Tag Archives: Emmanuel S. Freeman

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.

TSU, Metro Schools Host Area’s Largest College Fair with an attendance of more than 8,000

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When it comes to choosing a college, Tennessee State University was the place to be on Sept. 21.

It was the annual Metro Nashville Public Schools College Fair held in the TSU Gentry Complex with over 8,000 middle and high school students and their parents and relatives in attendance.

Dr. Sito Narcisse, MNPS Chief of Schools, left, says that TSU is the biggest pipeline for teachers in the entire Metro school system. he talks to, from right, Dr. Curtis Johnson, Associate VP for Administration; Dr. Gregory Clark, TSU’s Director of High School Relations and NCAA Certification; Dr. Megan Cusson-Lark, MNPS Interim Executive Director of School Counseling; and Kathy Buggs, Director of Office and and Community Services for Congressman Jim Cooper. (Photo by Emmanuel S. Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

More than 170 colleges, universities and post-secondary institutions from across the nation took part in the fair. It offered students the opportunity to review information on admissions, financial aid, costs, college life and programs to help them decide their choice of college or university.

TSU is the first university or college to host the MNPS College Fair in its decades-long history, according to TSU officials.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Tennessee State University,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president for administration and chief of staff. “Having this at TSU gives us an opportunity to showcase the campus to people who would otherwise not come here. So, showing them what we have to offer, given that our various colleges and departments are participating, is exciting for us.”

MNPS Chief of Schools, Dr. Sito Narcisse, said the Metro schools are excited to partner with TSU to host the college fair. He said TSU has been a major partner and the biggest pipeline for teachers in the entire system.

“TSU has been a great partner, and we appreciate how the university has supported us like today with thousands of kids and their parents attending this fair,” Narcisse said. “We are one of the largest urban school systems, not only in the state of Tennessee, but in the country, with about 6,000 teachers out of our 11,000 employees. We’d like to sign TSU teachers early, even as they are in their courses, to ensure jobs for them as they come out.”

TSU officials say hosting the college fair is the result of a long relationship between the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Success, and the MNPS Guidance Counselors’ Office. For the last seven years, TSU has also hosted the mandatory annual high school guidance counselors’ training for MNPS.

“We are ecstatic to be the first university to host the Metro Nashville Public School College Fair,” said Dr. Gregory Clark, director of High School Relations and NCAA Certification. “The fair has taken place at different locations throughout the city. We are just excited to welcome so many institutions from throughout North America.”

CORRECTION

High school senior Gabriel Faulcon is considering TSU but has not decided to attend TSU, as previously reported.

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.

 

25 Top High School Seniors Awarded Full Scholarships to Attend Tennessee State University

By Emmanuel S. Freeman

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Meaghen Jones found out she was getting a full scholarship to attend Tennessee State University, she summed up her feelings in one word: “overwhelming!”

Dr John Cade, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Services, talks to Academic High Achiever Scholarship recipients Kamryn Martin, left, Brittney Johnson and Leslie Curry. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“I was always sure I wanted to come to TSU, but tonight secured it,” said Jones, who was one of 25 high school seniors awarded Academic High Achiever Scholarships to TSU at a ceremony in Memphis on Wednesday. “I have worked so hard throughout just to make sure I get a full ride to college and this was just so overwhelming for me.”

Jones has a 4.2 grade point average and is ranked No. 4 out of 411 in her senior class at Whitehaven High School in Memphis. She and the other top seniors attended the Annual TSU Memphis Recruitment Reception at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown for graduating high school seniors and their parents and family members.

The reception is held each year by TSU’s Office of Admissions as part of activities leading up to the Southern Heritage Classic between TSU and Jackson State University in the Liberty Bowl. This year’s game is on Saturday.

Jones is coming to TSU as a pre-med. Her mother, Jackie Latiker, said the fact her daughter is getting a full ride is “absolutely phenomenal.“

“To see her stand before 24 other students that were selected, I am just too elated,” Latiker said. “This is what we’ve worked for all these years.”

TSU’s Vice-President for Enrollment Management and Student Services, Dr. John Cade, congratulated the scholarship recipients, and said the university’s goal is to seek out the best students, nurture them, and graduate them prepared for the global market.

“As you come to TSU, you are following in the footsteps of great people, among them our president, Dr. Glenda Glover, a Memphis native, and a very high achiever herself who believes in your potential for greatness,” Cade said. “So, having someone of that caliber to lead Tennessee State University is a prime example of what you can aspire to become and all of you can do that. We offer a number of programs at TSU that will assist you in your success.”

At the reception, more than 50 high school seniors and their parents attended to hear TSU admissions officials discuss the university’s offerings and programs.

Talia Chambers and William Edwards were also among the 25 selected for the Academic High Achiever Scholarship. To qualify for the scholarship, a student must have a 3.5 GPA or higher and 23 and above on the ACT.

Chambers, who wants to major in animal science, has a 4.0 GPA at Middle College High School. Edwards plans to study graphic design. He has a 3.5 GPA at Wooddale High School.

“I am very excited to attend Tennessee State,” Chambers said. “It is within my distance range and it has my area of study in pre-vet medicine. I came here tonight just to get some information and now here I have a full ride scholarship, this is great”

Said Edwards: “When they first called my name I was really nervous. All my siblings received full-ride scholarships to go to college. So I am just glad to be able to measure up to them with a full ride of my own. Thank you TSU.”

Several members of the Memphis chapter of the TSU National Alumni Association, friends of TSU, and the Tennessee State University Cheering Squad were on hand to cheer on the scholarship recipients.

For more information on admission to Tennessee State University, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/contact.aspx

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 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.

 

Grandmother finishes what she started, gets TSU degree after 55 years

By Emmanuel S. Freeman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Darlene Mullins would always tell her children to finish what they started. On May 6, the 72-year-old grandmother did just that when she received her degree from Tennessee State University after 55 years.

mullins_flag
Darlene Mullins at undergraduate commencement ceremony. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Mullins was among more than 800 graduates from various disciplines at the undergraduate spring commencement in the William Jasper Hale Stadium on Tennessee State’s main campus.

“I am very excited and just overjoyed to see this day,” said Mullins, who graduated with honors.

For Mullins, the journey to earn a college degree began on TSU’s campus in 1962. But just as it started, it was cut short.

“Love got in the way,” said Mullins, who celebrates 54 years of marriage in August.

She met John Mullins, a senior from East St. Louis, Illinois, who she described as dashing and handsome, “everything to behold.”

Darlene, a former Miss New Jersey and Miss Glamour runner up, had an immediate crush.

“I thought he was the finest thing walking on the campus,” Darlene told Alumni Life, a campus magazine, in 2014.

She said a courtship developed and the two were married a short time later. John stayed on and completed his college work, graduating in 1964. Darlene took on the role of caring for their home and raising a family.

But in putting her education aside, Darlene also gave up on a dream of becoming an Olympic track star as a member of the famed Tigerbelles.

“I came to TSU because I ran track. I wanted to go to the 1964 Olympics,” Darlene said. “Wilma Rudolph was my idol and I was on my way. I get to TSU and meet the great coach (Ed) Temple, but we bumped heads, because I had to make a choice between his track team or Mr. John Mullins.”

More than a half century and two children and several grandchildren later, John and Darlene have remained very supportive of each other, while living in six states over the course of their marriage.

As the children grew older and family care got less, Darlene embarked on a long and successful career in retail and cosmetology.

All the while, John worked for a number of corporate and government agencies before starting his own business, Lions Group Inc., a successful marketing and advertising company in Dallas, Texas. He said his TSU education with a degree in business gave him a good foundation to be an entrepreneur.

“I always knew I wanted to own my own business,” John said.

But as the two moved around with success at every turn, Darlene never forgot her academic aspiration.

“Something kept nagging at me,” she said. “I always told my children to make sure they finish what they started and I kind of felt it was time to live up to my own advice.”

John and Darlene Mullins
John and Darlene Mullins will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary in August. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

She decided it was time to go back to school to get her degree. “John did not hesitate for one bit; he said ‘let’s go,’” Darlene said.

“I love this woman so much and always told her whenever you are ready we will go because this is something I knew she always wanted and I will do nothing to hold her back,” John said.

In July 2013, the couple moved back to Nashville to allow Darlene to finish what she started. She returned to TSU and pursued a degree in interdisciplinary studies, sometimes taking as many as 20 credit hours a semester, and earning top grades.

“My goal was to come back and finish at Tennessee State.  I didn’t know at the time how long it was going to take, I just knew I had to do it,” she said.

With the 25 credits she had accumulated before dropping out in 1963, Darlene is completing her college work in four years. A member of three honor societies, she is graduating summa cum laude.

“My graduation from college, for me, confirms that I completed what I started more than 50 years ago,” Darlene said. “I am happy.”

The Mullins’ children are Dr. John E. Mullins Jr. of Baskin Ridge, New Jersey, and Darchele Mullins Erskine of Chicago. They are the proud grandparents of Amber Mullins, Sierra Mullins, John E. Mullins III, and Brandon Forney.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 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, 25 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.

 

‘Donor Appreciation’ Gives Scholarship Recipients Chance to Say ‘Thank You’

By Emmanuel S. Freeman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Leona Dunn is finally enjoying college life and stressing less about school fees. She is grateful.

“My first year in college I paid over $1,200 out of pocket from what I saved up over the summer to help me stay in college,” said Dunn, a junior communications major.

Donors Reception-2
TSU President Glenda Glover says scholarship donors help the university stay on the path of excellence. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

That experience was the beginning of some tough times for the Omaha, Nebraska, native who had just come out of foster care. She was barely able to keep up with the payment plan she had worked up, which made registering for the next semester even more difficult.

“My balance was still off,” Dunn said. “I had no one back home to help. And coming from foster care, the system doesn’t exactly just give children owned by the state full ride scholarships to anywhere even if they had an exceptional GPA and ACT score like I did.”

But thanks to some “nice people” and “great organizations,” Dunn is now worrying less about tuition and focusing more on her academics. She received financial assistance from the Links, and the Tennessee State University Women’s Center.

Donors Reception-4
Leona Dunn gave a Spoken Word rendition at the Scholarship Appreciation Program and Reception. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“With all of this help I had to come up with only $200 this year …a huge blessing. I am so grateful,” she said.

On Friday, April 7, Dunn, and fellow students who receive help through scholarship donations, had a chance to say, “Thank You.”

It was the 6th Annual Scholarship Appreciation Program and Reception, or “Donor Appreciation,” held in Kean Hall. The event, organized by the TSU Foundation, allows scholarship recipients to meet face-to-face with donors to thank them for their generosity.

TSU President Glenda Glover said scholarship donors help the university to stay on the path of excellence by ensuring that students receive quality education through their gifts.

“Because of you, our students are able to matriculate,” Glover said. “They get to come, they get to stay and they get to graduate because of your dollars. We are just so grateful.”

Donors Reception
Scholarship recipients enter Kean Hall with cheers and songs of appreciation for donors who have helped them stay in school. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

This year, nearly 280 people, including students, donors and special guests attended the program featuring songs, recognition of donors and a special toast. Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, vice president for Research and Institutional Advancement, provided remarks.

Eloise Abernathy Alexis, associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, said the program gave the students a “unique opportunity” to interact with the donors.

“We send out postcards, letters and notes to donors to show our appreciation for their gifts, but this is the moment when donors and students really get to come together face to face to give and receive appreciation,” Alexis said.

Dr. Darlene Harris-Vasser, assistant director of Donor Relations, coordinates the reception each year. She said it is exciting to see the joy on donors’ faces when they meet the students in person.

“They are just so elated to see all of those students speaking about their educational goals, future plans and how their (donors’) contributions are making it possible for them to achieve their goals,” Harris-Vasser said.

The Women’s Center, one of the donors that offered Dunn financial assistance, develops and sponsors programming that enhances the skills of women and assists in their development as scholars and professionals.

According to Seanne Wilson, director of the center, Dunn approached the center to inquire about assistance.

“As Leona is a huge supporter of the Women’s Center and its events, the center was happy to assist her with the request,” Wilson said.

In appreciation, Dunn wants to give back to help others.

“Hopefully I want to have my own endowed scholarship when I become an alumna to help others and give back for the help I received,” she said.

For information on how to support the TSU Foundation or make a scholarship donation, please go to http://www.tnstate.edu/foundation/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 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, 25 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.

Tennessee State University Students Build Wheelchairs for Disabled Canines

By Emmanuel S. Freeman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Pugsly the Pug has a new wheelchair.

Born with a spinal deformity that makes it difficult to stay on its feet, the 15-year-old Dutch mastiff has a new lease on life, thanks to a team of occupational and physical therapy students at Tennessee State University.

img_0950-1
The Dog Wheelchair Competition winning team members and their professors are, from left standing, Jake Armstrong, Blaine Martin, Dr. Rita Troxtel and Dr. Karen Coker. Squatting with Pugsly are, left, Reagan Worth and Erica LaFollette. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The students, along with some of their peers from the Art Department, designed a special wheelchair that allows Pugsly to take long strides without wobbling or falling.

Dr. Rita Troxtel, assistant professor of occupational therapy and Pugsly’s owner, organized a wheelchair competition that challenged the students to develop wheelchairs for disabled dogs that are low cost, lightweight and easy to maneuver.

The competition was held Nov. 29 in the university’s Floyd-Payne Student Center. About 80 students and their advisers participated.

They came up with 17 different concepts and designs that were tested on Pugsly before a panel of judges. The winning wheelchair went to Pugsly. Troxtel said the other wheelchairs in the competition will be donated to organizations that specialize in adopting or providing sanctuary for animals with disabilities.

A team of two occupational therapy and two physical therapy students came up with the winning design made of PVC pipes, with two big back wheels and two smaller front wheels for turning; a push handle, and stretch fabric with four round openings for the feet.

“Pugsly is grateful for his new wheels,” Troxtel said.

wheelchair-2
Another team of competitors fit Bugsly in their invention, a two-wheeler. (photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Karen Coker, assistant professor of physical therapy and one of the judges, said the winning design “offered ease of getting in with just one person.”

“The fabric is flexible and soft; it won’t poke anywhere, and the wheelchair has a push handle so that the owner won’t have to bend over,” Coker said. “It is the perfect mix.”

Blain Martin, a graduate physical therapy major, was on the winning team. He said the goal was to develop a wheelchair that was easy to use.

“We all collaborated and we had a group message going in,” Martin said. “We met up several times to make sure we were on the same page with our project. It was great teamwork.”

Other winning team members were Reagan Worth, occupational therapy; Jake Armstrong, physical therapy; and Erica LaFollette, occupational therapy.

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The other wheelchairs in the competition will be donated to organizations that specialize in adopting or providing sanctuary for animals with disabilities. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Second-year graduate occupational major Amber Alexander’s team did not win, but she was impressed with the exercise.

“Participating in this competition gave use some real-world exposure to our various disciplines,” she said.

Mike Carter, a Ph.D. physical therapy student, said he enjoyed the teamwork.

“Collaboration was great in our group,” Carter said. “In fact, one of the guys in the group was skilled in making things. He actually has a shop where he builds all kinds of stuff. So this was right up his alley.”

Dr. Hamid Hamidzadeh, head of TSU’s Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department, lauded organizers for having the competition.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to get hands on experience,” said Hamidzadeh, who was also a judge. “The students will really get the opportunity to go beyond the limit of the classroom.“

Troxtel said the skills the students learned from creating the dog wheelchairs will transfer to developing technology for humans.

“The TSU OT department is considering purchasing a 3D printer to build prosthetic limbs,” she said. “I also plan to hold a competition again next year, but it will focus on building assistive technology for human use.”

For more information on TSU’s various therapy programs in the College of Health Sciences, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/.

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About Tennessee State University

With more than 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, 25 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.