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Major Scholarship Donations, Big Football Victory Round out Successful 2016 Homecoming Celebration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University rounded out its 2016 Homecoming with nearly $400,000 in donations for scholarships, and a resounding football victory before more than 20,000 fans at Nissan Stadium Oct. 15.

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Mr. TSU Jordan Gaither and Miss TSU Alicia Jones, and their Royal Court celebrate at the TSU Homecoming game against Eastern Kentucky at Nissan Stadium. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

At the university’s annual Scholarship Gala at Gaylord Opryland Resort the night before, the Tennessee Titans presented university officials with a check for $150,000 as a scholarship endowment.

TSU and the Titans have been partners since 1998, when the football team moved to Nashville. At the time, TSU offered its campus to the team as a training camp. The two have a lease agreement that allows TSU to play all or some of its home games at the Titans’ stadium.

“We sincerely appreciate this partnership with the wonderful Tennessee Titans,’’ said TSU President Glenda Glover. “It’s moments like this that make the banquet worthwhile. I want to thank Titans ownership and the foundation, as we continue to enhance this partnership that’s equally as beneficial to the Titans and TSU.”

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Thousands cheer the the Aristocrat of Bands as they entertain the crowd during the Homecoming parade Oct. 15. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

During the halftime show of the football game at Nissan Stadium, a number of alumni and supporters made financial donations to support students at their alma mater.

The Class of ’66, in celebrating their 50th year reunion, donated $121,401, the most in reunion giving. Audrey Strafford and Melissa Lewis made the presentation on behalf of their class.

Bud Reese, a longtime financial supporter, presented a check for $100,000 on behalf of his R. Reese and CMI Charitable Funds Scholarship in support of students from Memphis majoring in social work and those overcoming developmental disabilities.

Other contributions from the Scholarship Gala pushed the total to nearly $400,000.

TSU also recognized alums Alfred and Rosa Coleman for being inducted into the exclusive “1912 Club,” for surpassing half a million dollars in lifetime giving to the TSU Foundation. The Coleman’s are the first to be inducted into the club.

Also making a special appearance at the game to thunderous applause was 101-year-old alumna Bernece Walker Brunson, a member of the Alumni Cheerleading Squad. Brunson, a 1935 graduate and co-grand marshal of the Homecoming parade, was a member of the then-Tennessee A&I State College cheerleading team from 1934-1935.

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TSU quarterback Ronald Butler runs for a touchdown in the second quarter of the Homecoming game against Eastern Kentucky at Nissan Stadium. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman)

There was also a pause at the beginning of halftime to have a moment of silence for legendary track and field coach Ed Temple, who died Sept. 22 at age 89. Coach Temple’s life was highlighted with giant-sized images of him on the two massive jumbotron screens at the stadium.

Earlier that day, President Glover led thousands — including Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper, other officials and TSU fans — along Jefferson Street in the annual parade that ended on the main campus.

Numerous floats, businesses, and visiting school bands led by the famed TSU Aristocrat of Bands and the Mr. TSU and Miss TSU Court, entertained parade goers along the route.

Jefferson Street businesswoman and TSU graduate Martha Lupai was elated by the turnout at this year’s Homecoming, whose theme was “celebrating a legacy of pride and progress.”

“It is just so heartwarming to see this king of outpouring for this university,” said Lupai, owner of S&E African Hair Braiding, which raises funds for scholarships. “This really is an indication of TSU’s overwhelming impact not only on the Nashville community, but the nation.”

At the football game, the TSU Tigers (5-1), defeated Ohio Valley Conference rival Eastern Kentucky 35-28. Next up for TSU is a road game at Southeastern Conference opponent Vanderbilt on Saturday, Oct. 22, in a game that will air on ESPNU.

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, 25 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.