Category Archives: Uncategorized

College of Agriculture hosts Environmental Justice Academy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture recently hosted a program to equip students with the tools to address environmental and public health challenges in their communities.

Eleven students from eight 1890 Land Grant Universities participated in the Environmental Justice Academy March 19-21. Academy participants engaged in a series of virtual and interactive classroom sessions that help shape the principles of an effective Environmental Justice leader.

Courses included environmental law and regulations, community capacity building, strategic partnership and development of replication of best practices.

“I’m glad to collaborate with the US Forest Service and Environmental Protection Agency to pilot the 1890 Environmental Justice Academy,” said Dr. De’Etra Young, assistant professor in the College of Ag. “We’re equipping students to be leaders.”

Besides TSU, participating institutions included: Alcorn University, Florida A&M Law, Fort Valley State University, South Carolina State University, Southern University and A&M College, Tuskegee University, and University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Participant Brittanii Wade will be finishing law school in Florida A&M in a little over a month and plans to pursue environmental justice.

“Environmental justice ensures that every community, especially minority communities, have clean air, clean water, and clean soil,” said Wade. “I need the tools that they’re teaching so I can apply them at the community level, city level, state level, federal level, whichever direction I go in.”

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit  http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Angela Rye Inspires Attendees to Take Political Action At Annual Scholarship Fundraiser Honoring Outstanding Women

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Political commentator and analyst Angela Rye served as the special guest for this year’s Women of Legend and Merit Awards Dinner at Tennessee State University, as part of the TSU Women’s Center’s effort to celebrate Women’s History Month.

Rye, who offers regular on-air commentary for several media outlets including BET, CNN, MSNBC, and TV One, spoke briefly from the podium and then participated in a seated interview-style presentation. She answered questions from various attendees, including TSU President Glenda Glover and addressed several issues, such as affirmative action, the legitimacy of legacy admissions and the need for a black agenda.

“I want to help establish what a black agenda should look like, not just for 2020, but ongoing,” Rye said.  “Do you all know that before the Emancipation Proclamation, every year black folks met to talk about our political agenda? The last time we did that collectively, where there was a lot of attention drawn to it, was in 1972 in Gary, Indiana.”

During a light-hearted moment towards the end of the conversation, Glover suggested a petition be started for Rye to run for president.  She encouraged the audience with the chant, “Run! Angie Run! Run! Angie Run!”

Angela Rye

“You want me to run right out that door,” Rye jokingly replied.

Seanne Wilson, chairperson of the event, which took place in Kean Hall Auditorium, said the annual awards dinner raises money for student scholarships and highlights the careers of women she hopes her students will emulate.

“As we know, this is the year of the woman, and women are being more vocal, and we are owning who we are. It’s very important with us attempting to educate these young ladies, that they are aware of opportunities and not afraid to speak out and to speak up for their rights,” said Wilson, who serves as coordinator of the TSU Women’s Center.

According to Wilson, the center is a “safe zone” for women at TSU who experience issues such as fear, anxiety and depression, as well as domestic violence, homelessness and the lack of food.

Lyric Carter, a freshman civil engineering major who serves as a work-study student for the Women’s Center, said she was inspired by Rye’s comments.

” If we don’t speak for us, who is going to speak for us,” Carter said.

Vivian Wilhoite, Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County property accessor and a former Women of Legend and Merit honoree, said the event is important because it celebrates the women.

“We do not do enough to recognize women in the various areas of the world, whether it be in business or leadership or government or strong women committed to different topics and issues,” she said.  “I really think there are so many women doing so many different things, and we really cannot do enough to honor them.”

Several women where  honored during this year’s event including: Veronica Marable Johnson, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce New Member Representative; Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU interim dean of the Graduate School; Karen Johnson, Davidson County Register of Deeds; Attorney Cynthia Fitzgerald; Attorney Joy Kimbrough; Dr. Judy Cummings, Pastor of New Covenant Christian Church; and Zaya Mouto, a sophomore Business Administration major who received the “Rising Star” Award.

For more information about how to support the TSU Women’s Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/womenscenter/

Editors Note: Featured photo by Ramona Whitworth Wiggins

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Political Analyst Angela Rye To Speak at TSU Women’s Center Scholarship Fundraising Affair

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Political Commentator and Analyst Angela Rye will serve as the keynote speaker for this year’s Women of Legend and Merit Awards Dinner at Tennessee State University on March 19 as part of the TSU Women’s Center’s effort to celebrate Women’s History Month.

Rye, who offers regular on-air commentary for several media outlets including BET, CNN, MSNBC, and TV One, will speak about “Making An Impact Economically, Civically, and Politically.” The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Kean Hall on the main campus.

Seanne Wilson, chairperson of the event, which raises money for student scholarships, said she hopes Rye’s visit will inspire young women at TSU to be more aware of the power of their voice. 

“As we know, this is the year of the woman, and women are being more vocal and we are owning who we are. It’s very important with us attempting to educate these young ladies, that they are aware of opportunities and not afraid to speak out and to speak up for their rights,” said Wilson, who serves as coordinator of the TSU Women’s Center.

Wilson said an increasing number of young women in the Nashville community have expressed interest in attending this year’s event because of Rye.

“I think that a lot of women, whether they are in politics or not, will feel coached and mentored by her, or feel empowered by her.  And empowering women is something that the Women’s Center attempts to do,” Wilson said. “There are so many people out there who are interested in how we have gotten into this political climate.  How did we get here? And how do we fix the problems that we see?”

According to Wilson, the Women’s Center is a “safe zone” for women at TSU who experience issues such as fear, anxiety and depression, as well as domestic violence, homelessness and the lack of food. She said this year for Women’s History Month, the Women’s Center hopes to inspire students by bringing numerous professional women to campus, including judges, political figures, entrepreneurs, chief executive officers, and international women of distinction.

Several women will be honored during this year’s event including: Veronica Marable Johnson, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce New Member Representative; Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU interim dean of the Graduate School; Karen Johnson, Davidson County Register of Deeds; Attorney Cynthia Fitzgerald; Attorney Joy Kimbrough; Dr. Judy Cummings, Pastor of New Covenant Christian Church; and Zaya Mouto, a sophomore Business Administration major who will receive the “Rising Star” Award.

To purchase tickets for the March 19 awards dinner or learn more about the Women’s Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/legendandmerit/.

Mass communication students visit home of music icon Lionel Richie during L.A. visit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University mass communication students got a special treat in Los Angeles recently when they visited the home of music legend Lionel Richie.

The students were in L.A. as part of their Extreme Spring Break trip. Joining the students was Joe Richie, who serves as Director of the Center for Media Arts and Production, which is housed within the Department of Communications. Joe Richie and Lionel Richie are first cousins.

Joe Richie (right) and cousin Lionel. (Submitted photo)

Lionel Richie talked to the students about the media business and how to make the most of their talents and gifts, according to Dr. Tameka Winston, department chair and associate professor.

“Our students had an amazing time during their immersive learning experience,” she said.

As part of Extreme Spring Break, students earn course credit for the week-long experience that provides them with actual hands on learning in the fields of journalism, film and Television, and Marketing/PR.

The students also get one-on-one time with industry professionals, diversity officers, internship coordinators, and hiring managers.

Winston said she hopes the students will have the same success as those who have graduated from the department.

Spencer Glover, a 2012 TSU graduate, took home the Emmy editing/program during the 33rd Annual Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards on Feb. 16. He was awarded for his work on “The Passion for Music,” a production for Yamaha Entertainment Group.

“We are so excited when our students and faculty are awarded for their hard work and excelling in their profession,” said Winston.

Also at the awards ceremony, Airielle Vincent, an assistant professor of mass communications, won her second Emmy as weekend newscast producer with Fox 17. She was recognized for a story on a church shooting.

To learn more about the Department of Communications, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/Communications/.

TSU Graduating Senior and SGA President Publishes Children’s Book about Inspiration, Courage

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Kayla McCrary is an author!

Her children’s book, “Dream Girl, Dream!,” with illustrations by Brandon Van Leer, just came out and it is receiving wide acclaim.

“Writing has always been my first love and it’s always something I wanted to do,” she says. “So when I found the inspiration, I said I really want to write a children’s book.”

“Dream Girl, Dream,” based on personal experiences, courage and an effort to inspire young kids to be their best, comes amid personal tragedy and the need for strength to move on.

Now a graduating senior and president of the Student Government Association at Tennessee State University, McCrary lost her mother in the first semester of her freshman year at TSU. Her mother’s death also meant becoming the sole mother figure for her then 5-year-old sister, Regan Christian. Devastated, lost and confused, McCrary says she was torn between dropping out and trying to help her sister cope with the aftermath of their mother’s passing.

“It was hard,” says McCrary, an Atlanta native. “Losing our mother at such an early age for my little sister, and me just starting in college, was very difficult for me. She was our biggest support and friend. I thought, how is my sister going to make it and how can I concentrate on school when she needs me?”

Surprisingly, McCrary says her sister showed remarkable resolve and strength that “shocked me.”

 “At the time my sister was five and she was literally so strong,” says McCrary, who majors in English with a minor in political science. “She is what kept me together, and helped me get through a lot of things. Seeing her, I realized I had to be the role model, and I had to raise her. She looks to me now. Everything I do is to show her that if I can do it, she can do it too.”

Kayla McCrary says her dream is to become a renowned author, philosopher, attorney and humanitarian. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Unlike McCrary, who struggles in math and does well in reading, her sister is the opposite. That parallel, she says, is one of the main inspirations behind “Dream Girl, Dream!”

“For me, growing up, I struggled in math. Reading and language arts were my strongest subjects. For her, she excels in math, but she doesn’t do too well in reading. I think it is mainly because she just doesn’t like reading. So, I figure if I wrote a book, she would be inspired to want to read it. And she has read it and does have copies of it. Her reading has improved. Reading the book I think has inspired her. She told our dad – Reginald Christian – the other day, ‘It’s not fair, sister gets to have a book and a YouTube channel.’ So, I am definitely teaching her how to go after everything she wants. I think she is getting it.,” says McCrary.

With a goal of pursuing graduate studies or entering law school after college, McCrary says in addition to her sister, the book is about inspiring children, “especially children of color, …and about the HBCU experience.” Her aspiration is to be a world-renowned author, philosopher, attorney and humanitarian.

“Dream Girl, Dream!” is mainly a story of inspiration,” she says. “Sometimes in life you go through things that are just not expected, and a lot of things are out of your control. So I want them to know, ‘No matter what your current circumstances are, dream as big as you want to. If your dreams don’t scare you then they are not big enough.’ To some people, writing a children’s book may not seem like a big thing, but for me, it’s everything because I can’t believe I actually did it.”

Angelique Wells, a junior psychology major at TSU, who has faced some difficulties of her own, has read McCrary’s book.

“It is definitely a great read and inspiring,” says Wells, of Nashville, who has known McCrary since entering TSU. “Throughout Kayla’s hardship she still persevered and continued to go on and become president of the SGA and stay active in her college career. That is an inspiration to me because without knowing, she has inspired me to go after a few things. It is a great book. I recommend it to all ages.”

For Van Leer, a TSU graduate and local artist who did the illustration for “Dream Girl, Dream,” working with McCrary was a “professional fulfillment.”

“Kayla approached me after school got out. I had never done a project like this before, but knowing me, I was not good at saying no,” says. Van Leer, known for painting likenesses of individuals like the late world-renowned heart surgeon Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

“I just wanted to take on the project because I love Kayla’s story,” he says. “I love what she was doing. We are both African-Americans, we are both at the same institution (at the time) and we are just doing something positive for the community. Her story was great, and it was a children’s book. You don’t really see that many African-Americans working together. The story was touching and I was just honored by it.”

“Dream Girl Dream!” is available in paperback on Amazon and Google Books.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.




‘Let My People Vote,’ TSU Students Host Forum To Address Voter Suppression

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students in the College of Public Service hosted a forum recently to have a candid discussion about voter suppression.

‘Let My People Vote’ Poster (Submitted Photo)

The forum on Feb. 27 at the university’s Avon Williams Campus included a panel discussion, as well as a screening of “Let My People Vote,” an award-winning short documentary about voter suppression.

Keturah Barnett, a student in the Master of Public Administration Program at the university and cofounder of the Know Your Rights Program, said voter suppression is an issue that affects people from all walks of life.

“Voter suppression doesn’t just affect minorities.  It affects young people, students, ex-offenders and others,” she said. “When you think of voter suppression, a lot of people say that happened years ago in the 1960s during the civil rights movement, but it is still happening today.  And with the midterm elections that took place last year in 2018 in November, we saw a lot of that in state’s like Georgia and Florida.”

Keturah Barnett (Submitted Photo)

Barnett, who has worked at the Nashville Juvenile Public Defenders Office since 2016, said she hoped the event would inspire students to engage in the political process by voting, as well as challenging current laws and holding elected officials accountable.

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and a nationally-syndicated columnist, was pleased to see members of the larger Nashville community, as well as TSU students and faculty, at the screening.

“It is imperative that the College of Public Service stand at the forefront of engaging on issues related to voter suppression and access.  The history of and current efforts to suppress voters in African-American communities undermines the democratic processes black institutions, including TSU, have fought to improve and revolutionize for centuries,” Harris said. 

Dr. Anthony Campbell, assistant professor of Public Administration in the College of Public Service and the faculty member who worked with students to organize the event, stressed the importance of grappling with this issue.

Dr. Michael Harris (Submitted Photo)

“This filmmaker has developed a documentary that shows how the black vote has been suppressed in Florida for a long time and leading up to this last election, typically felons but more broadly people of color,” he said.

“Let My People Vote,” directed by Gilda Brasch, follows formerly homeless Desmond Meade, now the State Director for Florida Live Free Campaign, as he canvasses the streets of Tampa, Florida, on the last day of early voting before the 2016 presidential election.  At the time of the filming, Meade, who earned a law degree from Florida International University’s College of Law, could not vote or practice law in Florida because he has a felony.

Gilda Brasch (Submitted Photo)

Brasch’s documentary has won many awards, including the 2018 Best Short Documentary at the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta and the 2018 Audience Award For Best Short Film in the Florida Film Festival.  It was also featured at the Meet The Press Film Festival  with The American Film Institute. She said she created the documentary so viewers could see what voter suppression looks like in the current political climate.

“If people are interested in voting rights, followed the recent midterm elections and saw what happened to Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum, then when they watch ‘Let My People Vote’ they will actually get an opportunity to see real people at the polling places having their votes surpressed,” she said.

Brasch said she was shocked by how quickly she found examples of people being turned around at the polls.

“We just got out of the rental van, and turned the camera on, and we got all those testimonies immediately in the space of probably 45 minutes to an hour.  It’s not like we had to go stand out there for hours.  It’s immediate in these districts,” she said.

Martesha Johnson (Submitted Photo)

Immediately following the screening, students hosted a panel to discuss the issue.  Panel members included: Metropolitan Nashville Public Defender Martesha Johnson, Davidson County Election Commisioner A.J. Starling, Project Return Associate Director Elizabeth Hayes and others.

Barnett  said the goal of the event was to provide a forum for a conversation they believe is timely and necessary.

“Voting is a fundamental right for everybody.  It is something that any American should be able to do without being hassled,” she said.  “Going to the polls should be just as easy as going to the grocery store.”


Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 partners with company for potentially groundbreaking hemp research

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is partnering with an emerging cannabis company for what officials say could be groundbreaking hemp research.

Dr. Ying Wu, associate professor of Food and Animal Science in TSU’s College of Agriculture, says she’s excited to begin her research with Eufloria Medical of Tennessee, Inc., a subsidiary of  Acacia Diversified Holdings, that will be manufacturing material for the university study.

Dr. Ying Wu

“We have started working on investigation of phytochemical profiles in hemp seeds, oils and extracts, and their related health benefits,” says Wu. “We are aiming to develop some health promoting product using the cutting-edge technologies, and provide reliable data of nutrients and phytochemicals in different hemp varieties.”

The research partnership aims to create a safe and chemical-free vehicle to obtain the health benefits of the whole-hemp plant into virtually anything from food and beverages to topical creams. The TSU research could produce innovative ways to obtain whole plant extract. 

“We wanted to work on something meaningful, we are doing this because we want people to feel better and contribute significantly to making the cannabis industry more sustainable,” says Kim Edwards. VP & COO of Acacia Diversified Holdings. 

Tennessee State University is among the nation’s leaders in hemp research. TSU’s College of Agriculture has charged a team of scientists to develop hemp production practices for Tennessee. The research projects include developing hemp nutritional products for human consumption and studying the economic viability of hemp production in Tennessee. Currently, the university is growing and evaluating 10 varieties of hemp.

“TSU wants to be at the forefront of this new interest that’s cropping up across the country,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture. “If it’s ever approved for large scale use, we have some knowledge about it and can work with the farmers.”

TSU has hosted several hemp workshops/meetings, including one in January with the Tennessee Hemp Industries Association, an advocate for the production of industrial hemp. More than 200 people attended the meeting.

For more information about the College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

New Link Allows TSU Family To Track Progress of Health Sciences Building Construction

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU officials are excited about a new link that will give the university’s alumni and constituents an opportunity to monitor the construction process of its new Health Sciences Building.

“Many of our alums don’t get to the campus throughout the year because they live all over the country. I thought giving them an opportunity to see this facility evolve would be a benefit to them, so they can watch the evolution of the campus,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, Chief of Staff. 

Johnson said HOAR Construction, the company responsible for building the facility, installed the camera, which will monitor the 18 to 24 month construction project.

“It updates itself every 15 minutes, but you can also do a six-day review.  It can go back six days and play forward for you to see the progress,” he said.

Dr. Ronald Barredo, interim dean of the College of Health Sciences, said viewing the development of the new facility is a positive sign of the college’s growth.

“I am excited to witness the steady progress that is being made in constructing the new Health Sciences Building. This project will not only bring together a number of excellent programs under one roof – Nursing, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Cardiorespiratory Care, and Health Information Management – but will also be a hub for collaborative practice, community service, and clinical research,” he said.

Hannah Brown, president of the Student Occupational Therapy Association, said although she will have graduated when the new building opens, she will return as alum to see the impact it will have on educating future health professionals at TSU.

“The new building is a great addition to the campus. The added space will help promote interprofessionalism among the programs housed in the building and will provide a larger space for clinical simulations and laboratory experiences that are essential in professional practice,” said Brown, who is pursuing a Master in Occupational Therapy degree.

TSU National Alumni Association President Joni McReynolds said she thinks providing a link for alums to monitor the construction is a wonderful idea.

 “I would encourage all alumni to look at the link and see how progress is being made, and I will do my best to send it around to my executive board, and to all alums we have the ability to contact,” she said.

TSU Nashville Alumni Chapter President Dwight Beard echoed McReynolds’ comments.

“I think it’s a great initiative.  I am excited about it. It’s going to bring in new students, and it’s going to create new opportunities,” he said.

Braxton Simpson, a sophomore agricultural sciences major who serves as the student trustee on the TSU Board of Trustees, said having the ability to monitor the progress of the construction will have a tremendous impact because of the large numbers of health science students at TSU.

“I think it’s very important that students and faculty… have the opportunity to track the progress of something that is going to be so instrumental to the students at Tennessee State University,” she said.

Construction progress of the new health sciences building at Tennessee State University can be viewed at the following link: https://app.truelook.com/?u=hj1548695954

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 Alums Publish Children’s Book To Honor Fellow Alum and Buffalo Soldier William McBryar

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Alums Deontae Henderson and Brandon Van Leer recently collaborated to produce a children’s book honoring the life and legacy of fellow TSU Alum, Buffalo Soldier and Medal of Honor Recipient Lt. William McBryar.

The children’s book, Young William, provides a poetic depiction of McBryar’s journey from childhood to becoming a military hero.

McBryar, who served with the 25th Infantry in the Spanish-American war and fought at El Caney, Cuba, also saw action in the Philippine Insurrection before demobilizing in San Francisco.

Henderson, the book’s author and a 2018 graduate of TSU, said McBryar’s story is a tale that should be shared with all children.

TSU Alum Deontae Henderson at his book signing at the Southern Methodist University Barnes and Noble in Dallas.

“William McBryar, if you look him up, is one of those guys you don’t believe existed. He was a real superhero. He fought through disease. He graduated in his 70s. He was in the war until his 60s. He got in the war at a young age. He fought in three wars. He survived them. He got a Purple Heart, and he saved his regiment,” Henderson said. “We have Iron Man, the Hulk and Batman and all these guys, but if you want a realistic superhero, he is the perfect example of that.”

In 1934 at the age of 73, McBryar graduated from TSU, then known as Tennessee Agriculture and Industrial State College, with an agriculture degree. He died in 1941 at the age of 80, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Last spring a number of lawmakers, military officials, and TSU officials gathered for a special ceremony for the unveiling of a historical marker honoring McBryar. The marker is located outside Kean Hall on the university’s main campus.

Van Leer, the book’s illustrator, said he felt honored to be part of such a meaningful project.

“We wanted this book to be one of those books that children remember from when they were in kindergarten and preschool, where they can enjoy a fun story and learn about their history at the same time,” he said.

TSU Alum Brandon Van Leer will display his art Thursday at the Main Street Gallery for Black Excellence: The Art Show.

Also a 2018 graduate of TSU, Van Leer’s work often reflects his love for culture as well as his alma mater. He has produced portraits of TSU luminaries, such as pioneering heart surgeon and civil rights activist Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., and Tuskegee Airman Lt. Joseph White.

“I was honored in both approaches to be commissioned by my alma mater to have the opportunity to spread my talents in a way that will forever live on at TSU,” he said.

Henderson, who became a “#1 International Best Selling Author” with the success of his second book, The Hungriest Pirate,” said Young William will soon be available at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston, Texas, where he spoke about the project in December. He said because of the historical nature of Lt. McBryar’s story, he wanted to make sure it rhymed and was fun for children to read.

“Your child is going to go to class anyway and learn about George Washington, Christopher Columbus and all these people who are a part of American History. Young William is just as important as them,” he said. “The only difference his name got pretty much covered up because he happened to be a black man during a time period when we weren’t celebrated.”

Van Leer, owner of the graphic design company, Rezilient Media, will share a collection of his work this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Main Street Gallery. The event, Black Excellence: The Art Show, is free and open to the public. He said it will feature portraits of inspiring African-Americans, as well as the unveiling of new art.

Although Van Leer comes from a family of artists, he credits the TSU Art Department for playing a huge role in his success.

“My professors in the art department really helped me grow. They helped me think outside the box and draw bigger using different techniques,” he said. “They are like a family over there so I still go back and talk to them.”

Henderson’s newest book, Kid Smoove, features a 14-year-old superhero with the ability to teleport who is forced to balance life as an iconic hero with doing school work and being an everyday teenager.

Henderson echoed Van Leer’s sentiment that Tennessee State University provided a rich environment for his development.

“Anyone at TSU is fortunate because being at an HBCU is a different environment,” he said. “You see President Glenda Glover. You see NBA Player Robert Covington come through. You see yourself who is a writer who gets to write for the paper for the school. Just seeing all that, that was an inspiration for me.”

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 Faculty and Staff Celebrate Giving With ‘Sweet Talk’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Department of Dental Hygiene received special recognition at the university’s “Sweet Talk” event, along with the Office of Events Management and the Department of Residence Life.

Each area achieved 100 percent participation in the university’s annual faculty and staff giving campaign, which raises money to benefit TSU students.

Sonya Smith, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, thanks ‘Sweet Talk’ attendees for giving as part of faculty and staff giving campaign.

“Some made direct deposits. Some made one-time gifts. But what matters most is the sacrifice,” said Sonya Smith, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving and chair of the campaign. “Whatever your sacrifice is, we just ask you to be a part of the faculty and staff campaign.”

The event, which took place Feb. 14 on the Avon Williams Campus, provided an opportunity for campus employees to enjoy delicious pastries and discuss the importance of supporting students beyond the classroom.

Smith expressed her gratitude to the campaign co-chairs and various contributors for exceeding their goal of $155,000 for the 2017-2018 fiscal year by raising $161,763.  She said the goal for the current fiscal year is to raise $175,000. The campaign has raised $136,000 of that amount.

Rosalyn Word, a faculty member in the Department of Dental Hygiene and a co-chair of the faculty and staff annual giving campaign, expressed excitement about the effects of increased giving in dental hygiene.

Department of Dental Hygiene Faculty and Staff Members

“One of the things that we have been able to do in the Department of Dental Hygiene is establish a dental hygiene academic scholarship. The first year we were able to award one $1,000 scholarship to a deserving student,” Word said. “This year we were able to award two $1,000 scholarships to our dental hygiene students. I am really excited about that initiative, and we hope to be able to carry this legacy on, and keep this scholarship going.”

Eloise Alexis, associate vice president for Institutional Advancement, said Sweet Talk provides an opportunity for her staff to say thank you to participants and ask attendees to rally others to support students.

“The amazing thing about faculty and staff in this initiative is that, not only do they give of themselves all day and everyday in the classroom and as staff by supporting our students in the campus environment, they also give back to Tennessee State University from their hard earned resources to Tennessee State,” Alexis said.

Office of Events Management and Conference Services Administration and Staff Members

Trudie Thomas, coordinator for the Honors College and a co-chair of the campaign, said Sweet Talk helps a lot of students who really need support to attend the university.

“I like to give because it helps the university, and it has an impact on some child’s life. When I was in school tuition was $65 a quarter,” said Thomas, who graduated from TSU in 1972. “I give because I see the need, especially with black students right now. Education is an investment.”

“Sweet Talk” Committee Members show off variety of tasty desserts prepared by TSU Alum Alexis Hughes-Williams, Owner of Something Sweet, LLC.

TSU Alumna Alexis Hughes-Williams, owner of Something Sweet, LLC, provided a variety of colorful desserts for the event. Hughes-Williams, who graduated in 2011 with a degree in business/marketing, said Sweet Talk provided the perfect opportunity for her “virtual pop-up shop” to collaborate with the university.

With the deadline for reaching this year’s goal being June 30, Smith encourages faculty and staff to continue giving. For more information about how to participate in the campaign, call (615) 963-2936.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.