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Hundreds of High School Seniors, Juniors and Parents Review TSU Programs and Offerings During Spring Preview Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Atlanta high school senior Trinity Holt has made up her mind for college. She is coming to Tennessee State University to study pre-law, and she plans to play a little golf while she is at it.

Trinity Holt, a graduating senior from Mill Creek High School in Atlanta, will be a freshman at TSU Next fall semester. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I fell in love with TSU after watching the school band play in the Honda Battle of the Bands in Atlanta. It was so nice,” said the Mill Creek High School standout. “I talked to the band members, and even though I was not playing, I felt like I was part of them.”

A competitive golf player since her freshman year, Holt wants to bring her game to TSU. She was among hundreds of high school seniors and juniors from across the country who attended Spring Preview Day at TSU on Nov. 9 to get information on the university’s offerings and programs.

The visitors – from about 15 states including, California, Texas, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin – had the opportunity to see the campus, get acquainted with admission processes, and meet with academic departments with displays in Kean Hall. They also interacted with student organization leaders, including Mister TSU and Miss TSU. They toured the campus, as well as took in the Big Blue Tiger Spring Blue & White Football Game in Hale Stadium, with entertainment by the world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands.

From right, high school senior Le’Kieffer DeBerry, her brother Kanaan, mother Kendra, a TSU alum, niece Mc’Kenzie, and father Dale DeBerry attend Spring Preview Day 2019. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Today was amazing because students from all across the country got the opportunity to see exactly what makes TSU special,” said Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success. “Today was filled with activities for parents and students. We were also blessed to have members of our academic departments on hand to give information about programs, scholarships and internships.”

Earlier in a ceremony in Kean Hall, Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU chief of staff and associate vice president for administration, greeted the visitors on behalf of President Glenda Glover, who was traveling. He directed his comments mainly at parents.

Terrence Izzard, TSU’s Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success, middle, talks to a family during Spring Preview Day in Kean Hall. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I encourage you parents to be excited and to know that those leaders that you brought here today are going to meet leaders that I want you to talk to,” Johnson said. “Drill them about what they are doing here and how that will help your child. We want you to know that TSU is about business and that we are going to take care of your children.”

Katelyn Thompson, president of the student government association, also spoke and introduced the visitors to the various campus organizations.

TSU admissions officials assist visiting students and parents in Kean Hall during Spring Preview Day. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Like Trinity Holt, many students came to Spring Preview ready to make TSU their next home for their college careers, while several others said they were impressed with the reception they received, the programs, as well as the campus and the family atmosphere.

Le’Kieffer DeBerry, from Holly Springs, Mississippi, came with her mother Kendra, a TSU alum,  father Dale, brother Kanaan, and her niece Mc’Kenzie. With a plan to major in pre-med, Le’Kieffer said she is trying to make up her mind after looking at other programs, and she thinks TSU would be a good fit, especially since her mother attended TSU and her grandmother, Eloise Thompson Jackson, was a longtime professor in the dental hygiene program.

“I am not a stranger to TSU. My mother and grandmother always talk a lot at about the programs and the nurturing students receive,” Le’Kieffer said. “I have been seriously thinking about coming here.”

“I definitely think TSU will be a good choice for her,” Kendra DeBerry, who graduated TSU in 1989, added. “I want her to have that HBCU experience. I love TSU. I think the school has a lot to offer.”

Kito Johnson, who also traveled from Rosswell, Georgia, with his son Immanuel, said Spring Preview Day was very encouraging.

“We have looked at quite a few colleges,” he said. “This is the first HBCU we have looked at and am very glad that we came.”

“My experience here was pretty cool,” added Immanuel, who first heard about TSU at a college fair. “After the counselor talked about the school, I decided to come and look at it. I like what I see – a nice campus, nice people and great programs.”

Immanuel wants to major in psychology. He is also interested in the Honors College.

For more information on admission to TSU, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/emss/

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.

New Student Veterans Center, decorated soldier highlight TSU Veterans Day Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University announced the grand opening of its Student Veterans Center at a Veterans Day program on Monday that featured a generational soldier with four Bronze Star Medals.

Lt. Col. Bernard House speaks at TSU Veterans Day program. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

The program was on TSU’s Avon Williams Campus, which is where the new center will be housed. A ribbon cutting for the new center was held following an observance ceremony for all service men and women.  

TSU President Glenda Glover was among the program’s speakers and lauded all those individuals who sacrifice their lives for this nation.

“Thank you for answering the call to duty,” said Dr. Glover. “TSU is honored to have this program to salute our heroes.”

Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, commended TSU for its new Student Veterans Center, saying “combining military service with higher education is the ultimate combination.”

“The TSU Student Veterans Center … is going to become an incredible hub for student veterans at our state’s land-grant university, which is leading the way in engineering and agriculture,” said Krause, a veteran Bronze Star recipient. “What better way to create leaders in those fields than to bring those who have already served, and say hey, we’re going to make you a TSU Tiger as well.”

The program’s keynote speaker, Lt. Col. Bernard House, agreed.

TSU President Glenda Glover (2nd from left), Lt. Col. Bernard House (far left), THEC executive director Mike Krause (3rd from left), TSU alum and state Rep. Harold Love, Jr., and Lt. Col. Nick Callaway, commander of TSU’s AFROTC Det. 790. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“With thousands of soldiers transitioning out of the military annually, it is great to see the dedication by the university to ensure a smooth transition for our veterans,” said House of TSU, which is a certified Vets Campus. “As a nation and as a military, we must remain committed to taking care of our veterans.“

The program also honored Vietnam Veterans. House’s father was a noncommissioned officer in the 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment during the Vietnam War. Coincidentally, House commanded the 3rd Battalion of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment during his deployment to Iraq to support Operation Inherent Resolve.

“I actually got a chance to command the same regiment that my father served in in Vietnam,” said House, who has been in the Army 22 years and received four Bronze Star Medals, six Meritorious Service Medals and the Combat Action Badge, among other awards.

“So this is an extreme honor for me to be able to speak. Not only to recognize the veterans, but to focus on Vietnam Veterans. And because my father served in Vietnam, it’s also a way for me to honor him.”

Dr. Evelyn Nettles, associate vice president for Academic Affairs at TSU, spearheaded formation of the center. She said before the program that the center’s mission is to “provide support for military and veteran students as they transition from their military duty to enrollment and matriculation at the university.”

Student Vet Joseph Hart receives “Quilt of Valor.” (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“This ensures that these students have a voice in their university experience and are inspired to achieve success in their classes and in the broader community,” she added.

Gwen Falin is the veteran prior learning assessment coordinator at TSU. A veteran herself , she said “it’s important for student veterans to have the opportunity to connect with other student veterans.”

“Veterans in general are a small population,” said Falin, who helped start the center. “And then when you attend school, it’s not uncommon for student veterans to be older than their classmates. If they are seeking out other veteran students, they have a place to do so.”

TSU student veteran Joseph Hart retired from the Army after 23 years and is currently a senior majoring in liberal arts. He said fellow vets at the university will benefit from the center.

“I love the fact that we have the Veterans Center,” said Hart, who was honored with a “Quilt of Valor” during the program for his three tours of duty in Middle Eastern conflicts. “It’s really great to know that we’re being recognized as soldiers.”

Members of TSU AFROTC Det. 790. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Last year, TSU implemented a program that allows veterans to count military training for credit hours when they enroll at the university. The program is part of the state of Tennessee’s Veteran Reconnect initiative.

For more information about veteran services at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/vets/.

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.

Top Houston Student Chooses TSU to Pursue Career in Engineering and Robotics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Freshman Houston-native Paul Johnson, Jr., initially considered studying mechanical engineering at a university closer to his hometown.

All that changed last fall after a chance meeting with Tennessee State University Honors College Interim Dean, Dr. Coreen Jackson.

Johnson, Jr., a freshman mechanical engineering major, says he had just completed a campus visit to Texas A&M University when his father, Paul Johnson, Sr., ran into Jackson and her husband, who happened to be in town for a wedding.

“I already had a slight knowledge of who she was, but after meeting her she told me about the campus, and it caught my attention,” Johnson, Jr., said.

With Jackson’s assistance, the Johnson family scheduled a campus visit, which gave Paul an opportunity to tour Tennessee State and meet with Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering.

Paul Johnson, Jr.

“What I found out about this campus is that there are a whole lot more engineering aspects that I did not anticipate when I was looking into the university,” he said. “I got to see more about the interactions between the faculty and the students themselves, in terms of doing research and improving technology.”

Jackson, who hosted Johnson’s family when they initially visited TSU, says the younger Johnson has a bright future.

“To me he will be the next Jesse Russell,” she said, referring to the famous TSU alum who created the first digital cellular base station and is known as the father of digital cellular technology. “It may not be wireless communications, but it will be some breakthrough in something.”

Johnson, Jr., recalls having a love for engineering as early as preschool.

“When I was in preschool at church, I was the student who was messing with the Lincoln Logs and the plexi toys to make giant cars, toys and robots, and I eventually even started a little league just to have fun with the other students who wanted to build stuff,” he said.

Throughout his four years at Cyprus Woods High School, Johnson, Jr., developed his engineering skills as a member of the Texas Technology Student Association. He also participated in NASA HUNCH, a program that he says allowed him to work directly with NASA officials to help make machine parts for the international space station.

As a member of the Honors College, the 19-year-old budding robotics guru has continued to pursue his engineering passion by joining organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NESBE) and the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TLSAMP).

Paul Johnson

In September, Johnson, Jr., joined TSU President Glenda Glover in Washington, DC, along with three other students chosen to participate in the National HBCU Braintrust during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. Top students from the nation’s historically black colleges and universities participated in the brainstrust.

Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, Johnson plans to pursue a doctorate and ultimately play a leadership role in the robots industry.

“In ten years I want to be part of or in charge of leading the whole robotics industry in terms of the consumer dynamic,” said Johnson, Jr. “There are still lingering fears that people have about dealing with robotics, but they fail to look into how robotics can help people on a grander scale.”

Jackson says she witnessed Johnson’s love for TSU when he provided live music for his classmates during freshman move-in.

“While the parents and freshman where coming in, he took that upright bass and he just serenaded the people,” she said. “He’s just an amazing young man.  He is one young man who is on his way to fulfilling his purpose, and he has found the institution that can take him there.”

For more information about opportunities in the TSU College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.

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 to show award-winning documentary about threats to honeybees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is providing a free screening of an award-winning documentary about the threats to honeybees and other pollinators.

The film, called “The Pollinators,” will be shown on Wednesday, November 6, at 6:30 p.m. in The Forum auditorium in TSU’s Floyd-Payne Campus Center. TSU is one of four college campuses across the state selected to show the film.

“The Pollinators” follows migratory beekeepers and their truckloads of honeybees around the United States and sheds light on some of the threats to the bees’ survival, such as pesticides and other chemicals, according to a synopsis of the film. 

The filmmakers talk to farmers, scientists, chefs and academics along the way to give a broad perspective about the problem, what it means to food security, and how to improve it.

“More than anything, this film is about awareness,” says Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture. “The reality is, we’re losing the bees, and we have to find ways to save them.”

“The Pollinators” has been selected by 25 national and international film festivals and has been honored as “Best Documentary” at seven of them.

Following the film on Wednesday, there will be a panel discussion and Q&A. The panel will include several TSU Ag officials, as well as representatives from the Nashville Area Beekeepers Association.

To see the trailer, visit https://us.demand.film/the-pollinators/.

Note: Featured photo courtesy of Peter Nelson

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-Apple coding initiative seeks to spark girls’ interest in STEM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is partnering with Apple, Inc. to teach middle and high school girls how to code, as well as consider careers in STEM.

Youth from ages 8 to 18 will get an opportunity to experience coding at a free camp Nov. 2, 9 and 16 in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex (The Barn) on the main campus. Parents are asked to have their children at each event by 9 a.m. Lunch will also be provided.

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

The girls coding camp is an extension of the initiative.

“We want to empower young girls to code and create, and understand their capabilities of being an innovator in the field of STEM,” says Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and program director for the coding initiative. 

Dr. Veronica Johnson is president of the Metro Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., which is partnering with TSU and Apple. She says black women and girls are “vastly underrepresented” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as performing arts.

“By exposing STEAM projects at an early age, it could help increase their chances of exploring these fields, as they pursue academic degrees and seek future career opportunities,” says Johnson. “Having access to develop needed skill sets to survive in the 21st digital landscape will be critical to the economic impact of the future of black communities.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, says the camp is also beneficial to the participants’ parents, or guardians.

“The program also informs parents and adults about the digital world of information technology, and how as individuals you can take control of your learning and knowledge based on your own needs and career goals,” says Hargrove. “The ability to manage information and make data-driven decisions will continue to be a major skill for today and tomorrow’s workforce”

During the girls coding camp, Melton says participants will move around to different stations where they will learn basic coding principles, and “actually code drones and robots to move and function.”

Eleven-year-old Evangeline Davis-Ramos of New York has participated in a similar coding camp, and says she’s glad to see Tennessee State providing such an opportunity for girls her age and older.

“I believe the girls coding camp will be very beneficial,” says Davis-Ramos. “I like building things, and coding helps take ideas I imagine and make them real.”

Melton says the HBCU C2 initiative puts TSU on the forefront of embracing STEM, and she credits the university’s partnership with Apple with being key to its success.

Dr. Robbie Melton works with students at “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth in July. (TSU Media Relations)

TSU has been charged with strengthening the collaboration by offering the company’s coding curriculum to new audiences. That expansion also includes providing TSU alums the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of app design and app development for free.

“Apple provides an approach to introduce coding and creativity in a nonthreatening manner,” says Melton. “You have children coding. You have seniors coding, and the fact that we have over a thousand people from high school to senior citizens wanting to code and create is phenomenal.”

Also in July, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon Williams Campus. The initiative is also part of the National Center for Smart Technology Innovations.

For more information about the girls coding camp, contact ablack1@tnstate.edu, or call 615-963-7269.

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 College of Education Receives More Than $560,000 US Department of Education Grant for Academic Support Services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Services) – Students in the TSU College of Education will soon receive increased academic support services, thanks to a U.S. Department of Education Title III grant of $569,250.

Dr. Jerri Haynes

The college will use the funding to develop a Global Education Student Support Services Lab intended to increase student learning across the curriculum, as well as hire new career advisors, academic coaches and a program coordinator.

“This is an exciting time for the College of Education,” says Dr. Jerri Haynes, dean of the college and principal investigator for the grant. “Our goal here is to provide support services for students to be successful in their journey to getting their degree.”

With the aim of transforming the existing curriculum lab, Haynes says the Global Education Student Support Services Lab will be student friendly, with 21st century technology. It will streamline services, integrate career planning, and increase retention. The lab will also have kiosks where students can hold one-on-one meetings with advisors, as well as docking and privacy stations where students can relax and read.

Dr. Graham Matthews, Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning, teaches Introduction to Early Childhood Education to students who will be among many to benefit from the Global Education Student Support Services Lab. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Advisors and academic coaches in the lab will provide support and mentoring to students who may be struggling with licensure exams, or others who may need career advising on their chosen pathway in education,” she says. “Our psychology department will also benefit greatly, by catering to students who may be struggling academically or need extra help.”

Students in the college are excited about the news. Kayla Dawson, a freshman psychology major and a work-study student in the old curriculum lab, welcomes the new changes.

“I am in this building a lot, and usually with a lot of work to do after class. To have a place with the right resources and to be able to relax and focus, will be a great help,” says Dawson, who is from East St. Louis, Illinois. “I am a technology person, so I am just excited about the kinds of resources that will be available.”

Jaylon Jones, also from East St. Louis and a freshman criminal justice major, agrees.

“The enhancement will definitely be a wonderful thing,” says Jones, also a work-study student in the curriculum lab. “What was here before was great, but most of it was not up-to-date.”

Previously, the curriculum lab consisted of books and reading materials, which have all been removed and are being replaced with more advanced technology that was not available to students.

Debra A. Jackson, director of the COE Curriculum Lab, says the vision for the new lab is for students to be able to come in and take advantage of different media and computer resources that will enhance their learning.

“The dean (Haynes) has talked about the possibility of having kiosks where students can go in and access different things,” says Jackson. “This is a positive change where students can come and create, while being able to access things with technology, as well. I am very excited about these new enhancements.” 

The Global Education Student Support Services Lab will be completed and ready for student use January 2020, according to TSU officials. For more information about TSU’s College of Education, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/coe/

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.

Mitchell Inspires Students at Second Annual Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Lecture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renowned cancer specialist Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell was the keynote speaker at Tennessee State University’s second annual Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Lecture Series on Oct. 17.

Peterson is a TSU alumna and member of the university’s Board of Trustees. The event was held during Homecoming week in the Robert N. Murrell Forum on the main campus.

Student Government Association President Katelyn Thompson recognized special guests and Malcolm Finally, inaugural president of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society, introduced Mitchell, who discussed a number of issues with the audience.

They included the decline in cancer mortality rates, the impact of Medicare on cancer disparities, and how specific cancers uniquely affect minority communities.

TSU President Glenda Glover (right) with Guest Lecturer and TSU Board of Trustee Member Edith Peterson Mitchell (left), and Student Government Association President Katelyn Thompson (center) after the Second Annual Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Lecture. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Mitchell also encouraged students to consider careers in health care.

“Blacks in this country make up 3.9 percent of all physicians in this country, and yet in 2013 the census showed that blacks in this country made up 15 percent of the United States population,” said Mitchell, a retired Air Force brigadier general.

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

“I tell my students and residents all the time, ‘Don’t forget to look through the rearview mirror and make sure you know what is behind you,’ and we know that Dr. Levi Watkins was there in that rearview mirror for us to get information and be inspired by his work,” she said.

TSU President Glenda Glover and Guest Lecturer and TSU Board of Trustee Member Edith Peterson Mitchell join administrators and special guests for a photo after the unveiling of a display case located on the second floor of the Floyd-Payne Campus Center designed in honor of Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

TSU President Glenda Glover welcomed the crowd and explained the purpose of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., Institute.

“He provided a balm that would heal the hearts of men and women.  It’s a balm that will ensure the longevity of lives of men and women,” said Glover. “So he came forth with that balm from Tennessee State University, and now he has passed that on to students for the students to see and understand the value of having a scientific education.” 

Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, director of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., Institute, presided over the program which concluded with the induction of new students into the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society, an organization comprised of students who aspire to attend medical school.

“It was a wonderful experience to have a board of trustee member as our guest lecturer,” Sharpe said. “Based upon my input from the students, they enjoyed her talk, and they are all excited about the additional collaboration that may be occurring with her as part of a research proposal that we are partnering with her on right now.”

Denias Smith, a junior biology major and vice-president of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society, shared a brief presentation portraying Watkins, which he delivered prior to the unveiling of a display case designed in Watkin’s honor. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Following the program, the university unveiled a display case on the second floor of the Floyd-Campus Center dedicated to preserving Watkin’s legacy. Prior to the unveiling, Denias Smith, a junior biology major and vice-president of the society, gave a brief presentation, portraying Watkins.

The display includes a portrait of Watkins drawn by TSU Alumnus Brandon Van Leer, a life-size manikin clothed in Watkins medical attire, an automatic heart defibrillator and a video showcasing Watkins when he became the first surgeon to successfully implant the device in 1980.

Students inducted into the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society include Jayvonna Gambrell, president, a sophomore biology major; Mariel Liggin, secretary, a junior biology major; and Gelanni Jones, a sophomore biology major.

Students take pledge while being inducted into the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Other students inducted into the society include Janelle Ariosa, a senior biology major; Kalkidan Bekele, a freshman biology major; Autumn Brunson, a junior biology major; Ashli Earl, a junior biology major; Kristen Wardlow, a freshman; Lauren Graves, a freshman biology major, Larry McNary II, a junior biology major, Mohamed Mohamed, a sophomore chemistry major, Habiba Mwechiwa, a junior biology major, Alanis Onwu, a junior agricultural science major; and Tyree Pitts, a junior biology major.

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.

Thousands participate in TSU Homecoming activities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Thousands of people participated in Tennessee State University’s 2019 Homecoming activities, including the annual parade leading up to the big game.

The Tigers’ 26-24 victory over the Austin Peay Governors on Saturday, Oct. 19, was a fitting end to weeklong events that started on Oct. 13 with the Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, TSU President Glenda Glover, TSU alum and State Sen. Brenda Gilmore (far left), and State Rep. Harold Love Jr. (far left), also a TSU alum, at Homecoming game. (TSU Media Relations)

The highlight of the day leading up to the Saturday afternoon game was the parade, which featured former TSU football player Christion Abercrombie. He was selected as the Special Presidential Grand Marshal. It was the Atlanta native’s first Homecoming weekend after suffering a life-altering head injury during a 2018 football game against Vanderbilt University.

Earl Jones, a 1973 graduate of TSU, was among the many people who lined Jefferson Street in north Nashville to see the parade that started on 14th and Jefferson and ended at 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard.

Jones, who brought his wife and two great-granddaughters, says he hopes the little girls will continue the legacy and attend TSU.

“That’s what it’s all about, carrying on tradition,” said Jones.

Before the game, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee got things started with the coin toss. He was joined by State Sen. Brenda Gilmore and State Rep. Harold Love , Jr., both TSU alums.

Then early in the game, there was a somewhat solemn moment when a  brief period of silence was held for TSU student Rickey Scott, who authorities say died from a gunshot wound.

SGA leaders on Homecoming parade float. (TSU Media Relations)

Besides Abercrombie, other grand marshals were: 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.

The honorees were: 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.

Another major highlight of TSU’s homecoming was the Annual Scholarship Gala, TSU’s signature fundraising event, which took place on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Music City Center. This year, the gala welcomed back comedian Jonathan Slocumb as the master of ceremony. 

“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 prepare them for an innovative and global marketplace.”

Other Homecoming activities this year included the Coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU; the Breakfast of Champions, the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, and the National Pan-Hellenic Step Show.

TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands performs during halftime of Homecoming game. (TSU Media Relations)

To see a story television station Channel 5 (WTVF) did on the Homecoming parade, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wjwf49nlRg8&feature=youtu.be.

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.

Tennessee State University Students Hold Candlelight Vigil for Fallen Classmate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Rickey Scott had a ready smile and willing hand to help anyone in need. That’s how  Tennessee State University students, faculty, and staff remembered the freshman Monday night at a candlelight vigil.

Students hold hands as they console one another at the vigil for their late schoolmate. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Scott, 19, died Sunday afternoon at a local Nashville hospital from a critical gunshot wound, according to authorities. The case remains under investigation.

Many held hands, while others wiped away tears, as students said prayers and sang songs during the vigil organized by the SGA and Freshmen Class.  TSU’s Amphitheater on the main campus served as the backdrop for the very emotional event. The university was stunned by the sudden death of the engineering major from Ohio, who was just entering his third month as a freshman. Many of the students did not know Scott personally, but attended the vigil to show their support for his family and friends. Others who encountered the spirited young man remembered his smiles, lightheartedness and caring personality.

TSU President Glenda Glover was among university officials at the candlelight vigil. She lamented Scott’s death, expressed sympathy to Scott’s family who attended the ceremony, and thanked the students for coming together to remember their fellow student.

Students join the parents and other family members for a walk across campus following the vigil as a show of solidarity. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“We ask the Almighty God to put his arms around us as a university, a student body to protect us and strengthen this family during this time,” Glover said. “We are heartbroken by this loss and we grieve with Rickey’s family and those who knew him. In times like these, we must come together and support each other as one university community.”

Tiona Williamson, a sophomore majoring in cardiorespiratory care, did not know Scott too well, but fondly remembers talking to him just days before his passing.

“I met him and we had a couple of conversations,” said Williamson, of Jackson, Tennessee. “I didn’t know him personally, but thought he was a really sweet person. He was really nice, cool and laid back. It is so sad what happened to him.”

“He was loved,” one of Scott’s family members added.

 Also speaking at the candlelight vigil were Katelyn Thompson, president of the Student Government Association; Mr. TSU Damyr Moore; and Caleb Jarmon, President of the freshman class.

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said the vigil was a show of unity among students, especially the freshmen, who wanted to make sure that they came together, to hold hands and to encourage one another.

“This is somewhat of a cloudy day in the Land of Golden Sunshine,” Stevenson said. “We have a Tiger that has fallen and the students have paused to celebrate his life with this vigil.”

Miss Freshman, Ashanti Mitchell, said it was sad to lose a classmate just shortly after starting their college journey.

“We have been here no more than three months and just now starting our first Homecoming and to lose one of our classmates is just unfortunate,” said Mitchell, a biology major from Louisville, Kentucky. “I wish coming together was under a better circumstance. The fact that my class came out and supported even though some of them didn’t even know him, I really appreciate it and I hope that we keep this close bond and be supportive of each other going forward.”

Sunday was the start of Homecoming week at TSU, but Glover assured the gathering of increased TSUPD and Metro police presence to ensure safety due to the expected high traffic on campus. 

Law enforcement is continuing to look into all information, including video surveillance. TSUPD say there was no report of a shooting or suspicious activity on campus prior to receiving the call from Metro police dispatch. They’re still trying to determine exactly where he sustained the fatal injury and a motive. School administrators are asking for the public to come forward with any information that may help in the investigation.

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 kicks off 2019 Homecoming with 32nd annual Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University kicked off this year’s Homecoming with the 32nd annual Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest on Sunday.

The event, which was free and open to the public, was held in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center on the main campus. Cash prizes of $1,200, $800 and $500 were awarded respectively for first, second, and third place winners in freshman and upperclassman divisions.

TSU President Glenda Glover (2nd from right) with contest chairperson Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell (far left) with freshman winners Akyra McDougal, Janae Williams and Ter’niciah James; and Mrs. Robert Murrell (far right). (Photo by Lalita Hodge, TSU Media Relations)

There were 26 participants this year. The freshman winners were: Akyra O. McDougal, 1st place; Janae Williams, 2nd place; and Ter’niciah L. James, 3rd place. In the upperclassman division, Sarah Sulewski claimed 1st place; Ashanti Holland, 2nd; Trey Gibson, 3rd; and Sydni Daniels received a $200 bookstore gift certificate for 4thplace.

Before the contest, TSU President Glenda Glover thanked the students for their participation, and lauded their courage and talent.

“What better way to start Homecoming than to have our magnificent students display their talents,” said Dr. Glover. “I’m proud of each participant for sharing in this event, and for the fortitude and determination to play such a significant role today.”

The contest, established in 1988, is named in honor of the late Robert N. Murrell, a longtime administrator and dean of men at TSU. It encourages students to develop skills in research, writing and oratory.

“I’m most grateful to all of you who played a part in making this happen, and for all of you who are here today,” said Ms. Barbara Murrell, whose late husband the event honors.

In 1993, the TSU Homecoming Committee incorporated the oratorical contest into the official Homecoming schedule of activities, and established the Homecoming theme as the theme for the contest. This year’s theme is: “Unleash the Pride of the Tiger!”

Following the oratorical contest, TSU’s Homecoming events continued with the Gospel Explosion in Kean Hall gymnasium. The concert, which was also free, featured hit artists Kirk Franklin, James Fortune, and Koryn Hawthorn. TSU alum and gospel legend Dr. Bobby Jones received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other Homecoming highlights throughout the week include the Coronation of Mr. and Miss TSU, Oct. 16; Ralph Boston Golf Tournament, Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Symposium, and Homecoming Concert, Oct. 17; and the Greek Step Show and the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, Oct. 18.

On Friday evening, TSU has planned a stellar Scholarship Gala at the Music City Center. This year, the Gala welcomes back comedian Jonathan Slocumb as the master of ceremony. Special entertainment will be provided by Melvin Crispell III, the ninth-season winner of BET’s Sunday Best. Proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships are used to provide financial assistance to students.

Homecoming will conclude Oct. 19 with the Homecoming Parade from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard, and the big football matchup between the Tigers and the Austin Peay Governors at Nissan Stadium.

To see all Homecoming activities, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/documents/HomecomingSchedule.pdf.

Note: In featured photo, TSU President Glenda Glover (4th from left) with contest chairperson Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell (far left) with upperclassman winners Sara Sulewski, Trey Gibson, Ashanti Holland and Sydni Daniels; and Mrs. Murrell (far right). (Photo by Lalita Hodge, TSU Media Relations)

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.