Category Archives: NEWS

Tennessee State University Celebrates Employees, Presents Service Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University believes in celebrating faculty and staff, and it was no more evident than during the 23rd Annual Employee Recognition luncheon on Tuesday.  The event provided special recognition to University employees for their years of service and those retiring.

The program, said TSU President Glenda Glover, provided an opportunity to salute fellow colleagues for their time, talents and years of service to the University.

The University paid special recognition to faculty and staff for their years to the institution. Those recognized for 40 years of service to Tennessee State University included (L-R) William Hayslett, Bennie Brandon, Thelria Hardaway and Thomas Davis. (not pictured Sandra Brown and Carmelia Taylor)
The University paid special recognition to faculty and staff for their years to the institution. Those recognized for 40 years of service to Tennessee State University included (L-R) William Hayslett, Bennie Brandon, Thelria Hardaway and Thomas Davis. (not pictured Sandra Brown and Carmelia Taylor)

“The work that takes place on our campus is done through the collaborative efforts of so many hard-working individuals who share a commitment to our mission,” said Dr. Glover. “I applaud you for setting and achieving the goal of providing a customer-friendly and inclusive campus environment. Without the energy, dedication and cooperation of all our employees, the University would not be the premiere institution it is today.”

The service award program was created to provide special recognition to faculty and staff for their years of service to the University. Employees with five years or more of service were acknowledges at each five-year milestones. Recognition was paid to those retiring from the University.

Honorees included:

 

Retirees

  • Eunice Burt
  • Diane Carlew
  • Bonnie Chakravorty
  • Sidney Chandler
  • Khalid Chaudhary
  • Dixie Crawford
  • James Ellzy
  • Mattie Emanuel
  • Leonard Hayes
  • Rosemary Jeffries
  • Donzella Kay
  • Vicki King
  • Gregory Komives
  • Wanda McBee
  • David McCargar
  • Martha Parks
  • Richard Patterson
  • Rosalyn Pitt
  • Surendra Singh
  • Barbara Taylor
  • Alvin Wade
  • Perellia Walker

Service Awards

45 Years

  • Asalean Springfield

40 Years

  • Bennie Brandon
  • Sandra Brown
  • Thomas Davis
  • William Hayslett
  • Thelria Hardaway
  • Carmelia Taylor

35 Years

  • Eleanor Bass
  • Linda Bell
  • Sarabjit Bhatti
  • Sharon Bradley
  • Frankie Brooks
  • Frances Gore
  • Annie Harris
  • Jocelyn Thomas
  • Carey Wallace
  • Eddie Williams

 30 Years

  • Carter Catlin
  • Elizabeth Kunnu
  • Joseph Hurst
  • Kofi Semenya

 25 Years

  • Lynetta Alexander
  • Roy Avery
  • Karen Gupton
  • James Hollowell
  • Gregory Mitchell
  • Bryan Quarles
  • Lillie Taylor

20 Years

  • Ronnie Brooks
  • John Cade
  • Sammy Davis
  • Loretta Divens
  • Kay Gaines
  • Melanie Gardner
  • Veronica Jones
  • Mohammad Karim
  • David Kelley
  • Marietta Kelley
  • Wilson Lee
  • Deborah McCauley
  • Victoria McGee-Hayes
  • Landon Onyebueke
  • Mary Otis
  • Judith Presley
  • Wanda Richardson
  • Alex Sekwat
  • Amy Sibulkin
  • Brenda Siebe
  • Tommi Smith
  • Bradley White

 15 Years

  • Anonya Akuley-Amenyenu
  • William Anneseley
  • Ahmad Aziz
  • Christy Barbo
  • Tiffanie Brown
  • Brenda Collier
  • Sherry Crudup
  • Janice Emerson
  • Clifton Etheridge
  • Jessica Gabriel
  • James Henderson
  • Latessa Hickerson
  • Jayne Howse
  • Wendelyn Inman
  • Karla Kean
  • Latif Lighari
  • Gaile Mann
  • Ernest Miah
  • Nelson Modeste
  • Martha Mosley
  • Rabie Neal
  • Pinky Noble-Britton
  • Ben Northington
  • John Ordung
  • Henry Perry
  • Michelle Vaughn
  • Ruifang Wang
  • Anjetta Williams
  • Valerie Williams
  • George Yang

 10 Years

  • Karen Avant
  • Dereje Bahiru
  • Trena Barksdale
  • Ronald Barredo
  • Rebecca Bone
  • Sharon Boyce
  • Nakesha Brown
  • Charlene Byers
  • Kim Crutcher
  • Sedric Griffin
  • Tracey Harris
  • Melvin Johnson
  • Fabien Jolivette
  • Vahid Khairollahi
  • Bonita Knight
  • Chantae Matthews
  • Joshua Moore
  • Lois Muhammad
  • Harold Murra
  • Dave Neal
  • Peggy Pettit
  • Nsoki Phambu
  • Natasha Plant
  • Helen Ralston
  • Raymond Richardson
  • Linda Robare
  • Cheryl Seay
  • Arthur Sharp
  • Cheryl Watts
  • Janice Williams
  • Michael Williamson
  • Tameka Winston
  • Sandy Woodruff
  • Phil Yan

 5 Years

  • Zellina Anderson
  • Dorjsuren Badamdorj
  • Larry Baker
  • Alonzo Beene
  • Deborah Bellamy
  • Domont Bills
  • Pamela Bobo
  • Kenyatta Bradford
  • Mark Brinkley
  • Amanda Brown
  • Deo Chimba
  • Roni Christian
  • Gregory Clapp
  • Glenn Clay
  • Craig Clifford
  • Dijon Daniels
  • Samuel Dare
  • Jason de Koff
  • Kelley Frady
  • Cynthia Gadsden
  • Solomon Haile
  • Patricio Jara
  • Perry Lewis
  • Rhonda McClain
  • Rosalyn Mccullough
  • Franchetta Miller
  • Rebecca Moore
  • Cynthia Murillo
  • Jennifer Nelson
  • Shirley Nix-Davis
  • Jeffrey Parker
  • Paul Peterson
  • Robert Regan
  • Melissa Richie
  • Edward Sanders
  • Sasikiran Sangireddy
  • Sachin Shetty
  • George Smith
  • Sharon Smith
  • Billy Smith, Jr.
  • James Stephens
  • Richard Stone
  • Qi Tang
  • Tammy Taylor
    Celestine Terry
  • John Tiller
  • LeJeun Watson
  • Learotha Williams
  • Joy Williams
  • Zakiyah Williams
  • Holly Williams-McMahan

 

 

 

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 Introduces “5555” Emergency Number for Campus Community

Emergency CallNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For all emergencies at Tennessee State University, call 5555.

The University has initiated the new, easy to remember hotline number for emergencies, which went into effect Monday, April 6, 2015. Callers must dial (615) 963-5555 when calling from a non-campus landline phone.

According to TSU Police, this is all part of the continuing effort to improve security, better connect with the campus community, and introduce a phone number easy to remember.

“The ‘5555’ number is just one of a series of initiatives the Campus Safety Commission is putting in place to enhance the overall safety of the TSU community,” said Police Chief Anthony Carter.

The previous 5171 extension, which is still used to reach campus police, will be used primarily for internal communication and non-emergency calls, Carter said.

Last November, TSU President Glenda Glover, along with campus administrators, law enforcement, and emergency management, announced the establishment of a 15-member Crime Safety Commission. The role of the Commission was to help analyze and identify areas for improvement, hold discussions with crime prevention experts and other professionals to design and implement best practices. The Commission includes a cross-section of law enforcement personnel, TSU students, administrators, faculty, alumni and community partners.

“The ‘5555’ emergency initiative is a result of the Commission’s work,” Carter 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.

University Plans Memorial Service Honoring the Life and Contributions of TSU Alumnus and Medical Pioneer Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. for April 27

LeviWatkins 2
Watkins is carried on the shoulders of well-wishers following his victory as the new Student Council President. (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A memorial service for Dr. Levi Watkins, renowned cardiac surgeon, civil rights and political activist, and Tennessee State University alumnus, will be held on Monday, April 27 at the University.

Dr. Watkins died April 11 of complications from a stroke. He was 70.

The service will be held at 10 a.m., in the Forum Auditorium of the Floyd-Payne Campus Center. General parking will be at the Gentry Center Complex with shuttle service provided.

A behind-the-scenes political figure and civil rights activist who broke many racial barriers, Dr. Watkins was the first black chief resident of cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was known as much for fighting the injustice faced by African-Americans as for his groundbreaking medical work, such as the creation and implantation of the Automatic Implantable Defibrillator (AID). The device detects irregular heart rhythms and shocks the heart back to life.

Levi Watkins Class Photo 1965-1966 (courtesy photo)
Levi Watkins Class Photo 1965-1966 (courtesy photo)

“Dr. Levi Watkins changed the world with his passion for medicine,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The University family extends sincerest condolences to the Watkins family during this difficult time. Dr. Watkins not only impacted the field of medicine, but he also inspired African-Americans to become doctors as he broke down the color barrier at two of the nation’s leading medical institutions. TSU will always remember his service to others, professional achievements, and dedication to his alma mater. He leaves a tremendous legacy that will surely inspire our students and others that follow in his footsteps.”

Dr. Watkins was born in Parsons, Kansas, the third of six children, but grew up in Alabama, where he got his first taste of the civil rights movement. He met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the age of 8 when he and his family attended Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, where Dr. King was the pastor. He became fully involved with the civil rights movement and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956.

He attended Tennessee State University as an undergraduate, studying biology. Watkins was listed in the Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges, and was the president of the Student Council from 1965-66, and National Vice President of Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society. He was a member of the Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Society, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and the University Counselors.

Dr. Watkins demonstrates the automatic defibrillator on a heart model. He performed the world's first implantation of the device in a human in 1980, and today more than a million people have received this life saving device. (courtesy photo)
Dr. Watkins demonstrates the automatic defibrillator on a heart model. He performed the world’s first implantation of the device in a human in 1980, and today more than a million people have received this life saving device. (courtesy photo)

Watkins was given the title of “Mr. Brains” by the yearbook staff in 1966 and was a member of the Nashville Collegiate Exchange Council.

After graduating with honors and at the urging of one of his biology professors at the University, he applied and made history at Vanderbilt University, where he became the first African-American to study and graduate from the school with a medical degree. It was an experience he described over the years as “isolating and lonely,” but would be the first of many milestones.

After graduating from Vanderbilt, Dr. Watkins started a general surgery residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1970, where he became the first black chief resident of cardiac surgery. He left Baltimore for two years to conduct cardiac research at Harvard Medical School before returning to Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Levi Watkins (courtesy photo)
Dr. Levi Watkins (courtesy photo)

According to the Baltimore Sun, Dr. Watkins was outspoken yet humble. He never took his success for granted and worked tirelessly to help create the next generation of African-American doctors and activists.

 Watkins helped launch a concerted nationwide drive to recruit talented minority students who were interested in studying medicine. Within a few years, Johns Hopkins was attracting black students from all over the nation who were convinced by Watkins that Johns Hopkins wanted them. The success of the Johns Hopkins minority recruitment campaign soon made it a model imitated by other medical schools.

In 1980, Watkins gained renown for implanting the first automatic heart defibrillator in a patient suffering from repeated, life-threating episodes of ventricular fibrillation, or irregular heartbeats. Such a procedure now is commonplace, saving untold lives annually.

Watkins received honorary degrees from Morgan State University, Spelman College, Meharry Medical College, and Sojourner-Douglass College. He was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the medical field.

He received the Thurgood Marshall College Fund award for excellence in medicine in 2010.In 2013, Watkins retired from John Hopkins after four decades.

He is survived by brothers Donald V. Watkins Sr., and James Watkins, sisters Annie Marie Garraway and Doristine L. Minott, and several nieces and nephews.

 

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 42 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 Data Sciences Workshop April 16-17 to Draw More than 100 Experts from the United States and China

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Billed as “the next big thing,” data science, a discipline or study that combines mathematics, statistics and computer science, is becoming the leading driver in innovation, competition and productivity.

The demand for professionals in this relatively new and rising discipline is high, as universities scramble to develop comprehensive data science degree programs to graduate data scientists.

Tennessee State University is looking to play a major role in bringing about greater awareness to a discipline that reports estimate will create 4 million data science-related positions in the United States by 2018.

On April 16, the University will host the first annual workshop on data sciences that is expected to bring together more than 100 data science researchers from over 20 universities and institutions in the United States and China.

The two-day workshop on the theme, “High Dimensional Data Analysis,” is expected to bring experts from national institutions such as Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Memphis, Tuskegee University, the University of Tennessee Knoxville, Vanderbilt University, and China’s Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology.

Speakers and participants are also expected from Middle Tennessee State University, Jacksonville University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

On July 11, 2013, TSU and MTSU signed a memorandum of understanding to “develop strategic areas of research in data sciences.” The MOU called for the creation of a joint institution for data sciences that would seek to participate in and enhance faculty and student research training programs.

With funding from NASA EPSCoR, Dr. Ali Sekmen, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science, said the data sciences workshop is an offshoot of the MOU with MTSU.

“Tennessee State University wants to be a major player in data sciences,” Sekmen said. “We have all of the various disciplines being offered on our campus, and this is the reason why we are combining our efforts with all of the key areas including computer science, mathematics, engineering, and agriculture resources to promote this workshop.”

Sekmen said the workshop would include mini lectures on mathematical background for faculty and graduate students on the first day before going into the research and technical aspects of data sciences on the second day. Additionally, there will be concurrent sessions for undergraduate students at a less technical level.

“Because of the highly technical nature of data sciences, we want to make sure everyone, especially students are on the same page when we begin to discuss the specifics of the discipline,” Sekmen said.

The workshop, also sponsored by the National Science Foundation and TN-SCORE, is free but registration is required. For registration and questions, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/datascience/committee.aspx .

 

 

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 42 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 Professor Lands Half Million-Dollar Award as Part of USDA Food Safety Grants

Research to focus on preventing foodborne illnesses in consumers

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A professor with the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences at Tennessee State University has received a $500,000 USDA grant to research new ways of preventing foodborne illness and increase the safety of the food production industry.

Dr. Ankit Patras
Dr. Ankit Patras

Dr. Ankit Patras, assistant professor of Agriculture Science received the grant as part of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s $19 million funding awards, including more than $6.7 million for antimicrobial resistance studies to 36 universities across the country including Tennessee State, through the Agriculture and Food Research Food Safety Challenge.

The AFRI Food Safety Challenge is an annual round of federal funding that, according to the USDA, “promotes and enhances the scientific discipline of food safety, with an overall aim of protecting consumers from microbial and chemical contaminants that may occur during all stages of the food chain, from production to consumption.”

Patras’ project, titled “Steering Innovation for Treatment of Liquid Foods to Eliminate Pathogenic Microbes and Toxins Using Low Wave-length UV Irradiation,” will aim to improve the consistency and effectiveness of UV treatments of liquid foods like juice and milk. If successful, the new and improved techniques developed by this research will extend to the food industry and allow for the less expensive, more energy efficient UV treatments to replace traditional heat treatments like pasteurization. This project is supported in part by the Aquafine Corporation, Valencia, California.

“This project will enhance the understanding of irradiation processes and accurate UV dose delivery in different liquid foods,” Patras said. “This will effectively minimize the risk of infections stemming from food contaminations.” Additionally, Patras noted that the project will “foster long-term cooperation, knowledge exchange among students, and integration between academia and industry.”

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, recognized the opportunity for TSU the grant and the technologies will create.

“It feels great to receive this prestigious award from NIFA/USDA,” Patras said. “This will expand and strengthen our Food Bioscience and Technology program at TSU, allowing us to develop cutting-edge optical technologies and offer customized solutions to many of today’s disinfection problems in the food industry.”

 

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 42 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 Titans Safety Chris Hope Says Education, Not Football, is the Pathway to Success

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – It sometimes takes one bright student who has been through the “trenches” to get the message across to another smart student about the pathway to a successful future.

Chris Hope
Chris Hope

That’s what happened at Tennessee State University today when the University’s Honors students got a message they will not soon forget. The “unlikely messenger” – Tennessee Titans Safety Chris Hope. Although the Super Bowl winner and former Pittsburgh Steeler has amassed wealth, fortune and recognition as an NFL player, he was not at TSU to talk about football.

“Education is what I am here to talk about,” said 12-year NFL veteran and Pro Bowler with the Titans, who was asked to make a statement at the Honors Day Convocation. “I have always loved playing football, but I never forgot about the importance of a quality education as something to fall back on. The average span of an NFL career is three years. I always knew I was just one hit away from permanent injury. I have been fortunate to play for 12 years, but what if my playing had been cut short and I did not have the education to cope?”

That question left Jaquantey Bowens, of Indianapolis, to rethink his approach in preparing for the future. Although the freshman Cell Biology major with a perfect 4.0 grade point average said he is not much on athletics, Hope’s lecture on education and success hit a nerve.

“I study hard and meet all of my course objectives, but listening to him (Hope) makes me want to work even harder,” said Bowens who wants to be a cardiologist because heart disease is prevalent in his family.

When it comes to educational preparedness as something to fall back on, Hope knows what he is talking about. Considered a proven leader and instrumental in the development of young players in the Titans defense, the Rock Hill, South Carolina native was a top honor student at Florida State University, where he graduated in three and half years with a 4.0 GPA.

“Even though I loved football and was a top player in college, I took my education very seriously and I am glad to see you all doing that. Football has made me millions, given me fame, but when I can stand before great people and speak without feeling intimidated, that’s because of my education,” Hope said.

IMG_2926
President Glenda Glover, right, assisted by Dr. Coreen Jackson, director of the Honors Program, presents the Dr. McDonald Williams Scholarship to Lauren Wiggins, a Health Sciences major with a 3.7 GPA from Atlanta.

TSU President Glenda Glover thanked Hope for his words of encouragement and congratulated the honorees for their academic excellence.

“Thank you for speaking to these exceptional students,” President Glover said. “As an honor student yourself when you were at Florida State, these students can relate to you.” She congratulated the more than 2,400 students with GPAs of 3.0 and above for their “outstanding achievement.”

“As honor students you are defined by your aptitude, and your achievement demonstrates pride in TSU,” she added.

At the start of the convocation, President Glover led a moment of silence for former TSU Honors student and SGA President, Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., who died Friday of a massive heart attack and stroke at age 70.

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 42 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.

Memorial Service Planned for Noted Medical Pioneer and TSU Alumnus, Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A memorial service for Dr. Levi Watkins, noted medical pioneer and TSU alum, will be held in Baltimore on Tuesday, April 21. Dr. Watkins died Friday after a massive heart attack and stroke. He was 70.

The service will be held at 1 p.m., at Union Baptist, 1219 Druid Hill Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21217. The phone number to the church is (410) 523-6880. Arrangements are being entrusted to the Redd Funeral Home, 1721 N. Monroe Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21217. (Tel: 410-523-1600).

A behind-the-scenes political figure and civil rights activist who broke many racial barriers, Dr. Watkins was the first black chief resident of cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was known as much for fighting the injustice faced by African-Americans as for his groundbreaking medical work, such as the creation and implantation of the Automatic Implantable Defibrillator (AID). The device detects irregular heart rhythms and shocks the heart back to life.

“Dr. Levi Watkins changed the world with his passion for medicine,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The University family extends sincerest condolences to the Watkins family during this difficult time. Dr. Watkins not only impacted the field of medicine, but he also inspired African-Americans to become doctors as he broke down the color barrier at two of the nation’s leading medical institutions. TSU will always remember his service to others, professional achievements, and dedication to his alma mater. He leaves a tremendous legacy that will surely inspire our students and others that follow in his footsteps.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, Dr. Watkins was outspoken yet humble. He never took his success for granted and worked tirelessly to help create the next generation of African-American doctors and activists.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.56.58 AM
Levi Watkins Class Photo 1965-1966 (Courtesy Photo)

Dr. Watkins was born in Kansas, the third of six children, but grew up in Alabama, where he got his first taste of the civil rights movement. He met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the age of 8 when he and his family attended Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, where Dr. King was the pastor.

He attended Tennessee State University as an undergraduate, studying biology. He then made history at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he became the first African-American to study and graduate from the school with a medical degree. It was an experience he described over the years as isolating and lonely, but would be the first of many milestones.

After graduating from Vanderbilt, Dr. Watkins started a general surgery residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1971, where he became the first black chief resident of cardiac surgery. He left Baltimore for two years to conduct cardiac research at Harvard Medical School before returning to Johns Hopkins.

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 42 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.

Hundreds Run at TSU to Raise Funds for Education, Celebrate 125th Anniversary of 1890 Land-Grant System

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nearly 600 participants, including alumni, faculty, students and fans took part in the Second Annual “Big Blue Tiger 5K Run/Walk” at Tennessee State University today to culminate a weeklong celebration of Ag Week, alumni fundraising activities, and the 125th anniversary of the 1890 Land-Grant system.

LandGrant
Representative Brenda Gilmore (fifth from left, front) congratulates 1890 Land-Grant anniversary events organizers minutes before blowing the whistle for the start of the Big Blue Tiger 5K Run/Walk. (Photo by John Cross, Media Relations)

State Representative Brenda Gilmore kicked off the day’s events with a statement at the Gentry Pavilion on the main campus, applauding race participants for their courage and determination to promote healthy living.

“Tennessee is in the top ten when it comes to obesity and ranks high with other ailments in the nation,” Gilmore said. “Your showing here today demonstrates your determination to help eliminate these diseases that affect so many of our people. I am here to encourage you for taking this step to healthy living.”

She thanked the race organizers, including the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, the Office of Alumni Relations, and the TSU National Alumni Association for their collaboration to mark the anniversary of “an event as important as the land-grant system.”

“The 1890 Land-Grant has been a major source of help and resources for Tennessee State University and many of our HBCUs. It is more than fitting for us to join in the celebration of such major milestone as 125 years of a mission that continues to support so many,” Gilmore said.

Following Gilmore’s presentation, runners and walkers took to the starting line for the 3.2-mile trek that took them around campus by way of 33rd Street, Alameda, Walter Davis, up to the Olympic Statue, and to the finish line in Hale Stadium.

winners
TSU Athletics Director, Teresa Phillips, left, congratulates Big Blue Tiger 5K winners Adrienne Hicks, first female finisher, and David Johnson, overall winner. (Photo by John Cross, Media Relations)

Finishing in 21 minutes and 11 seconds, David Johnson, a TSU sophomore and Health Science major, came in first as the overall winner. TSU alum Adrienne Hicks (’02,’06), who finished in 26 minutes 44 seconds, was the first female to cross the finish line. “Please mention that I am an AKA,” Hicks said, as she celebrated with friends.

CHECK
The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences presents a check for $2,500 to the Alumni Foundation for student support. From left are Cassandra Griggs, director of Alumni Relations; Tony Wells, president of the National Alumni Association; Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of CAHNS; Dr. Latif Lighari, associate dean for Extension; and race organizers Charla Lowery and Darnell Crawley. (Photo by John Cross, Media Relations)

As part of the celebration at the finish line, Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of CAHN, presented a check for $2,500 to the Tennessee State University Foundation on behalf of his college. Later, at the “Blue and White Game” in Hale Stadium, the National Alumni Chapter of Beta Omicron also present a check for $37,000 to the Foundation toward the group’s established endowment.

Beta Omicron
National Alumni Association President Tony Wells, and Cassandra Griggs, director of Alumni Relations, receive a check for $37,000 from members of the National Alumni Chapter of Beta Omicron to the Tennessee State University Foundation.

“With tuition going up each year, every cent counts,” said Tony Wells, president of the TSU National Alumni Association, as he thanked donors, supporters and race organizers for their contributions. “These funds and your efforts will help keep needy students in school.”

The day’s events will culminate with the “Legends Game,” also in Hale Stadium, organizers 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 42 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 Mourns the Death of Medical Pioneer, Alumnus Levi Watkins, Jr.

Levi Watkins
Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr.


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
 (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is deeply saddened over the death of Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., a 1966 graduate of the University.   He was 70. The TSU alumnus revolutionized the medial world with the creation and implantation of the Automatic Implantable Defibrillator (AID). The device detects irregular heart rhythms and shocks the heart back to life.

“Dr. Levi Watkins changed the world with his passion for medicine,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The University family extends sincerest condolences to the Watkins family during this difficult time. Dr. Watkins not only impacted the field of medicine, but he also inspired African-Americans to become doctors as he broke down the color barrier at two of the nation’s leading medical institutions. TSU will always remember his service to others, professional achievements, and dedication to his alma mater. He leaves a tremendous legacy that will surely inspire our students and others that follow in his footsteps.”

Dr. Watkins enrolled at Tennessee State in 1962, majoring in biology and graduating with honors.   He was also elected student body president at the TSU. In 1966, following graduation, he became the first African-American to be admitted to and to graduate from Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine. Dr. Watkins went onto become the first black chief resident in cardiac surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital after medical school. Watkins fought for equal opportunities in education throughout his career, increasing minority enrollment at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine by 400 percent in four years.

In February 1980, Dr. Watkins performed the world’s first human implantation of the automatic implantable defibrillator and would go on to develop several different techniques for the implantation of the device. Watkins also helped to develop the cardiac arrhythmia service at Johns Hopkins where various new open-heart techniques are now being performed to treat patients at risk of sudden cardiac death.

In 2013, Dr. Watkins retired from John Hopkins after four decades. He received the Thurgood Marshall College Fund award for excellence in medicine in 2010.

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 42 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 to Celebrate Best and Brightest Students During University Honors Convocation April 13

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When it comes to academic achievement and excellence at Tennessee State University, Carla Gibbs and Lauren Thomas are part of an exclusive club.

As members of the University Honors Program, since entering TSU as freshmen four years ago, Gibbs, a Biology major from Miami, and Thomas, from Memphis, Tennessee, majoring in Mass Communications, have not averaged below a 3.0 grade point average.

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Carla Gibbs

Gibbs hold a 3.76 GPA and is a MARC Scholar, a National Institute of General Medical Sciences program designed to increase the number of minority scientists. She plans to attend Meharry Medical College to study internal medicine. For Thomas, she has already received graduate study offers from Northwestern University, Seattle University and Boston University to study public relations and management after a two-year commitment with Teach for America.

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Lauren Thomas

Gibbs and Thomas are part of more than 2,400 of the University’s best and brightest students who will be honored Monday, April 13, 9:30 a.m., when Tennessee State University holds its annual Honors Convocation in Kean Hall. TSU President, Dr. Glenda Glover, will be the keynote speaker.

According to Dr. D. McGahey, associate director of the University Honors Program, the 2,402 students with GPAs of 3.0 and above, is an 11 percent increase over the 2,016 who were honored last year. He said 92 of this year’s honorees have “perfect scores” of 4.0 GPAs, while 356 maintain GPAs between 3.75 -4.0.

“We are really excited about these outstanding students,” said Dr. Coreen Jackson, director of the Honors Program. “They are an example of what hard work is all about. We are excited to give them this well-deserved honor.”

Among those who will be honored are Honors Program Scholars, those on the Dean’s List, members of the University-Wide Honor Societies, Student Leadership Awards, the President’s List Scholars, and the Top Graduating Seniors. The ceremony will also include the presentation of private scholarship awards, such as the Dr. McDonald Williams Scholarship.

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 42 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.