Category Archives: College of Liberal Arts

Tennessean Names Conference Room in Honor of Late Reporter and TSU Professor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessean newspaper has named a conference room in honor of the late award-winning business reporter and TSU adjunct professor Getahn Ward, who died in 2016. He was 45.

The Meter staffers visit the Getahn Ward Conference Room in The Tennessean new office building. Pictured are, from left, staff writer Brianna Sparrow, Editor-in-Chief KaBria Kirkham, and staff writer Nyah Peebles. (Courtesy photo)

The Getahn Ward Conference Room, in the newspaper’s new office building, includes a table with four chairs, a cabinet displaying awards Ward won while he worked there, as well as a white board for writing ideas. The multimedia room in the TSU Department of Communications is also named in honor of the fallen professor.

An active member of the Nashville chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, where he chaired the scholarship committee, Ward was an adjunct in the Communications Department at TSU, teaching an introductory course in journalism for many years.

Former students and staffers of The Meter, the TSU student newspaper, which Ward headed as editor-in-chief while a student at TSU, visited the Getahn Ward Conference Room recently. The experience, one said, “was very moving.”

Three visiting Meter staffers sit in on the morning editorial staff meeting at The Tennessean. (Courtesy Photo)

“Although I did not know him personally, but as soon as I saw his picture I felt an immediate connection …seeing his accomplishments and the remarkable person he was,” said KaBria Kirkham, editor-in-chief of The Meter, who came to TSU the year after Ward’s death.

She said as an aspiring journalist, she was inspired by Ward’s dedication to excellence and how he went about his work.

“I was just amazed to see something so important dedicated to him in recognition of his work and contribution to his community and individuals he came across,” Kirkham added.

During visit to the Getahn Ward Conference Room, The Meter staffers had an opportunity to interact with their counterparts at The Tennessean. (Courtesy Photo)

Meter staff writers Brianna Sparrow and Nyah Peebles accompanied Kirkham during the visit to The Tennessean. The group also toured the newspaper’s elaborate facility at its new 1801 West End Avenue location, and sat in on the paper’s morning editorial meeting, where the plan for the day’s coverage is discussed.

Following Ward’s death, TSU, The Tennessean, the Gannett Foundation and NABJ partnered to create a scholarship in Ward’s name to benefit aspiring journalists. The new scholarship is the first endowed scholarship in the history of the TSU Department of Communications.

“At a time when our majors are working multiple jobs to offset the cost of a college education, this (scholarship) will go a long way in helping some of our best and brightest students,” Dr. Tameka Winston, chair of the TSU Department of Communications, said during the launching of the scholarship.  “This scholarship represents a man who devoted much of his life to the field of journalism and to the education and success of students at Tennessee State University.”

Ward, who previously worked at the Nashville Banner before it closed in 1997, had a passion for teaching students and advocating for black journalists. He earned two degrees at TSU, where he was a proud alum.

To contribute to the Getahn Ward Endowed Scholarship Fund, visit https://bit.ly/35kPUjK

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.

Award-Winning Filmmaker Returns to TSU To Premiere Latest Project “Wear The Crown”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Alum and Award-Winning Filmmaker Alan Nettles will return to campus Saturday, December 14, to premiere his latest film project, “Wear The Crown.”

In ”Wear The Crown,” Nettles, who secured his Bachelor of Science degree in communication studies with a concentration in TV and film production from TSU in 2019, takes viewers inside the trying world of a family rocked by the news that their mother, Winnie Price, has been diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer.

The Phoenix Troupe (Photo Submitted)

The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Cox-Lewis Theater with a pre-show performance by a group of creative artists called the Phoenix Troupe.

Filled with touching music and engaging subplots, “Wear The Crown,” which took five days to shoot, showcases various locations in Nashville, including Tennessee State University, Arlington United Methodist Church and Diamond Sound Studios. The crew also shot on location in Cadiz, Kentucky.

“Our preproduction was also very intense. We had about six weeks of rehearsals with the cast,” Nettles said. “We had a lot of different marketing events that we participated in from September until now.  We did a huge crowd-funder campaign, and there were just so many different things that we were doing to really bring this film to life.”

Alan Nettles, founder and CEO of Moving4ward Productions (Photo Submitted)

Nettles, founder and CEO of Moving4ward Productions, the company responsible for the film, said “Wear The Crown” features numerous TSU alums, including Lynn Summers who portrays Winnie Price and Pamela Bennett, who portrays Mrs. Alexander.

Summers said the film takes a close look at the dynamics of family relationships.

“This film mirrors true society today.  These are the trials and tribulations we go through each and every day,” she said.  “Regardless of what happens, family is family.  We should still love one another, and we should still get together.”

TSU Alum Lynn Summers portrays Winnie Price in “Wear The Crown.” (Photo Submitted)

“Wear The Crown” was produced by an all-female team which includes: Cillea Houghton, producer; Janice Wheaton, executive producer; and Sabrina Moore, line producer.  This is the first time all three have produced a film.

Moore, a former nuclear engineer who recently graduated from TSU with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, said the film encourages people to take ownership of their lives, particularly their health.

“This film spotlights not only the issue of cancer, but of gender identity, depression and just how to accept yourself wherever you are in life,” she said.  “Deal with your issues. Deal with your health. Deal with your mental stability.  You can deal with it.  Everybody is dealing with something in some shape, form or fashion, so take ownership of your body and your life.”

Nettles, whose debut film “3 Blind Boys on the Block” was named Best of Fest at the 2015 Chi-Town Multicultural Film Festival, said witnessing his aunt, Tracey Reid, battle cancer inspired him to make the film.  He said the cast and crew worked tirelessly to produce a high-quality project that should strike a chord with anyone who has grappled with depression, grief or sickness.

“I’ve had to sacrifice life in order to breathe life into this production,” he said.

Nettles credits many of his professors at TSU, as well as his parents, with giving him the guidance and support necessary to achieve his creative aspirations.

“The faculty in the Department of Communications truly does care about its students, and if you allow them to love you, they will love you. You just have to be open to receive them,” he said.

Houghton said she hopes the film gives a voice to the voiceless.

“It’s shining a spotlight on important issues that I think will kind of resonate with everybody, from cancer to mental health, which is such a prominent issue today,” she said.  “We just really hope they feel that their voice is in this story, that their story is in this film.”

“Wear the Crown” also features performances by the Phoenix Troupe, a group of African-American singers and creative artists, including 2014 Essence Festival “You’re My Star” contest winner Megan Broadnax; Jeffrey White of gospel duo Same Seed; Lynn Echo, who appeared on former BET show “Bobby Jones Gospel,” along with Kyiara Jackson, Aundra Keo Brown and April Sledge.  

The premiere event will also include a screening of the short film, “Loose Change,” written and directed by Moving4ward Productions  assistant director of Creative Development, William Jenkins.  After the screenings, there will be a Q&A with the cast and crew of “Wear the Crown” and “Loose Change.”

The event will also honor cancer survivors related to members of the cast with the presentation of a special gift.

For more information about “Wear The Crown,” visit https://bit.ly/2PtbH1Z .

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-Apple Coding Initiative Introduces Girls To Coding and STEM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently partnered with Apple, Inc. to teach middle and high school girls how to code, as well as consider careers in STEM.

Youth from ages 6 to 19 from various schools, including McKissack Middle School and HIllsboro High School, had the opportunity to experience coding at a free camp on Nov. 2, 9 and 16 in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex (The Barn) on the main campus.

Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted about the camp: “We’re proud to team up with @TSUedu and @nc100bwinc to show girls in Nashville how coding can help them realize their dreams. Can’t wait to see where your imaginations take you! “

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, serves as the program director for the coding initiative.

“We were able to introduce these girls to coding in a very fun, active and stimulating way,” she said.  “The students were only supposed to pick one Saturday, but some of the girls came back every Saturday.”

During the camp, participants moved around to different stations where they learned basic coding principles, and “actually coded drones and robots to move and function.”

Melton said because of the success of the camp, her office has received requests from local high schools, as well as schools in Memphis, Clarksville and Shelbyville that hope to explore coding.

“The students went back to their schools and talked to their teachers, and because of that we are now having special sessions for schools,” Melton said.  “We got a call from Hillsboro High School’s parent community where we went on Monday to do ‘Everyone Can Code. Everyone Can Create.’ Antioch is also on board. These are schools that have reached out because of their students to say, ‘Hey, can we have more?  Can we bring students to you, or can you all come to us?”

Students from various schools in Nashville gather for photo following a free coding camp held in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex. (Submitted Photo)

In July, TSU launched  HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Create,” a national initiative supported by Apple, which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and underserved communities. The initiative is part of TSU’s newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the  HBCU C2 Presidential Academy. The girls coding camp is an extension of the initiative.

Dr. Veronica Johnson is president of the Metro Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., which partnered with TSU and Apple. She said black women and girls are “vastly underrepresented” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as performing arts.

“By exposing STEM projects at an early age, it could help increase their chances of exploring these fields, as they pursue academic degrees and seek future career opportunities,” Johnson said. “Having access to develop needed skill sets to survive in the 21st digital landscape will be critical to the economic impact of the future of black communities.”

Eleven-year-old Genesis Wells, who attends Cresswell Middle Prep School of the Arts, said she found out about the camp from her mother, Ariel Wells, who works at TSU.

Genesis Laniah Wells, a student at Cressell Middle Prep School of the Arts, attended the girls’ coding camp with her mom Ariel Wells, who works at TSU. (Submitted Photo)

“I enjoyed playing in Swift Playgrounds the most and GarageBand,” she said. “I enjoyed Swift Playgrounds because you get to control a character named Bright and make him collect coins, and it makes your brain think a little bit. I enjoyed GarageBand because I got to make beats and I love music, so that’s just a dream for me.”

Wells, who aspires to be a singer, actor and dancer, said she is also considering a career as a pediatrician.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, said the camp was also beneficial to the participants’ parents, or guardians.

“The program also informs parents and adults about the digital world of information technology, and how as individuals you can take control of your learning and knowledge based on your own needs and career goals,” said Hargrove. “The ability to manage information and make data-driven decisions will continue to be a major skill for today and tomorrow’s workforce”

TSU has been charged with strengthening the collaboration by offering the company’s coding curriculum to new audiences. That expansion also includes providing TSU alums the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of app design and app development for free.

To date, TSU has impacted 32 HBCUs with the  HBCU C2 Initiative, including visiting every HBCU in Arkansas and meeting with a representative from each HBCU located in Louisiana. Melton said in April 2020 Apple will establish an HBCU Appstore, where HBCUs can share the various apps they have created. 

“If you can dream it, we can design it and we can code it. Everyone is not going to be a coder, but everyone can think and create.,” she said. “We leave every academy with apps that they have designed to address a community, an education or a workforce need.”

Also in July, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon Williams Campus. The initiative is also part of the National Center for Smart Technology Innovations.

For more information about the girls coding camp, contact ablack1@tnstate.edu, or call 615-963-7269.

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 Remembers Founders During 2019 Homecoming

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –Tennessee State University held it’s Founder’s Day Convocation on Oct. 15 in Kean Hall.

TSU President Glenda Glover, accompanied by keynote speaker Nashville General Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Joseph Webb, led a procession of faculty, student leaders and administrators to mark the university’s 107th birthday.

President Glenda Glover presents 2018 Founders’ Day speaker Dr. Joseph Webb with a plaque at the ceremony in Kean Hall. (Photo by Emanuel O. Roland II)

The University Wind Ensemble, led by Dr. Reginald McDonald, offered selections to a cheering audience, following presentation of colors by the Air Force ROTC Color Guard.

“We honor our founders, and we celebrate our excellence,” Glover said, as she reflected on the significance of the university’s contributions. “It is my esteemed pleasure to be here on this founders day.”

Miss TSU, Jada Crisp, and Mr. TSU, Damyr Moore, shared a brief history of TSU, followed by a musical selection from the University Choir.

In his keynote address, Webb reminisced about his days as a student at TSU.

Miss TSU Jada Crisp, joined by Mr. TSU Damyr Moore, gives the university history at the Founders’ Day program. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“For me this is truly a homecoming because I am back in what we used to call ‘Kean’s  Little Garden,’” Webb said. “They call it Kean Hall now, but we had a lot of experiences here as an athlete. As a basketball player, I had two goals in mind: one was on this end, and one was on that end.”

He reminded the students, faculty and alumni that as members of the TSU family, they are part of a proud legacy.

“TSU, founded in 1912, has a rich history of producing public service and great leaders. It is still that beacon of  hope where many aspire to gain a better life with the motto of ‘Think.Work.Serve,’ and a charge of ‘Enter to learn, and go forth to serve.’” he said.

The University Wind Ensemble, led by Dr. Reginald McDonald, offer a selection at Founder’s Day Convocation. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Webb, who joined Nashville General Hospital in 2015, has more than 25 years of experience managing for–profit and not-for-profit  healthcare organizations. He obtained his doctorate of science in health services administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and holds a bachelor of science and master of science in health and physical education from TSU.

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 Students Hold Candlelight Vigil for Fallen Classmate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Rickey Scott had a ready smile and willing hand to help anyone in need. That’s how  Tennessee State University students, faculty, and staff remembered the freshman Monday night at a candlelight vigil.

Students hold hands as they console one another at the vigil for their late schoolmate. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Scott, 19, died Sunday afternoon at a local Nashville hospital from a critical gunshot wound, according to authorities. The case remains under investigation.

Many held hands, while others wiped away tears, as students said prayers and sang songs during the vigil organized by the SGA and Freshmen Class.  TSU’s Amphitheater on the main campus served as the backdrop for the very emotional event. The university was stunned by the sudden death of the engineering major from Ohio, who was just entering his third month as a freshman. Many of the students did not know Scott personally, but attended the vigil to show their support for his family and friends. Others who encountered the spirited young man remembered his smiles, lightheartedness and caring personality.

TSU President Glenda Glover was among university officials at the candlelight vigil. She lamented Scott’s death, expressed sympathy to Scott’s family who attended the ceremony, and thanked the students for coming together to remember their fellow student.

Students join the parents and other family members for a walk across campus following the vigil as a show of solidarity. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“We ask the Almighty God to put his arms around us as a university, a student body to protect us and strengthen this family during this time,” Glover said. “We are heartbroken by this loss and we grieve with Rickey’s family and those who knew him. In times like these, we must come together and support each other as one university community.”

Tiona Williamson, a sophomore majoring in cardiorespiratory care, did not know Scott too well, but fondly remembers talking to him just days before his passing.

“I met him and we had a couple of conversations,” said Williamson, of Jackson, Tennessee. “I didn’t know him personally, but thought he was a really sweet person. He was really nice, cool and laid back. It is so sad what happened to him.”

“He was loved,” one of Scott’s family members added.

 Also speaking at the candlelight vigil were Katelyn Thompson, president of the Student Government Association; Mr. TSU Damyr Moore; and Caleb Jarmon, President of the freshman class.

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said the vigil was a show of unity among students, especially the freshmen, who wanted to make sure that they came together, to hold hands and to encourage one another.

“This is somewhat of a cloudy day in the Land of Golden Sunshine,” Stevenson said. “We have a Tiger that has fallen and the students have paused to celebrate his life with this vigil.”

Miss Freshman, Ashanti Mitchell, said it was sad to lose a classmate just shortly after starting their college journey.

“We have been here no more than three months and just now starting our first Homecoming and to lose one of our classmates is just unfortunate,” said Mitchell, a biology major from Louisville, Kentucky. “I wish coming together was under a better circumstance. The fact that my class came out and supported even though some of them didn’t even know him, I really appreciate it and I hope that we keep this close bond and be supportive of each other going forward.”

Sunday was the start of Homecoming week at TSU, but Glover assured the gathering of increased TSUPD and Metro police presence to ensure safety due to the expected high traffic on campus. 

Law enforcement is continuing to look into all information, including video surveillance. TSUPD say there was no report of a shooting or suspicious activity on campus prior to receiving the call from Metro police dispatch. They’re still trying to determine exactly where he sustained the fatal injury and a motive. School administrators are asking for the public to come forward with any information that may help in the investigation.

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 Aristocrat of Bands Ranked No. 1 Among HBCU Bands

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

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 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.

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.

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.