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California Post Office Renamed for Late TSU Alum

Courtesy of the Vallejo Times-Herald          

Philmore Graham
Philmore Graham

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – An alum from Tennessee State University was always one to bring two opposing sides together. Even in his death, he was able to unite California Republicans and Democrats.

And because of this and his involvement in his community, a building in Vallejo, California now bears his name…the Philmore Graham Post Office.

With the unveiling Saturday, March 14, of a plaque dedication and ceremony, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson’s crusade came to fruition, to the delight of about 150 of Graham’s family, friends and well-wishers.

Graham, who graduated from TSU in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical and Metallurgical Engineering, dedicated his life to serving others, and in 1966, founded what would later become the Continentals of Omega Boys and Girls Club in a building coincidently, next to the newly renamed post office.

“There is no one more deserving of this recognition than Philmore Graham and I am proud that we were able to pass legislation to rename our post office in his honor,” said Thompson. “Mr. Graham was a veteran, a patriot, a mentor and a leader. He dedicated his life to helping others succeed, and he made our community a better place to live and raise a family. It’s only fitting that we honor his memory by forever naming our post office after Philmore Graham.”

Thompson joined Mayor Osby Davis, Omega executive director Rey Amador, Post Office Bay Vallejo District Manager Jeffrey Day, Postmaster Anthony Daniels, Graham’s daughter, Deidre Graham, and son, Montoya Graham, in honoring the local icon who died June 12, 2014 at 75.

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, right and Bay Valley District Manager of the USPS Jeffrey Day, left,  along with Deidre Graham and her brother Montoya unveil a plaque renaming the Springstowne Center Post Office after Philmore Graham. (Photo courtesy of CHRIS RILEY—VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD)
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, right and Bay Valley District Manager of the USPS Jeffrey Day, left, along with Deidre Graham and her brother Montoya unveil a plaque renaming the Springstowne Center Post Office after Philmore Graham. (Photo courtesy of CHRIS RILEY—VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD)

Thompson, a Democrat for California’s 5th congressional District, said it “took an act of Congress” to get his bill passed. Literally. He had to convince the other 52 state legislators “from both sides of the aisle” to sign on. If one challenged Graham’s qualifications, the bill was done. Plus there was that minor detail of getting it signed by President Obama.

“Before you name a post office, you better be pretty certain this is someone worthy of that honor,” said Thompson, who previously passed bills renaming a Yountville post office after a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and a Napa post office after a Superior Court judge “who set the gold standard of what people should be like. And Philmore falls into that category.”

Thompson was a state senator when he befriended Graham and knew the club’s patriarch well.

“He was the kind of guy you would follow anywhere. He was a great leader and had a great vision for Vallejo and, most importantly, the youth of Vallejo,” Thompson said.

It’s significant having a post office named after Graham, said Thompson.

“The post office will always be here. A donut shop or bagel shop or ice cream parlor can be out of business tomorrow. A post office is always going to be in a community,” he said.

Davis, a friend of the Graham family for more than 40 years, gave a brief — but emotional — tribute.

“I was thinking how special this moment is,” Davis said. “I was thinking how big a grin Philmore would have on his face. I know how proud he would be. This is really an honor.”

Deirdre Graham, Philmore’s daughter up from her Southern California home, called the ceremony “a joyous occasion.”

“I never thought I’d be standing in front of a post office that would be named after my father,” she said. “I feel like the most blessed daughter in the world. Today is a priceless moment.”

Montoya Graham relayed a conversation he had with his father about death.

“He always told me, ‘Son, don’t be worried about death. If you just do the right thing in your life, in your death, you will be remembered.’”

Philmore Graham graduated from Tennessee State University and accomplished graduate studies at UCLA and Cal-Berkeley. He was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force, receiving an honorable discharge in 1965. Two months later, he accepted a position at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard where he would receive several Superior Accomplishment awards.

Graham was the first and only African American supervisor in the Nuclear Engineering Department’s history on Mare Island.

Since he began the Continentals of Omega club, Graham was honored as the NAACP Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Good Neighbor Award, Salute to America Lifetime Merit Award, Profile of Excellence Award, Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, the “Who’s Who” among Black Americans, and multiple awards as Omega Man of the Year and Citizen of the Year.

 

 

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU President Glenda Glover Joins Bernice King, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Thousands to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Selma to Montgomery March

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover joined Bernice King, daughter of the late civil rights activists Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and others for the “Bloody Sunday” commemorative march in observance of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March.

TSU President, Dr. Glenda Glover (right) marches the streets of Selma, Alabama with noted civil rights activist, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others, as they commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March. (courtesy photo)
TSU President, Dr. Glenda Glover (right) marches the streets of Selma, Alabama with noted civil rights activist, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others, as they commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March. (courtesy photo)

President Glover met presidents from Historically Black Colleges and Universities from around the country in Selma, Alabama to celebrate the historic 1965 event. National leaders including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, head of Rainbow PUSH, and Dr. Charles Steele, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) called for HBCU presidents to make the journey for the anniversary.

“The Selma to Montgomery March is the single most galvanizing moment in our nation’s history in the fight for civil rights, particularly voting rights,” said Dr. Glover. “What happened on the Edmund Pettus Bridge was engrained in the minds of millions of Americans as we watched in horror and disbelief – yet trusting that it would bring about change for all Americans.”

While in Selma, President Glover met with other college presidents, educators, civil rights leaders, students, community organizers, and several service groups. The Selma journey was also significant for Dr. Glover as it gave her the opportunity to memorialize the people and place where thousands of leaders came together to march for the “paramount victory” in the fight for equality.

“I am honored to make the journey to Selma as president of Tennessee State University to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of this historical event. This 50th Anniversary has personal relevance for me because of my father’s role in the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis, Tennessee.  I also appreciate the impressionable role of the TSU Freedom Riders in the Civil Rights Movement. I am pleased to go back to Selma in honor of my father’s memory and in dedication of those who fought for freedom everywhere.”

Glover made a contribution in the name of Tennessee State to Brown A.M.E. Church for $1,000. The church was a starting point for the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 and, as the meeting place and offices of SCLC during the Selma Movement.

“We appreciate President Glover’s commitment to advancing education, economics and human rights,” Dr. Steele remarked. “She is clearly a leader in higher education, and brings a unique perspective in engaging students. Glover is dedicated to educating and empowering the next generation of leaders.”

It is estimated that as many as 70,000 people took part in the commemorate march. One of the highlights included President Barack Obama’s address mark at anniversary.

Former NBA Star Antoine Walker Talks Money Matters at TSU

Antoine Walker, former University of Kentucky and NBA All-Star visited Tennessee State University Thursday to share his story of financial mistakes over the years in hopes of helping students avoid the same pitfalls. (photo by Rick Delahaya, TSU Media Relations)
Antoine Walker, former University of Kentucky and NBA All-Star visited Tennessee State University Thursday to share his story of financial mistakes over the years in hopes of helping students avoid the same pitfalls. (photo by Rick Delahaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – It was truly a rags-to-riches story. As a 19-year-old rookie with the Boston Celtics, Antoine Walker was one of the highest paid athletes under the age of 20. He signed a three-year $5.5 million contract and eventually during his 12 year career, earned $110 million.

And one day, it was all gone and Walker was forced into bankruptcy losing millions of dollars in the process.

On Thursday, the former University of Kentucky and NBA All-Star visited Tennessee State University to share his story of financial mistakes over the years in hopes of helping students.

“I’m telling students what I wish I had known several years ago,” said Walker. “I lived a lavish lifestyle, but before long, the money was gone. And those friends were gone. I want the students to learn from that and to know how to make the right choices moving forward.”

Even though the University was on spring break, students, many of them athletes, filled the Floyd Payne Campus Center to listen to Walker’s brutally honest tale of his success and how he lost it all.

Walker, 38, made national headlines when the All-Star was forced to claim bankruptcy after losing $110 million throughout his NBA career. Paid more than four times the average player in the league, Walker’s problems started during his rookie year in 1996 and spiraled out of control, hitting rock bottom in 2010 when he declared bankruptcy, citing $12.74 million in liabilities with $4.2 million in assets.

“I lived a very lavish lifestyle,” Walker told the more than 100 students gathered. “If I saw something I wanted, I bought it. And I took care of those around me. I figured I was the one traveling up and down the court working for the money so why not get what I wanted.”

The oldest of six children of a single mother, Walker told those gathered that it was exciting when he was drafted by the NBA in the sixth round after the University of Kentucky won the National Championship in 1996. Instead of finishing his education he started his professional career at age 19 and was awarded a $5.5 million contract.

“If I saw it, I got it,” he recalled. “I had very expensive tastes and never wore the same suit twice. I had 82 custom made suits, one for each game of the season. I had tons of watches, jewelry, three homes and six cars.”

But his lifestyle came at a price, one that forced him into bankruptcy. He estimates he lost $4 million from gambling and $20 million in a failed real estate venture when the recession hit. As a full guarantor of the investment, Walker was responsible for the debt.

“It was an eye-opening experience,” he said. “It was a process going through it and learning the value of a sound financial plan and education. I wish I knew then what I know today.”

It took Walker two years to get out of bankruptcy and was discharged from his debt in 2012. Today Walker has since downsized every aspect of his life and is working to rebuild his life and hopes to make a difference by helping others avoid the same financial pitfalls.

Now Walker is teaming with Regions Bank to share his story with college students around the country in hopes they will learn from his mistakes and show them that no matter how much they earn, they should have a sound financial plan.

“What we hope is students will understand is it is not how much money you make, it’s what you do with the money you make,” said Latrisha Jemison, senior vice president of Community Affairs for Regions Bank. “They need to learn you have to make wise decisions.”

Walker recommended students embrace moderation, plan for the future and take time to learn the basics of managing money.

He went on to say that he might not ever make $110 million again but whatever he does earn will be financially protected.

“It is the little things you do to protect yourself and your money,” he added. “I’ve experienced a life that many will never know. But now, life is about lessons. I make the money, the money doesn’t make me.”

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Lady Tigers Crowned OVC Champions

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  (Tennessee State Sports Information) – It took overtime, but the Tennessee State women’s basketball team was crowned Ohio Valley Conference Champions following a 64-60, win over No. 1 seeded UT Martin on Saturday.

With the win, TSU is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995.

Head Coach Larry Joe Inman
Head Coach Larry Joe Inman

“I have had some great games as a coach, but none of them are any better than this one,” Head Coach Larry Joe Inman said. “Our team struggled through a lot of hard times, but we overcame and didn’t back off.”

Brianna Lawrence led TSU with 22 points, 18 of which came after halftime. Her performance earned her OVC Tournament MVP honors following the game. Rachel Allen (13 points) and Chelsea Hudson (eight points) joined Lawrence on the All-OVC Tournament Team.

UTM’s Ashia Jones, who came into the game averaging 34.5 points per game in the OVC Tournament, was held to 23 on 6-of-18 shooting (33.3 percent).

“We did an awesome job on defense inside. We had Jones isolated one-on-one for most of the game, but our help defense was always there to lend a hand,” Inman said.

Jones was UTM’s only offensive weapon early in the game and she was ineffective at best. The Lady Tigers limited her to three points through the first 10 minutes and they did it with only one defender guarding her.

Meanwhile, TSU spread to ball around on offense to get both its shooters and post players open looks. The sharing tactic led to a pair of early threes from I’mani Davis and Allen and a commanding 19-7, lead through the first quarter of action.

“I thought we seized momentum early in the game, and that shows you the mentality that we had, we weren’t backing down,” Inman said. “We took the initiative and then we took control.”

The Skyhawks slowly crept back into the game and it started with Jones canning a pair of jump shots. Defensively, UTM forced TSU to keep the ball on one side of the court by bracketing the other. The strategy forced six Lady Tiger turnovers and a Tennessee State scoring drought of 4:37.

With the score, 23-21, UTM’s Danielle Woolfolk canned a wide-open three pointer to give the Skyhawks’ their first lead of the game. Allen made sure that it was short-lived as on the next possession, she converted on a driving layup with 1:32 to play in the half.

Hudson continued the charge with an old-fashioned three-point play to end the first half and the Lady Tigers took a 28-26 lead into the locker room.

Lawrence poured in a pair of threes to highlight the start of the second period, but TSU fouls eventually proved costly. The Skyhawks entered the double-bonus with 8:47 to play and went up 45-41.

The Lady Tigers figured out UTM’s 1-3-1 zone later in the half and a slashing Davis layup made it five straight makes to tie the game at 49 with 5:29 to go.

Lawrence made back-to-back shots for TSU, but UTM countered with four free throws to leave the score tied with 53 seconds to play. Allen stole the ball from Jones to give the Lady Tigers one shot for the win, but Davis travelled on TSU’s possession.

UTM had a final shot at the buzzer but UTM’s shot didn’t beat the horn, forcing overtime.

Lawrence got TSU off to a good start in extra time with a jumper in the lane and an Allen three-pointer with two minutes left gave the Lady Tigers a 58-57 advantage.

Again, Lawrence proved why she was named MVP by hitting her third triple of the game to pad the lead to an insurmountable four points.

The Lady Tigers find out where and who they will play in the NCAA Tournament on Monday, March 16.

“We don’t care who we play in the NCAA Tournament, whoever it is, let’s line them up and play it… who’s next?”

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Takes Mobile Biodiesel Demonstration Unit On the Road March 9-26

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension program will take the Mobile Biodiesel Education Demonstration (MBED) trailer on the road this spring, making stops across Tennessee March 9-26 in an effort to provide people across the state with an up-close look at the biodiesel production process and educational information on real-world production scenarios.

Dr. Jason de Koff (center), assistant professor of agronomy and soil sciences at TSU, shares bioenergy research with visitors recently. The mobile demonstration lab will be on display throughout the year beginning March 9. (courtesy photo)
Dr. Jason de Koff (center), assistant professor of agronomy and soil sciences at TSU, shares bioenergy research with visitors recently. The mobile demonstration lab will be on display throughout the year beginning March 9. (courtesy photo)

According to Dr. Jason de Koff, assistant professor of Agronomy and Soil Sciences, the production of biodiesel fuel from vegetable oil is a viable process that can replace traditional fuel used in existing diesel engines.

“The process can go a long way toward helping ease the financial burden of fuel costs,” said de Koff, who is leading the tour. “It is possible [farmers] could become totally self-sufficient in diesel fuel use.”

Accompanying Dr. de Koff to provide specific expertise will be Mobile Biodiesel team members Chris Robbins, Extension associate for farm operations; Dr. Prabodh Illukpitiya, assistant professor of Natural Resource and Energy Economics; and Alvin Wade, associate Extension specialist for Community Resources and Economic Development.

The workshops will include discussions on the following topics:

  • Introduction to Biodiesel Production
  • Feedstocks for Biodiesel Production
  • Biodiesel Production Demonstration
  • Economics of Small-Scale Biodiesel Production
  • Federal Assistance Programs for Biodiesel Production

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Date and locations for the March workshops include:

Date: Monday, March 9
Time:  6 p.m. (dinner provided)
Location: Fayette County Fire Training Room / 18 North Hiawatha Street / Somerville, Tennessee
Registration Contact: Jeffrey D. Via / 901-465-5233 or jvia@utk.edu

Date: Thursday, March 12
Time: 11 a.m. (lunch provided)
Location: East Tennessee Livestock Center / 2121 U.S. 11 / Sweetwater, Tennessee
Registration Contacts: John Goddard / 865-458-5612 or jgoddard@utk.edu or Jonathan Rhea / 423-442-2433 or jrhea@utk.edu

Date: Thursday, March 19
Time:  6:30 p.m. (dinner provided)
Location: Franklin County Extension Office / 406 Joyce Lane / Winchester, Tennessee
Registration Contact: John Ferrell / 931-967-2741

Date: Thursday, March 26
Time: 6 p.m. (dinner provided)
Location: Dyer County Extension Office / 151 Everett Ave. / Dyersburg, Tennessee
Registration Contact: Tim Campbell / 731-286-7821

To register to attend, contact Dr. Jason de Koff at (615) 963-4929 or jdekoff@tnstate.edu.

A USDA NIFA Capacity Building Grant funds TSU’s Mobile Biodiesel Education Demonstration.

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU students win Southeast Journalism Conference awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Seven mass communications students from Tennessee State University earned eight separate awards recently in the Southeast Journalism Conference competitions.

The awards for the best journalism in broadcast, print and online were presented during the 29th annual SEJC convention held Friday, Feb., 27 at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

In the “Best of the South” competition, Tennessee State University awards included the individual categories of:

‪‪*Best Radio News Feature Reporter – first place, Brandi Giles, Nashville,  graduated Dec. 2014

‪*Best Radio Hard News Reporter – third place, senior Chantell Copeland, Atlanta

‪*Best Radio Journalist – fourth place, Brandi Giles

‪*College Journalist of the Year – fourth place, Chantell Copeland

*Best Public Service Journalism – fourth place, seniors Anastasia Williams, Milwaukee, and Dominique Thomas

‪‪*Best News-Editorial Artist/Illustrator – seventh place, senior Courtney Mickens, Memphis, Tennessee

*Best Multimedia Journalist – eighth place, junior Delvakio Brown, Bolivar, Tennessee

‪*Best TV Hard News Reporter – ninth place, senior Carlos Mavins Jr., Houston

According to Dr. Terry Likes, Head of the Department of Communications, this is a testament to the commitment to excellence of students, faculty and the administration.

“Having students win is part of the external validation which shows our faculty are training our students to achieve at a high level,” said Likes.

The Southeast Journalism Conference is a vibrant learning community of journalists honing their craft through professional development and the Best of the South Collegiate Journalism Competition. An organization comprised of nearly 50 member colleges and universities in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, SEJC was created to encourage greater interest in student journalism and to form closer ties among journalism schools in the Southeast United States.

The Best of the South competition recognizes individual student journalists and university publications. The competition consists of 23 individual and 8 university categories.

 

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Nursery Research Center Named ‘Recycler of the Year’ by Tennessee Recycling Coalition

TRC New Banner rounded1NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences’ Otis L. Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville was recognized recently as the Tennessee Recycling Coalition’s “Recycler of the Year” in the Higher Education School category after recycling approximately 200,000 pounds (100 tons) of polyethylene plastic since 2010.

Each year, across Middle Tennessee an estimated 60,000 pounds of polyethylene plastic film is used to provide overwintering protection for plants. This film is removed each spring and typically discarded in landfills or illegally burned or buried. Producers have historically been hesitant to commit to recycling this plastic due to increased costs and inconvenience. To solve these problems, the NRC developed a recycling program that uses an innovative mechanical spooler—made available to nursery producers free of charge—to remove the plastic and spool it into compact rolls for cost-effective shipping.

Dr. Nick Gawel
Dr. Nick Gawel

Drawing on its connection to the Tennessee nursery industry, the NRC has had overwhelming success with this program. The program has been eliminating approximately 40,000 pounds of plastic waste per year while saving participating producers money since its inception.

According to Dr. Nick Gawel, superintendent of the NRC, the program has had a “fundamental” impact on the way the nursery industry—one already known for its “green” initiatives—operates.

“It is a great honor to be recognized for this program,” Gawel said. “TSU is proud of our partnership with the Tennessee nursery industry and the opportunity to make this industry even more green and sustainable.”

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Debate Team Thrives at State Championship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – It’s been a busy few months for the Forensics team at Tennessee State University and they have the proof of their endeavors. They won more than 50 awards in February alone and now boast one of the “Best Speakers” in the state.

The Forensics team continues their winning ways bringing home 50 awards during February and the "Best Speaker" in the state. Members of the team include: Top row (L-R): Aaron Walker, John Nix, Kavon Coleman, and Tyler Kinloch Bottom Row (L-R): Ricky Madden, Shaylyn Rice, Ashley Doxy, Tyra Laster, Tristan Halfacre, Kevon Graves (courtesy photo)
The Forensics team continues their winning ways bringing home 50 awards during February and the “Best Speaker” in the state. Members of the team include: Top row (L-R): Aaron Walker, John Nix, Kavon Coleman, and Tyler Kinloch Bottom Row (L-R): Ricky Madden, Shaylyn Rice, Ashley Doxy, Tyra Laster, Tristan Halfacre, Kevon Graves (courtesy photo)

This semester the 11-member team of undergraduate students have netted impressive results, bringing home awards wherever they compete. Nowhere was this more prevalent than at the recent Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics State Championship when they placed third in the state and brought home 28 more awards. The team also placed third in combined debate and Individual Events School Sweepstakes.

More than 100 students gathered at TSU Feb. 14-15 to see who would be crowned the “best of the best” in the state. John Nix, a junior Political Science major from Franklin, Tennessee, took home the coveted first place Pentathlon speaker, qualifying him for the “Best Speaker in the State.” Nix also won numerous awards including third place Persuasive Speaking, Top Novice Persuasive Speaking, first place Poetry Interpretation, Top Novice Poetry Interpretation, first place Prose Interpretation, Top Novice Prose Interpretation, third place Impromptu Speaking, Top Novice Impromptu Speaking, NPDA Novice Semi-Finalist, and fifth place Novice NPDA speaker.

Other team winners included:

  • Kevon Graves, freshman Urban Studies major, Kansas City, Missouri – NPDA Novice Semi-Finalist, fourth place Novice NPDA Speaker
  • Kavon Coleman, junior Civil Engineering major, Grand Rapids, Michigan – third place International Public Debate Association Varsity Speaker
  • Shaylyn Rice, junior Mass Communications major, Birmingham, Alabama – second place Poetry Interpretation, second place Dramatic Interpretation, Top Novice Dramatic Interpretation, fifth place Programmed Oral Interpretation, first place Radio Broadcasting, Top Novice Radio Broadcasting
  • Aaron Walker, junior English major, Memphis, Tennessee – third place Poetry Interpretation
  • Tyler Kinloch, senior Aeronautical Engineering major, Canton, Michigan – fourth place Prose Interpretation, first place Dramatic Interpretation
  • Tyra Laster, junior Mass Communications major, Marietta, Georgia – second place Radio Broadcasting
  • Tyra Laster and Ashley Doxy, sophomore Biology and Chemistry major, Chicago – fourth place Duo Interpretation
  • Shaylyn Rice and Aaron Walker – first place Duo Interpretation, Top Novice Duo Interpretation

This was the second competition during February for the team, having earned 22 awards at the Jackson-Purchase Swing at Murray State University Feb. 6-8.

Award winners included:

Friday, Feb. 6 – National Parliamentary Debate Association tournament (NPDA)

  • Fifth place team sweepstakes in NPDA
  • Tyler Kinloch and Barbra Dudley – semifinalists in Novice NPDA
  • John Nix and Kevon Graves – quarterfinalists in Novice NPDA
  • Tyler Kinloch – fifth place novice NPDA speaker
  • Barbra Dudley, sophomore economics major from Indianapolis – eighth place Novice NPDA speaker

Saturday, Feb. 7 – MSU Swing

  • Third place Small School Sweepstakes
  • John Nix – fourth place Extemporaneous Speaking, first place Poetry Interpretation, sixth place Pentathlon Speaker
  • Shaylyn Rice – sixth place Poetry Interpretation
  • Kevon Graves – fourth place novice Extemporaneous Speaking

Sunday, Feb. 8 – Alumni swing

  • Second place Small School Sweepstakes
  • John Nix – fourth place Persuasive Speaking, first place Poetry Interpretation, sixth place Pentathlon Speaker
  • Tyler Kinloch – sixth place Dramatic Interpretation
  • Shaylyn Rice – first place Radio Broadcasting
  • Kevon Graves – third place Novice Impromptu Speaking, first place Novice Extemporaneous Speaking
  • Shaylyn Rice and Aaron Walker – fifth place Duo Interpretation

The TSU Forensics Team closed out the month attending the Rock & Roll Swing at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Feb. 27-March 1.

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Golf Channel Highlights Accomplishments of TSU Trailblazing Coach Catana Starks

Coach_StarksNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As we transition out of Black History Month and into National Women’s Month, we honor one of our own…Tennessee State University Coach Catana Starks, the first female coach of a Division I men’s golf team. Her amazing journey first caught the attention of Hollywood as her story was told on the big screen in From the Rough. Recently, the Golf Channel visited the University to share the  story of her time at TSU as the first woman ever to coach a men’s golf team. Coach Starks eventually went on to lead the team to victory at the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship in 2005,  with the all-time best score record for the tournament.

Watch the video that originally aired on the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive, highlighting  the trailblazing TSU alum’s accomplishments in the male-dominated sport of golf.

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

“Do Not Change Tennessee Education Standards,” TSU Panel Tells State Leaders and Lawmakers

Dr. Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, welcomes the audience to the Forum and explains her thoughts on the education standards in Tennessee. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Dr. Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, welcomes the audience to the Forum and explains her thoughts on the education standards in Tennessee. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Without an outright endorsement, a panel of educators and legislators meeting at Tennessee State University Thursday appears to support the position of many who are urging lawmakers to rethink making any changes to the state’s academic standards for grades K-12.

Giving what they called a “balanced” representation of views on one of the biggest and controversial issues facing the Tennessee General Assembly, the panel said the focus should be on preparing students to think beyond graduation either for successful college careers, or technical or trade education that prepares them for the work place.

The panel was part of a forum under the theme, “Viewpoints on Tennessee Academic Standards for K-12,” hosted in partnership with the American Association of University Women of Tennessee, and the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs at TSU. It brought together key members of the House Committee on Education, including Rep. Harold Love Jr. (D-Nashville), member of the Education Instruction, and Programs Standing Committee; and Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis), chair of the Education and Administration Planning Subcommittee.

State Representative Harold Love Jr. (left) comments on the current education standards in Tennessee at a Legislative Forum today at the Avon Williams Campus. Representative Mark White (right) also attended the Forum, as well as Dr. Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, and Dr. Linda Gilbert, director for Murfreesboro City Schools. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
State Representative Harold Love Jr. (left) comments on the current education standards in Tennessee at a Legislative Forum today at the Avon Williams Campus. Representative Mark White (right) also attended the Forum, as well as Dr. Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, and Dr. Linda Gilbert, director for Murfreesboro City Schools. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Affairs and Urban Planning, who moderated the panel, welcomed participants on behalf of TSU President Glenda Glover, who was away on travel.

In a statement earlier, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, Dr. Candice McQueen, welcomed the discussion on the standards, pointing to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Nation’s Report Card, which shows Tennessee as the fastest academically improving state in the nation.

But even with this level of success, the commissioner sees a “widening gap” in the achievement level. She said more than half of the state’s students are from disadvantaged backgrounds who lack the resources to keep pace.

“If we want to be successful then we must find ways to help these disadvantaged students,” she said. “We have to prepare these students to think about success after graduation by steering them toward college or skills sets such as auto mechanic, welding or other trade or technical areas that improve their chances for successful life careers. To achieve this we must develop the ability to work together as K-12 educators and higher education professionals.”

Representative Love, a staunched supporter of education, citing his own late mother’s role as a longtime educator, said he understands the need for fully trained people in the classroom, and parents who are actively engaged in their children’s education.

A proponent of the current K-12 academic standards, Love said the role of the standards should be to prepare students for world-class jobs, which they emphasize.

“The current standards do not need changing,” he said. “Maybe some minor tweaking, but we do not need to change them.”

Responding to a parent’s concern about the lack of resources for their underperforming student, Love called for more funding to provide after-school tutoring for children who need it.

His House Colleague, Rep. White, concurred that students must be prepared to be competitive with the technical and job-ready skills to be successful in the work place.

He also sees no need to change the standards. “Keep the standards in place,” White added.

Another strong proponent of the standards, Dr. Linda Gilbert, director of the Murfreesboro, Tennessee City Schools, said she supports school superintendents who are calling for no change in the standards.

“We are at a crossroad, at the center of which is a child, and we must do everything to provide the environment and learning necessary to make that child successful. We cannot turn back now. …we cannot turn back on education in the state.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 10, 114 superintendents from the state’s 141 school districts presented a letter to lawmakers asking that “no legislative action be taken during the 2015 legislative session to change our academic standards.” This action follows a recent press conference by leaders of all 13 of Tennessee’s community colleges emphasizing their support for the K-12 academic standards.

Many argue, that the success of the recently signed Tennessee Promise law that offers future graduates of any Tennessee high school the opportunity to receive two years of community or technical college tuition-free, hinges on how prepared students are to succeed.

“This is an issue that the public needs to be informed about, and kept abreast on what is facing our schools, our students and our legislators,” Dean Harris said recently as he prepared for today’s forum.

Speaking earlier, the President-elect of the AAUW Tennessee, B. Ayne Cantrell, said her organization, whose mission is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research, was pleased to partner with TSU to host the forum.

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Women in Higher Education in Tennessee, the American Society for Public Administration, and the Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict management, sponsored the forum.

 

 

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.