All posts by Lucas Johnson

TSU to become first HBCU to open student-run physical therapy/occupational therapy clinic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will soon become the first historically black institution to have a student-run physical therapy/occupational therapy clinic.

The clinic, which is part of the College of Health Sciences, opens Aug. 30 and will be located in the basement of Clement Hall on the main campus. It will mainly handle cases like knee injuries, shoulder pain, and lower back pain. The more serious cases will be referred out to local clinics.

Doctoral student Janae Swift next to rendering of new Health Sciences Building. (TSU Media Relations)

With the original goal of servicing the community, TSU students, faculty and staff will be the initial patients. The clinic will serve as a referral source for physical and occupational therapy clinics in the area.

Dr. Rick Clark, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at TSU, will oversee the program, which joins 37 other student-run physical therapy clinics nationwide. Clark said the fact that the clinic is student-run is what he likes most about it.

“It’s a teaching opportunity for them,” said Clark, who was in the military for 25 years and ran multiple clinics. “I want them to not only be great therapists, but if they want to go out and start their own clinic, they now have a better understanding of what is involved in doing that.”

Clark added that the clinic’s “primary emphasis is on outpatient orthopedic and sports injuries with the ability to treat neurological conditions on a case-by-case bases.”

Janae Swift of Memphis is in her second year of TSU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. She is a POTUS (Preparing our Tomorrows Uniquely in STEM) and heads the12-member board of students who will operate the clinic. Swift said she plans to operate her own facility one day.

“This is an amazing experience,” she said. “I love the opportunity to serve, to give back, especially to the faculty and students, and the TSU community as a whole.”

Dr. Ronald Barredo, Dean of the College of Health Sciences, said he’s looking forward to the impact of the new clinic.

Dr. Rick Clark works with physical therapy equipment. (TSU Media Relations)

“I think it will help tremendously with regard to the local community, our campus community,” Barredo said. “The clinic would not have been possible without the support of TSU’s POTUS Fellows program, which aims to provide POTUS Fellows with opportunities that will empower them to excel in their academic programs. The plans are, once this gets into full gear, we want to extend this outward to the community; to provide care for the underserved, uninsured and underinsured.”

Clark gave a special thanks to Dr. Andrea Tyler, Director of Graduate STEM Research.

“Without her support through grant funding, the program would not be possible,” he said.

TSU is currently constructing a new state-of-the-art Health Sciences Building that’s expected to be complete next year, and the physical therapy/occupational therapy clinic will be part of it.  

“This project will not only bring together a number of excellent programs under one roof – Nursing, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Cardiorespiratory Care, and Health Information Management – but will also be a hub for collaborative practice, community service, and clinical research,” Barredo said.

The new clinic will join the Department of Dental Hygiene and the Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology as a community outreach health care clinic. The dental clinic currently provides service to nearly 600 patients a year, including faculty and students, as well as the Nashville community.

For more information about 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.

TSU New Farmer Academy highlights hemp production

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Prospective farmers from across the country learned about hemp production at Tennessee State University’s New Farmer Academy on Monday.

The Academy class, the only one of its kind in Tennessee, meets at the Pavilion Agricultural Research and Education Center (The Farm) near the main campus.

Finis Stribling, TSU area extension specialist and Academy coordinator, speaks to participants about hemp. (TSU Media Relations)

Participants come together the third Monday in each month over seven months and cover topics that include agricultural leadership and regulations, financial planning, hydroponics and irrigation, and organic production.

On Aug. 19, there was a special discussion about hemp, the new cash crop in Tennessee and abroad. According to recent licensing data, about 4,000 Tennessee farmers and businesses are licensed to grow hemp or cannabidiol (CBD). Collectively, that’s about 40,000 acres of hemp across the state.

Finis Stribling is the Academy’s coordinator and a TSU area extension specialist. He said some of the farmers in his class have already started producing hemp, and others are curious.

“It’s a niche crop that can be utilized for small scale farmers,” Stribling said. “A lot of farmers are growing an acre, half-acre, or quarter-acre just to gain some experience.”

Stribling said part of the discussion on Monday will involve economic data on hemp, such as, “how much money it would take to grow an acre of hemp.”

For instance, a license to grow a minimum of 1 to 5 acres of hemp costs $250.

Karla Kean is the TSU extension agent for horticulture and small farms in Montgomery County. She was one of the hemp presenters at the Academy class, which wraps up next month.

She urged those interested in growing hemp to learn as much as they can about it, and start with a small amount of acres if they haven’t farmed or gardened before.

Products made from hemp. (TSU College of Agriculture)

“Make sure you’ve done your research,” she said. “There’s a lot more to learn about it, more so than a commodity crop like soybeans or corn.”

Ashley Richmond of Chicago has been traveling to Nashville each month to attend the Academy. A Nashville native, she and her family have a 10-acre farm in Cross Plains, Tennessee. They use one acre for hemp.

Richmond said one of the main reasons she’s interested in hemp is because some of the senior members of her family currently use it for medicinal purposes.

“Just seeing some aging family members around me who have issues with pain,” she said. “So I thought it was a good idea to get into the industry myself. It provides help for people who are in my life.”

Tennessee State is among the nation’s leaders in hemp research. TSU’s College of Agriculture has hosted several hemp workshops, and has charged a team of scientists to develop hemp production practices for Tennessee. The research projects include developing hemp nutritional products for human consumption and studying the economic viability of hemp production. Currently, the university is growing and evaluating 10 varieties of hemp.

For more information 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 Professor Janice M. Williams receives prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Professor Janice M. Williams has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to South Africa in Dental Sciences.

Prof. Williams will lecture in the dental therapy program at the University of KwaZulu Natal as part of a project to teach students and train faculty on the integration of hybrid and online learning curriculum.

“I am very excited to receive this Fulbright Scholar Award,” Williams said. “It will ultimately help fulfill my lifelong aspiration of traveling the world and exposing myself to different cultures in hope of becoming a better me.”

Prof. Williams is one of over 800 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and/or provide expertise abroad for the 2019-2020 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

“The College of Health Sciences is extremely proud of Prof. Williams’ accomplishment,” said Dr. Ronald Barredo, dean of the College. “As a Fulbright Scholar, she not only exemplifies the College’s vision of preparing tomorrow’s health care leaders, but also embodies the university’s motto Think, Work, Serve.”

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all disciplines, while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 84 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

To learn more about 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.

New TSU Tigers begin college experience on freshman Move-in Days

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When incoming Tennessee State University freshman Natoriya Owens arrived for Move-in Day, the Memphis native brought a positive attitude, and enough generational wisdom to last her college career.

“I’m honored to have my family here, to learn from their different experiences,” said Owens, who made the trip with her father, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

TSU President Glenda Glover (far right) with incoming freshman Natoriya Owens and her family. (TSU Media Relations).

Said Lillie Standard, the eldest of the group: “I want her to keep her head in the books, keep up good grades, and get the best education she can get.”

That sentiment was undoubtedly shared by the families of the nearly 1,300 freshmen who moved on TSU’s campus Aug. 13 and 14. This was the second year the event took place over two days.

TSU officials said the change was intended to shorten wait time and make processing easier for students, parents and volunteers. The first move-in on Tuesday, Aug. 13, was limited to all-female Wilson Hall, the largest residence hall on campus. The rest of the move-ins took place the next day.

During both days, more than 200 volunteers, including student organizations, alumni, staff and friends helped to move luggage, boxes of personal belongings and other items, while others pointed out directions and manned water and refreshment stations for the new residents.

TSU football players help with move-in. (TSU Media Relations)

“We want to do all we can to help them get acclimated,” said Yolanda Cato, a residence hall director at the university.

Beyonce Bailey moved in the first day. The nursing major from Chicago said the good customer service was one of the reasons she chose TSU.

“I like the environment,” said Bailey, who visited the university during her spring break. “It just feels like home. “

Darren Evans Jr., also from Chicago, made the drive to Nashville the second day with five other members of his family.

His mother, Cathena, said her son also decided to become a Big Blue Tiger after visiting TSU earlier this summer.

“We were so impressed with the faculty and staff, the family environment,” she said. “He was going to go to another university, and we made the decision over the summer to come here based on that experience.”

Darren Evans, Jr., front center, a first-time freshman, made the trip from hometown Chicago with five members of his family. From left are aunt, Zelda Matthews; sister, Ayana Evans; cousin, Zachary Matthews; mother, Cathena Evans; and father, Darren Evans, Sr. (TSU Media Relations)

“I felt at home,” added Darren Evans, who will be majoring in agriculture with a focus on animal science.

Beatrice Marchmon of Akron, Ohio, said TSU has a good reputation, and she’s pleased her granddaughter, Brianna Boykin, decided to attend.

“We feel from what we’ve heard, and we know a number of grads from here, that this school is going to make sure that, if she does what she needs to, that she’s going to be successful,” Marchmon said.

Another arrival on Wednesday was Tupac Moseley, who made national headlines earlier this summer. Moseley was homeless his senior year, but managed to graduate valedictorian of his class, and receive more than $3 million in scholarship offers.  

TSU President Glenda Glover personally led a team of senior university officials to Memphis and presented Moseley with a full-ride scholarship, including housing and a meal plan. 

“For the president herself to drive down to one of the schools to actually assist a student personally, one-on-one, it’s just mind blowing to me,” said Moseley, who will major in engineering.

Tupac Moseley and his sister, Jasmine. (TSU Media Relations)

In 2017, TSU implemented higher admission standards to attract quality students. At the same time, the university began initiatives to improve retention and graduation rates, such as increasing the number of coaches to help students with their personal and educational goals.

In June, TSU announced it 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 last legislative session, and approved by state lawmakers. 

To see a story by television station Channel 5 (WTVF) on the move-ins, visit https://www.newschannel5.com/news/hundreds-of-first-year-students-move-into-tsu-dorms.

To learn more about enrolling at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/emss/.

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.

Dr. McDonald Williams, first director of the University Honors Program, remembered

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. McDonald Williams, the first director of the University Honors Program, may be gone. But Tennessee State University officials and students say his legacy continues.  

Williams, who was 101 when he passed on Aug. 11, was director of the then-Honors Program at TSU for 23 years before retiring in 1988. He also spent 30 years at the university serving as a professor of English.

Dr. McDonald Williams

“The TSU family is saddened at the passing of Dr. McDonald Williams, and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Dr. Jamye Williams and the rest of the family,” said Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover. “Many of our outstanding alumni attribute their success to the Williams’, and especially Dr. Williams as the director of the University Honors Program for 23 years. His contributions to TSU will never be forgotten, and his legacy will always resonate throughout our institution.”

Barbara Murrell, retired vice president of Student Affairs at TSU, agreed.

“He was one of the most respected, admired and appreciated members of the Tennessee State University family and the Nashville community,” she said. “His legacy as an academician continues to inspire generations through the TSU Honors College.”

In 1963, Dr. Walter S. Davis, who was president of Tennessee State at the time, appointed a committee that was charged with studying Honors programs and determining the feasibility of establishing one at the university.

After completing its investigation, the committee recommended that TSU keep pace with many other universities throughout the country. As a result, an Honors program for freshman students was started in the fall of 1964. Sophomore through senior level course work was added yearly throughout 1968, which was the first year a student graduated with “University Honors;” a distinction now reserved for those students who successfully complete the requirements of the University Honors College, which was officially given its collegiate designation in 2016.

Dr. Coreen Jackson, interim dean of the Honors College, said Williams “laid the cornerstone of academic excellence and the standard for which this program was built upon.”

“He had a vision for where the program needed to go and subsequent directors have carried that vision forward,” Jackson said.

TSU President Glenda Glover (center) with Dr. McDonald Williams, and his wife, Dr. Jamye Coleman Williams. (Submitted photo)

At an Honors Convocation in March of this year, about 2,340 TSU students with grade point averages of 3.0 or higher were recognized. Of that number, 283 were on the President’s List. Those students maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout their matriculation.

Orica Kutten is currently in the Honors College and is the recipient of a scholarship named after Williams. She said she’s grateful for the scholarship, and all that Williams did to help make the College what it is today.

“He should be celebrated for all the good he has done,” said Kutten, a senior biology major who lives in Nashville.

Honors student Jerry Kibet of Kenya said Williams laid a foundation that allows “students to realize their potential.”

“His legacy has impacted me to be a better person,” said Kibet, who is majoring in aeronautical and industrial technology. “When other students see me, and the way I carry myself, they want to be a part of this, the Honors College.”

Williams and his wife, Dr. Jamye Coleman Williams, who spent 14 years as the head of TSU’s Department of Communication, were honored at the Scholarship Gala during Homecoming in 2014.

In tandem, the Williams’ co-edited the 1970 publication, The Negro Speaks: The Rhetoric of Contemporary Black Leaders. They have also been co-recipients of numerous accolades and awards, including the 2002 Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award by the Community Foundation.

Funeral services for Dr. Williams will be in Atlanta and Nashville.

A public viewing and visitation with the family will be on Thursday, Aug. 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Murray Brothers Funeral Home, 1199 Utoy Springs Rd., SW, in Atlanta. The funeral will be held on Friday, Aug. 16, at 11 a.m. at Big Bethel AME Church, 220 Auburn Ave., NE, in Atlanta.

In Nashville, a public viewing will be held on Sunday, Aug. 18, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Lewis & Wright Funeral Directors, 2500 Clarksville Pike. The interment will be on Monday, Aug. 19, at 11 a.m. at Historic Greenwood Cemetery, 1428 Elm Hill Pike.

To learn more about the University Honors College, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/honors/about/.

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.

Camp seeks to spark youth interest in multibillion-dollar drone industry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The use of drones is a growing multibillion-dollar industry, and Tennessee State University is preparing youth to be part of it.

The university hosted a camp July 22-26 to teach youth about drones, such as how they’re impacting the world, and how to fly them.

Camp participant Christopher Jones enjoying drone flight. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“We want them to see how drones are becoming the future of aviation,” said Dr. Melissa Riley, a commercial flight instructor and professor in the Aerospace Engineering Technology Department at TSU. “And how they can have a career in that.”

Reports show the commercial drone industry is continuing to grow, and that the market is forecast to be worth $127 billion by 2020.

“And it’s just going to keep expanding,” said Rashad Bailey, coordinator of the drone camp. “This is the ground floor, and I hope these kids will get engaged now.”

Thirteen-year-old Glennwood Walker said he’s considering becoming a physical therapist, but he’s also interested in being a drone pilot, and he enjoyed the camp.

“This program is a fun environment for kids who want to learn about drones, or coding,” Walker said. “Drones is definitely something I’m considering.”

During the camp, participants learned how to program drones, as well as some basic rules of air space. They also got a chance to spend some time in TSU’s flight simulator at John C. Tune Airport.

“We wanted to kind of give them an overall experience,” Riley said.

The camp is one of several initiatives TSU has started to expose youth, and individuals of all ages, to new technology – particularly coding.

The week of the camp, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its downtown Avon William Campus.

Camp participant Cindy Nguyen flies her drone. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

The initiative is part of the newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the “HBCU C2 Presidential Academy” to bring coding and creativity opportunities to students across HBCU campuses, as well as Nashville students. The Academy, which is supported by tech giant Apple, was launched the week before.

Leaders of 14 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) – including Tennessee State – from across the country attended the Academy and came away with knowledge and skills in coding and app development from Apple’s comprehensive coding curriculum.

As part of the initiative, TSU is also working with Metro Nashville Public Schools, Motlow State Community College and the Metropolitan Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. to expand coding opportunities to other students in the community.

To learn more about HBCU C2, 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 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.

Hundreds of new freshmen get an overview of TSU at orientation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 450 freshmen attended a recent orientation to learn about the “land of golden sunshine.”

The July 20 orientation was the last of three such events over the summer. Altogether, TSU officials said more than 1,100 freshmen attended the three orientations. One more new student orientation is scheduled Aug. 14 for freshmen and transfer students.

Freshmen attend July 20 orientation. (Submitted photo)

Tiffany Bellafant Steward, assistant vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Success, said the orientations allowed students to learn about academic expectations and curriculum; receive academic advisement and fall course schedules; attend presentations on residence life, student activities, student conduct, and technology services; complete parking, student ID, and postal services processes; and tour the campus, including visiting the freshmen residence halls.  

“The Office of First-Year Students offered a seamless onboarding experience for our new students and their families,” Steward said.

Donjalle Boatright of Nashville said she’s looking forward to being a Big Blue Tiger, and that the orientation she attended was beneficial.

“I liked the atmosphere,” said the 18-year-old. “The staff was really nice, and helpful.”

Katherine White, Boatright’s mother, agreed.

“It was great,” White said. “It was very informative. It gave us an insight into what our child will be experiencing.”

One of the July 20 freshman attendees was Tupac Moseley, who made national headlines earlier this summer. Moseley was homeless his senior year, but managed to graduate valedictorian of his class, and receive more than $3 million in scholarship offers.  

TSU President Glenda Glover personally led a team of senior university officials to Memphis and presented Moseley with a full-ride scholarship, including housing and a meal plan. 

“For the president herself to drive down to one of the schools to actually assist a student personally, one-on-one, to take him or her up there for a visit, it’s just mind blowing to me,” said Moseley, who will major in engineering.

In 2017, TSU implemented higher admission standards to attract quality students. At the same time, the university began initiatives to improve retention and graduation rates, such as increasing the number of coaches to help students with their personal and educational goals.

Last month, TSU announced it will receive $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 recent legislative session, and approved by state lawmakers. 

To learn more about enrolling at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/emss/.

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.

Tennessee State University, Apple host national coding academy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has launched a national initiative that seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and underserved communities. 

TSU hosted the inaugural HBCU C2 Presidential Academy July 14-19 through its newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations. HBCU C2 will bring coding and creativity opportunities to students across HBCU campuses and to a broad group of students across Nashville.

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

TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover (center); Dr. Alisha Mosley, interim Vice President of Academic Affairs (left); and Dr. Robbie Melton, the initiative’s facilitator, talk to media before kickoff. (TSU Media Relations)

 Leaders of 14 historically black colleges and universities – including Tennessee State – from across the country came away from the Academy with knowledge and skills in coding and app development from Apple’s comprehensive coding curriculum, which utilizes its popular Swift programming language.

“Tennessee State University is proud to host this great initiative as we give HBCU students and Nashville public schools access to this opportunity to expand their knowledge and gain important workforce development skills,” said TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover. “Coding and app development are a growing part of the global workforce, and we want to help make sure people of color, especially our students, are equipped with the knowledge and skills to be competitive, and successful.”

The HBCUs that were part of the first cohort include: Arkansas Baptist College, Bethune-Cookman University, Dillard University, Fisk University, Fort Valley State University, Lincoln University-Missouri, Morehouse College, Norfolk State University, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University Shreveport Louisiana, Texas Southern University, Wilberforce University and Xavier University of Louisiana.

Participants at the Academy included HBCU presidents, faculty members, IT staff and STEM students interested in becoming app developers.

Program participants showcase apps. (TSU Media Relations)

“I think this program is phenomenal,” said Dr. Sharron Herron-Williams, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at Southern University. “We have a reputation as HBCUs for taking people from where they are, to where they want to be in life. And it is my belief, that by participating in this program, this is only going to expand our territory.”

TSU business administration major Ahmad Richardson agreed. The junior from Memphis was returning a book to the campus library when he saw signs about coding and inquired about it.

“I talked to two ladies who told me more, and asked if I’d like to join,” recalled Richardson, who plans to start his own business.  “And I said, I’d love to. It’s a real opportunity to be able to create something new, to add my own flavor.”

TSU is also working with Apple, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Motlow State Community College and the Metropolitan Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. to expand coding opportunities to other students in the community.

“We want students of all ages and background to have the opportunity to pursue coding and creativity,” said Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s interim Dean of Graduates and Professional Studies, and the initiative’s main facilitator. “That’s why TSU is working side-by-side with Metro Nashville Public Schools to empower students from Pre-K through workforce and align curricula to make it even easier for students to learn to code and get credit for that effort.”

Dr. Douglas Renfro is executive director of learning technology and library services at MNPS. He says coding provides “opportunities for students that they had not seen before.”

Participants discuss the app they developed. (TSU Media Relations)

“We’re also showing students you don’t have to necessarily have a four-year degree to get started in life,” said Renfro. “This can become a way that you can boost yourself up, find your interest, and then maybe go get your four-year degree, or your two-year degree.”

As part of the new initiative, students who complete a Swift coding course at Motlow State Community College will be able to seamlessly transition to TSU or other four-year degree programs.

“We are excited to be part of this national effort to expand coding opportunities to students and teachers, and we can’t wait to see the amazing things our community can do with these new skills,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, and one of the coding trainers.

Apple is supporting TSU with equipment, scholarships and professional development to help the university launch its HBCU C2 initiative.

“Students of all backgrounds should have the opportunity to learn to code,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.

“We are thrilled to be working with Tennessee State University to support their new initiative to bring coding and creativity to underrepresented groups across the broader Nashville community and to HBCUs nationwide.”

To learn more about HBCU C2, 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 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 remembers famed alum and most iconic female track and field star, Wilma Rudolph

Kelli Sharpe contributing writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University joined the world in remembering alumna Wilma Glodean Rudolph, the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympiad. She also galvanized the country and made the world take notice as the first African American female to accomplish this feat. 

 Rudolph would have been 79 on Sunday, June 23. But even in death, her legacy lives on. 

“We are so very blessed to have had the great Olympic Champion and former Tigerbelle Wilma Rudolph attend and graduate from Tennessee State University,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Ms. Rudolph’s determination and accomplishments, on and off the track field, continue to inspire young people today. She will always be remembered as a global icon and a trailblazer in her sport as a record-setting gold medalist, and TSU is proud to be a part of Wilma’s amazing history as we celebrate her.” 

Wilma Rudolph (2nd from left top), TSU track and field coach Ed Temple (3rd from left), and Ralph Boston (5th from left), with Tigerbelle members. (TSU archives)

 As a child, Rudolph battled double pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio. Problems with her leg forced her to wear a leg brace. But she overcame her illnesses, and eventually, her disability through intense physical therapy, and her mother’s support. 

 “My doctors told me I would never walk again,” Rudolph said in an interview. “My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.”

 She did way more than walk. In 1958, Rudolph enrolled at then Tennessee A&I and joined the famed Tigerbelles, under legendary track and field coach Ed Temple. 

As a sophomore, Rudolph competed in the U.S. Olympic track and field trials at Abilene Christian University, in Texas, where she set a world record in the 200-meter dash. With that performance, she also qualified for the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, and soon made history. 

Rudolph competed in three events on a cinder track in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico: the 100- and 200-meter sprints, as well as the 4 × 100-meter relay. She won a gold medal in each of the three events, and immediately rose to international fame. 

TSU alumnus Ralph Boston, who won a gold medal in the long jump competition at the 1960 Olympics as well, said he and Rudolph won their medals less than 15 minutes apart. Boston said he still marvels at her perseverance.

“Here’s a person who couldn’t walk, and then becomes at the time the greatest sprinter that ever lived,” Boston said. 

 He said Rudolph had many admirers, including boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who was very fond of her. Boston said they met Ali while in Rome, and he stayed in contact with them afterward, even making several stops at TSU to see them on his way to training camp in Miami. Boston fondly recalls the champ mainly wanted to see Rudolph. 

TSU Olympians Ralph Boston and Wilma Rudolph hang out with up and coming boxing legend Muhammad Ali during one of his visits to Tennessee State University. (TSU archives)

 “He had brashness, but he was always very cordial,” Boston said of Ali.

Former Tigerbelle Edith McGuire Duvall said she first met Rudolph right before she went to the Olympics in 1960. She said the accomplishment of Rudolph, and the other track and field TSU Tigers, was inspirational. 

 “To have met them that summer, and then they went to the Olympics and won gold medals, it made me want to be a part of that,” said Duvall, who went on to win a gold and two silver medals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. “It motivated me.”

 Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice, a former Tigerbelle who currently serves as director of track and field at TSU, said she first met Rudolph when she was a high school senior, and that the two formed a bond that lasted until Rudolph’s death. 

 “She was just a down-to-earth person,” recalled Cheeseborough-Guice. “She brought me in like one of her own children. She was a mother figure to me.”

Rudolph’s feats were seen as a true American story and was made into a television movie in 1977 starring Shirley Jo Finney as Wilma, an up and coming actor by the name of Denzel Washington as her love interest, and Cicely Tyson as her mother, Blanche Rudolph.

The Saint Bethlehem, Tennessee, native was also seen as an important figure in African American history. In 2016, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture opened and featured Rudolph in its sports section, including a pair of her Olympic cleats and photographs. 

TSU also has a display of the track and field sports legend housed at the Brown-Daniel Library. The campus display is a main attraction during the summer months leading up to the Olympic Games. 

To learn more about TSU’s track and field program, visit http://www.tsutigers.com/wtrack/.

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 receives $2M from Governor to assist with retention and graduation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will receive $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 recent legislative session, and approved by state lawmakers. The money will be received as a lump sum with the fiscal year beginning July 1.

“The main reason many of our students can’t return is due to financial hardship, so the allotment of these funds is great for Tennessee State University, and especially our students,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The $2 million will help us keep students who may not have money to return. We’re thankful to Gov. Bill Lee, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and state lawmakers for making the funds possible.”

Sophomore Jahnari Edwards of Phenix City, Alabama, said the money will be particularly beneficial to out-of-state students like herself.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Edwards, who is majoring in agriculture. “Something like this, especially for out-of-state students, will help.”

Katelyn Thompson, a graduating senior and president of TSU’s Student Government Association, agreed.

“I think it’s outstanding that we’re getting this money,” Thompson said. “A lot of our students need assistance, especially our out-of-state students. They worry about paying their tuition because of fees, and they are some really talented students. So, this will allow us to help those students who need assistance for their education.”

Horace Chase, TSU’s vice president for business and finance, said the “university is constantly seeking ways to assist students with furthering their education and enabling them to persist despite their various challenges.”

“Understanding that some students have greater financial challenges than others, but yet have similar potential to excel academically, these funds will give them the opportunity to succeed,” Chase said.

In 2017, TSU implemented higher admission standards to attract quality students. At the same time, the university began initiatives to improve retention and graduation rates, such as increasing the number of coaches to help students with their personal and educational goals.

Last month, TSU got a commitment from Memphis high school graduate Tupac Moseley, who was homeless his senior year, but managed to graduate valedictorian of his class, and receive more than $3 million in scholarship offers.  

Dr. Glover personally led a team of senior university officials to Memphis and presented Moseley with a full-ride scholarship, including housing and a meal plan. TSU Dean of Students Frank Stevenson was a part of that group that went to Memphis.  

“Any assistance that is available for students is a win-win for Tennessee State University,” said Stevenson. “It’s an awesome opportunity to continue to help students move forward with getting their education and their degrees.” 

To learn more about attending TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/.

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.