Tag Archives: Dr. McDonald Williams

Honors Program, Former Director to be recognized during TSU Scholarship Gala

Dr. McDonald Williams
Dr. McDonald Williams

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – It is a program that has spanned 50 years and has seen the likes of future lawyers, surgeons, engineers, business CEOs, and even the University president, Dr. Glenda Glover.

Now, Tennessee State University’s Honor Program and one of its most treasured figures will be recognized during The 2014 Scholarship Gala Friday, Sept. 26. Themed, “An evening of Honors,” the celebration will pay tribute to long-time director, Dr. McDonald Williams, and the growth of the program since 1963.

“This really is a time to celebrate the program and one of the most instrumental persons behind it,” said Dr. Coreen Jackson, current director of the Honor Program. “Dr. Williams, while not the original founder, laid the cornerstone of academic excellence and the standard of which this program was built upon.”

Under then University President, Dr. Walter S. Davis, a committee was charged with studying Honors programs and determining the feasibility of establishing one at the University. The committee recommended that TSU keep pace with other institutions throughout the country. As a result, an Honors Program for freshman students started in the fall of 1964. Sophomore through senior level course work was added yearly throughout 1968.

Williams spent 30 years at the University serving as a professor of English, and as director of the Honors Program for 23 years before retiring in 1988.

The program, said Jackson, has gone through many changes throughout the years. Today it boasts more than 400 students; 145 of which are first-time freshmen. The goal is to transition the program into an Honors College in the near future. But the foundation built by Williams still holds true today, she said.

“He [Dr. Williams] had a vision for where the program needed to go and subsequent directors, including Jane Elliott and Sandra Holt have carried that vision forward,” said Jackson.

Former CNN anchor and now Al Jazeera America special correspondent Soledad O'Brien, addressed the student body and faculty March 26 during the University Honors Convocation in Kean Hall. Earlier in the day, O'Brien was the featured speaker at the Honors Program 50th Anniversary Luncheon honoring Dr. McDonald Williams, the first Director of the Honors Program. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Former CNN anchor and now Al Jazeera America special correspondent Soledad O’Brien, addressed the student body and faculty March 26 during the University Honors Convocation in Kean Hall. Earlier in the day, O’Brien was the featured speaker at the Honors Program 50th Anniversary Luncheon honoring Dr. McDonald Williams, the first Director of the Honors Program. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

The yearlong celebration of the Honors Program kicked off earlier this year and was capped by a visit on March 26 by award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien. The former CNN anchor was the featured speaker at the Honors Anniversary Luncheon as well as the keynote speaker during the Honors Day Convocation.

Other events planned include a Black Tie Gala held earlier this year, and an Honors Research Symposium to coincide with the University-Wide Research Symposium. In the fall, the celebration will culminate with a special 50th Anniversary cake-cutting ceremony and an Honors Week observance.

Scholarship Gala Advert 5x8According to Jackson, the primary goal of the celebration is two-fold. The first is to bring awareness to the program that creates and maintains a community of academically bright and talented students who serve as campus leaders and role models. The second, she said, was to raise the necessary funds to transition the program to a college.

“The key objective is the academic enrichment of our students and working with them to achieve their goals,” she added. “We have the opportunity to teach students who are excited about learning and have the freedom to explore issues from multiple points of view. The program not only impacts the students but also the entire University.”

The jubilee celebration kicks off with an “Honors 50 for 50” campaign to raise $500,000 to help the program transition to an Honors College. The new college, she said, will encourage interdisciplinary programs, enhance undergraduate research in all disciplines, advisement for prestigious fellowships and scholarships, mentoring programs, and lifelong learning, including a global perspective through study abroad.

“As a College, we will be able to highlight the importance of offering an enriched honors curriculum and to increase the University’s ability to recruit and retain high-ability students,” added Jackson.  “We have a program that has a national reputation and it already meets the characteristics of an Honors College, as recommended by the National Collegiate Honors Council, the recognized leader in undergraduate honor education.”

For more information on the 2014 Scholarship Gala call 615.963.5481 or visit www.tnstate.edu/scholarshipgala. The gala takes place Friday, Sept. 26 at Music City Center and tickets are available now to purchase.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Distinguished Lecture Series Welcomes Soledad O’Brien March 26

Al Jazeera America special correspondent featured speaker during Honors Program Convocation

 

 

Award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien will be the featured speaker March 26 during the Honors program Convocation.
Award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien will be the featured speaker March 26 during the Honors program Convocation.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Award winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer Soledad O’Brien will the featured keynote speaker Wednesday, March 26 during the Honors Convocation celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Honors Program at Tennessee State University.

The convocation is part of the Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and will take place in Kean Hall located in the Floyd Payne Campus Center beginning at 1 p.m. The convocation is free and open to the public.

O’Brien will also be the featured speaker at the Honors Program anniversary luncheon honoring Dr. McDonald Williams, the first Director of the Honors Program. The luncheon is $50 per person and begins at 11 a.m. in the Gentry Complex.

Soledad O’Brien joined Al Jazeera America in 2013 as part of a deal with her new production company, Starfish Media Group. She will contribute short-form segments as Special Correspondent to Al Jazeera America’s primetime current affairs magazine program “America Tonight,” and Starfish will produce hour-long documentary specials.

O’Brien most recently served as an anchor and special correspondent for CNN. She joined CNN in 2003 and was the co-anchor of CNN’s flagship morning program, “American Morning,” and then the anchor of “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.”

O’Brien distinguished herself at CNN by reporting from the scene of such stories as the London terrorism attacks in 2005, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011. In December 2004, O’Brien was among a handful of CNN anchors sent to Thailand to cover the disaster and aftermath of the tsunami. O’Brien also produced and hosted the widely acclaimed “In America” documentary series, including “Black in America” and “Latino in America.”

Soledad went to CNN from NBC News where she had anchored the network’s Weekend Today starting in July 1999. Prior to that, she had anchored MSNBC’s award-winning technology program The Site and the MSNBC weekend morning show. O’Brien had originally joined NBC News in 1991 and was based in New York as a field producer for Nightly News and Today.

In 2011, O’Brien won her first Emmy Award for “Crisis in Haiti” (on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360) in the category of Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story – Long Form. She was also a member of the teams that earned CNN a George Foster Peabody award for coverage of the British Petroleum oil spill and of Katrina, and an Alfred I. du Pont Award for its reporting on the Southeast Asia tsunami.

In 2010, the National Association of Black Journalists named O’Brien its Journalist of the Year, and the Edward R. Murrow Awards recognized her with the RTDNA/UNITY award for Latino in America. She received the 2009 Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

In 2008, O’Brien was the first recipient of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Goodermote Humanitarian Award for her efforts while reporting on the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina and the Southeast Asia tsunami.

O’Brien was awarded the NAACP President’s Award in 2007 in recognition of her humanitarian efforts and journalistic excellence.

For more information on the anniversary luncheon or Honors Convocation, contact the Honors Program at 615.963.5731.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.