman was able to find the money and we are very thankful to him and the administration,” Davis said.

2015-07-28 11.33.30
Wellness Center Director Gerald Davis, left, demonstrates the proper use of weight bars, to ensure maximum workout benefit. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

New elliptical equipment, including upright and recumbent bikes, as well as several new top-of-the-line treadmills and other cable machines spread out across the 3,304 square-foot facility are for cardio workout. New curl and weight bars adorn the strength and power lifting area. And Davis said, by Labor Day, the center plans to replace all of the bulky CRT (Cathode ray tube) television sets with five new bigger flat screen TVs.

2015-07-28 11.25.13
Tré Tate, a senior Exercise Science major from Columbia, Tennessee, says that coming to the Wellness Center helps him relieve stress and to meet new friends. He has been visiting the center since his freshman year. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I really like the changes they have made in the center,” said Tré Tate, a senior Exercise Science major from Columbia, Tennessee, who has been a frequent visitor since 2011 as a freshman. “I love to workout, it helps me relieve stress, and I have made a lot of friends in this place. It is nice that they have made these improvements which will definitely encourage more students to come.”

Davis added, “The changes we have made in the center are the kinds of enhancements patrons have been asking for. It (the changes) helps them enjoy their workouts better.”

He said to accommodate patrons who want workouts with entertainment value but don’t have free time during the evening hours, the center has introduced midday classes that include yoga and salsa that are drawing a large number of people.

With new students and a new academic year, the Wellness Center will host a free open house from 5 – 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 31. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to stop by to see what the facility has to offer.

2015-07-28 11.32.02
A student, right, presents his university ID to Wellness Center Coordinator Felicia Sweatt, as all users must do upon entering the facility. Center Director Davis, and Building Activity Supervisor David Griffin also help with greeting guests. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“The open house will include tours, demonstrations of several fitness classes being offered during the fall semester, including kickboxing, hip pop, boot camp and total body workout for extreme fitness,” Davis said.

The Wellness Center is open Monday through Thursday 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.; and Sunday 1-5 p.m.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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 Royal Court Shines at Annual Kings and Queens Leadership Conference; Wins “Best School Spirit” Award

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With pomp, intellect, sophistication and that old “Big Blue” spirit, Miss TSU, Mr. TSU and their Royal Court were quite a standout at this year’s HBCU Leadership for Queens and Kings Konnection annual conference in New Orleans.

Delvakio
Miss TSU Tyra Laster, and Mr. TSU Delvakio Brown and their Royal Court won the “Best School Spirit” award at the Leadership for Queens and Kings Konnection annual conference in New Orleans.

The Tennessee State University team walked away with the “Best School Spirit” award, topping out representatives from more than 40 HBCUs, when it came to showing school spirit. The TSU Royal Court’s shouting drowned out efforts by the other competitors to upstage them.

“It was an honor receiving the award and nominations,” said Mr. TSU, Delvakio Brown. “Tyra (Laster) and I do our best to represent Tennessee State University at the highest standard at every opportunity and this time was no different.”

According to organizers, in addition to showing school spirit, the conference (July 16-19) was intended to provide HBCU Queens and Kings the opportunity to connect and learn from one another as well as listen to trained professionals talk about articulation, stage presence, etiquette, confidence and professionalism.

King and Queen 5
Randy Arnold, front, and Seanne Wilson, far left, were two of the three advisors who accompanied Mr. TSU, Miss TSU and their Royal Court to the New Orleans conference July 16-19.

“My experience at the Kings and Queens Conference was fantastic.  I was nervous about the upcoming school year but attending this conference boosted my confidence.  I learned how to set out plans and have faith in them,” Brown said.

In addition to Brown and Laster (Miss TSU), members of the Royal Court who attended the conference were Darrrian Munroe, Mr. Junior; Cedric Tyus, Mr. Senior; Marcellous Glispie, Mr. Sophomore; Crimson Ducket, Miss Junior; Amber Franklin, Miss Senior; and Jeneisha Harris, Miss Sophomore. Advisors included Randy Arnold, director of Student Organizations and Leadership; Seanne Wilson, coordinator of the Women’s Center; and Frank Stevenson, director of Strategic Populations.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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 Alumna, Renowned Cancer Specialist and Researcher Named President of the National Medical Association

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News service) – With family, friends and notables in medicine, politics and entertainment watching at the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit Aug. 4, TSU graduate and retired Air Force Brigadier General, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, was sworn-in as president of the National Medical Association, the nation’s oldest professional society for African-American physicians. She becomes the 116th head of the organization.

Mitchell, a renowned researcher and cancer specialist, is the director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University. She was sworn-in during the 113th Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly of the NMA, a 30,000-member organization aimed at promoting equality and eliminating disparities in health care.

“I am deeply honored to be sworn-in as president of this prestigious organization,” Mitchell said. “There is still much work to be done with regards to disparities in medical treatment. I believe that we can all work together and make great strides to address barriers in helping underserved populations get better care and lead to better health care in our nation.”

Elois
Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, left, receives a TSU pin from Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement Eloise Abernathy Alexis during Dr. Mitchell’s swearing-in ceremony in Detroit Aug. 4. (Photo by Kelli Sharpe, TSU Media Relations)

In a statement from Tennessee State University, President Glenda Glover congratulated Mitchell, referring to her as “one of our very best who has committed her life and career to making sure the least of us receives the best.”

“The Tennessee State University family joins me in saluting Dr. Mitchell on this great achievement,” President Glover said. “Her outstanding leadership in the medical field and life continue to give hope to thousands of people suffering from cancer and who are not fortunate to receive the quality care they need.”

In addition to Glover’s congratulatory message, the university presented Mitchell with a TSU pin. Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement Eloise Abernathy Alexis made the presentation and noted Mitchell’s achievement as president of the NMA as “representative of her exemplary career leadership and service” in research and medicine.

Alum
Several TSU officials and alums were on hand to congratulate Dr. Mitchell. They included from left (front row), Merlton Brandenberg, Dr. Carletta Harlan, Pat Brandenberg, Dr. Mitchell and Dale Mitchell. In the second row are from left, Cassandra Griggs, Rita Jordan, Eloise Alexis, Dr. Jeanette M. Campbell and Dr. Harvey Bowles. George McKinney is far back. (Courtesy photo)

“As a retired Brigadier General, and the first female physician in the history of the United States Air Force to achieve this rank, she both inspires and challenges students and alumni toward excellence,” Alexis said. “Along with her leadership of the NMA, and her fight to end cancer disparities, Dr. Edith Mitchell is spearheading the attack on cancer and its devastating impact on underserved communities and people of color.  We are proud to uplift her advocacy and scholarship as reflective of the educational experience that Tennessee State University has provided for more than a century.”

Mitchell, who received a B.S. degree “with distinction” in Biochemistry from TSU in 1969, is also the program leader of gastrointestinal oncology and associate director for Diversity Programs at Thomas Jefferson Hospital. A former senior medical Air National Guard advisor to the command surgeon and the medical liaison between the active Air Force and Air National Guard, Mitchell was the first female physician to receive the rank of Brigadier General in the Air Force.

Cassandra
A cross section of family members, friends and notables from medicine, politics and entertainment joined TSU alums and officials to celebrate Dr. Mitchell’s swearing-in as president of the National Medical Association. (Photo by Kelli Sharpe, TSU Media Relations)

In recognition of her advocacy for the underserved population, and her commitment to community health, Mitchell has received numerous accolades. They include the “Tree of Life Award,” the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Control Award” the National Cancer Care Physician of the Year Award, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Humanitarian Award, the Living with Cancer Foundation Looking Glass Award, and the Women in Medicine Research Award, from the NMA.

In her military career, Mitchell received 15 service medals and ribbons, including the Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal. In addition to President Glover, industry, medical and business professionals, Dr. Mitchell received congratulatory messages from people across the nation, including several members of Congress, state lawmakers, the Mayor of Philadelphia Michael A. Nutter, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, among others.

At the swearing-in ceremony, TSU was also represented by Kelli Sharpe, assistant vice president for Public Relations and Communications; Cassandra Griggs, director of Alumni Relations; and several TSU alumni. They joined other prominent guests such as Desiree Johnson, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company; Reverend Alvin Kibble, vice president of the Society of Adventist Communicators; music industry mogul Kenneth Gamble; Retired Brigadier General Jackson S. Davis; U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.); and Dr. Stephen Klasko, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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 Computer Science Program Filling Critical Need for IT Professionals with Advanced Training

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – High-performance computing and bioinformatics, and cyber security and networking are two of the fastest growing areas in the information technology industry, but few universities are offering advanced degrees with these unique concentrations to meet the demand of students and professionals seeking career advancement or employment. But Tennessee State University has joined a handful of institutions that have answered the call.

Last fall, the University began offering a Master of Science in Computer Science degree with a focus on providing training that is on the cutting-edge. TSU is the only public higher education institution in Nashville offering the M.S. degree in Computer Science.

According to Dr. Ali Sekmen, chair and professor of the Department of Computer Science, the new degree program is also suitable for students who intend to pursue a doctoral degree in Computer Science or related fields. He added that courses are scheduled in the evenings to accommodate working IT professionals.

shutterstock_59508448Sekmen said students could complete either the high-performance computing and bioinformatics, or cyber security and networking concentrations by pursuing a non-thesis option that requires 33 hours of coursework, or the thesis option that requires completion of 27 hours of coursework and a thesis. The thesis option is strongly recommended for students who intend to pursue a doctoral degree, he said.

“The demand for high performance computing (HPC) in industry and research has significantly increased in recent years,” Sekmen said. “HPC has become a dominant paradigm due to the rapid developments in computer architecture such as multi-core, multi-processer, graphic process units.”

Additionally, Sekmen said the global bioinformatics market has been growing in “double digits” with increased demands in medicine, healthcare, and life sciences.

“HPC and bioinformatics are driving the medical industry’s search for novel systems that will result in innovative therapies. As a result, it is highly important that TSU, as with many other universities, begin to provide opportunities for students to pursue this area of expertise,” Sekmen said.

Although enrollment in the TSU program has doubled initial projections since it started a year ago, it is still a small part of the huge demand. According to the 2013 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the computer science job-opening forecast for 2010 through 2020 is 2.4 times larger than the number of computer science graduates. There will be about one million more jobs than students by 2020.

Between 2010 and 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security increased its cyber-security workforce by 500 percent, but the agency’s demand for more expertise in these critical areas remains very high, with a grim outlook. The U.S. is not producing enough people with the right skills set to make progress in the search for more cyber-security trained experts. When it comes to compensation, Sekmen said Computer Science is among the highest-paid fields in science, technology, and engineering, and the U.S. Department of Labor projects that it will continue to be one of the fastest growing occupations for the near future.

“Employers seek professionals with strong skills in programming and software systems, and development, areas that are strongly emphasized in our Master of Computer Science degree program,” Sekmen added.

For more information on the M.S. in Computer Science program contact Dr. Tamara Rogers at trogers3@tnstate.edu or (615) 963-1520.

Expo Highlights TSU’s Growing Agricultural Outreach as Officials Recognize Tennessee’s Top Small Farmers

University Holds Position for “Biggest Extension Network” Among HBCUs 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Highlighting its broad Cooperative Extension program that now touches more 50 counties in the state, Tennessee State University Thursday recognized four individuals as the “top small farmers” in Tennessee. The recognition, which also included the presentation of the “Small Farmer of the Year” award, marked the conclusion of the 2015 Small Farms Expo that brought together more than 400 agricultural experts, farmers, students and officials from across Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Farmers1
Tennessee 2015 Top Small Farmers are, from left, Steve Malamatos, “Alternative Enterprise”; Ken Drinnon, “Innovative Marketing”; Trent McVay, “Most Improved Small Farm”; and Christopher Mullican, “Best Management Practices.” Ken Drinnon received the “Small Farmer of the Year” award. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“These individuals are the ‘best of the best’ in farming in Tennessee,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, as he presented plaques to Ken Drinnon, a beef cattle producer in Cheatham County, recognized for “innovative marketing; and Trent McVay, a vegetable and cattle grower in Shelby County, recognized for “most improved small farm.”

Also receiving plaques were Steve Malamatos, who owns a poultry processing business in White County. He was recognized for “alternative enterprise,” and Christopher Mullican, a beef cattle producer in Sumner and Davidson Counties, who also runs a non-profit therapeutic service for children and soldiers with disabilities.  He was recognized for “best management practices.”

Drinnon, who owns 82 acres of farm land and leases another 60 acres, where he runs a freezer beef business selling wholesale or retail to local restaurants, received the “Small Farmer of the Year” award.

“It is quite a humbling experience to receive this award,” Drinnon said. “My family and I are very thankful to this university and the state for not only working with farmers but also recognizing our contributions in such a public manner. We try to do the best to do a very good job.”

Candidates for recognition were nominated by either their extension agents, government agents or officials in each honoree’s county.

Reddy1
Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, talks to a reporter minutes before the opening of the Expo. He says that TSU now has the “biggest extension network” of all HBCUs in the nation. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

According to Reddy, the recognitions and awards are an indication of TSU’s expansive outreach across the state in helping small farmers recognize their own potential and hone their skills through research, and introduction to new farming techniques, equipment and production methods.

“This annual Expo, now in its 11th year, is a way for Tennessee State University and our partners on the federal and state levels to recognized the role farmers and agriculture play in the state and the nation,” Reddy told reporters earlier.

As the nation celebrates the 125th anniversary of 1890 Morrill Act that created the second land grant system that include Tennessee State University, Reddy announced that TSU now has the “biggest extension network” of all HBCUs in the nation. He said in seven years TSU’s extension program has grown from 10 counties to more than 50.

“This is quite an achievement that could not have been possible without the support of our TSU leadership under President Glenda Glover, and partners like UT-Knoxville (University of Tennessee), the USDA, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and all of the agencies represented in the state,” Reddy said.

He attributed the success of the Cooperative Extension Program to the workers under the leadership of Dr. Latif Lighari, associate dean for Extension.

“We are grateful to Dr. Lighari for his leadership, and his team for the work they are doing, and for ensuring another successful Expo,” Reddy added.

Natalie
Natalie Owens, Extension Agent and Food and Nutrition Education Program specialist in Shelby County, demonstrates how to prepare nutritious blueberry crumble without artificial ingredients. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

At Thursday’s Expo, visitors, including students, saw exhibits, displays and new discoveries that not only showcased the impact of agriculture and its future in the state, but also the educational potential of the University and the level of research it conducts.

kids
Elementary and middle school students prepare to go on a farm excursion during the Expo. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Organized by the Cooperative Extension program along with several agencies and institutions, the 2015 Small Farms Expo exhibited a biodiesel fuel production unit that farmers can use to turn crops into fuel for their equipment, a greenhouse emission reduction system for field crops, community gardening, meat goat production and genetics, beekeeping demonstration, and 4-H and adult agriculture.

Workshops included organic vegetable production techniques, pesticide handling and safety, food preservation, and soil and plant tissue sampling, among others.

Lighari, who has headed the Expo since its inception, recognized his fellow organizers, the various farm managers and research leaders, small farmers, schools and students for their participation.

“Your input and participation made this event very successful,” Lighari said. “We thank you and especially the small farmers who are the lifeline of what we do.”

Other speakers included TSU Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Hardy; Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs, Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young; State Rep. Harold Love Jr.; Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson; and Dr. Tim Cross, dean of Extension at the University of Tennessee.

Other TSU partners, Expo organizers, agencies and sponsors present were the Tennessee Farm Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Farm Service Agency, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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.