All posts by Lucas Johnson

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

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.

New Student Veterans Center, decorated soldier highlight TSU Veterans Day Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University announced the grand opening of its Student Veterans Center at a Veterans Day program on Monday that featured a generational soldier with four Bronze Star Medals.

Lt. Col. Bernard House speaks at TSU Veterans Day program. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

The program was on TSU’s Avon Williams Campus, which is where the new center will be housed. A ribbon cutting for the new center was held following an observance ceremony for all service men and women.  

TSU President Glenda Glover was among the program’s speakers and lauded all those individuals who sacrifice their lives for this nation.

“Thank you for answering the call to duty,” said Dr. Glover. “TSU is honored to have this program to salute our heroes.”

Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, commended TSU for its new Student Veterans Center, saying “combining military service with higher education is the ultimate combination.”

“The TSU Student Veterans Center … is going to become an incredible hub for student veterans at our state’s land-grant university, which is leading the way in engineering and agriculture,” said Krause, a veteran Bronze Star recipient. “What better way to create leaders in those fields than to bring those who have already served, and say hey, we’re going to make you a TSU Tiger as well.”

The program’s keynote speaker, Lt. Col. Bernard House, agreed.

TSU President Glenda Glover (2nd from left), Lt. Col. Bernard House (far left), THEC executive director Mike Krause (3rd from left), TSU alum and state Rep. Harold Love, Jr., and Lt. Col. Nick Callaway, commander of TSU’s AFROTC Det. 790. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“With thousands of soldiers transitioning out of the military annually, it is great to see the dedication by the university to ensure a smooth transition for our veterans,” said House of TSU, which is a certified Vets Campus. “As a nation and as a military, we must remain committed to taking care of our veterans.“

The program also honored Vietnam Veterans. House’s father was a noncommissioned officer in the 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment during the Vietnam War. Coincidentally, House commanded the 3rd Battalion of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment during his deployment to Iraq to support Operation Inherent Resolve.

“I actually got a chance to command the same regiment that my father served in in Vietnam,” said House, who has been in the Army 22 years and received four Bronze Star Medals, six Meritorious Service Medals and the Combat Action Badge, among other awards.

“So this is an extreme honor for me to be able to speak. Not only to recognize the veterans, but to focus on Vietnam Veterans. And because my father served in Vietnam, it’s also a way for me to honor him.”

Dr. Evelyn Nettles, associate vice president for Academic Affairs at TSU, spearheaded formation of the center. She said before the program that the center’s mission is to “provide support for military and veteran students as they transition from their military duty to enrollment and matriculation at the university.”

Student Vet Joseph Hart receives “Quilt of Valor.” (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“This ensures that these students have a voice in their university experience and are inspired to achieve success in their classes and in the broader community,” she added.

Gwen Falin is the veteran prior learning assessment coordinator at TSU. A veteran herself , she said “it’s important for student veterans to have the opportunity to connect with other student veterans.”

“Veterans in general are a small population,” said Falin, who helped start the center. “And then when you attend school, it’s not uncommon for student veterans to be older than their classmates. If they are seeking out other veteran students, they have a place to do so.”

TSU student veteran Joseph Hart retired from the Army after 23 years and is currently a senior majoring in liberal arts. He said fellow vets at the university will benefit from the center.

“I love the fact that we have the Veterans Center,” said Hart, who was honored with a “Quilt of Valor” during the program for his three tours of duty in Middle Eastern conflicts. “It’s really great to know that we’re being recognized as soldiers.”

Members of TSU AFROTC Det. 790. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Last year, TSU implemented a program that allows veterans to count military training for credit hours when they enroll at the university. The program is part of the state of Tennessee’s Veteran Reconnect initiative.

For more information about veteran services at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/vets/.

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 to show award-winning documentary about threats to honeybees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is providing a free screening of an award-winning documentary about the threats to honeybees and other pollinators.

The film, called “The Pollinators,” will be shown on Wednesday, November 6, at 6:30 p.m. in The Forum auditorium in TSU’s Floyd-Payne Campus Center. TSU is one of four college campuses across the state selected to show the film.

“The Pollinators” follows migratory beekeepers and their truckloads of honeybees around the United States and sheds light on some of the threats to the bees’ survival, such as pesticides and other chemicals, according to a synopsis of the film. 

The filmmakers talk to farmers, scientists, chefs and academics along the way to give a broad perspective about the problem, what it means to food security, and how to improve it.

“More than anything, this film is about awareness,” says Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture. “The reality is, we’re losing the bees, and we have to find ways to save them.”

“The Pollinators” has been selected by 25 national and international film festivals and has been honored as “Best Documentary” at seven of them.

Following the film on Wednesday, there will be a panel discussion and Q&A. The panel will include several TSU Ag officials, as well as representatives from the Nashville Area Beekeepers Association.

To see the trailer, visit https://us.demand.film/the-pollinators/.

Note: Featured photo courtesy of Peter Nelson

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-Apple coding initiative seeks to spark girls’ interest in STEM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is partnering with Apple, Inc. to teach middle and high school girls how to code, as well as consider careers in STEM.

Youth from ages 8 to 18 will get an opportunity to experience coding at a free camp Nov. 2, 9 and 16 in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex (The Barn) on the main campus. Parents are asked to have their children at each event by 9 a.m. Lunch will also be provided.

In July, TSU launched HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Create,” a national initiative supported by Apple, which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) 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 girls coding camp is an extension of the initiative.

“We want to empower young girls to code and create, and understand their capabilities of being an innovator in the field of STEM,” says Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and program director for the coding initiative. 

Dr. Veronica Johnson is president of the Metro Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., which is partnering with TSU and Apple. She says black women and girls are “vastly underrepresented” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as performing arts.

“By exposing STEAM projects at an early age, it could help increase their chances of exploring these fields, as they pursue academic degrees and seek future career opportunities,” says Johnson. “Having access to develop needed skill sets to survive in the 21st digital landscape will be critical to the economic impact of the future of black communities.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, says the camp is also beneficial to the participants’ parents, or guardians.

“The program also informs parents and adults about the digital world of information technology, and how as individuals you can take control of your learning and knowledge based on your own needs and career goals,” says Hargrove. “The ability to manage information and make data-driven decisions will continue to be a major skill for today and tomorrow’s workforce”

During the girls coding camp, Melton says participants will move around to different stations where they will learn basic coding principles, and “actually code drones and robots to move and function.”

Eleven-year-old Evangeline Davis-Ramos of New York has participated in a similar coding camp, and says she’s glad to see Tennessee State providing such an opportunity for girls her age and older.

“I believe the girls coding camp will be very beneficial,” says Davis-Ramos. “I like building things, and coding helps take ideas I imagine and make them real.”

Melton says the HBCU C2 initiative puts TSU on the forefront of embracing STEM, and she credits the university’s partnership with Apple with being key to its success.

Dr. Robbie Melton works with students at “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth in July. (TSU Media Relations)

TSU has been charged with strengthening the collaboration by offering the company’s coding curriculum to new audiences. That expansion also includes providing TSU alums the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of app design and app development for free.

“Apple provides an approach to introduce coding and creativity in a nonthreatening manner,” says Melton. “You have children coding. You have seniors coding, and the fact that we have over a thousand people from high school to senior citizens wanting to code and create is phenomenal.”

Also in July, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon Williams Campus. The initiative is also part of the National Center for Smart Technology Innovations.

For more information about the girls coding camp, contact ablack1@tnstate.edu, or call 615-963-7269.

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 health sciences students and experts address national vaping problem, bring community awareness

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University health sciences students and public health experts are doing their part to bring awareness to the vaping problem that’s sweeping the nation.

Dr. Wendelyn Inman

Students majoring in cardio respiratory care offered free screenings on campus Oct. 23 and talked about the dangers of vaping and use of tobacco, which health experts say can lead to cardiovascular disease.

The screenings and awareness are expected to continue monthly, on campus and in the community.

“I have friends that vape, and I tell them how horrible it is for them,” says Koheen Babily, a junior from Nashville who plans to be a respiratory therapist. “It’s bad for the lungs. I see 16-year-olds vaping, and they don’t realize the damage they’re doing that will affect them when they’re older.”

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, two Tennesseans have died from a vaping-related lung illness. So far, the state has had more than 50 reports of vaping-associated respiratory illness. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control reports 33 people have died from vap- ing-related lung illnesses.

TSU experts say one way to address the problem is through regulation.

“Regulation is the key to oftentimes controlling the severity of the problem,” says Dr. Wendelyn Inman, associate professor and interim MPH program director at Tennessee State. “When we’re looking at vaping, we’re looking at safety issues of the mechanisms of the vaping machinery.”

Student Di’Andre Carter, a senior majoring in cardio respiratory care, screens a patient. (Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

Brenda Batts, assistant professor and director of clinical education at TSU, agrees. 

“The concern has always been that it’s not regulated, it’s never been regulated, so a lot of times people don’t know what chemicals are actually in the liquids that they’re inhaling,” says Batts.

The screenings provided by Batts and her students include checking for hypertension, a cardiovascular problem.

“Vaping can cause damage to the lungs, which in turn damages the heart, which leads to hypertension and heart failure,” adds Batts.

E-cigarettes vaporize a flavored liquid rather than burning tobacco. With every inhalation, a sensor triggers a vaporizer to heat a small amount of liquid flavoring. The liquid turns to vapor and is drawn into the user’s mouth.

KaBria Kirkham, a junior majoring in cardio respiratory care, recently wrote an article on vaping. She says it’s important to educate people so that they understand the components of vaping and the harm certain additives can cause.

“It’s important to know what’s in it,” says Kirkham, of Springfield, Illinois. “They shouldn’t be able to sell vaping pins anywhere until they find out exactly what it is that’s harming people.”

Assistant Professor Brenda Batts talks to a student. (Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

The CDC has not identified a cause of the illnesses, though it says 78 percent of patients reported using THC-containing products in the three months before their symptoms developed.

The agency has advised people to stop vaping products that contain THC oil and other additives like Vitamin E acetate, which has been repeatedly connected to the illness outbreak.

At least seven states have banned vaping. The Tennessee Medical Association says it supports a ban of the vaping products, but would prefer policies that require more extensive examination of what’s causing the vaping illnesses and deaths.

To learn more about electronic cigarettes, visit https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/index.htm.

For more information on TSU’s College of Health Sciences, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/.

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.

Thousands participate in TSU Homecoming activities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Thousands of people participated in Tennessee State University’s 2019 Homecoming activities, including the annual parade leading up to the big game.

The Tigers’ 26-24 victory over the Austin Peay Governors on Saturday, Oct. 19, was a fitting end to weeklong events that started on Oct. 13 with the Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, TSU President Glenda Glover, TSU alum and State Sen. Brenda Gilmore (far left), and State Rep. Harold Love Jr. (far left), also a TSU alum, at Homecoming game. (TSU Media Relations)

The highlight of the day leading up to the Saturday afternoon game was the parade, which featured former TSU football player Christion Abercrombie. He was selected as the Special Presidential Grand Marshal. It was the Atlanta native’s first Homecoming weekend after suffering a life-altering head injury during a 2018 football game against Vanderbilt University.

Earl Jones, a 1973 graduate of TSU, was among the many people who lined Jefferson Street in north Nashville to see the parade that started on 14th and Jefferson and ended at 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard.

Jones, who brought his wife and two great-granddaughters, says he hopes the little girls will continue the legacy and attend TSU.

“That’s what it’s all about, carrying on tradition,” said Jones.

Before the game, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee got things started with the coin toss. He was joined by State Sen. Brenda Gilmore and State Rep. Harold Love , Jr., both TSU alums.

Then early in the game, there was a somewhat solemn moment when a  brief period of silence was held for TSU student Rickey Scott, who authorities say died from a gunshot wound.

SGA leaders on Homecoming parade float. (TSU Media Relations)

Besides Abercrombie, other grand marshals were: Ola Hudson, retired teacher and administrator with the Metro Nashville Public Schools; Obie McKenzie, senior relationship manager for top investment firm BlackRock; and Donald Whitehead, retired journalist and broadcaster.

The honorees were: Samuel Abernathy, retired assistant professor and assistant track and field coach with renowned Tigerbelle coach Ed. Temple; Howard Gentry, Criminal Court Clerk for Davidson County and former TSU director of athletics; and Edna Overall, former TSU women’s basketball coach.

Another major highlight of TSU’s homecoming was the Annual Scholarship Gala, TSU’s signature fundraising event, which took place on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Music City Center. This year, the gala welcomed back comedian Jonathan Slocumb as the master of ceremony. 

“The Scholarship Gala is a wonderful opportunity for Tennessee State University to enhance meaningful relationships with alumni, loyal friends and community partners on behalf of our student scholars,” Gala chairs Iris Ramey, Cassandra Griggs and Seanne Wilson said in a statement. “The Gala provides the critical funds necessary to meet the significant need for student scholarships, as well as ensure students have access to relevant academic programs that prepare them for an innovative and global marketplace.”

Other Homecoming activities this year included the Coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU; the Breakfast of Champions, the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, and the National Pan-Hellenic Step Show.

TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands performs during halftime of Homecoming game. (TSU Media Relations)

To see a story television station Channel 5 (WTVF) did on the Homecoming parade, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wjwf49nlRg8&feature=youtu.be.

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 kicks off 2019 Homecoming with 32nd annual Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University kicked off this year’s Homecoming with the 32nd 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.

TSU President Glenda Glover (2nd from right) with contest chairperson Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell (far left) with freshman winners Akyra McDougal, Janae Williams and Ter’niciah James; and Mrs. Robert Murrell (far right). (Photo by Lalita Hodge, TSU Media Relations)

There were 26 participants this year. The freshman winners were: Akyra O. McDougal, 1st place; Janae Williams, 2nd place; and Ter’niciah L. James, 3rd place. In the upperclassman division, Sarah Sulewski claimed 1st place; Ashanti Holland, 2nd; Trey Gibson, 3rd; and Sydni Daniels received a $200 bookstore gift certificate for 4thplace.

Before the contest, TSU President Glenda Glover thanked the students for their participation, and lauded their courage and talent.

“What better way to start Homecoming than to have our magnificent students display their talents,” said Dr. Glover. “I’m proud of each participant for sharing in this event, and for the fortitude and determination to play such a significant role today.”

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.

“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: “Unleash the Pride of the Tiger!”

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 Kirk Franklin, James Fortune, and Koryn Hawthorn. TSU alum and gospel legend Dr. Bobby Jones received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other Homecoming highlights throughout the week include the Coronation of Mr. and Miss TSU, Oct. 16; Ralph Boston Golf Tournament, Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Symposium, and Homecoming Concert, Oct. 17; and the Greek Step Show and the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, Oct. 18.

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 Melvin Crispell III, the ninth-season winner of BET’s Sunday Best. Proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships are used to provide financial assistance to students.

Homecoming will conclude Oct. 19 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 Austin Peay Governors at Nissan Stadium.

To see all Homecoming activities, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/documents/HomecomingSchedule.pdf.

Note: In featured photo, TSU President Glenda Glover (4th from left) with contest chairperson Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell (far left) with upperclassman winners Sara Sulewski, Trey Gibson, Ashanti Holland and Sydni Daniels; and Mrs. Murrell (far right). (Photo by Lalita Hodge, TSU Media Relations)

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.