Category Archives: NEWS

TSU Student and Graffiti Artist’s Passion Is Transforming A North Nashville Neighborhood’s Walls

Courtesy of National Public Radio

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Jenkins lives with his grandma, Lovie Jenkins, who has turned her house into a gallery of Jenkins’s work. CREDIT JAY JENKINS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a North Nashville yard, artists have transformed concrete walls into canvases by painting a dozen large-scale murals. It’s at 817 18th Avenue North, in what owner A.J. Sankari says used to be a wheel and rubber factory. The man behind it is Jay Jenkins, an art student from TSU.

On one wall, you see a painting of a woman who is reading from a big book, while formulas and equations float through the cosmos above her. On another, a kid lifts up his shirt, revealing a bull’s eye on his chest.

Jenkins grew up in the neighborhood. He works part-time at Home Depot, collecting carts from the parking lot. But he says he’s usually preoccupied with one thing: art.

“I mean art is a lifestyle so it’s the only thing on my mind,” Jenkins says. “When I’m driving, I’m thinking about art. When I’m in class, I’m thinking about art. When I’m pushing carts, I’m thinking about art. Besides my family, it’s the only thing I think about.”

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Graffiti artist Arjae signs his Norf Wall Fest mural. CREDIT ERICA CICCARONE

Jenkins is lean and tall with short dreadlocks and a big smile. Even when he says he’s stressed out, he appears relaxed and self-assured. He’s popular among his professors and classmates at TSU, but his biggest fan is his grandma, Lovie Jenkins.

She has Jenkins’s paintings hanging in every room of her house, and even hangs up paintings that bother her. In one six-foot tall painting, a guy has caution tape wrapped around his face that’s covered in words you usually don’t want your grandma to see. But she still displayed it right outside the kitchen.

Jenkins says he didn’t think about art until high school, when he saw a friend drawing graffiti in a notebook. “I asked him can he teach me how to do that, and eventually he did show me and took me out painting. I was drawing before that, but once I started doing graffiti, it became a passion.”

His paintings are big, complex, influenced by jazz and surrealism.

Growing up, Jenkins watched North Nashville sidewalks crack and buildings fall into disrepair, while other parts of the city got bigger and better. But he also knows his neighborhood has something that others don’t: four historical black colleges.

He felt driven to harness the talent coming out of these schools, so he convinced Sankari to let him transform the walls in his lot into canvases for Norf Wall Fest. That’s Norf with an “F” because he says, “Everybody from North Nashville says ‘norf’ with an ‘F’ at the end of it.”

He turned to his mentor Thaxton Waters, who runs a gallery on Jefferson Street called Art History Class Lifestyle Lounge and Gallery. It’s filled with antique furniture and paintings by local Black artists.

“When he came to me with this idea, I was like man, this is beautiful because anytime we have the opportunity to heighten the aesthetic value of our neighborhood, we have to jump on that,” Waters says. “What was just him spitting out ideas is growing and has morphed into a whole ‘nother Frankenstein, so I love it.”

Waters helped Jenkins select seasoned graffiti artists who could handle the huge concrete canvases. They looked for work that addressed race, class, and community, issues central to the neighborhood.

In one mural by an artist who goes by Arjae, a nude Black woman sits among clouds at sunset, her back to the viewer, with the words “Not an object” written below her.

All this comes on the heels of *Metro Nashville Arts Commission’s recent report that highlights how people of color have been excluded from the arts. But this is not news to Jenkins’s mentor, Waters, who views his gallery and the surrounding North Nashville artistic neighborhood as a way around arts institutions.

“When I went through all the institutions and went through the art history books, I just didn’t see things that reflected me. That sends a message to the viewer: Why am I not important?” Waters says.

This feeling — to be visible, to make a mark, to assert that you exist — that’s why graffiti started, and it’s what drives Jenkins.

“I’ve got these worlds in my head that I get to show people,” Jenkins says. “I’m not really good at explaining things. My grandma says I’m quiet. I don’t really talk much, so I talk through my art.”

 

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 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.

 

Head of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation lauds TSU feature in HBCU Calendar

President Glenda Glover
President Glenda Glover

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The head of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation says the inclusion of Tennessee State University in the 2016 Black History HBCU Calendar and Resources Guide helps highlight what’s “great about Nashville.”

Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover is one of 13 leaders and visionaries in education, medicine, law, sports, corporate management and entertainment featured in the 2016 publication.

The calendar, a national fundraising vehicle for Historically Black Colleges and Universities now in its 10th year, features individuals and trailblazers who have made “outstanding” contributions in their fields.

“TSU’s feature in the HBCU calendar is yet another recognition of everything great about Nashville,” said Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation. “TSU is a long-standing treasure and a huge part of our heritage. We couldn’t be more pleased or proud.”

Glover said she’s honored to be featured.

“It’s something I will always cherish,” she said.

Others featured in the calendar include tennis star Serena Williams; multiple award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson; and Dr. Ronald A. Johnson, president of Clark Atlanta University, among others.

As a fundraising instrument, the calendar has helped to contribute needed funds to schools across the country. It serves as a resource for students and parents.

The calendar, which is now available across the nation, can be purchased online and at Walgreens stores.

 

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 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.

Longtime AP Reporter Joins TSU as Director of Media Relations

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Lucas Johnson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Lucas Johnson, a longtime reporter with the Associated Press, has joined the communications team at Tennessee State University as director of Media Relations. He replaces Rick DelaHaya.

“I am very delighted to announce the addition of Lucas Johnson to our staff as the new director of Media Relations,” Kelli Sharpe, assistant vice president of University Public Relations and Communications, said. “For more than two decades as a reporter with the Associated Press Lucas has established himself as a capable and respected journalist. I am thrilled to have him join our media department.”

Prior to joining TSU, Johnson worked for 24 years with the AP covering local, state and national news. For the last 10 years he covered the Tennessee General Assembly as a beat reporter. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Johnson holds a B.A. in journalism from Middle Tennessee State University.

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 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.

Four TSU Professors Receive USDA Capacity Building Grants for Research and Extension Services

USDANASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has divided its annual funding awards for capacity building in teaching, research and extension. With nearly $1.4 million, Tennessee State University is among the highest recipients of this year’s $18 million allotted for the 20 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities that submitted successful proposals.

The capacity building fund, attained through a competitive grant writing process, is an initiative intended to increase and strengthen food and agriculture sciences at the schools through integration of teaching, research and extension.

Four professors in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences will share this year’s awards in research and extension services, according to Dr. Carter Catlin, associate dean for Research. They are John Hall, Agnes Kilonzo-Ntheng, William Sutton and Samuel Nahashon.

“These grants help us build our capacity in new frontiers of research and education,” Dr. Chandra Reddy, the dean of CAHNS said.  “We have immensely benefited from this program by adding teaching and research capacity in many new areas such as biofuels, remote sensing, urban forestry, biotechnology, to name a few.  Our faculty have been doing a superb job of competing and securing these funds at the highest rate possible.”

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Dr. John Hall

Hall, assistant professor in Extension Services, received $455,923 to design a state-of-the-art mobile education trailer to increase agricultural literacy in urban communities across the southeastern United States. Additionally, the funding will support the creation and implementation of a comprehensive plan to recruit students for all degree programs in CAHNS as well as develop leadership training program for youth, collegiate, and adult audiences.

“This is an integrated project that seeks to meet teaching and extension needs,” Hall said.

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Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Ntheng

In research, Kilonzo-Ntheng will use her $350,000 award in a collaborative effort with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to implement Good Agricultural Practices certification programs for small and medium-sized produce farms, and determine risk practices and profiles for generic E. coli, Salmonella and Enterobacteriaceae in produce farms. She will also conduct risk communication workshops for small and medium-sized scale growers, and increase students’ participation in food safety outreach.

“Produce growers have come under increasing pressure to ensure that their products are safe, wholesome, and meet the proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act, said Kilonzo-Ntheng, associate professor of Family and Consumer Sciences. “While the goal for GAPs certification is clear, limited-resource growers often do not pursue the certification due to the costs. However, to succeed in the 21st century economy, these growers must be GAPs certified and empowered to meet food safety requirements.”

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Dr. William Sutton

For Sutton, assistant professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, his $400,000 research award will study how landscape alteration in the form of forest management impacts wildlife conservation.

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Dr. Samuel Nahashon

Nahashon, professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, received $100,000 to research new and emerging areas of biotechnology such as transcriptome analysis and computational bioinformatics. He will collaborate with an expert in computational bioinformatics at the University of Georgia to determine the mechanisms and modes of action of probiotics in conferring beneficial effects to poultry.

“This project is also an effort to continue strengthening the biotechnology research and teaching program in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at TSU,” Nahashon 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 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.

School Teaches Farmers to Brew Own Biodiesel

Courtesy: Domestic Fuel

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Dr. de Koff, professor of Bioenergy Crop Production, and Project Director for the MBED demonstrates biodiesel production to students at Cheatham County High School on Sept. 19, 2014.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Farmers are known to be a pretty independent breed, and a school is teaching them to be energy independent by brewing their own biodiesel. This story from RFD-TV says Tennessee State University’s Agricultural Research and Education Center has a unique outreach program that teaches farmers about making their own on-farm biodiesel.

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Dr. Jason de Koff

“This is something where they can grow it, and they can make it themselves and they can use it on the farm,” says Jason de Koff, an assistant professor in agronomy and soil science at Tennessee State University. The school’s mobile demonstration trailer – think of it as a workshop on wheels – is making waves across the volunteer state.

“We were awarded a grant by the USDA back in 2012,” de Koff explains. “The grant was to create a demonstration that we could use to talk to farmers about producing their own biodiesel on the farm.”

TSU created this mobile biodiesel demonstration trailer at the university’s Agricultural Research and Education Center…where they even grow their own canola.

“The reason why we wanted to do this,” says de Koff, “is because we’ve estimated that anywhere between 1 percent and 3 percent of the farm acreage can be devoted to growing some of the oilseed crops for biodiesel production. The farmer can produce enough biodiesel from that to power their diesel equipment for the entire year.

“The canola seeds are stored here inside this bin and then they funnel their way down through this tunnel on the equipment. You can see that the seeds are then pressed for their oil, dripping down into this container. Down here on the end is everything that’s left over, something that can break off and be used in your animal feed. Once we’ve got the oil from the seed press, we can take it and put it in this biodiesel processor. This is where the actual conversion and actual production of biodiesel take place.”

The article points out that the cost to produce biodiesel on the farm is just $2.90 per gallon, a savings from buying at the pump. And farmers can apply for a Rural Energy for America grant program to help pay for 25 percent of the brewing equipment costs.

College Graduates Must Impact Society Beyond Personal Success, TSU Commencement Speaker Says

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President Glenda Glover and Dr. Lomax, the Fall 2015 Commencement speaker, lead the graduation procession in the Gentry Complex. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – College graduates are expected to be leaders with capabilities that impact society beyond their families and personal careers, the keynote at Tennessee State University’s fall commencement told more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students who received degrees in various disciplines Saturday.

Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund, said by working so hard and achieving a university degree in spite of difficult and insurmountable odds, position graduates to be leaders who are “doers, makers and shapers of events and outcomes.”

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The Fall 2015 Commencement celebration begins in the Gentry Complex. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“America and the world need active and engaged citizens who are not just satisfied with their personal success,” Lomax said. “As leaders you must see that some part of your life, some portion of your personal power, and your leadership are invested in work beyond yourself, your family and close friends.”

While challenging the graduates, Lomax, leader of the nation’s largest provider of scholarships and other educational support to African-American students, also called for strengthening of the educational system if those leaving institutions of higher learning are to have any chance to succeed.

“The global, technology-driven knowledge economy demands that educational institutions be more effective and efficient in producing measurable student outcomes and graduates who can transition smoothly from the classroom to the workplace,” he said. “Those (graduates) who either don’t have the advanced skills or cannot attain them will be punished with low-wage jobs at the bottom of the employment ladder.”

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Many TSU staff were among those receiving advance degrees at the Fall 2015 Commencement. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Among those receiving degrees were the first graduating class of the university’s 12-month Accelerated MBA Program in the College of Business. The program started in January 2015 with 14 cohorts. Also receiving degrees was a mother/daughter team, who earned bachelor’s degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies, and Psychology, respectively.

Chelsea Marlin, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, was recognized for achieving the highest GPA among her fellow undergraduates.

Lomax, under whose leadership the UNCF has fought for college readiness and education reform, said, “The increasing emphasis on test is to confirm that students are learning, building the knowledge and skills they will need to advance and compete and demonstrate that their diploma is more than a piece of paper.”

He extolled the leadership of TSU under President Glenda Glover, calling her an “exemplary leader.”

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More than 500 undergraduate and graduate students received degrees in various disciplines at the Fall 2015 Commencement. (Photo by John Cross)

“The challenge of building and maintaining a 21st century university is great,” he said. “This calls for leaders who can envision the future, set bold and challenging goals and guide the institution through disagreements and controversies toward attaining its goals. This is the work that TSU’s dynamic, determined, focused and keenly intelligent president, Dr. Glover, is called to do.”

Earlier, President Glover thanked Lomax for agreeing to be the fall commencement speaker. She presented the UNCF leader with a plaque as a token of appreciation from the university. She congratulated the graduates for their accomplishments.

“You have endured and prepared yourselves to reach this goal which may have seemed unattainable, but you stuck with it,” Dr. Glover said. “You must always remember that you did not accomplish this goal all by yourselves. There were parents, relatives, friends and mentors who helped you along the way. Remember to thank them.”

Friday night, Glover hosted a reception in honor of Lomax at the President’s Residence. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry; TSU graduate and Vice Chair of the UNCF Board, Kevin W. Williams, were among guests, including university administrators, alumni and friends who attended the reception.

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 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.

Mother and Daughter to March in Fall Commencement Dec. 12

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Michelle Vaughn will watch her daughter Equilla Coffee earn her degree in psychology on Saturday morning. A few minutes later, they will switch roles. Coffee will move to the stands and watch her mother receive her degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.

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Michelle Vaughn

The mother-daughter team will join nearly 500 other undergraduate and graduate students receiving degrees in various disciplines when TSU holds its fall Commencement in the Gentry Complex at 9 a.m.

For Vaughn, completing college is the fulfillment of a dream started 27 years ago, and taking the final walk with her daughter makes achieving that dream even more special.

“It is just a good feeling to know that my years of hard work have finally come to fruition,” Vaughn said. “The joy of me walking along side my daughter on the same platform is just overwhelming.”

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Equilla Coffee

“I could not have wished for a better graduation gift than to see my mom, not in the stands, but marching with me,” Coffee said. “She sacrificed a lot for us including putting her education aside to care for me and my siblings.”

“Putting her education aside” was just what Vaughn did, but for more reasons than to care for family. In 1988, Vaughn enrolled at TSU but before the year ended, she dropped out for no apparent reason.

“I had the opportunity to get my education earlier but I was playing and did not take advantage of it,” said Vaughn, whose mother, Georgiana Priddy, has been an employee at TSU for 46 years. “I had the chance to benefit from the university’s fee-waiver plan and get a free education since my mother works there (TSU) but I had other plans.

“I just didn’t feel like it, then I took on a full-time job and life was good.”

Somewhere inside her, however, the thought of getting an education “kept haunting me.”

In 2005, Vaughn re-enrolled, taking the minimum nine-hour course load. But this time, faced with family obligations – a husband, three children and a job – she quit school again. Not long after, in 2008, Vaughn gave education another try. This time she was determined not to turn back, said the 45-year-old.

“I felt I owed it to my children, my family and myself to persevere and complete this journey,” said Vaughn, a 16-year employee at TSU working as a senior library assistant. “It was tough, but studying and working alongside my daughter – although we were in different classes – was really a major motivation. I am glad I did it.”

Vaughn is graduating from the College of Liberal Arts with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and Coffee is receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Education.

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 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 Alum Amos Otis Honored with 2015 Rosa Parks Courage Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University alumnus Amos Otis (’65) has been selected as a 2015 Rosa Parks Courage Award honoree. As part of the 60th anniversary observance of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted 382 days and set off the Civil Rights Movement, the Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute (SYLDI) and Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) honored Otis and other individuals during the “Evening to Remember” awards ceremony Dec. 4 in Montgomery, Alabama.

The event saluted those who have fought for civil rights in Alabama and across the nation and have made significant contributions to civil rights helping to raise the public’s awareness in the spirit of Rosa Parks, who once said, “Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.” Parks’ refused to give up her seat on a city bus Dec. 1, 1955.

“I am immensely proud to have been one of five people to receive the Legends Award during the gala,” Otis said. “This award acknowledged my inspirations gained from my community, and especially Mrs. Rosa Parks, through her defiance of the dehumanizing Jim Crow laws. My quest has been to equal their sacrifices and teachings by becoming a successful businessman and entrepreneur, then sharing my success with the institutions of my hometown, Montgomery, Alabama.”

Otis grew up in Montgomery in the same neighborhood as Rosa Parks, who often talked with him and other young children about “the achievements of their people – Negroes,” Otis said.

Along with Otis, other recipients included Southern Poverty Law Center Founder and CEO Morris Dees; U.S. Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan); civil and human rights activist Juanita Abernathy; and the Rev. and Mrs. Samuel Rodriguez, among others.

Emcees for the evening were TSU alumni Xernona Clayton (’52) and Dr. Bobby Jones (’59). Clayton was the first black woman to have a prime time talk show with “The Xernona Clayton Show” in 1967 while Jones, a Grammy winner, has hosted the longest-running cable television program, “Bobby Jones Gospel,” on BET.

“Why do I think that we need to celebrate the Montgomery Bus Boycott, because I think we truly changed world history,” Doris Dozier Crenshaw, civil right pioneer and founder of the SYLDI told the Montgomery Advertiser. “Rosa Parks was an advocate of education and community service. We work to bring together people who are doing things special in the community.”

Otis founded SoBran, Incorporated in 1987 after a distinguished 21-year career as an Air Force Officer. He led SoBran from a lean start-up in the basement of his Fairfax County, Virginia home to a $61 million company with diverse bioscience, engineering, logistics, and risk management expertise. Under his leadership, SoBran has reached Inc. magazine’s list of America’s fastest-growing private companies and Black Enterprise magazine’s list of the top 100 industrial/service companies. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University, an MBA from The California State University System, and a Master of Military Art and Science from Air University.

“As a successful businessman and graduate of TSU, Amos epitomizes the essence of a Tennessee State University Tiger,” said Cassandra Griggs, director of the TSU Office of Alumni Relations. “For more than 20 years, he has devoted his time through participation in roundtable discussions with students, his professional expertise as a Foundation Board member and his generosity through contributions to an endowment for student scholarships. We congratulate Amos on receiving the 2015 Rosa Parks Courage Award. He is most deserving.”

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 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 College of Business Students Give Back During Fall Break

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Tracy Pleasants, interim director of the Supply Chain Management Program, left; graduate student Ambiobola Akimya; and a community volunteer help prepare food for the  homeless in the Samaritan Ministries’ soup kitchen. (Courtesy Photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Like many students, Starr Ambrosia Muslim usually spends her fall break relaxing with family and friends or studying for the upcoming final exams. For fall 2015, the Detroit junior Business Administration major had something else in mind – put herself aside and help others most in need.

“Doing something that puts a smile on another person’s face just makes me happy,” Muslim said. “Many of us take for granted how fortunate we are when there are people who wish they had just a fraction of the things we enjoy.”

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Amine Samoudi, left, and Sarita Criswell help a Samaritan Ministries’ volunteer set up at the soup kitchen. (Courtesy Photo)

On Nov. 24, Muslim, five other students and staff of the Tennessee State University Supply Chain Management Program in the College of Business spent the day feeding the hungry. They volunteered with the Samaritan Ministries, an outreach program of the Temple Church, to help serve lunch to the homeless.

“Volunteering to serve food to the homeless was an excellent experience I will not soon forget,” said Amine Samoudi, also a junior Business Administration major. “I believe volunteering is like a glue that holds the community together because the feeling keeps us connected and makes the community a better place for everyone.”

In addition to feeding the homeless, the students helped with set-up as they welcomed guests with “smiles and kind words.”

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Supply Chain Management students Zenan Li, left, Akimbiobola Akimya, Starr Muslim, interim director Tracy Pleasants, Amine Samoudi and Sarita Criswell spent a full day of their fall break helping to feed the homeless in Nashville. (Courtesy Photo)

For more than 30 years the Samaritan Ministries has been a mainstay in providing services to the homeless of Nashville, according church officials. With support from the Second Harvest Food Bank and other donations, the ministry provides food, clothing and other services to needy residents of the community.

“It’s not enough for students to receive a great education,” said Tracy Pleasants, interim director of the Supply Chain Management Program. “They must also learn to give back to the communities in which they live. This emphasis on academic excellence and social responsibility are core values of the College of Business.”

The Supply Chain Management Student Organization decided to volunteer with Samaritan Ministries as part of their community involvement commitment, Pleasant said. “These outstanding students not only want to be known for their academic excellence but also for their community leadership,” she added.

Other students who participated in the community service were graduate students Zenan Li, from Luoyang, China; Ambiobola Akimya, from Akure, Nigeria; and Sarita Criswell, a senior from Nashville. They are all Business Administration majors with concentration in Supply Chain Management.

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 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 Gloria Johnson to Receive Award for Community Involvement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Gloria Johnson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, will be among those receiving awards Sunday, Dec. 6, when the Jefferson Street United Merchant Partnership honors six community leaders during the group’s 16th Annual Christmas Extravaganza.

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Dr. Gloria Johnson

Johnson will receive “The Candlelight” award given to individuals who have shown leadership in the African-American community. According to a JUMP release, Johnson was chosen for active community involvement and service for more than 40 years in Nashville.

“The Candlelight award is an attempt to show appreciation to those individuals who have shown leadership in the African-American community,” said Sharon Hurt, president/CEO of JUMP and at-large member of the Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County Council.  “It is a small award in comparison to the value of the service that Dr. Gloria C. Johnson has provided to the Nashville community for so many years.”

Johnson, a Nashville native and 1970 graduate of Tennessee State University, has been a faculty and administrator at TSU for more than 44 years. Before becoming dean she served in various capacities including professor, associate dean, department chair, student adviser, and coordinator of pre-college programs such as Upward Bound, INROADS Nashville, and the Delta Academy. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

jump_christmas_for_web“I am extremely honored to be recognized by JUMP,” Johnson said.  “As a person who grew up near the university, I have seen many changes on Jefferson Street and in the entire North Nashville community.  I am very pleased that JUMP exists and emphasizes the need to support businesses in the community.”

JUMP is a local Nashville community partnership created to advocate for community, economic and workforce development of the Jefferson Street Corridor. The annual Christmas Extravaganza will be held at 15th Avenue Baptist Church, 6 – 7:30 p.m.