Tag Archives: Dr. Tracey Ford

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms shares inspiring words with TSU graduate students at Spring Commencement Ceremony

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University graduate students received some inspiring words from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who spoke at TSU’s Spring Commencement Ceremony Friday evening.

2018 Spring graduate class. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Before Bottoms’ address, TSU President Glenda Glover congratulated the graduates.

“This is your day,” said Glover. “We thank you, and we’re depending on you to continue the tradition of excellence.”

Bottoms, an Atlanta native who became the 60th mayor of Atlanta last December and only the second woman to be elected to that post in the city’s history, is also a highly accomplished lawyer and successful public servant who advocates for high quality public education, job opportunities and economic growth.

During her address, she told the graduates not to be afraid to share their struggles, their “scars,” because they don’t know who may be inspired by them – especially in the case of youth.

“As you enter this next season of life, think of those little boys and little girls who need to hear your stories, and be uplifted by your stories,” said Bottoms. “How you graduated from TSU, and how you got to the other side.“

Alongside her public service career, Bottoms has maintained a private law practice for more than 20 years, and has served as general counsel for a multi-million dollar business, as well as a Judge (Pro Hoc) in Fulton County State Court.

She told the graduates that their achievement of a higher education will better equip them to be successful.

“The world is waiting on you to make a difference,” said Bottoms. “Walk in your purpose; the best is yet to come.”

Mercedes Hence, who received her master’s in criminal justice Friday, took Bottoms’ words to heart. She said the mayor’s accomplishments are inspiring, especially because she’s an African American woman.

“The fact that she is the mayor of Atlanta, that’s just empowering, inspiring,” said Hence, who has a job lined up with AmeriCorps where she will be assisting with public health research.

2018 Spring graduates make entrance. (photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

Between its graduate commencement and the undergraduate ceremony scheduled for Saturday, May 5, TSU will graduate more than 1,000 students. And officials say a “substantial number,” like Hence, have already gotten job or internship offers.

Among them is Jonathan Robertson, who received a master’s degree in nursing on Friday. He got his bachelor’s in nursing at TSU, and said he liked the university so much that he decided to continue his education at Tennessee State.

“It provided great experiences, and great practicum opportunities,” said Robertson, who will be working as an interventional pain specialist in his hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Recent data comparison shows that TSU is on an upward trajectory when it comes to job placement for new graduates.

Within three months of receiving their degrees, nearly 52 percent of students who graduated in December had received “some form of employment opportunities,” according to the TSU Career Development Center. That’s just 6 percent shy of the national average of graduates who had jobs within six months of graduation, according to College Track, an online database that guides parents and students in college selection.

Dr. Tracey Ford, TSU’s vice-president for Student Affairs, attributed part of TSU’s success to the “outstanding job performance” of former students who are employed with companies around the nation and the world.

“Our students who have become great employees at these world-renowned companies are making such an impact that it causes the employers to want to continue to recruit at Tennessee State University,” said Ford.

Last year, TSU received a $2 million career development grant from the United Negro College Fund. The money gave Career Development Center staff the tools to prepare and ultimately help TSU students secure employment immediately upon graduation.

In addition, Hence said TSU faculty, in particular, went out of their way to provide guidance and support.

“From the lowest point to the highest point, they were there to guide me,” she said. “Just life lessons in general.”

 

NOTE: TSU’s Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on Saturday will be in the Howard C. Gentry Complex instead of Hale Stadium, and it will start at 8 a.m. Gentry has a seating capacity of 8,000; guest overflow will be moved to Kean Hall. Families are asked to arrive approximately 45 minutes to an hour prior to the start of the ceremony at the selected location. Once capacity is reached, guests will be directed to Kean Hall. Shuttles will be available to assist with relocating.

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.

 

Job Outlook Shows Great Promise for Tennessee State University Graduates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – College graduates will soon hit the market with big dreams and high expectations, and Tennessee State University is helping to make them a reality.

Focused academic preparation, combined with job readiness training and career coaching are paying huge dividends for upcoming TSU graduates.

On May 4 and 5, the university will graduate more than 1,000 students at its dual spring commencements. Officials say a “substantial number” have already received job or internship offers.

Representatives from Kroger Regional Office talk to a TSU student, right, during a recent career fair on the TSU main campus. (Phto by TSU Career Development Center)

Among them is Emmanuel Gyang of Nashville. Upon his graduation on May 5, he will be heading to Bank of America in Dallas as a systems engineer in the company’s data center.

So will Justus Watson, who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences with a biotechnology concentration. The Atlanta native will join Union Pacific in the marketing and sales department in Omaha, Nebraska.

And Kevin Scott, also of Nashville, who will receive a degree in electrical engineering. Scott has potential job offers waiting for him with Lockheed Martin and AMRDEC, or the Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.

Recent data comparison shows that TSU is on an upward trajectory when it comes to job placement for new graduates.

Within three months of receiving their degrees, nearly 52 percent of students who graduated in December had received “some form of employment opportunities,” according to the TSU Career Development Center. That’s just 6 percent shy of the national average of graduates who had jobs within six months of graduation, according to College Track, an online database that guides parents and students in college selection.

What is driving these high numbers for TSU?

“It starts with leadership,” says Dr. Tracey Ford, TSU’s vice-president for Student Affairs. “Our president, Dr. Glenda Glover, has elevated the expectation of job placement for our graduates and has charged Student Affairs to be aggressive and innovative in our approach to recruiting employers and securing internships and permanent placement for our talented students.”

More than 130 vendors, including major employers and graduate school representatives, attended the Fall Career and Job Fair on campus last October. (Photo by TSU Career Development Center)

Ford also attributes TSU’s success to the “outstanding job performance” of former students who are employed with companies around the nation and the world.

“Our students who have become great employees at these world-renowned companies are making such an impact that it causes the employers to want to continue to recruit at Tennessee State University,” says Ford.

Last year, TSU received a $2 million career development grant from the United Negro College Fund. The money gave Career Development Center staff the tools to prepare and ultimately help TSU students secure employment immediately upon graduation.

Bethany Beaty, talent acquisition specialist at Enterprise Holdings, Inc., who has hired several TSU graduates over the years, says, “TSU students are very realistic and very ambitious.”

“They always have a drive, and always willing to start at the bottom and work their way up,” says Beaty.

Collectively, the success of Gyang, Watson and Scott and the many other upcoming graduates is a clear reflection of TSU’s “aggressive and innovative” approach to job skills readiness and placement, says Charles Jennings, director of the Career Development Center.

According to Jennings, relationships with employers have been a major factor for TSU’s success. For instance, a career fair in October – one of the largest in recent years – brought more than 130 companies on campus, “all looking to hire our students.” Among major companies at the fair were Apple, Microsoft, Ford Motor Company and Health Career Connections.

“I will have to say we are doing some outstanding work here at TSU in terms of our outreach with employers, not only within the Nashville area, but nationwide,” says Jennings.

Gyang, who interned with Bank of America last year, says he’s “anxiously” waiting for his July start date with the corporate giant.

“I feel blessed to be graduating with a job with a company like Bank of America,” he says. “I owe it to TSU for the preparation I received in the classroom and from the Career Development Center. They definitely honed me to be the person I am today. They taught me how to carry myself in a more professional manner.”

Watson and Scott share Gyang’s sentiments.

“I am pretty excited about this opportunity,” says Watson, the outgoing vice-president of the Student Government Association, who said an interaction at an Agriculture Future of America leadership conference helped him to land the job with Union Pacific.

“A lot of how TSU prepared me made that moment possible. Motivations from my advisors in the College of Agriculture, along with outstanding mentors, and participating in different organizations on campus were helpful. Without TSU, I know for sure I would not have been ready for this opportunity.”

For more information on the TSU 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

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.

Mr. And Miss Tennessee State University Coronation Continues Homecoming Tradition

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University continued a Homecoming tradition Wednesday night with the crowning of a new Mr. and Miss TSU.

Hundreds of people — including parents, relatives, friends and fellow students — packed a jubilant Kean Hall to witness the coronation of Alec Forrest and Kayla Smith, and their court.

TSU President Glenda Glover, left, and Dr. Tracey Ford, Vice President for Student Affairs, congratulate Kayla Smith and Alec Forrest, the new Mr. & Miss TSU. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

TSU President Glenda Glover congratulated the new king and queen after giving them the oath of office. Dr. Tracey Ford, vice president for Student Affairs, followed the president. She charged the two students to take their roles seriously.

“Taking on the responsibility of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU is steep in tradition, as many are looking up to you,” Ford said. “Be reminded that this is serious.”

Forrest, a senior business major from Jackson, Tennessee, is the outgoing Mr. Junior. He said in an interview before the coronation that his goal is to help develop young men with character and vision by leading by example.

“You can’t expect people to do one thing and they see you doing quite the opposite,” Forrest said. “I like to impact people. When I leave this institution, I want to come back and see someone in a leadership position because of an influence I had on them.”

Smith, who becomes the 88th Miss TSU, is from Memphis. She is a senior health science major with a concentration in therapeutic studies and a minor in psychology. She said becoming Miss TSU or “black excellence,” as she puts it, has always been a goal. The journey, she said, began when she “broke the norm” at predominantly white Germantown High School and became the first female African-American senior class president. Her leadership ability and academic success granted her a full-ride scholarship to TSU.

“College for me would be nowhere else but Tennessee State University,” Smith said. “TSU stole my heart with its southern charm and hospitality. I have always been in awe of the rich history and modern culture. I just cannot get enough of it.”

The new Mr. and Miss TSU Court include: Landon McCall, Mr. Freshman; Braxton Simpson, Miss Freshman; Jonathan Miles Hammock, Mr. Sophomore; Sierra Holmes, Miss Sophomore; Darian McGhee, Mr. Junior; Brandi DeCoats, Miss Junior; Andrew Crawford, Mr. Senior; Danielle Perry, Miss Senior.

Outgoing Miss TSU Alicia Jones, crowns the new Miss TSU Kayla Smith. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

In addition to the Mr. and Miss TSU coronation, this year’s Homecoming, which will culminate Saturday with a parade and the big football matchup between the Tigers and Austin Peay, includes a  “stellar group” of honorees, grand marshals and star power.

In keeping with the theme, “The Road to Greatness Begins with Excellence,” the university has selected honorees and grand marshals that exude the excellence TSU strives for. They include Dr. Frederick S. Humphries, who will receive Special Presidential Recognition. Dr. Humphries, TSU’s fourth president, served from 1974-1985.

Other honorees are: Dr. Sterlin Adams, retired, professor and special assistant to Dr. Humphries; Dr. Evelyn P. Fancher, retired, director of libraries; Dr. Raymond Richardson, retired, professor and chair of physics, mathematics and computer science; and William “Bill” Thomas, former head football coach and athletic director.

The grand marshals for the popular Homecoming parade (from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Blvd.) are: Georgette “Gigi” Peek Dixon, senior vice president and director of national partnerships, government and community relations, Wells Fargo; Alfred Gordon, vice president of operations for Frito-Lay North America; State Senator Thelma Harper, 19th District, Tennessee General Assembly; and Roosevelt “Bud” Reese, CEO, CMI Foundation.

Besides the game and parade, another major highlight of TSU’s homecoming is the Annual Scholarship Gala, which will take place on Friday, Oct. 13, at the Music City Center. This year, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry will serve as honorary chairperson. Nationally syndicated radio show host, actor and comedian, Rickey Smiley, will be the gala’s master of ceremony. Proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships are used to provide financial assistance to students. The goal is to raise one million.

For more information about Homecoming 2017, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/documents/HomecomingSchedule.pdf

 

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 Implements Upgrades to Student Living with $1.5 Million Investment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University alumni and friends returning for Homecoming this year can expect to see some major changes on their former campus.

The university is investing about $1.5 million to provide new upgrades to student living. Dallas native Justin Moody, a senior exercise science major, is already feeling the impact.

“I like this new look,” said Moody, as he walked into the campus center with its new fixtures. “I think it’s going to make everybody feel good about their school. I really like the direction the university is going into.”

President Glenda Glover, seated, left, is surrounded by students during the unveiling of the new furniture in the Campus Center. Also with the president and the students are TSU administrators including Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Tracey Ford, standing, second from right; Associate Vice President for Administration, Dr. Curtis Johnson, third; and Latane E. Brackett, III, upgrade project director, fourth. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The new upgrades and facelift, a two-phased project the university started this summer, come on the heels of a recent announcement that TSU will build two new residence halls as part of a $75 million expansion.

The campus center, a high-traffic, popular student-gathering area, is one of the places receiving an early upgrade. New lounge chairs and stools with matching tables and armrests in bright, assorted colors blended with matching TSU blue, now adorn the nearly 239,000 square-foot campus center. Some of the new furniture also has electronic fixtures like USB ports and electric outlets for charging phones and powering other gadgets. The layout also includes individual study areas with cubicles and lounges for relaxation.

Before the upgrade, cushionless steel benches provided the only means of seating in the center.

TSU President Glenda Glover, relaxing in a swiveling bonded leather lounge chair in the campus center and surrounded by students, said the decision for the facelift and upgrades had student input “to make sure they like it.”

“Today we unveil changes we have been making to enhance our students’ living condition all over campus,” Glover said. “Our goal is to upgrade their living quarters, study areas and play quarters to ensure that they are comfortable and enjoying their living environment.”

Students say the upgrades provide more environment for interaction and fun. (Courtesy photo)

Dr. Tracey Ford, vice president for Student Affairs, said between now and December, the university will complete the first phase of the upgrades, which include new furniture in all six traditional residence halls and two campus apartments, computer labs, game rooms, lobbies, lounge areas, and the career and health centers. Upgrades also include painting some areas, new lighting, floors and solar shades.

“What we are trying to do is create a 21st century living and learning environment where our students feel safe and secure,” Ford said. “So this is not just about having a nice place to live, but one that provides an environment where students can thrive academically and do what they need to do in the classroom in order to be successful and graduate.”

Ford, who has been at TSU since January, said the project is part of President Glover’s vision and a mandate she (Ford) received when she was hired.

“The president and I talked about ways in which we could transform the student experience here at TSU. One of the top things we talked about was our residence halls. In that conversation she really charged me and pushed me to make some improvements in the residence halls to improve the living and learning environment,” Ford said.

As a result, Ford said she met with staff, resident assistants and students in every hall, and facilities management to come up with improvement plans to make the living environment better.

“The first strategy was to improve the common areas of the residence halls. By common areas we are talking about lobbies, lounges, computer labs, and things of that nature. That’s something that everybody can enjoy and everybody can touch and feel. So, what you see going on in the residence halls and other areas now is that plan coming to fruition. We are excited about what we have accomplished so far but realize we have a long way to go to fully execute all of the upgrades,” Ford said.

Nhadya Cambridge, a junior health science major, who lives in Rudolph Hall, likes her new surrounding.

“Before hand, the furniture in here was not really that bad but this is definitely an upgrade,” said the Houston native, sitting with a laptop on a new armchair tucked away in a space that two weeks ago was bare. “It’s more modern, comfortable and there is more seating space, especially in the lounges on the various floors. I see a lot more people in those lounges than before. It is a nice setup.”

Student Government Association President JerMilton Woods said the improvements “definitely boost school spirit.”

“It gives the students a little more environment for interaction, and a little more fun environment that is more conducive to student learning,” Woods said.

Latane E. Brackett, III is the director of the upgrade project. He said TSU’s Facilities Management was very instrumental in bringing the project to fruition, as well as in identifying the furniture manufacturer, KI National Business Furniture.

“My role is to bring her (Dr. Ford) vision of 21st Century Living and Learning Communities to life through student-centered process improvements and infrastructure upgrades, and our partners in facilities have helped us make this possible,” Brackett said.

The upgrade in student living comes at a time when TSU is shifting focus in other areas. A year ago, the university raised its academic standards. This fall, the university recorded its largest class of incoming freshmen in school history at more than 1,500. On Sept. 14, the university announced a $75,300,000 expansion as part of a student modernization program.

With the increased expense of off-campus housing and a record-setting freshman class, Glover said the new housing and upgrades to existing facilities are critical in the recruitment and retention of students.

“New residence halls represent a remarkable recruiting tool, and add to the life of any college campus,” Glover said. “The facelift and upgrades are all part of our overall effort to make existing facilities conducive and comfortable for our students.”

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.