All posts by Lucas Johnson

Grant from United Negro College Fund to enhance TSU’s student career development initiatives

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is using a $150,000 grant from the United Negro College Fund to improve job placement outcome for graduates.

The university was one of 30 historically black colleges and universities that recently received the grant made possible through funding by the Lilly Endowment, Inc, which has committed $50 million for UNCF to launch the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative.

TSU will use the money to enhance its student career development initiatives.

“As the nation focuses on its capacity to address the current and projected needs for a more educated, better trained and diverse workforce, TSU is poised to confirm our position as a significant source of premier employee and entrepreneurial talent,” TSU President Glenda Glover said. “This funding will allow us to focus on a campus-wide career planning and development initiative that will ensure that even more of our students are exposed to various career and employment options.”

Kierston Moorer and Tyler Kinloch, both of whom graduated from TSU on May 7, said the university’s Career Development Center has done a good job preparing them for the workforce.

“I’ve been involved with this center since my freshman year,” said Moorer, a computer science major who is taking a job at IBM as a software engineer-technical support in Raleigh, North Carolina. “The center set up a mock interview for me, guided me with my resume and everything else. They are very proactive and very encouraging.”

Kinloch, who interned with Alcoa, Inc., last year, has been hired by the company as an industrial engineer. He said the Career Development Center “enhanced my ability to prepare for my career.”

“Being able to connect with the Career Development Center and taking advantage of all the services they provide – resume building, printing business cards, mock interviews, critiques – has helped to prepare me for the real world,” said Kinloch, who graduated with a degree in Aeronautical and Industrial Technology.

Eloise Abernathy Alexis, associate vice president for Institutional Advancement at TSU, said the funding is intended to integrate and institutionalize existing and new career development programs, partnerships and principles under four key priority areas, including curriculum, coaching, concepts and connection.

For instance, she said one program the funding will benefit is Backpacks to Briefcases: A Social Media Platform Integrating Career Curriculum, Coaching, Concepts and Connections.

“Our students represent a diverse population of individuals seeking to acquire the academic credentials, training and experience required to embark upon pertinent career opportunities, innovative startups and civic service,” she said. “We must ensure that current TSU students have practical and relevant career preparation as a continuum of TSU’s track record of success after graduation.”

Bertina Reed-Hewett, director of the Career Development Center, agreed.

“We don’t want students to graduate with a mediocre job, we want them to have gainful employment,” she said.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Vintagers Report nearly $256,000 raised for Student Scholarships

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University alumni who graduated from the institution at least 40 years ago recently reported raising more than $250,000 for student scholarships.

The  Vintagers return to their alma mater each spring commencement and hold different functions on graduation day. They dress in caps and gowns, and join the ceremony to relive their graduation day.

TSU’s graduate commencement is Friday, May 6, and the undergraduate ceremony is on Saturday, May 7.

At a luncheon in their honor before the May 6 commencement, the Vintagers made presentations totaling nearly $256,000.

“When you come back and bring a gift like this, you are securing the future of Tennessee State University,” TSU President Glenda Glover told the former students at the packed ceremony on the main campus. “Your gifts are making a tremendous difference in the lives of our students.”

This year’s celebration recognized the classes of 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966 and 1971.

The newest members of the group, the Class of 1976, were inducted into the organization, and pledged to support the institution.

On the fundraising, the Class of 1966 reported $118,067, the most raised by any group. The Class of 1956 came in second with $53,159, followed by the classes of 1971, $35,426; 1976, $32,463; 1951, $9,495; and the Class of 1961, $7,250.

The Vintagers are organized under the Office of Alumni Relations in the Division of Institutional Advancement, which planned the luncheon.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Country and gospel singer receives master’s degree from TSU at age 87

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University graduate Lorraine Guth is proof that it is never too late to get a degree.

The 87-year-old criminal justice major was among hundreds of graduate students participating in TSU’s May 6 spring commencement at the Gentry Complex. Guth graduated with a 3.8 grade point average. When she walked on stage to receive her master’s degree, just about everybody in the complex stood to their feet, applauded and cheered.

“It was so exciting,” Guth said after the ceremony. “Words can’t describe how I feel.”

It’s been a long, sometimes tough road for Guth, but she said in an interview before the ceremony that she was determined to further her education and she hopes her persistency inspires others.

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TSU graduate student Lorraine Guth tries on cap and gown before May 6 graduate commencement. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“Life is short, and you have to make the most of it,” Guth said. “We also should try to inspire other people.”

Guth dealt with life’s challenges early on. As a child, she struggled with a learning disorder. But miraculously, she said she gradually overcame the condition, to the point that she was making straight-As in the fourth grade.

“God always seemed to have His hand on me, and still does,” said Guth, who has a strong faith.

In high school, Guth made the honor society, and eventually began to hone a skill she said God gave her: singing.

Most of the songs she listened to and sang were in the country music genre, but it wasn’t long before she found her niche in gospel music.

Guth went on to record more than 10 albums; some country, but mostly gospel. She eventually was inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame, and was named Entertainer of the Year by the Atlanta Society of Entertainers.

“She’s a very talented person,” said Phyllis Cole, director of the Atlanta Society of Entertainers and co-founder of the ACMHF, which gave Guth an “inspiration award.” “She’s just a delightful person, overall; an inspiration.”

Even though her music career was thriving, Guth said education was still important to her. In 2003, she got her undergraduate degree from Georgia State at the age of 74.

She later moved to Tennessee and decided to pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice. Her hard work paid off on May 6 when family and friends watch her get her degree from TSU.

Guth’s great, great grandson, 14-year-old Ethan Earle, traveled from South Carolina to see her graduate.

“I think her achievement is great,” Earle said. “I hope it inspires other people to do better in life, especially to get an education.”

Dr. Alex Sekwat, interim dean of Graduate Studies and Research at TSU, said Guth’s achievement is a “testimony that it’s never too late to graduate from college.”

“Despite life’s daily challenges, Ms. Guth never made excuses in pursuit of her goals and dreams,” Sekwat said. “Her accomplishments should be an inspiration to all students and a testimony to all of us that with determination we can reach our goals and dreams.”

And Guth is continuing to follow her dreams. Now that she has her master’s, she plans to pursue a doctorate degree at TSU.

Dr. Michael Montgomery, coordinator of TSU’s Criminal Justice Graduate Program, said he ‘s glad Guth is continuing her education at TSU.

“I have every reason to believe that she will be successful in this endeavor as well,” Montgomery said.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

Tennessee State University prepares graduates to move from the classroom to the workplace

NASHVILE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Matthew Edwards says graduation day will be a culmination of trials and tribulations, redemption and ultimately success when he crosses the stage at Tennessee State University to receive his degree on May 7.

The Agricultural Science major says all the hard work, along with family and faculty support, have paid off and he looks forward to a job as soon as he graduates.

Research
TSU student Matthew Edwards to graduate with Agriculture degree at spring commencement. (By John Cross, TSU Media Relations).

“The College of Agriculture has a partnership with the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, and they are considering me for a job after I graduate,” said Edwards. “When they make the offer, I’ll be ready to jump right in.”

Edwards has had his hands full with classes and two jobs to cover college expenses and gain invaluable knowledge he believes will put him above other graduates. He works 30 hours a week for Metro Parks and Recreation in Nashville, and is also a TSU lab technician.

“I congratulate all of our graduates and wish them the very best as they enter a new and exciting chapter of their lives,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Commencement is an exciting time for the university because it highlights the academic achievement of our students and the commitment of faculty and staff in their educational and social development. TSU students are prepared to work and serve in the global marketplace.”

Edwards credits the hands on approach from faculty for getting him back on track when he first transferred to TSU in 2013.  The combination of classroom instruction, along with real world exposure the College of Agriculture offered, is what he believes helped the most.  Edwards said he’s fully prepared to compete with others in his field because of programs and partnerships offered in the College of Agriculture.

Dr. De’Etra Young is an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and coordinator of the Scholars Program. She said the industry partnerships in Agriculture and other TSU departments help prepare students for the workforce, as well as organizations that promote professional development.

“TSU allows our students the opportunity to really gain hands on experiential learning,” Young said.

Employers plan to hire 11 percent more college graduates for U.S. jobs this year than last, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Future students and graduates can expect that same attention and focus on employment after graduation from TSU in part due to a $150,000 job placement grant. The University is one of 30 colleges awarded funds from the United Negro College Fund Career to Pathway Initiative. The funds will help students gain the knowledge, preparation, insight and skills needed to secure meaningful employment following graduation.

The more than 1,300 graduates will likely gain more insight about the global marketplace, as well as some words of wisdom, from this spring’s commencement speakers.

TSU alumna Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, a retired Air Force brigadier general who is currently president of the National Medical Association, will speak at the graduate commencement on Friday, May 6 at 5 p.m. at the Gentry Center Complex. Mitchell took over as head of the nation’s oldest professional society for African-American physicians last year. She is also a member of the American Medical Association, and Aerospace Medical Association.

On Saturday, May 7, former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., will address the undergraduate class at 9 a.m. in Hale Stadium.  Ford, a five-term former member of Congress from Tennessee, is currently a political analyst and contributor for CNBC and MSNBC, and a professor of public policy at New York University. His father, Harold Ford, Sr., is an alumnus of TSU.

The undergraduate ceremony will be streamed live beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday from the University’s homepage. Visit www.tnstate.edu for more information.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Double amputee graduates from TSU after more than 30 years, attributes persistency to his mother

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Jerry Priddy heard his name called at Tennessee State University’s spring commencement, the 48-year-old double amputee looked to the stands of Hale Stadium for his inspiration: his mother.

“She’s my rock, my role model,” said Priddy, one of hundreds of undergraduate students who participated in TSU’s May 7 commencement.

Priddy said in an interview before the ceremony that his mother, Georgianna Priddy, has been the main motivation behind him finishing school despite his health challenges.

“A single mom, she worked two jobs for more than 40 years to take care of me and my sister,” said Priddy, who has diabetes and is on a kidney transplant list. “She found a way; she never quit. When I get my degree, I’m going to place it in her hand.”

Jerry Priddy-3
Jerry Priddy to graduate at May 7 TSU commencement. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Priddy started at TSU in 1985, but at the time he said he was working over 40 hours a week while also taking 18 credit hours a semester. “Something had to give,” he said, and he decided to take a break from school.

“I figured I was going to leave for a couple of years, and then I’d be back,” he said. “But it never happened like that. Life took a different turn.”

Priddy was soon diagnosed with diabetes. He managed the disease for a while, but then complications resulted after he was bitten by a brown recluse spider. He eventually had to have both legs amputated below the knee.

But that didn’t stop Priddy from trying to reach his ultimate goal. In 2014, he re-enrolled at TSU and continued his pursuit of a music degree with a concentration in voice. A singer and lover of all types of music, Priddy said gospel songs resonate with him the most because “they relate to whatever I’m going through,” adding that “Marvelous,” by singer Walter Hawkins is among his gospel favorites.

“God has done some marvelous things for me,” Priddy said, “like allowing me to come back to school and finish what I started.”

Priddy’s sister, Michelle Vaughn, said her brother’s desire to finish school played a role in her decision to return to TSU. In December, she and her daughter both received degrees in psychology.

“I think it’s phenomenal what he’s doing,” said Vaughn, who works in TSU’s library. “It says that if you really want to do something, you can do it.”

Vaughn added that, like her brother, she also received motivation from her mother.

“That’s just something that she wanted for us,” said Vaughn, referring to their mother’s desire for them to finish school.

When told what her children said about her influence, Georgianna Priddy fought back tears. Then speaking in a soft, modest tone, the 69-year-old TSU post office manager said she was just doing what was necessary to give her children a better life. She said she’s proud of them both, and is particularly looking forward to seeing Jerry get his degree – and sharing in his joy.

“I always told him when he gets his degree, I just want to hold it for a little while,” she said. “I’m so happy that he’s made it to this point. It’s a marvelous thing.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU forms impressive team to assist with implementation of FOCUS Act

Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover has formed a Transition Advisory Committee to assist the University with implementing the new FOCUS Act.

It is a group from diverse backgrounds to take on the task outlined in the legislation, which is currently awaiting Governor Bill Haslam’s signature. The committee will provide thoughtful leadership, and assist in determining how the institution will advance from the current Tennessee Board of Regents structure to the new state university board governing structure. The major role of this external committee will be advisory in nature with the ultimate goal of developing the strategy for implementation of the FOCUS bill.

“The University has formed this Transition Advisory Committee to assist the leadership, and my office from a strategic execution standpoint as we advance to this new governance structure,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The men and women serving on the TSU Transition Advisory Committee represent a cross section of professionals with extensive backgrounds in higher education, board governance, and executive management.”

The members of the TSU Transition Advisory Committee are: Traci Otey Blount- Executive Vice President, Corporate Marketing & Corporate Affairs, Robert L. Johnson Entertainment and former Communications Director, 2008 Hilary R.Clinton Presidential Campaign; Attorney Charles Robert Bone- Chief Executive Officer, Bone McAllester Norton, PLLC,; Lauren J. Brisky- Retired, Vice-Chancellor for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Vanderbilt University; Beverly Carmichael- Senior Vice President, Chief People Officer, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.; Colleen Conway-Welch, Dean Emerita and Professor Emerita, Vanderbilt School of Nursing; George L Davis Jr.- Co-Owner/Chief Technology Officer of Ultimate Progress Incorporated; Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gacutan- Superintendent, Birmingham Public Schools; Dr. Fred Humphries- Retired President, Florida A&M University and former President Tennessee State University; Jamie Isabel- Owner, Dalmatian Creative Agency, Inc.; Richard Lewis- Owner, Lewis & Wright Funeral Home; Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell-President, National Medical Association; Wendell Moore- Senior Public Policy Advisor, Baker Donelson Law Firm, PLLC and former Deputy Governor State of Tennessee; Dr. Shirley Raines- former President, University of Memphis; Dr.Maria Thompson- President, Coppin State University, Baltimore, MD; Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III- Presiding Bishop, Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International & Sr. Pastor Mt. Zion Baptist Church; and Brenda Wynn- Davidson County Clerk.

The new legislation creates state university boards for the six public universities now under the Tennessee Board of Regents system, including TSU. The committee is a part of the University’s overall Transition to FOCUS Initiative. An internal working group is also a part of this initiative.

“This committee is not the long-term state university board that will be appointed by the Governor, rather it is transitionary in nature designed specifically for planning purposes,” Glover explained. “The duration of the committee will be for approximately one year.”

The other four-year institutions under TBR that will have its own independent boards under the FOCUS Act are Austin Peay State University, East Tennessee State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological University, and the University of Memphis.

Please visit the TSU website at www.tnstate.edu/president/focus for detailed information on the TSU Transition Advisory Committee, along with the original FOCUS Act legislation and related news items and updates.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU event attracts nearly 300 youngsters, lets them learn while they play

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nearly 300 youngsters swarmed Tennessee State University’s indoor practice facility to participate in activities celebrating the Week of the Young Child.

Morgan Finley
TSU student Morgan Finley talks to children about nutrition. (By John Cross, TSU Medial Relations)

Three to 5-year-olds from several local schools participated in the April 13 event hosted by TSU’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Center for Learning Sciences.

Each April, the National Association for the Education of Young Children designates a week to focus on children.

At TSU, students and faculty from the university’s departments were asked to develop activities for the children related to their respective areas of study. Organizers say they want kids to build their skills, while also having fun.

“This is the age that it begins,” said Dr. Margaret Machara, who is in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. “If you can get them excited about learning, and excited about concepts in a play environment, then they’re going to do better in school, and better throughout.”

Activities included building a solar car and understanding how it operates, and learning about different plants, such as the African violet. The kids also learned lessons about health care and safety, such as washing their hands, and when to call 911.

Ashlie York, a student in the Career Mobility Program in TSU’s School of Nursing, participated in the event.  She said even at their young age, kids should understand that “they have resources to protect themselves and their family.”

“If you see a stranger come into your house, or someone else’s house, call 911,” said York, who works in the emergency department at Skyline Medical Center in Nashville. “If your family member is on the ground, and they can’t breathe, call 911. We want them to understand what is an emergency, and that they’re able to do something to help.”

Parents who attended the event were given a booklet on activities they can do to help their child continue to learn.

Tara House brought her 5-year-old daughter to the event and said she plans to share what she learned with other parents.

“This program is very beneficial,” House said. “I think everybody is enjoying themselves, and learning at the same time.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Chemistry Day gives middle, high school students a chance to showcase their talent, participate in research

More than 100 middle and high school students recently participated in research and demonstrations at Tennessee State University’s 13th annual Chemistry Day.

The event on April 7 provided a platform for students to showcase their talent and knowledge in the field of chemistry as it seeks to expose students to one of many STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines. TSU students, faculty and staff also participated in the event, which was held in the Alger V. Boswell Science Complex.

It included a career fair featuring representatives from the American Chemical Society, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, and the Environmental Science Corporation, to name a few. In addition, a host of exhibitors were on-hand, along with the organization of a departmental tour for Hillsboro High School and J.T. Moore Middle School students in Nashville, who also participated in chemistry lab demonstrations and a Chemistry Challenge Quiz Bowl.

“This is the day we have an opportunity to expose ourselves to the community,” said Dr. Mohammed Karim, chair, TSU Department of Chemistry. “It allows people to see what we do in the department and to learn more about the research that takes place. In addition to the exposure it provides our current students, this is also an important recruitment tool in attracting high school students. This entire event is done without any expense to TSU.”

More than 50 TSU students served as volunteers, with the Chemistry Graduate Student Association and Chemistry Club heavily involved in helping to present the program.

“It was interesting to see chemistry done at a college level and to see a more physical side to chemistry,” said Colin Jones, an eighth-grade student from J.T. Moore Middle School. “We talk about it in school, but it was really cool to see it in action. The best part was the lab demonstrations. I learned that chemistry is in all things.”

As part of the day’s activities, the department also engages alumni in the event. This year, the department welcomed back Dr. Jeanita S. Pritchett, an analytical chemist in the Chemical Sciences Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and a 2005 graduate of TSU, who was the featured speaker. Her topic, “Breaking Down Barriers in the STEM Field,” focused on inspiring the next generation of scientists, particularly women and minority groups, to pursue one of the many possible careers in science.

“The College of Life & Physical Sciences takes great pride in this opportunity to promote science education for students and teachers, while encouraging minority participation in the STEM areas,” said Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, interim dean. “I encourage potential students to inquire about our academic programs for enrollment and to return to our institution to learn more about our historical significance and to experience the environment which fosters student success.”

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU alumni giving exceeds half million dollars in honor of parents

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The children of two prominent Tennessee State University alumni have donated $250,000 in honor of their parents who attended TSU 80 years ago.

Damon Lee-2
TSU alumnus Damon Lee III, (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Damon Lee III, a 1967 graduate with a Business Administration degree, made the donation in the names of Damon and Rachel Lee at TSU’s 2016 Scholarship Appreciation Reception on April 7. His sister, Kimberly Lee-Lamb, also contributed to the gift, which will benefit TSU’s College of Business by providing scholarships to out-of-state juniors and seniors majoring in business.

The Damon and Rachel Lee Scholarship Endowment Fund was established in 1999 with a $200,000 donation to TSU. The family donated $50,000 to the university in 2005, and with this latest donation, their total contributions to the university exceed $500,000.

TSU officials say the family’s recent donation is among the top five given by a family in the university’s history.

“We are very grateful for the contributions the Lee family has made to Tennessee State University over the years,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “This latest donation not only shows their continued commitment to TSU, but their desire to better the lives of students by helping them get a quality education to compete in the global marketplace.”

Damon and Rachel Lee were college sweethearts. Damon was a founding member of TSU’s Beta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and graduated with honors in 1935 with a degree in History. Years later, after relocating to Los Angeles, he earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and license.

Rachel was a Business Education major and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. After graduating in 1936, she began a career as a business education teacher at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia. She continued her teaching career in Los Angeles at Los Angeles Unified School District.

Damon Lee III said both his parents were business advocates who believed in “people having a knowledge of business, regardless of your profession.”

“The whole world revolves around business,” said Lee, a retired Los Angeles-based corporate marketing executive.

Eloise Abernathy Alexis is associate vice president for institutional advancement at TSU. She said while the latest donation by the Lee family will benefit students, she believes it will also inspire other alumni to give to the university.

“Regardless of the amount, when an alum sees another alum give, they say … ‘I should do that too,’” said Alexis.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

White House official urges TSU faculty, students to take advantage of federal funding to promote research

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The head of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities urged faculty at Tennessee State University to take advantage of federal funding to promote their research.

Research week-7
State Rep. Harold Love, Jr.; TSU Chief Research Officer Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young; Valerie Williams, director of the Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences, attend the symposium. (Photo By John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Ivory A. Toldson spoke on April 6 during TSU’s 38th Annual University-Wide Research Symposium, which gives faculty, undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to present their research, as well as hear presentations on how to expand it.

Toldson was appointed by President Barack Obama to devise national strategies to sustain and expand federal support to the nation’s 100 HBCUs.

Toldson said before his speech at the symposium that TSU is in the top 10 as far as generating revenue from the federal government for research activities, and he wants to encourage the university to continue “tapping into these resources and make sure that they have every opportunity to build a robust research infrastructure.”

“It’s an 1890 land-grant institution that has a good working relationship with the federal government,” Toldson said of TSU. “It has a historic mission and a current mission that is in line with President Obama’s priority of making sure that students graduate on time and have the type of experiences that help them to land good jobs after college.”

Dr. Earnestine Easter with the National Science Foundation also spoke at the weeklong symposium that began on April 4. She said one of TSU’s strengths is its strong connection to the community, noting the Nashville Business Incubation Center, which is run by TSU.

“You have a connection … where you’re able to kind of demonstrate your expertise in doing innovations and connecting to the business community,” said Easter, a program officer in the division of graduate education in the directorate for education and human resources at NSF. “I’m real excited about the positioning that Tennessee State has right now, and the opportunities for it to do even more.”

Joshua O’Hair, a graduate research assistant in TSU’s Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department, said this is the second symposium he’s attended at TSU and that it’s been helpful in applying for grants.

“They definitely have some really good opportunities,” said O’Hair. “They let us know what we need to have for a really good competitive application.”

Last year, TSU set a record with $51 million in new research awards.

Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, TSU’s chief research officer, said the university is hoping to break another record this year, “and a big part of that is for faculty members to know what’s available so we can write those proposals and get funding.”

 

Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.