All posts by Lucas Johnson

TSU Spring Commencement speakers the Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Michael E. Dyson receive honorary degrees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Spring Commencement speakers, civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton and bestselling author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, were presented honorary degrees.

Sharpton gave the address at the Graduate Commencement Ceremony on May 3, and Sharpton spoke at the Undergraduate Commencement the following day.

They received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of their body of work, and their impact on society.

Both men encouraged graduates to continue to better themselves.

“Tonight, you have shown you can achieve something,” said Sharpton, who serves as the host of PoliticsNation on MSNBC. “Only you know … what you went through to get here. But through it all, you got here tonight, which proves that you can achieve something, and it proves that you can keep achieving if you use the same discipline and determination you did to graduate here tonight. You can keep going higher and higher if you push yourself to do that.”

Dyson, professor of sociology at Georgetown University, said to impact the world graduates must be literate, interconnected and transformative.

“You must be ‘LIT,’” he said, attributing the acronym to the young generation’s reference to something fun, good or exciting. “You might think classes are over so you don’t have to read. But you have to be literate in the world we live in because it is important. When you go into the world as proud Tennessee State University graduates they know you come from a great place. You got to be morally and psychologically literate.”

Georgetta Harris-Wyatt received a doctorate in psychology. She said Sharpton’s speech was motivational, that it “encouraged all the graduate students to see beyond where they are now.”

She said Sharpton’s words inspired her even more to use her degree to help youth. 

“Ultimately, I hope to work with children and adolescents in the juvenile justice system, and help them to rewrite their stories,” said Harris-Wyatt.

Charles Alexander Hill, who received his bachelor’s degree in business, said Dyson gave him and his fellow graduates “just what we needed to hear.”

“I am very prepared to face the world,” Hill said. “TSU has given me all the tools I need to succeed in my life, and the speaker was very dynamic with his words of encouragement and wisdom.”

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.

Civil rights leader and activist Al Sharpton inspires graduates to keep achieving , receives honorary degree

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Civil rights leader and activist the Rev. Al Sharpton urged Tennessee State University graduates to continue to build on their achievement.

Sharpton gave the address at TSU’s graduate commencement ceremony Friday evening in the Howard C. Gentry Complex. On Saturday, bestselling author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson will address undergraduate students in the Complex. The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and TSU President Glenda Glover. (TSU Media Relations)

Before Sharpton’s speech, TSU President Glenda Glover welcomed attendees and lauded the graduates.

“I applaud you for having reached this milestone,” said Dr. Glover. “Today is only a stepping stone. We thank you. We salute you.”

Sharpton, a community leader, politician and minister who serves as the host of PoliticsNation on MSNBC, challenged graduates “to be the head of your own fan club.”

“Tonight, you have shown you can achieve something,” he said. “Only you know … what you went through to get here. But through it all, you got here tonight, which proves that you can achieve something, and it proves that you can keep achieving if you use the same discipline and determination you did to graduate here tonight. You can keep going higher and higher if you push yourself to do that.”

Following his speech, Sharpton, who is a longtime friend of Dr. Glover, was presented an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, an honor he said he will always cherish.

Sharpton’s address, which was interrupted with applause several times, seemed to move the audience.

Georgetta Harris-Wyatt received a doctorate in psychology. She said Sharpton’s speech was motivational, that it “encouraged all the graduate students to see beyond where they are now.”

2019 TSU Graduate students .(TSU Media Relations)

She said Sharpton’s words inspired her even more to use her degree to help youth.

“Ultimately, I hope to work with children and adolescents in the juvenile justice system, and help them to rewrite their stories,” said Harris-Wyatt.

Sharpton is no stranger to TSU. In 2014, he came to the university to take up the cause to have TSU’s 1957- 1959 Men’s Championship Basketball Team, the first-ever to win three national titles back-to back, inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

He joined university officials and staff, including President Glover, state officials, community leaders and stakeholders, as he presented his cause during a ceremony in Kean Hall.

As a result of Sharpton’s efforts and that of many others, including TSU alumnus Dr. Richard “Dick” Barnett, a member of all three teams, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced last month that the Tennessee State men’s basketball championship teams of 1957-59 will be one of 12 honorees in this year’s Class of 2019. The class will be celebrated at this year’s enshrinement festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts.

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.

Top TSU graduate Alexius Dingle ready to soar even higher

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Alexius Dingle graduated from Tennessee State University at the top of her class, but the agricultural sciences major has even loftier goals. 

“I’m going to grad school to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics,” said Dingle, who graduated on May 4 with a 4.0 GPA.

Alexius Dingle

She was one of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students who received degrees in various disciplines in this year’s dual graduation ceremonies at T’SU.

Dingle was the first in her immediate family to attend college. She said she looked forward to seeing the expression on the face of her mother, who pretty much raised her by herself in the small town of Manning, South Carolina, about an hour from Columbia.

“She sacrificed so much,” said Dingle.

When she arrives at Texas A&M for her Ph.D. program, Dingle said she will be ready, mainly because of the preparation she has received at Tennessee State University, particularly the College of Agriculture.

“One thing that the College of Ag has been very good with doing is making sure that their students are exposed to research, and it’s paid research,” said Dingle, whose concentration is in biotechnology. “It’s a way for you to get exposure, put something on your resume, so you don’t leave without experience. And it also helps you financially.”

Ag professor De’Etra Young, a mentor to Dingle, said she was impressed with her maturity and assertiveness. 

“She set her goals, was extremely focused, and sought out any opportunity that was given to her,” said Young. “Her success has paid off. She will be attending Texas A&M, and she will be going from a bachelor’s to a Ph.D. program.”

Dingle said she encourages her peers, as well as incoming freshmen, to take advantage of opportunities that are available.

“Network, talk to your advisors,” she said. “They have opportunities to help you that you may not know about.”

TSU has received a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to bolster undergraduate students’ interest in agriculture, as well as science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

In addition to scholarships, TSU officials said the funds will aid students’ professional development by allowing them to “travel to different professional conferences and meetings to gain exposure” to the latest research.  

Earlier this year, TSU President Glenda Glover surprised 20 students who visited the university with scholarship offers if they planned to major in a STEM course and have a good GPA.

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.

Graduates look forward to workforce thanks to TSU preparation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A number of graduates in Tennessee State University’s spring commencement will go right into the workforce once they get their degrees. And they have TSU to thank.

“Tennessee State University has definitely prepared me professionally,” says T’Anna Williams, a computer science major headed to Northrop Grumman. “It’s really awesome having a job lined up after I graduate. That’s one less stress.”

More than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines in this year’s dual graduation ceremonies.

The graduate commencement ceremony is Friday, May 3, at 5 p.m. in the Howard C. Gentry Complex, where Civil Rights leader Al Sharpton will give the keynote address. The undergraduate ceremony will take place the following day in Hale Stadium at 8 a.m. Bestselling author Dr. Michael E. Dyson is the speaker.

Williams says part of her success is due to the nurturing attitude of the administration and faculty at TSU. The Nashville native says they’re always looking for ways to help students grow, like bringing in dynamic, motivational speakers like Sharpton and Dyson.

“If you’re willing to learn and put in the effort, they’re willing to help,” says Williams of TSU’s faculty.

Graduating senior Alexis Clark agrees. The mass communications major from writes for the student newspaper, The Meter. She credits her experience at the newspaper with preparing her for an internship at The Tennessean, one of the state’s top newspapers, when she graduates.

“It was probably the best experience I had at TSU,” says the St. Louis native. “The networking and the connections I’ve made through The Meter have brought me to what I’m doing today. “

Most of the students who have jobs lined up say the university’s Career Development Center helped them find employment, and prepped them for it.

“The Career Development Center serves as the bridge between education and employment for the students,” says Charles Jennings, Jr., director of the Center/Division of Student Affairs. “We provide services and programs that allow students to apply the knowledge that they gained in the classroom toward meaningful internship and employment opportunities.”

Jennings says the Center also has onsite conferences that let students interact with the university’s employer partners, like Bank of America, Boeing, Google and IBM.

Electrical engineering major Tarence Rice of Detroit says it’s partly because of opportunities at the Center that he has job offers from Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Texas Instruments.

“They helped me get in contact with employers, and get the exposure to build me up to be able to interview for some of these top companies,” says Rice.

Because of the preparation it provides students, TSU officials say the university is poised to produce strong candidates for Amazon’s new executive operations center, which is expected to bring about 5,000 jobs to the Nashville area.

“As the only public university in Nashville, Tennessee State University stands uniquely poised to support these corporate giants, their employees, family members of the employees, and the businesses that support them with highly-skilled human capital, workforce training opportunities, research partnerships and more,” says TSU economics professor Dr. Achintya Ray.

For more information about TSU’s Career Development Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/.

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 claims Home Depot’s Retool Your School top honor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University took home “Campaign of the Year” honors in Home Depot’s Retool Your School- HBCU Campus Improvement competition. This was the first year for the award, which was created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Retool Your School program.  TSU beat out 60 other institutions for the grant award.

“We are extremely proud to have won this top honor for campaign of the year, and are just as proud of our students, staff and alumni that mobilized efforts for TSU to have such a strong showing to get the entire university family involved,” said Tennessee State University President Dr. Glenda Glover.

TSU finished second in voting for the large institution category, but walked away with the campaign of the year award.  Judges cited the overall performance of the campaign that was able to engage students, alumni and the community, as well as digital media strategies to promote voting.

Dr. Heidi Williams teaches research and technical writing in the Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy at TSU. She turned the Retool Your School campaign into an assignment for her students.

“I had never seen students take things so seriously, and work so hard on an assignment,” Williams said. “They didn’t do it for a grade. They did it for themselves, for each other.”

Sophomore Gabrielle Davis is one of Williams’ students. She said she enjoyed working on the campaign, and is looking forward to how the win will benefit the university.

“This shines a great light on Tennessee State University,” Davis said.

Mon-Cheri Robinson, TSU’s assistant director of student activities, agreed. She helped galvanize the university’s student government leadership, as well as the sororities and fraternities, who used social media to help get the word out about the campaign, including announcements during the students’ Courtyard Wednesday activities.

“It’s all about having them see the big picture, and see how it benefits them, and the school overall,” Robinson said.

TSU alumni were motivated by National Alumni Association President Joni McReynolds, who led the charge for her alma mater on social media. McReynolds even posted a video outside of her local Home Depot store urging fellow alumni to vote.

“The TSU family, including students, alumni and friends, came together to allow us to win,” McReynolds said. “It’s good to see the Tennessee State University Tiger spirit.”

Student leaders, including SUB-G, were polled for ideas on how the administration should use the funds to make campus improvements. They ranged from landscaping, pressure washing buildings, upgrades to the recreation room, lighting for the campus amphitheater, and restoration of the courtyard and Welton Plaza. All will see a makeover with the funds.

Incoming Student Government Association President Katelyn Thompson said the win makes her proud to be a Big Blue Tiger.

“This is an outstanding accomplishment,” said Thompson, a junior majoring in criminal justice and psychology. “All of our hard work paid off.”

TSU has participated in the Home Depot program since 2014. Kelli Sharpe, assistant vice president for Public Relations and Communications, said getting the word out early and often was crucial.

“Staff put together a comprehensive social media campaign and worked to make sure students, employees, alumni and the TSU community as a whole were included on all communications regarding our campaign,” Sharpe said. “It was truly a team effort to see everyone come together for this great cause.”

Home Depot will have the final approval of the projects, which will start in the fall.

Currently, there are several major construction projects underway on TSU’s campus. They include a new Health Sciences Building, two new residence halls, and an Alumni House and Welcome Center. 

Department of Media Relations

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

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

Members of the Professional Football Players Mothers Association to attend luncheon, tour TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Members of the Professional Football Players Mothers Association will visit Tennessee State University this week while they’re in the Music City for the NFL Draft.

On April 25, the first day of the Draft, TSU President Glenda Glover will host a luncheon and tour for the mothers of current and former professional football players.

Michelle Green is president of PFPMA. She said she’s looking forward to visiting TSU, as well as fulfilling the association’s main objective, which is to provide advice and support to families of players entering the National Football League.

Green is the mother of former NFL offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who played in the league 12 years and won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens.

“We want to be there as a support system for them, because we were there in that position at one time,” said Green, adding that the association also does a lot of community charity work. “It’s a different world once you cross over and go into the NFL. You’re entering a whole new game, and only those in it understand it.”

Member Sandra Atkins agreed. Her son is Geno Atkins, a defensive tackle who is in his tenth year with the Cincinnati Bengals. She said her advice to parents whose sons enter the NFL is, “continue to be a parent.”

“The bright lights start shining even brighter than they did in college, and some parents become fans and let their kids get away with things,” Atkins said. “Still, tell them what they need to know. If they listen, they listen; if they don’t, that’s fine. At least you were the parent and you did your job.”

The mothers’ visit to TSU is just part of the university’s participation in the NFL Draft. TSU’s famed Aristocrat of Bands is in a promotional advertising the Draft. And on April 27, Tigers linebacker Christion Abercrombie will announce the fifth-round pick for the Tennessee Titans.

Abercrombie made national news last season when he suffered a life-threatening injury in a football game against Vanderbilt University. Doctors didn’t think he’d survive. But Abercrombie has made a miraculous recovery since the Sept. 29 incident. On April 13, he attended the annual Blue and White scrimmage game at TSU.

Also, TSU alum Ed “Too Tall” Jones will announce the pick for the Dallas Cowboys. The defensive lineman, who appeared in three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, was their No. 1 overall pick in the 1974 NFL Draft.

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’s Big Blue spirit part of NFL Draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is showing its Big Blue spirit in the NFL Draft.

The university’s renowned Aristocrat of Bands was in a promotional advertising the draft in the Music City, and the band performed on the Draft’s red carpet, as well as appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” sports talk show.

Another showing of TSU spirit will take place on Saturday, April 27, when Tigers linebacker Christion Abercrombie announces the fifth-round pick for the Tennessee Titans.

Christion made national news last season when he suffered a life-threatening injury in a football game against Vanderbilt University. Doctors didn’t think he’d survive. But Christion has made a miraculous recovery since the Sept. 29 incident. On April 13, he attended the annual Blue and White scrimmage game at TSU.

On April 25, TSU President Glenda Glover hosted a luncheon and tour for the Professional Football Players Mothers Association and friends. The event followed a “Salute to Greatness” reception/dinner on April 12 that celebrated former TSU football players who competed in the pros.

Over the years, more than 150 TSU players went on to compete in the National Football League, Canadian Football League, and other professional leagues. Twenty-one former Tigers played in Super Bowls.

“it’s part of the TSU football legacy,” said Glover of the event celebrating the former players. “They came here as students, and left here as greats.”

One of those greats is Ed “Too Tall” Jones, who appeared in three Super Bowls as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. The defensive lineman was their No. 1 overall pick in the 1974 NFL Draft. Jones said he can relate to the anticipation and nervousness draft hopefuls are likely experiencing.

“I was a big Cowboy fan growing up,” said Jones, who will announce Dallas’ pick at the draft. “To be the first overall pick, go to the team of my choice, it was mind-boggling.”

To view the Aristocrat of Bands NFL Draft promotional, visit https://player.vimeo.com/external/330512639.hd.mp4?s=687f1a06fe39ec760f3d30476ee760a9c2b3c55c&profile_id=174.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, premier historically-black land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU’s graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus boasts a top-notch Executive MBA Program. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Alum Jazmin Ghent continues to soar with NAACP Image Award for new jazz album

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The name of TSU alum and musician Jazmin Ghent continues to resound.

The jazz phenom recently received an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Jazz Album category for “The Story of Jaz.” In 2017, she was voted Best New Artist by the Smooth Jazz Network.

Jazmin Ghent

Ghent earned a master’s degree in music from Tennessee State University in 2014. She said music has always been a part of her life.

“If I didn’t have music, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said. “Music distracted me from getting off track and being something I’m not.  It really allowed me to express myself and find my way in life.”

Nicknamed “Jazzy Jaz” by her grandfather Fletcher Gaines, who also played saxophone, Ghent grew up listening to jazz standards from his music collection, as well as the music of Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum and Brian Culbertson.

 Jazmin credits TSU for playing a major role in her success.

She said Dr. Robert Elliot, head of the Department of Music at TSU, her residence life coworkers Gregory Williams and Brent Dukhie, and various members of the TSU family, provided direction and support during her time at the university.

“I found out about the program at TSU through the Bobby Jones Show,” she said.  “I performed on his ‘Show Your Talent Show,’ and went to do an interview with Dr. Elliot. He didn’t have to give me a chance and an opportunity, but I am beyond thankful that he did.”

Elliot, who served as chair of Ghent’s thesis committee, said that as a musician, Jazmin brings the “total package.”

“She is very much a modern saxophonist, but she is well-grounded in the music of those greats who came before her, and she has built upon that legacy,” he said. 

For more about Jazmin Ghent, visit https://www.jazminghentmusic.com.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU celebrates former football players with a ‘Salute to Greatness’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The NFL Draft will highlight the future of professional football in a couple of weeks. However, on April 12, Tennessee State University will celebrate former TSU players who competed in the pros, including 21 in Super Bowls.

“Salute to Greatness-Excellence on the Gridiron” will take place at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. A reception is scheduled for 6 p.m., followed by a program/dinner at 7 p.m.

The event leading up to the NFL Draft in Nashville on April 25 is part of TSU’s annual Coming Home-Legends Weekend, which will feature the Blue and White Game on April 13.

“Our history of sending students to play on the professional level of football is special,” says TSU Athletics Director Teresa Phillips. “Those who competed on the highest level were and are great representatives of the university and should be recognized. The ‘Salute to Greatness’ event seeks to bring these stars together to celebrate their collective successes.”

Over the years, more than 150 TSU players went on to compete in the National Football League, Canadian Football League, and other professional leagues.

Those players who did and will be at the April 12 event include Pro Football Hall of Famer Richard Dent, MVP of Super Bowl XX with the Chicago Bears; Ed “Too Tall” Jones, who appeared in three Super Bowls as a member of the Dallas Cowboys; and two-time Pro Bowler Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who played in Super Bowl XLVIII with the Denver Broncos.

“When I first learned of the event, I was very excited,” says Jones. “Tennessee State has always had a rich athletics program, even before I got here. This is not a championship team that will assemble, it is all the players coming back to support this as well. I’m looking forward to seeing all of the guys.”

Grant Winrow is the event’s chairman and special assistant to TSU President Glenda Glover. He says it’s great to “welcome our former players back to the school that gave them their start.” 

“We thank President Glover for allowing us to carry this vision of celebration during our Coming Home weekend,” says Winrow, who is also director of special projects.

Chris Hope, a former Tennessee Titans Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion safety with the Pittsburgh Steelers, will be the event’s keynote speaker. The master of ceremony is Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Hope Hines, considered a Nashville legend in sports coverage.

“For over six decades, players from Tennessee State University have been cornerstones of the National Football League,” says Hines, who covered TSU sports extensively. “In fact, only a very few colleges and universities have sent more players to the NFL than TSU. The ‘Salute to Greatness’ night is the perfect opportunity to celebrate over 60 years of the brotherhood of Big Blue players who have made Tennessee State University synonymous with the NFL.”

Traci Otey Blunt, a TSU alum and senior vice president of corporate communications for the NFL, agrees.

“I think it’s so dynamic what TSU has done for the sports community, business community, and beyond,” says Blunt. “I scream from the mountaintops that I’m a proud Tennessee State University graduate.”

In 2016, TSU was recognized at the John Wooten Leadership Awards in San Francisco for the number of players who competed in Super Bowls. The university’s football legacy dates back to Super Bowl I in 1967, when former TSU Tigers Willie Mitchell and Fletcher Smith made their appearance as teammates with the Kansas City Chiefs. More than 20 players have followed them over the years.

To learn more about TSU football and the university’s other athletic programs, visit http://www.tsutigers.com.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU gearing up for Health and Wellness Fair on April 5

NASHVILLE, Tenn(TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is gearing up for another informative Community Health and Wellness Fair on Friday, April 5.

Chiropractic care, dental screenings and HIV testing are just a few of the free services that will be offered.

More than 40 vendors with some connection to health care and wellness are expected to participate in this year’s event, which is free to the public.

The fair, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in the university’s Kean Hall on the main campus, is a partnership between TSU, the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s HIV Vaccine Program, and the Turnip Truck, a natural foods grocer in Nashville.

Lalita Hodge, TSU coordinator of public relations and a member of the DP Thomas board of directors, said this year there are three new sponsors: Bounce TV, Gilead Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

“It is important for people to come out so they can see what’s out there in health care with regards to traditional and nontraditional products and methods to keep us healthy, because our health is our wealth,” Hodge said.

One of the main participants is TSU’s Dental Hygiene Department, which will provide intra-oral screenings at the event.

Leon Roberts II, coordinator of clinics for the TSU Dental Hygiene Department, stressed the importance of people from the campus and surrounding communities stopping by their booth to get the screenings.

“The mouth is the gateway to the body, so a lot of dental diseases don’t just affect the mouth,” he said. “Periodontal disease is connected to diabetes, heart disease, and for women who are pregnant, it is connected to low-birth weight babies. So it is very important to take care of your oral hygiene because your oral hygiene affects your whole health.”

Among its offerings, the fair will provide information on weight loss management and nutrition, as well as fitness demonstrations and health screenings.

Dolly Patton-Thomas, executive director of the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, said she hopes the event will motivate people to live healthier lives.

“We need doctors. They support us with our health in many ways, and we need them to support us in the health decisions we make as well,” she said. “Still, I think we can help them by taking our health into our own hands on a day to day basis.”

Keith Richardson is community engagement coordinator for Vanderbilt’s HIV Vaccine Program. He said this will be the third year he’s participated in the health fair, and he’s looking forward to it.

“It’s going to be a really great event,” Richardson said. “I think it is going to be beneficial for all ages, young and old.”

For more information about the Community Health and Wellness Fair, call 615-474-1286, or email: dpthomasfoundation@gmail.com.

Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.