Category Archives: EVENTS

TSU Receives $447,000 Federal Grant to Mobilize Students Across 10 HBCUs in MLK Day of Service Activities

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A group of TSU students plant trees as part of their assignment during a community service day in metro Nashville. (Submitted photo)
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Dr. Linda Guthrie

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students will be part of newly established collaborations that will engage more than 50,000 student volunteers and stakeholders, and 17,000 community members in service activities during the observance of the MLK Day holiday. This is the result of a $447,000 grant that the TSU Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement received from The Corporation for National and Community Service to undertake programs geared toward the Day of Service held each year across the nation in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The total amount of the grant is a combination of federal and matching funds.

Established in 1993, the CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through different programs each year. The funding is intended to mobilize more Americans to observe the MLK Federal Holiday as a day of service in communities. The goal is to encourage those who serve during the holiday to make a long-term commitment to community service, and to bring people together to focus on service to others.

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Shirley Nix-Davis

According to Shirley Nix- Davis, director of the Youth Empowerment Program- College Access Now at TSU, and one of the project directors for the grant, the funding will be used to implement a one-year Spread the Service Mini Grant Competition through collaboration with the Center for Service Learning and the HBCU Coalition, beginning in October.

“The project seeks to align the missions of HBCUs and The Corporation for National and Community Service’s mission with MLK Jr.’s legacy to invest in community solutions, create collaborations that value diversity, and improve educational outcomes for the economically disadvantaged,” Nix-Davis said.

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Tequila M. Johnson

Tequila Johnson, project assessment coordinator in the CSLCE, who along with Nix-Davis procured the grant, said the project will bring together about 10 HBCUs in the southeast region through community service and capacity building initiatives that strategically address disaster services, economic opportunity, education, and capacity building. TSU students, who participate in several service activities as part of course requirements, and area community participants, will be integral to the implementation of the project, Johnson said.

Last year, through 156 community partnerships, 4,013 TSU students logged a total of 47,316 hours in the classroom and in various activities around the metro Nashville area. Many students say the experience has given them a better outlook on life.

“The Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement has allowed me to connect with the community in many capacities throughout my collegiate career,” said Jalen Hussey, a senior Computer Science major from Memphis, Tennessee. “As a mentor for the YEP/CAN (Youth Empowerment College Access Now Program), I have had the opportunity to assist young at-risk males with college access and academic success. This experience has instilled a commitment to service within me.”

Dr. Linda Guthrie, director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, said the MLK Day of Service connects students with their community by challenging them to think critically about issues going on around them.

“Tennessee State University has a long history of service to others, which is central to the institution’s mission and academic curriculum,” Guthrie said. “Our students come to TSU with the expectation to serve. They often find opportunities to do that through day-ofservice events, community organizations or in the classroom. Through events such as this our students have the opportunity to not only serve, but to create and lead projects that change their lives and the lives of others. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to engage several HCBUs in service.”

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Alumni, Supporters Step Up in A Big Way; President’s Challenge Tops $12 Million in Giving

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A cross section of alumni, supporters and staff attended the President’s Reception in the ballroom of the Case Management Inc. headquarters in Memphis. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – At the Sept. 12 Southern Heritage Classic where Tennessee State University trounced archrival Jackson State University 35-25, fans were cheering the TSU Tigers to victory on the football field, while others, especially alumni, were celebrating the “good news” about financial support to their alma mater.

At the President’s Reception the night before, hosted by Dr. Glenda Glover as part of the Southern Heritage Classic festivities, the TSU leader reported that alumni and fans’ financial giving to the university has topped $12 million since she launched the President’s Challenge January 2013, just days after taking over as president. Saying that she would lead by example, Glover presented a check for $50,000 and challenged each alumni chapter to “match my gift or follow my lead in giving to TSU.”

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Eloise Abernathy Alexis, the new associate vice president for Institutional Advancement, left, and President Glenda Glover talk to Karanja Kajanaku, editor of The New Tri-State Defender during an interview in the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Since the challenge, which ends Sep. 30, the university has raised $12,446,000 with the Alpha Theta Network Chapter contributing nearly $260,000; Beta Omicron Chapter nearly $183,000; the Nashville Chapter nearly $146,000; the Memphis-Shelby Chapter nearly $138,000, and several other chapters bringing in almost $100,000 each. Glover reported that nine chapters and several clusters had contributed $50,000 or more in giving by June 30.

“Applaud yourselves for this groundbreaking moment in alumni giving,” Glover said, as she thanked those gathered for their support. “We are not done yet. We still have Sept. 30 to make gifts toward the President’s Challenge. We will celebrate the success of the challenge during Homecoming activities.”

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President Glover receives a check for $10,000 from Doug Sanborn, manager of Community Affairs at Miller Coors, as a donation for student support. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

She thanked several individual alumni present for their support, including Bud Reese, a TSU graduate, who donated $30,000 last year from his Case Management Inc. Foundation for student support. She also recognized CMI and its management for hosting the President’s Reception.

Glover applauded the TSU Foundation team, including the staff of the Office of Institutional Advancement, Board members and “all who help each and every day to make this kind of effort possible.” She introduced Eloise Abernathy Alexis as the new associate vice president for Institutional Advancement.

Glover said while the SHC weekend of activities and frenzy about the game was the talk of the town around Memphis, the annual gathering is also an opportunity to talk about scholarship, recruitment, student achievement and giving to the university.

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Hundreds of TSU fans cheer on their team Saturday at the Southern Heritage Classic in the Liberty Bowl. More than 48,000 spectators watched as TSU trounced Jackson State University 35-25 for their fourth straight victory over JSU. (Photo by John Cross)

“As president of Tennessee State University, I take great pride in our student-athletes, cheerleaders and the band members who compete and perform in the Southern Heritage Classic game and the many other students who attend,” Glover said. “We feel it is important that in the midst of fun, food and football, we take time to gather here in Memphis to check in on one another about the well-being of TSU and the students we serve.”

On Thursday evening, the Memphis native was presented with a special gift at the Classic VIP Party hosted by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

“It always gives me a special good feeling and pleasure to welcome Dr. Glenda Glover, one of our own, who is making a big difference as president of Tennessee State University,” Wharton said.

Glover also met with several news organs for one-on-one interviews about the direction of TSU and the university’s role in ensuring quality higher education for all.

At the half-time show of the Southern Heritage Classic, attended by more than 48,000 fans, a representative of Miller Coors  presented President Glover with a check for $10,000 for student support.

The win in Saturday’s game, the fourth consecutive, improves TSU to 15-11 in the Southern Heritage Classic.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Seven Prior Servicemembers Graduate from TSU Veterans’ Training Program as IT Specialists

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As a certified “Vet Campus,” Tennessee State University provides programs and support services to ease veterans’ transition from military service to college life, as well as providing them opportunities to learn skills necessary for the workforce. Recently, seven prior servicemembers received certificates as information technology specialists after graduating from a training program offered through the TSU Continuing Education and Workforce Development Unit.

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The recent graduates of the TSU veterans’ training programs are, from left, James McGrath, Darren Cornish, Bobby Panya, Edward Holcomb, Latrina Serrano, Royal Riley and Daniel Noriega. (Submitted Photo)

The Workforce Opportunities Services program, created in 2010 to train and prepare veterans for today’s highly competitive workforce, conducted the 26-week, 10-course training program in partnership with TSU, BNY Mellon, and Workforce Essentials Inc. The WOS program provides veterans with critical professional skills for the corporate work environment while earning academic units.

Those graduating recently were 11-year Army veteran Bobby Panya; former Army field artillery automated tactical data systems specialist Daniel Noriega; former Army intelligence analyst Darren Cornish, who currently attends TSU; and Edward Holcomb, a former Army cannon crewmember, who served 18 years in the military.

Other graduates were James McGrath, an Army National Guardsman, who also served 13 years in the Tennessee National Guard; Royal Riley, a former Air Force aircraft mechanic; and Latrina Serrano, a former Navy interior communications electrician.

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Dr. Cheryl Seay, director of the TSU Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, addresses the graduates during the ceremony on the Avon Williams campus. (Submitted Photo)

According to TSU officials involved with the program, the newly trained veterans will continue to build their technical and workplace skills as full-time WOS contractors for BNY Mellon with the expectation they will transition to full-time employees in the next 12 months.

“We are especially proud of the sacrifice of our veterans and we are equally committed to ensuring their educational experience at Tennessee State University is a success,” said Dr. Evelyn Nettles, associate vice president for Academic Affairs. “As a certified ‘Vet Friendly Campus,’ we provide the necessary resources to make certain their educational dreams become reality. These resources include partnering with programs like WOS and the executive team at BNY Mellon to bring about successful outcomes.”

Russ Yorks, director of veterans programs at WOS, said for the training program to be successful it must include a corporate sponsor that recognizes the value of cultivating talent, a challenging yet nurturing university partner, and a talent pool of motivated individuals eager to transition into a career with a Fortune 500 company.

“We were lucky enough to find all three here in Nashville with Bank of New York Mellon, Tennessee State University, and the extraordinary military veteran talent residing in the area,” York said.

Michael Biedermann, managing director and global head of Recruitment Client Technology at BNY Mellon, said trainers, clients and managers have given positive feedback about the success of the program and the on-the-job performance of the trainees.

“This program has proven to be a successful, uplifting and empowering experience for not only our WOS participants but also for the greater Nashville community,” Biedermann said. “We couldn’t be more excited to have this talented team join our company.”

Other speakers at the Aug. 6 graduation ceremony on the Avon Williams Campus were Dr. Cheryl Seay, director of the TSU Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology; and Jim Grech, executive vice president of BNY Mellon.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU kicks off football season with John Merritt pep rally

The melodic sounds of Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands filled the campus as the Tigers kicked off a spirited pep rally in preparation of a new football season.

At the pep rally, students, alumni, faculty and staff blasted roaring screams and applause cheering on the Tigers in support of the big opener – the John A. Merritt Classic.

The Classic will be the first home game held Sunday, Sept. 6, 6 p.m. at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. The TSU Tigers will face off with rival Alabama State Hornets. Fans will enjoy the big blue experience complete with the game, the band and a salute to TSU great, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, who was drafted by the NFL in 1974 and was one of only three players to ever play 15 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Jones’ successful professional football career includes being named an All-Pro, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XII champion.

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Among those motivating the crowd at the pep rally were student leaders and administrators including Mr. TSU Delvakio Brown and Miss TSU Tyra Laster, along with TSU Athletics Director Teresa Lawrence-Phillips and Head Coach Rod Reed.

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“We really appreciate your support and need you there on Sunday night,” Reed said to the crowd. “We want you to show up and show out because that’s what the Tigers plan to do!”

Psychology major Kenneesha Beckwith was excited to share in the festivities on TSU’s campus.

“This is my first TSU pep rally on campus,” said Beckwith, a freshman from Chicago. “The band is great.”

Also joining in the celebration were TSU alumnae Margo Cain (’61) of Nashville and Renee McCleary (’88), who traveled from Chicago. They fondly remembered the excitement that pep rallies had in building the spirit on campus and the energy at TSU during their years as students when the games were held in the William Jasper Hale Stadium, affectionately known as ‘The Hole.’

“There was a lot of student involvement when the games were in ‘The Hole,’” said McCleary. “The pep rallies were always fund and the band would come from across the campus, and everyone would be ready to win.”

The John A. Merritt Classic was first played in 1999 and honors John Ayers Merritt, the legendary TSU football coach who led the Tigers from 1963-1983. During 21 seasons, “Big John” won four undisputed national championships among historically black colleges ranked by the Sheridan Poll, compiled a lifetime record of 172-33-1, and built a powerful program that produced NFL stars like Richard Dent (Chicago Bears), “Jefferson Street” Joe Gilliam (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Claude Humphrey (Philadelphia Eagles) and many others. John Merritt Boulevard in Nashville is named in Coach Merritt’s honor.

Late TSU President Celebrated for Brilliance, Love of Students and Commitment to Black Higher Education; Laid to Rest After Nashville Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In a packed memorial service in Poag Auditorium Sept. 2, speakers remembered former Tennessee State University President James A. Hefner for his brilliance, love of students and his “undying” commitment for quality black higher education.

“He won the respect of his colleagues and peers because he was smart and fearless as an educator, who wanted the best for his students,” said TSU President Glenda Glover, who referred to the late former president as a friend and mentor.

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Dr. Fred Humphries, former president of TSU and President Emeritus of Florida A&M University, was a longtime friend of Dr. Hefner. Humphries described his friend as “a very serious person.” (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Glover was one of more than seven current and former university presidents who attended the service to pay tribute to their fallen colleague. They joined family members, friends and other dignitaries, including U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper in a standing-room only ceremony featuring traditional African drumbeats, songs and video presentations of Hefner’s views on HBCUs, black economic empowerment and family.

Tributes from across the nation from friends, schoolmates, former colleagues and acquaintances referred to Hefner as a skilled educator who was “serious and all about business.”

“He had a good mind and he cultivated it so others could benefit,” said former classmate and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who attended college with Hefner at North Carolina A&T University. Jackson’s tribute was read at the ceremony.

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Dr. Ivan Davis, director of Student Health Services, left; Dr. Nebraska Mays, former distinguished professor of Education, and vice chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents: and Dr. Thomas Martin, former vice president of Student Affairs, served at TSU during Dr. Hefner’s tenure. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Hefner, the sixth president of TSU, who led the institution 14 years from 1991-2005, died from cancer Aug. 27 at his home in Brentwood, Tennessee. He was buried in Nashville Sept. 3 after funeral services at Christ Church Cathedral. Hefner was 76.

When asked recently how he would like to be remembered, Hefner said, “As an educator who cared about black higher education and the welfare of students.”

Former colleagues saw him as one who would do whatever it took to make sure students mattered the most.

“He was a very serious person,” said former TSU President and President Emeritus of Florida A&M University, Dr. Fred Humphries. “He was about making his life mean something, and about keeping alive the good works of HBCUs.”

Dr. Everett Freeman, former president of Albany State University and president of Community College of Denver, worked with Hefner at TSU and at Jackson State University, where the late leader served as president before coming to TSU.

He named football, the school band, education and family as Hefner’s biggest passions.

“But his ultimate concern was to make sure students mattered most,” said Freeman, who served as Hefner’s executive assistant at TSU.

Other current and former presidents who paid tribute to Hefner were: Dr. John Wilson, Morehouse College; and Dr. Robert Johnson, Clark Atlanta University. Also sharing tributes was former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, as well as well as former students David Winslow, Tennessee State; Thomas Scott, Morehouse; and Robert Scott, Jackson State.

Under Dr. Hefner’s leadership, TSU saw some of its most significant growth. He managed the end of the Geier desegregation case, in which TSU received an Endowment for Educational Excellence to support scholarship opportunities for exceptional students. He kicked off the university’s first capital fundraising campaign to increase TSU’s endowment, and saw the completion of the new Performing Arts Building, the final building in the $112 million capital improvements project which funded the construction of eight new facilities and renovations of existing structures on campus. See Brief Snapshot of Accomplishments.

Dr. Hefner’s long-standing career as an academician and executive administrator also included teaching and serving as research associate at Harvard University, Princeton University, Clark College, Florida A&M University, Benedict College and Prairie View A&M University. After retiring from TSU in 2005, he accepted a non-resident fellowship at Harvard University in the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African-American Research and served as Visiting Distinguished Professor of Economics and Presidential Leadership at Texas Southern University.

Dr. Hefner earned degrees at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, where he obtained his bachelor’s in business administration. At Atlanta University, he received a Master of Economics, and then went on to earn a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

He is survived by his wife, Edwina Hefner; three sons: Christopher Hefner of St. Petersburg, Florida, Jonathan Hefner, M.D. and his wife Katrina of Atlanta, David Hefner, Ed.D. and his wife Tasha of Marietta, Georgia; 11 grandchildren; two brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law; and a host of other family and friends.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Family Remembers the Legacy of Former President, Dr. James A. Hefner

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. James A. Hefner, who served as president of Tennessee State University for 14 years, has died. He was 76. In honor of his life, the university will hold a memorial service Wednesday, Sept. 2, 6:30 p.m. in the Thomas E. Poag Auditorium on the university’s main campus. Funeral services are scheduled Thursday, Sept. 3, 1 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, located at 900 Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Those who knew Dr. James A. Hefner described him as a strong academician and an individual who encouraged and appreciated excellence. (File Photo)

Dr. Hefner made his way to TSU in April 1991 after ending a seven-year presidency at Jackson State University in Mississippi. Prior to Jackson State, he served as provost of Tuskegee University in Alabama. His passion for academic excellence and student success concluded at one of his alma maters, Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), where he as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs until his death.

“The Tennessee State University family sends its deepest condolences to the Hefner family,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Dr. Hefner devoted his entire adult life to serving others and expanding educational opportunities to all. As educators, we have lost a visionary and one of the best leaders to ever serve this great institution. He loved inspiring students and challenging them.”

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Dr. Hefner’s focus on nurturing minds was not limited to college students. Here he interacts with children during a special program in Nashville. (File Photo)

Those who knew Dr. Hefner described him as a strong academician and an individual who encouraged and appreciated excellence. While president at TSU, his focus on ensuring faculty and staff put students first was evident in the slogan, “Students Matter Most,” which became a part of the culture on campus during his tenure.

Homer Wheaton, a former vice president of University Relations and Development, said Dr. Hefner was a “real good person,” adding that he was a brilliant man who was very academic-focused and results-driven.

“When Dr. Hefner first came to TSU, he promoted me to vice president. It was something completely unexpected for me,” Wheaton said. “He had heard about my relationship with alumni and students, and offered me an opportunity to move up.

“Dr. Hefner was the kind of leader who would let you do what you could do to make a contribution – all he wanted to see was results. He respected people for what they did and was very complimentary of people who did a good job. The fact that he would turn you loose and let you do your work, made it so gratifying to work for him. I appreciated him so much.

Dr. Hefner’s push for excellence came from humble beginnings in rural Brevard, North Carolina, where he began to develop a love for learning at an early age. According to a profile article by former TSU history professor, Dr. James Haney, Hefner’s family had no books in their home. He was taken under the wing of his elementary principal who invited him to her home to read her encyclopedias.”

“For eight years,” said Dr. Hefner at the time, “while I was in elementary school, I would stop at her house on the way home and I would read the encyclopedia.”

He made no apologies for being intelligent, and earned his place as valedictorian of his elementary class, salutatorian of his high school, and then soon received scholarship offers to a number of higher education institutions, including Duke University. He ultimately chose to attend the historically black university, North Carolina A&T State University.

Wilson Lee, director of TSU’s Center for Extended Education, recalls his first encounter with Dr. Hefner when applying for a job at Jackson State University. He said he happened to meet and interview with the former president by chance and knew immediately that he wanted the “best around him.” Wilson was hired there by Dr. Hefner and also joined Dr. Hefner when he assumed the presidency at Tennessee State University in 1991.

“He listened more than anything else and you didn’t have to go through a second person, you could talk directly to him,” Lee said. “He recruited and built a team of people to work with him at TSU – people he had known throughout the years and people who were experts in their fields. He was a model president to me.”

Under Dr. Hefner’s leadership, TSU saw some of its most significant growth. He managed the end of the Geier desegregation case, in which TSU received an Endowment for Educational Excellence to support scholarship opportunities for exceptional students. He kicked off the university’s first capital fundraising campaign to increase TSU’s endowment, and saw the completion of the new Performing Arts Building, the final building in the $112 million capital improvements project which funded the construction of eight new facilities and renovations of existing structures on campus. See Brief Snapshot of Accomplishments.

In 1997, Dr. Hefner hired Michelle Viera to lead the Office of Alumni Relations. Viera, who is now assistant vice president of events management and conference services, said Dr. Hefner had a way of making alumni feel special.

“He treated them [alumni] like VIPs regardless of their background,” Viera said.

She said she fondly remembers Dr. Hefner’s stories of encouragement. One, in particular, that he repeated often was the African parable of “The Lion and the Gazelle.”

“As president, he truly believed that ‘students matter most,’” Viera continued. “He encouraged them to keeping running and to never give up and to be their best. He shared that story so often that the students began to join in reciting it with him when he told it.”

Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell also enjoyed a great working relationship with Dr. Hefner, who appointed her special assistant for the Geier Consent Decree. Mitchell now serves as professor and director of Interdisciplinary Studies at TSU.

“Dr. Hefner was on a true wave length of excellence. He didn’t believe in second class status and strived to bring Tennessee State University to the level equal or superior to any school, anywhere,” Mitchell said.

“It was because of Dr. Hefner that Tennessee State was able to receive $4.1 million in reoccurring funds from the state of Tennessee,” said Dr. Stephen H. Kolison, Jr., associate vice president of Academic, Faculty and Global Programs with the University of Wisconsin System. Kolison spent 10 years at TSU serving in the capacities of research director and funding dean in Agricultural and Environmental Research.

“The College of Agriculture at TSU made some significant strides in receiving funding from the state. The Agriculture Information Technology Center and the Biotechnology Building were conceived while working with Dr. Hefner. I give tremendous credit to Dr. Hefner for being willing to engage with the state and not giving up,” he continued. See more Words of Remembrance Honoring the Life of Dr. Hefner.

Among Dr. Hefner’s extensive awards and honors include an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Marlboro College in 1999, and an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree from The University of the South. He was co-author and editor of the book, Public Policy for the Black Community: Strategies and Perspectives in 1976, and wrote and published more than 50 articles in the areas of employment practice and labor-force participation rates of minorities.

Dr. Hefner’s long-standing career as an academician and executive administrator also included teaching and serving as research associate at Harvard University, Princeton University, Clark College, Florida A&M University, Benedict College and Prairie View A&M University. After from retiring from TSU in 2005, he accepted a non-resident fellowship at Harvard University in the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African-American Research and served as Visiting Distinguished Professor of Economics and Presidential Leadership at Texas Southern University. He was also a former member of the board of regents at the University of the South and the board of trustees at Morehouse College where he was the Charles E. Merrill Professor of Economics and chair of the Department of Business and Economics.

Dr. Hefner earned degrees at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, where he obtained his bachelor’s in business administration. At Atlanta University, he received a Master of Economics, and then went on to earn a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

He is survived by a wife, Edwina Hefner; three sons: Christopher Hefner of St. Petersburg, Florida., Jonathan Hefner, M.D. and his wife Katrina of Atlanta, Georgia, David Hefner, Ed.D. and his wife Tasha of Marietta, Georgia; 11 grandchildren; two brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law; and a host of other family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that condolences be made in support of the James. A. Hefner Scholarship Award – named in his honor at Tennessee State University and Morehouse College for outstanding students. For more information, contact the TSU Foundation at (615) 963-5481.

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

Tennessee State University Mourns Death of Former President James A. Hefner

“We have lost a visionary and one of the best leaders to serve this great institution.” – President Glenda Glover

NASHVILLE, Tenn.– The Tennessee State University family is saddened to announce the death of Dr. James A. Hefner, the sixth president of the University. He died early Thursday morning surrounded by family in his Brentwood home following a long illness. Dr. Hefner was 76. Hefner served TSU as president from 1991-2005.

In a statement on the passing of Dr. Hefner, Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover said:

“The Tennessee State University family sends its deepest condolences to the Hefner family. Dr. Hefner devoted his entire adult life to serving others and expanding educational opportunities to all. As educators, we have lost a visionary and one of the best leaders to ever serve this great institution. He loved inspiring students and challenging them.”

The university’s progress during Dr. Hefner’s tenure was unprecedented. While President of Tennessee State University, Dr. Hefner transformed TSU into a top-tier research university. He was deeply committed to TSU’s land-grant mission. He pursued programs and efforts that aligned the resources of the university with the needs of students. His legacy will serve the university, the nation and the world.

Under his leadership, Tennessee State University saw marked physical, infrastructural and academic improvement, including the implementation of a $112 million capital improvement plan. The improvement was part of the Geier agreement that attempted to end race-based disparity in higher education funding in Tennessee. Several new buildings were constructed, including the Floyd-Payne Student Campus Center, the Ned McWherter Administration Building and the Performing Arts Center.

He was viewed as the students’ president and enrollment reached an all-time high of 9,100 students, an achievement that has only been recently achieved during the 2014-2015 academic school year. The TSU endowment also experienced remarkable growth from $500,000 to more than $25 million (through fund-raising and settling a Federal Consent Decree). He positioned Tennessee State University as a premier institution of higher learning.  TSU was listed in U.S. News & Worlds Report’s “Guide to America’s Best Colleges” for 11 consecutive years (1994-2005).

Dr. Hefner occupied the Thomas and Patricia Frist Chair of excellence in entrepreneurship, a $2.3 million endowed chair at Tennessee State University.  He also established two other endowed chairs of excellence at Tennessee State. An advocate and proponent of African American intellectual achievement throughout his career, Dr. Hefner established two of the nation’s top honor societies, Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi, at Tennessee State University and Clark Atlanta University.

After retiring as president of Tennessee State University in 2005, Dr. Hefner was a non-resident fellow at Harvard University in the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research; Visiting Distinguished Professor of Economics and Presidential Leadership at Texas Southern University; and most recently as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Clark Atlanta University, where he worked diligently as he fought cancer up until the very end.

When recently asked how he wanted to be remembered, Dr. Hefner said: “As an educator who cared about black higher education and the welfare of students.”

He earned his undergraduate degree from North Carolina A&T University, his master’s degree in economics from Atlanta University, and his doctorate in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“My father lived a life of service to historically black colleges and universities and the students who attend them,” said Dr. David Hefner, the youngest son of Dr. Hefner and a 1993 graduate of Morehouse College. “He was an intellectual disciple of W.E.B. DuBois – a Fisk University graduate – in that he believed in the liberation that academic excellence promised to those who lived a life of service to the African American community, to truth and to humanity. So his legacy is a living one because there is still much work to do. And my father serves as an example of what service to HBCUs looks like, and we celebrate his life and legacy.”

TSU will be the site of a memorial service on Wednesday, September 2, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Poag Auditorium of the Davis Humanities Building. A reception will follow immediately afterwards in the Ferrell-Westbrook Building (the Barn). The funeral service will take place on Thursday, September 3, at 1 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 900 Broadway, downtown Nashville.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial gifts be made to the Dr. James A. Hefner Scholarship Foundation in his honor to the Tennessee State University or Morehouse College Development Offices. You may reach the TSU Foundation at 615-963-5481, for Morehouse 404-215-2660.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU, State Flags Fly at Half-Staff on Campus in Honor of Late Former President James A. Hefner

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University and State of Tennessee flags are flying at half-staff on the TSU campus in honor of the institution’s sixth president, Dr. James A. Hefner, who passed Aug. 27 at his Brentwood, Tennessee home surrounded by family. He was 76. Both flags will remain lowered until Thursday,  Sept. 3 following Dr. Hefner’s burial.

James Hefner1
Dr. James A. Hefner positioned Tennessee State University as a premier institution of higher learning. (File Photo)

Dr. Hefner took over the helm at TSU in  1991 and served the university until 2005. He was regarded as the students’ president and enrollment reached an all-time high of 9,100 students, an achievement that has only been recently achieved during the 2014-2015 academic school year. The TSU endowment also experienced remarkable growth from $500,000 to more than $25 million (through fund-raising and settling a Federal Consent Decree). He positioned Tennessee State University as a premier institution of higher learning.  TSU was listed in U.S. News & Worlds Report’s “Guide to America’s Best Colleges” for 11 consecutive years (1994-2005).

After retiring as president of Tennessee State University in 2005, Dr. Hefner was a non-resident fellow at Harvard University in the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African-American Research; Visiting Distinguished Professor of Economics and Presidential Leadership at Texas Southern University; and most recently as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Clark Atlanta University, where he worked diligently as he fought cancer up until the very end.

TSU will be the site of a memorial service on Wednesday, Sept. 2, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Poag Auditorium of the Davis Humanities Building. A reception will follow immediately afterward in the Ferrell-Westbrook Building (the Barn). The funeral service will take place on Thursday, Sept. 3, at 1 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 900 Broadway, downtown Nashville.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial gifts be made to the Dr. James A. Hefner Scholarship Foundation in his honor to the Tennessee State University or Morehouse College Development Offices. You may reach the TSU Foundation at 615-963-5481, for Morehouse 404-215-2660.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU legendary Coach Ed Temple gets due recognition with bronze statue dedicated in his honor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When people use the phrase, “living legend,” it is a perfect fit for describing legendary Olympic track and field coach Ed Temple.

Temple[1]
Nearly 200 people including federal, state and local government officials, as well as family and friends turn out as the city unveils a 9-foot bronze statute honoring legendary TSU track and field Coach Ed Temple. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)
Temple was honored with a “befitting” tribute among family, friends and an entire community Aug. 27 chronicling his outstanding 40-plus-year career on-and-off the track when a 9-foot bronze statue was unveiled in his likeness at First Tennessee Park in Nashville, Tennessee.

During the ceremony, Temple shared some of his fondest memories as TSU’s head track coach, as well as his experiences with the Olympic team. He also acknowledged and thanked his family, the community, former student-athletes and administrators for their support.

“I’m just glad to be on top of the ground,” said Temple to a crowd of nearly 200, of his ability to see the statue in his honor.

Temple, 87, served as Tennessee State University’s women’s track coach from 1953 to 1994. He led 40 athletes to the Olympics, snagging a total of 23 medals, 13 of which were gold. His athletes also accumulated more than 30 national titles. Temple’s accomplishments are even more impressive coming in the midst of severe racism and discrimination that permeated the United States during the 1950s and 1960s.

The idea to erect the statue was the vision of Nashville businessman Bo Roberts. Roberts said the project had been in the works for well over a decade, and he was glad the unveiling could finally take place for one of his long-time heroes.

“The Coach Temple Statue Committee is grateful to those who have given. Each is now part of Nashville’s history and a part of Temple’s team,” Roberts said. “The Coach’s impact on Nashville will forever be immortalized by this statue. We hope locals and visitors will come to this statue to learn about and honor one of the city’s most important citizens.”

According to an Aug. 29 article in The Tennessean newspaper, the effort to erect the statue kicked into high gear in October 2012 after Roberts met with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who hosted the first fundraising event to raise the $80,000 needed to make and anchor the statue. Since 2011, Roberts has diligently organized fundraisers, called on donors and worked with TSU to make the project a reality.

Among the supporters at Friday’s unveiling ceremony was TSU President Glenda Glover, Mayor Dean, Congressman Jim Cooper, and former TSU Tigerbelles Wyomia Tyus and Edith McQuire Duvall, who made brief remarks at the event.

“Coach Temple’s accomplishments in track and field at TSU are unparalleled nationally and internationally,” President Glover said before introducing Coach Temple. “He groomed the Tigerbelles for greatness on-and-off the track field. While he receives his accolades for accomplishments on the track field, as an educator and university president, I’m most proud of his coaching away from competition. He and his wife, the late Charlie B. Temple, prepared the Tigerbelles to be winners in life after track. He is truly to be applauded for that.”

“This is a great day for Nashville,” Dean said. “From the racial segregation of the Eisenhower days to the Clinton days, Coach Temple has amassed a career that is difficult for anyone to match.

“He did things the right way. Out of the 40 athletes he got to the Olympics – 100 percent of them received college degrees. Coach Temple is a man of great character, gentle humor and steely determination. He is a great teacher which is one of the best things you can be.”

Tyus, the first person to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 100-meter dash, was recruited by Temple in 1963 receiving a scholarship and a spot on his famed Tigerbelles team. She said Coach Temple always pushed them to excellence.

“I never thought I would see this in my lifetime,” said Tyus, considered the fastest woman in the world in 1964 and 1968. “Coach always says he wants his roses while he’s still alive, and I am so happy to see this today.”

Temple was head coach of the US Olympics Women’s Track and Field teams in 1960 and 1964 and assistant coach in 1980. He has been inducted into nine different Halls of Fame, including the Olympic Hall of Fame in 2012, in which he is one of only four coaches to be inducted. He is a past member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, the International Women’s Track and Field Committee and the Nashville Sports Council. He also served as chairman of Nashville’s 200-plus member Amateur Sports Committee.

In addition to being part of the Tennessee State University Hall of Fame, Temple’s legacy of excellence continues in such recognitions as the Edward S. Temple Track at Tennessee State University; Ed Temple Boulevard in Nashville, adjacent to the TSU campus; the Edward Temple Award established by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Track and Field Coaches Association; and the Edward S. Temple Seminars: Society and Sports, held annually at Tennessee State University.

Temple’s autobiography, Only the Pure in Heart Survive, was published in 1980. The book, along with additional papers and memorabilia from his lifetime of achievement, are part of the Special Collections department in TSU’s Brown-Daniel Library.

“Even the Bible says a prophet is seldom honored in his hometown,” said Congressman Cooper at the ceremony. “But here we are honoring perhaps one of the greatest coaches in all of history.”

Brian Hanlon, the commissioned sculptor of the project said, “This is an historical marker that celebrates the principles of real discipline. It is a huge feather in my hat, not just artistically but for what this stands for in our community.”

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU National Night Out Event to Highlight Fun and Dialogue with First Responders, Emergency Management

LogoJPEGblueNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In what is expected to be a fun evening, Tennessee State University, in collaboration with emergency managers, first responders, safety advocates and the community, will host a crime and drug prevention awareness event Thursday, Aug. 27. The event, which takes place on the Presidents Administrative Lawn on the main campus from 5-8 p.m., is in observance of the 32nd Annual National Night Out campaign.

IMG_4367The NNO is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. It is a yearly campaign aimed at highlighting crime and drug prevention in neighborhoods across the country. In addition to fun activities, NNO provides residents the opportunity to interact with local first responders in a relaxed setting and learn more about safety in their communities.

Called the Tigers Night, the TSU event is sponsored by the Office of Emergency Management. It is designed to:

  • Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness
  • Generate support for, and participation in, campus crime prevention efforts
  • Strengthen campus community spirit and first responder partnerships
  • Send a message to criminals to let them know TSU is actively fighting back against crime

More than 300 individuals including safety and security-oriented vendors, non-profit organizations, and government entities are expected to attend. Families are urged to bring their children for fun activities and concessions.

“This is not a student event, this is a TSU community event,” said Aerin Washington, Crime Prevention officer in the Office of Emergency Management. “Children are welcomed and they are sure to have a great time seeing the police horses, touring mobile booking, taking a picture on the Fire truck, and getting to shake hands with “SherRuff” of the Davidson County Sheriffs Office.”

Giveaways will include a free $20 first ride coupon from UBER, TSU paraphernalia from the campus bookstore, and a chance to win a hand-turbine radio/flashlight/cellphone charger courtesy of Metro Health Department.

For more information please contact: Aerin Washington at (615) 963-5928 or awashi14@tnstate.edu.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.