NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University kicked off this year’s Homecoming with the 31st annual Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest on Sunday.
The event, which was free and open to the public, was held in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center on the main campus. Cash prizes of $1,200, $800 and $500 were awarded respectively for first, second, and third place winners in freshman and upperclassman divisions.
There were 23 participants this year. The freshman winners were: Bryanna Scott, 1st place; Norel McAdoo, 2nd place; and Jamir Jackson, 3rd place. In the upperclassman division, Ashanti Holland claimed 1st place; Sydni D. Daniels, 2nd; Tayneria Gooden, 3rd; and Elijah J. McNutt received a $100 bookstore gift certificate for 4th place.
Before the contest, TSU President Glenda Glover charged the participants to “do your best.”
“You’re here because you’re competent, you qualify, and you’re ready,” she said. “Be excellent in all that you do. We honor you, we salute you, and we thank you for your participation.”
The contest, established in 1988, is named in honor of the late Robert N. Murrell, a longtime administrator and dean of men at TSU. It encourages students to develop skills in research, writing and oratory.
“This is the 31st event, and I’m most grateful to all of you who played a part in making this happen, and for all of you who are here today,” said Ms. Barbara Murrell, whose late husband the event honors.
In 1993, the TSU Homecoming Committee incorporated the oratorical contest into the official Homecoming schedule of activities, and established the Homecoming theme as the theme for the contest. This year’s theme is: “Visions of Excellence with a Spirit of Success.”
Dwight Beard, president of the Nashville Chapter of the TSU Alumni Association, encouraged the participants to maintain the passion they conveyed in their speeches.
“You are our future,” Beard said. “The baton is in your hand. Win that race.”
Following the oratorical contest, TSU’s Homecoming events continued with the Gospel Explosion in Kean Hall gymnasium. The concert, which was also free, featured hit artists Jonathan McReynolds, Earnest Pugh, and The Walls Group.
Other Homecoming highlights throughout the week include the Coronation of Mr. and Miss TSU, Oct. 17; Ralph Boston Golf Tournament, Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Symposium, and Homecoming Concert, Oct. 18; and the Greek Step Show and the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, Oct. 19.
On Friday evening, TSU has planned a stellar Scholarship Gala at the Music City Center. This year, the Gala welcomes back comedian Jonathan Slocumb as the master of ceremony. Special entertainment will be provided by legendary jazz artist Roy Ayers. Proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships are used to provide financial assistance to students.
Homecoming will conclude Oct. 20 with the Homecoming Parade from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard, and the big football matchup between the Tigers and the Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech at Nissan Stadium.
For more information about Homecoming activities, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/documents/HomecomingSchedule.pdf
Department of Media Relations
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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, 24 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.