All posts by Lucas Johnson

Tennessee State University receives three 2016 HBCU Digest Awards

Tennessee State University was recognized with three honors at the 2016 Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ Digest Awards.

The winners were announced at the sixth annual HBCU Awards ceremony on July 15 at the University of District of Columbia.

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TSU Track and Field Director Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice with 2016 HBCU Digest Award for “Female Coach of the Year.” (Submitted photo)

Those receiving awards were: Dr. Edith Mitchell, “Alumna of the Year”; TSU Track and Field Director Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice, “Female Coach of the Year”; and RaCia Poston, “Female Student of the Year.”

There were more than 600 submissions from colleges and individuals from around the country based on media exposure and impact on institutional progress made during the 2015-16 academic year.

Winners were selected by a panel of previous HBCU Award winners, presidents and chancellors, media members who cover HBCU programs, and alumni and students.

“The HBCU Digest Awards is the first national awards event to recognize the influence and impact of HBCUs on American culture,” said HBCU Digest Founding Editor Jarrett L. Carter Sr., who created the event in 2011. “The awards seek to recognize and crown winners in the fields of leadership, arts, athletics, research, and community engagement.”

Last year, TSU received two honors at the HBCU Awards. Its women’s basketball team, which won the 2015 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship, was recognized as the “Female Team of the Year.” The university’s Nashville Student Organizing Committee got “Best Student Organization.”

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 Olympians recall Olympic experiences

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – It’s been more than 50 years, but Tennessee State University Olympian Ralph Boston still gets a rush when he thinks about his Olympic experience.

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TSU’s Ralph Boston at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. (TSU Media Relations)

“It is a very exciting feeling to be selected to represent your country,” said Boston, who won the gold medal in the long jump at the 1960 Olympic games in Rome.

Boston is among a number of TSU Olympians who understand the excitement, and anxiety, athletes are experiencing in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio.

“It can be overwhelming and sometime frightening when you see all the colors from the other nations and you are wondering how you fit in or how prepared you are,” Boston said.

However, TSU alumna Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice said the anxiety to help the team win can also serve as a motivation.

“Sometimes all it takes is that extra sense of motivation from months – and sometime years – of preparation that push you to give it your all, said Cheeseborough-Guice, who is director of the TSU track and field program. “After all, you made the trials, you got selected … that is special.”

1960 Olympic Team
Legendary TSU track and field coach Ed Temple and the 1960 TSU Olympic team. (TSU Media Relations)

Cheeseborough-Guice made history at the Los Angeles games in 1984 when she ran a leg on two gold-medal relay teams and was the silver medalist in the 400 meters.

TSU has won 23 Olympic medals: 13 gold, six silver and four bronze.

A large part of that success is due to legendary TSU track and field coach Ed Temple, whose famed Tigerbelles produced 40 Olympians. Besides Cheeseborough-Guice, another famous Tigerbelle and Olympian is the late Wilma Rudolph, who became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at the 1960 Olympic games in Rome.

Other Tigerbelles who won Olympic medals include: Madeline Manning Mims, Edith McGuire, Wyomia Tyus and Willye White.

“They are an inspiration to everybody,” Temple said in a recent interview. “It just shows what can be done. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

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TSU alumnus Markeith Price

TSU is hoping to continue it’s winning tradition this year in the Paralympic Games in Rio with 2012 graduate Markeith Price, who will represent Team USA in track and field. The Paralympics start September 7.

“We are excited about Markeith going to the Paralympics,” said Cheeseborough-Guice, who coached Price at TSU. “He was an excellent athlete who worked very hard. I have no doubt that he will perform well.”

Price, who is visually impaired, is making his second straight appearance in the Paralympics. He was a member of the 2012 London games, where he finished 6th in the long jump and 8th in the 400-meter dash.

Like those Olympians before him, Price said he’s inspired to do his best – and bring home the top prize.

“I am extremely honored and blessed for this opportunity,” he said. “I have dedicated the last four years to training to run the best race to bring home the gold for the U.S.”

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.

Political experts discuss impact of Hillary Clinton’s historic presidential run

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Hillary Clinton’s nomination to become the first female president of the United States is inspiring women to shatter whatever “glass ceilings” they face, political experts say.

Clinton became the first woman nominated for president by a major political party during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. The former U.S. senator and secretary of state formally accepted the Democratic nomination when she addressed the convention on Thursday, July 28. Two nights before, she appeared on a large screen, remote from New York, and thanked the delegates for helping her put “the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet.”

During her speech on July 28, Clinton said, “when any barrier falls in America, it clears the way for everyone.”

“After all, when there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit,” she said to a roar of applause.

Samantha Morgan-Curtis, an associate professor of English and Women’s Studies at Tennessee State University, said Clinton’s run for the White House has instilled a fresh belief for women of all ages and walks of life that no goal is out of reach.

“It comes down to something we hear a lot, which is representation matters,” Morgan-Curtis said. “Everybody can tell you all day you can do this, women can do this, but until you see someone do it, it’s hypothetical.”

Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover said she can relate to “breaking glass ceilings” and believes Clinton’s nomination – and possible presidency – will impact generations to come. Dr. Glover is the first female president of TSU.

“Just as President Barack Obama inspired young African-American men and boys that becoming president of the United States isn’t just a dream, Hillary Clinton will do the same with young women and girls,” Glover said. “Secretary Clinton stands on the shoulders of the late visionary Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm of New York and several other women seeking the highest office in the land, President of the United States of America. Her nomination continues to prove to all of us that nothing is impossible.”

More than 200 other women have sought the presidency since 1872, but none have come this far. In 1984, the late Geraldine Ferraro was nominated as vice president on the Walter Mondale ticket. Then in 2008, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin became the first Republican woman nominated for the vice presidency when she was selected by Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Regina Davis, president of the Tennessee chapter of the National Association of Professional Women, said Clinton’s run for the presidency gives women “hope to believe that we can do and achieve anything that we set our minds to do.”

“In most businesses, and corporations, it sometimes can be difficult for women to break through those barriers,” Davis said.

TSU graduate student Janetra Gleaves said Clinton is indeed a “positive influence on young women.”

“She gives me a lot of confidence for our future, my future,” said Gleaves, who is seeking a graduate degree in speech pathology. “I’m more optimistic about … what we are able to do and can do.”

If Clinton wins the presidency, TSU political science professor Brian Russell believes the impact will be global.

“Although there have been and are currently important female leaders on the world stage, the U.S. is the dominant world power,” Russell said. “Having a female leader of the most powerful nation will change perceptions about women all over the world.”

Clinton will face Republican nominee Donald Trump in the general election in November.

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.

Former TSU Tigerbelles Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice, Madeline Manning Mims among Olympians to be honored at U.S Olympic Track and Field Trials

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Former Tennessee State University Tigerbelles Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice and Madeline Manning Mims are among Olympians being honored during the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

The women will participate in the opening ceremony at storied Hayward Field and will join other Olympians who will be recognized for their achievements throughout the trials July 1-10.

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Former Tigerbelle and Olympian Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice

“It’s exciting,” said Cheeseborough-Guice, who is director of TSU’s track and field program. “It’s going to be like a reunion.”

Mims said she too is looking forward to reconnecting with other Olympians.

“We’re all out there doing our thing and we’re in different places, so we don’t get a chance to see each other,” Mims said. “This is a great opportunity for us to come back together and find out what’s going on, and watch the young ones come in.”

Cheeseborough-Guice emerged on the scene in 1975 at age 16, where she won a gold medal in the 200-meter dash in the Pan American Games. She went on to be named to three United States Olympic teams. In 1984, at the Los Angeles games, she made Olympic history by running a leg on two gold-medal relay teams and was the silver medalist in the 400 meters.

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Former Tigerbelle and Olympian Madeline Manning Mims

Between 1967 and 1981, Mims won 10 national titles and set a number of American records. She participated in the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics. At the 1968 games, she was awarded a gold medal in the 800-meter race, the only American woman to win the event. In 1972, she won a silver medal in the 4 x 400 meters relay. Mims founded the U.S. Council for Sports Chaplaincy. The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics will be her eighth as a Team USA chaplain.

Dwight Lewis, who is co-authoring a book about TSU’s famed Tigerbelles, said it’s only fitting that Cheeseborough-Guice and Mims should be recognized during the trials because they were part of a team that “paved the way for other women in sports.”

The Tigerbelles got the attention of the world in 1956 when TSU (Tennessee A&I at the time), led by legendary track and field coach Ed Temple, sent six members to the Olympics in Australia. The Tigerbelles returned to the 1960 Olympics in Rome and made history when Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals, making her a household name.

The Tigerbelles won a total of 23 Olympic medals. Lewis said what was also impressive about members of the team is that they also excelled outside track and field.

“Not only did they perform well in track and field, but … they got their degrees,” he said.

Temple said Cheeseborough-Guice and Mims, as well as all his Tigerbelles, are inspirations and deserve all the recognition they continue to get.

“They are an inspiration to everybody,” Temple said. “It just shows what can be done. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

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.

BET documentary to highlight life of gospel legend, TSU alum Dr. Bobby Jones

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A documentary for Black Entertainment Television is being done on the life of gospel legend Dr. Bobby Jones.

Dr. Bobby Jones 2
Dr. Bobby Jones

Jones, an alumnus of Tennessee State University, and a BET production crew visited TSU’s campus on June 21 to shoot scenes for the documentary.

“This is my school,” Jones said. “This is where I came when I was 15 years old, and left … when I was 19.”

Jones said the documentary will highlight his 35 years in gospel music for BET. In 1980, Jones started “Bobby Jones Gospel.” The show ended last year, making it the longest running series on BET.

“A documentary on the life of gospel legend Dr. Bobby Jones is long overdue,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “It’s a fitting tribute to a man whose contributions to gospel music have benefited countless people.”

Along with programming on the BET network, Jones has also established relationships with The World Television Network, which airs “Bobby Jones Gospel Classics” and “Bobby Jones Presents.” “Let’s Talk Church” appears weekly on the BET Gospel network, and “Bobby Jones Next Generation” on the Gospel Channel.

The documentary will also highlight Jones’ donation to TSU of gospel music, memorabilia and tapings from his popular “Bobby Jones Gospel” show – appraised at $6 million. It’s the largest in-kind gift in the university’s history.

“It means an awful lot to me that it’s somewhere it can live on,” said Jones, who spent 17 of his 32 years as an educator teaching at TSU in the College of Education. “For your preservation to be submitted somewhere and it’s going to be available to people who want to study it, that’s a very, very good thing.”

Glover agreed.

“Tennessee State University is fortunate to be the recipient of music, memorabilia and tapings from such an illustrious alum. Jones’ gift will inspire generations to come.”

Dr. Robert Elliott, head of TSU’s Department of Music, said Jones is a “true icon in music” and he’s glad the university has the relationship that it does with Jones.

“We look forward to working with him for many more years,” Elliott 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, Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center partner to improve dental care

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and the Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center are partnering to improve dental care in Nashville.

On June 11, the two collaborated to provide free dental screenings and cleanings. Organizers said the event, called “Free Dental Health Day,” was a success and will be held annually.

“We were open for service from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and people started lining up before 8 a.m.,” said Dr. Robyn Mays, dental director at Matthew Walker.

TSU and Matthew Walker are also working on a program that will allow TSU’s dental hygiene students to rotate through Matthew Walker’s dental department as part of their curriculum. Matthew Walker’s hygienist is a graduate of TSU’s Dental Hygiene Department, and would likely evaluate the students, according to Gary-Lee A. Lewis, who heads TSU’s department.

“There would be a dual benefit,” Lewis said. “We would serve as additional professionals available to provide the services, while our students would get exposure to different patients.”

The collaboration is another effort by health care experts to try to improve dental care in Nashville. For instance, the city has formed the Middle Tennessee Oral Health Coalition, which is “working to collaborate and facilitate access to those who need dental care in Middle Tennessee,” said Dr. Michelle Pardue, dental program director for the Metro Public Health Department.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, nearly 7,000 adults went to Davidson County emergency rooms in 2014 for relief of dental conditions. The number has been on the rise since 2012, the department said.

“While many have benefited from improved oral health in Nashville, we still have room to improve,” Pardue said.

Lewis said TSU’s clinic, alone, averages about 600 patients a year and he hopes that number will increase “with the linkages that we make with the community,” such as the collaboration with Matthew Walker.

In addition to dental care, Matthew Walker has served Middle Tennessee families for nearly 50 years with a comprehensive primary care model of services that include pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, behavioral health, nutrition, along with ancillary services such as radiology, laboratory and pharmacy.

But particularly in the case of dental care, TSU dental hygiene student Rachel Rowe said she believes the continued collaboration between TSU and Matthew Walker will benefit many people. The senior was among several TSU students who participated in the “Free Dental Health Day “ in June.

“Without a doubt, everything I did … gave me a new passion for helping the community,” Rowe said. “I will remember both the knowledge and the experience I gained.”

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 track and field icons remember Muhammad Ali

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A few years before Muhammad Ali became a heavyweight champion, legendary track and field coach Ed Temple said the young fighter told him he would one day hold the title.

The former Tennessee State University coach said in an interview shortly after Ali’s death on June 3 that he first met the brazen boxer at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Temple, who was the U.S. women’s track coach, said he had just finished practicing and was sitting on a bench in the Olympic Village when then-Cassius Clay sat down beside him.

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TSU Olympic legends Ralph Boston and Wilma Rudolph hang out with Muhammad Ali during one of his visits to Tennessee State University. (TSU archives)

Temple said the two talked for more than 30 minutes. During their discussion, he said Clay talked about his aspirations, boasting that he would one day be “the heavyweight champion of the world,” Temple recalled.

Toward the end of their conversation, Temple said someone ran by yelling that Floyd Patterson was in the village. Patterson was the heavyweight champion at the time. Temple said when he asked Clay if he was going to see Patterson, he said “no.”

“People are going to be running to see me one day,” Temple said Clay told him.

Clay, who would later change his name to Muhammad Ali, went on to win a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics as a light heavyweight, and eventually became heavyweight champion in 1964 when he beat Sonny Liston in a sixth-round technical knockout that stunned a Miami Beach crowd. In the ring, Ali proclaimed, “I am the greatest! I am the greatest! I’m the king of the world.”

A year later, Ali fought Floyd Patterson and knocked him out in the 12th round to hold onto his title.

Despite his cockiness, Olympic gold medalist and TSU alumnus Ralph Boston said Ali was a friendly person. Boston, who won a gold medal in the long jump competition at the 1960 Olympics, said he and Ali met in New York while they were waiting to board a plane for Rome.

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

Temple and Boston said Ali was also very fond of TSU alumna Wilma Rudolph, who in 1960 became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field during a single Olympics.

They said after they met Ali in Rome he stayed in contact, particularly with Rudolph, and made several stops at TSU to see them on his way to training camp in Miami.

Temple also recalled a banquet where both Ali and Rudolph had been asked to speak. During his speech, he said Ali bragged about the gold medal he won. When he sat down next to Rudolph, Temple said she leaned over and whispered in his ear: “You won one, I won three.”

Temple said the two remained close friends up until her death.

Ali was 74 when he died at a hospital near Phoenix, Arizona. A family spokesman said he was being treated for respiratory complications. Ali had battled Parkinson’s disease for 32 years.

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.

Internships help prepare TSU students for success in the workforce

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students are taking advantage of internships they hope will give them real-world experience to be successful in the global workforce.

The internships include positions with the U.S. Department of Defense, health care, education and engineering, to name a few.

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TSU’s Career Development Center is among a number of job readiness initiatives that help to prepare students for the workforce. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I strongly recommend that all students complete at least one internship while matriculating through school,” said Tina Reed, director of TSU’s Career Development Center. “By completing an internship, students gain hands on experience while learning about their chosen industry.”

Reed added that students who participate in an internship, or some type of other experiential learning, are “more likely to receive gainful employment upon graduation.”

She said that based on a small sampling, 50 percent of TSU students who complete internships while in school receive employment offers before graduating, or immediately after graduation.

Isaiah Grigsby, a junior majoring in computer science, hopes that will be the case with him following an internship this summer in cybersecurity at Hospital Corporation of America, or HCA.

“It’s going to benefit me going forward because it gives me experience in the field I’m trying to go into,” Grigsby said of the internship. “The things that we do in school are just the theories, but actually going to a company and applying those theories, that’s what I look forward to.”

Business administration major Delveedra Davis, who is entering her senior year, said she hopes to stay with the U.S. Department of Defense when she finishes her internship with the department.

However, if she doesn’t, she acknowledges that the experience gained will be “invaluable.”

“You’re able to build professional skills, and make connections, that you’re not able to do in the classroom,” said Davis, who will mainly be working in the DOD’s human resources department.

Computer science major Alan Bond said it’s unlikely that he’ll be hired permanently after working at Fox Network Engineering and Operations in Los Angeles. But the 21-year-old senior said he plans to make the most of his internship in broadcast engineering.

“It would be nice to work here full-time, but for the most part, I’m just hoping to learn as much as possible,” Bond said. “As far as broadcast engineering goes, working in a major top five market … looks good on the resume.”

TSU takes pride in its programs that help students not only find internships, but seek to give them the best shot at success once they graduate.

The university recently received a $150,000 job placement grant from the United Negro College Fund Career to Pathway Initiative. TSU was one of 30 colleges awarded the funds intended to help students gain the knowledge, preparation, insight and skills needed to secure meaningful employment following graduation.

Tyler Kinloch, who graduated from TSU on May 7 with a degree in Aeronautical and Industrial Technology, said the Career Development Center and the university’s other job readiness initiatives are an asset.

“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,” Kinloch 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.

Olympic hurdler Mamie Rallins remembered for her tenacity on and off the track

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Legendary TSU track and field coach Ed Temple and others say the tenacity of Olympian Mamie Rallins allowed her to overcome hurdles on the course, and in life.

Rallins, 74, died May 16 in a car crash in Ohio.

She was a hurdler for Temple at Tennessee State University when she was in her early thirties. Temple said in an interview shortly after Rallins’ death that she didn’t let her age hinder her success.

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TSU Director of Athletics, Teresa Lawrence-Phillips, left, presents Mamie Rallins with a plaque at the Breakfast of Champions luncheon marking the TSU Centennial Celebration in 2012. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“She was a hard worker,” said Temple. “She was determined.”

In the book, “A Will to Win,” co-author Dwight Lewis writes about Rallins’ rough upbringing on Chicago’s Southside and her desire to escape her environment.

The only girl among five boys, Rallins’ mother died when she was 13. She was raised by her father.

“It was rough,” Rallins said in the book. “When I was in high school, I saw that by running track I might be able to get out; and even maybe travel around the world someday.”

Rallins eventually became a world-class runner, specializing in hurdling.

At age 27, she ran the 80-meter hurdles for her team in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and won the first heat in 10.6 seconds. She placed fifth in the semifinals with a time of 10.7 seconds. Sports Illustrated covered the Olympics and in one of its articles wrote the following about Rallins:

“Mamie Rallins, that tiny-waisted thing who does not look strong enough to handle a hurdle, always does. It was typical: the gun went off and here came Mamie—who had politely waited for the other girls to start first, since Mamie is courteous that way—suddenly moving so fast that she seemed to be taking tippy-toes steps between the hurdles and passing everybody easily.”

During a meet in Romania, Temple said Rallins approached him about attending college at TSU. Temple helped get her a scholarship, and she enrolled at TSU in the fall of 1971 at the age of 30 and became one of the famous Tigerbelles, who won 23 Olympic medals under Temple.

When Rallins got to TSU, Temple didn’t allow freshmen to have cars, so she had to park hers.

“She had to change a lot of things that she used to do to comply with the freshman requirements,” Temple recalled. “But she moved right along.”

Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice, TSU’s director of track and field and a former Tigerbelle, said she was in high school when she first met Rallins in 1975. Cheeseborough-Guice said Rallins left a lasting impression on her because “she treated me with respect, even though I was a high schooler.”

Looking back, Cheeseborough-Guice said she admires Rallins’ willingness to do what was needed to further her education.

“She was determined to get an education no matter how old she was,” said Cheeseborough-Guice.

Rallins went on to compete in the 1972 Olympics in Munich. She graduated with a business degree from TSU in 1976, and later became head coach of the track and field/cross country programs at Ohio State University, Hampton University and Chicago State University.

She was the first African-American woman to coach at Ohio State and also served as an assistant athletic director for three years.

At the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia, Rallins worked as the head manager for the USA women’s track and field team.

Lewis said Rallins’ achievements show that she was “more than an Olympian.”

“She will remain an inspiration to people everywhere, that with determination, no goal is out of reach,” Lewis 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 a finalist in 11 categories of HBCU Digest Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is a finalist in 11 categories of the 2016 Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ Digest Awards.

The winners will be announced at the sixth annual HBCU Awards ceremony on July 15 at the University of District of Columbia.

TSU is a finalist for University of the Year, and TSU President Glenda Glover is in the running for Female President of the Year.

In sports, TSU men’s basketball coach Dana Ford, the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year, is a finalist for Male Coach of the Year, and his team is in the running for Men’s Team of the Year.

Women’s track and field coach Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice is a finalist for Female Coach of the Year, and Tigerbelle and Olympic Trials qualifier Amber Hughes is up for Female Athlete of the Year.

In the other categories, TSU is up for National Alumni Association of the Year; Damon Lee III is a finalist for Alumnus of the Year; Edith Mitchell for Alumna of the Year; RaCia Poston for Female Student of the Year; and Dr. Gregory Henry for Male Faculty Member of the Year.

Finalists were selected from more than 600 submissions from colleges and individuals from around the country and based on media exposure and impact on institutional progress made during the 2015-16 academic year.

Winners will be selected by a panel of previous HBCU Award winners, presidents and chancellors, media members who cover HBCU programs, alumni and students.

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.