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In Spite of Inclement Weather Threat, TSU Outdoor Spring Commencement Goes on Without a Hitch

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A graduating senior at TSU’s Spring Commencement Ceremony Saturday holds a sign that expresses the sentiments of the more than 1,100 who received their degrees at the program. (Photo by Rick Delahaya, TSU Media Relations)


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – After a brief delay Saturday, Tennessee State University dodged an inclement weather forecast to hold its spring commencement at a packed Hale Stadium.

More than 1,100 undergraduate and graduate students received their degrees in various disciplines under a clear, sunny day, with their names and faces in digital displays projected on two massive jumbotron screens during the outdoor ceremony on the main campus.

Prior to the commencement, students, family members and other invited guests who had arrived early for the planned ceremony in the stadium, took cover in nearby Gentry Center to wait out a rain shower. The crowd went back to the “Hole” after the brief downpour and the commencement went on without a hitch.

“We got exactly what our family came here for,” said Gina Benton, of Dayton, Ohio, responding to an apology from TSU President Glenda Glover about the brief inconvenience posed by the weather. “We came here with about 20 family members to watch my son graduate and that’s exactly what we got. With such a beautiful outcome, the weather was a minor issue.”

Benton’s son, Erik, received his degree in Business Administration with honors.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, the commencement speaker, apparently not fazed by the weather threat, told the graduates that 55 percent of available jobs in the state would need people with college degrees and the necessary skills to fill those positions.

“Tennessee State University has prepared you to compete for those those jobs and the challenges in life,” Haslam said. “Those challenges will help you handle potential disappointments that come with success.”

The Governor reminded the students to face life with humility and remember those who helped them achieve their higher education goals.

“You did not get to this day by yourself. Thank those who were there with you,” Haslam added.  “Learn to celebrate others. You have been called to play a role that will require your full potential. To fulfill that role will require you to continue to improve yourselves by being lifelong learners.”

Before the conferring of degrees, President Glover presented Gov. Haslam with a special plaque for “accepting our invitation and for inspiring not just these graduates but all of us.”

The President also recognized and presented special awards to this year’s group of Vintagers, former TSU graduates who celebrated their 50th year of graduation from TSU.

Dr. Glover announced an over $55,000 contribution from the group to their alma mater.

“We thank you for your generous contribution and for returning to celebrate with us,” the President said.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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 Grad Becomes “Inside Man” With CNN Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock

Remziya Suleyman, policy and administration director for the American Center for Outreach, and TSU grad  (left) had the opportunity recently to work with CNN documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock for an upcoming episode of "Inside Man" airing Sunday, May 11 at 10 p.m. ET.
Remziya Suleyman, policy and administration director for the American Center for Outreach, and TSU grad (left) had the opportunity recently to work with CNN documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock for an upcoming episode of “Inside Man” airing Sunday, May 11 at 10 p.m. ET. (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University graduate was seen recently in Nashville with documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and CNN is keeping vague about his visit to the Music City.

Remziya Suleyman, policy and administration director for the American Center for Outreach and an advocate for Muslim rights was spotted with Spurlock, and most assume it has something to do with the city’s broad religious landscape.

“It was definitely an incredible experience working with him,” said Suleyman, who holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and certificate in Nonprofit Management from TSU.

Spurlock, who is best known for his documentary Supersize Me, now hosts “Inside Man” on CNN, and gives viewers an insider’s view of diverse sectors of American life, delving deep into hard-hitting issues like medical marijuana, the elder care industry, migrant farm workers, gun ownership, union workers, bankruptcy, education and the drought.

According to Suleyman, Spurlock spent a few days in Nashville during the legislative session in February lobbying with her for an upcoming segment that will focus on religion in America. The program will air Sunday, May 11 at 10 p.m. ET.

“Not only did he accompany me to the legislative sessions, he also visited local mosques and really learned about our community,” said Suleyman, who is known for her political activism on immigration issues, interfaith organizing, and her work in the Kurdish community to raise awareness on the ‘Kurdish genocide.’ “He was very down to earth and cared about the issues.”

While Suleyman could not give out many details about the program, CNN did confirm the filming, stating that they “like to keep the specifics of the episodes under wraps until the show is edited.”

“It was exciting to be recognized as an advocate for our community,” added Suleyman. “He was able to get a good grasp on the issues facing the Muslim community today.”

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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 Helps Provide Solutions to Future Challenges of Natural Resources

Researcher Coauthors Roadmap to Guide Nation’s Research, Education and Policy Decisions

 

Dr. Dalia Abbas
Dr. Dalia Abbas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A professor from the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences at Tennessee State University has coauthored a report that helps outline solutions to the challenges facing natural resources in the U.S. with a “roadmap” to help guide policymakers over the next 10 years.

Dr. Dalia Abbas, assistant professor of Forestry, coauthored the report, Science, Education and Outreach Roadmap for Natural Resources released by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities on May 1. The report outlines six “grand challenges” facing the U.S. in the areas of sustainability, water, climate change, agriculture, energy and education, and recommends a series of research, education and outreach activities to help meet those challenges.

“This is a unique project in that it deals with natural resources as an integrated network,” Abbas said. “Many of the existing strategic plans focus on specific disciplines, neglecting their interrelation and function as a whole.”

Part of a 35-scientist team who authored the roadmap after receiving feedback from more than 130 scientists at public and land-grant institutions across the country, Abbas worked specifically on the sustainability portion of the roadmap due to her forestry expertise.

“There’s an extraordinary opportunity to improve the sustainability of our forest ecosystem,” she said. “For instance, a more balanced approach to forest ecosystems could help compensate for decades of high-grading practices and respond to an emerging market for lower quality wood.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored the report through a grant to Oregon State University, which then partnered with APLU.

“Scientists at our public and land-grant universities have developed this report to more clearly identify the challenges we face and prioritize our research, education and outreach efforts,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “It provides a needed framework and should help guide policy decisions in the coming years.”

Founded in 1887, the APLU is a research, policy and advocacy organization representing 235 research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and affiliated organization, with member institutions in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada and Mexico.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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 History Professor, Author Wins Humanities Fellowship to Study Medieval Religious Spaces in England

Dr. Elizabeth Dachowski
Dr. Elizabeth Dachowski

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University History professor will participate in a four-week seminar on “Arts, Architecture and Devotional Interaction” at the University of York in York, England, this summer.

Dr. Elizabeth Dachowski is one of 16 teachers selected nationwide as National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholars to attend one of 30 seminars and institutes supported by the NEH.

The Endowment is a federal agency that supports enrichment opportunities at colleges, universities and cultural institutions each summer to help faculty work in collaboration and study with experts in humanities disciplines.

Dachowsky, author of First Among Abbots: The Career of Abbo of Fleury, who also teaches world history and upper-division courses in pre-modern Europe, said the seminar will focus on medieval religious spaces.

“York’s archival resources will be very useful in my current research project, which grew out of my book on Abbo of Fleury,” Dachowski said. “Recent research on how communities used spaces is very exciting, and this seminar will give me a chance to develop materials that will fill out my medieval and early modern history courses.”

Her research interests include ecclesiastical politics in France around the year 1000, cross-cultural interactions in monastic communities, and hagiographical writings as historical sources.

At the York Seminar, Dachowski will work on cross-cultural interactions among medieval monks, as well as study the alien priories and cells of Yorkshire, and search for references to foreign monks in English houses.

“York is an incredible city, and I’ve long thought that it would be a great base for exploring the historical sites of Britain,” Dachowski added.

Topics for the 30 seminars and institutes offered for college and university teachers this summer include Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia: literature, the arts, and cinema since independence; American Maritime People; America’s East Central Europeans: migration and memory; arts, architecture, and devotional interaction in England, 1200–1600; black aesthetics and African diasporic culture; and bridging national borders in North America, among others.

According to the NEI, the nearly 437 summer scholars who participate in these programs of study will teach over 113,925 American students the following year

Additionally, Dachowsk and her fellow scholars participating in the summer program will each receive a stipend of $3,300 to cover travel, study and living expenses.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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 Professors Receive Invitation by Tennessee Arts Commission To Serve on Advisory Panel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two professors from Tennessee State University had the opportunity recently to have a voice in statewide arts programming and planning when they took part in the Tennessee Arts Commission’s 2014 Citizen Advisory Panel.

Dr. Robert Elliott
Dr. Robert Elliott

Dr. Robert Elliott, professor and Chair of the Department of Music, along with Dr. Patricia Reeves, associate professor and coordinator of Music Education, offered advice on program planning and reviewed grant applications, as well as served as advocates for the arts in their communities.

“Working with music professors and professionals in reviewing Tennessee Arts Commission grant applications from across the state provided a unique opportunity to take the pulse of arts and music integration in communities throughout Tennessee,” said Elliott. “This experience will aid in helping to assure that students at Tennessee State University are provided appropriate instruction and preparation for careers in our state and across the country.”

Reeves agrees, stating that arts education is, without question, valuable and important in helping to shape and enhance the lives of children and adults.

“I am honored to have been asked to serve as a grants panelist for the Tennessee Arts Commission, both this year and last year,” Reeves said. “I am pleased to be able to help promote the wonderful work of our arts educators and the organizations that support them throughout the state of Tennessee.”

Dr. Patricia Reeves
Dr. Patricia Reeves

The annual meetings were held in Nashville throughout the month of April. Panels are divided into different categories including: Arts Education, Arts Access, Community Arts, Folk Arts, Literary Arts, Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Theater, Inter-Arts, Funds for At-Risk Youth, and Rural Arts. Panel members are appointed to two-year terms, and generally consist of professional artists, arts administrators, patrons, sponsors, educators, and community leaders.

“Our citizen panels consist of dedicated, informed and impartial individuals from across the state who provide an invaluable service to the arts in Tennessee,” said Anne B. Pope, Executive Director of the Tennessee Arts Commission. “The caliber of individuals serving on the panels is impressive, and their nomination for the panel is a testament to their expertise in arts-related fields. We are so appreciative of their time and effort—they are critical to making arts investments in every Tennessee community.”

In 2013, $6.3 million in arts grants was invested in every region of the state. The Tennessee Arts Commission, a state agency that cultivates the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities, made grants to more than 600 non-profit organizations, over half of which were schools.

The panel process is open, fair and based on independent peer reviews who are nominated. In order to be selected, panelists are required to include a statement of their individual qualifications to serve on the advisory panel. Nominees are contacted to confirm their interest and commitment to attend specific meetings and their willingness to serve as arts advocates in their areas. Panelists are expected to make a commitment to participate in an area orientation and to attend the grant applications review meeting.

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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’s Oldest Spring Graduate Set to Receive Degree at Age 67

James Bowen
James Bowen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – James Bowen is proving that college isn’t just for students age 18 to 22. Bowen is part of a growing population of older students returning to college, and will be the oldest student at Tennessee State University to receive his degree at the upcoming 2014 Spring Commencement at age 67.

“This is all part of me reinventing myself,” said Bowen, who will graduate with a master’s degree in Educational Technology. “I would like, in the long run, to encourage people to keep on learning. Our education is never complete.”

Bowen first stepped onto the TSU campus in the mid 1960s and played defensive back on the football team under Coach “Big John” Merritt while pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology. He went on to graduate in 1968.

“Things were a lot different back then,” added Bowen. “We were a wild bunch back then and not as dedicated to our studies as students today. Heck, we even had a curfew.”

Bowen left TSU after graduation and pursued different career opportunities, including teaching, but ultimately ended up in sales, where he became one of the top 50 car salesmen in the country. “I was enjoying life and making lots of money while raising a family but there was something missing,” he added. “At age 65, I decided I needed to go back to school to start on my next business venture.”

Bowen is part of a growing trend of older students returning to college and wants to help those returning “navigate the waters” of the admission process and how to approach “younger America.”

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the most significant shift of student growth is probably the massive increase in the adult-student population in higher education in the past 20 years. Thirty-eight percent of those enrolled in higher education are over the age of 25 and one-fourth are over the age of 40. The share of all students who are over age 40 is projected to increase another 23 percent by 2019. It is that growing population Bowen wants to target.

“I want to help others make that leap and provide them some insight on the application process and dealing with students more that half their age,” Bowen added.

Life on campus, added Bowen, as well as students have changed in the 46 years since he left the University. “I want to serve as an inspiration to students age 65 or older who want to return but don’t know where to start.”

Students are more disciplined today, said Bowen, but the biggest challenge he, and perhaps those returning have to deal with, is the advancement of technology. He has been required to learn everything from computers to mobile devices and social media.

“It’s was tough at first,” said Bowen. “I started the process early so I could prepare myself for what would be thrown my way. I started with an email address, which I never had, bought a computer and started teaching myself the basics. I then slowly learned about the different social media platforms and how they all connected.”

Now that he is ready to graduate, Bowen is not only ready to share what he learned with others, but remain on campus with other students and continue learning. A life-long learner, he eventually wants to teach.

“Since being here at Tennessee State University, I’ve acquired this hunger and thirst for education,” Bowen said. “I would love to continue my studies and go into agricultural education and go into teaching. It’s a passion.”

At graduation on May 10, family members from around Nashville will file into Hale Stadium and turn out to support Bowen. They include his children, ex-wife, grandchildren and various other family members.

“I want to show my family members and anyone else that if you dream it, you can do it,” said Bowen. “I am proud to be an inspiration to others, whether they’re in their 30s, 40s, or even their 90s, and let them know that it’s never too late to chase your dreams.”

 

 

READ more student success stories including:

Johnathan Fitzgerald
Annette Scruggs
Karen Munoz

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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.

Karen Munoz

Held Together by Screws, Nuts and Bolts, “Ultimate Bionic Woman” to Graduate from Tennessee State University

Karen Munoz
Karen Munoz

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Fresh out of an abusive marriage with no money, mounting bills and three children to care for, Karen Denese Munoz had no where to go but down, at least so she thought.

With a last gasp for relief, the college dropout turned to her father, Leo Ronald Summers Sr., for advice on how to cope.

“Don’t complain when you don’t have; learn to improvise,” the retired Army lieutenant told his daughter.

While Munoz said her father’s response was not exactly the answer she was looking for, it gave her a different perspective on life and how to find strength in the face of difficulties and unfortunate circumstances.

No doubt that renewed sense of determination has worked well for Munoz, who will accomplish a journey she started more than 32 years ago.

In spite of multiple surgeries and operations to repair a crushed vertebrae, head injuries and a broken neck and back, that left her in constant pain and in a state of severe depressive disorder and anxiety, the Fort Hood, Texas, native will receive her college degree when Tennessee State University hold its spring commencement May 10.

“I live by trying to improvise as my father told me,” Munoz said about how she was able to maintain a near 3.0 GPA to graduate with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Human Resource Management, despite her disorder, which has left her unable to fully concentrate, think or remember “as others.”

“I had to study twice as hard as the average person to concentrate and retain,” said Munoz, who keeps sticky notes “everywhere” to help her remember.

Munoz’s college journey began in 1983 at TSU as an Architectural Engineering major. Three years into her college work, things began to unravel for the young, promising student. Married at the time, with children and a physically and mentally abusive husband, who insisted she seeks full-time employment, she quit school to work with the Metro Public School Harris Hillman as a Para Professional.

Although Munoz eventually walked out of her marriage, having to care for her children alone, a series of unfortunate events soon began to unfold that would change the course of her life forever. Because of the seriousness of her neck and vertebrae injuries, she was reassigned to several different departments in Metro. Finally she received permanent placement at the Transportation Department.

One day while getting something from the supply closet at work with the door opened, Munoz said, a coworker (who was not aware of her presence) pushed the door, apparently trying to open it while she was behind, the knob on the other side hit her directly in the tail bone. The force sent her crashing, head first, into the door paneling ahead, crushing her vertebrae.

As if fate had an unfinished business with Munoz, while recovering from that injury, she was in a car accident that left her with a broken back and neck.

“I was in a concussion that lasted two years,” she said. “My vertebrae had to be fused from the top to the bottom through a process called spinal track titanium fusion. That’s the only thing that’s holding my head up. I do not have any peripheral view because I cannot move my head side to side. I can only look ahead.”

For Munoz, being able to cope through all her pain and suffering have not come without a good sense of humor.

“I am the ultimate bionic woman,” she said.  “If you move all of the titanium from my body I will never move again. My condition is irreversible.”

Saying that she is being held together by modern technology, Munoz is thankful to God, her family and the doctors at Vanderbilt Hospital for giving her a chance, although she laments the constant pain from screws, nuts and bolts in her body.”

“The pain never goes away; I have to take medication to sleep. This is something I live with,” she added.

But with all of what seem to be impairments, and getting out of yet another physically and mentally abusive relationship, in addition to losing her job with Metro, Munoz said she was constantly haunted by her desire to complete her college work.

“These disabilities from my injuries affected me so much at work that I asked for an IOD (Injured while on Duty and or Medical Disability) waiver, which Metro denied and fired me,” Munoz said, adding that the denial and subsequent dismissal gave her more inspiration.

With five children (including a step son and a nephew), no job, her house in foreclosure and no money, Munoz said she applied for and was granted financial aid loan at TSU.

“When they checked my record they told me I was a senior and I had only few credits to complete my college work,” she said.

Munoz immediately went to work, with the deeply imbedded thought of the advice her father had given her, and the urging of her mother to leave her second abusive husband and return to school. She registered with a full load of college work.

“I decided I would pursue my degree in the hopes of changing my circumstances. I studied twice as hard, using my sleeplessness to my advantage to take in as much as I could,” she said.

Even at that, Munoz, whose father is also a TSU graduate, said many times she wanted to quit, having been out of school for nearly 32 years, but a sign on the Business Information board at the Avon Williams campus that read, “You are never too old to achieve your goal,” inspired her to press on.

“It was at that moment that I went full steam ahead stopping at nothing to achieve this goal which I had dreamed of all these years,” she said.

And so she did.

Munoz, 48, who is now married to Lugo San Munoz, a Salvadoran native, said she plans to go to graduate school and open a preparatory college in El Salvador for underprivileged high school students who have graduated high school but have no where to go. The school will be named Summers International Integration College of Excellence, after her father and mother who have been her inspiration.

“The hope is to partner with El Salvador to send their students to TSU and after they graduate they will return to their country where they will teach others.

“This is my lifelong dream. This is what God has sent me forth to do, and I intend to improvise in anyway possible to accomplish that ….screws, nuts, bolts or not.”

 

READ more student success stories including:

Johnathan Fitzgerald
Annette Scruggs

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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.

Cooperative Extension’s Farmer Academy Training to Benefit Returning Veterans, Ranchers and New Farmers

Unknown-2NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension program in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences will host a “New Farmer Academy” to help inspire a new generation of farmers, ranchers and returning veterans to develop successful small farm enterprises in the state, beginning June 16.

The academy, which targets potential owners of small acreages who desire information on how to best utilize their land and other resources to produce crops and raise livestock, will meet on the third Monday of each month from June to October, with graduation set for November 17. Graduates will earn a certificate while gaining hands-on practical agricultural training and advice from mentors. Each participant will receive a notebook including workshop presentations and other helpful resources.

“Here at Tennessee State University, we are very pleased to provide this opportunity to anyone but specifically to new farmers and returning veterans who are interested in starting a small farm operation in Tennessee,” said Dr. Latif Lighari, associate dean for Extension.

Topics to be addressed during the six-month program include: Agricultural Leadership, Agricultural Regulations; Agri-Tourism; Enterprise Selection; Financial Planning; Fruit and Vegetable Production; Hydroponics and Irrigation; Organic Production; Farm Equipment Selection, Maintenance and Safety; Soil Fertility and Suitability; Small Flock Poultry Production; and Value-Added Agribusiness and Direct Marketing Techniques.

The cost to attend is $150 per person and includes all educational material and a lunch at each session. To register, contact Rhonda Ewing at (615) 963-1351 or rewing1@tnstate.edu. For more information about this program, contact Finis Stribling at (931) 375-5301 or fstribling@tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University and trailblazing golf coach celebrated in ‘From the Rough’ hitting theaters April 25

OFFICIAL MOVIE TRAILER |  FOCUS ON POTENTIAL CLIP |  PHOTOS

Blog_From-The-Rough-FINAL-HI-REZ-ART

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and former golf coach Dr. Catana Starks will take over the big screen when From the Rough opens nationwide on Friday, April 25.

The film highlights the powerful story of Coach Starks as the first female golf coach of a Division I men’s team while at Tennessee State University. Through grit and determination, she overcame incredible odds to guide a group of golfers to a championship season.

“This is an amazing story about an amazing woman, and the entire Tennessee State University family is so proud of her,” said University President Glenda Glover. “Equally important is the fact that the HBCU experience is being shared with a broader audience.”

Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson will portray a fictionalized version of Coach Starks named Cassandra Turner. The character parlays a successful stint as coach of a women’s swim team at a historically black university into a shot at building the men’s golf team. With the availability of black players scarce, Turner scours Europe, Australia and Asia for hidden talent and constructs a uniquely multi-racial team.

According to Starks, the production of the film has been in the making for years.

“I was really pleased and I thought it was a great idea,” Starks said. “I am a shy person; I don’t even like taking pictures, but I think it’s good to have a female being honored in this way.”

When Tennessee State University joined the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference in 1986, then-Athletic Director Bill Thomas traded the University’s swimming program for a men’s golf team and called on the leadership of Starks to guide the program. Starks then made history becoming the only African-American female in the nation to coach a men’s golf team.

Starks has coached a diverse group of players throughout her career, including Canadian Sean Foley, who is currently Tigers Woods’ swing coach.

Foley believes Starks had a big impact on his life, as stated in an ESPN article.

“Coach Starks has a Ph.D.,” Foley said. “She’s well-educated… I used to sit in the front of the bus with Coach. We would ride for hours and hours. She always saw something in me. She always knew I was going to do special things in some form. She didn’t know what I was going to be.

“As I got little older, I looked back on Coach. She was so impressive. I should have spent more time trying to figure out how she did it all. To see what Coach accomplished, and became as a professor at the university, and all that stuff is really something.”

Starks, who retired in 2011 as head of TSU’s Department of Human Performance and Sports Sciences, guided the team to a Division I record win for the National Minority Championship. Under her guidance, the team also produced the first African-American men’s head coach for Michigan State University (Sam Puryear) and an All-American, who is a member of the European Tour (Robert Dinwiddie).

“Hopefully this will draw more African-American females into coaching on the collegiate level and coaching the opposite sex,” Starks said. “Men have been doing it for many years and I think there are a lot of great women out there who probably could do a much better job than I have done. I hope this film inspires other women to try their hand at coaching.”

President Glover agreed, adding that that Starks’ story is one of perseverance, hard work, faith and excellence. She also acknowledges that this is just one of many remarkable stories to emerge from TSU.

“This is a great opportunity for TSU to publicly acknowledge another chapter of our institution’s storied and proud past,” she said. “Today, we soar to new heights as our students, faculty and alumni continue to accomplish great things in academics and athletics.”

TSU will make it a From the Rough weekend providing transportation for students to see the movie in local theaters. The school has also encouraged alumni across the country to support the film.

“Dr. Starks’ contributions to Tennessee State University as an alumna, faculty member and coach are nothing short of incredible,” said Cassandra Griggs, director of TSU’s Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “These extraordinary stories play out every day among our university community, and we are so thankful of all that Dr. Starks has given to this university. I know our alumni nationwide join us in our excitement and look forward to supporting this film highlighting yet another dynamic TSU success.”

The movie From the Rough opens nationwide in theaters April 25. See the attached list of current markets, and check local listings for show times in your area.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 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.