Category Archives: FEATURED

21 Incoming Freshmen, Rising High School Seniors Get Exposure to Cutting-edge Research During Summer Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – From studies in understanding hypersensitive response of tobacco plants to comparing DNAs in chickens and Guinea fowls, 21 incoming college freshmen and rising high school seniors spent their summer receiving exposure to real-world scientific work and cutting-edge research.

Kayla
Kayla Sampson, an incoming freshman, presents her research on “Understanding hypersensitive response of tobacco plants to elf-type and GFD-labeled strains of Erwina tracheiphilia.” (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The students, from Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, Indiana and Georgia, spent five weeks at Tennessee State University engaged in various laboratory and field experiments under the mentorship of university professors and scientists. Their finished works were presented as scientific papers and research results during a standing-room only audience of parents and guests in the Ferrell-Westbrook Complex on TSU’s main campus on July 2.

“These students are really the best we have recruited in the seven years of the Summer Apprenticeship Program,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, referring to the USDA-funded program intended to expose students to the many career opportunities in agriculture, bio- and environmental sciences.

Kayla Sampson, an incoming freshman from Jackson, Mississippi, who wants to major in biotechnology, said the summer programs gave her a better understanding of her career choice.

“Although I have always wanted to go into biotechnology, I came here not knowing much about it,” said Sampson, who will attend TSU this fall. “This Summer Apprenticeship Program has really opened my eyes and fueled my interest. The mentors and program coordinators were very helpful and encouraging.”

Carey
Kobe Leonard, left, Paige Madison and Arthur Carey present their combined research on “Sustainable seafood.” (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

From Ivori Scheley, an incoming freshman, whose dream is to engage in groundbreaking research, to Christopher Green, also an incoming freshman with an interest in biotechnology and environmental science, many of the future scientists say their month-long interaction with each other and college professors was an eye-opener for their future careers.

“Biotechnology is certainly where the money is, which makes it a very enticing career choice,” said Green. “I also see animal science as another potential career choice.”

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Christopher Green, an incoming freshman with interest in biotechnology and environmental science, presents on “Comparison of pectobacterium caratovora strains for virulence detection.” (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

According to William F. Hayslett Sr., coordinator of the Summer Apprenticeship Program, the objective of the program is to dispel the “myth” that agriculture is farming. “Our goal here is to make students aware of the academic programs in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences and the many career opportunities available to its graduates.”

Reddy, who is dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, encouraged the students to consider careers in STEM and agricultural sciences, as “lucrative” areas for employment.

“Here at TSU we offer a variety of opportunities in agribusiness, environmental sciences and many other areas that are in high demand,” he said.

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Terrell Boykin, with a focus on mite prevention, presents his research based on “Greenhouse practices.” (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

He thanked parents for encouraging their children to enter the program, adding that the program offers a “positive” avenue for youths to spend their summer in experiential learning. “It is also intended to give community college and recent high school graduates the opportunity to learn values essential for environmental stewardship at the local, state and national levels,” Reddy said.

Other students who participated in the program were: Malaika Greer, Jasmine Stringer, Kevonte Askew, Amarius Daniels, Demetria Hayes, Asia Hooper, Darrius Lawson, Devinn Pauley, Sydnie Davis and Arthur Carey. Also participating in the Summer Apprenticeship Program were: Kobe Leonard, Paige Madison, Terrell Boykin, CheKenna Fletcher, Isiah Cunningham, Whitney ‘Abbey’ Anderson, Shakarah Nelson and Darian Majors.

Each of the students who participated in the residential program received a $1,000 stipend.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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 Professor Wins Prestigious American Society of Agronomy Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University professor, noted for his mobile biodiesel demonstration to farmers across the state, has won the prestigious American Society of Agronomy Early Career Professional Award for 2015. Dr. Jason de Koff, assistant professor in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, was recognized for outstanding contribution to the field of agronomy in education and research.

The award will be formally presented at the ASA’s awards ceremony during the scientific society’s annual international meeting Nov. 15-18 in Minneapolis.

“I am very honored to win this award,” de Koff said. “Receiving this kind of acknowledgement means I am making important contributions in my field.”

FEATURED_Biodiesel mobile UnitDe Koff, now in his fifth year at TSU, has received more than $1.3 in grant funding as principal investigator and co-PI. His responsibilities in extension and research focus on using switchgrass and winter canola for bioenergy production. He is a research-focus group leader for 20 faculty members, and serves as assistant program leader in the Cooperative Extension Program at TSU. As a state extension specialist, he has developed a series of workshops, videos, factsheets and a mobile demonstration for on-farm biodiesel production.

“Dr. Jason de Koff is very deserving of this ASA award,” said Dr. Samuel N. Nahashon, interim chair of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at TSU. “He is one of our outstanding faculty who is well-rounded in teaching, research and outreach. He has developed courses, secured funding and established an excellent program in bioenergy, an effort that is benefitting our students and stakeholders.”

The ASA Early Career Professional Award, which comes with a $2,000 honorarium, recognizes young professionals who have made outstanding contributions in agronomy within seven years of completing their final degree.

De Koff received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2008. He came to TSU in 2010 after post-doctoral work with the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

“I plan to continue my efforts in extension, research and teaching to enhance opportunities for both TSU students and Tennessee farmers,” de Koff said.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.

Three-Day National Conference Discusses Role of Technology in Achieving Equitable Social Change

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Social equity is the promotion of fair, just and equitable distribution of public services, but how can technology and data be used to drive policy and effective programmatic solutions to enhance social equity? That was the question more than 150 experts, including academics, government employees and non-profit practitioners from across the nation, grappled with when they met at Tennessee State University for a three-day conference June 3-5.

logo“Leveraging Technology and Data to Promote Social Equity,” was the focus of the 14th Annual Social Equity Leadership Conference (SELC), which offered participants the opportunity to deliberate and analyze the changing world of technology and data and its impact on public policy in the area of equitable social change. Specifically, participants discussed new trends in the technological application of data collection, analysis, policy implementation, service delivery and community change. The goal was to increase research and its effective application for the use of technology and data to drive policy and programmatic solutions.

Mayor
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean makes remarks at the 14th Annual Social Equity Leadership Conference at Tennessee State University. (Submitted Photo)

The conference was hosted by the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, in partnership with the TSU Center on Aging Research and Education Services. It brought together experts and participants from a diverse group of institutions, including the University of California at Los Angeles, Rutgers, University of Massachusetts-Boston, University of North Carolina, University of Louisville, Vanderbilt University, Lipscomb University and the University of Mississippi. Participants also came from federal and state agencies including the Federal Reserve, the Veterans Administration, the General Accounting Office, the Tennessee Department of Human Resources, and the Mayor’s office.

The SELC, established by the National Academy of Public Administration, aims to advance knowledge and understanding of applied and theoretical research in social equity in governance.

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Participants listen to a presenter during a break-out session at the 14th Annual Social Equity Leadership Conference. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“We are proud and honored that we were selected to host this national conference,” said Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Affairs and Urban Studies. “It reflects national recognition among our peers of the academic quality and relevance of CPSUA. The conference allowed the college and TSU the opportunity to facilitate and participate with national experts in timely and relevant discussions as they relate to public policy, specifically social equity and leadership.”

Keynote speakers were Nashville Mayor Karl Dean; Chair of the NAPA Standing Committee on Social Equity, Dr. Blue Woodridge; and the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Resources Rebecca Hunter.

Sponsors included Nelson & Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership, The Frist Foundation, the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, Safe Haven Family Shelter, and the American Society for Public Administration.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.

Touring Ruins of Monuments in Ancient Cities of the Roman Empire Gives TSU Students Summer Vacation to Remember

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Spending your summer vacation touring ruins of monuments of Greek gods and goddesses in the ancient city of Ephesus, part of the eastern Roman Empire, can be quite an experience. For senior Music major Requel Stegall, it was “beyond life changing.”

“I had one of the best educational experiences of my college career, said Stegall,” one of 18 students from TSU and three other TBR institutions, who visited Turkey on a three-week study-abroad program this summer. “Learning about a culture I was unfamiliar with really broadened my outlook on life and allowed me to discover myself even more.”

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Brianne Rucker, right (front), a TSU senior Music major, shares an earphone with a Turkish student during one of the students’ daily bus rides to or from class. (Submitted Photo)

Stegall and her fellow students, representing majors in Computer Science, Music, Human Performance and Sports Sciences (HPSS), History, and English, visited five cities and collaborated with students from three Turkish universities. The study-abroad program is organized through the Tennessee Consortium for International Study, and is the third to Turkey.

According to Dr. Robert Elliott, one of two TSU faculty members on the trip, this year’s visit engaged the students in academics, excursions and cultural exchanges with their Turkish counterparts. He and his TSU colleague, Dr. Ali Sekmen, professor and chair of Computer Science, taught combined classes with TSU and Turkish students as part of the academic experience.

“Teaching music, literature, and humanities in-country provided authentic learning experiences for students as they examined cultural differences and similarities,” said Elliott, professor and chair of the Department of Music.  “Along the way, students interacted with Turkish peers and learned that people of the world are not as different from one another as they had initially thought.”

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Two TSU students, Darrell Butler, left, an Architectural Engineering major; and Tim Darrah, majoring in Computer Science, study in their hotel room in Ankara, as they prepare for classwork the next day. (Submitted Photo)

Like Stegall, Sarah Needleman, an HPSS major, said the classroom settings and pairing with “our Turkish buddies” helped them to better understand the culture and traditions of the people and places they visited. “This study-abroad to Turkey was the best thing I have been a part of at TSU,” Needleman said. “I left Turkey not only with new subject knowledge in the music class I took, but also with lifelong friends – some in Nashville and some across the globe.”

Turkey Group
2015 study-abroad participants and their professors from TSU and three other TBR institutions join their Turkish peers for one last group celebration before heading back to the United States. (Submitted Photo)

Other TBR institutions with students in this year’s TnCIS study-abroad program to Turkey were Pellissippi State Community College, Southwest Tennessee Community College, Motlow State Community College and Jackson State Community College.

According to Sekmen, Turkish institutions that participated this year were Yasar University, Atilim University and Yildiz Technical University. Other cities visited include Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

“It was delightful to see how our students and their Turkish peers could develop life-long friendships in such a short visit,” Sekmen said. “With a right blend of academics, excursions and cultural exchange, the program provided a unique life-time experience for students from TSU and the other TBR institutions.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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 College of Business strengthens industry partnerships by linking students with professionals

Tennessee State University’s College of Business is bridging curriculum with practical training for students by engaging business and industry professionals into the life of the college.

Through six advisory boards focused on specific aspects of their diverse degree programs, the college is preparing the next generation of business leaders for the workforce by making those connections while they are learning.

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Retired Army Maj. Gen. Frank L. Miller, a retired senior Dell executive and former chair of the Supply Chain Management Governing Board, is credited with the vision behind the establishment of the College of Business’ Leadership Case Challenge Competition.

Among those alignments include Accounting, Alumni, Business Information Systems, Economics and Finance, and Supply Chain Management advisory and governing boards. The College of Business Advisory Board, designated for the entire college, has been active for more than 30 years and influential in bringing corporate support to the college. The Board has most recently sponsored a faculty retreat, offered scholarships, supported faculty research, and assisted the College in planning and orchestrating the Frank L. Miller, Jr. MBA Case Competition designed to provide MBA candidates with a forum to build and exercise their leadership skills.

Each board has specific goals but generally all work toward helping students find success while in the classroom and when they complete college.

“The jobs driving today’s economy require not only content knowledge in a given field, but those who can work well with others, communicate effectively and help companies solve some of the challenges they face,” said TSU President, Dr. Glenda Glover. “The expertise our advisory board members bring to the table are invaluable as our students learn to leverage and strengthen their skills for success in a competitive job market.”

Additionally, the boards, which are made up of professionals representing a cross-section of business and industry, focus on introducing students to potential employers, offer  mentoring support, raise funds for scholarships, provide internship opportunities, sponsor students to attend conferences, and professional and leadership development sessions, and foster a sense of giving back.

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Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson

“The College of Business has been deliberate in exposing students to real-world interactions as part of their academic experience. With the rapid advances that technology and other industry standards create in the global business environment, it is increasingly important that today’s business leaders are versatile and equipped in handling a number of trending issues,” said Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, dean of the College of Business. “The mentoring, training, internships, scholarships, and career opportunities that our advisory boards provide not only help students with their academic preparation, but prepare them to be critical thinkers and problem solvers once they enter the workforce.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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 Football’s APR Score Adjusted, Now Eligible for Postseason

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Tennessee State University Sports Information)– The Tennessee State University Athletic Department received news Thursday that due to a recalculation of the football program’s multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR), the team is not subject to a postseason ban or Level I penalty for the upcoming season.

“We appreciate the NCAA’s recalculations and are extremely happy for our players, coaches, and the entire University family,” said Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover. “The football program is an integral part of campus life as we educate well rounded young men and women at TSU.”

“Although many perceive the APR as purely academic, it is actually more complex than that with retention being an equal part of the calculation,” director of Athletics Teresa Phillips said. “The athletics department, university and football staff will continue to work together in meeting and exceeding the standards established by the NCAA.”

On May 27, the NCAA published its annual report in which the Tennessee State University football program’s rate was deemed to be below the benchmark set by the NCAA. Today’s news confirms TSU is in compliance with the NCAA’s academic standards.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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 Ranks in “Top 25” HBCUs; Listed among 100 Most Affordable Universities in the Nation

2015-Rankings-of-Best-Historically-Black-Colleges-Universities-300x244-1NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is one of the top Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the nation, according to College Choice, an independent online publication that helps students and their parents find the right college. In its 2015 ranking of the Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the publication listed TSU number 16 of the top 25 in the nation.

TSU was noted for fostering “a rich educational atmosphere by ensuring collaborative learning, meaningful student-faculty interaction, and opportunities for community engagement.” According to the publication, TSU also graduates the highest number of African-American bachelor’s degree holders in agriculture, agriculture operations, and agriculture-related sciences.

“The College Choice ranking for our programs and offerings reflect the success Tennessee State University has achieved in providing students with the experiences and education they need to make a difference in our world,” President Glenda Glover said. “We are especially gratified that leaders in higher education across the country gave us top marks for our academic programs and the learning environment we provide to students.”

The College Choice ranking, which considers factors such as academic reputation, financial aid offerings, overall cost, and success of graduates in the post-college job market, is just one of many national recognitions TSU has received this year. The University has also been recognized as the top provider of online programs in Tennessee.

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Additionally, Best Value Schools, which focuses on gauging college
affordability, ranked TSU number 34 of the 100 most affordable universities in the nation. “From Aeronautical and Industry Technology to Urban Planning, from Architectural Engineering to Speech Communication, TSU simply offers too many course options for you to ever be bored,” the publication noted.

“While the United States grapples with the problem of providing college students a quality education at an affordable price, we are able to offer students attending Tennessee State University a wide variety of academic programs that employers demand,” said Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are doing this while keeping the expense of those programs at an economical level.”

Last year, The College Database, a free, non-commercial website that provides future and post-secondary students and their families with “accurate and valuable” college and career-related information, also said that TSU graduates enter the workforce earning an average $42,000 per year. The report gave TSU a top ranking among colleges and universities in Tennessee with tuition rates below $20,000, adding that the University offers the best return on financial investment when compared to other post-secondary institutions in the state.

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In another listing this year, Affordable College Online, which focuses
on distance learning nationwide, ranked TSU number one in Tennessee among colleges and universities with online programs. It highlighted the University’s 18 fully online programs for undergraduate and graduate studies focused on professional studies with concentrations in leadership, nursing, teaching and more. While naming TSU as the university with the lowest tuition among its peer institutions in the state, the publication also pointed to a number of professional licensure programs offered by the institution.

“Tennessee State University prides itself on offering affordable and quality on-ground and online degree programs,” said Dr. Evelyn E. Nettles, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, whose office handles distance and online education. “Students are guaranteed exposure to a highly qualified faculty, a wide-range of student and academic support services, and reliable technology infrastructure, at a reasonable overall cost.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.

Cheeseborough to Lead Team USA at Pan Am Games

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee State track and field coach Chandra Cheeseborough will lead Team USA at the and Pan American Games this summer as one of the squad’s assistant coaches.

The track & field portion of the Pan American Games takes place July 20-26, 2015 in Toronto, Canada at CIBC Pan/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium at York University. The third-largest international multi-sport Games, the 2015 Pan American Games will welcome over 7,000 athletes from across the Americas and the Caribbean.

Cheeseborough has coached at TSU since 1994 and has led the track and field program to eight Ohio Valley Conference Track and Field Championships. The titles include: 2001 (outdoor), 2002 (indoor and outdoor), 2003 (indoor), 2008 (indoor and outdoor), 2014 (Indoor), and the 2015 (Outdoor) crowns. She is also a eight-time OVC Coach of the Year.

A regular in the international coaching ranks, Cheeseborough was named the sprinter’s coach for the 2008 USA Team that competed in the Beijing, China Olympics. USA captured 23 medals which included 10 gold, eight silver, five bronze medals.

In 2009, she served as the women’s head coach for Team USA at the 2009 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Berlin, Germany. At the IAAF under Cheeseborough, the team collected 22 medals overall, winning more than any other country to dominate the placing table with 231 points. Team USA registered 10 gold, six silver and six bronze medals along with several outstanding performances.

As an athlete under legendary coach Edward S. Temple, the Jacksonville, Fla. native was named to three United States Olympic teams. She placed sixth as a 17-year old in the 100-meter dash in Montreal (1976). She qualified for the ill-fated 1980 Olympic team that did not compete because of a boycott. In 1984, at the Los Angeles games, she made Olympic history by running a leg on two gold-medal relay teams and was the silver medalist in the 400-meters.

The selection as assistant coach for the 2015 Pan American Games will be the first appointment at the event of her career. She previously coached the USA junior team in 1999.

Dameus, Hughes Make NCAA National Championship

Tennessee State University News Service. – Tennessee State Tigerbelles Clairwin Dameus and Amber Hughes are headed to the NCAA National Championship following their performances in the East Preliminary over the weekend.

Dameus placed 10th in the women’s long jump with a leap of 6.09 meters. Her season-best was 6.16 in the Ohio Valley Conference Championship on May 15. Hughes, the reigning OVC Female Athlete of the Outdoor Championship, came in 12th in the 100-meter hurdles to earn her berth into the nation’s top track and field competition. The Atlanta, Ga. native also narrowly missed qualifying in the triple jump, placing 13th (12.77 meters). The TSU duo will prepare for a trip to Eugene, Ore. for the NCAA Championship on June 10-13.

Tennessee State University Headed to the Smithsonian

University sports memorabilia to form part of new museum of African-American history 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Olympic Gold Medalist Wilma Rudolph, legendary track and field Coach Ed Temple, the famed Tigerbelles, and the first-ever African-American basketball team to win a national college basketball championship – and three consecutive titles – all make up the rich sports history of Tennessee State University.

The impressive accomplishments of the TSU athletics program will be part of exhibits in the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Museum of African-American History and Culture opening in 2016 on the National Mall in Washington. D.C.

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Coach Ed. Temple, left, explains photo collection of his legendary coaching career to Dr. Damion Thomas, curator for the sports exhibits of the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Grant Winrow, TSU coordinator for the museum project, and Dr. Murle E. Kenerson, interim dean of Libraries and Media Centers, provide guidance during the display.

Dr. Damion Thomas, curator for the museum’s sports exhibits, visited TSU today to get a first-hand look at sports memorabilia on display in several buildings on the main campus.

Accompanied by University officials, including Grant Winrow, TSU coordinator for the Smithsonian project, the curator toured the Brown-Daniel Memorial Library, the Wilma Rudolph Hall, the Gentry Complex that houses many of the University’s sports mementos and souvenirs, as well as the Olympic statute.

Some of the treasured items that the curator saw included gold medals, championship trophies and track cleats, as well as photographs and portraits of TSU trailblazers like NFL quarterback Joe Gilliam, golf coach Catana Starks, and legendary coaches John Merritt and John McClendon.

Highlighting Thomas’ visit and tour was a meeting with Coach Temple, the man who took 40 athletes from TSU (Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State University until 1968) to the Olympic Games and helped them win 23 medals — more than 157 countries in the world have ever won.

Temple, who shifted the focus from him to his Tigerbelles during a discussion, said he was pleased to know that the Smithsonian Institution was including an area in its new museum dedicated to the achievements of African-Americans in sports.

“I am glad that what they are doing will finally give these young ladies their due recognition,” Temple said. “They work hard to earn all that they achieved.”

The curator also met with Starks, the first African-American woman to coach a men’s NCAA Division I golf team when she took the job at TSU. Her trailblazing efforts was made into a motion picture titled “From The Rough” starring Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson. In the Gentry Complex, Thomas also briefly met with current OVC “Women’s Coach of the Year,” Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice, a former Olympian, who made history by snagging two gold medals at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

Before ending his tour, Thomas gave a brief presentation on the new museum, a 400,000-square-foot building of bronze metal and glass structure. It will feature a collection of artifacts of slavery and freedom, mementos of military service, symbols of the civil rights movement, the Harlem Renaissance, as well as a comprehensive collection of fine art including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, installations, photography, and digital media by and about African-Americans.

According to Thomas, the sports exhibit section of the museum will include a room, called “The Game Changer,” dedicated to individuals like Wilma Rudolph, whose contribution went beyond the track or playing field to changing the course of history.

The museum has built a collection of 40,000 artifacts, and a staff of 160 is developing the 11 major exhibits that visitors will find at the opening next year. Smithsonian officials estimate annual visits to the African-American Museum of History and Culture will average between four to five million people in its first few years.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.