Category Archives: FACULTY

TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands Thrills NFL Draft Watchers with Performance on ESPN’s ‘First Take’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Football fans across the nation who tuned into ESPN Friday morning to watch the NFL Draft in the Music City got a taste of the thrilling sound of the world-renowned Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands.

The AOB, known worldwide for their melodious musical renditions and marching prowess, were the featured guest entertainers on the nationally syndicated ESPN sports talk show, First Take, with popular hosts Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Will Cain.

Stephen A. Smith, host of ESPN’s First Take, interacts with members of the TSU Aristocrat of Bands following the band’s performance on the popular sports talk show. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Diehard TSU fans, friends and supporters were among the hundreds who made up the studio audience at Nissan Stadium. Daryl Rice and Brad Strode were among them.

“This is a very big deal,” said Rice, a former Flying Tiger and a 2015 graduate of TSU. “I am Big Blue true and true. I am a big First Take fan and to be able to see my fellow alumni and our band on live television and on this huge stage is an amazing experience.”

Strode, a 2015 graduate who also ran track for the Tigers and a big Fist Take fan, did not know the AOB were performing at the show until he saw the group enter the stadium.

“I was just so excited to see my school’s marching band,” Rice said. “It is always a great feeling when you see your fellow Tennessee State students in the house. It is even more exciting to see that my HBCU is here on this big stage with outstanding representation. I am just very proud.”

Daryl Rice, left, and Brad Strode, two TSU graduates, were among hundreds who saw the Aristocrat of Bands perform on First Take, the popular ESPN sports talk show. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

To kick of the show, hosts Smith, Kellerman and Cain joined band members in their opening rendition of “I am so glad I go to TSU.” The band also entertained audience members during commercial breaks with such favorite songs as “Aristocrat Opener” and “Best Band.” 

Band Director, Dr. Reginald McDonald, said it is a “huge deal” anytime the university has an opportunity to be exposed to this type of audience, whether nationally or internationally. He is thankful to the university administration for the support.

“This goes beyond recruitment for the university,” said McDonald, who added that he had less than 36 hours to prepare the band for their appearance. “It was all made easy because of the support of (TSU) President (Glenda) Glover, who immediately gave us the greenlight. We realize this is an opportunity for the world to see TSU.”

Julien Dooley, the AOB drum major, said coming to TSU has just opened him to so many opportunities. He called his mom, sister and girlfriend and friends in his hometown of Atlanta to tune in.

“One thing that I really like about the AOB is that the opportunities are plentiful,” said Dooley, a rising senior majoring in commercial music, who McDonald recruited a day after his graduation from Southwest DeKalb High School in his native Atlanta. “Since coming here, I have seen nothing but benefits like from going to the White House (to perform for the Obamas), to a studio session with (Emmy winning) music Professor Larry Jenkins, to being handpicked to do the NFL Draft on national television. I think anything with the AOB name on it is purely amazing.”

Dooley’s fellow band member, Tiara Thomas, also a rising senior majoring in political science, said she watches First Take every morning, but actually appearing on the show “was extra special.”

“I am really excited for this experience because it is something I watch at home every morning,” she said. “It is big to have an HBCU. We work really hard to brand ourselves and to get opportunities and exposures like this for our university. I am just really excited.”

Band members, along with TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover, graced the NFL red carpet the day before as a part of opening Draft Day ceremonies.

“I am so proud that our students, as band members, are included in a once-in-lifetime experience in their own backyard like the NFL Draft,” said President Glover. ”Our inclusion in the NFL Draft experience from the Draftville promotional video to opening ceremonies, and now an appearance on a nationally syndicated sports show speaks to our institution’s importance and notoriety not just in Nashville, but also across the country.”

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.

university kicks off Draft Day with luncheon for NFL moms

Professional Football Players Mothers Association visit TSU

President Glenda Glover addresses members of the Professional Football Players Mothers Association at a luncheon she hosted for the group in the TSU Executive Dining Room. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – About 25 members of the Professional Football Players Mothers Association, comprising mothers of current and former professional players, were treated to lunch by TSU President Glenda Glover on the first day of the NFL Draft last week.

“I am so happy to see all these mothers of the NFL players who have either played or are currently playing,” said Glover, who had the luncheon in TSU’s Executive Dining Room. “Draft Day is always fun and exciting, and we are glad you selected to share that excitement with us. We know that without you there will be no sons playing in the NFL. By them playing, they have allowed your families to impact others by giving back to the community and changing so many lives in a positive way.”  

Connie Alexander was among the group that visited TSU. Her son, Ronald Grant Alexander, who graduated TSU in 1994, played 11 years in the NFL, including a Super Bowl win with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also played for the Arizona Cardinals, and the Carolina Panthers before retiring with the New York Giants.

Connie said she had to make the trip to TSU because of her son’s special connection to the institution.

“For us, TSU is home, even though we are from Pittsburgh,” Connie said. “Whenever he is involved in something he always tries to put TSU in there; that’s how much he loves this school.”

For Robin Dunlap, whose son, King Dunlap, V, was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles from Auburn, returning to TSU was a special treat. She is a TSU graduate. She met and married her husband, King Dunlap IV, who played for the TSU Tigers from 1965-1969. He played for the Baltimore Colts.

“Coming back to my school along with these wonderful women was very special,” Robin Dunlap said. “I am very proud to host these lovely ladies at my alma mater. And I am glad to be with them here today, because they are such powerful individuals.”

Michelle Green is president of PFPMA. She said visiting TSU was fulfilling the association’s main objective, which is to provide advice and support to families of players entering the National Football League.

Green is the mother of former NFL offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who played in the league 12 years and won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens.

“We want to be there as a support system for them, because we were there in that position at one time,” said Green, adding that the association also does a lot of community charity work. “It’s a different world once you cross over and go into the NFL. You’re entering a whole new game, and only those in it understand it.”

Barbara Murrell, a senior member of President Glover’s administration, is credited with organizing the NFL mothers’ visit and tour.

The mothers’ visit to TSU was just part of the university’s participation in the NFL Draft. TSU’s famed Aristocrat of Bands was in a promotional advertising the Draft, and was part of the Draft entertainment. The following morning, the band appeared on ESPN’s sports talk show First Take.

Also attending the luncheon for the NFL mothers were TSU Board of Trustee Member Debra Cole, former State Sen. Thelma Harper, Monica Fawknotson, executive director of the Metro Sports Authority,  and Vivian Wilhoite, Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County property assessor.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, premier historically-black land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU’s graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus boasts a top-notch Executive MBA Program. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Members of the Professional Football Players Mothers Association to attend luncheon, tour TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Members of the Professional Football Players Mothers Association will visit Tennessee State University this week while they’re in the Music City for the NFL Draft.

On April 25, the first day of the Draft, TSU President Glenda Glover will host a luncheon and tour for the mothers of current and former professional football players.

Michelle Green is president of PFPMA. She said she’s looking forward to visiting TSU, as well as fulfilling the association’s main objective, which is to provide advice and support to families of players entering the National Football League.

Green is the mother of former NFL offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who played in the league 12 years and won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens.

“We want to be there as a support system for them, because we were there in that position at one time,” said Green, adding that the association also does a lot of community charity work. “It’s a different world once you cross over and go into the NFL. You’re entering a whole new game, and only those in it understand it.”

Member Sandra Atkins agreed. Her son is Geno Atkins, a defensive tackle who is in his tenth year with the Cincinnati Bengals. She said her advice to parents whose sons enter the NFL is, “continue to be a parent.”

“The bright lights start shining even brighter than they did in college, and some parents become fans and let their kids get away with things,” Atkins said. “Still, tell them what they need to know. If they listen, they listen; if they don’t, that’s fine. At least you were the parent and you did your job.”

The mothers’ visit to TSU is just part of the university’s participation in the NFL Draft. TSU’s famed Aristocrat of Bands is in a promotional advertising the Draft. And on April 27, Tigers linebacker Christion Abercrombie will announce the fifth-round pick for the Tennessee Titans.

Abercrombie made national news last season when he suffered a life-threatening injury in a football game against Vanderbilt University. Doctors didn’t think he’d survive. But Abercrombie has made a miraculous recovery since the Sept. 29 incident. On April 13, he attended the annual Blue and White scrimmage game at TSU.

Also, TSU alum Ed “Too Tall” Jones will announce the pick for the Dallas Cowboys. The defensive lineman, who appeared in three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, was their No. 1 overall pick in the 1974 NFL Draft.

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 To Host 2019 Fulbright Pakistan Re-entry Seminar

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University became the first historically black university to host the Fulbright Pakistan Re-entry Seminar that was held April 25-28.

Dr. Jewell Winn, executive director for International Affairs and diversity officer for TSU, said the seminar was to help students from Pakistan, who have studied in the United States  for two to seven years, prepare for the culture shock they may experience when they return home. The seminar is funded through a grant from the Institute of International Education (IIE),

“When you’ve been away from home for an extended period of time in a totally different culture and out of your country, you’ve gone through a culture shock for the most part.  When you return, it’s called reverse culture shock. Now you have to go back home and reenter your culture,“ said Winn, who serves as chair of the International Committee as part of her role on the board of the National Association of Diversity Officers In Higher Education.

Dr. Jewell Winn

Winn said the conference is designed to give participants an opportunity to reflect on their experiences in the U.S. and set goals for their lives upon returning to Pakistan based upon the information they have learned while studying in the America.

Dr. Latif Lighari, associate administrator for Extension in the College of Agriculture and a native of Pakistan, took part in a re-entry seminar in the late 1970s after completing his studies at the University of Missouri Columbia.

Lighari, who will serve as the keynote speaker during the opening dinner on Thursday evening, said these type of re-entry seminars are vital for students returning to Pakistan.

“This re-entry seminar is extremely important.  This is over 100 Fulbright graduates from Pakistan who have completed their masters and doctorial degrees in this country in many different fields, from arts to science to engineering. They are 50 percent male and 50 percent female,” said Lighari, who serves as co principal investigator for the project. “Being from Pakistan myself, I know how much education is valued and needed there. Now  that these young people have finished their degrees here, we want to make some suggestions as to how they can work together in the future and work positively and constructively together to use their talents to transform Pakistan.”

The agenda for the four-day seminar included sessions on social entrepreneurship, goal-setting, skill-building and a virtual alumni panel for Ph.D. students that connected them with Fulbright alumni in Islamabad who discussed their backgrounds, professional careers and how they navigated their return to Pakistan.

Students took thematic site visits to the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, the Nashville Incubation Center and the Nashville International Airport as well as tour the Frist Art Museum, Historic Union Station and Hotel and SoBro, the area downtown south of Broadway which includes the Schermerhorn Symphony Center,  the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Bridgestone Arena, the Music City Center and a host of restaurants, hotels and live music venues.

Winn said the thematic visits gave the participants  “a deep look into how social enterprise works in Nashville, how entrepreneurship is viewed in Nashville, and how an organization can develop a strong diversity program.

Lighari said the seminar, which was hosted last year at the University of California, Berkley, is one of many re-entry seminars Fulbright sponsors for graduates returning to their home countries.  He said the mission of the seminar mirrors the work he does with the TSU Cooperative Extension Program.

“Cooperative Extension is an outreach arm of Tennessee State University. We engage people all the time in areas of agriculture, family and consumer sciences, youth development and community resource development.  The main idea of Extension is to help people get research-based information so they can live better lives,” he said. “Our mission for extension in this country is to build people so the people that we build can become better individuals who can build better families, communities and countries.”

For more information about the TSU Office and International Affiars and the TSU Cooperative Extension Program, visit www.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 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, premier historically-black land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU’s graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus boasts a top-notch Executive MBA Program. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

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Tennessee State University’s Big Blue spirit part of NFL Draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is showing its Big Blue spirit in the NFL Draft.

The university’s renowned Aristocrat of Bands was in a promotional advertising the draft in the Music City, and the band performed on the Draft’s red carpet, as well as appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” sports talk show.

Another showing of TSU spirit will take place on Saturday, April 27, when Tigers linebacker Christion Abercrombie announces the fifth-round pick for the Tennessee Titans.

Christion made national news last season when he suffered a life-threatening injury in a football game against Vanderbilt University. Doctors didn’t think he’d survive. But Christion has made a miraculous recovery since the Sept. 29 incident. On April 13, he attended the annual Blue and White scrimmage game at TSU.

On April 25, TSU President Glenda Glover hosted a luncheon and tour for the Professional Football Players Mothers Association and friends. The event followed a “Salute to Greatness” reception/dinner on April 12 that celebrated former TSU football players who competed in the pros.

Over the years, more than 150 TSU players went on to compete in the National Football League, Canadian Football League, and other professional leagues. Twenty-one former Tigers played in Super Bowls.

“it’s part of the TSU football legacy,” said Glover of the event celebrating the former players. “They came here as students, and left here as greats.”

One of those greats is Ed “Too Tall” Jones, who appeared in three Super Bowls as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. The defensive lineman was their No. 1 overall pick in the 1974 NFL Draft. Jones said he can relate to the anticipation and nervousness draft hopefuls are likely experiencing.

“I was a big Cowboy fan growing up,” said Jones, who will announce Dallas’ pick at the draft. “To be the first overall pick, go to the team of my choice, it was mind-boggling.”

To view the Aristocrat of Bands NFL Draft promotional, visit https://player.vimeo.com/external/330512639.hd.mp4?s=687f1a06fe39ec760f3d30476ee760a9c2b3c55c&profile_id=174.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, premier historically-black land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU’s graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus boasts a top-notch Executive MBA Program. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Hosts Successful Spring Preview Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Over 1,000 high school students from across the nation descended upon Tennessee State University on April 13 for Spring Preview Day 2019.

The day started with check in and a student organization fair in the Gentry Center Complex where student leaders, campus administrators, faculty and staff welcomed the students and their parents to campus.

Terrance Izzard (Submitted photo)

 “We are elated that you have chosen to spend today with us here at Tennessee State.  We already know that you are on one of the most phenomenal campuses in the United States of America,” said Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success  “The HBCU experience is an experience like none other, and I want to say to each parent and grandparent and aunt, thank you for bringing your student here.”

The high school students and their parents departed the Gentry Center in groups led by TSU students eager to serve as their guides for the day. Activities for the visitors, according to organizers, included meetings with academic departments, TSU student organizations, campus tours, and other forms of educational entertainment.

Future TSU Tiger Brandon Jones (center), with his mom, Sadera Baker (left), and his step-father, Stephen Baker (right), moments before heading to the Blue and White Spring scrimmage in Hale Stadium. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Like many other students visiting for Spring Preview, Brandon Jones, a student at Georgia Military College, has already committed to Tennessee State University.  A football player, Jones had the opportunity to meet former NFL cornerback and TSU football player Randy Fuller during his campus tour.

“I already signed, and I report June 1,” Jones said.  “I really like the family atmosphere at TSU. It feels like home. So really, it’s the best fit for me.”

Mikaylah Abercrombie, a junior at New Manchester High School in Atlanta, said although she has not committed to TSU, she is impressed by the university.

“My cousin, Christion attended TSU, and I liked it when I saw him playing football.  And I just want to check it out,” she said.

Atlanta-native Mikaylah Abercrombie with her mother, Freda Abercrombie at TSU Spring Preview Day 2019. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Abercrombie’s mother, Freda Abercrombie, who joined her for Spring Preview Day, said the university’s response after her nephew, Chistion Ambercrombie, suffered a life-threatning injury during a game against Vanderbilt University on Sept. 29, really touched her heart.

“Actually I just got a good vibe from his experience here, and after the accident, all of the love and support that the school gave was awesome.  We  just fell in love with TSU, and I wanted to make sure my daughter at least checked out the school for herself.”

Mikaylah, who hopes to study early childhood education or musical theatre, said she would like to work as a pre-school teacher once she completes her academic studies.

Javon Jones, TSU associate director of Undergraduate Recruitment, said Spring Preview Day should definintely play a role in boosting enrollment for the fall. She said students who missed Spring Preview, can attend a similar day in the fall.

“We would love to see anyone who couldn’t come out today for Spring Preview Day,” she said. “We are about energy, about educating our students, and most of all we want them to have fun and be prepared for their future.  We will make sure they have all of  their admissions documents together, and that they have everything ready to go and if they ever need anything, the office of admissions and records is available to help.”

For more information on admission to Tennessee State University, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/.

Editor’s Note: Featured photo by Erynne Davis

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Alum Jazmin Ghent continues to soar with NAACP Image Award for new jazz album

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The name of TSU alum and musician Jazmin Ghent continues to resound.

The jazz phenom recently received an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Jazz Album category for “The Story of Jaz.” In 2017, she was voted Best New Artist by the Smooth Jazz Network.

Jazmin Ghent

Ghent earned a master’s degree in music from Tennessee State University in 2014. She said music has always been a part of her life.

“If I didn’t have music, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said. “Music distracted me from getting off track and being something I’m not.  It really allowed me to express myself and find my way in life.”

Nicknamed “Jazzy Jaz” by her grandfather Fletcher Gaines, who also played saxophone, Ghent grew up listening to jazz standards from his music collection, as well as the music of Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum and Brian Culbertson.

 Jazmin credits TSU for playing a major role in her success.

She said Dr. Robert Elliot, head of the Department of Music at TSU, her residence life coworkers Gregory Williams and Brent Dukhie, and various members of the TSU family, provided direction and support during her time at the university.

“I found out about the program at TSU through the Bobby Jones Show,” she said.  “I performed on his ‘Show Your Talent Show,’ and went to do an interview with Dr. Elliot. He didn’t have to give me a chance and an opportunity, but I am beyond thankful that he did.”

Elliot, who served as chair of Ghent’s thesis committee, said that as a musician, Jazmin brings the “total package.”

“She is very much a modern saxophonist, but she is well-grounded in the music of those greats who came before her, and she has built upon that legacy,” he said. 

For more about Jazmin Ghent, visit https://www.jazminghentmusic.com.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Community Health and Wellness Fair at Tennessee State University Promotes Healthy Lifestyle

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – At least 40 vendors from across the city participated in the Community Health and Wellness Fair at Tennessee State University on April 5.

Chiropractic care, dental screenings and HIV testing were just a few of the free services offered at the fair, which was a partnership between TSU, the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s HIV Vaccine Program, and the Turnip Truck, a natural foods grocer in Nashville.

A participant at the health fair receives dental screening. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Participants also received information on weight-loss management and nutrition, as well as fitness demonstrations and health screenings.

Dolly Patton-Thomas, executive director of the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, said the event was intended to motivate people to live healthier lives.

“The expectation was to bring the community together to let them understand the importance of health as well as the availability of nontraditional and traditional medicine,” Thomas said. “The partnership with TSU has been really great because they support us in getting the word out to the community, as well as supply the space. They do a lot for us and they put that message out there for a healthy lifestyle.”

TSU’s Dental Hygiene Department, which provided intra-oral screenings at the event, has been one of the main participants over the years.

Leon Roberts II, coordinator of clinics for the department, stressed the importance of taking care of oral hygiene because “it affects an individuals’ whole health.”

“The mouth is the gateway to the body, so a lot of dental diseases don’t just affect the mouth,” he said. “Periodontal disease is connected to diabetes, heart disease, and for women who are pregnant, it is connected to low-birth weight babies.”

Sharronda Broughton is program specialist for Outreach STD/HIV Communicable Disease with Metro Public Health Department. She has been attending the fair for several years and is impressed with how much the yearly event has grown.

“We participate in the health fair to offer STD and HIV screening and awareness for the students, staff and for the community,” Broughton said. “Each year we see more and more participants. It looks like more people are now aware of what this event offers.”

Lalita Hodge, TSU coordinator of public relations and a member of the DP Thomas board of directors, also spoke about the growth of the fair. She announced the addition of Bounce TV-Nashville, Gilead Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., as new sponsors for the fair.

“It was important for people to come out to see what’s out there in health care with regards to traditional and nontraditional products and methods to keep us healthy, because our health is our wealth,” Hodge said.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 to Host Inaugural HBCU Pride Intramural Sports Tournament Featuring Fisk, Meharry Medical College and American Bible College

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nashville’s four historically black colleges and universities will come together on Wednesday, April 10, in the first-ever HBCU Pride Basketball Tournament.

Tennessee State University, Fisk University, Meharry Medical College and American Bible College will participate in the intramural sports event involving non-NCAA student athletes.

Gerald Davis

The tournament will begin at 7:45 p.m., on the TSU Ralph H. Boston Wellness Center Basketball Courts on the main campus.

Organizers say the event, intended to be a future fundraiser, is free and open to the public. It will feature the kings, queens and royal courts of the institutions, as well as vendors and entertainment. Court Yard Wednesday – usually held in the TSU Student Center, where student organizations set up tables and other displays – will move to the tournament site as part of the festivities.

The tournament is the brainchild of Gerald Davis, TSU alum and director of the Wellness Center. He said the idea to organize the tournament and bring the four institutions together has been in the works for a long time.

“HBCU Pride as an idea is something I have been thinking about for about three years now,” says Davis. “It’s always been a goal and a wish of mine to have all four HBCUs right here in the Nashville area to do something together.”

He says representatives from the other institutions have embraced the idea and are excited about this inaugural event, with a plan to make it an annual event to raise funds for the four schools.

“I think something like this will have a positive spin to have all four schools together. So, the basketball game for me is just a backdrop of bringing all four schools together. More importantly, it is just the camaraderie that I have always wanted to see all four schools together,” says Davis.

Tammi Lavender, event co-organizer and director of student life at Meharry Medical College, says Meharry students like the idea of bringing the local HBCUs together and are excited to participate in the tournament.

“We have only intramural sports at Meharry, and so when I sent the email to our students they were very excited about coming down to participate,” says Lavender. “I definitely like the idea for the tournament and the plan to make it even better to support our HBCUs.”


HBCU Pride comes a few days before the start of Alumni Coming Home and Legends Weekend – April 12-14 – featuring a celebration of TSU football players who went to the pros, a 5K run/walk, and the Blue & White Football Game.

“The plan is to grow it and bring alumni back,” says Davis. “I wanted to strategically put this around our (alumni) coming home weekend. So, hopefully we will be able to get on the big schedule next year with other activities.”

Participating institutions will receive trophies for first, second and third places, with the winning team receiving an overall championship trophy that must be returned and competed for each year, “like the Stanley Cup,” says Davis.

For more information on the HBCU Pride Tournament, call Gerald Davis at 615-963-2260.


Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 initiative Engages Kindergarteners at Kipp Kirkpatrick Elementary in Day of Activities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A group of Tennessee State University freshmen recently visited Kipp Kirkpatrick Elementary and posed this question to curious kindergarteners: “What is College?” 

On March 22, about 20 students from the Freshman Innovation Council visited the elementary school and engaged four kindergarten classes in activities around the question, as part of a TSU Student Activities outreach initiative.   

Students in four kindergarten classes at Kipp Kirkpatrick Elementary participated in the TSU “What is College?” initiative. (Submitted Photo)

Organizers said the goal was to be able to give the young kids an early feel about going to college.

“Putting on this program for the kindergarteners about college was an amazing experience for us, just as much as it was for them,” said Malik Meadows, a freshman early childhood education major from Atlanta, who is the chair of FIC. 

In a full day of events, the group taught the kids TSU chants, vocabulary words, and lessons on studying, making friends, and having good behavior.  Activities also included a puppet show of a lost Tiger who meets new friends, as he finds his way across the Tennessee State University Tigers’ campus.

Meadows said preparation for the visit and activities started in January with several meetings among FIC members in consultation with Kipp teachers and staff “to ensure excellence in our presentation.”

Tasha Andrews, TSU director of student activities, who organized the visit, said the interaction between FIC students and the kindergarteners was very educational and entertaining.

“Our students really shocked me with their presentation to the kindergarteners at Kipp Kirkpatrick,” Andrews said. “I was so impressed with how they used the school mascot and created their own coloring sheets, storyline, and games that incorporated so many things about the TSU culture, but on a level for the children to understand.”

According to Andrews, Dean of Students and Associate Vice President Frank Stevenson kicked off the “What is College” initiative for first-year students, with the creation of Freshman Innovation Council.  The group is comprised of students who formerly served as class or student government association presidents at their respective high schools, or are a part of the freshman class council here at TSU.

FIC is scheduled to take their kindergarten presentation to two more local elementary schools before the semester ends, Andrews said.

For more information on TSU Student Activities, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/activities

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.