Category Archives: Athletics

TSU Aristocrat of Bands Ranked No. 1 Among HBCU Bands

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University world famous marching band has done it again. Just in time for homecoming, The Undefeated has named the TSU Aristocrat of Bands the Best HBCU marching band in America.

Ranked No. 4 in the September poll, AOB moved slightly ahead of North Carolina A&T State University to take the title, with top finishes in all categories, including No. 1 in drum major.

This is the third ESPN/The Undefeated HBCU Ranking this season. Bands are evaluated based on musicality, drill and design, percussion, auxiliary crops and drum majors. The rankings are conducted by two six-person panels consisting of current and retired band directors from HBCUs, as well as choreographers.

The AOB is not new to national or international recognition. They have performed at the White House, at NFL games, and appeared at events and performed with many other big stars.

During the recent NFL Draft in Nashville, the AOB thrilled fans with a performance on ESPN’s “First Take.” Percussionists from the band performed in the Rose Bowl Parade. The AOB performed with country music legend Keith Urban, and performed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Lizzo, a rising star topping the charts, gave a shout out to the band recently after they performed a dynamic medley including her hit song “Truth Hurts”  at TSU’s game against Mississippi Valley State on Aug. 31, and delivered a repeat performance at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston, Lizzo’s hometown.

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.

Gospel Legend Dr. Bobby Jones Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at Homecoming Gospel Explosion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University alum and the man considered the father of gospel television was honored Saturday night by his peers, including gospel sensation and Grammy Award winner Kirk Franklin. Dr. Bobby Jones was celebrated for his more than 40 years of contributions to the gospel music industry and received a lifetime achievement award.

Dr. Bobby Jones’ career in gospel music and television spans more than 40 years. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

The special recognition, made in collaboration the GMA Dove Awards, was a part of TSU’s annual Gospel Explosion in Kean Hall, kicking off the 2019 homecoming week for the university. TSU President Glenda Glover, joined by Franklin and and GMA representatives, presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Jones.

Jones won a 1983 Dove Award for his “I’m So Glad I’m Standing Here.”

“On this very stage 60 years ago, I received my bachelor’s degree, and four years later, I received my master’s degree,” Jones recalled. “The strange thing about it is here I am receiving a lifetime achievement award on the same stage. I am so grateful for this honor.”

Franklin, known for such gospel hits as ‘Love Theory,” ‘Wanna Be Happy,” and “A God Like You,” sent fans in the the packed Kean Hall screaming when he appeared on stage with the TSU New Direction Choir for several selections.

Before appearing with Franklin, New Direction earlier opened the night with with performances that left the crowd wanting more.

Gospel sensation Kirk Franklin performs with the TSU New Direction Choir at the Gospel Explosion. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Other big name stars included JJ Hairston, renowned leader of Youthful Praise choir; Koryn Hawthorne, contemporary gospel singer and finalist in Season 8 of NBC’s singing competition The Voice; and James Fortune, gospel music recording artist, songwriter and producer.

Referred to as the “Ed Sullivan of Gospel Music” and a staunched supporter of TSU, Jones, a Nashville native, is an American gospel music legend. For 36 years, Jones brought gospel music to a national TV audience with his legendary Sunday morning program “Bobby Jones Gospel.” He gave big breaks to rising stars like Yolanda Adams and Kirk Franklin.

Homecoming week runs through Saturday, Oct. 19, culminating with the parade along Jefferson Street, and the football game between TSU and Austin Peay at Nissan Stadium. For more information on Homecoming go to http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/

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.

Career Fair Opens Doors to Internships, Employment for TSU Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students looking for internships, full-time employment and co-op opportunities got a major break on Oct. 2. More than 100 companies and potential employers converged on the main campus for the 2019 Fall Career Fair.

TSU student Shaun Anderson, a business administration major, right, talks to Dell representatives at the Career Fair. In the photo are, from left, Bonnie McKissack, Senior Sales Leader; Tiffany C. Perry, Inside Global Sales Manager (TSU alum); Shaheed Whitfield, Recruiter (TSU alum); Elizabeth Casey, Recruiter; and Shelton Cammon, Recruiter. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Representatives from government agencies, aerospace, engineering, healthcare and the entertainment industries set up tents, tables and displays in the Gentry Center Complex to network with students about career and potential employment opportunities.

Many have scheduled follow-up interviews with students on the TSU campus.

Officials said nearly 500 students attended the all-day fair, organized by the TSU Career Development Center in the Division of Student Affairs.

Micaih Mayfield, a junior mechanical engineering major, and Oluwatosin Fagbuyi, a graduate student, also in electrical engineering, were among those looking for career opportunities. Mayfield was looking to land an internship, while Fagbuyi, who graduates in May, was looking for a co-op or full-time employment.

Micaiah Mayfield, a junior mechanical engineering major, talks to representative of BWX Technologies. She said she received many positive responses from companies. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“Everything looks very promising,” said Mayfield, of Nashville, who made several stops, leaving her resume at each point. “A lot of people asked for my resume, they looked over it and asked a lot of questions about my career goals.”

For Fagbuyi, who was very optimistic about landing an opportunity, he said going after companies this early before his May graduation was a good effort.

“I count myself lucky to be able to get this opportunity to attend a career fair,” said Fagbuyi, who received an internship in his undergraduate years as a result of the career fair. “From what I have seen today, I will absolutely get something from it, thanks to the TSU Career Development Center for preparing us.”

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said the goal of the fair was to “share some of our amazing students” with these companies and the world.

“We are really excited about these corporations and companies that are here to meet students that TSU produces,” said Stevenson. “It is nice to see them so excited about interacting with our students.”

Major sponsors included General Electric, Altria, LG&E and KU Energy, Humana, Innophos, Inc., and Dell, which was to meet the next day with seven students who received on-the-spot preliminary interviews at the fair. Regions Bank is a standard sponsor. Like many of the other sponsors, hiring TSU students is not new for Dell. At the tech giant’s table during the fair, two of the company representatives and recruiters were TSU graduates, who got their start from the career fair.

Alexander Sellers, Systems Engineering Manager at Boeing, right, who earned two degrees at TSU, received his start from the career fair. He returned as a recruiter and to mentor his young protégés. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Tiffany C. Perry, inside global sales manager for North America at Dell, earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from TSU. She said coming back to her alma mater to recruit is just one way of trying to give back.

“It’s been an awesome day for me,” said Perry. “I am thankful for this opportunity. I am even happier to know that the candidates that came to our table were just incredible, they were prepared and represented TSU well.”

Alexander Sellers, systems engineering manager at Boeing, was one of those representing his company at the fair. He talked about the preparation he received, the importance of the career fair and the excitement to be back on the TSU campus, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the College of Engineering.

Antoinette Duke, Associate Director of the TSU Career Development Center, left, presents a plaque to representatives of GE in appreciation of their support as major sponsor of the career fair. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“The career fair is integral for any student’s progression,” said Sellers, who was first hired by Lockheed Martin as a result of the career fair. “TSU is going to provide you the foundation of think, work, serve, and your classwork. But you have to get connected, and this is what that is all about.”

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of the Career Development Center, said the fair is an opportunity to properly “position our students.”

“We have spent most of the year preparing our students, getting them job ready,” Duke said. “So, at this career fair, it is our opportunity to partner the two (students and companies) together in hopes that we can increase our chances of making sure when our students graduate that they land employment that’s going to match the education that they have received.”

Duke was also glad to see former students and alumni of the career center who return as mentors and recruiters to help their younger protégés prepare for the real world.

“It is just nice to see them giving back to their institution,” she said.

Duke presented each of the major sponsors with a plaque in appreciation of their support to TSU and the Career Development Center.

For more information on the TSU Career Development Center, go to 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’s Linda Spears to Serve on State’s Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Team

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has selected TSU’s Linda C. Spears to serve as part of its inaugural Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Fellows program.

Spears, the associate vice president for Human Resources, will serve with 14 others on the cohort-based professional development program to cultivate the next generation of enterprise leaders in higher education. She was nominated by TSU President Glenda Glover.

“I am so honored to be nominated by President Glover and to be ultimately selected as a fellow in the inaugural Tennessee Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Fellows program,” Spears said.  “It is such an honor to represent TSU in this leadership development experience.” 

According to a THEC release, Spears and her fellow cohorts  will convene on campuses across the state to learn from experts and build extended networks. The program will facilitate individual development goals through professional assessments, one-on-one executive coaching, and mentoring networks and job shadowing experiences.

Among other responsibilities, the THEC fellows will  facilitate leadership development through self-exploration and skill training; provide  foundational principles of higher education policy and practice for exposure to all aspects of the higher education enterprise; as well as inspire  ideas and cultivate new ways of thinking to shape the emerging paradigm of post-secondary education institutions.

“Addressing the challenges currently facing higher education will require leaders that are steeped in innovation and keenly focused on student success,” said Mike Krause, executive director of THEC.  “This program will help Tennessee develop a cohort of higher education professionals ready to excel in executive positions.”

Spears said although the program is demanding, she hopes to gain more insight into the strategic operations of higher educational institutions to “prepare me for greater service and advancement opportunities.”

An operational improvement advocate throughout her career, Spears has developed a management leadership training program, introduced an electronic personnel action system, and developed many highly effective workflow processes. She hopes to bring that experience of professional development to her new role as a THEC fellow.

“This inaugural class will help to shape the future of this program,” she added. 

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 Plans Spectacular 2019 Homecoming with Stellar Group of Honorees, Grand Marshals, Star Power

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Called a “walking miracle,” HBCU Digest Male Athlete of the Year Christion Abercrombie will be among a stellar group of honorees, grand marshals and star power at this year’s Tennessee State University Homecoming Oct. 13-19.

Under the theme, “Unleash the Pride of the Tiger,” TSU is planning a spectacular weeklong schedule of events that will culminate with the big football matchup between the Tigers and OVC rival Austin Peay State University at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 19.

In keeping with the theme, the university has selected honorees and grand marshals who embody the excellence TSU strives for, especially Abercrombie. The TSU linebacker suffered a severe brain injury Sept. 29, 2018, during a game against Vanderbilt. His remarkable recovery was described as a miracle.

TSU President Glenda Glover called Abercrombie’s “perseverance and incredible spirit” an inspiration to anyone going through adversity. “He is proof that you can make it if you just have faith and believe,” Glover said.

Abercrombie will receive a Special Presidential Recognition from Dr. Glover.

Other honorees are Samuel Abernathy, retired assistant professor and assistant track and field coach with renowned Tigerbelle coach Ed. Temple; Howard Gentry, Criminal Court Clerk for Davidson County and former TSU director of athletics; and Edna Overall, former TSU women’s basketball coach.

Grand marshals for the popular Homecoming parade are: Ola Hudson, retired teacher and administrator with the Metro Nashville Public Schools; Obie McKenzie, senior relationship manager for top investment firm BlackRock; and Donald Whitehead, retired journalist and broadcaster.

“We think our theme this year is befitting of our esteemed grand marshals and honorees who are being lauded,” said Grant Winrow, Homecoming chairman and special assistant to President Glover. “We even have a walking miracle, and that is our very own Christion Abercrombie, who will serve as our Special Presidential Grand Marshal.” 

Besides the game and parade, another major highlight of TSU’s homecoming is the Annual Scholarship Gala, TSU’s signature fundraising event, which will take place on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Music City Center. This year, the gala welcomes back comedian Jonathan Slocumb as the master of ceremony.

“As part of the highly anticipated, annual Homecoming Celebration, the Scholarship Gala is a wonderful opportunity for Tennessee State University to enhance meaningful relationships with alumni, loyal friends and community partners on behalf of our student scholars,” Gala chairs Iris Ramey, Cassandra Griggs and Seanne Wilson said in a statement. “The Gala provides the critical funds necessary to meet the significant need for student scholarships as well as ensure students have access to relevant academic programs that prepares them for an innovative and global marketplace.”

Other Homecoming activities this year include the Coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU on Oct. 16; the Breakfast of Champions, the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, and the National Pan-Hellenic Step Show on Oct. 18; and the legendary Homecoming Parade on Oct. 19.

The parade will be from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard.

For more information on Homecoming, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/

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 President Glenda Glover does it again, raises $1 million in one day for TSU and nation’s other HBCUs

By Kelli Sharpe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover has once again succeeded in her advocacy for the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and raised $1 million in a 24-hour campaign for the institutions. As International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Dr. Glover led the service organization in the one-day fundraising initiative, AKA HBCU Impact Day, held on Sept. 16. The funds will provide financial assistance and help to secure fiscal sustainability and success for TSU and all four-year HBCUs.

President Glenda Glover receives an initial gift of $25,000 from the AKA during the dedication of a bench in her honor on the TSU campus on June 26. She was joined by Horace Chace, vice president of Business and Finance; Terry Clayton, member of the TSU Foundation Board; and Iris Ramey, associate vice president for Corporate Partnership and Strategic Initiatives. (submitted Photo)

“Once again this is a historic moment for Alpha Kappa Alpha as we have raised $1 million for HBCUs for the second year in a row,” President Glover shared with excitement in a video message to sorority members.

“I want to thank everyone who contributed to this $1 million, one-day campaign. Let’s continue to support our HBCUs.”

AKA HBCU Impact Day is part of a four-year $10 million fundraising goal by the sorority to establish an endowment on each campus. Money raised through AKA HBCU Impact Day will assist in providing financial support to these schools over the next three years.

“TSU is one of the HBCUs that will continue to receive funds for the AKA endowment,” added the president.

In June, AKA established a $100,000 endowment at TSU with an initial contribution of $25,000.

Donors can still make contributions by texting AKAHBCU to 44321, giving by mail or online at http://aka1908.com/hbcus/donate-hbcu.

Last year, members and supporters surpassed the million-dollar goal in one day, and the organization began distributing funds almost immediately to support HBCUs around the country.

In February, AKA gifted $1.6 million from their AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund to 32 HBCUs. Presidents from these institutions joined Dr. Glover and sorority leadership at a special Black History Month program at the AKA International Headquarters in Chicago.

Organizations that provided the largest corporate matches to the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund in 2018 were Caterpillar, General Electric, Hilton, Houston ISD, IBM, SAP America, State Farm Companies Foundation, UnitedHealth Group, and Wells Fargo Bank.

These endowment funds can help schools reduce student debt through scholarships, fund industry-specific research, recruit and retain top faculty, and much more. According to The Network Journal, nearly a quarter of all African Americans with bachelor’s degrees graduated from an HBCU (22%). HBCUs have historically served all people regardless of race or economic standing and continue to do so. These schools are often the largest employer in rural areas, and educate students from pre-K through college via teacher education programs, charter schools and early college high schools housed on their campuses. AKA believes the importance of these environments of higher learning and the need to support them have never diminished.

For a complete list of institutions funded in the first cycle from the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund, and more information on the sorority’s commitment to HBCUs, visit the sorority’s online pressroom at www.AKA1908.com/news-events/online-pressroom.

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 Marching Band to Perform at the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons’ Home Opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands will be front and center Sept. 15 when the Atlanta Falcons take to the field in their season home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The marching band has been invited to perform at half-time of the Falcons-Eagles game in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the second AOB NFL invitation this season. The band will also perform during the half-time show of the Tennessee Titans-San Francisco 49ers game at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 6.

Just a day after performing at the Southern Heritage Classic, the Aristocrat of Bands will be in Atlanta to perform in the half-time show of the Falcons’ home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Photo by Lalita Hodge, TSU Media Relations)

For Atlanta native Julien Dooley, a drum major with the AOB, performing in his hometown, especially in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, is special. He knows his family will be thrilled, but he plans on surprising them.

“I have not told anyone yet, but this is just so exciting,” said Dooley, a senior commercial music major and a graduate of Atlanta’s Southwest DeKalb High School, who also plays trombone for the AOB.

“I am a huge fan of the Atlanta Falcons. It is very exciting that the AOB gets the opportunity to perform for the Falcons, which means I get to go back home, something I rarely get to do because of our busy band schedule.”

Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands, said he received the Falcons’ invitation last week, with a choice to perform at any one of their next three home games. The band performs at the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis between TSU and Jackson State University on Saturday, the day before the Falcons game in Atlanta.

“Our preference was the Sunday after the Southern Heritage Classic. Needless to say, that’s going to be an extremely busy weekend for us again,” he said, noting the band’s back-to-back performances at the John Merritt Classic on Aug. 31 in Nashville, and the Battle of the Bands competition in Houston the following day.

“One thing we learned last week that even after the John Merritt Classic our kids did a great job. We got on the bus and drove 14 hours to Houston. The show in Houston was even better than the one we did Saturday night. So, we know that our kids are performers and they will rise to the occasion.”

McDonald, who previously performed for the Falcons as a high school band leader at Southwest DeKalb  (1999 playoffs – Falcons vs. 49ers) said going to Atlanta is also personal and special.

“That was a huge moment in my career as a young man, and to have that opportunity 20 years later as a college band director, is even more significant,” said McDonald. “This is a market where we get a lot of our band kids from. Majority are from Memphis and West Tennessee, the next largest group – 30 percent – of our kids come from the Atlanta area , and those connections that I have with band directors from Atlanta and the school system are tremendous.”

Sophomore Tiara Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi, plays the French Horn in the AOB. She said the invitation to Atlanta gives band members the chance to play in another NFL arena away from home.

“I am really excited because normally (since she came to TSU) we only perform for our home NFL team – the Titans,” said Thomas, a member of the TSU Honors College, with a 3.9 grade point average. “So, to be invited to a whole other state to showcase our talent, that’s really big.”

The Aristocrat of Bands made global headlines last week when Lizzo, a rising star topping the charts with her hit “Truth Hurts,” gave a shout out to the band. During the halftime of TSU’s game against Mississippi Valley State at the John Merritt Classic, the AOB included Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” in its medley. They also delivered a repeat performance the following day at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston, Lizzo’s hometown.

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’s Aristocrat of Bands Gets Shout Out from Pop Star Lizzo for ‘Truth Hurts’ Medley

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University world famous marching band has done it again.

Lizzo, a rising star topping the charts with her hit “Truth Hurts,” gave a shout out to Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands.

The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands have performed at major events and places, including the White House for former President Barack Obama and and First Lay Michelle Obama. (Photo by John Cross)

During halftime of TSU’s game against Mississippi Valley State on Aug. 31, the Aristocrat of Bands included Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” in its medley. They also delivered a repeat performance Sunday at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston, Lizzo’s hometown.

TSU sophomore Paula Rodriquez, also a Houston native, was elated to hear Lizzo call out her school.

“It feels great because I have a sister who went to Grambling and always bragging about Grambling having the best band, but I tell you AOB is doing great getting recognition from all over and now by Lizzo, it is just great,” said Rodriquez, a computer science major. “I am from Houston and Lizzo is also from Houston. It is great to be recognized so far away from home.”

Zack Glover, a junior mechanical engineering major from Atlanta, expressed the same sentiment about his school.

“Lizzo cosigning the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands is a positive direction for the band,” Glover said. “It shows their hard work will be recognized by other hardworking artists, and through her, other stars who did not know about this great band will certainly know now.”

In a note to university administrators, Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of bands, could not hide his excitement.

“Since our performance in Houston this past weekend, we have received a lot of positive social media buzz from the artist Lizzo for our rendition of her song ‘Truth Hurts,’” McDonald said. “I estimate that over 4.7 million people have seen her tribute to the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands.”

A former marching band member and flutist herself, Lizzo tweeted overnight, giving props to TSU, specifically how they incorporated “Truth Hurts” in their medley performance at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston.

“Truth Hurts” has reached to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Lizzo is coming to Nashville on Sept. 30 for a stop on her “I Love You Too” tour at Ryman Auditorium.

The AOB is not new to national or international recognition. They have performed at the White House, at NFL games, and appeared at events and performed with many other big stars.

During the recent NFL Draft in Nashville, the AOB thrilled fans with a performance on ESPN’s “First Take.” Percussionists from the band performed in the Rose Bowl Parade. The AOB performed with country music legend Keith Urban, and performed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Catch the award-winning AOB performing this Saturday at the TSU vs MTSU game in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and on Sept. 14 at the Southern Heritage Classic  in Memphis, Tennessee. 

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’s Tiffany Steward Selected to State’s Higher Education Leadership Team

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tiffany Bellafant Steward, TSU’s assistant vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, is a member of the 2019-2020 cohort of the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute.

Stewart was one of only 28 leaders from higher education, K-12 education, government, business and industry selected by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE, for the fourth cohort of CTLI.

“It is an honor to be selected as one of 28 leaders from across the state to participate in the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute,” Steward said. “I look forward to contributing to postsecondary student success and making an impact on access to higher education across the state of Tennessee.”

Since 2016, the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute has been strengthening leadership capacity to increase higher education completion rates, fostering partnerships to build actionable coalitions, and exploring innovative solutions to local and statewide collaboration and student success. 

To build on the foundation of the program, SCORE will partner with The Hunt Institute. The Hunt Institute, recognized as a national leader in the movement to transform public education, will assist in designing learning opportunities, facilitating sessions as an expert out-of-state voice and developing strategies to help participants translate their learning into action.

“The Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute is focused on educating and engaging Tennessee leaders about education opportunities and challenges in Tennessee post-secondary education,” SCORE President and CEO David Mansouri said. “SCORE is excited to build on the program’s foundation and explore with the new cohort how we can push for quality and equity in education so all Tennessee students are able to earn the post-secondary credentials and degrees needed for successful careers.”

According to a SCORE news release, over the course of a year, Steward and her fellow cohorts will explore higher education and economic issues at the local level, witness best practices and policies to tackle real challenges, and build professional relationships with a group of strong leaders advocating for change across Tennessee.

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’s ‘Tied to Success’ Initiative promotes self-esteem, dress etiquette for Male Freshmen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Jon-Robert Jones never gave much thought to wearing a tie. But after tying his first one, the Tennessee State University mass communications major has a new mindset. 

“It is just fascinating how something so simple can change your whole image,” said Jones, who was among nearly 400 first-time male freshmen who participated Thursday night in “Tied to Success,” a rite of passage for all incoming male students at TSU. A highlight of the program is when the young men are given ties.

Frank Stevenson, Dean of Students and Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, presents student leaders and mentors (dressed for business) to incoming male freshmen at the Tied to Success ceremony in Poag Auditorium. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“I love seeing folks nicely dressed, but I didn’t think it was cool for me,” said Jones of Decatur,  Georgia. “I am liking it.”

As a welcome into the “Big Blue Brotherhood,” the young men were given TSU blue ties with the name of the university. For some, like Jones, it was the first one they’ve owned. University officials, upperclassmen, and community leaders were on hand to assist those who needed help tying the perfect knot.

Before the tie tying and male bonding, officials and student mentors talked to the freshmen about proper campus behavior and how to present themselves in general.

TSU administrators, including Dr. Curtis Johnson, Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for Administration, front right, demonstrate the art of tying the perfect knot to incoming freshmen. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“As these students embark on their college careers and prepare for the professional world, we want to help them develop good character and avoid anything that could hinder their future success,” said Frank Stevenson, TSU’s dean of students and interim vice president for Student Affairs. ‘’Tied to Success’ is a step in that direction; we’re preparing them now.”

Damyr Moore, a student mentor and the new Mr. TSU, was among those helping the incoming freshmen with their ties.

“I feel like this is very important for these young men,” said Moore, a senior mass communications major from Atlanta. “This event not only shows them another next step in manhood, that it is important to be able to tie a tie, but it is nice to know there are brothers here who are willing to help you learn these things so you can be a better person.”

Jon-Robert Jones, right, for the first time ever, is wearing a well-knotted tie he perfected with the help of Brent Dukhie, interim Executive Director for Housing and Residence Life. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Moore’s sentiments rang through to Coreyontez Martin, a freshman health sciences major from Louisville, Kentucky. He knows how to tie a tie, but wants to be an encouragement to fellow freshmen who don’t know.

“Knowing how to tie a tie gives them an opportunity that can help them later in life or in their careers,” Martin said. “For me and my fellow freshmen, this gives us an opportunity to learn something that the classroom really can’t teach you. I appreciate the orientation and hope other institutions will emulate TSU.”

At last night’s ceremony, several senior administration officials, faculty, alumni, staff, and community leaders joined in to admonish the newcomers about academics, image and deportment. Among them were Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president for administration; Terrance Izzard, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success; Dr. John Robinson, interim associate vice president for Academic Affairs; and Grant Winrow, special assistant to the president.

“I think the night and this opportunity were good not just for the students but for the university community to show these young men that they are our concern and that we care about them,” Johnson said. “This is an opportunity to engage them and to encourage them to utilize the resources we have here on the campus.”

State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., a TSU alum, and a regular participant in “Tied to Success” for the last three years, said the initiative reinforces that TSU is intentional about the incoming students’ success, academically, as well as socially.

“We talk about the African American male and the struggle they often have when they first arrive on a college campus,” Love said. “It is initiatives like this that allow them to make the transition easier. It instills in them that the TSU community as a whole is concerned about them, and more specifically, we want to give them the skill they need to be successful when they graduate.”

According to organizers, about 400 male students participated in this year’s Tied to Success, which is coordinated by the Men’s Initiative Office in the Division of Student Affairs. Overall, there are nearly 1,400 new freshmen at TSU for the fall semester.

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.