Category Archives: FEATURED

Tennessee State University Continues Campus Wipe Down Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

NASAHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With nearly all students away and classes online, Tennessee State University is continuing a complete wipe down to protect the campus from the COVID-19 and other diseases.

In the TSU campus wipe down, workers are using equipment and products that are extremely effective in killing the coronavirus. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

The university is using professional cleaning companies with disinfectants and sanitizing equipment to wipe down its main campus and downtown location. Cleaning crews are using protective equipment including gloves, body suits, and products that are “extremely effective” in killing the virus, company representatives say.

Interim Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Albert Hill says the goal is to keep the campuses clean and less susceptible to the spread of infectious illnesses, such as the coronavirus.

“We just want to make sure that when our students and employees return, they feel comfortable going into the classrooms, residence halls, and work places,” says Hill. “We also want to assure parents that their children are safe.”

On March 16, TSU was the first public university in Tennessee to transition to all online classes as a precaution to contracting and spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). The university also canceled all campus events where large crowds are expected, and suspended all international travel through the end of April to minimize exposure to the disease. On Monday, March 23, the university ceased normal operations, allowing most employees to work remotely.

Lecture halls are also receiving thorough cleaning in the campus-wide wipe down at TSU. (Phopto by TSU Media Relations)

 “These decisions were made in the best interest of the university, as both the federal government and State of Tennessee have declared a state of emergency,” says TSU President Glenda Glover.

 “In following directives from the Governor and Mayor, we have adjusted the traditional manner in which we serve our students and operate the university and will continue to take every precaution necessary to minimize the spread of the virus.   Most importantly, we are ensuring that students continue to learn and excel academically by providing all the resources needed to successfully engage and complete online courses.” 

  TSU has one confirmed case of a student testing positive for COVID-19. The individual, who did not live on campus, has been at home in self-isolation for a number of days while receiving the necessary care to treat their condition.

Dr. Joseph Perry, TSU’s director of sustainability, says the cleaning crews are doing an “excellent job” of making sure chemicals they are using are safe for humans and the environment.

“We are going to do this until we get to the point where we feel it is safe for people to come back into the buildings,” says Perry. “Essential staff and faculty who occasionally come on campus are safe because they are allowed to go in only certain areas.”

The U.S. Department of Education recently launched a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) information and resources web page for schools and school personnel.

For more information on campus operations and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

NOTE: Kelli Sharpe contributed to this story.

Department of Media Relations

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

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 makes history with virtual installation of National Music Honor Society

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University made history on Wednesday when it virtually established a chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda, the National Music Honor Society, and inducted its first student members.

The initial inductees into the Society of Pi Kappa Lambda are: seniors Julien Dooley, Jakori Hollinger, Natasha Machlin, Darien Phillips, Devin Pride and Andrew Walker; junior Jabril Muhammad; and graduates Michelene McKinney and Jordan Thomas.

Hollinger said the experience is one he will never forget.

“It was an honor to be a part of such a historic moment on our campus, amid troubled times,” said Holinger, a music education major from Montgomery, Alabama. “With the addition of the Lambda Delta Chapter, TSU and our Music Department will continue to remain at the forefront of excellence.”

Jakori Hollinger

The installation had to be done virtually because of the new requirements put in place as a precaution to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Hitting the unmute button when each of their names were called, the new members became a part of the coveted organization that recognizes students for high scholastic achievements as music majors. 

TSU President Glenda Glover, Dr. Alisa Mosley, interim vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Robert Elliott, head of TSU’s Music Department, were among the participants in the ceremony that took place live via Zoom.

Pi Kappa Lambda Regent, Dr. Mark Wait, installed the TSU Lambda Delta Chapter and assisted in the induction into membership of the first group of candidates.

The faculty members whose names appear on the charter are: Robert Bryant, Mark Crawford, Kaylina Crawley, Robert L. Elliott, Susan M. Kelley and Ljerka Rasmussen.

Founded in 1918, Pi Kappa Lambda is an honor society dedicated by its founders to the fostering of scholarly inquiry and artistic accomplishment in the field of music. Of the approximately 70 honor societies recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies, PKL is one of the oldest, and it is the only music group so recognized.

TSU’s Department of Music supports a full range of vocal and instrumental performance opportunities, including the orchestra, string ensemble, Tennessee State University Choir, Meistersingers, symphonic and concert band, two jazz ensembles, percussion ensemble, pep band, the world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands marching band, and a host of small vocal and mixed ensembles.

To learn more, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/music/

Department of Media Relations

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

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 on the frontline in COVID-19 prevention with production of protective masks for healthcare professionals and hand sanitizer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is helping in the global fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The University is stepping to the forefront and using its educational platform to make protective face gear for doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.

Headband designed by TSU 3D printing machines. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations).

TSU is also sharing information on how families can make their own hand sanitizer while producing the germ fighting solution for campus police.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has asked TSU to use its 3D printing machines to help design a portion of the mask, which has three components: plastic shield, headband and elastic band. The College of Engineering is leading the campus effort to produce the protective gear, which also includes the College of Agriculture and Library Services.

Reporters from all four Nashville TV stations, as well as WPLN (NPR), came out on March 24 to see demonstrations by TSU professors and grad students.

“We are currently fabricating several of the headbands to donate to THEC,” says Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of Engineering. “We have faculty, staff and students involved in making this product from four different sites at TSU. We hope to collectively support the state’s effort to mitigate and limit the spread of COVID-19.”

TSU grad students Oluwatosin Fagbuyi (left) and Rotimi Joaquim discuss printing technology with WPLN reporter. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The masks will be used to protect Tennessee medical professionals, like nurses and doctors, who are on the front lines caring for individuals with the virus. In Italy, the country with the second highest number of COVID-19 cases, more than 20 doctors have reportedly died and thousands of other health workers have been infected since the outbreak.

Oluwatosin Fagbuyi is one of the graduate students helping to make the headbands using the 3D technology. He says he could not pass up the chance “to help save lives.”

“It’s nice to feel like I can help,” says Fagbuyi, who is majoring in mechanical and manufacturing engineering. “It’s an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”  

In addition to helping with the mask, the College of Agriculture is also making hand sanitizer and sharing instructions on how individuals can make their own. The college is also producing the alcohol-based solution to make available for campus police.

Dr. Sudipta Rakshit in the College of Agriculture talks to reporters about making hand sanitizer. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“There is such a shortage because of the virus,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture. “The idea is to help people make their own sanitizer in case they can’t get it commercially.”   

The process includes mixing ingredients such as isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. But Ag officials say the main goal is to keep the percentage of alcohol greater than 60 percent. 

For information about TSU operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

Department of Media Relations

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

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 Students Express Mixed Feelings About Leaving Campus in Wake of Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Like many Tennessee State University students, Trenton Jones says he understands why TSU is asking them to go home, but many have mixed feelings about leaving their campus environment.  Students must vacate the campus by Saturday, March 21.

“The coronavirus is a big deal right now and this move is to help us stay healthy,” said Jones, a freshman agricultural science major, as he and his parents emptied out his dorm room in Watson Hall on Wednesday to head back home to Northport, Alabama.

Tyrani Randolph, left, a freshman dental hygiene major from Memphis, helps classmate Trenton Jones, second from right, move out of Watson Hall. Jones’ parents, Malcolm and Rhonda Skinner, travelled from Northport, Alabama, to pick up their son. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“Students need to stay functional and campus offers that,” added Jones. “Being on our own, and to do class online, you are missing that interaction with teachers and fellow students. Face-to-face is the best interaction for learning.” 

 Parents Ronda Skinner and her husband Malcolm, who travelled from Northport, Alabama, to pick up their son, Trenton, said the trip was inconvenient, “but worth it.”

“Due to the circumstances of the coronavirus, an epidemic that has hit our nation severely, it is understandable that the school would have to make this decision,” Rhonda Skinner said. “The fact that schools around the country had to make this decision, I do believe that it is in the best interest of the students, and comforting for parents.”

TSU President Glenda Glover said the decision was in the best interest of the university, as both the federal government and State of Tennessee have declared a state of emergency.

On March 16, TSU went online with all classes as a precaution to contracting and spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).

“While we have adjusted the traditional manner in which we serve our students, we are ensuring that they continue to learn and excel academically,” stated President Glover. “We are taking every precaution necessary to minimize the spread of the virus.” 

The university will soon serve as a mobile testing site. As further precaution, the university has canceled all campus events where large crowds are expected, as well as suspended all international travel through the end of April to minimize exposure to the disease. Also, beginning Monday, March 23, the university will cease normal operations, allowing most employees to work remotely.

Tyrani Randolph, a freshman dental hygiene major from Memphis, Tennessee, who moved out of Wilson Hall, agreed with her fellow classmate.

“I believe everything is for a reason, and I believe this is a safety precaution,” she said.

 Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said the university understands the “anxiety that this change causes for students.”

“It is an interruption into their ‘normal’ way of doing things as students,” he said. “We are trying to mitigate the situation and help them work through those feelings.”

Stevenson said the university is following the Centers for Disease Control and Infections guidelines, and best practices recommendations, in accordance with instructions from the governor’s office.

On Monday, the University will begin a campus wide wipe down of academic buildings and residence halls.

 For more information on campus operations and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19/

Department of Media Relations

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

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 allowing students to go home and finish semester online as a precaution to COVID-19

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is allowing students to return home and finish the semester online as a precaution to the spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). Online classes started Monday.

University officials announced last Thursday that TSU was transitioning to online learning. In a correspondence to students, TSU President Glenda Glover stated the decision was in the best interest of the university, as both the federal government and State of Tennessee have declared a state of emergency.

“Concerns pertaining to the coronavirus COVID-19 are affecting all of us and continues to worsen,” said Dr. Glover. “Within the last 48-hours, the country has changed drastically, as the number of U.S cases continue to be confirmed.”   

TSU will close all residence halls and apartments on Saturday, March 21. The university will evaluate requests from students with extenuating circumstances that need more time to make arrangements. Housing officials said those requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Students will continue their classes in an online format and there is no requirement to live on campus.

As further precaution, the University has canceled all campus events where large crowds are expected, as well as suspended all international travel through the end of April to minimize exposure to the disease. TSU has made these decisions to ensure the safety and health of the campus family. 

The university will provide more information on campus operations as decisions are made.     

Department of Media Relations

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

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 Is all Roses; World-Renowned Aristocrat of Bands to Participate In 2021 Tournament of Roses

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands is going to the Tournament of Roses. The band received an official invitation Tuesday to participate in the 2021 Rose Bowl Parade on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, California.

The crowd applauds after the announcement that the TSU Aristocrat of Bands will participate in the 2021 Tournament of Roses in Pasedina, California. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

The AOB will be one of only four university bands selected nationwide to participate in the parade, with a domestic television audience of more than 38 million.

“Only the best of the best are invited  and the Aristocrat of Bands is one of them,” said Dr. Robert B. Miller, president and chairman of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, who came to TSU to personally present the band with the official tournament flag and invitation.

“It is a major accomplishment for the band, and for your university. This is a big deal,” he said. “In 132 years of the tournament, 107th  Rose Bowl this year, your band is going to be there. You are going to do entertainment like no other band in our parade does. Our parade has got 22 bands, 45 floats, the best floral and entertainment groups in the nation and TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands is going to be there.”

The Aristocrat of Bands entertains the crowd at the Gentry Center as the band celebrates words of their official invitation to the Rose Bowl Parade next year. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

At the flag presentation in the Gentry Center, amid thunderous cheers from university officials, relatives, former band members, and Mr. and Miss TSU and their royal court, Miller congratulated TSU, the AOB and band director, Dr. Reginald McDonald, for their hard work in submitting a successful application.

Miller, who was accompanied by his wife, Barbara,  also pinned TSU officials present with the official lapel pin of the Tournament of Roses, including Dr. Alisa Mosley, interim vice president for Academic Affairs, who represented TSU President Glenda Glover. Dr. McDonald was also honored in recognition of his leadership.

In acknowledgment, the AOB, known worldwide for their melodious musical renditions and marching prowess, performed such favorites as “I am so glad I go to TSU,” and “Best Band.”

Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s Director of Bands, says participating in the Rose Bowl is a longtime dream. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)


“This is huge and I am just excited beyond measure,” said band member Julien Dooley, after hearing his first trip ever to California will be to perform in the Rose Bowl Parade. “The Tournament of Roses is very huge, and I am excited because I actually have never been to the west coast, and the thought of my first trip being to perform before such a huge audience has got me very emotional.”

Dooley, an Atlanta native and a drum major with the AOB, is a senior commercial music major.

 Fellow student Cailyn Sparks, a member of the AOB Sophisticated Ladies Dance Line, is equally excited. Her parents will be there to see their daughter perform.

“This is an opportunity of a life time and I am glad my mom and dad and maybe some other family members will be there,” said Sparks, a junior elementary education major from Phenix City, Alabama, who will also be going to California for the first time. “I am extremely excited about going to the Rose Bowl and excited to be there with my family.”

McDonald, TSU’s director of Bands, who could not hide his excitement about the announcement from the Tournament of Roses president and the reaction of the crowd in the Gentry Complex, called the invitation and the selection to the Rose Bowl Parade a “longtime dream.”

“If you know anything about parades in this country, the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy’s Parade are numbers one and two,” he said. “To have either one of those parades on your performance as a portfolio, says a lot about your band program.”

Four college bands are selected each year to participate in the Tournament of Roses –two that apply and two with football teams that play in the Rose Bowl.

“This year it will be Tennessee State University and Georgia State University. That is huge,” McDonald said. “It says a lot about our university, it says a lot about the things we are trying to teach on a year-to-year basis. We selected to apply to the Tournament of Roses because to be recognized as the best, you have to participate in those things that are challenging and hard and are also part of being the best. “

For more information on the TSU Aristocrat of bands, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/

Department of Media Relations

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

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.

Volunteers from across city come to TSU Ag farm to help clean up tornado damage

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Volunteers from across the City of Nashville came to Tennessee State University’s agricultural farm on Monday to join the TSU family in cleaning up damage from last week’s tornado.

The storm system that hit northwest and east Nashville shortly after midnight last Monday spawned the tornado that damaged portions of TSU’s campus. However, the university’s Ag farm was devastated, with five structures destroyed. Several livestock were also killed.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering and one of the cleanup leaders, helps remove debris. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, as well as other state officials and lawmakers, surveyed the damage last week.

“We appreciate all the support the community is showing TSU,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, the university’s chief of staff.

Dwight Beard is president of the Nashville Chapter of the TSU National Alumni Association. He said seeing people come from all over the city to help TSU is “awesome!”

“It shows the love of the community,” said Beard, who helped clean up tree limbs and debris in other parts of the campus soon after the tornado hit. “It shows people coming together, and that’s what we should do.”

Among the volunteers were representatives from the Nashville Predators hockey team, which recently partnered with TSU to help raise money for student scholarships.

People line up to register to volunteer. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“The Predators actually closed our office today and sent staff to volunteer at different locations throughout the city to help with tornado relief,” said Robin Lee, the Predators’ director of sponsorship service.

Many of TSU’s own helped in the cleanup effort.

TSU football coach Rod Reed agreed.

“It’s important that as an employee we take responsibility to also help rebuild our own workplace and facilities,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, and one of the cleanup team leaders.

Volunteers help with cleanup. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“It’s extremely important for us to get out and show our presence,” said Reed, who brought about 10 football players to help clean up.

Ben Owen of Oak Hill School, a private Christian institution in Nashville, came with five other co-workers.

“We’ve got a heart for service,” said Owen, who is director of technology at the school. “We heard of the need over here, so we organized and came over.”

Cleanup on the farm was expected to continue on Tuesday and Wednesday. For information about how to help, contact the Office of Emergency Management at 615-963-1489.

Department of Media Relations

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

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.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee surveys storm damage at TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee visited TSU on Tuesday to survey damage caused by a tornado that touched down near the university’s main campus.

Storm damage on TSU agricultural farm. (Photo by Travis Loller/AP)

The storm system that hit northwest and east Nashville shortly after midnight on Monday spawned the tornado that severely damaged structures on Tennessee State University’s agricultural farm. Three of four buildings were totally destroyed, and the welfare of the animals is a priority. TSU agriculture officials said two calves were killed and several goats injured.

Other parts of the campus received damage to signs and building rooftops, as well as downed power lines, uprooted trees and other debris. The university has suspended power to structures with the most damage as a safety precaution. 

Gov. Lee surveyed the worst damage, which was at the farm.

“Our thanks to Gov. Bill Lee for touring TSU and assessing the damage,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.

Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s chief of staff, said state officials are working with the university to assess the damage, which he said could have been worse.

“Nobody was injured,” said Johnson.

TSU’s agricultural farm is known for its nationally recognized goat research, as well as cattle research. Dr. Richard Browning, TSU’s lead goat researcher, echoed Johnson’s sentiment in regard to damage.

“It could have been worse,” said Browning.

TSU students are on spring break this week, but a few are on campus and are safe.

Department of Media Relations

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

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 exceeds goal of ‘$1 Million in 1 Month’ during historic campaign for student scholarships with contributions over $1.7M

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Hundreds of Tennessee State University students will receive scholarships to continue their education after the university exceeded its goal to raise $1 million during the month of February. The total collected hours before the deadline on Saturday, February 29, was $1,702,674. 

TSU President Glenda Glover

TSU President Glenda Glover expressed her gratitude and appreciation to everyone that made a contribution. 

“This wouldn’t be possible without the unprecedented support of alumni, faculty, staff and our corporate partner, the Nashville Predators, along with the faith-based community and many others,” said Glover.  “Because of your unwavering support, hundreds of young men and women will be able to continue their educational journey here at TSU.”  

Campaign Chairman Jamie Isabel also expressed gratitude to the Predators, as well as the hard work of the campaign committee, and Dr. Glover’s leadership.

“I am grateful that Dr. Glover challenged the alumni to think outside of the box and begin a new year and a new decade with the mindset of giving,” said Isabel, a TSU alum. “The campaign has been a very big success, and we are excited about the results.”

The campaign to raise $1 Million in 1 Month during Black History Month laid the foundation for the historic partnership between TSU and the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators. It is the first known partnership between an HBCU and the NHL, and coincided with the league’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative in February. 

Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association, said she’s proud of the way alumni responded.

“I know this will definitely help our students,” said McReynolds. “They are in such need because the state does not provide us with as much money as they used to. “

TSU alum Charles Galbreath of New York City is among the many alumni who contributed to the campaign.

“It’s important for the students to see that we don’t forget about what their needs are after we leave,’ said Galbreath. “I think that the energy that everyone is coming together with is everything we learned at TSU; that Big Blue spirit, to continue to take care of our school even after we’re gone.”

TSU President Glenda Glover with Nashville Predators President and CEO Sean Henry, along with $1 Million in 1 Month Campaign Chairman Jamie Isabel and TSU student leaders following the kickoff announcement in early February. (Submitted photo)

Money raised from the campaign will provide both merit-based and need-based scholarships for TSU students. Approximately 500 scholarships will be awarded to students in an average amount of $2,000. About 90 percent of TSU students receive some form of financial aid.

TSU freshman Jacob Taylor is one of them. The Memphis, Tennessee, native said he probably would not be at TSU if he did not currently have a scholarship.

“My mother has a good salary, but she doesn’t make enough to put me through school,” said Taylor, a health sciences major. “Having that extra money to pay for college really does a lot, because it takes stress off students.”

Junior Sydney Morehouse of St. Louis, Missouri, agreed.

“There are a lot of students that need financial aid,” said Morehouse, who is also majoring in health sciences. “Some of my friends are close to the finish line, but they don’t have funds to pay for their tuition and graduate. I want them to graduate. They are the future doctors, lawyers and physical therapists. So scholarships from the $1 Million in 1 Month campaign will really be beneficial.” 

The Predators organization made the first donation to the campaign, as well as an additional $100,000 of in-kind assets to help spread awareness to the initiative, which includes providing TSU students with internships.

“With the help of the most passionate fan base in all of sports and the Nashville Predators organization, we are proud to partner with Tennessee State University on this life-changing education initiative,” said Predators President and CEO Sean Henry. 

Nashville Predators mascot, and TSU mascot. (Submitted photo)

In addition to the kickoff event with the Nashville Predators, the university engaged the TSU family with various challenges. The Alpha Theta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. claimed victory in the Alumni Chapter Challenge with a contribution of $16,305, and they also won the TSU Divine Nine Fraternity and Sorority Challenge with a donation of $21,627. In the Staff/Faculty Challenge, TSU staff won with a contribution of $10,393.

Campaign activities also included the TSU Sunday Day of Giving, along with the Dialing for Dollars telethon that took place the last Sunday of the month, and involved the faith-based community. The pledges for the telethon exceeded $60,000. The goal was $25,000. The TSU College Challenge was the final campaign challenge between the eight academic units. Gifts for this activity are still being calculated.  

TSU students played a major role in bringing in donations as well. Over 100 students staffed a phone bank to make evening calls to alumni during the campaign and participated in the telethon as callers or as a part of the production to live stream the event. 

To learn more about the campaign, visit www.tnstate.edu/1million1month

Department of Media Relations

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

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.

IBM Executives say TSU Students developing right Skills for tech workforce

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two IBM executives were on campus recently to talk to TSU students about job-readiness skills and employment opportunities with the tech giant and its affiliates.

Meredith Stowell, vice president for IBM Z Ecosystem; and Shirley Meierarend, IBM’s Z series skills leader for North America, spoke to a group of students, faculty and deans about “very lucrative” job opportunities available for those with skills and knowledge in Enterprise Computing, which supports IBM’s mainframe technology.

“IBM is here today because we are very interested in building a talent pipeline for enterprise computing for both our clients or IBM,” Stowell said in a presentation on Enterprise Computing and Digital Transformation.

John Thompson, right, TSU’s Enterprise Systems Consultant, talks to a cross-section of students, deans and chair during the IBM executives’ visit. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We do have a number of very large clients here locally, but the other great thing about TSU is that many of their students are interested in relocating to other areas. So, that’s why I am here today, to share more with the students, and to connect students to talent and to the talent pipeline.”

Enterprise-related classes are currently being offered at TSU through an initiative that was launched in 2014 through the Department of Computer Science. The initiative was designed to prepare TSU students to be able to compete for high-paying enterprise internships and permanent job opportunities with enterprise clients. According to TSU’s Enterprise Systems Consultant, John Thompson, a former IBM senior manager, between 2015 and 2018, more than 20 students were placed with enterprise companies earning annual average starting salaries of more than $82,000, with some receiving signing bonuses of up to $10,000.

Citing a Wall Street Journal 2020 projection, Thompson said there will be more than 84,000 enterprise-related jobs available for students across all disciplines. TSU, being the only school in Tennessee offering courses in this area, can be a major source to fill the huge demand for enterprise computing skills that is being created by the retiring baby boomer generation.

During the IBM presentation, TSU President Glenda Glover, who was on travel, called in to thank Stowell and Meierarend for their visit, and Thompson, for arranging and coordinating the visit.  She stressed the importance of the TSU partnership with the company.

“This partnership is making a great difference in the lives of our students,” Glover said. “Student placement is a very key part of what we are and a major performance indicator for our state stakeholders and our accrediting body. Training our students to be adequately ready is so important. That is why we are so appreciative of this great collaboration.”

In her presentation, Stowell spoke about specific areas of enterprise computing that students should focus on in “sharpening your job-skill readiness.”  She and Thompson emphasized the importance of taking classes in fundamental COBOL business language programming, as well as a basic introduction to programming, such as C++ and Java. 

“Once again, it is really about this openness between industry and academics, and academic environment opening up to understand what specific skills that the industry needs and then partnering with those industry partners to incorporate and infuse those skills within their curriculum. So that, when the student graduates, there is a job lined up for him already,” Stowell said.

Thompson added:  “What makes TSU students so attractive is that they understand the distributing networking environment, but also, when you put them on an enterprise platform, they are right at home, and that’s where we come in. So, I work with the companies to find what they need from the enterprise platform, then I come back and work with Dr. (Ali) Sekmen and the deans, and say, ‘Look, how can we put this in the curriculum for the students to learn that skill?’ Once we do that, then we go and bring these companies in to recruit the students.”

Tamarcus Summers, a senior computer science major from Memphis, and Donovan Varnell, also a senior political science major from Nashville, were among the diverse group of majors at the presentation.

“As a computer science major, I am glad to see the focus on key areas emphasized here today that my professors talk about in preparing us for the job market,” Summers said.

For Varnell, he said he is impressed with IBM’s integration of technology into all disciplines.

“This really opens my eyes to how it is important to understand that all these technologies and coding are a need-to-know no matter your discipline,” said Varnell.

Dr. Sekmen, who is chair of the Department of Computer Science, and a facilitator of the Enterprise Systems Program, said TSU is seeking funding to establish a comprehensive enterprise computing program in the department with a mainframe computer lab.

“We will be the first institution in Tennessee to have such a computer,” said Sekmen. “We are going to develop an undergraduate concentration in enterprise computing, as well as training opportunities for TSU faculty, students and all HBCU faculty.”

Other university officials who spoke at the gathering were Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell, professor and Enterprise Systems Program manager, as well as Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering. Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students; Dr. Coreen Jackson, dean of the Honors College; and Dr. Ray Richardson, Enterprise Program liaison, were present. Students from a cross section of disciplines and majors were also present representing computer science, engineering, criminal justice, business and social work.

For more information on TSU’s Department of Computer Science, please go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/

Department of Media Relations

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

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.