Category Archives: FEATURED

Gospel Legend Dr. Bobby Jones to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Homecoming Gospel Explosion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This year’s Homecoming Gospel Explosion at Tennessee State University will feature big name stars including TSU alum Dr. Bobby Jones, and gospel sensation Kirk Franklin. Jones will be honored at the Oct. 13 event with a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented in collaboration with the GMA Dove Awards.

Jones won a 1983 Dove Award for his “I’m So Glad I’m Standing Here.”

Franklin, who will make a guest appearance at the Gospel Explosion, will join in presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to his mentor and legendary gospel music innovator, along with the Nashville Super Choir, which Jones founded.

The Gospel Explosion, also featuring TSU’s New Direction Choir, will begin at 6 p.m. in Kean Hall on TSU’s main campus. It is free for students, faculty and staff with TSU ID. General admission is $10.

Other big name stars include JJ Hairston, renowned leader of Youthful Praise choir; Koryn Hawthorne, contemporary gospel singer and finalist in Season 8 of NBC’s singing competition The Voice; and James Fortune, gospel music recording artist, songwriter and producer.

Kirk Franklin

“This is our biggest Gospel Explosion by far this year, with some of the biggest names,” said Frank Stevenson, TSU’s associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students. “To include our proud alumnus Dr. Bobby Jones, and one like Kirk Franklin is quite a milestone for our university. To have Dr. Jones back on campus, to celebrate him during our Homecoming and to honor him, I think it’s going to be a very pivotal moment in the life of Tennessee State University.”

Referred to as the “Ed Sullivan of Gospel Music” and a staunched supporter of TSU, Jones, a Nashville native, is an American gospel music legend, in a career spanning more than 40 years. For 36 years, Jones brought gospel music to a national TV audience with his legendary Sunday morning program “Bobby Jones Gospel.” He gave big breaks to rising stars like Yolanda Adams and Kirk Franklin.

Homecoming week runs from Sunday, Oct. 13, and culminates on Saturday, Oct. 19, with the parade along Jefferson Street, and the football game between TSU and Austin Peay at Nissan Stadium. For more information on Homecoming go to http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/

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.

Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Lecture Series to feature TSU alumna and Board member, Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The second annual Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Lecture Series will take place on Oct. 17 during Tennessee State University’s Homecoming week.

Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell

This year’s featured speaker is Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell, a TSU alumna and member of the university’s Board of Trustees. She is also a renowned cancer specialist, and retired Air Force brigadier general.

The lecture is scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Robert N. Murrell Forum in the university’s Floyd-Payne Campus Center.

The lecture series, a component of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., Institute, was established to honor Watkins, a 1966 alumnus of TSU and the first African-American to be accepted into and graduate from the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. It features prominent speakers who address areas in health care and STEM to prepare students for the medical field.

In addition to the lecture series, the Institute also consists of a pre-med society and an endowed scholarship.

The late Watkins is known worldwide for being the first surgeon to successfully implant an automatic heart defibrillator in a human patient at John Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr.

Dr. Watkins was also a pioneer in civil rights at Hopkins. He fought to diversify the medical staff and student ranks at the hospital. 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. He passed away on April 11, 2015.

To see all of TSU’s 2019 Homecoming activities, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/.

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.

US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visits TSU, lauds its innovative research

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – During a visit to Tennessee State University on Monday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue lauded the land-grant institution’s innovative research, and challenged students to “invest in yourselves.”

Perdue toured the College of Agriculture and gave a presentation to Ag students in the Farrell Westbrook Complex on the main campus.

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, TSU President Glenda Glover, and College of Ag Dean Chandra Reddy. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Following the presentation, the College gave Perdue a gift, and TSU President Glenda Glover thanked him for visiting TSU and for his support.

“We’re pleased to have you on our campus, and in our corner,” said Dr. Glover. “We’re so appreciative of all you’ve done for 1890s; you’ve taken land grants to heart.”

Including Tennessee State, the 1890 land-grant system consists of 19 universities.

In his discussion, Perdue emphasized the importance of such institutions, and encouraged students to take advantage of what they offer. He also challenged them to “stand, “ be “steadfast,” and “persevere.”

“As you stand, as you’re steadfast to your vision, and persevere for the next cause, I know that you’ll be successful,” said Perdue, who also took questions from the students.

“TSU has invested in you, USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) has invested in you, now I want you to invest in yourselves. You are provided an opportunity that many people in this life do not get.”

Emmanuel Wallace, a sophomore from Memphis majoring in agricultural sciences, was inspired by what Perdue said.

Perdue receives gift from College of Ag student. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“I learned to definitely stay steadfast, be confident in what you’re doing, and continue to strive for excellence,” said Wallace.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture is very supportive of the university, so he’s pleased that the department’s top official visited TSU.

“This is awesome, because USDA supports a number of USDA scholars for us, as well as research and extension facilities at TSU,” said Reddy. “This is an opportunity for the Secretary to see firsthand how we are stewarding those resources they are providing.”

During his visit, Perdue noted TSU’s research in hemp, food safety, as well as its New Farmer Academy, the only one of its kind in Tennessee.

“You’ve got major research here,” said Perdue. “The research dollars … are being well-utilized.”

Kristin Day is among numerous TSU students who have benefitted from USDA. The junior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, received a full-ride with an 1890 land-grant scholarship, which also guarantees an internship with a federal agency.

Before Perdue’s visit, Day, who is majoring in agricultural sciences with a concentration in agribusiness, said she looked forward to seeing him again. She said she first met Perdue last month during a visit to Washington, D.C.

“It’s an honor that he’s coming to TSU, and he wants to sit down with us and have an intimate discussion,” said Day, who hopes to one day work with USDA.

Perdue takes questions from students. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Last year, USDA awarded more than $2 million in teaching, research and extension capacity building grants to seven TSU professors in the College of Ag.

The College was also awarded a $450,000 grant from the USDA’s Agricultural Food and Research Initiative. It’s being used to pursue an integrated approach to mitigate antimicrobial resistance in cattle and poultry, and help establish stewardship programs for small and medium-sized ranchers.

For more information about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

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.

US AG secretary Sonny Perdue to visit TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will get a glimpse of innovative research and interact with top-notch students when he visits Tennessee State University on Monday, Oct. 7.

Perdue is scheduled to attend a breakfast hosted by TSU President Glenda Glover before touring the College of Agriculture and giving a presentation to Ag students at 10 a.m. in the Farrell Westbrook Complex on the main campus.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture is very supportive of the land-grant institution, so he’s pleased that the department’s top official is visiting TSU.

“This is awesome, because USDA supports a number of USDA scholars for us, as well as research and extension facilities at TSU,” says Reddy. “This is an opportunity for the Secretary to see firsthand how we are stewarding those resources they are providing.”

Kristin Day is among numerous TSU students who have benefitted from USDA. The junior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, received a full-ride with an 1890 land-grant scholarship, which also guarantees an internship with a federal agency.

Day, who is majoring in agricultural sciences with a concentration in agribusiness, says she’s looking forward to seeing Perdue, again. She says she first met him last month during a visit to Washington, D.C.

“It’s an honor that he’s coming to TSU, and he wants to sit down with us and have an intimate discussion,” says Day, who hopes to one day work with USDA.

Last year, USDA awarded more than $2 million in teaching, research and extension capacity building grants to seven TSU professors in the College of Ag.

The College was also awarded a $450,000 grant from the USDA’s Agricultural Food and Research Initiative. It’s being used to pursue an integrated approach to mitigate antimicrobial resistance in cattle and poultry, and help establish stewardship programs for small and medium-sized ranchers.

For more information about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

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.

Career Fair Opens Doors to Internships, Employment for TSU Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students looking for internships, full-time employment and co-op opportunities got a major break on Oct. 2. More than 100 companies and potential employers converged on the main campus for the 2019 Fall Career Fair.

TSU student Shaun Anderson, a business administration major, right, talks to Dell representatives at the Career Fair. In the photo are, from left, Bonnie McKissack, Senior Sales Leader; Tiffany C. Perry, Inside Global Sales Manager (TSU alum); Shaheed Whitfield, Recruiter (TSU alum); Elizabeth Casey, Recruiter; and Shelton Cammon, Recruiter. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Representatives from government agencies, aerospace, engineering, healthcare and the entertainment industries set up tents, tables and displays in the Gentry Center Complex to network with students about career and potential employment opportunities.

Many have scheduled follow-up interviews with students on the TSU campus.

Officials said nearly 500 students attended the all-day fair, organized by the TSU Career Development Center in the Division of Student Affairs.

Micaih Mayfield, a junior mechanical engineering major, and Oluwatosin Fagbuyi, a graduate student, also in electrical engineering, were among those looking for career opportunities. Mayfield was looking to land an internship, while Fagbuyi, who graduates in May, was looking for a co-op or full-time employment.

Micaiah Mayfield, a junior mechanical engineering major, talks to representative of BWX Technologies. She said she received many positive responses from companies. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“Everything looks very promising,” said Mayfield, of Nashville, who made several stops, leaving her resume at each point. “A lot of people asked for my resume, they looked over it and asked a lot of questions about my career goals.”

For Fagbuyi, who was very optimistic about landing an opportunity, he said going after companies this early before his May graduation was a good effort.

“I count myself lucky to be able to get this opportunity to attend a career fair,” said Fagbuyi, who received an internship in his undergraduate years as a result of the career fair. “From what I have seen today, I will absolutely get something from it, thanks to the TSU Career Development Center for preparing us.”

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said the goal of the fair was to “share some of our amazing students” with these companies and the world.

“We are really excited about these corporations and companies that are here to meet students that TSU produces,” said Stevenson. “It is nice to see them so excited about interacting with our students.”

Major sponsors included General Electric, Altria, LG&E and KU Energy, Humana, Innophos, Inc., and Dell, which was to meet the next day with seven students who received on-the-spot preliminary interviews at the fair. Regions Bank is a standard sponsor. Like many of the other sponsors, hiring TSU students is not new for Dell. At the tech giant’s table during the fair, two of the company representatives and recruiters were TSU graduates, who got their start from the career fair.

Alexander Sellers, Systems Engineering Manager at Boeing, right, who earned two degrees at TSU, received his start from the career fair. He returned as a recruiter and to mentor his young protégés. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Tiffany C. Perry, inside global sales manager for North America at Dell, earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from TSU. She said coming back to her alma mater to recruit is just one way of trying to give back.

“It’s been an awesome day for me,” said Perry. “I am thankful for this opportunity. I am even happier to know that the candidates that came to our table were just incredible, they were prepared and represented TSU well.”

Alexander Sellers, systems engineering manager at Boeing, was one of those representing his company at the fair. He talked about the preparation he received, the importance of the career fair and the excitement to be back on the TSU campus, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the College of Engineering.

Antoinette Duke, Associate Director of the TSU Career Development Center, left, presents a plaque to representatives of GE in appreciation of their support as major sponsor of the career fair. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“The career fair is integral for any student’s progression,” said Sellers, who was first hired by Lockheed Martin as a result of the career fair. “TSU is going to provide you the foundation of think, work, serve, and your classwork. But you have to get connected, and this is what that is all about.”

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of the Career Development Center, said the fair is an opportunity to properly “position our students.”

“We have spent most of the year preparing our students, getting them job ready,” Duke said. “So, at this career fair, it is our opportunity to partner the two (students and companies) together in hopes that we can increase our chances of making sure when our students graduate that they land employment that’s going to match the education that they have received.”

Duke was also glad to see former students and alumni of the career center who return as mentors and recruiters to help their younger protégés prepare for the real world.

“It is just nice to see them giving back to their institution,” she said.

Duke presented each of the major sponsors with a plaque in appreciation of their support to TSU and the Career Development Center.

For more information on the TSU Career Development Center, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/

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’s Linda Spears to Serve on State’s Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Team

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has selected TSU’s Linda C. Spears to serve as part of its inaugural Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Fellows program.

Spears, the associate vice president for Human Resources, will serve with 14 others on the cohort-based professional development program to cultivate the next generation of enterprise leaders in higher education. She was nominated by TSU President Glenda Glover.

“I am so honored to be nominated by President Glover and to be ultimately selected as a fellow in the inaugural Tennessee Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Fellows program,” Spears said.  “It is such an honor to represent TSU in this leadership development experience.” 

According to a THEC release, Spears and her fellow cohorts  will convene on campuses across the state to learn from experts and build extended networks. The program will facilitate individual development goals through professional assessments, one-on-one executive coaching, and mentoring networks and job shadowing experiences.

Among other responsibilities, the THEC fellows will  facilitate leadership development through self-exploration and skill training; provide  foundational principles of higher education policy and practice for exposure to all aspects of the higher education enterprise; as well as inspire  ideas and cultivate new ways of thinking to shape the emerging paradigm of post-secondary education institutions.

“Addressing the challenges currently facing higher education will require leaders that are steeped in innovation and keenly focused on student success,” said Mike Krause, executive director of THEC.  “This program will help Tennessee develop a cohort of higher education professionals ready to excel in executive positions.”

Spears said although the program is demanding, she hopes to gain more insight into the strategic operations of higher educational institutions to “prepare me for greater service and advancement opportunities.”

An operational improvement advocate throughout her career, Spears has developed a management leadership training program, introduced an electronic personnel action system, and developed many highly effective workflow processes. She hopes to bring that experience of professional development to her new role as a THEC fellow.

“This inaugural class will help to shape the future of this program,” she added. 

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 Plans Spectacular 2019 Homecoming with Stellar Group of Honorees, Grand Marshals, Star Power

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Called a “walking miracle,” HBCU Digest Male Athlete of the Year Christion Abercrombie will be among a stellar group of honorees, grand marshals and star power at this year’s Tennessee State University Homecoming Oct. 13-19.

Under the theme, “Unleash the Pride of the Tiger,” TSU is planning a spectacular weeklong schedule of events that will culminate with the big football matchup between the Tigers and OVC rival Austin Peay State University at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 19.

In keeping with the theme, the university has selected honorees and grand marshals who embody the excellence TSU strives for, especially Abercrombie. The TSU linebacker suffered a severe brain injury Sept. 29, 2018, during a game against Vanderbilt. His remarkable recovery was described as a miracle.

TSU President Glenda Glover called Abercrombie’s “perseverance and incredible spirit” an inspiration to anyone going through adversity. “He is proof that you can make it if you just have faith and believe,” Glover said.

Abercrombie will receive a Special Presidential Recognition from Dr. Glover.

Other honorees are Samuel Abernathy, retired assistant professor and assistant track and field coach with renowned Tigerbelle coach Ed. Temple; Howard Gentry, Criminal Court Clerk for Davidson County and former TSU director of athletics; and Edna Overall, former TSU women’s basketball coach.

Grand marshals for the popular Homecoming parade are: Ola Hudson, retired teacher and administrator with the Metro Nashville Public Schools; Obie McKenzie, senior relationship manager for top investment firm BlackRock; and Donald Whitehead, retired journalist and broadcaster.

“We think our theme this year is befitting of our esteemed grand marshals and honorees who are being lauded,” said Grant Winrow, Homecoming chairman and special assistant to President Glover. “We even have a walking miracle, and that is our very own Christion Abercrombie, who will serve as our Special Presidential Grand Marshal.” 

Besides the game and parade, another major highlight of TSU’s homecoming is the Annual Scholarship Gala, TSU’s signature fundraising event, which will take place on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Music City Center. This year, the gala welcomes back comedian Jonathan Slocumb as the master of ceremony.

“As part of the highly anticipated, annual Homecoming Celebration, the Scholarship Gala is a wonderful opportunity for Tennessee State University to enhance meaningful relationships with alumni, loyal friends and community partners on behalf of our student scholars,” Gala chairs Iris Ramey, Cassandra Griggs and Seanne Wilson said in a statement. “The Gala provides the critical funds necessary to meet the significant need for student scholarships as well as ensure students have access to relevant academic programs that prepares them for an innovative and global marketplace.”

Other Homecoming activities this year include the Coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU on Oct. 16; the Breakfast of Champions, the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, and the National Pan-Hellenic Step Show on Oct. 18; and the legendary Homecoming Parade on Oct. 19.

The parade will be from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard.

For more information on Homecoming, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/

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 New Farmer Academy graduates prospective farmers from across the country

NASHVILLE, Tenn . (TSU News Service) – Individuals from across the nation looking to become farmers graduated from Tennessee State University’s New Farmer Academy on Sept. 16.

The seven-month program was started by the university’s College of Agriculture in 2014. Participants meet the third Monday in each month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and cover topics that include agricultural leadership and regulations, financial planning, hydroponics and irrigation, organic production, hemp production, soil fertility and suitability, and drone usage.

Finis Stribling, TSU area extension specialist and Academy coordinator, speaks to participants. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

The Academy, which also offers classes in West and East Tennessee, is the only one of its kind in Tennessee. Its first year, the program had nine participants. This year, 38 graduated from the Middle Tennessee class, which finished this week. TSU President Glenda Glover was among the speakers who addressed the graduates on their final day.

One of the participants, Brian MacDonald, flew in each month from Orange County, California. After visiting Tennessee several years ago, he decided it is a place where he would like to retire, and do some organic farming.

“I have this dream of owning a farm,” said MacDonald, who is a retired president and chief financial officer for an electronics company. 

On the farm, he said he would set up a program for disadvantaged youth that would allow them to grow their own produce and possibly sell it, “basically teach them how to run a business, and how to sustain themselves in life.”

“When I was a kid, I was raised by a single mom for the most part,” recalled MacDonald, who is looking for farmland in Tennessee. “But there was a small portion of my life where I had an opportunity to have a horse for nine months. And I learned how to take care of it, and it taught me responsibility. I feel like, if I can have a program for kids where they can take care of plants, and to teach them the responsibility of doing that, it may give them a leg up.”

Graduate Daniel Harpstead traveled from Philadelphia to attend the Academy, and said he also plans to retire in Tennessee where he owns a 33-acre farm in Culleoka. Harpstead said he doesn’t yet know what he’s going to grow on the farm, but that the class has given him some ideas, and guidance.

“I’ve had an opportunity to learn a lot, and I plan to put it to good use,” he said.

John Ferrell, TSU extension agent for Franklin County, Tennessee, talks to participants about irrigation. (Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

Shannon Summer also said the class was very beneficial. The retired Army veteran has a farm in Williamson County and is planning to grow hemp on it.

“What I’ve received out of it (the class) is a broad spectrum, an overview of agriculture in different arenas,” she said.

Hemp research and production was one of the main topics of this year’s class. Finis Stribling, the Academy’s coordinator and a TSU area extension specialist, said some of the graduates have already started producing hemp, and others are curious. 

“It’s a niche crop that can be utilized for small scale farmers,” said Stribling. “A lot of farmers are growing an acre, half-acre, or quarter-acre just to gain some experience.”

Ashley Richmond of Chicago was another long distance traveler to the class. A Nashville native, she and her family have a 10-acre farm in Cross Plains, Tennessee. They use one acre for hemp. 

Richmond said one of the main reasons she’s interested in hemp is because some of the senior members of her family currently use it for medicinal purposes. 

“Just seeing some aging family members around me who have issues with pain,” she said. “So I thought it was a good idea to get into the industry myself. It provides help for people who are in my life.”

Another class topic that drew strong interest is the growing use of drones in agriculture. More farmers are beginning to use them to locate livestock, detect nutrient deficiencies in croplands, and inspect water lines.

TSU Ag Professor Dr. Thomas Broyles talks to Academy participants about the use of drones. (Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

“They’ll fly along those pipelines with the drones to see if any pipes have burst, so they don’t have to walk the fields,” said John Lee, a natural resource specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and one of the Academy’s guest speakers.

Stribling said the next class is scheduled for March 2020 and he currently has a waiting list of 15 people.

For more information about the New Farmer Academy and TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU President Glenda Glover does it again, raises $1 million in one day for TSU and nation’s other HBCUs

By Kelli Sharpe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover has once again succeeded in her advocacy for the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and raised $1 million in a 24-hour campaign for the institutions. As International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Dr. Glover led the service organization in the one-day fundraising initiative, AKA HBCU Impact Day, held on Sept. 16. The funds will provide financial assistance and help to secure fiscal sustainability and success for TSU and all four-year HBCUs.

President Glenda Glover receives an initial gift of $25,000 from the AKA during the dedication of a bench in her honor on the TSU campus on June 26. She was joined by Horace Chace, vice president of Business and Finance; Terry Clayton, member of the TSU Foundation Board; and Iris Ramey, associate vice president for Corporate Partnership and Strategic Initiatives. (submitted Photo)

“Once again this is a historic moment for Alpha Kappa Alpha as we have raised $1 million for HBCUs for the second year in a row,” President Glover shared with excitement in a video message to sorority members.

“I want to thank everyone who contributed to this $1 million, one-day campaign. Let’s continue to support our HBCUs.”

AKA HBCU Impact Day is part of a four-year $10 million fundraising goal by the sorority to establish an endowment on each campus. Money raised through AKA HBCU Impact Day will assist in providing financial support to these schools over the next three years.

“TSU is one of the HBCUs that will continue to receive funds for the AKA endowment,” added the president.

In June, AKA established a $100,000 endowment at TSU with an initial contribution of $25,000.

Donors can still make contributions by texting AKAHBCU to 44321, giving by mail or online at http://aka1908.com/hbcus/donate-hbcu.

Last year, members and supporters surpassed the million-dollar goal in one day, and the organization began distributing funds almost immediately to support HBCUs around the country.

In February, AKA gifted $1.6 million from their AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund to 32 HBCUs. Presidents from these institutions joined Dr. Glover and sorority leadership at a special Black History Month program at the AKA International Headquarters in Chicago.

Organizations that provided the largest corporate matches to the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund in 2018 were Caterpillar, General Electric, Hilton, Houston ISD, IBM, SAP America, State Farm Companies Foundation, UnitedHealth Group, and Wells Fargo Bank.

These endowment funds can help schools reduce student debt through scholarships, fund industry-specific research, recruit and retain top faculty, and much more. According to The Network Journal, nearly a quarter of all African Americans with bachelor’s degrees graduated from an HBCU (22%). HBCUs have historically served all people regardless of race or economic standing and continue to do so. These schools are often the largest employer in rural areas, and educate students from pre-K through college via teacher education programs, charter schools and early college high schools housed on their campuses. AKA believes the importance of these environments of higher learning and the need to support them have never diminished.

For a complete list of institutions funded in the first cycle from the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund, and more information on the sorority’s commitment to HBCUs, visit the sorority’s online pressroom at www.AKA1908.com/news-events/online-pressroom.

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.

Southern Heritage Classic a time for fun, opportunity for recruitment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – While the Southern Heritage Classic is a time for festivities and reunions, it’s also an opportunity to recruit some of the city’s top high school students.

Tennessee State University may have fallen to Jackson State University 49-44 in the 30th annual SHC this past weekend in Memphis, but the TSU Tigers scored major points with numerous aspiring college students.

Top high school students attend recruitment reception. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“TSU is a great school,” said Memphis senior Randy Perry, who stopped by the booth TSU had at the Classic College Fair the day before Sept. 14 game. “My mother and grandmother went there. The biology program that I would like to go into, I hear it’s immaculate.”

Senior Nicholas Townsend agreed.

“It’s just a good school, rich in culture,” said Townsend, who plans to major in criminal justice and eventually become a police officer.

Rachel Cox is a college counselor at The Soulsville Charter School in Memphis where Perry is a student. She lauded the Classic for making the college fair part of its annual activities.

“Our college office is all about options,” said Cox. “An event like this is important because it helps our students see what their options are.”

TSU President Glenda Glover and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland at pre-game events. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

The evening before the college fair, TSU had a special recruitment reception at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel for top high school seniors.

Kabrea Bell attended the reception and said she would like to enroll in a HBCU and major in criminal justice. She hoped to get information at the reception that will help her make a decision on where to go.

“I’m hoping to get a lot out of this,” said Bell before the event. “I want to one day be a lawyer.”

TSU admissions officials said the goal of the reception is to seek out the best students, nurture them, and graduate them prepared for the global market.

“We like to position them this time of the year so that they will be prepared for admissions, and more importantly, be prepared and positioned and lined up for scholarship opportunities,” said Dr. Gregory Clark, TSU’s director of high school relations and NCAA certification.

TSU alum April Terrell helped organize the recruitment reception. She said she wanted to convey to the high school students the special experience they will have if they choose to attend a historically black institution, particularly Tennessee State.

TSU Big Blue fans at Southern Heritage Classic game. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“They can receive a quality education from a HBCU, one that is affordable in the state of Tennessee, and is going to have them ready for the workforce,” said Terrell.

In 2016, TSU raised admission standards to attract the best and brightest students. 

At an alumni mixer the evening of Sept. 13, TSU President Glenda Glover touted the high quality of students attending the university, and how it’s seeing an increase in enrollment.

“Enrollment is up,” said Glover. “It was 7,780 last year, it’s probably going to be around 8,000 this year.”

Following a luncheon earlier that Friday, SHC founder Fred Jones Jr. was asked what advice he would give young people who are about to graduate and are considering college, or entering the workforce.

“You’ve got to have staying power,” said Jones, alluding to the longevity of the SHC despite obstacles he encountered. “You’re going to have some adversity. The Classic is successful. We’ve had a lot of adversity, but we’ve been able to work through it on a consistent basis.”

TSU Aristocrat of Bands participates in annual SHC parade. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Besides the college fair and big game on Saturday, another highlight of the SHC was the annual parade in the Orange Mound community of Memphis. Hundreds of people lined the route to see the floats and participants, including TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands.

TSU National Alumni Association President Joni McReynolds has attended the Classic for a number of years, and she plans to continue doing so.

“The Southern Heritage Classic is like another Homecoming,” she said. “There are so many TSU alums here. I enjoy coming, and I think everybody else does.”

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.