TSU students to participate in MLK Joint Day of Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –Tennessee State University will participate in several activities in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s holiday.

The university kicks off the weekend on Saturday, Jan. 13, by joining other area higher education institutions in a Day of Service.

In addition to performing service projects across Metro Nashville, TSU students will provide more than 10,000 meals for families in need. That project will take place in TSU’s Kean Hall at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“TSU is excited to join faculty and student volunteers … as we celebrate continuing the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Shirley Nix-Davis, director of outreach for TSU’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement. “One of his greatest quotes is, ‘everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.’”

Last year, more than 300 TSU students participated in various MLK Day of Service projects around Nashville that included working with kids, assisting elderly residents, packing food and painting.

Linda Tynan, a resident at an independent living apartment complex in La Vergne, Tennessee, said she was grateful for the assistance students provided last year.

“I think it’s terrific to see these students lend a hand to people they don’t even know,” Tynan said. “I appreciated every minute of it.”

On Monday, Jan. 15, a symbolic march from Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church will highlight TSU’s MLK event, culminating with a program sponsored by the university, Interdenominational Ministries Fellowship and Hospital Corporation of America, or HCA. Among the hundreds of marchers will be TSU President Glenda Glover, State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., TSU students, and others from across the city.

For more information about TSU’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/servicelearning/

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU, faith community, city officials begin New Year with 6th Annual Presidential Prayer Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and the Nashville faith-based community began the New Year with a morning of prayer during the 6th Annual Presidential Prayer Service on Wednesday.

Mayor Megan Barry. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

The service was held at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. TSU President Glenda Glover was the keynote speaker.

“As we start another semester, another year at TSU, we start with prayer, with thanks,” Glover said. “I am truly thankful that God has blessed me to lead such a marvelous university. I thank you for your prayers, and for embracing and supporting TSU; and for supporting me as your president.”

Faith-based leaders of various denominations from across Metro Nashville participated on the program or were in attendance, including gospel legend and TSU alum Dr. Bobby Jones, and community activist and pastor Bishop Joseph Walker III.

Others in attendance were Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, as well as other city and state officials, including State Reps. Harold Love, Jr. and Brenda Gilmore, and Councilwoman Sharon Hurt.

“It is so wonderful to be here, because today we’re celebrating Dr. Glover, and also recognizing the incredible power that TSU has in our community,” said Mayor Barry. “You make Nashville better, stronger, more just, more equitable. And you are producing graduates every day that are ready to serve and lead, including several who are on my staff, and several who work in metro government.”

TSU honor students Chris Buford, II and Breanna Brown participate in prayer service. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Jefferson Street Church senior pastor Aaron Marble, who succeeds community activist James Thomas, said he’s glad to be collaborating with TSU and plans to continue the tradition.

“TSU has strong ties to the Nashville community, and so does Jefferson Street,” Marble says. “So uniting the university, the church and the community, is just awesome.”

The service was followed by a breakfast in the lower auditorium of the church that was open to the public.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Getahn Ward Memorial Scholarship created for journalism students at Tennessee State University

The Tennessean

The Tennessean, Tennessee State University and other organizations have partnered to create a new scholarship in the name of the late Getahn Ward that will benefit aspiring journalists at TSU.

The Getahn Ward Memorial Scholarship, announced Dec. 19, will be awarded to a journalism student each year who meets qualifications established by the school’s Department of Communications. Other partners include the National Association of Black Journalists and the Gannett Foundation.

Ward, a business reporter at the Tennessean since 1998, who was known for his real estate scoops, deep sources and bulldog approach, died on Dec. 9 after a brief illness. Ward, an active community leader, was also a longtime adjunct professor at TSU and a proud alum of the university. He was 45.

►More: Getahn Ward, longtime Tennessean reporter and community leader, dies at 45

Ward, who previously worked at the Nashville Banner before it closed in 1997, had a passion for teaching students and advocating for black journalists.

The new scholarship is the first endowed scholarship in the history of TSU’s Department of Communications.

“At a time when our majors are working multiple jobs to offset the cost of a college education, this will go a long way in helping some of our best and brightest students,” said Tameka Winston, who chairs the TSU Department of Communications.  “This scholarship represents a man who devoted much of his life to the field of journalism and to the education and success of students at Tennessee State University.”

The goal of organizers is to raise $25,000, which would be the minimum required to establish an annual scholarship in perpetuity.

The financial value of the scholarship will be determined by how much money is raised. If the goal of $25,000 is reached, the scholarship would be $1,000 per student annually. It would increase if more money is raised.

Winston said the department is also finalizing plans to honor Ward in a way that will give him “permanent recognition” within the department and university.

“He was one of the kindest individuals that I’ve ever met and the news of his passing is heartbreaking,” Winston said. “Getahn was a stellar professor and the department will never be able to replace him.”

►More: Getahn Ward: In honor of one of Nashville’s finest

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU expert urges taxpayers to study tax overhaul bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Taxpayers should learn as much as they can about the tax overhaul bill lawmakers have sent to President Trump for his signature, a TSU expert says.

Dr. Stephen Shanklin

Dr. Stephen Shanklin is a professor in TSU’s College of Business, as well as a certified public accountant and chartered global management accountant. He says people can get information about the bill through their tax preparer, council member, or contacting the office of their congressional representative.

“You need to be aware as much as you can of how the law has changed and affects you, because the rules are different,” Shanklin explains. “What worked last year, is not going to work next year.”

Most provisions of the bill lawmakers passed on Wednesday won’t take effect until the 2018 tax year, adds Shanklin.

The $1.5 trillion tax bill is the biggest rewrite in 30 years. It reduces rates on individuals, cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, and overhauls the taxation of both small and large businesses.

However, all individual tax reductions will expire by 2025, but corporate benefits are permanent, according to the bill. The average taxpayer could see a benefit of $1,600 when they file next year.

Tax preparer Corey Jenkins says he began receiving calls about the bill when lawmakers were debating it, and agrees taxpayers should learn as much as they can about it.

“There’s a lot in the bill,” says Jenkins, who’s been preparing taxes for nearly 20 years. “It’s going to affect them greatly, especially over the next several years.”

Shanklin says one of the biggest misconceptions of the bill is that “lawmakers say it’s fair for everybody; that it will benefit the middle class.”

“I think it actually benefits those with upper incomes, with greater levels of wealth, and business investments,” he says.

Most provisions of the bill won’t take effect until the 2018 tax year, adds Shanklin.

The latest polls show the bill is unpopular. In an NBC-Wall Street Journal survey, 24 percent of Americans think the tax bill is a good idea versus 41 percent who believe it’s a bad one.

Opposition to the bill has jumped to 10 points in CNN’s polling since last month, with 55 percent now against it. Only 21 percent say they’ll be better off if the bill becomes law, and 37 percent say that their family will be worse off.

Shanklin believes one reason for the bill’s unpopularity is partly due to lawmakers’ rapid pace in passing it, and their lack of transparency. He noted that before former President Ronald Reagan signed his tax bill in 1986, there had been more than 350 days of discussion to craft a bipartisan proposal.

“This one was done in less than 45 days, with fewer than 10 percent in Congress ever seeing it,” Shanklin contends.

To learn more about the tax bill, visit https://www.congress.gov. It should also be accessible at a local library that has access to government documents.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

 

TSU employee Delores Williams serves the university, while also helping those in need through her charity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Delores Williams is all about helping people. It keeps her very busy, but she doesn’t mind.

With a fulltime job at Tennessee State University as the office manager in the College of Liberal Arts, Williams also runs Star Ministries, Inc., a non-profit organization in south Nashville that caters to the hungry and needy in the community. She receives no pay for her services at Star Ministries.

Delores Williams

“I love people,” said Williams, when asked how she is able to balance the demands of students, faculty and staff and still reach out to the hundreds who come to Star Ministries. “My passion comes from wanting to help in any way I can to make another person’s life better, and that keeps me going.”

Making other people’s lives better has been a major part of Williams’ life work for nearly a quarter-century, but she doesn’t do it alone, she points out.

“I have been blessed with some wonderful people and organizations that are willing to work day or night to help us touch the many lives we try to reach,” Williams said.

Williams gets help from volunteers, including TSU staff, students and others from the community, especially Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, where Star Ministries first started more than 20 years ago as a food bank for Second Harvest.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture food program also assists, in addition to a twice-a-year food drive with help from community partners like Fellowship Bible Church, Vine Glenn Missionary Baptist Church, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, and Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Delores Williams, staff and volunteers at Star Ministries bag donated Christmas presents for students at Dudley Head Start Center. From left are: Wanda Richardson, TSU; Eddie Sanders, assistant executive director of Star Ministries; Virgenia Brown, TSU; Delores Williams; and Deacon Fred Cawthon, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

As Christmas approaches, Williams, like in years past, also takes on the role of Santa, making sure needy children in the community enjoy the spirit of the season. For instance, on Dec. 14, she and her volunteers distributed toys to the nearly 200 children at Dudley Head Start Center in Nashville. The toys were collected through donations from volunteers and the community.

LaQuisha Soles, the center’s director, said Williams brings “hope” to the children because many “do not even know what Christmas is because their parents cannot afford gifts.”

“So this is a great benefit for the children because they are receiving something,” Soles said. “We are so thankful. This is a great and wonderful opportunity for these children.”

For Williams, making sure the hungry is fed remains a major mission.

Each month, she and her volunteers provide about 300 food boxes to the hungry at the food pantry in south Nashville.  A pre-Thanksgiving dinner provides a “home-cooked meal” for more than 500 in the community on the third Saturday in November of each year. They also conduct an Angel Tree for kids at Kips Academy, take the homeless shopping as part of a partnership with Target, and serve barbecue to residents at the Nashville Rescue Mission.

“These people need us. There is nothing like a good, home-cooked meal and to know someone cares,” Williams said. “If not us then who? I am so thankful for the generosity of our volunteers and community partners who make sure we are able to do what we do.”

Wanda Richardson, payroll supervisor in the accounting and payroll department at TSU and a member of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, has been a volunteer at Star Ministries for nearly seven months. She said Williams’ passion to help others is “unbelievable.”

“Delores gets so excited when she talks about her program,” Richardson said. “The excitement she brings is spiritual and infectious. For example, when Delores called and told me about the toy program, all I did was ask, ‘how can I help?’ ‘We need toys for the kids,’ she said. I went back to TSU and asked some of the people in my area to help and instantly we collected more than 90 toys. She is really an inspiration.”

Williams’ boss at TSU, Dr. Gloria Johnson, described the great-grandmother of four as a very dependable and dedicated worker and compassionate person, who will go out of her way to help students, just like she does in the community.

“Students are always flocking to her because of how understanding and helpful she is to them,” said Johnson, who is dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “It does not surprise me that she reaches out to help in the community because that’s just the kind of person she is. She demonstrates that here at work every day. I always look forward to contributing to her annual toy drive because I know she cares.”

Fred Cawthon, a deacon at Morning Star, has been a volunteer with Williams since she started the outreach ministry. He said Williams is a “great advocate” for helping others.

“Ms. Delores reaches out to everybody in need of anything – burned out, child abuse, spousal abuse, you name it she’s there,” Cawthon said.  “She gives without expecting anything in return and that’s why I like her spirit.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Colleague, friend remembers TSU alum and adjunct professor Getahn Ward

By Dr. Karen Brown Dunlap

Getahn Ward

Getahn Ward’s life crisscrossed mine for over 20 years, causing me to think of him as my best student that I never taught.

It all started at Tennessee State University.

Ward came to TSU as a student from Liberia shorty after I left the faculty to teach in Florida. He soon became editor of the TSU student newspaper, The Meter. I had been Meter adviser for a decade. We began to hear of each other and he sought me out for advice.

His career moved to reporting for the Nashville Banner, then business reporter for The Tennessean. Mine moved to the University of South Florida in Tampa then the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, an international school for professional journalists. I rose from Poynter faculty to dean then president.

During that time, Ward attended programs at Poynter twice and we talked. I admired his quiet smarts in making connections and getting things done, his instincts for helping others and his passion for journalism.

When I retired from Poynter in 2014, I returned to Nashville and taught a class or two each semester at TSU. Ward was my colleague. He taught an early morning journalism class before going to The Tennessean, so we talked teaching techniques and resources. He was energetic, creative and willing to share with me and with students and to seek my advice.

I resumed membership at Nashville’s Born Again Church, and found Getahn servicing as usher and deacon. He led an annual cultural day of short speeches, food, dance and other expressions of the nations represented by members. He and his committee put young people out front and upheld two of Born Again’s values: expressions of the arts in worship and excellence in all things.

Most Sunday’s after church Getahn and I spotted each other in the lobby and talked in the driveway. He gave me updates on the local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists since I was back and forth to Tampa. We talked about family, school, and the news, especially his stories.

Ward’s business reporting exemplified the journalism I championed at Poynter.

He was on top of changes in a fast-growing Nashville. He broke the news, but also brought context and completeness. Reading his work was a daily treat.

I got a call Saturday from my friend, Sandra Long Weaver, an NABJ founder, TSU adjunct and current adviser to The Meter. She told me of Getahn’s death following a brief illness.

The shock and the sorrow are deep for me and for others, but so is the inspiration. He touched so many. He achieved so much. What are we doing with our lives?

May we savor the time we had with Getahn; may we grow from his example.  May he be long remembered and loved.

To read more about Getahn Ward, visit http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/2017/12/16/getahn-ward-longtime-tennessean-reporter-beloved-community-leader-dies-45/958327001/

 

 

 

 

 

TSU Medical Researcher Leads Fight Against Brain Tumors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – People suffering from brain tumors could receive better medical care as a result of research currently being done by one of Tennessee State University’s leading medical scientists.

Dr. Quincy Quick, TSU associate professor of Biology, said by investigating the protein Microtubule Actin Crosslinking Factor 1 (MACF1), he hopes to help doctors target brain tumors using a precision method approach and thereby provide more effective therapy.

Dr. Quincy Quick, TSU associate professor of Biology (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“All cancers are different,” he said.  “Even though you and I may have a brain tumor, we would have different types of brain tumors because our genetics are different.  Therefore, the genetics of our tumors would be different.”

According to Quick, if two patients had brain tumors and one patient’s tumor expressed the MCAF1 protein and the other didn’t, doctors would be able to use his research to better determine which type of therapy would best treat each tumor.

“Cancers have a lot of different components.  You treat a tumor with radiation or chemotherapy.  The reality is that some of those cells in the tumor would be killed, and some of them wouldn’t be,” he said.  “The idea is how do you then identify one target that would kill all of the cells within the tumor population.  MCAF1 would be thrust into that category as a potential target that could be inhibited and kill all the cells in the tumor and not just the subpopulation of those cells.”

According to brain tumor experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are more than 130 different types of brain tumors, and about 80,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor each year.

Currently, four students assist Quick with different aspects of the research project which began in August and is funded for four years by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) in NIH.

Orica Kutten is a sophomore biology major. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Orica Kutten, a sophomore biology major from Ghana, said working in the lab with Quick has given her direction for her career path.

“Initially, I just wanted to go to medical school,” she said. “But now I am thinking of possibly going to research school and furthering my studies in cancer research.”

Kutten, a member of the TSU Honors College, said the lab work has introduced her to techniques she will need to know whether she attends medical school or graduate school.

“I love working in the lab with Dr. Quick,” she said. “He has been a great mentor, and I am very grateful for all the things I have been able to learn in his lab.”

Quick explained that the process for introducing new methods of treatment for brain tumors is slow in the United States, but patients diagnosed with these tumors can receive better medical care by asking their doctors more informed questions.

He advises those suffering from brain tumors to ask their doctor if they are using a precision method approach.  Specifically, he said, patients should ask, “Are you evaluating the genetics of my specific tumor for me as an individual so that I can receive the best individualized therapy for me as opposed to taking the generic approach you would take with anybody that is characterized with this kind of tumor?”

Quick said the technology is available to make certain distinctions between the types of brain tumors, but often doctors don’t use it, and patients don’t know to ask the doctors to evaluate the genetics of their tumors so they can receive the best therapy.

“That’s a huge part of the problem,” he said.  “You need to be informed about the technology you are asking about so when the doctor gives you a response, you can make an appropriate decision like, ‘Do I need to go get a second opinion?’”

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has 69 designated cancer centers located in 35 states and the District of Columbia. To find a NCI-Designated Cancer Center near you, visit http://bit.ly/2jWBrVu.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU expert says U.S. Travel Ban May Not Affect International Students with Legal Status, but still causes anxiety

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – International students with legal status in the United States should not be worried about the new travel ban, says a public policy expert at Tennessee State University.

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and a longtime expert on Middle Eastern politics, said there is “no language in the law that will affect these students.” However, the ban could impact those wanting to enter the U.S. other than to study.

Dr. Michael Harris

“No, students should not be concerned at all,” Harris said. “I don’t believe it (the ban) has any impact on students that are admitted to universities in the United States with an I-20.”

The Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status, also known as the I-20, allows student to stay in the country for the duration of their program. The I-20 is processed in the country of origin and makes it legal for individuals to come to the United States and learn, Harris added.

On December 4, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to go into effect, although legal challenges against it remain. This means that the government can fully enforce its new restrictions on travel from eight nations, six of them predominantly Muslim. For now, most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea will be barred from entering the United States, along with some groups from Venezuela.

Tennessee State University has about 560 international students from 35 countries. (Courtesy photo)

While the ban does not impact current international students studying here, it still causes them great concern. This includes Nahal Jafari, a freshman psychology major at Tennessee State University.

The Iranian native said she cancelled all options to attend college in her country and chose to come to the U.S. for her studies, but thinks the ban may cause her problems in the immediate future.

“I am really worried because this impacts my student visa,” said Jafari, who was planning on going home during the summer break for vacation but thinks it may not be a good idea. “If I decide to change schools or go home to see my family, will I be able to?”

TSU has about 560 international students from 35 countries, with a good number from Iran, Iraq and Somalia, which are on the travel ban.

In most cases, citizens of these designated countries will be unable to immigrate to the United States permanently, and many will be barred from working, studying or vacationing here. For instance, Iran will still be able to send its citizens on student exchanges, though such visitors will be subject to enhanced screening.

Mark Brinkley is the director of international education in the Office of International Affairs (OIA) at TSU. Brinkley recommends all international students submit their current I-20 for review prior to departing the U.S.

He said if the I-20 is current, “students may re-enter the country without challenges from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.”

International students in middle Tennessee should go to their designated school official (DSO) to ensure they have all proper documentation and fully understand the new travel ban.

For more information on international studies at TSU go to http://www.tnstate.edu/diversity/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Commencement Speaker April Ryan Tells Graduates to Believe in Themselves

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renowned journalist and White House correspondent April Ryan left Tennessee State University graduates with one key message Saturday: “Believe in yourselves and ‘stand’ in the face of adversities.”

President Glenda Glover, right, presents a special award to Commencement Speaker April Ryan. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Ryan, also a nationally syndicated radio host, delivered the commencement address at TSU’s fall graduation ceremony in the Howard C. Gentry Complex on the main campus. Nearly 500 undergraduate and graduate students received degrees in various disciplines.

TSU President Glenda Glover gave the welcome and thanked Ryan for accepting the invitation to speak at the graduation. She congratulated the graduates and thanked parents, relatives and friends for their support.

“I applaud you for having reached this extraordinary milestone in your academic career,” Glover said. “It does not matter how long it took you; you are sitting here this morning because you are graduating. You have endured.”

About 500 graduates received degrees in various disciplines at TSU’s 2017 Fall Commencement (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

In her  address, Ryan told the graduates that receiving their degrees does not guarantee that it will “catapult” them into middle-income status.

“But it lays the foundation,” she said. “There are going to be hurdles; life isn’t a crystal stair. You will be met with issues you have never seen before, but it starts with believing in yourselves.”

As a White House correspondent, Ryan has covered four presidential administrations. But it was her exchanges with President Donald Trump and his then-press secretary Sean Spicer following the last presidential election that thrust Ryan into the limelight. She makes frequent appearances on CNN as an analyst.

President Glover presented Jaquatey Bowens and William Sanders with the Student Academic Excellence Award for achieving the highest grade point average in their various disciplines. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

On race and the current political climate, Ryan pointed to TSU’s “unique role” as an HBCU and its involvement in the civil rights struggle of the ‘50s and ‘60s, when students from the university staged sit-ins in Nashville and across Tennessee. She also made reference to President Trump’s controversial visit to the opening of the civil rights museum in Mississippi, which is being boycotted by many prominent black leaders.

“I applaud these civil rights leaders for their decision to boycott because it is their right,” Ryan said. “But I also think that the president should go. We need for this president to go and see why the students were sitting in the ’60s. We need this president to understand why Colin Kaepernick took a knee. We need for the president to see the pain from the ‘50s and ‘60s and that slavery was not just a different way of immigrating into the United States with a basket of fruit and seeing Lady Liberty.”

Tennessee State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., who previously earned a bachelor’s degree from TSU, was in attendance Saturday to receive his doctorate in public policy and administration. He described Ryan as the person with the “right tool” to transform the graduates’ thinking.

“As I sit here and think about getting another degree from TSU, I am excited, but also I am concerned about the direction our country is going in with the leadership that we have,” Love said. “I am hoping that our speaker will inspire students to leave from here with their degrees and help transform the world and bring us back to a place of peace, compassion, and responsibility.”

Later, President Glover presented Jaquantey Bowen, a biology major; and Williams Sanders, computer science major, with the Student Academic Excellence Award for achieving the highest grade point average in their various disciplines.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Health Experts Urge Tennesseans To Get Flu Shot

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – If you’re still unsure about whether or not to get a flu shot, Tennessee State University researchers have a message for you: Stop thinking about it, and get one. This comes as the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC) observes the first week in December as National Influenza Week.

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, TSU Associate Professor of Public Health, Healthcare Administration and Health Sciences

“Most people think you get the flu, you just get sick, and you recover,” said Dr. Wendelyn Inman, TSU associate professor of Public Health, Healthcare Administration and Health Sciences. “That is true if you are relatively healthy. But it is important for us to be sure that, like in any group of people, most people are immunized so that the frail and fragile are not exposed to the flu and die from it.”

According to the CDC, people at high risk of developing flu-related complications include children younger than 5 (but especially children younger than 2 years old), adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

One popular misconception, said Inman, who teaches Epidemiology on the undergraduate and graduate levels, is that individuals actually contract the flu as a result of taking the vaccination. She said suspicions about taking the flu shot persist because many people remain unaware that infectious diseases have an incubation period.

“Let’s say you went to a cocktail party, and you got exposed. Then you go to the pharmacist to get the prescription on Monday, and you have flu symptoms on Friday. You’re going to think you got the flu from the flu shot,” she said. “Well, actually you didn’t get the flu from getting the flu shot. You got it from someone else. It’s the timing.”

Dr. Ivan Davis, TSU director of Student Health Services

Dr. Ivan Davis, TSU director of Student Health Services, said one of the most dangerous consequences of not getting a flu shot is that it can lead to pneumonia. He said even if the vaccination does not have the same strain of the virus, taking it usually makes the illness much milder. Instead of being five to seven days and protracted, he said the illness is “shortened by several days.”

Davis said it takes about four weeks for the immunity from the shot to “kick-in.” He said people are unable to get the illness from the vaccine because it contains a dead virus.

“The vaccination uses the genome, the nucleus of the virus, so there is no way you can get the flu from the shot. It’s not a live virus,” he said. “Even if you come down with a different strain, it has been proven that because you have had the shot, your chance of having a real bad infection is lessened.”

The exact timing and duration of flu season can vary extending from October through May, but most peak between December and February, according to the CDC. In 2005, the agency designated the first full week in December to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. This year the center recommends that only injectable flu vaccines be given.

Inman said the changing nature of the virus is another reason she stresses taking the flu shot.

“To me it’s too big of a gamble to take for your health because each year the virus changes and the severity is different. No one can verify that this is a mild version and not the killer version that swept through in 1918,” she added.

According to health experts, in 1918 the flu pandemic killed an estimated 500 million people worldwide including about 675,000 Americans.

“Any immunization keeps anything you catch from being as bad because it jumpstarts your immune system,” Inman said. “You’ll be safer and less sorry if you get the flu shot.”

The Tennessee Department of Health reports that the highest number of flu cases in Tennessee are typically recorded in January and February each year.

For more information about where you can get the flu shot in Tennessee, visit http://tn.gov/health/topic/localdepartments.

 

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With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.