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Tennessee State University landscape to change in upcoming months with construction of five new buildings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University campus landscape will soon be changing. Nashville’s only public university will become a carbon copy of Music City in the next couple months as it begins construction of five campus buildings. This means construction cranes, dirt trucks, and hard hats.

TSU President Glenda Glover says the new buildings will enhance student living and improve their learning environment.

“The new projects are part of a long-term plan to improve academic programs and increase our residence hall inventory while enhancing the overall status of the university,” adds President Glover.

“We are extremely excited about the future and the new look our campus will take on with the construction. It’s been a long time coming for our students, faculty, staff and alumni.”

On slate for construction is a new Health Sciences Building, two new residence halls, the Field Research Organic Laboratory, Gateway Arch Entrance, and Alumni House and Welcome Center. Plans for several of the projects were unveiled last fall to kick-off the university’s homecoming celebration. All of the projects must be approved by the State Building Commission (SBC).

In addition to the new buildings, the university is also planning a nearly $5 million enhancement to Hale Stadium, according to Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s chief of staff.

“We’re in the process of planning what that will include,” said Johnson.

Viron Lynch, TSU’s director of capital initiatives, said the Health Sciences Building is in the design phase.

“The Health Sciences building is the farthest along in the construction process, and a building designer has already been selected for the residence halls as well,” said Lynch.

“Depending on contract negotiations, design will begin within the next two months.”

The College of Agriculture is to get the new food sciences building. That project is also waiting for SBC approval, Lynch said. Also awaiting SBC approval is the TSU Alumni House and Welcome Center.

Johnson said it’s an exciting time at TSU.

“President Glover and her leadership has been working very hard with the various constituents to enhance TSU,” he said. “We’re excited about all the things that we’re going to bring for the students, the faculty, and the alumni.”

The following is a breakdown of each project:

  • The new Health Sciences Building is funded and in-design. The estimated cost of the project is $38.8 million. Groundbreaking is anticipated to occur in October 2018. The estimated completion date of the project is August 2020.
  • Two new residence halls are funded and the design team has been selected. The estimated project cost is $75.2 million. Groundbreaking could occur as early as October 2018. The estimated completion date of the project is August 2020.
  • The Field Research Organic Laboratory has received funding and is in-design. The estimated cost of the project is $340,000. Groundbreaking is anticipated to be in October 2018. The estimated completion date of the project is December 2019.
  • The Gateway Arch has been funded and currently in-design. The estimated cost of the project is $650,000. Groundbreaking is anticipated to be in October 2018. The estimated completion date of the project is August 2019.
  • The Alumni House and Welcome Center is currently in the development phase. The estimated cost of the project is $1 million. Although the project is in the planning phase, a groundbreaking could occur as early as January 2018, with a possible completion date of August 2020.

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.

Top Regions executive gives TSU students tips to success

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A top financial executive visited Tennessee State University on Tuesday and gave students some valuable advice on how to be successful in the workplace, and life.

Leroy Abrahams, area president of Regions Financial Corporation, spoke to students in the Faculty Dining Room of Floyd Payne Campus Center. Most of the students were business and finance majors, but the event was open to all students.

TSU President Glenda Glover thanked Abrahams for coming to the university, which has a long relationship with Regions.

“We’re just proud and pleased to welcome Mr. Abrahams to our campus,” said Glover. “We thank Regions for their commitment to TSU. This is a special relationship.”

Abrahams has more than 30 years of banking experience and is ranked in the top 100 of the more than 20,000 employees at Regions. In that top 100, he is one of only two African Americans.

Abrahams said before the event that he wants students to understand that they’re going to face adversity, but that they should persevere, because they can achieve their objective.

“Most of the times our careers won’t go on a straight path,” he said. “Sometimes there’re deviations. But as long as there are opportunities to learn and grow, then that’s OK. It doesn’t have to be a straight path.”

TSU business finance major Carl Fisher said he’s glad Abrahams took time out of his busy schedule to talk to students.

“I want to get some tips so I can one day be in the same place as he,” said Fisher, a freshman from Atlanta.

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 Chemistry Day 2018 Gives High School Students Exposure to Advanced Scientific Research, Labs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s 15th annual Chemistry Day drew a positive reaction from area high school students.

Held in the Alger V. Boswell Science Complex on April 12, Chemistry Day also included a career fair where graduates met with potential employers and interacted with graduate program representatives.

About 75 students from Hillsboro HIgh School attended Chemistry Day 2018 at TSU. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The daylong program, including a guest lecturer, was organized by the Department of Chemistry in the College of Life and Physical Sciences, in collaboration with the TSU Chemistry Graduate Student Association.

It gave graduate students the opportunity to showcase their research in poster presentations, while visiting high school students – mainly from Nashville’s Hillsboro High School this year – toured the various labs, participated in chemistry demonstrations, and a game of “chemistry Challenge.”

“Chemistry Day is part of our recruitment effort, which also helps us to showcase our programs, and gives students an opportunity to meet potential employers,” said Dr. Mohammad R. Karim, chair of the Department of Chemistry. “We also include high school students for them to see what we have and that we exist. In high school they may learn about chemistry, but they do not know what the details are.”

Nafisa Hamza, a graduating senior, left, discusses her research project with a visiting high school student. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Mohammad said bringing in high school students “for early exposure” also helps to dispel the myth that chemists can only work in certain places.

“We want them to know early on that there is an array of different areas for careers and work for people with chemistry backgrounds,” he said.

Mollie Summers, a 10th-grader from Hillsboro High School, said she wants to become a neurosurgeon, but knows very little about what becoming a surgeon entails. She said listening to TSU professors and seeing the different demonstrations in the labs gave her a better understanding of the importance of chemistry in her future endeavor.

“I know the basics of chemistry, like atomic numbers, stuff we talk about in the chemistry class at school, but touring these labs has opened my eyes to a whole different world,” Summers said.

Representatives from 11 companies and organizations set up booths in the Boswell Science Complex lobby to talk to students about internship and job opportunities.

Kara Allen is manager of Recruitment and University Relations at Aegis Science Corporation. This was her sixth year attending Chemistry Day. Over the years, her company has hired “a lot of graduates” of the TSU chemistry program.

“We are here to talk about positions that are open,” said Allen. “TSU has a great chemistry program. We hire a lot of your undergraduate and graduate students. For the high school kids, we want to get them interested in our careers and sciences early through internship programs.”

William Taylor, a junior communications major and member of the TSU Student Advisory Board, right, mans the Career Services Center display at Chemistry Day in the Boswell Science Complex. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

At this year’s Chemistry Day, more than 15 research projects presented in posters were on display, dealing with topics from cancer research to compounds found in industrial petrochemicals, and effective drug delivery system in the treatment of HIV-associated neurological disorders.

Nafisa Hamza, of Nashville, who graduates in May, was one of the research presenters. Her topic was: “Signaling Pathways Involved in Tributyltin-Induced Increases in Interleukin 6 Production by Lymphocytes.”

She said her research, which could lead to treatment for cancer, is trying to understand the effect of the organic compound Tributylin on the human immune cells.

“The current study aims to determine whether TBT utilizes MAPK signaling pathways (ERK 1/2, p38) to cause alterations in IL-6 production,” Hamza said.

Dr. Renã A.S. Robin, a chemistry professor at Vanderbilt University, was this year’s Chemistry Day guest lecturer.  Her research focus is in the study of the aging process and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

For more information on TSU’s chemistry program, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/chemistry/.

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 Band Members, Music Education Majors Entertain 114 Children to Celebrate Week of the Young Child

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 100 area kids came to Tennessee State University’s main campus on Monday in observance of the national Week of the Young Child, April 16-20.

The event, which is usually in April, is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and celebrates early learning, young children, their teachers and families.

At TSU, the children, ranging between ages 3-5 from North Head Start in Nashville, listened to nursery rhymes and children songs like “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” performed by members of the Aristocrat of Bands and music education majors.

About 25 TSU students interacted with the children and demonstrated musical instruments like the clarinet, the French horn, trombone, and trumpets in the band room at the Performing Arts Center.

According to Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of Bands, the kids also participated in a demonstration of percussion instruments and saw clips of the TSU marching band.

“The joy on the kids’ faces showed that they were very happy with how they spent their time,” said McDonald.

He said the goal of the invitation and the interaction with the kids was to let the community know that “TSU’s music and band programs” are accessible.

“I believe that we should be accessible because there are others in the community who genuinely benefit from our accessibility. You never know, some of these kids might be here in a few years as members of the band just because of this experience today,” McDonald said.

He said the visit also allowed “our music education majors to get ‘live hands-on’ experience teaching general music.”

Throughout the week, Nashville community partners, departments and agencies will be making “fun” presentations to students at various schools and sites.

On Sunday, the city kicked off the week’s events at the Nashville Zoo, with Bouncy houses, table activities for the children, and of course, the “wonder of nature and animals to explore.”

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 part of Sista Strut to raise awareness about breast cancer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will be part of the route of the Sista Strut 3K, which seeks to raise awareness about breast cancer.

The event on Saturday, April 21, will start at 8 a.m. at the Hadley Park Bandshell and Green Space near TSU.

Sara Whittemore, Nashville event coordinator for iHeartMedia, said organizers wanted to incorporate historical sites on the route and decided to include TSU.

“We really waned to work TSU into the route to be on campus to incorporate the Olympic Torch and other things to show the history” of the university, said Whittemore.

According to the Sista Strut website, its goal is to increase awareness about the issues of breast cancer, particularly in women of color, as well as provide information on community resources.

Studies show that African American women are more likely to get breast cancer at a younger age and have a death rate from the disease twice that of Caucasian women of the same age.

“Sista Strut recognizes the strength of survivors, their family and friends, heightens awareness, promotes early detection and the search for a cure,” according to the website.

TSU employee Lalita Hodge said she plans to attend the event and is glad Tennessee State is involved.

“I believe by coming on the university campus it will pull in the younger generation, and the younger women to make them more conscious of their bodies, and what they need to do to keep it healthy,” said Hodge.

For more information about the Sista Strut or to register, visit https://racesonline.com/events/sista-strut-nashville

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 Spring Preview Day Helps Students Make Decision for College

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Not even heavy rains stopped hundreds of high school students and their parents from attending Spring Preview Day 2018 at Tennessee State University on Saturday.

TSU President Glenda Glover greets Jamey Gaiters, right, and her mother Nichole Gaiters at Spring Preview 2018. Jamey, a senior from Columbus, Ohio, says she coming to TSU in the fall. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Amid the early morning downpour, organizers say more than 1,200 high school seniors and juniors – from about 15 states including, California, Texas, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin – attended the daylong program to acquaint them with the university’s offerings and admission processes.

TSU President Glenda Glover made the rounds greeting students and families at the various booths and displays set up in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center for the visitors.

Midway through the day, Dyamond Shay, a senior from Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Georgia, had seen and heard enough. Her mind was made up.

Regardless of the rains, many Spring Preview Day visitors still chose to tour the TSU campus. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I am definitely coming to Tennessee State University,” said Shay, who made the trip with her mother and older brother. Many graduates from her school also attend TSU.

“I just got here but from the looks of things, the staff are very supportive, and I like that and besides, it’s grounded here. I am really interested.”

Shay’s mother, Shelia James-Shay, agreed.

“She (Dyamond) is really interested in coming, and I think she will learn a lot and she will enjoy it,” Shelia said. “I am really impressed. The program has been very informative, and we are looking forward to the fall semester.”

Dyamond Shay, right, with her mother, Shelia James-Shay, says she is coming to TSU. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Activities for the visitors, according to organizers, also included meetings with academic departments, TSU student organizations,  campus tours, and other forms of educational entertainment.

“Spring Preview Day is going to be an exciting day of information and inspiration here at TSU,” Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, said days earlier as organizers made final preparations for Spring Preview Day.

“ We feel that bringing these millennial scholars to campus, opening the doors to our classrooms, to our student life, our academic programs will give them firsthand information about the experience.”

Like Dyamond Shay, Jamey Gaiters of Columbus, Ohio, also has her mind made up.

“I really like the campus. The people are really nice and very welcoming,” said Gaiters, a senior from Licking Heights High School who wants to major in child psychology or early childhood education.

“I know for a fact that I will be attending TSU in the fall,” she said.

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

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 scholarship recipients say ‘thank you’ to donors during Appreciation Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University scholarship recipients got a chance to say “thank you” to their donors on Friday.

Scholarship recipient Nijaia Bradley with donor, Dr. Sandra Holt. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

During a Scholarship Appreciation Program in Elliott Hall, students lined up to thank those who helped make it possible for them to attend TSU. A number of donors attended the event, which is in its seventh year.

TSU President Glenda Glover personally thanked the donors for their contributions in her greetings.

“Thank you for coming out and your support to TSU,” said Glover, who has an endowed scholarship at the university. “You make a significant different in peoples lives.”

Nijaia Bradley of Detroit said it’s simple; she wouldn’t be at TSU if she had not received scholarships.

“College wasn’t a possibility,” said Bradley, a sophomore majoring in child development. “I’m blessed to be here at TSU.”

Like many of the scholarship recipients attending the event, Bradley got a chance to meet her donor, Dr. Sandra Holt. It was her first time meeting Holt, who has a scholarship in her name.

“I just want to thank her,” said Bradley. “Without her scholarship, I wouldn’t be here.”

Holt said it’s a wonderful feeling to know her scholarship is helping a student to be successful.

“When you meet young people like this, who are eager to do … it’s worth whatever it takes to see these young people make it,” said Holt, a former director of TSU’s Honors College. “That’s why I give.”

Junior Madison Brown of Memphis, Tennessee, said the scholarship he received from the TSU Foundation made it possible for him to get a higher education..

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you,” said Brown, a computer science major who has an internship with Google. “I appreciate you a lot.”

Ben Northington, director of fiscal affairs for the TSU Foundation and institutional advancement, said more than 650 students received scholarships this year totaling close to $2 million.

“We look forward to our donors interacting with the students who have benefited from their respective scholarships,” said Northington. “This event is to tell each of our donors thank you.”

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 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 Agriscience Fair provides opportunities to learn, recruit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Students from area high schools got a chance to showcase their agriculture projects at Tennessee State University’s inaugural Agriscience Fair on Thursday.

Ali Bledsoe, a ninth-grader from Clarkrange High School in Fentress County, receives a check for $500 for taking first place in the plant science category. Presenting the check are Dr. Samuel Nahashon, chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences, left; Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture; and Dr. John Ricketts, TSU Ag professor and fair organizer. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Close to 100 students in grades 9-12 participated in the event sponsored by TSU’s College of Agriculture. The students, from 11 counties, made presentations in categories that included food and nutritional sciences, plant sciences, animal sciences, agricultural engineering and biotechnology. The presentations in each category were judged, with first place winners receiving $500, and $250 for second place.

While the fair was a chance for students to showcase their work, organizers said it was also an opportunity for students to see what TSU has to offer, and hopefully draw them to the university.

“There’s so much out there we do in terms of research, in terms of addressing national priorities,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture. “A lot of times the young people in the school systems don’t know that. So we’re trying to get them to our place … and see how we can blend their goals with what we have here.”

Dr. John Ricketts, a TSU Ag professor and organizer of the fair, said the students got a chance to interact with some of the College of Agriculture’s faculty and discuss topics related to their areas of interest.

“So, in addition to recruiting, it’s really helping them with their research interest in the areas they’re studying,” Ricketts said.

Tenth-grader Elise Russ showcases presentation on diabetes and eating healthier. Russ says she plans to attend TSU. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Elise Russ, a 10th-grader from Hillsboro High School in Nashville who was a presenter at the fair, said she plans to attend TSU and major in agriculture. She said she’s been inspired to work in that field after spending time gardening with her grandmother.

“I like agriculture,” said Russ, whose presentation was about diabetes and eating healthier. “I used to always be in the garden with my grandmother; I just loved doing that with her.”

One of the winner’s at the fair was Ali Bledsoe, a ninth-grader from Clarkrange High School in Fentress Country. She got first place in the plant science category for her presentation about “organic matter in the soil.”

Bledsoe said a large part of her interest in agriculture is due to her older brother, who was in Future Farmers of America, or FFA.

“He introduced me to this,” said Bledsoe, who is also in FFA. “He did a project sort of like this his freshman year.”

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms, Renowned Motivational Speaker Eric Thomas to Speak at TSU’s Dual Spring Commencements

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and nationally recognized motivational speaker Dr. Eric Thomas will be the commencement speakers at Tennessee State University’s dual spring graduation ceremonies.

Mayor Bottoms will speak on Friday, May 4, at the graduate commencement ceremony in the Gentry Complex, beginning at 5 p.m.

On Saturday, May 5, Thomas will address undergraduate students in Hale Stadium. The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m.

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

Bottoms, an Atlanta native who was elected mayor last December, became only the second woman to be elected to that post in the city’s history.

A highly accomplished lawyer and successful public servant who advocates for high quality public education, job opportunities and economic growth, Bottoms is expected to inspire TSU graduate students to set high goals for their future.

Bottoms is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, the Dogwood City Chapter of The Links, Inc., and the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

She is a graduate of Florida A&M University and Georgia State University College of Law.  Alongside her public service career, Mayor 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.

Dr. Thomas, the undergraduate commencement speaker, is a critically acclaimed author, world-renowned speaker, educator and pastor. His “electrifying voice-over talent” is reportedly credited with propelling the Miami Heat to victory in the NBA Finals in 2012.

Called the “Hip Hop Preacher” for his creative style and high-energy messages, Thomas is expected to inspire the graduates with his message on success driven by his famous quote, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”

Thomas has a long commitment to community activism, which began with his award-nominated GED program that led to his non-profit, Break The Cycle; I Dare you, and a plethora of other ministerial and educational endeavors. The culmination of those efforts resulted in the development of “The Advantage Program” at Michigan State University in 2003. The program targets high-risk college students by improving their study habits and increasing their retention rates. He is also the creator of International Urban Education Consulting, a non-profit organization committed to finding solutions to closing the achievement gap in urban schools through “goal-framing and reformation” in student learning.

Thomas holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Michigan State University.

For more information on commencement, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/records/commencement/

Department of Media Relations

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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.