Category Archives: Research and Sponsored Programs

Tennessee State University part of cutting-edge research aimed at reducing cancer disparities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This holiday season, cancer survivor Navita Gunter has a lot to be thankful for, mainly her life.

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Navita Gunter

But she’s not content with her own personal survival. Understanding her own struggle when she was stricken with cervical cancer several years ago, and finding little compassion and help, Gunter has vowed not to let that happen to another woman.

“My struggle gave me purpose and compassion for others,” she said.

Gunter, founder of the Cervical Cancer Coalition of Tennessee, has joined TSU as head of the community advisory board for a four-component cancer research project at the university.

The U54 Partnership to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities, refunded recently by the National Cancer Institute for another five years, is a coalition involving TSU, Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University. Its goal is to create a model for eliminating disparities in cancer through education, prevention and treatment.

The components of the project are community outreach and engagement, smoking cessation, breast cancer awareness, and cancer research education.

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Mariam Boules, a senior biology major, works in Dr. Margaret Whalen’s research lab. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“The intent of this award is to reduce health disparities,” said Dr. Margaret Whalen, professor of chemistry, who heads the cancer research education component. “The specific disparities we are looking at is the disparity between the vast majority of people and certain groups, like African American, in terms of cancer incidence.”

Whalen’s role, she said, is educating students to get them interested in doing cancer research to try to broaden the number of individuals who engage in cancer research.

“If we have more people from different backgrounds engaging in cancer research who are able to understand and deal better with the disparities, they will be more interested in trying to address the situation.”

Although there has been substantial progress in cancer treatment, screening, diagnosis, and prevention over the past several decades, addressing cancer health disparities—such as higher cancer death rates, less frequent use of proven screening tests, and higher rates of advanced cancer diagnoses—in certain populations is an area in which progress has not kept pace, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Documented cancer health disparities include substantially higher rates of prostate cancer incidence and death among African American men than men of other racial/ethnic groups; and higher rates of kidney cancer among American Indian and Alaska Natives than other racial/ethnic groups.

Mariam Boules is Dr. Whalen’s student and a senior biology major with minors in psychology and chemistry. She said exposure to the cancer research has been enlightening.

“The research is teaching me a lot of new things,” Boules said. “Having to do hands-on in the lab for about eight hours a day and enjoying the stuff you are doing and learning about; all those compounds and how they affect our system and our cells is just amazing.”

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Dr. Rebecca Selove

In the case of smoking cessation, TSU scientists are looking at tobacco use and the health disparities it presents, especially the incidence of lung cancer death rate among African-American men.

“Our role at TSU is the design of behavioral intervention,” said Dr. Rebecca Selove, a clinical psychologist and research associate professor, who heads the smoking cessation component of the project. “This entails telling people about the program, and giving them information in general about how important it is to get that support if they are tobacco users.”

Selove said the intervention would be designed along with the Cancer Outreach Corp, and would involve counseling people about cessation and motivating them to sign up and stick with the program.

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Dr. Oscar Miller

Dr. Oscar Miller, chair and professor of sociology, heads the outreach component. He coordinates and maintains the activities of the community advisory board, which is comprised of experts in government and community organizations, whose mission is to help reduce cancer disparities and also to disseminate cancer research findings and information.

“One of the things we do is look at the researchers, or the research that is ongoing, and try to find community partners who have some expertise in that,” Miller said. “We meet about four times a year to discuss upcoming research projects, new areas of research, and help the researchers at the three institutions on how to include the community findings in their research.”

Gunter is excited about the cancer research, and what the future holds.

“The TSU project has expanded the research effort in this area and helped me touch more people than what I was touching before,” she said.

TSU’s involvement in cancer research, in particular, is far-reaching. Recently, renowned cancer specialist and TSU alum, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, was part of a panel that made recommendations to help speed the development of cancer cures.

The Blue Ribbon Panel of scientific leaders and cancer patient advocates was formed to provide direction for Vice President Joe Biden’s National Moonshot Initiative, which aims to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving efforts to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.

“As members of the panel, we were able to take what we know from experience and working with cancer research to come up with these recommendations, which we are certain will help the vice president in his work,” Mitchell 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, 25 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.

Dr. Edith Mitchell, Noted Cancer Specialist, TSU Graduate Named to Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renowned cancer specialist and TSU alum, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, is part of a panel that recently submitted 10 cutting-edge scientific recommendations to help speed the development of cancer cures.

Mitchell, clinical professor and director of the Sidney Kimmel Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities at Thomas Jefferson University, served on the Blue Ribbon Panel of scientific leaders and cancer patient advocates named to provide direction for Vice President Joe Biden’s National Moonshot Initiative.

President Obama announced the $1 billion initiative as part of his State of the Union Address in January and named Biden to head it. The Moonshot aims to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving efforts to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.

In September, Mitchell’s panel submitted their report, with recommendations aimed at the Moonshot goal of making 10 years of progress in five years.

“Serving on the Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel is one of the most exciting things that has occurred in my career,” said Mitchell, who is also outgoing president of the National Medical Association. “As members of the panel, we were able to take what we know from experience from cancer and working with cancer research to come up with these recommendations, which we are certain will help the vice president in his work.”

The panel recommended that the Moonshot consider the following:

  • Establish a network for direct patient involvement
  • Create a clinical trials network devoted exclusively to immunotherapy
  • Develop ways to overcome resistance to therapy
  • Build a national cancer data ecosystem
  • Intensify research on the major drivers of childhood cancers
  • Minimize cancer treatment’s debilitating side effects
  • Expand use of proven prevention and early detection strategies
  • Mine past patient data to predict future patient outcomes
  • Develop a 3D cancer atlas
  • Develop new cancer technologies

Mitchell, a retired Air Force brigadier general, is one of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s nominees for Tennessee State’s University Board of Trustees.

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, 25 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.

More Than 500 Graduates Receive Degrees at Tennessee State University Fall Commencement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 500 received undergraduate and graduate degrees Dec. 10 when Tennessee State University held its fall commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex on the university’s main campus.

Prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump gave the keynote address.

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A participant in the TSU fall 2016 graduation ceremony peruses the commencement program as she waits to receive her degree. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

He told the graduates that with their degrees they have the foundation to chart any course in their lives.

“Many of you graduating today already have solid foundation from your upbringing,” Crump said. “With your graduation today, Tennessee State University has added value to that foundation that will determine your path and success in life.”

Crump is the noted Florida lawyer who represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Terence Crutcher in police shooting cases that made headlines around the world. Crump was also an advocate in the Robbie Tolan police brutality U.S. Supreme Court case, as well as the Martin Lee Anderson boot camp death case.

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More than 500 graduates participated in TSU’s fall 2016 commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex on Dec. 10. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“You graduates are the very best that we have to offer. You are the hope of your grandfathers and grandmothers,” Crump said. “Like many before you, your are going to face situations you cannot control. But the only thing you can control is your attitude and your perspective at how you are going to address whatever situation you find yourselves in.”

On social justice, he referred to the graduates as “the fortunate ones” with the moral obligation to stem out injustices and abuse in their communities.

“You’re the ones who are going to have the good jobs, you have the education, you have the talent, and if you don’t speak up for our community, if you don’t stand up for our community, if you don’t fight for our community, then who will,” Crump said.

Jeremy Johnson, who received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science, was touched by Crump’s assertion about abuse and injustice.

“His speech is a wake-up call to action,” Johnson said. “There is so much injustice around us everyday but many of us do nothing and behave as if everything is fine.”

TSU President Glenda Glover described Crump’s speech as “thought-provoking and very inspiring.” She congratulated the graduates for their accomplishment.

“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.”

Ravyn L. Morgan, a criminal justice major, was recognized for graduating summa cum laude, with the highest grade point average. She was presented with the Student Academic Excellence Award for her accomplishment.

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, 25 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 Students Build Wheelchairs for Disabled Canines

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Pugsly the Pug has a new wheelchair.

Born with a spinal deformity that makes it difficult to stay on its feet, the 15-year-old Dutch mastiff has a new lease on life, thanks to a team of occupational and physical therapy students at Tennessee State University.

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The Dog Wheelchair Competition winning team members and their professors are, from left standing, Jake Armstrong, Blaine Martin, Dr. Rita Troxtel and Dr. Karen Coker. Squatting with Pugsly are, left, Reagan Worth and Erica LaFollette. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The students, along with some of their peers from the Art Department, designed a special wheelchair that allows Pugsly to take long strides without wobbling or falling.

Dr. Rita Troxtel, assistant professor of occupational therapy and Pugsly’s owner, organized a wheelchair competition that challenged the students to develop wheelchairs for disabled dogs that are low cost, lightweight and easy to maneuver.

The competition was held Nov. 29 in the university’s Floyd-Payne Student Center. About 80 students and their advisers participated.

They came up with 17 different concepts and designs that were tested on Pugsly before a panel of judges. The winning wheelchair went to Pugsly. Troxtel said the other wheelchairs in the competition will be donated to organizations that specialize in adopting or providing sanctuary for animals with disabilities.

A team of two occupational therapy and two physical therapy students came up with the winning design made of PVC pipes, with two big back wheels and two smaller front wheels for turning; a push handle, and stretch fabric with four round openings for the feet.

“Pugsly is grateful for his new wheels,” Troxtel said.

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Another team of competitors fit Bugsly in their invention, a two-wheeler. (photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Karen Coker, assistant professor of physical therapy and one of the judges, said the winning design “offered ease of getting in with just one person.”

“The fabric is flexible and soft; it won’t poke anywhere, and the wheelchair has a push handle so that the owner won’t have to bend over,” Coker said. “It is the perfect mix.”

Blain Martin, a graduate physical therapy major, was on the winning team. He said the goal was to develop a wheelchair that was easy to use.

“We all collaborated and we had a group message going in,” Martin said. “We met up several times to make sure we were on the same page with our project. It was great teamwork.”

Other winning team members were Reagan Worth, occupational therapy; Jake Armstrong, physical therapy; and Erica LaFollette, occupational therapy.

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The other wheelchairs in the competition will be donated to organizations that specialize in adopting or providing sanctuary for animals with disabilities. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Second-year graduate occupational major Amber Alexander’s team did not win, but she was impressed with the exercise.

“Participating in this competition gave use some real-world exposure to our various disciplines,” she said.

Mike Carter, a Ph.D. physical therapy student, said he enjoyed the teamwork.

“Collaboration was great in our group,” Carter said. “In fact, one of the guys in the group was skilled in making things. He actually has a shop where he builds all kinds of stuff. So this was right up his alley.”

Dr. Hamid Hamidzadeh, head of TSU’s Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department, lauded organizers for having the competition.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to get hands on experience,” said Hamidzadeh, who was also a judge. “The students will really get the opportunity to go beyond the limit of the classroom.“

Troxtel said the skills the students learned from creating the dog wheelchairs will transfer to developing technology for humans.

“The TSU OT department is considering purchasing a 3D printer to build prosthetic limbs,” she said. “I also plan to hold a competition again next year, but it will focus on building assistive technology for human use.”

For more information on TSU’s various therapy programs in the College of Health Sciences, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/.

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, 25 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 engineering students are making sure Nashville bridges are safe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – How safe are the bridges in Metro Nashville that you drive across everyday?

The answer may be in the work Tennessee State University engineering students are doing around the city.

A team of six graduate and undergraduate students, along with their professors from the Departments of Civil and Architectural Engineering, recently conducted a study on five bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to assess their structural integrity.

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Kevin Nguyen, a graduate civil engineering major, left, and Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, are two of six TSU students and their professors assessing bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to ensure their structural integrity. (Courtesy photo)

As part of the fairgrounds improvement project, the students’ findings were submitted to the city’s structural engineers and will be used to determine future use of the bridges.

The dean of the College of Engineering said the involvement of the students in the project is part of Mayor Megan Barry’s “innovative” vision and strategy to get more high school and college students working on real-world projects that enhance their skills and employability.

“TSU and the College of Engineering are playing an integral part of this strategy by providing our students with practical experience that complements their classroom learning,” Hargrove said.

Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, is the student coordinator on the project.  He said part of the inspections involve measuring the bridges’ dimensions to identify any structural damage, or distress, and compile a report.

“The purpose of the project is to assess if there is any need for renovation or repair of the bridges,” Musinguzi said.

Dr. Farouk Mishu, professor and interim chair of the civil and architectural engineering department, is one of two faculty members who worked with the students.

“These bridges have been here for a very long time,” Mishu said. “We are assessing them to see what kind of remediation we need to do to make them safe. This gives the students real-world experience before they graduate.”

Overseeing the students and their professors’ work was a field engineer from the fairgrounds project management team, who said he is impressed with the student’s skill level and attention to detail.

“What they are doing is pivotal to deciding what kind of money will be spent on either the repairing, the removing or replacing of these bridges,” said Jonathon Schneider of the project management team. “Their performance is remarkable.”

The students’ work is not TSU’s first involvement with the fairgrounds improvement project.

Last year, Hargrove served as a member of the review team appointed by Mayor Barry to make recommendations for the $12 million renovation of the fairgrounds.

Other students on the bridge project were: Kevin Nguyen, a graduate student majoring in civil engineering; and undergraduates SiVon Jiles, civil engineering; Matthew Miller, architectural engineering; Dwight Pullen, architectural engineering; and Darren Evans, civil engineering.

Dr. Catherine Armwood, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering, was the other faculty member on the project.

For more information about TSU’s College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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, 25 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.

Conference Aims to Help HBCUs Attract More students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Historically black colleges and universities are looking for ways to increase enrollment.

A group of four HBCU presidents, higher education leaders, innovators and corporate executives met at Tennessee State University Nov. 10 for a one-day conference to dialogue on tactics to gain more students.

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Terrence A. Southern, a robotics and automation engineer at GE Global Research, and CEO of Illuminate STEM, a national STEM mentoring organization for K-12 underrepresented minorities. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

HBCUGrow, a group dedicated to helping HBCUs grow enrollment and alumni giving, organized the conference. The group also seeks to tackle the “changing landscape” of marketing challenges facing HBCUs.

But enrollment management continues to be a hot topic at these minority-serving institutions.

The presidents – TSU’s Dr. Glenda Glover; Dr. Forrest E. Harris of American Baptist College; Dr. Tracy D. Hall of Southwest Tennessee Community College; and Dr. Logan Hampton of Lane College – agreed that immediate, effective and innovative means must be developed to attract more students.

“At TSU, we have put in place new practices and processes to help our university grow,” Glover said, as she welcomed her colleagues and participants at the conference. “We have to improve on our brand to make sure we are doing everything we can to recruit and market talented students. We are thankful to HBCUGrow for putting this conference together, because if there was ever a time to grow our HBCUs, it is now.”

Terrence A. Southern, a robotics and automation engineer at GE Global Research and CEO of Illuminate STEM, an organization committed to promoting educational opportunities and mentorship in STEM fields for K-12 underrepresented minorities, was the keynote speaker.

He said HBCUs should do a better job at marketing their services if they are to succeed in attracting students.

“The first step in making our enrollment grow is to effectively communicate our capabilities and the caliber of education we offer,” said Southern, a 2003 TSU graduate with a degree in computer science, who credits his success to effective mentorship.

He is giving back as a result. From mentoring youth in Detroit and Dallas through after school programs for the last 10 years, he created Illuminate STEM, which is now reaching out to many more young people.

Southern said HBCUs account for thousands of graduates every year.

“But I hear major corporations like Google, Amazon, General Motors saying their diversity has not grown because they do not know where to get African-American students,” he said. “I say, ‘how is that possible?’ So either they don’t know about us or we are not making our presence known.”

Southern also called for better relationships between institutions, students and alumni, as a way of promoting the institutions and their offerings, and giving back to the school.

“HBCUs should also work together as an entity with the same vision to attract not only the best students, but those who need the kind of mentoring and attention HBCUs are known for,” Southern said.

In addition to the presidential panel discussion, the conference included breakout sessions on topics like “Branding’s Role in Increasing Enrollment”; “Marketing Segmentation”; “Integrated Marketing Strategies to Increase Enrollment Without Busting Your Budget”; and “Making Sure Your Website Attracts & Retains the Best Students for Your HBCU.”

Sponsors included Vitalink, Universal Printing and AndiSites.

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, 25 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.

Doing Nothing Against Injustice Promotes Abuse, Prominent Civil Rights Attorney says

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A prominent civil rights attorney says that those who see injustice and do nothing help to promote abuse.

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President Glenda Glover, right, and NAAAHP Outgoing President Coreen Jackson present Attorney Benjamin Crump with a special award. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Benjamin Crump, the Florida lawyer who represented families in police shooting cases that made headlines around the world, was the keynote speaker Oct. 31 at the 25th anniversary gala for the National Association of African American Honors Programs held at Tennessee State University.

The gala was the culmination of the three-day annual conference of the NAAAHP.

More than 400 of the nation’s best and brightest students attended the event, as well as representatives from 31 historically black colleges and universities. There were also 40 top graduate schools, including Ivy League schools such as Harvard, and companies from across the country.

“You are the fortunate ones,” Crump told the students, reminding them that as future leaders and educators they have a “moral” obligation to help stem out injustices in their communities.

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TSU’s Miss Honors Lexis Stewart, and Student Government Association Vice President Dexter A. Hooks introduce the keynote speaker at the gala. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“You’re the ones who are going to have the good jobs, you are going to have the education, you have the talent, and if you don’t speak up for our community, if you don’t stand up for our community, if you don’t fight for our community, then who will,” Crump said.

Crump – the attorney in the Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Terence Crutcher police shooting cases – is the president of the National Bar Association, the largest organization of lawyers of color in the world, representing over 60,000 black lawyers, judges, and legal professionals. He has received numerous awards, including the SCLC Martin Luther King Servant Leader Award, and the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award. Ebony Magazine has recognized him as one of the Top 100 trial lawyers.

TSU President Glenda Glover described Crump as “definitely one of America’s best lawyers,” who “speaks truth to power.”

“My friend, the world renowned Mr. Crump, we are extremely elated and honored to have you with us on our campus,” Glover said. “We thank you for the words of inspiration not just to these students but to all of us in our quest for justice and equal treatment.”

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Students and representatives from Spelman College and Morehouse College also participated in the 25th NAAAHP anniversary conference and gala. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

According to Crump’s official website, his goal is not only to raise people’s consciousness about injustices in the community, but also to fight to preserve the justice that minorities have achieved throughout the civil rights era. And that has struck a chord with many students.

“The message that when you see something, do something is one that I take great pride in,” said Dexter A. Hooks, a TSU honor student majoring in business administration with concentrations in supply chain and human resource management. “Whether it is as a student, in the classroom or anywhere, we all have a moral obligation to help fight injustice when we see it.”

Dalyla Jordan, a Lincoln University sophomore honors students majoring in psychology, agrees.

“It is very important to talk about injustice around HBCUs because these institutions have to deal with it and talk about it daily,” Jordan said. “It takes courage and confidence and I am glad Mr. Crump is bringing this topic home.”

Dr. Coreen Jackson, outgoing president of NAAAHP and interim dean of TSU’s Honors College, thanked Crump for inspiring the students. She also thanked President Glover for her support in hosting the gala. Jackson said the conference achieved its goal of commemorating the vital role NAAAHP has played in supporting honors education for more than 20 years.

President Glover, accompanied by Jackson, presented Crump with a special award in recognition of his work for justice across the nation and the world. Special awards were also presented to founding members and institutions for their support.

The NAAAHP conference also attracted major corporate sponsors such as Kroger, as a Premier Platinum Sponsor, which for the second consecutive year, invested more than $30,000.

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, 25 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 in the Smithsonian, Participates in Dedication of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture

WASHINGTON, D.C. (TSU News Service) – The ringing of a historic bell from Virginia, donated as a symbol of freedom, heralded the opening of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24.

Thousands from all walks of life, including statesmen, Freedom Riders, Tuskegee Airmen, ordinary citizens and a 99-year-old woman whose father was born a slave and died a doctor, assembled on the National Mall to see the grand opening of a museum 100 years in the making.

The 400,000-square-foot building, sitting next to the Washington Monument, contains artifacts and collections donated by families, individuals, and institutions, including Tennessee State University. TSU donated gold medals, championship trophies and track cleats, as well as photographs and portraits of TSU trailblazers and coaches from the university’s rich athletic history, including legendary TSU Track and Field Coach Ed Temple who died on Sept. 22 at the age of 89.

TSU President Glenda Glover, who led a delegation to the weeklong ceremonies marking the dedication, expressed thanks and appreciation to the museum’s curators for including items from TSU.

“These are treasured collections from our institution’s history and we are grateful for the exposure they will receive,” Glover said. “Now, the whole world and visitors to this magnificent museum will get to see some of Tennessee State University’s past and our strive to uphold the American history through our contribution to the collections here.”

The museum, observers said, chronicles one of the most profound narratives in America’s identity by exploring the country’s history, its present, its greatest shame – slavery – and its people’s greatest triumphs.

President Obama said the museum provides a context for the “debate of our time and our history.”

“African-American history is not somehow separate from the American story,” he said. “It is not the underside of the American story. It is central to the American story.  It was a narrative that was messy and full of contradictions as all great stories are.”

While only a limited number were able to access the museum’s sold-out grand opening, officials estimate the inauguration ceremony unfolded before 7,000 official guests and thousands more spectators. Speakers included Congressman John Lewis, who advocated for an African American history museum for years, and former President George W. Bush, who signed the 2003 law authorizing the construction of the museum.

TSU Associate Professor of African American and Public History, Dr. Learotha Williams, Jr., said the museum represents a grand effort to tell a more complete story of the American Experience through the eyes of a people who were an integral, yet underappreciated and marginalized part of the narrative.

“As I looked at the beautiful structure with its golden hue, I thought about the passage from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man that referenced the ‘Black Dope,’ the invisible but key ingredient in the company’s Optic White Paint. Without it, the paint would not have its allure, its beauty,” Williams said.  “For me, this is what this museum represents.”

He called the museum the “most important of all the spaces” on the National Mall.

Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice, a former two-time TSU Olympian and current director of track and field, donated memorabilia that’s part of the TSU collection in the museum.

“It is such an honor to be a part of the Smithsonian museum,” Cheeseborough-Guice said. “I am still elated and in awe about the honor. I just want to thank God for allowing me to really follow coach Temple’s footsteps as a history maker.”

In addition to the TSU collection, the museum’s nine floors contain three history galleries covering slavery through present day, including the #BlackLivesMatter movement; a theater named for donor Oprah Winfrey, a TSU graduate; culture galleries featuring African-American icons of music, theater, film and television; and a Contemplative Court, where visitors can reflect on what they’ve seen.

“Hopefully this grand occasion allows the rest of the nation to come out and see a building that’s not just for African Americans, it’s for all of America,” said Master Sgt. Donald Sparks of Houston, who just finished a yearlong deployment in Iraq. “I’m just elated and can’t express how much joy and gratitude I have to be here today and witness history.”

Please click link for museum Quick Facts, Visiting Hours, and Frequently Asked Questions.

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, 25 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 Project on Best Practices in Nursery Production System Selected for Federal Funding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University project to promote best management practices in the nursery production system for the Mid-South region is one of 45 across the nation selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to share $26.6 million for innovative conservation initiatives.

TSU will receive nearly $793,000 through its College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences to enhance the current Southern Nursery Industry “Guide for Best Management Practices.”

As part of the project, TSU will also recommend modifications to the USDA NRCS Conservation Practice Standards that specifically address natural resource and water-quality concerns relating to the nursery industry in Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

The three-year funding, received through a highly competitive grant process, is the first awarded by the USDA through its Conservation Innovation Grant program to an 1890 Land-Grant university. As a matching-funds grant, the total amount for the project is about $1.5 million.

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Dr. Dharma Pitchay

Dr. Dharma Pitchay, assistant professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is the principal investigator of the project. The co-principal investors are Drs. Bharat Pokharel, Sudipta Rakshit, Prabode Illukpitiya, Anthony Witcher and Chandra Reddy.

“This is a very prestigious grant to win as historically NRCS has not awarded CIG grants to 1890 universities,” said Reddy, who is dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences.

He said TSU will partner with a number of institutions in the region to implement the project, as well as set up a training laboratory on campus to train NRCS or Natural Resources Conservation Services educators in the new technologies.

“Awarding this prestigious grant is an acknowledgment that Tennessee State University has immediately useful agricultural technologies to promote with stakeholder communities in the state and across the region. I congratulate Dr. Pitchay, the co-PIs and institutional partners in winning this grant for us,” Reddy added.

Pitchay said the anticipated outcome of the project would include a trained cadre of growers, extension workers, and field technicians, as well as modification to existing and development of new BMPs and conservation practices.

“We also expect to send messages to nursery growers on the benefits of protecting natural resources and demonstration sites for future conservation field days and training programs,” Pitchay 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, 25 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.

Southern Heritage Classic Week Brings Victory, Builds Relationships for TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For Tennessee State University, the 27th Southern Heritage Classic was all that – classic.

The TSU Tigers trounced the Jackson State University Tigers 40-26 before more than 46,000 at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, to culminate a weeklong series of activities and celebration.

The TSU victory was their fifth straight over the JSU Tigers, and improves TSU to 16-11 in the Southern Heritage Classic.

But the weeklong celebration was more than about football.

The TSU administration, staff, students and alumni engaged in a number of academic and relationship building activities that impact student learning, recruitment and support.

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President Glover speaks to reporters in the Liberty Bowl minutes before signing a partnership agreement with national syndicate radio host Tom Joyner that would increase the number of STEM teachers in Memphis and Shelby County, and Metro Nashville. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations).

A day before the football game, TSU and national syndicated radio host Tom Joyner announced a partnership that could give Tennessee’s two largest school districts a major boost in STEM teachers.

The initiative encourages community college graduates to attend TSU and teach in Memphis and Nashville after graduation.

“Today’s agreement with the Tom Joyner Foundation will help deserving students from five of our community colleges fulfill their desires to attend Tennessee State without the distractions of worrying about how to pay for tuition and fees,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Most importantly, we’re providing Memphis and Shelby County, along with the Metropolitan Nashville school system, with much needed STEM teachers for the students.”

Following the signing ceremony, President Glover and some senior members of the administration stopped over at Hanley Elementary School, where the president received a rousing welcome by the more than 600 cheering students in the school’s gymnasium.

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President Glover gives a pep talk to more than 600 elementary students during a stopover at Hanley Elementary School in Memphis. To Dr. Glover’s left is Dr. Sha Fanion, Aspire Hanley 2 Elementary principal and TSU graduate. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman)

“Do you want to go to college?” “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “Have you heard about Tennessee State University?” “Do you know what a university president does?”

These were questions Glover posed to the excited students, with a general mix of overwhelming “yes” and some “no” responses to each question.

“Our expectation for Dr. Glover’s visit is for scholars to know college is for certain no matter where they come from,” said Dr. Sha Fanion, principal of Aspire Hanley 2 Elementary and a 2003 graduate of TSU with a bachelor’s degree in special education. “Prior to Dr. Glover coming, we talked about her and the role of a university president. They were excited to know that she is a native of Memphis.”

Earlier during the week at the Memphis/Shelby County Presidential Reception, a recruitment ceremony for aspiring students and their parents, officials gave out scholarship information and other admission requirements.

Another key activity of the Southern Heritage Classic week is the Alumni Mixer hosted by the Office of Institutional Advancement, to thank alumni and supporters of TSU for their contribution. More than 200 filled the reception hall of Case Management, Inc., to meet former school mates and friends, as well as dine and receive updates from officials about activities and development at their alma mater.

“We just want to say thank you for all that you do for Tennessee State University to help keep needy students in school,” Glover said. “Your continued financial, material and other support and gifts are making a big difference in our students’ lives. We are thankful beyond measure for your support.”

At the VIP Mayor’s Reception, another mainstay of the classic week, officials of Baptist Memorial Health Care presented President Glover with a check for $5,000. The fund is to support a scholarship for a deserving student from Shelby County, who is in the allied health program at TSU.

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, 25 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.