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Civil rights leader and activist Al Sharpton inspires graduates to keep achieving , receives honorary degree

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Civil rights leader and activist the Rev. Al Sharpton urged Tennessee State University graduates to continue to build on their achievement.

Sharpton gave the address at TSU’s graduate commencement ceremony Friday evening in the Howard C. Gentry Complex. On Saturday, bestselling author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson will address undergraduate students in the Complex. The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and TSU President Glenda Glover. (TSU Media Relations)

Before Sharpton’s speech, TSU President Glenda Glover welcomed attendees and lauded the graduates.

“I applaud you for having reached this milestone,” said Dr. Glover. “Today is only a stepping stone. We thank you. We salute you.”

Sharpton, a community leader, politician and minister who serves as the host of PoliticsNation on MSNBC, challenged graduates “to be the head of your own fan club.”

“Tonight, you have shown you can achieve something,” he said. “Only you know … what you went through to get here. But through it all, you got here tonight, which proves that you can achieve something, and it proves that you can keep achieving if you use the same discipline and determination you did to graduate here tonight. You can keep going higher and higher if you push yourself to do that.”

Following his speech, Sharpton, who is a longtime friend of Dr. Glover, was presented an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, an honor he said he will always cherish.

Sharpton’s address, which was interrupted with applause several times, seemed to move the audience.

Georgetta Harris-Wyatt received a doctorate in psychology. She said Sharpton’s speech was motivational, that it “encouraged all the graduate students to see beyond where they are now.”

2019 TSU Graduate students .(TSU Media Relations)

She said Sharpton’s words inspired her even more to use her degree to help youth.

“Ultimately, I hope to work with children and adolescents in the juvenile justice system, and help them to rewrite their stories,” said Harris-Wyatt.

Sharpton is no stranger to TSU. In 2014, he came to the university to take up the cause to have TSU’s 1957- 1959 Men’s Championship Basketball Team, the first-ever to win three national titles back-to back, inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

He joined university officials and staff, including President Glover, state officials, community leaders and stakeholders, as he presented his cause during a ceremony in Kean Hall.

As a result of Sharpton’s efforts and that of many others, including TSU alumnus Dr. Richard “Dick” Barnett, a member of all three teams, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced last month that the Tennessee State men’s basketball championship teams of 1957-59 will be one of 12 honorees in this year’s Class of 2019. The class will be celebrated at this year’s enshrinement festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Top TSU graduate Alexius Dingle ready to soar even higher

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Alexius Dingle graduated from Tennessee State University at the top of her class, but the agricultural sciences major has even loftier goals. 

“I’m going to grad school to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics,” said Dingle, who graduated on May 4 with a 4.0 GPA.

Alexius Dingle

She was one of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students who received degrees in various disciplines in this year’s dual graduation ceremonies at T’SU.

Dingle was the first in her immediate family to attend college. She said she looked forward to seeing the expression on the face of her mother, who pretty much raised her by herself in the small town of Manning, South Carolina, about an hour from Columbia.

“She sacrificed so much,” said Dingle.

When she arrives at Texas A&M for her Ph.D. program, Dingle said she will be ready, mainly because of the preparation she has received at Tennessee State University, particularly the College of Agriculture.

“One thing that the College of Ag has been very good with doing is making sure that their students are exposed to research, and it’s paid research,” said Dingle, whose concentration is in biotechnology. “It’s a way for you to get exposure, put something on your resume, so you don’t leave without experience. And it also helps you financially.”

Ag professor De’Etra Young, a mentor to Dingle, said she was impressed with her maturity and assertiveness. 

“She set her goals, was extremely focused, and sought out any opportunity that was given to her,” said Young. “Her success has paid off. She will be attending Texas A&M, and she will be going from a bachelor’s to a Ph.D. program.”

Dingle said she encourages her peers, as well as incoming freshmen, to take advantage of opportunities that are available.

“Network, talk to your advisors,” she said. “They have opportunities to help you that you may not know about.”

TSU has received a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to bolster undergraduate students’ interest in agriculture, as well as science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

In addition to scholarships, TSU officials said the funds will aid students’ professional development by allowing them to “travel to different professional conferences and meetings to gain exposure” to the latest research.  

Earlier this year, TSU President Glenda Glover surprised 20 students who visited the university with scholarship offers if they planned to major in a STEM course and have a good GPA.

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Graduate School Celebrates 75 Years And Unveils New Marketing Initiatives

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University School of Graduate and Professional Studies recently had a special program commemorating its 75th anniversary.

Dr. Robbie Melton, dean of the Graduate School, said the program on May 1 at the Avon Williams Campus downtown provided an opportunity to recognize two former deans who made significant contributions to the school, as well as showcase the school’s “next evolution.”

The late Dr. Camelia Taylor, who served in many administrative positions at TSU including interim dean of the Graduate School, and Dr. Helen Barrett, who served as the school’s dean from 1998-2008, were honored during the event, which was a precursor to the graduate school commencement ceremony on May 3. 

The school also paid homage to Martha Williams Wheeler, the first graduate student at Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State College to earn a master’s degree.

Melton said the graduate school is excited to recognize these women of impact, as well as celebrate 75 years of conferring degrees.  She said the school’s innovation will continue under its new theme, “Everyone can code, and everyone can create,” which is indicated by TSU C².

Dr. Robbie Melton

 “This theme reflects our new delivery systems hybrid online and on ground formats that incorporates technology, innovation, social media tools and our new global outreach to targeted communities nationally and internationally, and it permeates throughout our entire programs, courses and curriculum,” Melton said. “To reach the global market we must have the entire process online, including student services, courses, library services, mentoring, etc.  Everything must be online.”

According to Melton, many of the marketing ideas that will be shared at the program stem from a research project conducted by doctoral students in a marketing class taught by Dr. Eric Vogel, graduate director for the Higher Education Doctoral Students

“Instead of doing hypothetical, we did a problem-based action research project in which the class had the task of finding ways to increase graduate enrollment through marketing,” Melton said. “The class will present marketing research and strategies to enhance the graduate school and all graduate programs”

Minzi Thomas, a student in Vogel’s class who is pursuing her Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership, was one of five students who shared strategic ideas focused on areas such as research, digital marketing, recruitment and enrollment, international groups, and finance.

Thomas, a Memphis-native who teaches public speaking at Nashville State Community College and works as a reconnect navigator with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, said the composition of Vogel’s marketing class is perfect for this project.

“It’s really a unique experience and a unique opportunity because a lot of students in the class actually work in the graduate school. What you have is students who work in the graduate school and students who are enrolled in the graduate school coming up with a marketing plan to increase enrollment and increase engagement on social media and other additional marketing strategies,” she said.

Minzi Thomas

Thomas, whose presentation focused on digital marketing, said the class is excited about launching the #TSUSONASHSVILLE social media campaign.

“The whole premise of that is that while Nashville is experiencing all of this growth from gentrification, Tennessee State is still very much a part of that rich cultural aspect of Nashville, and it doesn’t matter how big Nashville gets, that’s not going to change,” Thomas said.

During Melton’s tenure as dean she has incorporated numerous technological strategies to advance the graduate school.

“We have reorganized and brought in technology enhancements and tools to automate the graduate school in terms of admission using GradCAS, in terms of curriculum improvement using Curriculog, in terms of automating a searchable graduate catalogue using Actualog, becoming a paperless environment through the use of DocuSign, and conducting our graduation audit using DegreeWorks,” she said.

Thomas, whose research topic explores gentrification and its impact on North Nashville, said Melton’s leadership plays a great role in the graduate school’s current success.

“Dr. Melton continues to ignite a fire underneath us.  Every time you think you have done the best that you can do, she always says or does something that lets you know that you can do or be better.  It can be done,” she said. “She makes you feel like it is possible, and when you think it is possible, that’s when you continue to try to reach your greatest potential.”

For more information about the TSU School of Graduate and Professional Studies, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/graduate/ .

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Graduates look forward to workforce thanks to TSU preparation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A number of graduates in Tennessee State University’s spring commencement will go right into the workforce once they get their degrees. And they have TSU to thank.

“Tennessee State University has definitely prepared me professionally,” says T’Anna Williams, a computer science major headed to Northrop Grumman. “It’s really awesome having a job lined up after I graduate. That’s one less stress.”

More than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines in this year’s dual graduation ceremonies.

The graduate commencement ceremony is Friday, May 3, at 5 p.m. in the Howard C. Gentry Complex, where Civil Rights leader Al Sharpton will give the keynote address. The undergraduate ceremony will take place the following day in Hale Stadium at 8 a.m. Bestselling author Dr. Michael E. Dyson is the speaker.

Williams says part of her success is due to the nurturing attitude of the administration and faculty at TSU. The Nashville native says they’re always looking for ways to help students grow, like bringing in dynamic, motivational speakers like Sharpton and Dyson.

“If you’re willing to learn and put in the effort, they’re willing to help,” says Williams of TSU’s faculty.

Graduating senior Alexis Clark agrees. The mass communications major from writes for the student newspaper, The Meter. She credits her experience at the newspaper with preparing her for an internship at The Tennessean, one of the state’s top newspapers, when she graduates.

“It was probably the best experience I had at TSU,” says the St. Louis native. “The networking and the connections I’ve made through The Meter have brought me to what I’m doing today. “

Most of the students who have jobs lined up say the university’s Career Development Center helped them find employment, and prepped them for it.

“The Career Development Center serves as the bridge between education and employment for the students,” says Charles Jennings, Jr., director of the Center/Division of Student Affairs. “We provide services and programs that allow students to apply the knowledge that they gained in the classroom toward meaningful internship and employment opportunities.”

Jennings says the Center also has onsite conferences that let students interact with the university’s employer partners, like Bank of America, Boeing, Google and IBM.

Electrical engineering major Tarence Rice of Detroit says it’s partly because of opportunities at the Center that he has job offers from Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Texas Instruments.

“They helped me get in contact with employers, and get the exposure to build me up to be able to interview for some of these top companies,” says Rice.

Because of the preparation it provides students, TSU officials say the university is poised to produce strong candidates for Amazon’s new executive operations center, which is expected to bring about 5,000 jobs to the Nashville area.

“As the only public university in Nashville, Tennessee State University stands uniquely poised to support these corporate giants, their employees, family members of the employees, and the businesses that support them with highly-skilled human capital, workforce training opportunities, research partnerships and more,” says TSU economics professor Dr. Achintya Ray.

For more information about TSU’s Career Development Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU College of Public Service Listed As One of Best In The Nation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – US News Rankings recently listed the Tennessee State University College of Public Service as one of the best public affairs programs in the nation.  The ranking, which is done annually, specifically evaluates masters in public affairs and administration programs based solely on peer assessment surveys completed by deans, directors and department chairs across the nation.

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the TSU College of Public Service and professor of public administration, said the ranking is a reflection of the world-class work members of the college are doing to educate and serve their students, residents of Middle Tennessee, and beyond.

Dr. Michael Harris

“We work to provide a relevant and current education for leaders in the public sector. We also have a significant impact on the local economy, with regards to economic development because our graduates who work in the public sector all make a difference in our economic development and economic growth, as well as the social infrastructure of the community,” said Harris, a nationally-syndicated columnist.

Dr. Cara B. Robinson,  interim chair for the Department of Social Work and Urban Studies and acting director of the Center For Aging, said Harris’ leadership plays a major role in the college’s success.

“I think this recognition is really built on the fact that we have fostered a culture of innovation that prepares students to be on the front edge of what public service careers really require,” she said. “Dr. Harris has just done a good job of making sure that we are all willing and able to recruit students, help place them when they graduation and reach out to the community to make sure the students are prepared for careers in public service.”

Robinson said the wide array of courses the college offers as well as conferences like the Conference on Elderly Abuse, which the Center on Aging Research And Education Services cohosts in June, have a lot to do with its success.

“We have everything from nonprofit management courses, to executive leadership, public policy and social work, and they all cover things that put us at the forefront,” she said. “In addition, we have reached out to community members to be involved in our classrooms.”

Robinson said the hours they offer classes has also helped attract nontraditional students.  Alfred Degrafinreid II, Vanderbilt University associate vice chancellor for Community Relations within the Division of Government and Community Relations, said while he worked for the state Legislature, he would walk from work to the Avon Williams Campus to attend his evening classes.

Alfred Degrafinreid II

Degrafinreid, who earned a BS in Speech Pathology in 2006 and a MPA in 2008, both from TSU, also secured his law degree from the McKinney School of Law at Indiana University.

“The program really prepares students for the public service workforce.  I have experience on the local, state and federal levels of government, and I credit my success in working on all three levels of government to going through this program, which really prepared me for real life experiences, managing budgets,” said Degrafinreid, who served as deputy campaign manager for former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen’s recent U.S. Senate race. Nearly 100 percent of our graduates in our different programs immediately get jobs.  Our graduates are always off to rewarding and meaningful careers.”

Degrafinreid said TSU teaches its students to leave the university and serve the community, state, country and world.

“I’m proud that Tennessee State develops leaders and teaches students to fully embrace the ‘Think. Work. Serve.’ motto. It is very important to enter the university and go forth to serve. That’s something TSU always teaches students from the time they are freshmen until graduation.”

For more information on the Tennessee State University College of Public Service, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/cpsua/

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 claims Home Depot’s Retool Your School top honor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University took home “Campaign of the Year” honors in Home Depot’s Retool Your School- HBCU Campus Improvement competition. This was the first year for the award, which was created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Retool Your School program.  TSU beat out 60 other institutions for the grant award.

“We are extremely proud to have won this top honor for campaign of the year, and are just as proud of our students, staff and alumni that mobilized efforts for TSU to have such a strong showing to get the entire university family involved,” said Tennessee State University President Dr. Glenda Glover.

TSU finished second in voting for the large institution category, but walked away with the campaign of the year award.  Judges cited the overall performance of the campaign that was able to engage students, alumni and the community, as well as digital media strategies to promote voting.

Dr. Heidi Williams teaches research and technical writing in the Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy at TSU. She turned the Retool Your School campaign into an assignment for her students.

“I had never seen students take things so seriously, and work so hard on an assignment,” Williams said. “They didn’t do it for a grade. They did it for themselves, for each other.”

Sophomore Gabrielle Davis is one of Williams’ students. She said she enjoyed working on the campaign, and is looking forward to how the win will benefit the university.

“This shines a great light on Tennessee State University,” Davis said.

Mon-Cheri Robinson, TSU’s assistant director of student activities, agreed. She helped galvanize the university’s student government leadership, as well as the sororities and fraternities, who used social media to help get the word out about the campaign, including announcements during the students’ Courtyard Wednesday activities.

“It’s all about having them see the big picture, and see how it benefits them, and the school overall,” Robinson said.

TSU alumni were motivated by National Alumni Association President Joni McReynolds, who led the charge for her alma mater on social media. McReynolds even posted a video outside of her local Home Depot store urging fellow alumni to vote.

“The TSU family, including students, alumni and friends, came together to allow us to win,” McReynolds said. “It’s good to see the Tennessee State University Tiger spirit.”

Student leaders, including SUB-G, were polled for ideas on how the administration should use the funds to make campus improvements. They ranged from landscaping, pressure washing buildings, upgrades to the recreation room, lighting for the campus amphitheater, and restoration of the courtyard and Welton Plaza. All will see a makeover with the funds.

Incoming Student Government Association President Katelyn Thompson said the win makes her proud to be a Big Blue Tiger.

“This is an outstanding accomplishment,” said Thompson, a junior majoring in criminal justice and psychology. “All of our hard work paid off.”

TSU has participated in the Home Depot program since 2014. Kelli Sharpe, assistant vice president for Public Relations and Communications, said getting the word out early and often was crucial.

“Staff put together a comprehensive social media campaign and worked to make sure students, employees, alumni and the TSU community as a whole were included on all communications regarding our campaign,” Sharpe said. “It was truly a team effort to see everyone come together for this great cause.”

Home Depot will have the final approval of the projects, which will start in the fall.

Currently, there are several major construction projects underway on TSU’s campus. They include a new Health Sciences Building, two new residence halls, and an Alumni House and Welcome Center. 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Members of the Professional Football Players Mothers Association to attend luncheon, tour TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Members of the Professional Football Players Mothers Association will visit Tennessee State University this week while they’re in the Music City for the NFL Draft.

On April 25, the first day of the Draft, TSU President Glenda Glover will host a luncheon and tour for the mothers of current and former professional football players.

Michelle Green is president of PFPMA. She said she’s looking forward to visiting TSU, as well as fulfilling the association’s main objective, which is to provide advice and support to families of players entering the National Football League.

Green is the mother of former NFL offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who played in the league 12 years and won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens.

“We want to be there as a support system for them, because we were there in that position at one time,” said Green, adding that the association also does a lot of community charity work. “It’s a different world once you cross over and go into the NFL. You’re entering a whole new game, and only those in it understand it.”

Member Sandra Atkins agreed. Her son is Geno Atkins, a defensive tackle who is in his tenth year with the Cincinnati Bengals. She said her advice to parents whose sons enter the NFL is, “continue to be a parent.”

“The bright lights start shining even brighter than they did in college, and some parents become fans and let their kids get away with things,” Atkins said. “Still, tell them what they need to know. If they listen, they listen; if they don’t, that’s fine. At least you were the parent and you did your job.”

The mothers’ visit to TSU is just part of the university’s participation in the NFL Draft. TSU’s famed Aristocrat of Bands is in a promotional advertising the Draft. And on April 27, Tigers linebacker Christion Abercrombie will announce the fifth-round pick for the Tennessee Titans.

Abercrombie made national news last season when he suffered a life-threatening injury in a football game against Vanderbilt University. Doctors didn’t think he’d survive. But Abercrombie has made a miraculous recovery since the Sept. 29 incident. On April 13, he attended the annual Blue and White scrimmage game at TSU.

Also, TSU alum Ed “Too Tall” Jones will announce the pick for the Dallas Cowboys. The defensive lineman, who appeared in three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, was their No. 1 overall pick in the 1974 NFL Draft.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University To Host 2019 Fulbright Pakistan Re-entry Seminar

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University became the first historically black university to host the Fulbright Pakistan Re-entry Seminar that was held April 25-28.

Dr. Jewell Winn, executive director for International Affairs and diversity officer for TSU, said the seminar was to help students from Pakistan, who have studied in the United States  for two to seven years, prepare for the culture shock they may experience when they return home. The seminar is funded through a grant from the Institute of International Education (IIE),

“When you’ve been away from home for an extended period of time in a totally different culture and out of your country, you’ve gone through a culture shock for the most part.  When you return, it’s called reverse culture shock. Now you have to go back home and reenter your culture,“ said Winn, who serves as chair of the International Committee as part of her role on the board of the National Association of Diversity Officers In Higher Education.

Dr. Jewell Winn

Winn said the conference is designed to give participants an opportunity to reflect on their experiences in the U.S. and set goals for their lives upon returning to Pakistan based upon the information they have learned while studying in the America.

Dr. Latif Lighari, associate administrator for Extension in the College of Agriculture and a native of Pakistan, took part in a re-entry seminar in the late 1970s after completing his studies at the University of Missouri Columbia.

Lighari, who will serve as the keynote speaker during the opening dinner on Thursday evening, said these type of re-entry seminars are vital for students returning to Pakistan.

“This re-entry seminar is extremely important.  This is over 100 Fulbright graduates from Pakistan who have completed their masters and doctorial degrees in this country in many different fields, from arts to science to engineering. They are 50 percent male and 50 percent female,” said Lighari, who serves as co principal investigator for the project. “Being from Pakistan myself, I know how much education is valued and needed there. Now  that these young people have finished their degrees here, we want to make some suggestions as to how they can work together in the future and work positively and constructively together to use their talents to transform Pakistan.”

The agenda for the four-day seminar included sessions on social entrepreneurship, goal-setting, skill-building and a virtual alumni panel for Ph.D. students that connected them with Fulbright alumni in Islamabad who discussed their backgrounds, professional careers and how they navigated their return to Pakistan.

Students took thematic site visits to the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, the Nashville Incubation Center and the Nashville International Airport as well as tour the Frist Art Museum, Historic Union Station and Hotel and SoBro, the area downtown south of Broadway which includes the Schermerhorn Symphony Center,  the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Bridgestone Arena, the Music City Center and a host of restaurants, hotels and live music venues.

Winn said the thematic visits gave the participants  “a deep look into how social enterprise works in Nashville, how entrepreneurship is viewed in Nashville, and how an organization can develop a strong diversity program.

Lighari said the seminar, which was hosted last year at the University of California, Berkley, is one of many re-entry seminars Fulbright sponsors for graduates returning to their home countries.  He said the mission of the seminar mirrors the work he does with the TSU Cooperative Extension Program.

“Cooperative Extension is an outreach arm of Tennessee State University. We engage people all the time in areas of agriculture, family and consumer sciences, youth development and community resource development.  The main idea of Extension is to help people get research-based information so they can live better lives,” he said. “Our mission for extension in this country is to build people so the people that we build can become better individuals who can build better families, communities and countries.”

For more information about the TSU Office and International Affiars and the TSU Cooperative Extension Program, visit www.tnstate.edu

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, premier historically-black land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU’s graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus boasts a top-notch Executive MBA Program. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

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Civil Rights Leader Al Sharpton and Professor and Bestselling Author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson to Speak at TSU Dual Commencements

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renowned activist and civil rights leader, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and Georgetown University professor and bestselling author, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, will be the commencement speakers at Tennessee State University’s dual spring graduation ceremonies.

Sharpton will speak on Friday, May 3, at the graduate commencement ceremony in the Howard C. Gentry Complex, beginning at 5 p.m.

On Saturday, May 4, Dyson will address undergraduate students in Hale Stadium. The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m.

Overall, more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines.

Sharpton, a community leader, politician, minister and civil-rights activist, serves as the host of Politics Nation on MSNBC. With more than 40 years of experience as an advocate, he is one of America’s most renowned civil rights leaders. He has held such notable positions as the youth director of New York’s Operation Breadbasket, director of ministers for the National Rainbow Push coalition, and founder of his own broad-based progressive civil rights organization, the National Action Network.

Known for taking up the fight on behalf of the underdog in his pursuit of justice and equality, Sharpton is no stranger to TSU. In 2014, he came to the university to take up the cause to have TSU’s 1957- 1959 Men’s Championship Basketball Team, the first-ever to win three national titles back-to back, inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

He joined university officials and staff, including President Glenda Glover, state officials, community leaders and stakeholders, as he presented his cause during a ceremony in Kean Hall.

As a result of Sharpton’s efforts and that of many others including TSU alumnus Dr. Richard “Dick” Barnett, a member of all three teams, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on April 7 that the Tennessee State men’s basketball championship teams of 1957-59 will be one of 12 honorees in this year’s Class of 2019. The class will be celebrated at this year’s enshrinement festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, September 5-7.

Dyson, the undergraduate commencement speaker, also known as a preacher and radio host, has authored or edited more than 20 books dealing with subjects such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Marvin Gaye and Hurricane Katrina. He has received several awards for his literary work, including three NAACP Image Awards and the Southern Book Prize.

Dyson’s book, “Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster,” for which he received the American Book Award, analyzes the political and social events in the wake of the catastrophe against the backdrop of an overall “failure in race and class relations.”

 A longtime educator, Dyson taught at Chicago Theological Seminary, Brown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Columbia University, DePaul University and the University of Pennsylvania.

For more information on commencement, visithttp://www.tnstate.edu/records/commencement/


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, premier historically-black land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU’s graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus boasts a top-notch Executive MBA Program. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University’s Big Blue spirit part of NFL Draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is showing its Big Blue spirit in the NFL Draft.

The university’s renowned Aristocrat of Bands was in a promotional advertising the draft in the Music City, and the band performed on the Draft’s red carpet, as well as appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” sports talk show.

Another showing of TSU spirit will take place on Saturday, April 27, when Tigers linebacker Christion Abercrombie announces the fifth-round pick for the Tennessee Titans.

Christion made national news last season when he suffered a life-threatening injury in a football game against Vanderbilt University. Doctors didn’t think he’d survive. But Christion has made a miraculous recovery since the Sept. 29 incident. On April 13, he attended the annual Blue and White scrimmage game at TSU.

On April 25, TSU President Glenda Glover hosted a luncheon and tour for the Professional Football Players Mothers Association and friends. The event followed a “Salute to Greatness” reception/dinner on April 12 that celebrated former TSU football players who competed in the pros.

Over the years, more than 150 TSU players went on to compete in the National Football League, Canadian Football League, and other professional leagues. Twenty-one former Tigers played in Super Bowls.

“it’s part of the TSU football legacy,” said Glover of the event celebrating the former players. “They came here as students, and left here as greats.”

One of those greats is Ed “Too Tall” Jones, who appeared in three Super Bowls as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. The defensive lineman was their No. 1 overall pick in the 1974 NFL Draft. Jones said he can relate to the anticipation and nervousness draft hopefuls are likely experiencing.

“I was a big Cowboy fan growing up,” said Jones, who will announce Dallas’ pick at the draft. “To be the first overall pick, go to the team of my choice, it was mind-boggling.”

To view the Aristocrat of Bands NFL Draft promotional, visit https://player.vimeo.com/external/330512639.hd.mp4?s=687f1a06fe39ec760f3d30476ee760a9c2b3c55c&profile_id=174.

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, premier historically-black land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU’s graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus boasts a top-notch Executive MBA Program. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.