NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University and State of Tennessee flags are flying at half-staff on the TSU campus in honor of the institution’s sixth president, Dr. James A. Hefner, who passed Aug. 27 at his Brentwood, Tennessee home surrounded by family. He was 76. Both flags will remain lowered until Thursday, Sept. 3 following Dr. Hefner’s burial.
Dr. Hefner took over the helm at TSU in 1991 and served the university until 2005. He was regarded as the students’ president and enrollment reached an all-time high of 9,100 students, an achievement that has only been recently achieved during the 2014-2015 academic school year. The TSU endowment also experienced remarkable growth from $500,000 to more than $25 million (through fund-raising and settling a Federal Consent Decree). He positioned Tennessee State University as a premier institution of higher learning. TSU was listed in U.S. News & Worlds Report’s “Guide to America’s Best Colleges” for 11 consecutive years (1994-2005).
After retiring as president of Tennessee State University in 2005, Dr. Hefner was a non-resident fellow at Harvard University in the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African-American Research; Visiting Distinguished Professor of Economics and Presidential Leadership at Texas Southern University; and most recently as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Clark Atlanta University, where he worked diligently as he fought cancer up until the very end.
TSU will be the site of a memorial service on Wednesday, Sept. 2, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Poag Auditorium of the Davis Humanities Building. A reception will follow immediately afterward in the Ferrell-Westbrook Building (the Barn). The funeral service will take place on Thursday, Sept. 3, at 1 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 900 Broadway, downtown Nashville.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial gifts be made to the Dr. James A. Hefner Scholarship Foundation in his honor to the Tennessee State University or Morehouse College Development Offices. You may reach the TSU Foundation at 615-963-5481, for Morehouse 404-215-2660.
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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.