Category Archives: Athletics

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.

President Glover Honors Slain TSU Alumna and TDOC Administrator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Debra K. Porter Johnson was a proud graduate of Tennessee State University, a proclamation from the university said about the woman killed by a prison escapee in her home on Aug. 7.

Debra K. Porter Johnson

TSU President Glenda Glover, accompanied by senior university administration officials, presented the proclamation to Johnson’s family, with a special donation during a fundraiser organized by WKRN Channel 2 at  Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, where Johnson was a member.

“We celebrate the life and the legacy of Debra Johnson,” Glover said. “She was just an ideal sweetheart of a person, very professional all the time, downright nice, and we are happy to honor her because she just loved TSU.”

Johnson was a great football lover who came to all of TSU home games and functions, Glover said. As a result, the president announced that at this year’s John Merritt Classic, Johnson’s usual seat at home games will be draped with the university flag in honor of the slain TSU alumna.

The proclamation, presented to Johnson’s son Mychal Austin,  described the former Tennessee Department of Correction administrator as a devoted mother and grandmother whose love for her family “was only seconded by the love she had for her God. Her passion for people was seen each day on and off her job. Her untimely passing leaves a void that even time may never fill but her legacy of love will live on,” the proclamation read.

Austin, the youngest of Debra Johnson’s three children – Stanley (Memory) Johnson, Dr. Shernaye Johnson – said it was heartwarming and ‘highly’ appreciative of TSU to honor their mother.

“We appreciate TSU for thinking about our mother,” Austin said. “She went to all the home games and all the events that she could. Bestowing this honor on her will be something that our family cherishes. We really appreciate TSU for all the university has done for the community, especially North Nashville, and Middle Tennessee and across this nation. We take great comfort in knowing that this great institution of higher learning cares about our mother.”

Glover thanked Channel 2 for hosting the fundraiser to benefit Debra Johnson’s family.

Debra Johnson was buried Aug. 15 at Greenwood Cemetery North following funeral services at Temple Church in Nashville.

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 Hires New Assessment and Accreditation Director

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has hired Dr. Charlise Anderson, a longtime assessment and institutional effectiveness expert, to serve as director of assessment and accreditation.

Anderson’s hiring comes in the wake of the recent sanction placed on the university by its accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. TSU was placed on a one-year probation by SACSCOC for failing to comply with one of 25 accrediting standards, which involves student outcome for educational programs.

Dr. Charlise Anderson

TSU has a “plan of action” to address this issue, TSU President Glenda Glover announced at the Fall Faculty and Staff Institute Monday, assuring the gathering that TSU remains a fully accredited institution.

““We are fixing this and fixing it now,” Glover said. “Dr. Charlise Anderson has been hired as a full-time director to guide this process internally. We are confident in her ability and 100 percent confident that TSU will do all that is required to prepare and submit the documentation that is necessary to remove us from probation.”

In her long career, Anderson has served as senior leadership team member for college reaffirmation and accreditation, a SACSCOC fifth-year interim report coordinator, evaluator of college strategic plan, as well as directed all activities of a quality enhancement plan, or QEP, a key component of SACS’s reaffirmation process.

Before coming to TSU, Anderson was the director of institutional research, effectiveness and assessment, as well as accreditation liaison at Jarvis Christian College. Previously, she was the director of institutional research and assessment at Lane College.

Dr. Alisa Mosley, TSU’s interim vice president for Academic Affairs, described Anderson as “a valued addition to work with our staff” on assessment accreditation.

“She will work with our colleges, departments, divisions, and the University Assessment and Improvement Council to ensure that our academic programs and nonacademic units remain committed to a culture of assessment,” Mosley said. “Dr. Anderson assesses the needed experience in assessment and collaborating with external entities to ensure compliance.”

On how she plans to move forward with helping the institution to put together the needed corrective measures in the wake of the SACSCOC sanction, Anderson said documentation is currently being collected to demonstrate the analysis and use of results to make program improvements and “we will respond to SACSCOC accordingly.”

“In addition, assessment activities have been designed for the 2019-2020 academic year for each academic program to evidence a cohesive common process across all programs at the institution,” she said.

Anderson holds a doctorate degree in higher and adult education from the University of Memphis; M.S. in instructional technology and education from St. Joseph’s University; and B.S. in general studies from Lane College.

In the implementation of TSU’s action plan, President Glover also announced that the university has retained a nationally known firm with expertise on accreditation matters, as well as a communication/reputation management firm.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

Top TSU Student Pursues Dream in Medical Field, Credits ‘Family’ Atmosphere for Choosing University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Alanis Onwu says all it took for her to decide to come to Tennessee State University was a visit to President Glenda Glover’s home.

Alanis Onwu

“I immediately fell in love with the family atmosphere I experienced and decided right then that this is where I want to be,” says Onwu, an agricultural sciences biotechnology major, who is in her junior year.

An academic standout and graduate of Nashville’s Lead Academy, Onwu came to TSU on a High Achiever Academic Scholarship with a full ride, but still had other options. On arriving on campus, and as a high achiever scholarship recipient, Onwu was invited to the Presidential Scholars’ Reception for highly recruited students, at the president’s residence.

“That reception changed everything,” says Onwu. “President Glover, the faculty, staff and other students there made us feel so much at home; it felt like a close-knit family, and where I wanted to be.”

In more than two years at TSU, Onwu, a Nashville native, who wants to be a medical doctor, says she made the right decision.

“I have been exposed to so many opportunities. There are so many programs, so many clubs to get involved in. There is something for everyone,” she says.

Maintaining a near 4.0 GPA, Onwu has made the Dean’s List every semester since coming to TSU. She is a member of the Honors College, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program, and an active participant in the Students Opportunities for Advancement in Research Skills, or SOARS, where she is engaged in research on ways to reduce risk factors and mortality rate of breast cancer in African American women. Onwu is also the president of the African Student Association on campus.

As part of her interest in medicine, and to help accelerate her career journey, Onwu over the summer shadowed doctors in the Meharry Pediatrics Clinic. That experience, she says, has increased interest in becoming a doctor for children.

“First, I wanted to do internal medicine, but now that I have been shadowing doctors and pediatricians, I am really interested in pediatrics. I didn’t think I’d like it at first, but being around them (pediatric doctors) I have really grown to love the practice.”

Onwu’s enthusiasm for learning and her eagerness to be the best have been noticed by her professors – one in particular, who classified Onwu as one of the best students he has had in more than 20 years of teaching.

“She is right at the top of the class,” says Dr. Michael Ivy, professor of biological sciences, who taught Onwu anatomy and physiology. “Compared to other students, she was always prepared, never late. She was dependable. Her assignments were excellent. In addition to her class time, I never had to worry if she was going to miss something. Compared to all of the students I have taught in more than two decades, she ranks in the top 5 percent.”

Outside classwork and other extracurricular activities, Onwu also engages in community affairs and humanitarian work. In December, she launched “The Enugu Education Empowerment Movement,” that collected supplies for more than 50 school children in the Udi Village of Enugu State, Nigeria.

“I wanted to start this movement because in this specific location in Nigeria, many families cannot afford to buy their children school supplies,” says Onwu. “I wanted to make sure more children had the essential tools to be successful while getting an education.”

She is thankful for all TSU has made possible for her to pursue her dream, and encourages others thinking about TSU that “the decision should be easy.”

“I feel anyone thinking about TSU should come, see what it is, try to get involved, take what they like, and they definitely will find something interesting here,” says Onwu.

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 Glover welcomes employees back with message of continued teamwork, student success and accreditation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – “Our decisions must be about the welfare of the students. We are here for the students. We are here on behalf of the students,” President Glenda Glover said as she officially kicked off the fall semester for the university on Aug. 12.

TSU President Glenda Glover, left, welcomes Dr. Belle Wheelan, President of SACSCOC during the Fall Faculty Staff Institute. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Glover’s opening message continued with service to students during the faculty and staff gathering, held to commence the start of each academic school year.  

“We have an awesome responsibility to challenge minds, to change lives, and to ensure the future. Everything we do must be done with that in mind,” she said.

Her remarks followed the welcome by Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Alisa Mosley; Dr. Geoffrey Burke, chair of the Faculty Senate; and Staff Senate Chair Tequila Johnson, all of whom told faculty and staff they play a role in the success of TSU.

The customary State of the University Address also touched upon the past year of successes and challenges. Hundreds of employees attended the annual event to get an update on those year-long initiatives.  A main topic included the university’s recent sanction by its accrediting body.

“Tennessee State University remains a fully accredited institution,” Glover told faculty and staff. 

TSU was placed on a one-year probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC), for failing to comply with one of 25 accrediting standards, which involves student outcome for educational programs.

A special highlight of the Faculty Staff Institute was the appearance of the President of SACSCOC, Dr. Belle Wheelan, who explained the role of the commission and further assured the gathering that TSU is not in danger of losing its accreditation.

“It is a pleasure for me to be here today,” Wheelan said. “My challenge is to help you understand the accreditation process and to believe within your heart, as I do in my heart, that TSU is going to be alright. I assure you, she (President Glover) has pulled every resource together, both human and fiscal, and you all are going to fix this. I assure you, this time next year, you will be fine.”

Glover discussed a “plan of action” to address the issue. Corrective steps taken so far under the plan include the following:  university has retained a nationally known firm with expertise on accreditation matters; hired a full-time director of assessment and accreditation to guide the process internally; as well as a communication/reputation management firm.

Glover introduced Charlise Anderson, a longtime assessment and institutional effectiveness expert, as the new director in charge of accreditation matters.

“We are 100 percent confident that TSU will do all that is required to prepare and submit the documentation that is necessary to remove us from probation,” Glover said. “We are fixing this and fixing it now.”

Glover also announced progress and challenges in other areas including, recruitment, retention, graduation, campus safety, customer service, but said ensuring student success remains “the key reason we are all here.”

On a major achievement, Glover informed the university of TSU’s recent partnership with tech giant Apple, and the hosting of the inaugural HBCU C2 Presidential Academy last month.

“TSU is now a National Center for Smart Technology Innovations that will bring coding and creativity opportunities across HBCU campuses,” Glover said. “TSU will be the hub for all 104 HBCUs to come here and code and create.

Dr. Robbie Melton, interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the initiative’s main facilitator, was recognized for spearheading the effort that made the partnership possible. Dr. Melton then presented the TSU-trained code and creative team members.

The University is offering the coding course for free to employees. The institute culminated with lunch on the lawn.

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, Tennessee Black Caucus Host State Lawmakers from Across the Nation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently hosted a reception for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators on its Avon Williams Campus downtown. Members of the NBCSL were in Nashville for a legislative summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

One of the highlights of the reception on Aug. 6 was a pre-birthday celebration for Tennessee State Rep. Barbara Cooper, a TSU alum who marks her 90th birthday on Aug. 11. Cooper, who represents District 86 in Memphis, received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tennessee State University.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to our beloved university,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “But a special privilege to say, ‘Happy birthday’ to Rep. Cooper, and to thank her for her able leadership in the Tennessee General Assembly.”

TSU President Glenda Glover (middle in blue) greets state lawmakers from Florida at the reception for members of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

In her remarks, Dr. Glover informed the gathering, which included a number of black Tennessee lawmakers, about TSU’s recent partnership with tech giant Apple, and the hosting of the inaugural HBCU C2 Presidential Academy last month. She called on Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the initiative’s main facilitator, to elaborate.

“TSU is now a National Center for Smart Technology Innovations that will bring coding and creativity opportunities across HBCU campuses,” Melton said. “TSU will be the hub for all 104 HBCUs to come here and code and create. And on behalf of our partnership with Apple, you are able to take this course this fall for free – no cost.”

Before Glover’s presentation, remarks were made by TSU alums Rep. Harold Love, Jr., and Sen. Brenda Gilmore, both of Nashville; as well as Rep. G.A. Hardaway, Sr., of Memphis, who is chairman of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators. The lawmakers thanked President Glover and the TSU family for the reception and the contribution of TSU to the community and nation.

“I certainly want to express our appreciation on behalf of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators to Dr. Glover for opening up everything to us and for always being that resource that we need, whether we’re talking about facilities, research, or helping to shape public policy,” Hardaway said. “It is critical that we have that type of avenue to secure the data that we need – that is unfiltered. And nobody does it like TSU.”

In an interview, South Carolina State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, president of the NBCSL, thanked her fellow Tennessee lawmakers for organizing the reception. She congratulated President Glover on her leadership, and extolled TSU for preparing students to become productive citizens.

“I am always impressed with sisters who handle business and who know what they are doing,” Cobb-Hunter said, of Glover. “My brief encounter with her suggests that Tennessee State has the right person at the helm, that she is certainly a visionary, and I am hopeful that the people here in this community and in the state recognize what a treasure they have in Dr. Glover.”

The NCSL summit was from Aug. 5-6.

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.