Category Archives: Athletics

TSU President Glenda Glover and Linebacker Christion Abercrombie receive top HBCU Digest Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University received two of the top awards from HBCU DIGEST this year. President Glenda Glover was named  HBCU Female President of the Year, while Christion Abercrombie was selected Male Athlete of the Year. 

President Glenda Glover receives the Female President of the Year Award at the annual HBCU Digest Awards in Baltimore. (Submitted photo)

Glover received the coveted award Aug. 2  at the ninth annual HBCU Digest Awards in Baltimore. She also accepted the award on behalf of the TSU standout who continues to recover from an on-the-field injury. 

Glover, the eighth and first female president of TSU, was presented with the awards during the ceremony in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

“I am extremely honored that HBCU Digest named me HBCU Female President of the Year, and Christian Abercrombie of Tennessee State University Male Athlete of the Year,” Glover said. “I expressed to the audience that it is working through challenges that defines leaders. This is not my recognition alone. I’m truly grateful and appreciate the support of the entire TSU family. Thank you all for your support.”

Glover, who reached out to Abercrombie’s family with the news of him being named Male Athlete of the Year, said, “Christion Abercrombie is a walking miracle.”

“It’s only fitting that he should be named the HBCU Digest Awards’ Male Athlete of the Year,” Glover said. “His perseverance, as well as his incredible spirit, is an inspiration to anyone going through adversity. He is proof that you can make it, if you just have faith, and believe.”

Abercrombie suffered a severe brain injury Sept. 29, 2018, during a game against Vanderbilt. 

His mother, Stacie Abercrombie, thanked President Glover for reaching out to her with the news.

“It is amazing; it just shows that God is still in control,” Staci said. “Christion is very thankful that he is being acknowledged in such a way.”

Head TSU football coach Roderick Reed said he was not surprised that Abercrombie received the award.

“Even before the incident,” Reed said, referring to Abercrombie’s injury, “he was always an outstanding character with outstanding leadership.”

“I think any award he gets is richly deserved,” Reed added.

In winning the two top awards, TSU was a finalist in 11 categories of this year’s HBCU Digest Awards. 

TSU has won several HBCU Digest awards in the past three years, including Best Marching Band, for the Aristocrat of Bands; Best Student Organization, the TSU Collegiate Citizens Police Academy; Best Alumnus, James Shaw Jr.; Best STEM Program, the College of Engineering; Alumna of the Year, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell; Female Coach of the Year, Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice; Female Team of the Year, Women’s Basketball Team; and Best Student Organization, Student Activities.

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.

‘Love’s Healthy Start Festival’ gets Students ready for Back-to-School

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 400 area students received free back-to-school supplies, advice on educational opportunities and health screenings, thanks to an effort by a Tennessee State University alum who is making sure youngsters are prepared for the new school year.

TSU President Glenda Glover, right, joins State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., left, and Nashville Mayor David Briley to distribute back-to-school supplies to youngsters at the annual Love’s Healthy Start Festival. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

The seventh annual Love’s Healthy Start Festival, started by State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., took place July 27 in Hadley Park with community partners, parents and vendors, who set up booths and displays with books. The event also included free food, refreshments and live entertainment.

Over the years, Love has partnered with a number of organizations, including TSU, to provide hundreds of free backpacks and school supplies, along with educational information and free health tips.

TSU President Glenda Glover joined Love, Nashville Mayor David Briley and volunteers to pass out supplies to students, parents and relatives.

“We thank Rep. Love for putting this festival together each year to make sure these students have what they need to be successful academically and in life, ”Dr. Glover said. “We appreciate him (Love) and all the other leaders for the support they continue to give this community and TSU.”

President Glover helps staff and volunteers at the TSU stand to give out food safety and health tips to students and parents at Love’s Healthy Start Festival in Hadley Park. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Love said the festival is more than a back-to-school event.

“It is designed to give the entire family an opportunity to start the school year off right,” he said. “This is not only an effort to give our students a head-start for the school year with back packs and supplies, but also to let them know that they are worthy and mean so much to us. This has been a great partnership with TSU. I can’t thank Dr. Glover enough for what she has done by showing the kids the next path for them when they leave high school.”

Shamika Simpson, along with her husband, Darryl, and their two children – Jaden, 12, and Deborah, 9 – were among the hundreds who attended the festival.

The seventh annual Love’s Healthy Start Festival attracted more than 400 participants. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I love this (the festival). I think it is great when people come together to do something for the community,” Shamika Simpson said. “Some people can’t afford to do some of these things, like health screenings, because there are some kids here who need physicals before they can go back to school. This is the community coming together to help the community; that’s perfect.”

In addition to TSU, a number of other area colleges and universities set up displays at the festival, including Meharry Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University. Representatives from TSU’s  College of Agriculture gave tips on healthy eating and food safety, and provided crops harvested from the university’s farm.

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.

New Tennessee State University Smart Technology Center Introduces Area Youth to Coding, Creativity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon William Campus.

Thirty students from Camp Zion, a summer program at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, participate in “Everyone Can Code and Create” at TSU. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

The initiative, which debuted July 23, is part of the newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the HBCU C2 Presidential Academy to bring coding and creativity opportunities to students across HBCU campuses, as well as Nashville students.

The exercise was for youth between ages 6 and 14. More than 30 students participating in Camp Zion, a summer program at Mt Zion Baptist Church, attended the workshop.

They experienced hands-on coding and creativity using iPads, robotic Sphero balls, and more.

Dr. Nicole Arrighi, professor of teaching and instruction at TSU, instructs middle school students in coding and creativity. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Eighth-graders Harmony Kennedy and Devin King were among those who attended. They said the exercises opened their eyes to technology they never knew existed.

“Coding is really cool,” said Kennedy, from Grassland Middle School in Franklin, Tennessee, who wants to either be a psychologist, a singer or an actress. “I like how you program and interact with technology to be able to one day change the future for good.”

For King, who wants to be a football player, he thinks coding will be very helpful in how he manages his career as an athlete.

“It (coding) is something I have been dreaming about,” the Joelton Middle School student said. “This is technology that certainly will help me on my journey in the sports world.”

Summer camp students from Mt. Zion Baptist Church team together to code and create at TSU. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

On July 19, TSU launched the HBCU C2 Presidential Academy, which is supported by tech giant Apple. Leaders of 14 historically black colleges and universities – including Tennessee State – from across the country went away from the Academy with knowledge and skills in coding and app development from Apple’s comprehensive coding curriculum. As part of the initiative, TSU is also working with Metro Nashville Public Schools, Motlow State Community College and the Metropolitan Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. to expand coding opportunities to other students in the community.

According to Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the initiative’s main facilitator, the youth camp is part of “an academy that starts from pre-school to the work world.”

“So, today we have Mt. Zion, next week we are going over to Hadley Park with their summer camp, and then start with Metro Public Schools, where we will have coding classes in the afternoons and on the weekends,” Melton said. “So, TSU is positioned to create and code everywhere you are with whatever group or population.”

She said the Camp Zion participants went through a series of creative activities using garage band and iPads to learn how to code robots, spheros, drones and other items.

“This will help them with their reading, writing and all of their school subjects across the board,” Melton said.

Dr. Nicole Arrighi, professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, was among those who facilitated the youth initiative. Using the Garage Band, an application for the iPad, she helped the students in one session develop drum beats and “rap names” for themselves.

“The exercise gave them (the students) the opportunity to see how they can use their creativity to use an informal coding,” Arrighi said. “In this particular setting, the coding is in the layout of actual beats to actually make their own ring tone.”

For more information on TSU HBCU C2 go to http://www.tnstate.edu/hbcuc2/

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 Counseling Psychology Program Receives National Recognition for Focus on Social Justice, Helping the Underserved

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program at Tennessee State University has been selected for a prestigious award by the American Psychological Association. Recently reaccredited for another 10 years, the program is to receive the 2019 Richard M. Suinn Minority Achievement Award presented by the APA’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention and Training.

TSU is one of only two programs to win the award, presented each year to a program that has demonstrated excellence in the recruitment, retention and graduation of ethnic minority students. The TSU Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program, with a current enrollment of 45 students, is also one of only two APA-accredited programs at an HBCU. It was recognized for its dedication to social justice and tackling issues relevant to marginalized groups.

The award will be presented on August 8 during the APA’s annual convention Awards Reception in Chicago.

The 2019 graduating class of the psychology program appear with some of their faculty members during the commencement ceremony. (Submitted Photo)

“This recognition by the American Psychological Association demonstrates the excellence of our faculty in preparing our candidates to go out there to make an impact on the profession,” said Dr. Heraldo Richards, interim dean of the College of Education. “What we see is a program that not only meets all the standards, but goes the extra mile in making sure that our candidates are able to address the needs of clients they work with.”

A letter from the APA announcing the award touted the TSU Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program’s efforts to prepare and produce culturally competent practitioners of color as impressive and timely.

“Please note that the program’s nomination was advanced by your own students,” the letter noted. “Such action highlights the important and valuable work the program accomplishes to mentor scholars of color. Clearly, the program’s work and its dedication to the education and training of psychologists has not gone unnoticed by your students.”

Dr. Keisa Kelly, chair of the TSU Department of Psychology, said she is glad for the award and recognition given the TSU program.

“I am very grateful for the national recognition our department’s counseling psychology program, students, and faculty have received for their outstanding commitment to equity, justice, and workforce diversification,” Kelly said. “My team works hard, makes a difference, and deserves recognition for their significant and impactful accomplishments in psychology and society more broadly.”

Linda Ly, a second-year Ph.D. student from Rosemead, California, nominated the TSU program for the APA award.

“I was impressed by how the program is able to recruit students from diverse backgrounds, which has really enhanced the learning experience for me,” she said.  “I’ve learned so much from my peers and faculty members consistently in discussions about individual and cultural differences throughout the program.”  

Dr. Robin Oatis-Ballew, coordinator of the Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program, described students in the program as talented, committed to learning, and deeply interested in serving others.

“As part of their training, the doctoral counseling psychology students provide mental health services to Davidson and surrounding counties,” Oatis-Ballew said. “Often, they are working with underserved communities. They also volunteer their time to assist migrant, refugee, and homeless peoples, as well as other groups and organizations who are invested in grassroots community efforts and social change.”

In addition to the Suinn Award, the APA recently recognized two TSU students for outstanding achievement. Erin Carney, a Ph.D. student, is the APA’s Society for Counseling Psychology (Division 17) Student of the Year, for her outstanding work with individuals at risk for suicide. Gabe Lockett, who is pursuing his master’s degree in counseling psychology, was selected for APA’s Minority Fellowship Program. 

For more information on the TSU psychology program, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/psychology/

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 Ranked Among the Safest College Campuses in America

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is among the safest college campuses in the nation, a new report shows. The National Council for Home Safety and Security, in its 2019 report of Safest Colleges in America, lists TSU in the Top 8 percent of colleges with the lowest crime rate.

TSU Crime Prevention Officer Aerin Washington says the Police Department’s Rape Aggressive Defense program aims to help individuals defend themselves in any given situation. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

 The report ranked TSU No. 46 of the 490 colleges rated, using law enforcement and FBI data on crime rate and police adequacy.

 “It is extremely important that our students, parents, along with university employees, know they are safe on our campus, and this latest ranking is evident of our commitment to the institution’s public safety,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Campus safety is always a priority and this administration will continue to invest in proactive measures that we believe will also continue to yield even better numbers.” 

Over the past three years, TSU has committed millions to upgrading campus safety. This includes increase in police workforce, technology, physical enhancements and crime prevention programs. Officials say fencing of the campus is about 75 percent complete, the university has added checkpoints with “internal  and hard external security,” as well as access-controlled entrances in many of the buildings.

TSU students participating in the Collegiate Citizens Police Academy train with the Nashville Metro Police Department. The academy is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

According to Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, the enhancements are all part of President Glover’s focus and emphasis on campus safety.

“These are all things Dr. Glover values in terms of the safety of our students, faculty, staff and TSU constituents,” Johnson said. “You are now seeing the results of those investments. TSU is a safer campus by any standard.”

TSU Police Chief Greg Robinson, who recently received a prestigious international campus safety award, said the TSU high safety ranking is the result of being proactive and building strong relationships that allow individuals to come forward with information that is beneficial to crime prevention.

A staff member engages in a simulated attack with an aggressor during a RAD or Rape Aggressive Defense basic self-defense class in the TSU Police Department. (Submitted Photo)

 “We plan on doing different things with our shift supervisors and building liaison roles with each residence hall, as well as adding more educational classes on prevention with students and the community at large,” Robinson said. “We will continue to depend on the stewards of our community to help us keep up the positive momentum.”

 In Tennessee, TSU is also rated “extremely high” among schools that have students living on campus, Robinson said. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, comparing figures from 2017 to 2018, reports that across Tennessee overall, crime report is down 15 percent. Robbery offenses are down 50 percent. Sex offenses are down 17 percent. Rape offenses are down 10 percent.

 During that time, Robinson said, TSU saw major improvement.

 “We will enhance and expand our current efforts that will allow us to sustain and even surpass the decline,” said Robinson, who received the 2019 International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) Award for Administrative Excellence, during a June ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“We have had record numbers in decline, and we want to keep this downward trend. We also want to keep the crime indicator numbers low but keep TSUPD visibility high so that our students, faculty, staff, and even our visitors know that we want to serve them in the greatest capacity.”

 In collaboration with campus police, TSU has also initiated a number of other programs in campus safety and crime prevention that have yielded measurable results. The university now has the only co-ed R.A.D., or Rape Aggressive Defense program. RAD, a self-defense program opened to students, faculty and staff, emphasizes awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance. The 12-hour class is taught over the course of three days in four-hour sessions.

 “You can’t always depend on law enforcement to be the first line of defense when it comes to your personal safety,” said Aerin Washington, TSU’s crime prevention officer. “Having a program like this really empowers our community members, as well as our students, faculty and staff to take their personal safety in their own hands. We want to make sure they’re able to defend themselves in any given situation.”

 In 2016, TSU and the Nashville Metro Police Department formed what’s believed to be the nation’s first Collegiate Citizens Police Academy. Students in the five-week training program are exposed to various aspects of police work, including domestic violence investigation, and making split-second decisions.  

Graduates of the program make up what’s called Tiger Patrol and work in shifts to guide fellow students on campus, or alert the police if a situation warrants it. More than 50 students have participated in the program since its inception about three years ago.

“Tiger Patrol is a very innovative way of allowing students to take part in the safety of the campus,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president and dean of students, who is the brainchild of the Collegiate Citizens Police Academy. “Tiger Patrol has been a tremendous success. It allows peer-to-peer interaction, and allows us to hear students’ concerns, and provide information on things around campus that should be brought to the attention of the police department.”

According to Stevenson, many of the graduates of the Tiger Patrol and Citizens Police Academy program have gone on to professional careers in different forms of law enforcement.


For more information on the TSU Police Department or student programs go to 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 Athletics Partners with Nike and BSN Sports

Courtesy: TSU Athletic Media Relations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State University Department of Athletics has announced a new multi-year agreement with Nike through BSN SPORTS beginning with the 2019-20 season.  

“I am very pleased to have TSU Athletics in a new partnership with BSN/Nike for the provider of equipment and apparel for our sport programs,” said Director of Athletics Teresa Phillips. “We had enjoyed a good relationship for a decade with another major player in sport apparel and simply sought to discover what brand would be best for our student-athletes moving forward. We feel that the Nike brand will bring a superior branding opportunity for our programs and the university community at large. Our entire staff is working feverishly to get our teams ready to represent the swoosh this fall. We can’t wait for our alumni and supporters to be a part of this awesome new look.” 

The agreement between TSU and BSN SPORTS is for five years and makes Nike the official athletic apparel, footwear, accessory and equipment brand for all 15 Big Blue programs.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Tennessee State University and NIKE in providing the finest apparel and athletic products,” said Todd Northrop, Collegiate Select senior vice president.  “This agreement affirms our highest aspirations for BSN’s Collegiate Select program: delivering elite, customized products and services to our college customers.  We are excited to partner with Tigers to elevate the performance and impact of their tradition-rich and growing athletic program.

“Additionally, we can’t wait to get to know all of the coaches associated with this great program and work tirelessly to put time back into their day so they can spend more time impacting lives on the field of play.”

TSU COACHES’ COMMENTS ABOUT THE NEW PARTNERSHIP

Donika Sutton, Head Volleyball Coach: “I am excited about the move with Nike. Volleyball is one of the first sports to introduce the transition this fall and we are honored to lead the way.  This move allows Tennessee State University, Athletics and our recruiting to expand to another level. My favorite part will be watching our girls’ faces on gear day.”

Brian “Penny” Collins, Head Men’s Basketball Coach: “This is a great time to be a Tiger… joining the BSN/Nike Family will be vital to our student athletes’ experience. The swoosh will give us instant credibility in recruiting potential future Tigers. I’m looking forward to growing our TSU brand as well as bringing value to Nike as well!”

Jessica Kern, Head Women’s Basketball Coach “The Nike brand has been an ambassador for social change, promoting all facets of every athlete and is propitiatory to staying within the guidelines of being trendsetters while staying loyal to classic looks and comfort for all shapes and sizes. I am elated and honored to be donning the swoosh daily.”

Rod Reed, Head Football Coach: “I’m excited about our new partnership with Nike. I think that this is a brand that will be big in our recruiting efforts, and it has also created a buzz among our student athletes.”

Jeremy Taylor, Director of Equipment: “I believe that this partnership with BSN/NIKE opens up some new roads for us. We now have a one-stop shop for over 95 percent of our apparel, equipment, footwear, and product embellishment needs. It allows us to outfit our incoming student-athletes, in all sports, with the same brand of apparel and footwear that they have been wearing during their prospective high school careers, which should help us in recruiting as well.”

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.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority establishes endowment at Tennessee State University and honors school’s President Glenda Glover

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is the latest HBCU recipient of financial support from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. On Wednesday, the service organization continued its commitment of creating a $100,000 endowment at each of the nation’s four-year historically black colleges and universities with a donation to TSU President Glenda Glover.

President Glenda Glover admires a commemorative bench dedicated in her honor by the AKA Sorority, Inc. (Submitted Photo)

An initial gift of $25,000 was presented to Glover during a bench dedication in her honor by the sorority. 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.

“One meaningful part of the AKA Leadership Seminar in Nashville is the $100,000 commitment for an endowment from Alpha Kappa Alpha to Tennessee State University,” Glover said. “It begins with this initial donation of $25,000 to assist with student scholarships. I’m extremely appreciative to the sorority for this gift.”

 The gift coincides with AKA’s HBCU Endowment initiative, which looks to award $10 million to these institutions by 2022. 

“We are trying to assist students and help retain them to continue with their education,” Chase said. “This funding from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is definitely going to be a big plus in helping to accomplish that goal.”

The Commemorative Bench was unveiled and dedicated on the TSU main campus on June 29. The honor recognizes President Glover’s exemplary leadership and service. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The Executive Director of the TSU Foundation, Betsy Jackson-Mosley, added, “The TSU Foundation is very grateful for the support received from the AKA Foundation for student scholarships. Scholarships are very important to attract the best and brightest and to help students stay in school.”

The financial support and bench dedication were two of several service projects taking place during the AKA’s 2019 Leadership Seminar – June 27-30 – being held at Opryland Hotel.

In a litany at the dedication, led by Dr. Norma S. White, 25th international president of AKA, the group acknowledged the significant contributions of Dr. Glover in leadership, education, community service and philanthropy.

“As we dedicate this commemorative bench in honor of the 30th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Dr. Glenda Glover, we take pride in her leadership and the many contributions that she has made to the sorority, Tennessee State University and other noteworthy organizations,” the group said. “May this bench be a permanent reminder of the significant accomplishments of Dr. Glover.”

Glover, a native of Memphis and the eighth and first female president of TSU, became the 30th international president of AKA in July 2018.  Immediately upon taking the helm, she sent a clear message that education would remain a priority for the organization, especially supporting the nation’s HBCUs. She launched HBCU for Life: A Call to Action and signature program College Admissions Process, also known as #CAP, to promote and market HBCUs.

Saying that she leads by example, Glover donated $50,000 to the sorority’s Educational Advancement Foundation to further emphasize her commitment. She made that same commitment to TSU when she became president of her alma mater in 2013. 

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 Ag Professor Receives $650,000 in Grants for Food Safety and Disease Prevention Research

By JOAN KITE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University professor Dr. Ankit Patras has received two grants totaling $650,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Trojan Technologies of Canada, and California-based Aquafine Corporation. The grants will fund research to make food safer by eliminating harmful viruses and bacterial endospores in juices and other beverages.

Dr. Ankit Patras

In the NIFA grant, Patras, as principal investigator, and his research team at TSU, including Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge and Dr. John Rickettes, are collaborating with researchers at the University of Tennessee, and the Institute of Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Together, Patras and his fellow researchers will study the effect of highly energetic photons at 253.7 nm wavelength for the inactivation of viral particles, bacterial spores, and mycotoxins.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, said TSU is glad to partner with USDA and private industry in a research project that is aimed to make food safe for consumers without worrying about bacterial or viral contamination and illnesses.

“Dr. Patras is one of the national leaders in this area of research and he and his team are exploring some novel ways to contain or eliminate bacteria and viruses in foods through these grants,” Reddy said. “As our new Food Science building comes online in a year or so, we will intensify the food science research at TSU.”

Dr. Ankit Patras demonstrates the thin film pilot UV system, a novel pasteurization technology for inactivating viruses and bacterial endospores in liquid foods. Research Fellow Dr. Brahmiah Pendyala looks on. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

According to Patras, who is research assistant professor of agricultural science, the ultimate goal of this project is to develop new and improved non-thermal technologies to inactivate viruses and bacterial endospores. He said one of the unique aspects of the project is the use of novel approaches for ensuring uniform UV exposure to bacterial and viral particles in fluids, without any arbitrary fluence rate distribution and uncertainty in the delivered UV fluence within the UV systems.

“Another important aspect of the study is to create science-based knowledge and bridge existing knowledge gaps by assessing the sensitivity of target foodborne viruses and spores to this treatment,” Patras said. “We want to identify markers of oxidative stress, which can be correlated to microbial inactivation.”

Madison Purifoy, a graduating senior participating in a science summer program for exceptional high school seniors, explains her findings in an experiment where she tested e coli in synthetic fluid using UV radiation to see if it will grow or create mutations. Purifoy is from Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The team will develop chemical and biological sensors (biodosimeters) to quantify the UV dose delivered to pathogenic targets ensuring accurate dose delivery. The overall integrated approach will generate fundamental knowledge on the inactivation of viruses and bacterial spores on bench and commercial UV systems. Members of federal agencies including USDA-ARS, US-FDA, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are on the advisory board. Patras’s grant is one of the few awarded by the AFRI Foundation and Applied Science Program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Among Patras’ team at TSU is Taylor Ribeiro, a third-year Ph.D. student in biological sciences, who is working on the inactivation of bacterial in blue berry-flavored functional beverage. She said it feels good to be working with something that’s in the forefront of technology because “current pasteurization methods are starting to fail us.”

Some members of Dr. Patras’s research team in the Meats Processing Lab at TSU (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“We are starting to see outbreaks left and right. So, to be at the forefront of something that is going to be global pretty soon is a big deal for me,” said Ribeiro, who is from Chesapeake, Virginia. “I am enjoying it. I enjoy working with Dr. Petras and the rest of the team.”

In the second grant, Patras and Co-PI Dr. Hongwei Si will evaluate the cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods. Cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods must be evaluated to ensure the novel food processing techniques do not produce cytotoxic chemical compounds.

UV photons can break chemical bonds and could result in modifying compounds in foods. UV disinfection itself is the result of forming dimers (bonds) between adjacent pyrimidines in the nucleic acids of bacteria and viruses. The team aims to evaluate the cytotoxicity against normal colon, blood cells and study the protein expression of these cells. Experiments will be conducted mimicking the human gastric system.

For more information on TSU’s College Agriculture, go to 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.

Nashville Mayor Extols Verizon Innovative Learning Program with Middle School Students During Visit to Tennessee State University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Thirteen-year-old Carlile Burgess wants to one day be a technician at Verizon, and he thinks a summer program at Tennessee State University has opened the door for him.

Nashville Mayor David Briley; and Thomas Francis, Verizon Innovative Learning program coordinator, right, observe students as they work on a program during class. (Photo BY Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“I love technology in general especially with Verizon because I like working with their equipment,” said the 8th grader from Nashville’s East Middle School. “I want to work with them; if they have a crash or something, I can fix it.”

Burgess has big dreams and he is not alone. On Tuesday, he and about 80 other students in grades 6-8 from the Nashville Metro Public Schools got a chance to show Nashville Mayor David Briley new technology they are learning on the TSU campus as part of the Verizon Innovative Learning Program.

The VIL, a partnership between TSU and Verizon, gives the students a firsthand experience in “the vital role technology plays in today’s world, empowering them to become creators and makers,” a Verizon release said.

Eighth-grader Carlile Burgess, middle, and fellow students work on a circuit board. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Mayor Briley’s visit allowed him to see students participating in hands-on coursework in virtual reality, augmented reality, 3-D printing, robotics and electronics. He said it was very encouraging to get the students interested early in technology.

“This is clearly a part of the economy that is growing and we need to make sure our young folks are ready to compete,” Briley said. “So, having a partnership between Tennessee State and Verizon and Metro Schools is a great thing to be doing this summer for these young men.”

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, who welcomed the mayor on behalf of TSU President Glenda Glover, said the university was excited to be a part of the training program for the students, he described as future leaders who could one day become TSU Tigers.

About 80 middle school students are participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning program on the Tennessee State University campus during the summer. (Pohto by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“We are excited that the mayor can come out to see some of the many great things that are taking place here on our campus with youth from the community who are being developed for future leaders here at Tennessee State,” Johnson said.

Also, on hand to greet the mayor was Dulaney L. O’Roark III, from Verizon Government Affairs. He said Verizon is very proud to sponsor the program.

“It means a lot to bring these young men to really experience cutting-edge technology to be able to envision themselves on a college campus learning about virtual reality, computing and all of the newest innovations,” O’Roark said. “We are really honored that the mayor would come and be a part of the program and express to the young men how supportive he is of them being part of this learning experience.”

According to Verizon, the three-week program for minority male students is intended to prepare them for future tech careers through intensive coursework in design and product development while being mentored by relatable professional STEM role models. The program helps participants acquire technical and soft skills to reach a higher level of academic achievement.  After summer courses are completed,  students will make monthly visits to TSU for STEM education courses and individual mentoring with undergraduate and graduate students.

Thomas Francis, a STEM instructor, is a coordinator of the VIL program at TSU. He said the students are also developing friendships and learning to work together.

“The students are leaning with other students who are like-minded like them and that’s important in learning technology and in putting math and science together,” Thomas said.

For more information on Verizon Innovative Learning program, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/documents/VerizonTSUCampFlyer.pdf

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 Receives 11 Nominations For 2019 HBCU Digest Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is a finalist in 11 categories of the 2019 Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ Digest Awards.

The winners will be announced at the ninth annual HBCU Awards ceremony to be held on August 2 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in downtown Baltimore. 

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

Other TSU nominations are:

Best Marching Band: Aristocrat of Bands

Best HBCU Choir: New Direction Choir

Best Fine Arts Program: Department of Music

Best Science, Technology, Engineer and Mathematics (STEM) Program: College of Engineering

Best Business Program: Executive MBA Program

Alumna of the Year: Traci Otey Blunt

Female Coach of the Year: Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice

Male Athlete of the Year: Christion Abercrombie

Male Student of the Year: Jailen Leavell

The HBCU Awards is the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievement at historically black colleges and universities throughout the country. Winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, journalist, HBCU executives, students and alumni for the merit of accomplishment and for generating positive coverage for HBCU campus communities.

Last year, Tennessee State University received awards for “Best Student Organization” and “Alumnus of the Year.”

The year before that, TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands and the university’s College of Engineering received top honors in the HBCU Digest Awards.

In 2015, TSU’s women’s basketball team got Female Team of the Year, and student activities received Best Student Organization.

To see all the 2019 HBCU Awards finalists, visit: https://bit.ly/31JbrRF

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.