Tag Archives: Alumni

Internationally Known Vegan Trainer Tay Sweat Among Experts To Greet Public At Health And Wellness Fair at TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn(TSU News Service) – Certified personal trainer and nutrition coach Tay Sweat knows what it means to fight for his life. At age 15, he weighed 311 pounds and found himself in a constant battle with diabetes and high blood pressure. Afraid he would meet an early death, Sweat decided as a teenager to take control of his health.

“I got rid of my diabetes and my high blood pressure, and from there I started helping others do the same,” said Sweat, who is now an internationally recognized health guru with clients in Australia, Canada and Japan.

Certified personal trainer and nutrition coach Tay Sweat (submitted photo)

Sweat is one of many health, nutrition and fitness experts who will take part in a unique community health and wellness fair this Friday at Tennessee State University from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Kean Hall.

The fair, which is a partnership between TSU, the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s HIV Vaccine Program, and the Turnip Truck, will feature more than 40 vendors and give participants opportunities to receive massages, chiropractic care, dental screenings, HIV testing and more.

Sweat, who does 90 to 95 percent of his business online and the remaining with high profile clients like Tennessee Titans players and their wives, is excited about this opportunity to share what he has learned with the general public.

“I want people, when they see me, to see the difference eating a lot of plants can have. But not only that, I want to speak to the people and answer questions,” said Sweat, who lost more than 120 pounds before packing on an additional 25 pounds of muscle using a vegan diet.

Lalita Hodge, TSU coordinator of Public Relations and a member of the DP Thomas Board of Directors, said the purpose of the fair is to keep the community informed about the resources that are available to them.

“You will see some of your traditional vendors there like the YMCA, but you will also see nontraditional healing methods there like coffee enema, the Turnip Truck with their organic produce, and we have healthy lunches that will include organic free-range turkey,” she said.

Hodge said organizers are placing special emphasis on getting senior citizens and college students to participate.

Keith Richardson, community engagement coordinator for the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program, stressed the important of students attending the health fair.

“Students are young and they need to know the importance of health and what it means to take care of themselves,” said Richardson, a 2008 alumnus of TSU. “Maybe they can catch health issues early before things get out of hand as they become adults and just have a good mindset about eating and exercising right, and just taking care of their bodies.”

Dolly Patton-Thomas, executive director of the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, said she hopes the event will motivate people to live healthier lives. She said Sweat and Certified Holistic Wellness Coach Karina Hammer are just two of the many vendors she is elated to see continue their participation in the fair, which is in its third year.

“I’m just excited about the health fair, and I hope that all will come out and that we will have people just to gain knowledge about what we have to offer and what is out there for them,” Patton-Thomas said. “When you are given the knowledge, you won’t be blindsided. You can run with it and you can choose what to do.”

For more information about the Community Health and Wellness Fair, call 615-474-1286, or email: dpthomasfoundation@gmail.com.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

 

Former TSU Band Member Makes History, Shares Stage with Beyoncé at Coachella

The Coachella Valley Music Festival may have been thousands of miles away from Tennessee State University and Nashville, but that didn’t stop the influence of the Aristocrat of Bands and the cultural sounds of the HBCU band experience from taking center stage at the event on Saturday night.

When mega superstar Beyoncé took the stage, former Tennessee State University band member Michael Jones performed with her as she made history as the first African American woman to headline the musical event. Jones was a part of the band and drumline that provided music for Beyoncé, in what many are calling an iconic performance.

Jones, a Florida native, along with musicians from other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including Tennessee State University, Florida A&M University, Alabama State University, Prairie View A&M University, Hampton University, North Carolina A&T State University, Norfolk State University, Bethune-Cookman University, University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University, backed the Grammy Award-winning performer during her nearly two hour performance, which included a reunion performance with Destiny ‘s Child band mates Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland.

TSU Alum Mike Jones plays sousaphone as a member of DRUMline Live, an international tour based on the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) marching band tradition. Jones along with other members of DRUMline Live performed with Beyoncé at Coachella 2018 on Saturday. (submitted photo)

“This is tremendous exposure for our university and the other HBCUs that had band members perform with Ms. Knowles,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Our institutions have a rich history and legacy that many may not be familiar with, but a performance highlighting our cultural presence, with someone the stature of Beyoncé, creates an incredible buzz and interest. We are thankful for her knowledge of our contributions to the fabric of education and the scholarship program she has established specifically for HBCUs.”

The singer’s website issued the release to announce the four schools to receive the newly established Homecoming Scholars Award Program for the 2018-2019 academic year, through her BeyGOOD initiative. The universities include Xavier University, Wilberforce University, Tuskegee University and Bethune-Cookman College. One winner from each school will receive $25,000 for the 2018-2019 academic year for study in various fields. This is the second year for the scholars program created by Ms. Knowles.

Beyoncé’s historic show was the first time the 36-year-old had performed on stage in over a year.  According to a press release on her website, the set was “a celebration of the homecoming weekend experience, the highest display of college pride. The energy-filled production put the spotlight on art and culture, mixing the ancient and the modern, which resonated masterfully through the marching band, performance art, choir and dance.”

Reginald McDonald, TSU associate professor of Music Education and director of Bands, said he was thrilled to see the HBCU band experience shared at Coachella and around the world.

“As an HBCU band director, it is thrilling and exciting to witness our performance style influence pop culture,” he said.  “The admiration and excitement for HBCU bands extend far beyond a football game halftime.”

He cited the TSU Aristocrat of Bands performance at the White House, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Honda Battle of the Bands and their 2016 performance with Cedric The Entertainer as examples of performances that still garner positive feedback.

Founded in 1999, Coachella is one of the largest, and most profitable music festivals in the world.  It features a mix of popular and established artists with emerging artists from genres of music including pop, rock, indie, hip hop and electronic dance music.

Jones looks to continue his musical odyssey with the iconic superstar as a member of the sousaphones section. A second Coachella performance is scheduled for this weekend.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 TO HOST COMMUNITY HEALTH AND WELLNESS FAIR

NASHVILLE, Tenn(TSU News Service) – Massages, chiropractic care, dental screenings and HIV testing are just a few of the free services that will be offered at a Community Health and Wellness Fair set for Friday, April 20, at Tennessee State University.

More than 40 vendors with some connection to health care and wellness are expected to participate in this year’s event, which is free to the public.

The fair, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in the university’s Kean Hall on the main campus, is a partnership between TSU, the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s HIV Vaccine Program, and the Turnip Truck, a natural foods grocer in Nashville.

One of the main participants is TSU’s Dental Hygiene Department, which will provide intra-oral screenings at the event.

Leon Roberts II, coordinator of clinics for the TSU Dental Hygiene Department, stressed the importance of people from the campus and surrounding communities stopping by their booth to get the screening.

“The mouth is the gateway to the body, so a lot of dental diseases don’t just affect the mouth,” he said. “Periodontal disease is connected to diabetes, heart disease, and for women who are pregnant, it is connected to low-birth weight babies. So it is very important to take care of your oral hygiene because your oral hygiene affects your whole health.”

Among its offerings, the fair will provide information on weight loss management and nutrition, as well as fitness demonstrations and health screenings.

Lalita Hodge, TSU coordinator of Public Relations and a member of the DP Thomas Board of Directors, said the purpose of the event is to keep the community informed about the resources that are available to them.

“You will see some of your traditional vendors there like the YMCA and Walgreens, but you will also see nontraditional healing methods there like coffee enema, the Turnip Truck with their organic produce, and we have healthy lunches which will include organic free-range turkey,” she said.

Dolly Patton-Thomas, executive director of the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, said she hopes the event will motivate people to live healthier lives.

“We need doctors. They support us with our health in many ways, and we need them to support us in the health decisions we make as well,” she said. “Still, I think we can help them by taking our health into our own hands on a day to day basis.

This year organizers hope to expand the fair, which is in its third year, by attracting more senior citizens, as well as college students.

Keith Richardson, community engagement coordinator for the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program, stressed the important of students attending the health fair.

“Students are young and they need to know the importance of health and what it means to take care of themselves,” said Richardson, a 2008 alumnus of TSU. “Maybe they can catch health issues early before things get out of hand as they become adults and just have a good mindset about eating and exercising right, and just taking care of their bodies.”

Hodge said many of the vendors provide free samples, as well as contact information so participants can follow up with them for more products and services.

“I’m just excited about the health fair, and I hope that all will come out and that we will have people just to gain knowledge about what we have to offer and what is out there for them,” Patton-Thomas said. “When you are given the knowledge, you won’t be blindsided. You can run with it and you can choose what to do.”

For more information about the Community Health and Wellness Fair, call 615-474-1286, or email: dpthomasfoundation@gmail.com.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. National President to Speak at Women of Legend And Merit Event To Raise Scholarship and Program Dollars for Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Beverly Smith, national president and chief executive officer of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, will serve as the keynote speaker for this year’s Women of Legend and Merit Award Dinner at Tennessee State University on April 10 in Kean Hall.

Smith, who also serves as the assistant commissioner and Georgia State director for Adult Education and GED Testing through the Technical College System of Georgia, said she is excited about addressing the young ladies at TSU because of the many issues facing women today.

Beverly E. Smith

“We are at a time today when the power of women really matters,” she said. “The power of our voice is clearly something of significance these days whether or not we are comfortable enough with ourselves to use or understand it.”

TSU President Glenda Glover echoed the same sentiments.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Beverly Smith to our campus for our Women of Legend and Merit Awards Dinner, and look forward to hearing her inspiring and powerful words,” she said. “Women of Legend and Merit is in its 11th year and couldn’t have come at a more pivotal time in our nation’s history. Women should feel empowered and celebrated. Our dinner allows us to do this and raise scholarship and program dollars for students, all while partnering with the community.”

Seanne Wilson, chairperson of the event, which raises money for student scholarships, said Smith’s visit will give the young ladies at TSU an opportunity to witness a “woman of excellence” who is the head of a large body of women of excellence.

“This is an opportunity for them to meet women from varying organizations and diverse positions in life, and to hear their stories and their struggles and how they made it,” said Wilson, who serves as coordinator of the TSU Women’s Center.

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.

Wilson said the purpose of this event is to empower and uplift the female students at TSU.

Smith said the influence of her father, a civil rights activist, as well as powerful women in her family and early mentors such as legends Dorothy Heights and Althea Gibson helped propel her to success.

“You can’t be what you can’t see, and I think that certainly holds true especially for us in our communities. A lot of times it is very difficult to be what you can’t see,” she said. “If we celebrate who we are and who we have been, it gives us an opportunity for greater heights.”

This year’s honorees are Vivian Wilhoite, Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County property accessor; Dr. Tameka Winston, TSU interim chair of Department of Communications; Many Bears Grinder, commission of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs; and Tina Tuggle, Tennessee Titans director of community relations.

Awards will also be presented to retired educator Gwendolyn Vincent, and TSU freshman Natalie Cooper.

To purchase tickets for the April 10 awards dinner or learn more about the Women’s Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/legendandmerit/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 Alum Makes Moves In Hip Hop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dwane “Key Wane” Weir II still smiles when he recalls his mother buying him a keyboard for Christmas when he was 13 years old. Over a decade later, the Grammy-nominated producer and Tennessee State University alumnus who has worked with everyone from Beyoncé and Jazmine Sullivan to Drake and Meek Mill, still credits his mother for being his biggest inspiration.

“My mom taught me how to go out and really ‘get it-get it.’ I didn’t want to ask my mom for much,” he said. “If I were to ask her for something, she would be like, ‘You’d better figure out a way to get it.’ I think that’s dope because I didn’t grow up lazy.”

Weir, who spent most of his time at TSU as a music major with an emphasis in commercial music, changed his major to Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) during his final year so he could graduate early and focus on his music career.

Dwane “Key Wane” Weir

“On campus, I really didn’t get out a lot because I was making beats. I got signed when I was a sophomore or a junior, so I was always in and out of school,” he said.  “I did my work, but I was barely there.  I was only there for midterms and finals and whatever type of important assignments that were due. Outside of that, I was in the dorm making records, five to 10 beats a day.  I would go to the café just to get some food, take the tray back to the room, get back to it, send my e-mails and prepare my flights.”

Mark Crawford, TSU associate professor of Music and coordinator of the Commercial Music Program, said what impressed him most about Weir was his dedication and his musicality.

“He was really into it. He was about the music.  He breathes music.  He exudes music, and he’s just a very creative young man,” said Crawford.  “He has been fortunate enough to find an avenue where he could find reward for that. So he was a good student, but I think he was a better producer.”

As Weir’s advisor, Crawford said he noticed that while the producer was diligent, because of his competing demands, he was often the last one to make it to class.

Dr. Mark Crawford

“Sometimes he was late.  Well, when I talked to him about this, about his attendance and everything, he began to tell me about all the activities he was involved with outside of the class.    You know making his tracks and making his beats, trying to return phone calls, trying to make deadlines and all this kind of thing, and that’s when I first became aware of what he was into,” Crawford said.

“Big Sean was one artist he had an early connection with, and he would tell me about that connection. His senior year he began to get some really good placements.  He had a placement, I believe, with a Beyonce’ project,” Crawford recalled.  “I want to say his first year out or his second year out, the project he was involved with was nominated for a Grammy.  And then subsequently, he’s been nominated two more times.”

According to Weir, taking his mother to the Grammy Awards has been the highlight of his career.

“I’ve been nominated year after year which is a blessing, “ Weir said. “I remember I brought my mom when ‘Let It Burn’ got nominated, which is the Jazmine Sullivan joint I did, and I was like,  ‘Mom, you want to come with me to the Grammys?  She was like, ‘Yeah!’  I think that was like the coolest thing because I remember when she and I both had nothing, and she bought me that keyboard, and that changed everything.”

Beyonce’s “Partition”, Drake’s “All Me”, Meek Mill’s “Amen” and Jazmine Sullivan’s “Let It Burn” are just a few of the chart-topping songs with grooves produced by Dwane “Key Wane” Weir.

In spite of his success. the Detroit native remains humble.

“I remember what it was like before everything came.  I don’t want to go back to work,” he said, referring to a time when he worked at a car wash.  “I would be at work and would miss out on things because I would still have like five cars to wax.”

Two years ago he paid a surprise visit to the music department to show his appreciation to TSU, according to Dr. Robert Elliot, head of the Department of Music.

“Dwane, Dr. Crawford and I were all in my office, just the three of us, and Dwane said, ‘I’d like to thank you all.’ And we said, ‘Well, we appreciate that.  We are glad you are doing well.’  He said, ‘No.  You don’t understand.  I really want to thank you.’ And he handed me the check for $10,000. He said, ‘Now, help somebody else.’

Weir said the only thing that has really changed in his life since his days as a student is that he has developed a closer relationship with God.  Weir said he prays before he creates music, and he keeps a positive mindset.

“Everything still feels new to me.  I still make beats in my mama’s basement so really nothing has ever changed,” he said. “I go back home to my mom every now and then, and it just feels the same. It’s a blessing. I don’t want to get comfortable.  I don’t want to feel like I’ve made it because I haven’t.   I definitely still have a lot of work to do.”

For Weir that could mean earning another degree from his alma mater. Weir said he plans to eventually get a masters degree at TSU, and teach a course in the music department.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

Hargrove Recognized Nationally for Contributions as STEM Educator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Tennessee State University dean of the College of Engineering, will receive the Ivory Dome Award at the 14th Annual Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) Technology Achievement Awards ceremony on March 9 in Dallas.

According to ITSMF President and CEO Viola Maxwell-Thompson, Hargrove’s commitment to developing tomorrow’s STEM leaders is in alignment with the organization’s mission of “increasing the representation of black professionals at senior levels in technology, to impact organizational innovation and growth.” She said the Ivory Dome Award is given to an individual focused on increasing the number of students in the STEM discipline.

“Dr. Hargrove won all of the support of the committee,” Maxwell-Thompson said. “We were so impressed with his achievements at TSU and how he has inspired and educated hundreds of students there as well as other areas within Tennessee where he has interacted with not only college students, but K-12 schools as well.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove

Hargrove, who earned his BS degree in mechanical engineering from TSU, immediately pursued his MS degree as a National GEM Consortium Fellow at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He later secured his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

“I am honored to received this award.  It is a result of the hard work of the faculty and staff of the College of Engineering at Tennessee State University, and the partnerships we have with industries like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and K-12 Education to promote STEM careers,” he said. “This award reflects the support of TSU and our commitment to expanding the workforce in STEM and the dedication of TSU leadership and the quality of the students in our program.

As a recipient of the Ivory Dome Award, Maxwell-Thompson said Hargrove will be an honorary member of ITSMF for one year, which will enable him to attend the organization’s symposium, network with other STEM professionals and mentor within the organization.

“We just want him to feel proud that he is being recognized in yet another way, considering the fact that he has tons of accolades and recognitions,” Maxwell-Thompson said. “This organization wants to also add to that list of recognizing an individual who is so incredibly passionate about the youth and tomorrow’s leaders.”

Hargrove said pursuing a career in STEM, obtaining advanced degrees and becoming a college professor were a result of the advice and mentoring he received from the TSU faculty while he was an undergraduate student.

“Seven out of the top 10 best jobs are STEM-related.  My role as Dean is to insure they are completing an academic program that prepares them to be technically competent and have the leadership skills to have successful careers,” he said. “My engagement with my own students and with our partnerships with high schools, help promote careers in STEM and encourage them to seek occupations in this area.  In most instances in K12 education, it’s about exposure and awareness.  The College of Engineering is committed to both.”

In addition to mentoring and educating students at TSU, Hargrove serves as a founding board member of STEM Preparatory Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. He also serves on the advisory STEM boards of several local K-12 schools.

Dr. Kimberly Gold, a cybersecurity engineer for the U.S. Navy, said Hargrove is the reason she has a Ph.D.

Dr. Kimberly Gold

“He is my mentor. He promotes rigor, excellence and he never turns his back on his students,” she said. “He’s someone they can count on. I was actually the first African-American female to graduate with a Ph.D. in computer and information systems engineering, and I could not have done that without him.”

Gold said Hargrove teaches his students to never come to him with complaints, but with solutions. She said his mentorship and the nurturing environment at TSU played a key role in her success.

“When I got to the Navy, we were less than maybe 8 percent of the population on our base so a lot of times people doubted my abilities because they were not familiar with working with people of color,” she said. “Hargrove would have these closed door sessions where he would teach us how to maneuver through systems that were not created for us to excel. So that is why I say he is more than just a mentor. He is also a friend.”

Maxwell-Thompson said she hopes honoring Hargrove will lead to future collaborations between ITSMF and Tennessee State University.

“We look at the number of students who are majoring in the technology piece of STEM, and we know that there are so many opportunities in technology that will present themselves by the year 2025, and we want to make sure that there are a good representation of black students that are ready to take on those roles.”

Founded in 1996, ITSMF is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to cultivating executive-level talent among black technology professionals. Their members hail from Fortune 500 companies, governmental agencies, technology businesses and academia. This annual event attracts top-notch technology industry leaders and has historically been hosted by companies like Bank of America, Lowes, Hewlett-Packard, PepsiCo and Lockheed Martin.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

Tennessee State University Hosts Unveiling of ‘Forever’ Postal Stamp Honoring Lena Horne

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University hosted the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s “Forever Stamp” featuring legendary performer and civil rights activist Lena Horne on Friday in the Kean Hall welcome center.

The new stamp, which is the 41st in the Black Heritage series, is a colorized black-and-white photograph taken of Horne in the 1980’s by photographer Christian Steiner. The dress Horne wears in the photograph appears royal blue, a color she frequently wore. The background of the photograph includes a few clouds, reminiscent of her Stormy Weather album. Horne’s name appears at the bottom of the stamp, with the words “USA” and “Forever” appearing just above her name in the bottom right corner. The words “Black Heritage” appear at the top of the stamp.

Toni Franklin, the postmaster of Nashville, joined TSU Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff, Dr. Curtis Johnson, faculty, staff, students, postal officials and guests during the unveiling ceremony in Nashville in the Kean Hall foyer on the main campus. The stamp was dedicated by Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman during a January 30th ceremony at the Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York.

Franklin described Horne as “a woman who used her platform as an entertainer to become one of America’s most public advocates for civil rights and gender equality.”

“The Lena Horne Commemorative Stamp is being issued as a ‘Forever Stamp’,”  Franklin said.  “It goes without saying, Lena Horne will forever be in our hearts.”

Steven Lewis, Curator of the National Museum of African American

Steven Lewis, curator of the National Museum of African American Music, speaks before the unveiling. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Music slated to open in Nashville in 2019, served as the ceremony speaker. He provided a brief history of Horne’s contributions to the entertainment industry and African American History.

“Lena Horne lived a long life, and she had an amazingly varied body of work spanning activities of literally all forms of popular media including film, television, recordings, musical theatre, and night club appearances,” he said. “The constant throughout her career, however, was her commitment to activism on behalf of African Americans.”

Attendees participated in a brief reception following the event. The TSU Jazz Band provided entertainment, performing renditions of Horne’s classics, including her popular song, Stormy Weather.

Best known for her movie roles in “Cabin in the Sky” and “Stormy Weather,” Horne began her career as a dancer at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. She endured decades of discrimination in her storied career, and eventually emerged as a civil rights activist performing at various rallies across the South, pressing for anti-lynching legislation with Eleanor Roosevelt, lending her support to the National Council for Negro Women and taking part in the March on Washington in 1963.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

 

Gentrification In The Black Community, TSU Students Hold Forum To Address Issues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students invite community leaders and neighborhood groups to take a closer look at gentrification and it’s impact on the black community.

Students will host the forum, Gentrification Across the Spectrum,  on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the university’s Avon Williams Campus at 6 p.m. in Room 354. It will include the screening of NorthEast Passage, a 2002 documentary about gentrification in the black neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion that will explore the effects of gentrification in Nashville and how residents in areas being negatively affected can take meaningful action.

Marie Baugh, a graduate student in the College of Public Service, said the students want to show how the process of gentrification impacts people.

Marie Baugh

“Being a millennial graduating post-recession, it’s hard to even qualify to get a home because depending on the neighborhood, the pricing, and the condition of the home, I just may not be eligible for it,” Baugh said. “Gentrification affects a lot of people directly and indirectly because you have neighborhoods being revitalized, and it may change the whole culture of the neighborhood.”

Baugh, a native of Decatur, Alabama who secured her bachelor’s degree in political science from TSU in 2008, said the forum will help people who have heard the term gentrification but are unsure about what it can do to a neighborhood.

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and a nationally syndicated columnist, said the event is important because gentrification is a national and international issue. Harris, who has done extensive research on gentrification, spoke about the issue in 2014 in Medellin, Columbia at the United Nations’ premiere conference on urban issues, World Urban Forum 7.

“We see so much economic development and so much growth here in Nashville, and the outcome is gentrification,” Harris said. “It means that people who do not have the means are pushed way out of town to the outskirts, and housing and housing affordability become a major question and issue.”

Dr. Michael Harris

Harris said the process significantly impacts minorities and lower income people. He said the solutions to issues surrounding gentrification must come from academics and practitioners.

“Gentrification is an outcome of the economic growth, and it really has to be addressed so minorities with low incomes can find affordable housing within Nashville,” he said.

Cornelius Swart, who co-produced and co-directed NorthEast Passage with his business partner Spencer Wolf, said since the release of the documentary in 2002, the effects gentrification has had on the once predominately-black community in Portland have been astronomical.

“Fifteen years later we see that the traditionally black neighborhoods have lost 50-60 percent of their black population,” he said. “It’s hard to say exactly how many, but even the folks who remain in the neighborhood often say they don’t feel comfortable going out in public, or they have very little reason to go out in public because old stores and public spaces are catered to the new white residents. So you now have a neighborhood that no longer feels like home for many of the people who grew up in the area.”

Swart advises residents in areas currently being gentrified to build partnerships and create stakeholders of people who are willing to invest long-term in the existing residents, as well as set up long-term protections for vulnerable residents, such as land trusts and other affordable home models.   He said residents should make sure the new investments coming in are not just for newcomers.

“For many years, I have been watching this issue unfold, and as the downsides become very apparent and as my understanding of the issue becomes more intricate, I feel an obligation to warn people about what is coming down the track.” he said.

Sponsored by the TSU College of Public Service, Gentrification Across the Spectrum grew out of the college’s desire to give students an opportunity to shape its premiere Black History Month event.

“They came up with the ideas and have been able to recruit people and make suggestions that I don’t think any of us faculty members would have ever had,” said Dr. Anthony Campbell, assistant professor of Public Administration in the College of Public Service.

Baugh, one of the event’s organizers, credits TSU with giving her a chance to grow, and become the person she is today.

“If it wasn’t for Tennessee State University accepting me as an undergraduate back in 2003, I’m not sure I would be able to even have the opportunities I have now,” she said. “Where I came from in Alabama there weren’t a lot of opportunities for little black girls like me. When I got the acceptance letter in the mail, I knew that it was my way out.”

Following the screening, a panel consisting of leaders from the public, private, nonprofit and grassroots sectors will discuss the impact gentrification is having on Nashville. Panelists include: Morgan Mansa, executive director of Metro Nashville’s Barnes Housing Trust; Tifinie Capehart, realtor with SilverPointe Properties; Hiram Brown, manager of strategic growth with Urban Housing Solutions; and Ruby Baker, president of the Bordeaux Hills Residential Association.

Campbell said he hopes the event will provide insight to help Nashville residents grapple with the many factors surrounding gentrification.

“We here at the colleges care about these issues and aren’t just exploring it from a purely academic standpoint,” he said. “We are trying to create a bigger dialogue so we can bring about positive change.”

For more information about Gentrification Across the Spectrum, contact Dr. Anthony Campbell at mcampb13@tnstate.edu or (615) 963-7098.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 First to Host NSF Day in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Science, engineering and education researchers will have a unique opportunity to gain insight about how to secure research funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) at a workshop on February 22 at Tennessee State University.

The daylong workshop, dubbed NSF Day, will include discussions about how to submit fundable proposals, as well as discipline-specific breakout sessions featuring NSF representatives. This is the first time NSF Day is being hosted in Nashville.

“We are excited to bring an NSF Day to Tennessee State University,” said Holly Brown, NSF Lead for the TSU NSF Day. “Not only do these events provide a phenomenal opportunity for us to share vital information on our proposal and merit review processes, we are able to engage with some of the brightest minds in science and engineering.”

Robert Turner, senior mechanical engineering major

One student who has benefited from TSU’s partnership with NSF is Robert Turner, a senior mechanical engineering major from Nashville, Tennessee. Turner said working on an NSF funded research project has enhanced his experience at TSU in many ways.

“It has given me a perspective on what I would like to do for graduate school,” he said. “It is also exposing me to different technologies that I wouldn’t necessarily get exposed to throughout my undergraduate curriculum.”

After graduation, Turner plans to pursue a graduate degree in material science. He said working with Dr. Frances Williams, associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Engineering, has helped him expand his breadth of knowledge and given him the opportunity to network within the field of engineering.

“Dean (Williams) has always been helpful to me by setting me up with the right opportunities and helping me whenever I needed it,” he said. “The other researcher assigned to the project, Dr. Yury Barnakov, has also been helpful, as well as the graduate student that I am working with.”

John Barfield, TSU director of engagement and visibility in the Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, said students are the primary beneficiaries when universities receive research funding.

“Research projects train students to use innovative and new techniques,” he said. “They aid them in becoming accepted to internships, and graduate and medical schools. Research becomes paid jobs and scholarships for students, both of which increase student retention and matriculation rates.”

The NSF is the federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” according to the foundation’s website. NSF supports fundamental research in science, engineering and education across all disciplines.

Dr. Marie Hammond, TSU professor of psychology and principal investigator for two NSF grants currently funded at the university, said her research is geared toward constructing a framework for a theory of African American STEM career development.

Dr. Marie Hammond, TSU associate professor of psychology in the College of Education

Hammond said that she, along with a team of other researches at TSU, are attempting to increase the ability of African Americans to commit to and manage their STEM careers to ensure that they have the greatest likelihood of persisting to graduation and into the next phase of their STEM careers.

“The reason this research is so important is because the STEM workforce is primarily made up of Caucasian males.,” Hammond said.  “Think about what we are missing with only 5% of African Americans spread out across all the STEM fields.  What are we missing that African American men and women would pick up on to help improve healthcare, safety and our living environments.”

Hammond has secured close to $2.5 million in funding from NSF during her career at TSU, which has allowed her to hire a total of almost 50 graduate assistants. Currently, she has nine graduate assistants who aid with research, as well as four undergraduate students who collect data.

Nicholas Kovach, research specialist in the TSU Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, said the university secured more than $2 million from NSF in the last fiscal year. He said NSF representatives will be on hand all day to answer questions and personally engage in discussions with attendees.

“This is a rare opportunity,” he said. “The National Science Foundation holds only a few of these workshops each year, at different institutions across the country, and they are coming here to our campus.”

NSF Day provides background on the foundation, its mission, and priorities. Program managers and staff give overviews on proposal writing, programs that fall within and across NSF’s seven scientific and engineering directorates, and NSF’s merit review process.

Presale admission tickets are available on the TSU Research and Sponsored Programs website:  http://www.tnstate.edu/research/. Admission includes parking on the main campus with a shuttle service downtown, breakfast, lunch, and light snacks throughout the day.

For additional information about the NSF Day program, visit www.nsf.gov/nsfdays

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 Alum Emerges as Smooth Jazz Phenom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Deborah Ghent says when she and her husband Carl went on their first date, they hit it off so well that they discussed naming their first child Jazmin to honor their mutual love for jazz music.

The couple had no idea they would have twins, but their decision to name their daughter Jazmin seems almost prophetic considering the recent success and recognition she has garnered as a smooth jazz artist.

Jazmin Ghent, who was recently voted Best New Artist of 2017 by the Smooth Jazz Network, outshined Gerald Albright’s daughter Selina Albright, Billboard-charting jazz guitarist Adam Hawley and a host of other smooth jazz notables for the coveted title.

Ghent earned a master’s degree in music from Tennessee State University in 2014. She said music has always been a part of her life.

“If I didn’t have music, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said. “Music distracted me from getting off track and being something I’m not.  It really allowed me to express myself and find my way in life.”

TSU Alum Jazmin Ghent was recently voted Best New Artist of 2017 by the Smooth Jazz Network.

Nicknamed “Jazzy Jaz” by her grandfather Fletcher Gaines, who also played saxophone, Ghent grew up listening to jazz standards from his music collection, as well as the music of Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum and Brian Culbertson.

Currently an elementary school music teacher on weekdays and a traveling smooth jazz phenom on weekends, Jazmin credits TSU for playing a major role in her success.

She said Dr. Robert Elliot, head of the Department of Music at TSU, her residence life coworkers Gregory Williams and Brent Dukhie, and various members of the TSU family, provided direction and support during her time at the university.

“I found out about the program at TSU through the Bobby Jones Show,” she said.  “I performed on his ‘Show Your Talent Show,’ and went to do an interview with Dr. Elliot. He didn’t have to give me a chance and an opportunity, but I am beyond thankful that he did.”

Elliot, who served as chair of Ghent’s thesis committee, said that as a musician, Jazmin brings the “total package.”

“She is very much a modern saxophonist, but she is well-grounded in the music of those greats who came before her, and she has built upon that legacy,” he said.  “Jazmin is a very knowledgeable musician and a very creative person.  She has good character, a pleasing personality, and the great ability as an educator to teach people about what it is she does.”

Elliot said for her master’s degree project, Ghent developed a summer camp in music for children to teach them jazz. She held the camp and then documented the curriculum and the delivery of the curriculum.

A great deal of Jazmin’s love for education comes from her mother Deborah, who worked as a special education teacher for 38 years.  Deborah Ghent, who currently serves as her daughter’s manager, said Jazmin and her twin sister, Jenai, started taking piano lessons at the age of six and playing saxophone in middle school.

According to her mother, Jazmin honed a lot of her leadership skills and musicianship in church.

“She was always a little different because she would read the music, but she would always like to add things to the music,” her mother said.  “At the age of 8 she started playing in church, and she and her twin sister alternated weeks and they became the church Sunday school pianists.  When she was older and the church pianist was out, she would take over.  When the pianist was there, Jazmin would find a little spot over in the corner and she would play the saxophone along with whatever hymns or whatever songs were being played in church.”

Jazmin’s dedication and commitment to music paid off in high school when she was named drum major of her 200-member high school band in Huntsville, Alabama. She held the position for three years until she graduated and attended Florida State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education with a minor in jazz studies.

As she continues to find success as a professional musician, Jazmin also relishes in the opportunity to continue working as a music educator.

“Education is such a big part of my life and what I do,” she said.  “I think it’s always going to be there in some capacity. If the opportunity does present itself, I will definitely be a full-time professional musician, but I will always like to keep some aspect of education.  My goal is to get my doctorate and teach on the collegiate level, so I’m going to try to juggle them both for as long as I can.”

Currently, Jazmin is working on her third project, “The Story of Jaz,” which she said highlights her various musical influences and life experiences.

“I’m one of those people who likes to go outside the box and try different things,” she said.

Jazz lovers from around the world can experience Jazmin’s unique musical gift at her scheduled performances which include bookings at the Perfect Note in Hoover, Alabama, and the Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival in Mallorca, Spain.

For more information about booking Jazmin or to purchase her previous projects, “Boss” and “Chocolate Sunshine,” visit www.jazminghent.net.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.