Category Archives: Alumni

NASA ‘Dare to Dream’ STEM Education Workshop Engages 200 Students in Robotics, Flight Simulation, Math Games

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 200 students in grades K-8 from Davidson County and surrounding areas recently took part in a NASA-funded, one-day STEM education workshop at Tennessee State University.

A parent participates with her children in an activity at Dare to Dream STEM Saturday. (Submitted Photo)

Called “Dare to Dream STEM Saturday,” the workshop engaged students in scientific experiments, and engineering design processes, such as robotics, coding, drones, virtual reality, flight simulation and math games.

 The TSU College of Education, in partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools, hosted the workshop under the Minority University Research Education Project, or MUREP, a NASA program at the university.  

Led by TSU undergraduate STEM students and MNPS teachers, the workshop included a Family Engagement component that allowed parents to engage their children in the various projects.

A student controls a robot using a tablet. (Submitted Photo)

“Dare to Dream STEM Saturday was designed to celebrate minority innovators in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Dr. Trinetia Respress, director of the TSU MUREP project and interim assistant dean of Assessment and Accreditation in the COE. “It was very rewarding to see students and parents engaged in brainstorming in various activities.”

Among some of the activities, students used an engineering process to build a structure that could handle a load, by testing factors affecting the strength and stability of the structure. Using a template, the students also created a rocket that they launched from a soda straw.

Shaliyah Brooks, a junior English major, from Atlanta, was one of the TSU students who led the workshop. As a technology specialist for the workshop, she exposed the students to  robots through demonstrations on how they work, using devices such as parents’ personal phones or tablets.

A mother and daughter celebrate as they complete an activity at the workshop. (Submitted Photo)

“I definitely think that the students were excited to be there,” Brooks said. “They got a chance to play all day and in a way that was educational. They were very hands-on working with their parents.”

For more information on the Tennessee Minority University Research and Education Project at TSU, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/murep/about.aspx

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.

College of agriculture’s New Farmer Academy attracts participants from across the country

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 50 prospective farmers from across the country attended Tennessee State University’s New Farmer Academy on Monday.

The seven-month program was started by the university’s College of Agriculture in 2014. Participants meet the third Monday in each month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and cover topics that include agricultural leadership and regulations, financial planning, hydroponics and irrigation, organic production, farm equipment selection, soil fertility and suitability, and value-added agribusiness.

Finis Stribling, TSU area extension specialist and Academy coordinator, speaks to participants. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

The Academy, which also offers classes in West and East Tennessee, is the only one of its kind in Tennessee. Its first year, the program had nine participants. This year, 52 are enrolled in the Middle Tennessee class.

“Every year we’ve been growing and growing,” said Finis Stribling, TSU area extension specialist and coordinator of the New Farmer Academy. “There’s a lot of interest.”

Brian MacDonald traveled from Orange County, California, to attend this year’s Academy. After visiting Tennessee several years ago, he decided it is a place where he would like to retire, and do some organic farming.

“I have this dream of owning a farm,” said MacDonald, who is a retired president and chief financial officer for an electronics company. “It’s a dream I’ve had for the last couple of years.”

With the help of the Academy, MacDonald plans to make that dream a reality when he permanently moves to Tennessee, as early as next year.

Academy participant Ashley Brooks of Chicago is also hoping to start farming soon. She’s interested in growing hemp, and developing products from it, as well as using its oil for medical uses.    

“Hemp has been proven to help with different conditions, like pain,” said Brooks, a TSU alum who grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. “I have aging family members who have used the oil, and they say it relieves their pain tremendously.”

John Ferrell, TSU extension agent for Franklin County, Tennessee, talks to participants about irrigation. (Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

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

“TSU wants to be at the forefront of this new interest that’s cropping up across the country,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture. “If it’s ever approved for large scale use, we have some knowledge about it and can work with the farmers.”

For more information about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

Future Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Beats the Odds, Grateful to TSU for Opportunities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – From the 5th grade, Christian Bond always had an interest in biology and how the human body works

“I remember being in a human anatomy class in the 10th grade and just being fascinated with how the various mechanisms are put in naturally,” says Bond, a top rising senior majoring in biology. “That has always been interesting to me. So, I wanted to further my education in science to understand the biology of the body.”

Christian Bond

And Bond is well on her way.  Her goal is to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine, which focuses on health promotion and disease prevention.

“First, I wanted to be a neurosurgeon or a pediatric doctor, but I know for sure now I want to do osteopathic medicine,” says Bond, a transfer student from Alabama State University. “That is just a more holistic approach on medicine versus prescribing pills and things like that. I want to be able to figure out what other factors play into an illness and other ways to heal.”

At TSU, Bond is a member of the Honors College, with a 4.0 grade point average. She is also a member of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Pre-Med Society, the Golden Key International Honor Society, and Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society.

The second of three children from Chris and Traci Bond, of Nashville, Christian Bond has had a few bumps in the road that would have derailed some students’ career. But not this Nashville native, a high achieving student all her college years.

The mother of a 6-month-old boy, Bond got pregnant while in her sophomore year at ASU. She came back home for family support and never allowed her pregnancy to hold her back. She enrolled at TSU a few weeks later, and never missed a day of class work.

“It was during my sophomore year while home on spring break when I found out that I was pregnant. I stayed home for three weeks past spring break,” says Bond. “I went back to Alabama State, but right away decided it would be best if I came home for support that would help me further my education because I was halfway there as a sophomore.”

Professors and fellow students are amazed at Christian’s work ethic, sense of ambition and perseverance.

Dr. Tyrone Miller, associate director of the Honors Colleges, teaches an honors leadership class during Maymester, an accelerated summer program that Christian attends. He describes her as a highly responsible and dependable person who stays on top of her work and an example to her fellow students.

“Christian is definitely a thinker, she is thoughtful, and definitely a person who wants and strives to be better,” says Miller. “I think she is setting a great example to the rest of our students and her baby.”

Christian says her family has a long tradition with TSU.

“All of my family from both sides graduated from TSU,” she says. “I have come in contact with professors who really care about my success and really devoted to helping me move to that next level.  Most of my professors let you know about opportunities or societies or organizations on campus to help you stay active. I want to leave a mark here.”

Christian says she looks forward to graduating next May, then on to medical school.

“I have taken full advantage of opportunities here at Tennessee State University and I cannot wait to see where they will take me and my baby,” says the future doctor of osteopathic medicine.

For enrollment and other student success programs at TSU, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/emss/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

Health Sciences dean receives highest award given by American Physical Therapy Association

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Ronald Barredo, interim dean of Tennessee State University’s College of Health Sciences, is the recipient of the highest award given by the American Physical Therapy Association.

In June, Barredo will attend an award ceremony in Chicago, where he will receive the Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association. The award is the highest recognition that the association can give to physical therapists, and is given to individuals “who have demonstrated unwavering efforts to advance the physical therapy profession for more than 15 years,” according to the Association’s website. 

Dr. Ronald Barredo

There are more than 100,000 members of the APTA. Of that number, only 214 have received the Catherine Worthingham Fellow. In Tennessee, only five have been given the honor.

““We are so proud of Dr. Ronald Barredo,” said Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover. “Here at TSU, excellence is our habit, and Dr. Barredo is continuing that tradition with this prestigious award. We applaud him, and thank him for his service to our university.”

Dr. Barredo, who is also professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, is being recognized for his work in professional and post-professional education, particularly in the area of competency assessment.

He has been actively involved with the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, with its focus on the assessment of entry-level competence through the National Physical Therapy Examination; the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, with its focus on the assessment of continuing competence through specialist certification; the Foreign Credentialing Commission in Physical Therapy, with its focus on assessment of educational equivalence of foreign educated physical therapists; and the APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor Program, with its focus on education and credentialing of clinical instructors.

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow,” Barredo said. “My appreciation goes out to the faculty, staff and students at Tennessee State University, who make my life interesting, challenging, and fun every day.”

TSU is currently constructing a new state-of-the-art Health Sciences Building.

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

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

TSU Summer Bridge Program Receives $80,000 in Funding to Provide Learning Support for Incoming First-Time Freshmen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A TSU summer bridge program that helps first-time freshmen brush up on math, reading and writing, has received an $80,000 boost from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

The Summer Completion Academy, a rigorous one-week program designed to ensure student success, will use the grant to give 300 students in the academy the opportunity to satisfy learning support requirements prior to their first semester of enrollment.

The program will run over two sessions between June 23-29, and July 14-20, 2019. Students participating in the program have already been accepted to TSU for the fall semester.

“Our focus for the grant is to work with students who are at risk,” said Tiffany Bellafant Steward, assistant vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Success. “These are students who are not prepared for college-level work who would go into our learning support areas of math, reading and writing.”

She said participants will receive learning support such as additional lab sessions, extra days in class, as well as “engagement activities,” including pre- and post-tests to measure their achievement level.

According to Steward, the academy, now in its third year, has a “huge” success rate.

“We are thrilled to be in a position to offer a program like this to students, which could take up to three classes off their fall schedule,” Steward said.

Tyren Griffin, a business administration major, now in her second semester at TSU, participated in the SCA as an in-coming freshman. She said the program helped her be better prepared for her college work.

“I really enjoyed my SCA experience,” said Griffin, a Chicago native. “In addition to helping me be better prepared for my academic work, the program definitely benefited me because I was able to get to know people that had similar goals for success.”

For more information on the Summer Completion Academy, go to https://bit.ly/2vWQkgj.

Information on other summer programs at TSU is available at http://www.tnstate.edu/events/camps.aspx

campus Police Chief Gregory Robinson to receive international safety award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Police Chief Gregory Robinson is the recipient of a prestigious international campus safety award.

Robinson has been selected to receive the 2019 International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) Award for Administrative Excellence. He will be presented the award in June at a ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

TSU Police Chief Gregory Robinson

The IACLEA is the leading authority for campus public safety. Its members represent campus law enforcement and security issues before law and policy makers, higher education officials, and members of the public around the globe.

“This award is incredibly humbling,” Robinson said. “I thank the IACLEA for the selection, and the officers who make up the TSUPD for embracing a vision that was designed to enhance the characterization of professionalism and service as a Department. In addition, a special thanks to TSU President Glenda Glover for believing in me and choosing me to lead this organization.”

Robinson lauded his officers for their roles in “decreasing crime in and around campus, along with improved methodologies that have proven to be foundational in building the many positive relationships with the students, faculty, and staff members at TSU.”

Crime on college campuses around Tennessee is down, according to a recent report by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. TSU is one school that saw major improvement from 2017 to 2018.

“We have had record numbers in decline and we want to keep it like that,” Robinson said in an interview with Nashville television station WSMV.

To see that interview, visit https://www.wsmv.com/news/crime-on-tn-college-campuses-down-according-to-tbi/article_ee05a772-7578-11e9-aaab-dbd051bb7c2f.html.

For more information about TSUPD, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/police/.

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 World-Renowned New Direction Choir to Be Featured Guest on BET’s ‘Sunday Best’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – They have performed for the Pope, and have been called the best college choir in the nation, but if you think you have seen the best of the TSU New Direction Choir, think again.

New Direction Choir Director Justin Butler, right, leads the group during taping of of their upcoming appearance on BET’s Sunday Best. (Submitted Photo)

The world-renowned choir has been selected to appear as featured performer on BET’s hit show “Sunday Best,” a reality television gospel music singing competition series.

The choir will appear in an episode of the show which airs this fall. They will perform gospel hits selected by the show’s producers. On May 9, the group spent the day taping their upcoming performance in the Tyler Perry Studio in Atlanta.

“We are just excited and grateful,” said Justin Butler, director of New Direction, who called the invitation a “total surprise and a wild moment.”

He said one of the producers of Sunday Best (Torrance Glenn) “called us out of the blue” and said he had been following New Direction for a long time, and when he needed a choir to perform behind the contestants, the TSU group “instantly” came to mind.

The choir performs at one of its many concerts during the European tour. (submitted Photo)

“It was a wild moment. We didn’t know we had impacted someone all the way in New York,” Butler said. “He just said, ‘I need you all as guest performers for this episode and I need you here’ by this time. He said he felt we would be the best to perform on the show behind the contestants.”

Kedrick Noel, a junior music education major from Memphis, is president of New Direction Choir. He said he got the call from Butler about the opportunity to appear on BET.

“It is just amazing. We are beyond grateful and blessed to have this opportunity to perform on BET Sunday Best,” Noel said. “It was just a blessing how everything worked out. The school was one hundred percent behind us, the choir was one hundred percent behind us.”

Last winter, New Direction spent 31 days touring and performing in different cities across Europe. The group held 24 concerts, including an appearance in the Vatican, where they met and performed for the Pope.

Concert goers cheer on the TSU New Direction Choir during a performance on the group’s recent European tour. (Submitted Photo)

“That was another wild moment,” said Butler. “The people were so excited to see us. They treated us like we were rock stars. The red carpet was laid out for us everywhere we went.”

In 2015, New Direction was voted the “Nation’s Best Gospel Choir ” with a $15,000 prize, when they took their final bow at the National College Choir Explosion in Louisville, Kentucky.

“It was overwhelming to see our students come out and work so hard,” primary group advisor Deborah Chisom, said at the time. “Even though I was not on stage with them, seeing them so excited was just very fulfilling.”

For more information on the TSU New Direction Gospel Choir, go to http://tnstatenewsroom.com/archives/tag/new-direction-choir

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 hosts Metro Nashville Public Schools ‘STEAM’ Project Expo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Engineering partnered with Metro Nashville Public Schools to host the STEAM Project Expo.

About 150 students in grades 5-8 from 18 Nashville area schools participated in the event in TSU’s Kean Hall on May 8.

William Henry Oliver Middle School students showcase project at STEAM Expo. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

During the event, students showcased their collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking skills by displaying projects created throughout the year.

The projects were judged by experts in the fields of STEAM (science technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics). The main difference between STEAM and STEM, is that STEAM includes the “arts.”

“We are focusing on STEM, but we really want to tap into that creative piece,” said Jennifer Berry, director of STEAM/Science for MNPS. “When you look around Nashville, it’s … an art city. So we want to value the culture of Nashville.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, said he’s glad to have the partnership with MNPS.

“TSU and the College of Engineering have been a strong supporter of STEM education for a number of years,” Hargrove said. “The goal is to recognize and encourage students in K-12 to consider STEM careers by being engaged in STEM-related projects while they’re in school.”

Brandon Gregoril, a student at William Henry Oliver Middle School, said he enjoyed meeting other students, and experts in the different STEAM fields.

“I feel privileged to do this,” said Gregoril. “Many students don’t get this opportunity. I feel I’ve accomplished one of my goals.”

Jeff Hunter, a senior program manager with the National Parks Conservation Association, was one of the Expo’s judges. He said the students were “impressive.”

“This is the next generation, the next stewards of our public lands, and wildlife,” said Hunter. “It inspires hope in me.”

Catherine Gordon, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering at TSU, said the Expo was also a great recruitment opportunity for the university.

“To allow students to come to the university and participate in STEM activity is huge for us, especially the College of Engineering, and all STEM-related departments at TSU,” she said. “It allows the students to be familiar with TSU, know where the school is, see what we have, and then feel like they can also do it.”

TSU has received a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to bolster undergraduate students’ interest in STEM.

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 Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.

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 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.

Tennessee State University Commencement Speaker Michael Eric Dyson Tells Graduates to Continue to Learn and Appreciate the Difference in People and Culture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – “Receiving your degrees does not mean classes are over,” the keynote speaker at Tennessee State University’s spring commencement told more than 700 undergraduate students who received degrees in various disciplines Saturday.

President Glenda Glover and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson enter the Howard C. Gentry Complex for the 2019 Spring Undergraduate Commencement. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, bestselling author and 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.”

Before Dyson gave his speech in the Howard C. Gentry Complex, TSU President Glenda Glover congratulated the graduates, parents, relatives and friends for their support.

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

Dyson, also known as a preacher and radio host, has authored or edited more than 20 books dealing with subjects such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Marvin Gaye and Hurricane Katrina. He has received several awards for his literary work, including three NAACP Image Awards and the Southern Book Prize.

Graduates prepare to receive their degrees at the Spring Undergraduate Commencement. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

“You must be interconnected,” he said. “You are going into a world that ain’t reading your same book, not listening to your same culture, and not reared in your home, but you got to make a way to get along with people who don’t look like you or act like you.”

The undergraduate ceremony followed the graduate commencement also in the Gentry Complex Friday evening. Civil rights leader and activist the Rev. Al Sharpton, was the speaker.

Dyson also urged the graduates to be about change and improvement in their communities.

“That means you can’t just leave it the way you found it. You got to make something better where you show up,” he said.

More than 700 students participated in the Spring Undergraduate Commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

Charles Alexander Hill, who received his bachelor’s degree in business, had not heard much about Dyson, but he thinks the speaker 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.”

Following his speech, Dyson was presented an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his body of work.