All posts by Lucas Johnson

TSU recruits students at Battle of the Bands College Fair, Aristocrat of Bands makes record 9th appearance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recruiters got a chance to talk to some of the nation’s brightest high school students at the Honda Battle of the Bands College Fair in Atlanta on Saturday.

Numerous students stopped to talk to TSU officials who had a booth at the event that was attended by high school students from across the country. For TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands, it was a record ninth time that the marching band has been invited to the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase.  

Aristocrat of Bands performs for 9th time at Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase. (Submitted photo)

“We are really glad for this recognition our band continues to receive with this record appearance,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands. “This is a huge recruitment tool for the university because typically at this event, not only do we have people who are extremely fond of HBCU bands, you also have high school kids from all across the nation that attend.”

This time, the band arrived at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a newly donated, wrapped 53-foot trailer carrying the members’ equipment.

Named by The Undefeated recently as the Best HBCU Marching Band in America, the AOB joins only the Marching Storm of Prairie View A&M, and the Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band for the most appearances at the Honda Invitational, the nation’s premier showcase for HBCU marching bands.

In addition to the new trailer, the Best Band ranking, and the Honda Invitational, the AOB enjoyed a stellar year of achievements and accolades last year, and is looking forward to even more in 2020.

In April, during the NFL Draft in the Music City, the AOB were featured on the nationally syndicated ESPN sports talk show, First Take, and the band received a shout out from pop star Lizzo for the band’s rendition of her “Truth Hurts” medley. In January, percussionists from the band performed in the Rose Parade. They were also featured performers at the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons’ 2019 home opener.

For more information on the TSU Aristocrat of Bands, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/.

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

NASA engineers to share opportunities with TSU students during Jan. 28 campus visit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students will learn about opportunities with NASA when Kennedy Space Center engineers visit the campus on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

The engineers will provide an informal student Q&A in the Forum of the university’s Floyd Payne Campus Center from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. They will discuss the agency’s Artemis mission and internship opportunities.

“With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before,” according to the agency’s website.

Stacie Turner is a strategy and collaboration manager with NASA. She says she’s looking forward to talking to students about what NASA has to offer.

“We think that they are going to be the folks that are going to take over and do the exploring, and the development of all of NASA’s new technology,” says Turner.

TSU student Joy Barney says the engineers’ visit should be beneficial to students.

“Bringing opportunities to our students is definitely a good thing,” says Barney, a junior from Atlanta. “It will allow them to think, when I graduate, I can possibly do this.”

Last year, more than 200 students in grades K-8 from Davidson County and surrounding areas took part in a NASA-funded, one-day STEM education workshop at Tennessee State University.

Called “Dare to Dream STEM Saturday,” the workshop engaged students in scientific experiments, and engineering design processes, such as robotics, coding, drones, virtual reality, flight simulation and math games.

The TSU College of Education, in partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools, hosted the workshop under the Minority University Research Education Project, or MUREP, a NASA program at the university.  

For more information about the Tennessee Minority University Research and Education Project at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/murep/about.aspx.

To learn more about NASA’s Artemis program, visit https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU students, officials believe FUTURE Act long overdue for HBCUs, and will provide much needed boost for sustainability

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and the nation’s other historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) look to reap the benefits of federal legislation that permanently allocates $255 million to the institutions. 

TSU President Glenda Glover

Last month, Congress passed the FUTURE Act to provide for the historic funding. TSU students and officials say the bill is critical to the viability of TSU and other HBCUs.

TSU President Glenda Glover commended Congress for passing the legislation and hopes it will lead to additional funding.

“The FUTURE Act legislation is a game changer for TSU, and the university is thankful to our Tennessee leadership of Senator Lamar Alexander, Representative Jim Cooper, Congressional Black Caucus members and others for their guidance to ensure the bill passed through both chambers,” says President Glover.

“I personally made calls to Sen. Alexander’s Office, advocating the need for HBCU funding because of the tremendous impact TSU has in changing the lives of our students, the community, state and nation. I also spoke regularly with other HBCU presidents and assisted advocacy groups United Negro College Fund, Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in higher education in getting the bill passed.  HBCUs have been traditionally underfunded on all levels of government.”

“TSU is fortunate to have relationships with local and state lawmakers that have resulted in much needed appropriations. I believe the FUTURE Act is the beginning of the tide changing in the amount, and types of funding HBCUs receive.”    

The FUTURE Act not only provides permanent funds to HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions, but also simplifies the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and eliminates paperwork for income-driven student loan repayment plans.

“We believe it’s a really important piece of legislation,” says Amy Wood, assistant vice president for financial aid at TSU. 

The legislation eliminates up to 22 questions on the FAFSA and allows the Internal Revenue Service to share applicants’ tax information directly with the U.S. Department of Education. It also automates income recertification for federal student loan borrowers who use income-based repayment plans.

“Being able to eliminate some of the processing time allows us more time to spend counseling students and ensuring that they have what they need,” adds Wood.

Mariah Rhodes, a junior at TSU majoring in political science, says she’s pleased the legislation may soon become law. It has been sent to the President, who is expected to sign it. 

“HBCUs have produced some of the best African-American doctors, lawyers, politicians and engineers,” says Rhodes, a Memphis native who is an HBCU White House ambassador. “This money will help HBCUs in a tremendous way.”

Her mother agrees.

“They (HBCUs) are underfunded, and we need to really do something about that,” says Denise Woods.

TSU Dean of Students Frank Stevenson called the legislation a “game changer.”

“HBCUs are still seeing a number of first generation college students, and funding is really important to the success of these institutions that have done so much to move the needle toward equity and opportunity for higher education for students,” says Stevenson.

Last year, TSU received $2 million to support retention of academically high achieving students from underserved communities.  

The funds were included in Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s budget during the latest legislative session, and approved by state lawmakers.

For more information about the FUTURE Act, visit https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2486/text.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Hundreds attend MLK convocation featuring MSNBC political analyst Joy-Ann Reid

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Hundreds of people attended Tennessee State University’s annual convocation on Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

TSU President Glenda Glover speaks to gathering before march. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

Despite the bitterly cold temperature, quite a few people turned out for the march that started in front of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church and ended at TSU’s Gentry Complex, where the convocation was held. The keynote speaker was MSNBC political analyst and author, Joy-Ann Reid.

TSU President Glenda Glover set the tone for the convocation in her greetings.

“We’re here because we understand if ever there was a time that we needed each other, that time is now,” said Glover, who is also the international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the primary sponsor of this year’s convocation.

“We honor Dr. King and those leaders that he inspired to continue the struggle for equality.”

Marchers line up to head to convocation at Gentry Complex. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

Reid echoed Glover’s sentiment in her speech when she said people need to continue fighting for racial justice, economic justice, and not just recite King’s speeches.

“We have to ask ourselves, what have we done with this legacy?” said Reid. “America right now needs to get motivated, not to quote King, but to live the dream he was fighting for.”

The convocation was attended by community leaders and lawmakers, including Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper, and his brother, Nashville Mayor John Cooper.

“What he hoped for is not complete,” said Lee. “We, being here today, continue that dream that he had that isn’t finished in this country.”

Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated attend convocation. (TSU Media Relations)

On Saturday, TSU hosted the MLK Joint Day of Service with seven other universities and colleges. More than 700 students gathered in Kean Hall before being bused to various locations throughout Nashville to volunteer as part of the annual event.

Students enjoyed an early lunch before being greeted by university leaders and hearing Freedom Rider and TSU Alum Ernest “Rip” Patton share inspiring words about his experience as a civil rights activist.

“This is your day, and this is your time to make a change because what we did in the 60s, we did if for generations to come,” said Patton

Brittanie Pruitt, a sophomore nursing major from Covington, Tennessee, who returned after participating in the Day of Service last year, said community service is critical.

Brittanie Pruitt, a sophomore nursing major, volunteering at Harvest Hands Community Development as part of the annual Joint Day of Service in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)
 

“It’s definitely important to give back. Everybody needs a helping hand,” said Pruitt, who spent her afternoon with a group of 25 volunteers organizing classrooms at Harvest Hands Community Development, a nonprofit organization that provides after-school programming in South Nashville. “You might need help one day, so it’s always important to give back.”

Shirley Nix-Davis is director of outreach for TSU’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement and co-chair of the Day of Service. She said 326 of 715 students who signed up for the event were TSU students.

To learn more 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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

President Glover addresses student success, unveils ‘Decade of Excellence’ platform at spring Faculty-Staff Institute

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover on Monday lauded faculty and staff for their service, and assured them the institution is poised to accomplish great feats for 2020, and beyond.

Dr. Glenda Glover

Dr. Glover spoke at the spring Faculty and Staff Institute, a customary State of the University address held to commence the start of each academic school year. Her address commended employees, and touted fiscal strength and student success.

In thanking employees for their hard work, she pledged her continued support, and encouraged them to strive to make the university better.

“I’m here for you,” said Glover. “I just ask that you show up every day and do your best.”

She reminded them that includes doing all they can to help students succeed.

Glover noted that from 2018 to 2019, the GPA of incoming freshmen increased from 3.10 to 3.14. The university also implemented a targeted recruitment plan for high school students with a 3.0 or better to improve retention and graduation rates. Students’ GPA has steadily risen since TSU increased admission standards in 2016. All students must now have a 2.5 GPA and a 19 on the ACT for admission. The previous admission scores were 2.25 or a 19 on the ACT for in-state students, and a 2.5 or 19 ACT for out-of-state students.

The president also stressed the university’s fiscal soundness and plans to continue the trend. She discussed an endowment increase of $19.3 million over a five-year period, and a net increase of $15.7 million for reserve and endowment funds during the same time span.

Over the next 10 years, in what she called TSU’s Decade of Excellence, Glover said she envisions an endowment of $150 million and $100 million in reserves. She would also like to see TSU be the top HBCU in the nation, with an enrollment of 12,000.

The president also talked about TSU’s sanction by its accrediting body and gave a detailed update on the “plan of action” to address the issue. She emphasized to the several hundred in attendance that it is important to dispel any misconceptions and that TSU never lost accreditation.

Corrective steps taken so far under the plan include the university retaining a nationally known firm with expertise on accreditation matters and hiring a full-time director of assessment and accreditation to guide the process internally.

“We are 100 percent confident that TSU will do all that is required to prepare and submit the documentation that is necessary to remove us from probation,” said Glover. “Everyone is working together to get this done.”

TSU’s landscape will change over the next few months when construction of the new health sciences building is complete. The president shared the latest information on that, as well as planned construction of two new residence halls. Groundbreakings were held for the three buildings, along with a welcome center, during homecoming last year.

Glover also touted a major accomplishment for TSU in 2019 that is carrying over to the New Year: its coding partnership with tech giant Apple, Inc., which is drawing global attention.

In July, TSU launched HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Create,” which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities and underserved communities. The initiative is part of TSU’s newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the HBCU C2 Presidential Academy. 

The undertaking to bridge the technology divide has not gone unnoticed. President Glover told the audience that the university and Apple’s corporate office have received several inquiries about the program.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is among the initiative’s champions.

“Anything is possible when people come together with a shared vision,” Cook tweeted. “Thank you to @TSUedu for your leadership and enthusiasm in bringing coding to your community and HBCUs nationwide!”

The institute marks the beginning of the academic semester. Students return on Jan. 13.

For more information about TSU’s coding initiative, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/hbcuc2/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU alum and Former POW meets widow of pilot who shot down his fighter jet in Vietnam

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University alum who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam recently returned to the Southeast Asian country and met the widow of the pilot who shot down his fighter jet nearly 50 years ago.

Lt. Col. James Williams sits in cell where he was interrogated and tortured while imprisoned. (Courtesy: Valor Administration)

Lt. Col. James W. Williams was flying his 228th combat mission when his F-4D Phantom was hit over North Vietnam on May 20, 1972. He was taken captive and spent 313 days in the infamous Hoa Lo Prison (aka Hanoi Hilton). He was released with other American POWs on March 28, 1973, about two months after the Vietnam War ended.

In November, the Memphis, Tennessee native was among several Vietnam veterans who returned to Hanoi, Vietnam, as part of a trip organized by the Dallas, Texas-based group Valor Administration, members of the Vietnam-USA Friendship, and North Vietnamese combat veterans.

Organizers said the trip was a way to help veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder possibly gain closure.

“There are a lot of Vietnam veterans … that still have wounds from the war that haven’t been addressed,” said Adriane Baan, with Valor Administration.

Williams, who was imprisoned a period of time with late U.S. Sen. John McCain, acknowledged it was therapeutic revisiting the place where he was tortured and meeting veterans who were once his enemy. But he said the highlight of the trip was meeting Nguyen Thi Lam, the widow of Do Van Lanh, the North Vietnamese pilot who shot him down.

Williams said he did not know he was going to meet Lam until he got to Vietnam, and that the meeting was awkward at first, but that changed the more they talked.

“I found out her husband died in 1980,” recalled Williams, who lives in Atlanta. “She showed me pictures of him. I expressed my condolences for his passing. The trip definitely helped me. It gave me some closure.”

During his visit to the prison, which is now a museum, Williams noticed a photo on display that showed two lines of air men being released. He was leading one of the lines.

Lt. Col. Williams in 1973 photo on display in the Vietnam museum. (Courtesy: Valor Administration)

“It was really amazing,” said Baan of the photo.

Lt. Col. Nick Callaway is the commander of Tennessee State University’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 790, which Williams was part of when he was enrolled at TSU. He recognized Williams at the university’s Veterans Day program last month.

“If there’s anything I learned from Lt. Col. Williams, it’s that we as human beings are capable of so much,” said Callaway. “Lt. Col. Williams’ patriotism and devotion to this great nation is truly an inspiration.”

Williams’ son, Brandon, said his father’s courage and perseverance while in captivity have motivated him when he faced adversity.

“Through any situation or circumstance, don’t give up,” said Brandon, a former TSU football player who is now a financial advisor for numerous professional athletes. “He’s my hero.”

After he retired in 1995 from 28 years of military service, Lt. Col. Williams started an Air Force Junior ROTC program in the DeKalb County, Georgia School System and taught for 20 years before retiring.

The 75-year-old currently serves on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs POW Advisory Committee.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

College of Agriculture remembers students Judy Stanley and Vybhav Gopisetty

By Joan Kite

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In a solemn ceremony laden with deep emotion, Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture recently remembered two of its graduate students who were killed in a hit-and-run accident on Thanksgiving night.

Bandana Bhusal and Bimala Acharya share memories about their roommate Judy Stanley who they said was like a sister to them. (Photo by Joan Kite)

Judy Stanley, 23, and Vybhav Gopisetty, 26, were pursuing food science degrees: Stanley a master’s, and Gopisetty a doctorate

About 150 people, including members from the Nashville Indian Community, the Indian Consulate, and St. Vincent de Paul Church, where Stanley was a member, attended the ceremony at TSU on Dec. 7 to show their support and share memories of the students.

“I’m going to miss him a lot,” said Gopisetty’s roommate, Sharath Julankanti. “He published four papers in a row as a master’s student. He was always busy.”

The ceremony allowed students to share their sorrow and happy memories in an event that was wrought with emotion.

“We never imagined that two big personalities would leave the world so soon,” said Stanley’s roommate, Bandana Bhusal. “May your beautiful souls rest in peace.”

Research technician and “lab mom” Yvonne Miles spoke of how Gopisetty and Stanley brought joy to the lab and how deeply felt their loss is.

“Our lab is a family,” said Miles.

“When we lose a student, a family member, it breaks our hearts,” added Rajesh Narayana Das, a member of the Nashville Indian Community.

After a meal of Indian food and a slide show presentation with photos of Gopisetty’s and Stanley’s lives in India and the United States, the students’ teachers talked about them.

“You will live in our hearts forever,” said Dr. Ankit Patras, a mentor to both Gopisetty and Stanley.

A GoFundMe account quickly raised more than $50,000 to send the students’ bodies back to India, where they were from, and assist their families.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

commencement Speaker Roland Martin encourages fall graduates to travel their own path

By Kelli Sharpe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Parents and friends were welcomed to a festive fall commencement ceremony for nearly 800 Tennessee State University graduates Saturday morning.

Speaker Roland Martin urges graduates to “do you.” (TSU Media Relations)

Speaker Roland Martin wouldn’t have it any other way. The award-winning journalist and political analyst had the band director strike up the band before delivering his keynote address.

With the theme of “do you,” Martin encouraged graduates to follow their own path and be proud of having attended TSU.

“The people who are willing to take risks in life are the folks that are often brought back and are celebrated for being distinguished alumni of this university,” said Martin.

Merna Henin, a business administration major, graduates with the highest GPA. (TSU Media Relations)

“You’ll never be happy if you’re unwilling to do you. You can’t let fear drive your decision-making.”

TSU President Glenda Glover presided over the winter graduation that consisted of 513 undergraduates and 260 graduate students. Among them was Merna Henin, a business administration major with the distinction of having the highest GPA.  A native of Egypt, the Nashville resident had the honor of introducing Martin to the capacity filled crowd because of her academic achievement.

“I felt like I accomplished something spectacular and now I’m being rewarded for it,” said Henin, who plans to pursue her master’s at TSU and work in supply chain management. “It confirmed to me that hard work pays off.”

Approximately 773 graduates  participated in the TSU 2019 Fall Commencement Ceremony.  (TSU Media Relations)

Kalid Truitt, an interdisciplinary major with a concentration in health science and healthcare administration, said Martin’s message resonated with him as he prepares to leave TSU and Nashville. 

“What he said hit home for me,” said Truitt. “It was my last time to soak up the feeling that I’m at TSU. His energy and his words were exactly what I needed to see and hear, especially the parts about his own life experiences.” 

Truitt is off to Atlanta in a few days to pursue an acting career, but said he has a backup plan, something his professors and advisors stressed throughout his college experience. The Memphis native believes he got the perfect send off from TSU.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Ag researchers address recalls, food safety at holidays

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University researchers in the College of Agriculture have some pertinent food safety information for consumers amid recent recalls and the bustling holiday season.

Last month, there was a recall of romaine lettuce after a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections were linked to the lettuce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There was a similar ground beef recall in June.

Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge

Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge is an associate research professor in the College of Ag’s Department of Human Sciences at TSU. She says whenever there’s a recall, consumers should take them seriously.

“It is important for consumers to listen to the news and be aware of food recalls,” says Kilonzo-Nthenge. “Some of the recalled products may be in our homes.”

In the last year, TSU’s College of Agriculture has received more than a million dollars for food safety research.

Kilonzo-Nthenge is the principal investigator for a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pursue an integrated approach to mitigate antimicrobial resistance in cattle and poultry, and help establish stewardship programs for small and medium-sized ranchers.

“Consumers are educated on safe handling practices at home and our farmers are trained on good agricultural practices that prevent or reduce meats and fresh produce contamination with pathogenic bacteria that might be resistant to antibiotics,” says Kilonzo-Nthenge.

Dr. Ankit Patras, a research assistant professor of agricultural science, also recently received two grants totaling more than $650,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Trojan Technologies of Canada, and California-based Aquafine Corporation. The grants are funding research to make food safer by eliminating harmful viruses and bacterial endospores in juices and other beverages.

Dr. Ankit Patras

“An important aspect of the study is to create science-based knowledge and bridge existing knowledge gaps by assessing the sensitivity of target foodborne viruses and spores to this treatment,” says Patras, the principal investigator. “We want to identify markers of oxidative stress, which can be correlated to microbial inactivation.”

This holiday season, TSU researchers say there are some simple ways to avoid foodborne illnesses. They include:

  • Wash hands and surfaces after handling raw meats.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry apart from freh produce and foods.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, then lower temperature to 350 F when putting turkey into the oven. Cook for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes. Turkey is done when it registers a minimum of 165 F in the thickest part of the thigh.
  • Hot or cold food should not be left out for more than two hours. Bacteria grow rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 F and 140 F, doubling in as little as 20 minutes.
  • Hot foods should be kept at a temperature of at least 140 F.
  • Cold foods, such as chicken salad or potato salad, should be kept cold, at or below 40 F.

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.


TSU President Glover makes Essence magazine’s prestigious ‘Woke 100 List’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover is among Essence magazine’s national list of women who are “inspiring communities around the world” and has been named to its “Woke 100 List.”

Framed as a “salute to women of color challenging the status quo,” the list, published in Essence’s November issue, features “100 women who exemplify the true meaning of being change agents and power players,” according to a release.

Dr. Glenda Glover, president of TSU and international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. (Photo courtesy of Essence)

President Glover, who is considered a stalwart in higher education and a staunch supporter of our nation’s HBCUs, also serves as international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. As the head of AKA, Dr. Glover is recognized for donating “$1.6 million on behalf of the group to 32 HBCUs and gifted $100,000 to Bennett College, which was in danger of losing its accreditation.” A few months later, the sorority established a $100,000 endowment at TSU, with an initial contribution of $25,000.

In September, Dr. Glover and the sorority raised $1 million in a 24-hour campaign for HBCUs through an initiative called AKA HBCU Impact Day. The funds are used to provide financial assistance and help secure fiscal sustainability and success for TSU and all four-year HBCUs.

AKA HBCU Impact Day is part of a four-year $10 million fundraising goal by the sorority to establish an endowment on each campus. Money raised through the initiative will assist in providing financial support to these schools over the next three years.

Donors can still make contributions by texting AKAHBCU to 44321, giving by mail or online at http://aka1908.com/hbcus/donate-hbcu.

In addition to the field of education and service, those making the list come from diverse professional backgrounds. This includes social justice to politics to entertainment. Others on the list are Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Simone Biles, Gayle King and Ava DuVernay. Visit www.essence.com/news/2019-woke-100/ to view the full list.

Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.