Category Archives: NEWS

TSU hosts national emergency management conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Emergency management officials from higher education institutions across the country gathered at Tennessee State University on Tuesday.

Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s chief of staff, speaks to Channel 2 reporter and meteorologist Davis Nolan about emergency management conference. (photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

They are among more than 200 first responders, consultants and volunteers attending the Best Practices in Emergency Management for Higher Education Conference TSU is hosting May 22-24.

TSU, the first HBCU selected to host the conference, has been recognized for its unique urban-agriculture and cutting-edge emergency preparedness initiatives that have earned the university many accolades, including a Storm Ready designation.

As a result of the recognition, TSU was presented with the Best Practice Trophy at last year’s conference at Virginia Tech, and subsequently was selected to host the 2018 conference.

Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s chief of staff, said the need for emergency management has increased over the years.

“The frequency in emergency situations have increased,” said Johnson. “And so, in turn, institutions of higher education have learned that we need to be better prepared for these situations, so many of them are putting resources where they can respond.”

One of the topics at the conference was about problems that arise from mental health issues, and how to address them.

“Mental health is a challenge in higher education because some individuals … don’t always take their medicine,” said Johnson. “And when they don’t take their medicine, they become a challenge. We have to be prepared to manage it, and work with those individuals to get them back to as normal as possible.”

Gary Will is assistant vice president for campus security and emergency management at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. He acknowledged mental health is an issue, but he said the biggest problem in northwest Georgia is the weather, and letting people know if there’s a threat.

Berry College got its Storm Ready designation in 2015.

“The biggest thing with being Storm Ready is advising people of what’s happening, at least having that inclination that there’s some sort of threat that’s on the horizon,” he said.

For more information about TSU’s OEM, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/emergency/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 Part of History: Four Alums Who Met at Tennessee State University 30 Years Ago Attend Royal Wedding in the U.K.

Courtesy: CBS This Morning

LONDON – (TSU News Service) – Almost 3 billion people around the world were expected to tune in to watch the royal wedding on May 19. More than 100,000 people gathered in the streets around Windsor Castle, hoping to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in person.

Among those well-wishers were four women who first met at Tennessee State University more than 30 years ago. The TSU alums have traveled all over the world together since then, and this year they made the trip to London to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

See full news video at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/royal-wedding-meghan-markle-prince-harry-american-friends-glamour-diversity/

Tiffany Gray, Margarita Jackson, Debbie Howard and Melanie Smooth kicked off their big weekend of festivities with a champagne toast to the royal couple, at their hotel. Courtesy photo

Tiffany Gray, Margarita “Margo” Jackson, Debbie Howard and Melanie (Melissa) Smoot have taken an annual vacation together for 15 years, and when they heard about the royal wedding, they couldn’t pass up the chance to travel “across the pond” to see royalty up close.

Howard, of Nashville, and Smoot, of Birmingham, Alabama, were all smiles as they began their journey to London on May 16.

“They’re young, they’re hip, they’re cool, he’s marrying an American girl,” Howard told reporters after arriving in the British capital. “Go Meghan!”

The four women kicked off their big weekend of festivities with a champagne toast at their hotel; “to Meghan! to Harry!”

Fashion and fascinators were very much at the forefront of the friends’ minds – and they had no intention to hold back: “It is the royal wedding. You have to be over the top!”

Like the rest of the world, they were still wondering on Friday what Meghan would wear.

“She is not going to do traditional,” predicted Gray, also of Nashville. “She is going to do something edgy.”

Howard said she foresees a “straight line with lace,” and hopes the royal bride will don something that belonged to Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana.

Perhaps most important for the American group, is how Meghan Markle – a biracial American actress – might change the British royal family.

“I think their love signifies diversity,” said Jackson. “By him choosing his bride and she is African-American, just makes it the best.”

“Her dreams came true. She got the prince,” added Gray.

The friends each bought new outfits for Saturday’s big event – hats and fascinators included. They claimed a spot outside Windsor Castle to catch a glimpse of the royal couple on what was an historic day.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

Families of Waffle House shooting victims say ‘thank you’ to TSU alum, hero, James Shaw, Jr.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Families of the victims of the Waffle House shooting last month got a chance to collectively thank TSU alum James Shaw, Jr., the man being hailed a hero for disarming the shooter.

TSU President Glenda Glover (center) is joined by James Shaw, Sr., and his wife, Karen, as they talk to families of the Waffle House shooting victims. (Copyright 2018 TSU Media Relations. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Family members attended a ceremony at Tennessee State University on Tuesday to honor those killed and wounded in the April 22 incident at the Waffle House in the Nashville suburb of Antioch.

TSU President Glenda Glover welcomed the families to the university, before everyone gathered for a brunch with Shaw and his mother and father. Four balloons were later released on the university’s campus in remembrance of those killed in the shooting.

Authorities have said there would have probably been more casualties had it not been for Shaw’s actions. The 29-year-old wrested a rifle away from the gunman and tossed it over the counter before shoving the shooter out the door.

Shaw has been humble about his actions, saying he’s really not a hero. But those attending the event at TSU on Tuesday reiterated what the nation has been saying since the shooting: Shaw is a hero.

Family members release balloons in remembrance of those killed in the Waffle House shooting. (Copyright 2018 TSU Media Relations. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

“Had you not been there, everybody in that building would have been killed,” said Renee Hampton, the aunt of 24-year-old Sharita Henderson, who was wounded in the shooting. “I just want to say thank you.”

Shaw has said he plans to use the notoriety he’s receiving as a platform to address gun violence and mental illness issues. In doing so, Abede Dasilva, who was there with his brother Akilah that didn’t survive said Shaw is honoring his brother.

“My brother was against guns,” he said. “He would want this.”

Immediately after the shooting, Shaw set up a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $15,000. However, he raised over $240,000.

A replica of the check was presented to the families during the luncheon. The amount will be divided evenly among the families once processed and released.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 site of meeting, reunion for Waffle House families with James Shaw, Jr.

By Kelli Sharpe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The mood was somber as expected, as family members, many visiting TSU for the first time, were greeted by President Glenda Glover along with James Shaw, Jr. and his family. The seven families were here to meet Shaw, Jr., the young man hailed as a hero following the deadly mass shooting on April 22 at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.

Renee Hampton, aunt of 24-year-old Sharita Henderson, who was injured in the Waffle House shooting, thanks James Shaw, Jr. (Copyright 2018 TSU Media Relations. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

“I truly wish I was welcoming you to our university under different circumstances, but please know you have all been in our thoughts and prayers since the horrific events of April 22 unfolded,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The Shaws are a part of the TSU family as alumni, and we reached out to them immediately as a show of support because that’s what families do. On behalf of our university, we welcome you as family, and are here for you as well.”

Shaundelle Brooks, whose son, Akilah Dasilva, was killed in the Waffle House shooting hugs James Shaw, Jr., as her other son, Abede, looks on. (Copyright 2018 TSU Media Relations. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Following a brief meeting with the families, the small group shared lunch and got an opportunity to thank Shaw, Jr., for his heroism and actions following the shootings. Emotions after emotions were displayed as mothers, brothers and others representing those still hospitalized thanked Shaw. All consumed by tears.

“I would have lost two sons if it weren’t for you,” said a tearful Shaundelle Brooks. Her sons Akilah and Abede Dasilva were both there. Akilah didn’t survive.

The parents of Joe Perez, one of the four killed in the Waffle House shooting on April 22, thank James Shaw, Jr. for his heroism. (Copyright 2018 TSU Media Relations. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here,” said Abede Dasilva. “I’m able to be here for my mother because of you.”

The group walked to the campus amphitheater to release balloons to honor their loved ones. The eight families, representing those killed or injured, held hands and bowed heads as they were lead in prayer. Four black balloons were released for those who died.

Shaw has repeatedly said he doesn’t consider himself a hero. However, following the shooting he immediately began helping the families of those killed or injured by creating a GoFundMe account to help with expenses.

As a show of support and to highlight his act of bravery, TSU set up a scholarship in Shaw’s name. Donations to the James Shaw, Jr. Scholarship Fund can be paid through the link below or by mail. Please send to: The James Shaw, Jr. Scholarship Fund at Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University Foundation, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd. Box 9542, Nashville, TN   37209

https://epay.tnstate.edu/C20204_ustores/web/classic/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=415&SINGLESTORE=true

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 Alum Garners National Acclaim With Comedy Series #WeirdMYAH

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – How does a Magna Cum Laude Animal Science/Pre-Veterinary Medicine graduate from one of the nation’s top historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) become an award-winning filmmaker?

That’s a good question for 27-year-old Myah Naomi Lipscomb, a 2013 alumna of Tennessee State University and creator of the comedy series #WeirdMYAH. Lipscomb, along with a host of TSU alums, are garnering national acclaim with their original comedy series, which is currently being featured in the Tennessee Episodic Showcase division of the Nashville Film Festival.

“I feel so blessed, and I am so happy,” said Lipscomb. “I would not have thought when I was working at the animal hospital and not loving it that in just a couple of years I could say that I am doing what I love.”

Members of the #WeirdMYAH cast and crew after winning Best TV Pilot for “#photobomb” at the National Black Film Festival (Houston, Texas) Left to Right: Brandon Lee W., Kelly Keri Greer, Myah Naomi Lipscomb, Jennifer Mkoma, and Lanial D. Madden

#WeirdMYAH, which recently took home the Best TV Pilot Award at the National Black Film Festival in Houston, for its full length episode #photobomb, screens Wednesday, May 16, at 6 p.m. at Regal Hollywood Stadium 27.

In the television comedy, Myah Bridges, portrayed by Lipscomb, is a student at historically black Lloyd University. She struggles to overcome the conflicts in her problematic life, created by the stress of college, lack of income, and her social awkwardness. Overtime, Myah learns to deal with her uniqueness by embracing her individuality, but her quest for normalcy has its obstacles.

Lipscomb and the pilot’s director and cowriter, Kelly Keri Greer, both graduates of TSU, earned MFA’s in Film and Creative Media from Lipscomb University in 2017. The two are just part of a long list of TSU alums involved with the project.

“I think when I first tried to pursue it years ago, it just wasn’t the right season for it,” Lipscomb said. “And I think me going to graduate school and really learning the craft and learning the field, I needed that. Me networking with other filmmakers and actors, I needed that. And all of us together is what has really branded this project into what it is now.”

Greer, a Memphis-native who graduated from TSU with a B.A. in Mass Communications, said the cast and crew of #WeirdMYAH are like a family.

“We are always together, and not only do we work together, we work well together,” she said. “We’re there for long periods of time together on set, but we can actually go and spend our own personal time with one another, so we are really a family, and I think that’s probably the most rewarding part of being a part of this project.”

Greer, like Lipscomb, said attending TSU played a major role in her success.

“We only had one film professor at TSU, Melissa Forte, and she really taught us everything from beginning to end,” Greer said. “We had editing classes with her. We had screenwriting classes with her, and she really taught us the basics of film including production and being your own producer, like being an independent filmmaker. With those tools you really can’t go wrong.”

Lipscomb’s rendezvous with TSU goes back much further. Her grandfather, Dr. Roland Norman, worked at TSU for nearly 40 years, ultimately serving as dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics. Her grandmother, Naomi Norman, worked as a nurse in the Queen Washington Student Health Center at TSU throughout her professional career.

Their children, including Myah’s mother, Chandra Norman Lipscomb, grew up on the TSU campus. Myah’s mother eventually attended TSU and became Miss TSU 1979-1980. She worked at the university in various capacities, including teaching in the Department of Communications, serving as a campus administrator, working in the College of Business, and eventually serving as the coordinator of International Student Services and Cultural Programming in the Office of International Affairs before her recent retirement.

As a student at TSU, Myah served as Miss Freshman 2009-2010. She also served on the student government association as representative-at-large and speaker of the house.

An accomplished actress, Norman Lipscomb said she sees a lot of herself in Myah.

“I look at Myah, and a lot of the things she is doing, she got from me. Myah grew up watching me doing my performances and what not, but we never knew she had a desire for the arts or for communications because she would always talk about being a veterinarian,” she said. “To be honest, she was afraid to let her dad and I know that that was the area she wanted because she thought we wanted her to be a veterinarian.”

As a mother, Norman Lipscomb said she sees the hard work her daughter puts into her craft and believes it is the key to her success.

“I personally see what no one else sees. I see Myah getting up to go to the gym at 5 a.m., coming back and working whether it is #WeirdMYAH, editing a project, getting ready to go film a music video, whatever,” she said. “She is working most of the time, and this is like a labor of love for her.“

Myah encourages other young people to pursue their passion.

Myah Naomi Lipscomb – Creator, Executive Producer, Actress, & Editor of #WeirdMYAH

“Whether it’s in film, whatever field you are passionate about, I think you need to follow your passion, and follow your heart, and you’ll get there,” Lipscomb said. “You just need to take that first step and not be afraid.”

Lipscomb said the next step for #WeirdMYAH is to pitch the show to networks and streaming platforms. She hopes to use her journey as a filmmaker to revitalize positive, entertaining content that highlights African Americans.

Other TSU alums involved in the project include the cinematographer, Joseph Patrick; cast and crew members Lanial Madden, Kala Ross, Chelsea Smith Brand Lee W., Asia Jones, Joe Major, Clarke Howard, Evony Thompson and Lauren Waller; and filmmaker Spencer Glover, who also graduated with an MFA from Lipscomb and has worked as a director on the miniseries.

The five episode web-based miniseries of #WeirdMYAH is available online at www.myahnaomi.com/weirdmyah. To purchase tickets for the May 16 screening of the full length episode, #photobomb, visit www.nashvillefilmfestival.org.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 continues to attract high achievers; student accepted to 160 colleges and nearly $9 million in scholarships, to enroll

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (TSU News Service) – Jayla Woods, a recent graduate of Whitehaven High School in Memphis with nearly $9 million in scholarship offers to attend college, has decided to bring her talent to Tennessee State University.

Woods, who has a weighted 4.2 grade point average and has been courted by more than 160 colleges, will be a double major at TSU this fall. She said she selected TSU because the university offers the majors she wants to pursue.

Jayla Woods

“I have always wanted to attend an HBCU,” says Woods, who wants to become a sports dietitian. Her goal is to develop meal and diet plans for athletes. “I want to do a double major in nutrition and athletic training, and TSU will let me do that.”

In addition, Woods says she is a “huge” fan of the Tennessee Titans. Her cousin currently plays for the team.

At TSU, Woods will join fellow Whitehaven High School classmate Meaghen Jones, another highly sought-after graduating senior with more than $10 million in offers from 213 colleges. Jones announced in April that she plans to attend TSU in the fall.

Woods and Jones are coming to TSU on full scholarships.

TSU President Glenda Glover says it is no surprise that Woods and Jones selected TSU.

“Tennessee State University is a place with high standards for high achievers,” says Glover.  “More and more we continue to attract elite scholars who value the world-class programs and quality education offered here in a caring community of faculty, staff and administrators who are committed to excellence.”

Woods, like her fellow Whitehaven High classmate, is an academic standout with a number of local and national recognitions. She was a member of the student council, president of the National Honor Society, vice president of the National Honor English Society, member of Alpha Zeta Honor Society, the Science National Honor Society, and yearbook editor. She plans to become a member of the Honors College at TSU.

The only child of Vearnon and Jacquelyn Woods – both college graduates – Jayla says her parents have been the main reason for her success.

“They are the biggest influence in my life,” says Woods. “They push me every step of the way to be successful in everything I undertake. So, I guess I am trying to follow in their footsteps to be the best person I can be.”

Jayla comes to TSU as part of a millennial generation of high achieving students that the university continues to strategically recruit in its effort to improve retention and graduation rates. This comes on the heels of sweeping changes TSU President Glover announced in 2016 that raised admission standards to attract the best and brightest.

Following that announcement, the university launched a number of initiatives, including “Experience TSU” to attract the best and brightest students in four major markets – Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis and Nashville.

President Glover led the campaign to meet potential students face-to-face to ensure their commitment to attend TSU. For instance, Glover visited Meaghen Jones and her parents to “seal the deal” for her to come to TSU.

Terrence Izzard, TSU’s associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, is directly responsible for recruitment and admissions. He says “Experience TSU” was a way of “personally congratulating these students for applying and being accepted” to TSU.

“The goal was to personally welcome them to the TSU family and let them know of all the wonderful opportunities to grow and learn while here at Tennessee State University,” says Izzard.

Officials project more high-achieving students will be coming to TSU for the fall semester.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

Memphis Graduating High School Senior with 213 College Offers, and More than $10 Million in Scholarships, to Attend TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Meaghen Jones, a Memphis high school graduating senior who has been accepted to 213 colleges across the nation and has received more than $10 million in scholarship offers, is coming to the “Land of Golden Sunshine.” She will attend Tennessee State University this fall as a pre-med, TSU officials have announced.

TSU President Glenda Glover visited with Jones and her parents “to seal the deal.”

President Glenda Glover presents Meaghen Jones with an official TSU shirt. (Submitted photo)

In a teary statement before a cheering crowd, Jones announced, “My name is Meaghen Jones, and first I would like to thank God and my parents, my family, my friends and all who have supported me throughout my life. I have accumulated $10,776,400 in scholarships. My final choices for college were Tennessee State University and the University of Memphis. In fall 2018, I will be continuing my education at Tennessee State University.”

Jones, a Whitehaven High School academic standout, has a weighted 4.2 grade point average and an ACT score of 25. She is a member of the yearbook staff.

Jones is also part of the River City Dance Company, and attends the T.L. Williams Academy of Dance. At TSU, Jones says she plans to seek admission into the Honors College.

Jones comes to TSU as part of a millennial generation of high achieving students that the university continues to strategically recruit in its effort to improve retention and graduation rates.

In 2016, President Glover announced sweeping changes that raised admission standards to attract the best and brightest. Minimum requirement for incoming freshmen went up from a 2.25 GPA to 2.5, while the ACT score remained at 19.

Officials say in addition to academics, Jones’ future will be in good hands when she comes to TSU. Recent data comparison shows that the university is on an upward trajectory when it comes to job placement for new graduates.

Within three months of receiving their degrees, nearly 52 percent of students who graduated in December had received “some form of employment opportunities,” according to the Career Development Center. That’s just 6 percent shy of the national average of graduates who had jobs within six months of graduation, according to College Track, an online database that guides parents and students in college selection.

Last year, TSU received a $2 million career development grant from the United Negro College Fund. The money gave the Career Development Center staff the tools to prepare and ultimately help TSU students secure employment immediately upon graduation.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 establishes Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Memorial Institute in honor of trailblazer and alumnus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is using a half million dollar gift from the family of the late Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. to establish an endowed scholarship fund in honor of the TSU alumnus and renowned heart surgeon.

Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr.

The Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide financial assistance to pre-med majors at the institution based on high scholastic achievement. In conjunction with the scholarship fund, TSU will establish the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Memorial Institute. The initiative is made up of three components: the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society, the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Pre-Med Society and the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Lecture Series.

“We are extremely grateful to the family of Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. for this tremendous gift to further the legacy of such a brilliant individual, and TSU alumnus,” said Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover.

“The Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Endowed Scholarship and institute are incredible programs to have housed at our university and will add another caveat to our stellar STEM programs. Most importantly, it continues the work of Dr. Watkins of inspiring students to pursue their dreams in the medical profession and to give back to others.”

The Society is a student organization for STEM majors who are high academic achievers and Presidential Scholars. The Pre-Med Society is for students who are high achievers interested in attending medical school.

Both organizations include periodic seminars, service as research assistants, a living learning community on campus, and training for personal health and wellness.

The Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Lecture Series will be annually and will invite prominent speakers to TSU to address areas in health care and STEM. The focus will be on preparing students for the medical program and is slated to begin this fall.

Watkins is carried on the shoulders of well-wishers following his victory as the new Student Council President. (courtesy photo)

Dr. Levi Watkins enrolled at Tennessee State University where he excelled as a student. Watkins studied biology but was also heavily involved in campus life. He was listed in the Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges, president of the Student Council (1965-1966), and received the title of “Mr. Brains” by the yearbook staff in 1966. Levi was a member of the Nashville Collegiate Exchange Council, National Vice President of Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and the University Counselors. He graduated in 1966 with honors.

After leaving Tennessee State, Watkins became the first African American student to be admitted to and graduate from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Following Vanderbilt, Levi began his residency at John Hopkins Hospital. He would go on to become the first black chief resident of cardiac surgery.

Watkins was a pioneer in both cardiac surgery and civil rights at Hopkins. He was the first doctor to implant an automatic heart defibrillator in a patient, a medical procedure that is now more common place. It is because of his vision and innovation this medical breakthrough has been responsible for saving the lives of millions worldwide.

He performed this groundbreaking procedure while he was also fighting to diversify the medical staff and student ranks at Hopkins. His legacy of recruiting and mentoring minority students helped to change the landscape of the medical profession. Watkins retired from Hopkins in 2013, dedicating 43 years of service to helping others.

Dr. Watkins became ill while doing what he loved most, inspiring prospective medical students at Hopkins, and died on April 11, 2015. Watkins will be remembered not only for his transformative achievements, but also for the deep personal connections he made with people from all walks of life.

The University held a memorial service with the campus family and Nashville community to celebrate his life of outstanding achievement and 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 8,000 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, 25 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 honors alumnus and Waffle House hero James Shaw, Jr. with scholarship, Special Presidential Recognition

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has set up a scholarship in the name of alumnus James Shaw, Jr., who has received national acclaim after disarming a Waffle House shooter last month.

The announcement was made during a reception held in Shaw’s honor at the university Monday evening. The event was highlighted on “Good Morning America.”

James Shaw, Jr. and TSU President Glenda Glover

TSU’s Farrell-Westbrook Building was filled to capacity as the Nashville community, state and local elected officials, as well as TSU students, faculty and staff joined the University for the Special Event. TSU President Glenda Glover welcomed the crowd and led a program consisting of area businesses and civic groups paying homage and giving awards to Shaw for his heroism.

“The TSU family is extremely proud of alumnus James Shaw, Jr. for his bravery and courage,” Glover said before the ceremony.  “James epitomizes the core values and mission of our institution, which is think, work and serve. His genuine concern for the well-being of others is a tribute to his parents, who are also TSU alumni.”

Presentations were made by Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association; Marie Sueing, vice president of Multi-Cultural Community Relations with the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation; Carolyn Waller, president of the Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce; Attorney Mary H. Beard with the Nashville Napier-Looby Bar Association; and LaDonna Boyd, CEO of Boyd Publishing Company, along with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., of which Shaw is a member.

Shaw and his family beamed with pride following each recognition, and were equally surprised and moved about the scholarship in his name. Attending with him were his parents James, Sr. and Karen Shaw, grandmother Mary Louise Edwards, sisters Brina’ and Brittni, cousin Mari Ashley and four-year-old daughter Brooklyn, and her mother Jalicia Collins.

James Shaw, Jr., being pinned by Dr. Jamie Riley, TSU alumnus and executive director of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Nearly $15,000 was collected just moments after the university made the scholarship donation information public. This included $11,000 from his fraternity. Numerous members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. were on hand for the celebration of their fraternity brother. The fraternity’s Executive Director Dr. Jamie Riley, also a TSU alumnus and from the university’s Beta Omicron chapter as Shaw, made a special presentation.

Dr. Riley lauded Shaw for his bravery and presented him with a lifetime membership.

“Your example challenges me and others to be our best even in the most uncomfortable circumstances,” said Riley.

Dr. Everett B. Ward, general president of Alpha Phi Alpha, shared a similar sentiment in a statement.

“The well-being and viability of our communities has often been predicated on the willingness of strong men to put themselves in harm’s way,” said Ward. “In like manner, the men of Alpha Phil Alpha Fraternity, Inc., have established a legacy of service and sacrifice to serve the greater good that was continued by our brother James Shaw, Jr., whose actions prevented further loss of life.”

TSU President Glenda Glover, alumnus James Shaw, Jr., and Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association

Four people were killed and several others wounded during the April 22 incident at a Waffle House in the Nashville suburb of Antioch. Authorities have said there would have probably been more casualties had it not been for Shaw’s actions.

The 29-year-old wrested a rifle away from the gunman and tossed it over the counter before shoving the shooter out the door.

State Rep. Brenda Gilmore, a TSU alumnae, along with State Sen. Jeff Yarbro shared special remarks at the event and applauded the Nashville native for springing into action.

Shaw has been humble about his actions, saying he’s really not a hero. And he reiterated that on Monday.

“Like I said, I was just trying to save myself. I did this with no recognition,” said Shaw. ”But it seems like it inspired so many people throughout the world. For that, I am greatly, greatly appreciative. To all of you, thank you.”

During the event, President Glenda Glover also announced that Shaw will receive a Special Presidential Recognition at Tennessee State’s homecoming in October.

Donations to the James Shaw, Jr. Scholarship Fund can be paid through the link below or by mail. Please send to: The James Shaw, Jr. Scholarship Fund at Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University Foundation, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd. Box 9542, Nashville, TN   37209

https://epay.tnstate.edu/C20204_ustores/web/classic/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=415&SINGLESTORE=true

Watch and read GMA and ABCNews’ coverage at https://abcnews.go.com/US/alma-mater-waffle-house-hero-establishes-scholarship/story?id=55013512

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

Tennessee State University Congratulates Its Spring 2018 graduates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Congratulations to Tennessee State University’s Spring 2018 graduates.

More than 1,000 students walked across the aisle at two separate Tennessee State University commencement ceremonies to receive their degrees in different disciplines. Both ceremonies took place in the Gentry Complex on the main campus.

TSU President Glenda Glover congratulated the graduates and parents for their achievement.

“This is your day,” Glover told the graduates. “We thank you, and we’re depending on you to continue the tradition of excellence.”

At the undergraduate commencement on Saturday, May 5, more than 800 graduates received their degrees after hearing from nationally recognized motivational speaker, Dr. Eric Thomas.

He told the graduates that each of them is born with greatness, but to achieve it requires work.

“Greatness is not free, it comes with a price tag,” said Thomas.

Among the graduates were the grandmother/granddaughter pair of Theresa Lyles, 68, and Zuri Lyles, 22, who received their bachelor’s degrees in sociology and health information management, respectively.

Also at the spring graduation, university officials posthumously presented degrees to the families of two students who died few months before they were to graduate. Bethany Morse, 34, a non-traditional student, died Feb. 2, 2018. Her bachelor’s degree was in social work. The other student, Denise McGarity Sampson, 22, died Nov. 27, 2017. She earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

On Friday, May 4, graduate students received their degrees after hearing inspiring words from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who gave the commencement address.

Bottoms, an Atlanta native who became the 60th mayor of Atlanta last December and only the second woman to be elected mayor in Atlanta’s history, told the graduates not to be afraid to share their struggles, their “scars,” because they don’t know who may be inspired by them – especially in the case of youth.

“As you enter this next season of life, think of those little boys and little girls who need to hear your stories, and be uplifted by your stories,” said Bottoms. “How you graduated from TSU, and how you got to the other side.“

Between its graduate commencement and its undergraduate commencement, TSU graduated more than 1,000 students. And officials say a “substantial number” have already gotten job or internship offers.

Among them is Emmanuel Gyang of Nashville, who received his bachelor’s degree in engineering. He is heading to Bank of America in Dallas as a systems engineer in the company’s data center.

“I feel blessed to be graduating with a job with a company like Bank of America,” he said. “I owe it to TSU for the preparation I received in the classroom and from TSU’s Career Development Center. They definitely honed me to be the person I am today. They taught me how to carry myself in a more professional manner.”

Recent data comparison shows that TSU is on an upward trajectory when it comes to job placement for new graduates.

Within three months of receiving their degrees, nearly 52 percent of students who graduated in December had received “some form of employment opportunities,” according to the Career Development Center. That’s just 6 percent shy of the national average of graduates who had jobs within six months of graduation, according to College Track, an online database that guides parents and students in college selection.

Last year, TSU received a $2 million career development grant from the United Negro College Fund. The money gave the Career Development Center staff the tools to prepare and ultimately help TSU students secure employment immediately upon graduation.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.