Category Archives: NEWS

NASA engineers to share opportunities with TSU students during Jan. 28 campus visit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students will learn about opportunities with NASA when Kennedy Space Center engineers visit the campus on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

The engineers will provide an informal student Q&A in the Forum of the university’s Floyd Payne Campus Center from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. They will discuss the agency’s Artemis mission and internship opportunities.

“With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before,” according to the agency’s website.

Stacie Turner is a strategy and collaboration manager with NASA. She says she’s looking forward to talking to students about what NASA has to offer.

“We think that they are going to be the folks that are going to take over and do the exploring, and the development of all of NASA’s new technology,” says Turner.

TSU student Joy Barney says the engineers’ visit should be beneficial to students.

“Bringing opportunities to our students is definitely a good thing,” says Barney, a junior from Atlanta. “It will allow them to think, when I graduate, I can possibly do this.”

Last year, more than 200 students in grades K-8 from Davidson County and surrounding areas took part in a NASA-funded, one-day STEM education workshop at Tennessee State University.

Called “Dare to Dream STEM Saturday,” the workshop engaged students in scientific experiments, and engineering design processes, such as robotics, coding, drones, virtual reality, flight simulation and math games.

The TSU College of Education, in partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools, hosted the workshop under the Minority University Research Education Project, or MUREP, a NASA program at the university.  

For more information about the Tennessee Minority University Research and Education Project at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/murep/about.aspx.

To learn more about NASA’s Artemis program, visit https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/.

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

TSU Kicks off Dual Enrollment Program with Apple Smart Technology Partnership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – High school students looking to get an early start on college now have a home at Tennessee State University.

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU Associate Vice President for Smart Technology and Innovation, conducts a coding class at Kenwood High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. (Submitted Photo)

Through its National Center for Smart Technology, the university has launched a dual enrollment program with three major school districts in the state that offers high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn college credits while enrolled in high school.

Participating school districts are Clarksville Montgomery County School System, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and Shelby County Schools.

Jalen Driskell and Larry Perry, 12th graders from Shelby County’s Trezevant High School in Memphis, are excited about the opportunity to earn early college credits. The two were among 130 students also from Pearl Cohn High, and Clarksville’s Kenwood High School, who participated in the Apple Coding class last fall as part of the dual enrollment program.

Officials from the TSU Office of Smart Technology and Innovation join faculty and staff of Kenwood High School to kick off the TSU-Apple-Kenwood Coding initiative. (Submitted Photo)

“I learned a lot from the initiative, especially working as a team,” said Driskell, who hopes to major in engineering after high school. “Being enrolled allows me to move ahead in receiving my college credits and to do better with time management.”

For Perry, he said the coding class was a lot of fun and increased his interest in doing more college work.

“Coding allowed me to gain the experience with talking to others versus typing,” he said. “Receiving this college credit allows me to be prepared for my future.”

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s associate vice president for Smart Technology and Innovation, said with the Apple partnership, TSU has created an amazing opportunity for high school students to start coding and creating.

“All over the state, as well as all over the country, students are interested in coding and creativity,” said Melton. “With this dual enrollment program, it is unique in the fact that students across the state of Tennessee can now embrace the skills of coding and creativity through dual enrollment. We are positioned to provide coding and creativity on site and online, for high school students to have a pathway to our computer science and “Everyone Can Code and Create” curriculums at TSU.”

Dr. Johnnie C. Smith is the executive director of the TSU Dual Enrollment Partnerships. She said students who participate in the program must meet the TSU admission’s requirement. They must be beginning juniors with a GPA of 2.75 or better, and must have recommendations from their principals or guidance counselors to participate. In addition to the Apple coding curriculum, she said the program offers general education courses, as well as engineering and English composition. The courses are offered onsite and online.

“Like all other schools in the state, we are going after courses we know will count in different schools, like general education courses,” Smith said. “We are targeting students within the state of Tennessee. They will gain college credits to get a jump start on college and also use those credits to meet their high school requirements for graduation. We are really excited about the possibility of what this program can do at the institution.”

Some of the teachers whose students participated in the fall 2019 program said it was very beneficial and definitely makes the whole dual enrollment initiative more interesting.

“This program benefited our students by giving them the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of coding and inspired them to create something unique for a problem in their community,” said Abraham Wolfe, a high school AP Physics and Robotics teacher in the Clarksville Montgomery County School System.

Quanita Adams, a high school math teacher with Metro Nashville Public Schools, said, “The students enrolled in DE Coding this semester have tapped into a world that they may have not experienced elsewhere and produced amazing products in a short time.”

Herbert Vannostrand, a high school computer science teacher with the Shelby County Schools, agreed.

“The Apple Coding curriculum provided my students with a clear, concise, up-to-date and fun program to learn the Swift programming language, as well as bringing relevant up-to-date information about how coding can affect change in their lives,” Vannostrand said. “I recommend this program to any computer science teacher and I am ready to teach the course again next year.”

Dual enrollment is just one of many initiatives undertaken in the last year under the TSU-Apple partnership. In July, TSU launched HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Create,” a national initiative supported by Apple, which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and underserved communities. To date, TSU has impacted 32 HBCUs with the HBCU C2 Initiative. Also, in July, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon Williams Campus. The initiative is also part of the National Center for Smart Technology Innovations.

Department of Media Relations

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

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

TSU students, officials believe FUTURE Act long overdue for HBCUs, and will provide much needed boost for sustainability

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and the nation’s other historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) look to reap the benefits of federal legislation that permanently allocates $255 million to the institutions. 

TSU President Glenda Glover

Last month, Congress passed the FUTURE Act to provide for the historic funding. TSU students and officials say the bill is critical to the viability of TSU and other HBCUs.

TSU President Glenda Glover commended Congress for passing the legislation and hopes it will lead to additional funding.

“The FUTURE Act legislation is a game changer for TSU, and the university is thankful to our Tennessee leadership of Senator Lamar Alexander, Representative Jim Cooper, Congressional Black Caucus members and others for their guidance to ensure the bill passed through both chambers,” says President Glover.

“I personally made calls to Sen. Alexander’s Office, advocating the need for HBCU funding because of the tremendous impact TSU has in changing the lives of our students, the community, state and nation. I also spoke regularly with other HBCU presidents and assisted advocacy groups United Negro College Fund, Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in higher education in getting the bill passed.  HBCUs have been traditionally underfunded on all levels of government.”

“TSU is fortunate to have relationships with local and state lawmakers that have resulted in much needed appropriations. I believe the FUTURE Act is the beginning of the tide changing in the amount, and types of funding HBCUs receive.”    

The FUTURE Act not only provides permanent funds to HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions, but also simplifies the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and eliminates paperwork for income-driven student loan repayment plans.

“We believe it’s a really important piece of legislation,” says Amy Wood, assistant vice president for financial aid at TSU. 

The legislation eliminates up to 22 questions on the FAFSA and allows the Internal Revenue Service to share applicants’ tax information directly with the U.S. Department of Education. It also automates income recertification for federal student loan borrowers who use income-based repayment plans.

“Being able to eliminate some of the processing time allows us more time to spend counseling students and ensuring that they have what they need,” adds Wood.

Mariah Rhodes, a junior at TSU majoring in political science, says she’s pleased the legislation may soon become law. It has been sent to the President, who is expected to sign it. 

“HBCUs have produced some of the best African-American doctors, lawyers, politicians and engineers,” says Rhodes, a Memphis native who is an HBCU White House ambassador. “This money will help HBCUs in a tremendous way.”

Her mother agrees.

“They (HBCUs) are underfunded, and we need to really do something about that,” says Denise Woods.

TSU Dean of Students Frank Stevenson called the legislation a “game changer.”

“HBCUs are still seeing a number of first generation college students, and funding is really important to the success of these institutions that have done so much to move the needle toward equity and opportunity for higher education for students,” says Stevenson.

Last year, TSU received $2 million to support retention of academically high achieving students from underserved communities.  

The funds were included in Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s budget during the latest legislative session, and approved by state lawmakers.

For more information about the FUTURE Act, visit https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2486/text.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded 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.

Hundreds attend MLK convocation featuring MSNBC political analyst Joy-Ann Reid

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Hundreds of people attended Tennessee State University’s annual convocation on Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

TSU President Glenda Glover speaks to gathering before march. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

Despite the bitterly cold temperature, quite a few people turned out for the march that started in front of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church and ended at TSU’s Gentry Complex, where the convocation was held. The keynote speaker was MSNBC political analyst and author, Joy-Ann Reid.

TSU President Glenda Glover set the tone for the convocation in her greetings.

“We’re here because we understand if ever there was a time that we needed each other, that time is now,” said Glover, who is also the international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the primary sponsor of this year’s convocation.

“We honor Dr. King and those leaders that he inspired to continue the struggle for equality.”

Marchers line up to head to convocation at Gentry Complex. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

Reid echoed Glover’s sentiment in her speech when she said people need to continue fighting for racial justice, economic justice, and not just recite King’s speeches.

“We have to ask ourselves, what have we done with this legacy?” said Reid. “America right now needs to get motivated, not to quote King, but to live the dream he was fighting for.”

The convocation was attended by community leaders and lawmakers, including Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper, and his brother, Nashville Mayor John Cooper.

“What he hoped for is not complete,” said Lee. “We, being here today, continue that dream that he had that isn’t finished in this country.”

Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated attend convocation. (TSU Media Relations)

On Saturday, TSU hosted the MLK Joint Day of Service with seven other universities and colleges. More than 700 students gathered in Kean Hall before being bused to various locations throughout Nashville to volunteer as part of the annual event.

Students enjoyed an early lunch before being greeted by university leaders and hearing Freedom Rider and TSU Alum Ernest “Rip” Patton share inspiring words about his experience as a civil rights activist.

“This is your day, and this is your time to make a change because what we did in the 60s, we did if for generations to come,” said Patton

Brittanie Pruitt, a sophomore nursing major from Covington, Tennessee, who returned after participating in the Day of Service last year, said community service is critical.

Brittanie Pruitt, a sophomore nursing major, volunteering at Harvest Hands Community Development as part of the annual Joint Day of Service in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)
 

“It’s definitely important to give back. Everybody needs a helping hand,” said Pruitt, who spent her afternoon with a group of 25 volunteers organizing classrooms at Harvest Hands Community Development, a nonprofit organization that provides after-school programming in South Nashville. “You might need help one day, so it’s always important to give back.”

Shirley Nix-Davis is director of outreach for TSU’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement and co-chair of the Day of Service. She said 326 of 715 students who signed up for the event were TSU students.

To learn more about TSU’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/servicelearning/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU President Glover Encourages Community to ‘Stand Strong’ at 8th Presidential Prayer Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover provided encouraging words of perseverance at the 8th annual Presidential Prayer Service on Jan. 8.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper thanked President Glover for her leadership. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Glover was the keynote speaker, as TSU and the Nashville faith-based community joined hands to begin the New Year with a morning of prayer at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church. 

Faith-based leaders of various denominations from across Metro Nashville, as well as Mayor John Cooper, Vice Mayor Jim Shullman, and TSU alum and gospel legend Dr. Bobby Jones, participated in the program. Also participating was Bishop Joseph Walker III, chairman of the TSU Board of Trustees and presiding bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International. 

During her speech, Glover encouraged the gathering — community, state and local leaders and citizens, TSU staff, administrators, alumni and students — to “stand” in the face of difficulties.

A cross-section of faith-based leaders participated in the 8th Annual Presidential Prayer Service at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“There will be difficult days in accomplishing goals, when others will challenge you and or doubt you, but you must stand and be steadfast,” Glover said. “We had some ups and downs, we had some trials and tribulations, but we are here. We are thankful for people who have stood up for TSU.”

Before Glover’s presentation, Mayor Cooper thanked her for her leadership, and the community for coming together in prayers for the city, TSU and residents.

Darrien Phillips, a TSU senior commercial music major, performs a musical rendition at the prayer service. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“Dr. Glover, this is your day as you go into your eighth year as president of Tennessee State University,” Cooper declared. “The city of Nashville and I thank you for all you have done for not just this community but across the nation. TSU graduate students, teachers, engineers, to name a few, continue to nurture our students that come from TSU to go out near and far. The city of Nashville is so fortunate to have you here. We thank you for this annual prayer service.”

Following Glover’s address, ministers offered prayer in several areas, including peace, the global community, the Nashville community, children and youth, and the TSU community.

Rev. Aaron X. Marble, pastor of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, presided over the program. He praised Dr. Glover for her leadership and said the annual prayer service “is a wonderful tradition that she’s established.”

The prayers concluded with the Rev. Derrick Moore, pastor of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, praying fervently for Glover as various ministers gathered around her in a display of unity and support.

Department of Media Relations

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

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

President Glover addresses student success, unveils ‘Decade of Excellence’ platform at spring Faculty-Staff Institute

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover on Monday lauded faculty and staff for their service, and assured them the institution is poised to accomplish great feats for 2020, and beyond.

Dr. Glenda Glover

Dr. Glover spoke at the spring Faculty and Staff Institute, a customary State of the University address held to commence the start of each academic school year. Her address commended employees, and touted fiscal strength and student success.

In thanking employees for their hard work, she pledged her continued support, and encouraged them to strive to make the university better.

“I’m here for you,” said Glover. “I just ask that you show up every day and do your best.”

She reminded them that includes doing all they can to help students succeed.

Glover noted that from 2018 to 2019, the GPA of incoming freshmen increased from 3.10 to 3.14. The university also implemented a targeted recruitment plan for high school students with a 3.0 or better to improve retention and graduation rates. Students’ GPA has steadily risen since TSU increased admission standards in 2016. All students must now have a 2.5 GPA and a 19 on the ACT for admission. The previous admission scores were 2.25 or a 19 on the ACT for in-state students, and a 2.5 or 19 ACT for out-of-state students.

The president also stressed the university’s fiscal soundness and plans to continue the trend. She discussed an endowment increase of $19.3 million over a five-year period, and a net increase of $15.7 million for reserve and endowment funds during the same time span.

Over the next 10 years, in what she called TSU’s Decade of Excellence, Glover said she envisions an endowment of $150 million and $100 million in reserves. She would also like to see TSU be the top HBCU in the nation, with an enrollment of 12,000.

The president also talked about TSU’s sanction by its accrediting body and gave a detailed update on the “plan of action” to address the issue. She emphasized to the several hundred in attendance that it is important to dispel any misconceptions and that TSU never lost accreditation.

Corrective steps taken so far under the plan include the university retaining a nationally known firm with expertise on accreditation matters and hiring a full-time director of assessment and accreditation to guide the process internally.

“We are 100 percent confident that TSU will do all that is required to prepare and submit the documentation that is necessary to remove us from probation,” said Glover. “Everyone is working together to get this done.”

TSU’s landscape will change over the next few months when construction of the new health sciences building is complete. The president shared the latest information on that, as well as planned construction of two new residence halls. Groundbreakings were held for the three buildings, along with a welcome center, during homecoming last year.

Glover also touted a major accomplishment for TSU in 2019 that is carrying over to the New Year: its coding partnership with tech giant Apple, Inc., which is drawing global attention.

In July, TSU launched HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Create,” which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities and underserved communities. The initiative is part of TSU’s newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the HBCU C2 Presidential Academy. 

The undertaking to bridge the technology divide has not gone unnoticed. President Glover told the audience that the university and Apple’s corporate office have received several inquiries about the program.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is among the initiative’s champions.

“Anything is possible when people come together with a shared vision,” Cook tweeted. “Thank you to @TSUedu for your leadership and enthusiasm in bringing coding to your community and HBCUs nationwide!”

The institute marks the beginning of the academic semester. Students return on Jan. 13.

For more information about TSU’s coding initiative, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/hbcuc2/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded 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.

US State Department Designates TSU a ‘Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is a Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader for Academic Year 2018-2019, solidifying its position even more on the global stage.

The designation was recently announced in a letter to TSU President Glenda Glover from Marie Royce, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

TSU is one of 19 HBCUs to receive the Fulbright designation for demonstrating noteworthy support for Fulbright exchange participants during the 2018-2019 academic year, as well as for promoting Fulbright program opportunities on campus.

“We are extremely excited to be recognized for our participation in this prestigious program,” Glover said. “With our diverse student, staff and faculty population, TSU identifies with the Fulbright program’s goal of promoting mutual understanding between people of the United States and other countries through cultural exchanges.”

Last year, TSU became the first historically black university to host the Fulbright Pakistan Re-entry Seminar (April 25-28). The seminar, funded through a grant from the Institute of International Education, was intended 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.

Earlier this year, TSU professor Janice M. Williams received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to South Africa in Dental Sciences. She was one of over 800 U.S. citizens who were selected to teach, conduct research, and/or provide expertise abroad for the 2019-2020 academic year.

According to Dr. Jewell Winn, executive director of the TSU Office of International Affairs, having this designation with Fulbright, which has partnerships with more than 160 countries worldwide, positions the university to be more attractive globally.

“It has been challenging to develop cultural exchange programs with major research institutions around the world,” she said. “But this designation will show that we are among the most prestigious and respected HBCUs implementing comprehensive internationalization.”

In the State Department’s letter, assistant secretary Royce congratulated TSU for attaining the Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leadership status, along with the other 18 HBCUs.

“ECA has established this new designation to acknowledge the strong partnership between the Fulbright Program and HBCUs, and to encourage the entire network of HBCUs to increase their Fulbright engagement,” the letter said. “This initiative is part of the U.S. State Department’s long-standing commitment to build diversity and inclusion within the Fulbright Program and within the Bureau’s international exchange program overall.”

TSU will be recognized at a special reception hosted by the Fulbright Program on Feb. 18, during the annual Association of International Education Administration in Washington, D.C.

Terrence Izzard, TSU’s associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, said the designation helps the university’s recruitment effort by further opening the pipeline for engaging more foreign students.

“We have a large international population of students, and this designation certainly helps to enhance our outreach to continue to attract the best and brightest from abroad,” Izzard said.

Added Katelyn Thompson, president of Tennessee State’s SGA, “TSU’s diverse student population makes us unique. I think the Fulbright Program would help to expose our students to more cultural exchanges, as well as bring in more students from foreign countries.” 

As part of the State Department designation, TSU received a certification of congratulations, as well as a Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader digital badge to display on the institution’s website and on its social media platforms.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded 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.

Georgia City Declares ‘Christion Abercrombie Day’ to Honor Injured TSU Football Player

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The City of South Fulton, Georgia, has declared December 19 ‘Christion Abercrombie Day,’ in honor of injured Tennessee State University football player Christion Abercrombie.

South Fulton City Mayor William “Bill” Edwards, right, welcomes Christion Abercrombie to his office. (Submitted Photo)

City Mayor William “Bill” Edwards recently made the proclamation during a ceremony at Westlake High School, where the TSU linebacker graduated.

Abercrombie, an Atlanta native, rose to national prominence last year after suffering a severe brain injury in TSU’s game against Vanderbilt on Sept. 29.  His remarkable recovery was described as a miracle.

In a statement at the Westlake ceremony, Abercrombie said he feels great.

“I thank God. I feel amazing,” he said. “I thank everybody for coming out, my friends and family.  I just thank everybody for their support and prayers.”

In addition to Mayor Edwards, several city dignitaries, and the South Fulton School Board president and members attended the event.  TSU head football coach Rod Reed, along with some members of his coaching staff, as well as Abercrombie’s little league tag football coach, also attended the program. Gus Morris, an SEC official, who regularly visited Abercrombie during his recovery, attended the Christion Abercrombie Day ceremony.

Christion Abercrombie, left, Gus Morris, SEC oficial; and Rod Reed, TSU Head Football Coach, attend “Christion Abercrombie Day” in South Fulton, Georgia. (Submitted Photo)

Staci Abercrombie, Christion’s mother, said she wants ‘Christion Abercrombie Day’ to be special to everyone in South Fulton.

“This is a city that we both grew up in,” she said.  “We are from Atlanta, and it was annexed two years ago, and I want everyone to know if you have faith in God and you are one who can fight and be a pillar of the community, you are honored in such a way. Christion exemplifies all of that.  He’s given so much to this community, not just through football, but as a student-athlete and we are just very thankful that today we celebrate Christion Abercrombie Day.”

During this year’s Homecoming at TSU, Christion was honored as a grand marshal, and received a Special Presidential Recognition from TSU President Glenda Glover. HBCU Digest also named Christion “Male Athlete of the Year,” during the organization’s annual honoring gala in Washington, D.C.

Christian’s family has announced the formation of the “Christion Abercrombie Foundation,” a nonprofit organization to assist families dealing with brain injuries.

“The mission of the foundation is to bring awareness to traumatic brain injury through education and outreach to families and patients,” Staci Abercrombie said. “What we have learned is that there are severe cases, like Christion’s was. We want to partner with medical staff, coaches and therapists on how everyone can work together in providing the necessary care.”

As part of his quest to obtain a degree in sports medicine, Christion Abercrombie currently takes online courses at TSU.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded 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 Remembers Former Educator and Civil Rights Pioneer Carrie Gentry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Carrie Gentry, a civil rights activist and TSU educator, died Saturday. She was 95.

Carrie Gentry, right, with her son, Howard Gentry, Jr., was a pioneer in the nonviolent civil rights movement in Nashville. (Courtesy Photo)

Gentry, mother of TSU alum and Nashville Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry, Jr., was married to the late TSU athletic director Howard Gentry, Sr., after whom the Gentry Center is named.

She came to then-Tennessee A&I College in 1949 with her husband, and taught rhythmic and modern dance at the university. Later, along with friend Inez Crutchfield, an assistant professor of health education at TSU (1949-1985), Carrie Gentry became influential in the effort to desegregate Nashville, aiding student protestors during the nonviolent civil rights movement.

“I really feel humbled today standing among so many worthy people, and you my friend, Inez,” Gentry said in 2014, as she, Crutchfield and legendary track and field coach Ed. Temple were being honored for their contributions to the city, at the 10th Annual James “Tex” Thomas Humanitarian Prayer Breakfast.

“As I stand here today, I think about all the people that helped me move along the way. I want to thank everyone for the honor and praise. It is a tribute to my family who helped me succeed.”

Pioneers in the civil rights movement in Nashville during the 1960s, Gentry and Crutchfield became involved in the League for Women Voters, and were the first African-American members of the Davidson County Democratic Party’s Women Club. The two would later become presidents of the group – Crutchfield in 1975, and Gentry in 1978.

A longtime member of First Baptist Church until her passing, Carrie and her husband Howard reportedly transported students from TSU to her pastor, first to be trained in nonviolent tactics in the church basement and then to participate in the sit-in protests in downtown Nashville.

Carry Gentry was born in Georgia as one of 14 children. She lost her parents at an early age and was raised by her siblings and moved to Boston. She attended Howard University, where she majored in health physical education and dance.

At TSU, Gentry also served as the director of the majorettes. Like her husband, Howard Gentry, Sr., she is also in the school’s Sports Hall of Fame. 

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU alum and Former POW meets widow of pilot who shot down his fighter jet in Vietnam

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University alum who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam recently returned to the Southeast Asian country and met the widow of the pilot who shot down his fighter jet nearly 50 years ago.

Lt. Col. James Williams sits in cell where he was interrogated and tortured while imprisoned. (Courtesy: Valor Administration)

Lt. Col. James W. Williams was flying his 228th combat mission when his F-4D Phantom was hit over North Vietnam on May 20, 1972. He was taken captive and spent 313 days in the infamous Hoa Lo Prison (aka Hanoi Hilton). He was released with other American POWs on March 28, 1973, about two months after the Vietnam War ended.

In November, the Memphis, Tennessee native was among several Vietnam veterans who returned to Hanoi, Vietnam, as part of a trip organized by the Dallas, Texas-based group Valor Administration, members of the Vietnam-USA Friendship, and North Vietnamese combat veterans.

Organizers said the trip was a way to help veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder possibly gain closure.

“There are a lot of Vietnam veterans … that still have wounds from the war that haven’t been addressed,” said Adriane Baan, with Valor Administration.

Williams, who was imprisoned a period of time with late U.S. Sen. John McCain, acknowledged it was therapeutic revisiting the place where he was tortured and meeting veterans who were once his enemy. But he said the highlight of the trip was meeting Nguyen Thi Lam, the widow of Do Van Lanh, the North Vietnamese pilot who shot him down.

Williams said he did not know he was going to meet Lam until he got to Vietnam, and that the meeting was awkward at first, but that changed the more they talked.

“I found out her husband died in 1980,” recalled Williams, who lives in Atlanta. “She showed me pictures of him. I expressed my condolences for his passing. The trip definitely helped me. It gave me some closure.”

During his visit to the prison, which is now a museum, Williams noticed a photo on display that showed two lines of air men being released. He was leading one of the lines.

Lt. Col. Williams in 1973 photo on display in the Vietnam museum. (Courtesy: Valor Administration)

“It was really amazing,” said Baan of the photo.

Lt. Col. Nick Callaway is the commander of Tennessee State University’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 790, which Williams was part of when he was enrolled at TSU. He recognized Williams at the university’s Veterans Day program last month.

“If there’s anything I learned from Lt. Col. Williams, it’s that we as human beings are capable of so much,” said Callaway. “Lt. Col. Williams’ patriotism and devotion to this great nation is truly an inspiration.”

Williams’ son, Brandon, said his father’s courage and perseverance while in captivity have motivated him when he faced adversity.

“Through any situation or circumstance, don’t give up,” said Brandon, a former TSU football player who is now a financial advisor for numerous professional athletes. “He’s my hero.”

After he retired in 1995 from 28 years of military service, Lt. Col. Williams started an Air Force Junior ROTC program in the DeKalb County, Georgia School System and taught for 20 years before retiring.

The 75-year-old currently serves on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs POW Advisory Committee.

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.