Tag Archives: Michael McLendon

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 Honda Campus All-Star Team returns from national competition with awards and grant money for university

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Team recently won awards and grant money at the 29th annual HCASC National Tournament.

The team finished third in the Bullard Division at the competition, which took place April 7-11 in Torrance, California, and involved 47 other teams from historically black colleges and universities.

TSU finished the competition with a record of 3-2, defeating Benedict College, Southern University in New Orleans and Cheney University, and losing to Prairie View A&M and Paine College.

The team’s collective effort earned $3,000 in grant money for TSU. Devon Jefferson, a member of the TSU Honors College who serves as the team’s captain, earned an All-Star award as the top scorer in the Bullard Division, which earned another $1,000 for the university.

TSU HCASC Team Captain Devon Jefferson

Jefferson, a junior marketing major from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, said although TSU didn’t make the playoffs this year, they grew as a unit. He said even though the award was given to him for his individual performance, it really came as a result of the work of the team.

“Honda always puts on a good tournament,” he said. ‘Even though we didn’t make the playoffs, we played some good close games and continued to mesh as a team.”

According to Dr. John Miglietta, professor of political science, who has served as the team’s coach since 2004, Jefferson is just the second TSU student to receive an All-Star award for being a top scorer at the national competition. Miglietta said the team was proud to participate in the event.

“The Honda Campus All Star Challenge is a great unique experience,” he said. “It showcases the academic knowledge of students from HBCUs around the country in the spirit of friendly competition.”

Members of the HCASC team who participated in the competition along with Jefferson are Breanna Williams, senior, music major from Marietta, Georgia; Alekzander Garcia, senior, chemistry major from Nyssa, Oregon; and Terrence George Young, junior computer science major from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Alexandria Ross, a freshman, economics and finance major from Memphis, Tennessee, also attended the competition as the university’s institutional representative.

Some other members of the TSU HCASC Club are Aliyah Muhammad, of Nashville, sophomore biology major; Donovan Varnell, sophomore political science major, from Nashville; and Micah Williams, sophomore, combined mass communications and military science major from Seoul, South Korea.

TSU has participated in 22 national championship tournaments earning a total of $174,500 in grant money since the inception of the program in 1989.

 

 

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 45 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.

Delta Sigma Theta CEO Advises Women of Legend and Merit Attendees to Use the Power of Their Voice

Nashville, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated National President and CEO Beverly Smith encouraged Tennessee State University students at this year’s Women of Legend and Merit Award Dinner to use the power of their voice.

Smith was the keynote speaker for the event on April 10 in TSU’s Kean Hall, which also featured nationally renowned jazz trumpeter Rod McGaha.

The assistant commissioner and Georgia State director for Adult Education and GED Testing through the Technical College System of Georgia, Smith encouraged attendees to come together and celebrate the power of their diversity.

“There is no better time than now for us as black women to understand that coming together and strategically supporting each other is what puts the power in our message,” she said. “We cannot let our superficial differences between us stand in the way of our ability to focus on our common needs and our common concerns.”

First held in 2007, the WOLM awards is designed to bring awareness and raise funds to support the TSU Women’s Center, which offers student-focused programming to empower individuals and student organizations, as well as help students make the right choices.

At the awards dinner, TSU freshman Natalie Cooper was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to pursue her degree in business administration with a concentration in supply chain management. The scholarship dollars are available mainly through funds raised at the WOLM awards through ticket sales and sponsorships.

TSU President Glenda Glover makes special presentation to state Sen. Thelma Harper at Women of Legend and Merit Awards Dinner.

A special presentation was made to state Sen. Thelma Harper, the first black woman to serve in the Tennessee State Legislature. Harper, who announced on April 4 that she will not seek re-election, worked as an elected official for over 35 years, serving 27 of those years as senator for District 19.

Women’s Center director Seanne Wilson said the purpose of the awards dinner is to “empower and uplift the female students at TSU.” She said Smith’s visit gave the young ladies at TSU an opportunity to witness a “woman of excellence who is the head of a large body of women of excellence.”

This year’s honorees were Vivian Wilhoite, Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County property accessor; Dr. Tameka Winston, TSU interim chair of the Department of Communications; Many Bears Grinder, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs; Tina Tuggle, Tennessee Titans director of community relations; and retired educator and activist Gwendolyn Vincent.

Wilson said the yearly event gives young women at TSU an opportunity to meet women from varying organizations in diverse positions, and hear their stories and their struggles.  She said the event’s main objective is to help the Women’s Center which serves as a “safe zone” for women at TSU who experience issues such as fear, anxiety and depression, as well as domestic violence, homelessness and the lack of food.

 

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 TO HOST COMMUNITY HEALTH AND WELLNESS FAIR

NASHVILLE, Tenn(TSU News Service) – Massages, chiropractic care, dental screenings and HIV testing are just a few of the free services that will be offered at a Community Health and Wellness Fair set for Friday, April 20, at Tennessee State University.

More than 40 vendors with some connection to health care and wellness are expected to participate in this year’s event, which is free to the public.

The fair, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in the university’s Kean Hall on the main campus, is a partnership between TSU, the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s HIV Vaccine Program, and the Turnip Truck, a natural foods grocer in Nashville.

One of the main participants is TSU’s Dental Hygiene Department, which will provide intra-oral screenings at the event.

Leon Roberts II, coordinator of clinics for the TSU Dental Hygiene Department, stressed the importance of people from the campus and surrounding communities stopping by their booth to get the screening.

“The mouth is the gateway to the body, so a lot of dental diseases don’t just affect the mouth,” he said. “Periodontal disease is connected to diabetes, heart disease, and for women who are pregnant, it is connected to low-birth weight babies. So it is very important to take care of your oral hygiene because your oral hygiene affects your whole health.”

Among its offerings, the fair will provide information on weight loss management and nutrition, as well as fitness demonstrations and health screenings.

Lalita Hodge, TSU coordinator of Public Relations and a member of the DP Thomas Board of Directors, said the purpose of the event is to keep the community informed about the resources that are available to them.

“You will see some of your traditional vendors there like the YMCA and Walgreens, but you will also see nontraditional healing methods there like coffee enema, the Turnip Truck with their organic produce, and we have healthy lunches which will include organic free-range turkey,” she said.

Dolly Patton-Thomas, executive director of the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, said she hopes the event will motivate people to live healthier lives.

“We need doctors. They support us with our health in many ways, and we need them to support us in the health decisions we make as well,” she said. “Still, I think we can help them by taking our health into our own hands on a day to day basis.

This year organizers hope to expand the fair, which is in its third year, by attracting more senior citizens, as well as college students.

Keith Richardson, community engagement coordinator for the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program, stressed the important of students attending the health fair.

“Students are young and they need to know the importance of health and what it means to take care of themselves,” said Richardson, a 2008 alumnus of TSU. “Maybe they can catch health issues early before things get out of hand as they become adults and just have a good mindset about eating and exercising right, and just taking care of their bodies.”

Hodge said many of the vendors provide free samples, as well as contact information so participants can follow up with them for more products and services.

“I’m just excited about the health fair, and I hope that all will come out and that we will have people just to gain knowledge about what we have to offer and what is out there for them,” Patton-Thomas said. “When you are given the knowledge, you won’t be blindsided. You can run with it and you can choose what to do.”

For more information about the Community Health and Wellness Fair, call 615-474-1286, or email: dpthomasfoundation@gmail.com.

 

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.

40th Annual Research Symposium Set For April 2—6

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students and researchers will showcase their cutting-edge research projects and inventions at the 40th Annual University-Wide Research Symposium April 2 – 6.

The symposium, which is largely composed of presentations from the science, engineering, business and humanities disciplines, will allow students to gain exposure and experience as either oral or poster presenters in an evaluative environment with external judges from the Mid-South region.

Dr. Michael Ivy, TSU associate professor of Neuroscience, and John Barfield, TSU director of engagement and visibility in the Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, serve as the co chairs of this year’s symposium which will feature abstracts from 174 students and 40 faculty members.

Barfield said the symposium is important because it prepares students for future research opportunities.

“When our students go to graduate school, they can go research-ready being able to prove that they already know how to do research and that they have worked in a research environment,” he said. “If they are graduate level students about to work on their doctorate then they will be able to show that they have mastered the rigor of being able to present research at an academic level.”

The theme for this year’s symposium is “Establishing a Culture of Research Excellence.”

Oral presentations will take place throughout the week in the Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 009, 163 and 209. Poster presentations will take place in the Jane Elliot Hall Auditorium on Thursday, April 5.

Dr. Patrice L. Jackson-Ayotunde, associate professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Pharmacy, will provide the keynote address on Friday, April 6 at noon in the Ferrell-Westbrook Complex, Room 118.

Jackson-Ayotunde, who has mentored several graduate, professional and undergraduate students, does extensive research around the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy. Her laboratory works closely with the Epilepsy Therapy Screening Program (ETSP) at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Jackson was named Mentoring Institute for Neuroscience Diversity Scholar (MIND) for 2016-17 and the Emerging Scholar of 2015 by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Barfield said the symposium is open to the public. For more information about the 40th Annual University-Wide Research Symposium visit tnstate.edu/researchsymposium.

 

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 Honda Campus All-Star Team Advances To National Competition In Los Angeles

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Team will compete against 47 other Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the National Championship Tournament in Los Angeles, April 7-11.

The team recently participated in the National Qualifying Tournament at Spelman College in Atlanta where they defeated Bethune-Cookman and Savannah State Universities.

Devon Jefferson, a member of the TSU Honors College who serves as the team’s captain, said he hopes the team will bring the championship trophy back to TSU. He said being part of the TSU Honda Campus All-Star Team adds to the members’ academic experiences because of the knowledge they gain while studying and preparing for competition.

“I definitely believe that HCASC has made me better at certain things like taking certain classes and understanding them,” said Jefferson, a junior marketing major from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. “I might have heard something in passing at practice and then I hear the actual application in class, so it makes more sense to me when I do the work.”

Dr. John Miglietta, professor of political science, who has served as the team’s coach since 2004, said participating in this event on the national level is important because it showcases the academic talent at the nation’s HBCUs.

“This event is a great showcase of the academic talent at HBCUs. TSU is proud to be able to participate,” he said. “Our team will be interacting with players and coaches from other HBCUs around the country as well as the volunteers, college bowl representatives, and associates from American Honda.”

Miglietta said HCASC is a great program because it measures students’ knowledge on a variety of subjects such as history, literature, sports, pop culture, science, as well as black history, culture, and literature.”

Members of the TSU Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Team are: Breanna Williams, senior; Devon Jefferson, junior (captain); Dr. John Miglietta (coach); Alekzander Garcia, senior; Terrence George Young, junior; and Alexandria Ross, freshman (not pictured).

Members of the HCASC team who will be participating in the competition along with Jefferson are Breanna Williams, senior, music major from Marietta, Georgia; Alekzander Garcia, senior, chemistry major from Nyssa, Oregon; and Terrence George Young, junior computer science major from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Alexandria Ross, a freshmen, economics and Finance major from Memphis, Tennessee, will also be attending as the university’s institutional representative.

Some other members of the TSU HCASC Club are Aliyah Muhammad, of Nashville, a sophomore biology major; Donovan Varnell, sophomore political science major, from Nashville; and Micah Williams, sophomore, combined mass communications and military science major from Seoul, South Korea.

TSU has participated in 21 national championship tournaments earning a total of $170,500 in grant money since the inception of the program in 1989. Miglietta would like members of the Tennessee State Univeristy Community to encourage the team by liking the Honda Campus All Star Challenge facebook page and leave comments to encourage the team at https://bit.ly/2J6XtQd.

 

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 Alum Makes Moves In Hip Hop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dwane “Key Wane” Weir II still smiles when he recalls his mother buying him a keyboard for Christmas when he was 13 years old. Over a decade later, the Grammy-nominated producer and Tennessee State University alumnus who has worked with everyone from Beyoncé and Jazmine Sullivan to Drake and Meek Mill, still credits his mother for being his biggest inspiration.

“My mom taught me how to go out and really ‘get it-get it.’ I didn’t want to ask my mom for much,” he said. “If I were to ask her for something, she would be like, ‘You’d better figure out a way to get it.’ I think that’s dope because I didn’t grow up lazy.”

Weir, who spent most of his time at TSU as a music major with an emphasis in commercial music, changed his major to Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) during his final year so he could graduate early and focus on his music career.

Dwane “Key Wane” Weir

“On campus, I really didn’t get out a lot because I was making beats. I got signed when I was a sophomore or a junior, so I was always in and out of school,” he said.  “I did my work, but I was barely there.  I was only there for midterms and finals and whatever type of important assignments that were due. Outside of that, I was in the dorm making records, five to 10 beats a day.  I would go to the café just to get some food, take the tray back to the room, get back to it, send my e-mails and prepare my flights.”

Mark Crawford, TSU associate professor of Music and coordinator of the Commercial Music Program, said what impressed him most about Weir was his dedication and his musicality.

“He was really into it. He was about the music.  He breathes music.  He exudes music, and he’s just a very creative young man,” said Crawford.  “He has been fortunate enough to find an avenue where he could find reward for that. So he was a good student, but I think he was a better producer.”

As Weir’s advisor, Crawford said he noticed that while the producer was diligent, because of his competing demands, he was often the last one to make it to class.

Dr. Mark Crawford

“Sometimes he was late.  Well, when I talked to him about this, about his attendance and everything, he began to tell me about all the activities he was involved with outside of the class.    You know making his tracks and making his beats, trying to return phone calls, trying to make deadlines and all this kind of thing, and that’s when I first became aware of what he was into,” Crawford said.

“Big Sean was one artist he had an early connection with, and he would tell me about that connection. His senior year he began to get some really good placements.  He had a placement, I believe, with a Beyonce’ project,” Crawford recalled.  “I want to say his first year out or his second year out, the project he was involved with was nominated for a Grammy.  And then subsequently, he’s been nominated two more times.”

According to Weir, taking his mother to the Grammy Awards has been the highlight of his career.

“I’ve been nominated year after year which is a blessing, “ Weir said. “I remember I brought my mom when ‘Let It Burn’ got nominated, which is the Jazmine Sullivan joint I did, and I was like,  ‘Mom, you want to come with me to the Grammys?  She was like, ‘Yeah!’  I think that was like the coolest thing because I remember when she and I both had nothing, and she bought me that keyboard, and that changed everything.”

Beyonce’s “Partition”, Drake’s “All Me”, Meek Mill’s “Amen” and Jazmine Sullivan’s “Let It Burn” are just a few of the chart-topping songs with grooves produced by Dwane “Key Wane” Weir.

In spite of his success. the Detroit native remains humble.

“I remember what it was like before everything came.  I don’t want to go back to work,” he said, referring to a time when he worked at a car wash.  “I would be at work and would miss out on things because I would still have like five cars to wax.”

Two years ago he paid a surprise visit to the music department to show his appreciation to TSU, according to Dr. Robert Elliot, head of the Department of Music.

“Dwane, Dr. Crawford and I were all in my office, just the three of us, and Dwane said, ‘I’d like to thank you all.’ And we said, ‘Well, we appreciate that.  We are glad you are doing well.’  He said, ‘No.  You don’t understand.  I really want to thank you.’ And he handed me the check for $10,000. He said, ‘Now, help somebody else.’

Weir said the only thing that has really changed in his life since his days as a student is that he has developed a closer relationship with God.  Weir said he prays before he creates music, and he keeps a positive mindset.

“Everything still feels new to me.  I still make beats in my mama’s basement so really nothing has ever changed,” he said. “I go back home to my mom every now and then, and it just feels the same. It’s a blessing. I don’t want to get comfortable.  I don’t want to feel like I’ve made it because I haven’t.   I definitely still have a lot of work to do.”

For Weir that could mean earning another degree from his alma mater. Weir said he plans to eventually get a masters degree at TSU, and teach a course in the music department.

 

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.

Hargrove Recognized Nationally for Contributions as STEM Educator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Tennessee State University dean of the College of Engineering, will receive the Ivory Dome Award at the 14th Annual Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) Technology Achievement Awards ceremony on March 9 in Dallas.

According to ITSMF President and CEO Viola Maxwell-Thompson, Hargrove’s commitment to developing tomorrow’s STEM leaders is in alignment with the organization’s mission of “increasing the representation of black professionals at senior levels in technology, to impact organizational innovation and growth.” She said the Ivory Dome Award is given to an individual focused on increasing the number of students in the STEM discipline.

“Dr. Hargrove won all of the support of the committee,” Maxwell-Thompson said. “We were so impressed with his achievements at TSU and how he has inspired and educated hundreds of students there as well as other areas within Tennessee where he has interacted with not only college students, but K-12 schools as well.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove

Hargrove, who earned his BS degree in mechanical engineering from TSU, immediately pursued his MS degree as a National GEM Consortium Fellow at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He later secured his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

“I am honored to received this award.  It is a result of the hard work of the faculty and staff of the College of Engineering at Tennessee State University, and the partnerships we have with industries like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and K-12 Education to promote STEM careers,” he said. “This award reflects the support of TSU and our commitment to expanding the workforce in STEM and the dedication of TSU leadership and the quality of the students in our program.

As a recipient of the Ivory Dome Award, Maxwell-Thompson said Hargrove will be an honorary member of ITSMF for one year, which will enable him to attend the organization’s symposium, network with other STEM professionals and mentor within the organization.

“We just want him to feel proud that he is being recognized in yet another way, considering the fact that he has tons of accolades and recognitions,” Maxwell-Thompson said. “This organization wants to also add to that list of recognizing an individual who is so incredibly passionate about the youth and tomorrow’s leaders.”

Hargrove said pursuing a career in STEM, obtaining advanced degrees and becoming a college professor were a result of the advice and mentoring he received from the TSU faculty while he was an undergraduate student.

“Seven out of the top 10 best jobs are STEM-related.  My role as Dean is to insure they are completing an academic program that prepares them to be technically competent and have the leadership skills to have successful careers,” he said. “My engagement with my own students and with our partnerships with high schools, help promote careers in STEM and encourage them to seek occupations in this area.  In most instances in K12 education, it’s about exposure and awareness.  The College of Engineering is committed to both.”

In addition to mentoring and educating students at TSU, Hargrove serves as a founding board member of STEM Preparatory Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. He also serves on the advisory STEM boards of several local K-12 schools.

Dr. Kimberly Gold, a cybersecurity engineer for the U.S. Navy, said Hargrove is the reason she has a Ph.D.

Dr. Kimberly Gold

“He is my mentor. He promotes rigor, excellence and he never turns his back on his students,” she said. “He’s someone they can count on. I was actually the first African-American female to graduate with a Ph.D. in computer and information systems engineering, and I could not have done that without him.”

Gold said Hargrove teaches his students to never come to him with complaints, but with solutions. She said his mentorship and the nurturing environment at TSU played a key role in her success.

“When I got to the Navy, we were less than maybe 8 percent of the population on our base so a lot of times people doubted my abilities because they were not familiar with working with people of color,” she said. “Hargrove would have these closed door sessions where he would teach us how to maneuver through systems that were not created for us to excel. So that is why I say he is more than just a mentor. He is also a friend.”

Maxwell-Thompson said she hopes honoring Hargrove will lead to future collaborations between ITSMF and Tennessee State University.

“We look at the number of students who are majoring in the technology piece of STEM, and we know that there are so many opportunities in technology that will present themselves by the year 2025, and we want to make sure that there are a good representation of black students that are ready to take on those roles.”

Founded in 1996, ITSMF is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to cultivating executive-level talent among black technology professionals. Their members hail from Fortune 500 companies, governmental agencies, technology businesses and academia. This annual event attracts top-notch technology industry leaders and has historically been hosted by companies like Bank of America, Lowes, Hewlett-Packard, PepsiCo and Lockheed Martin.

 

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 Hosts Unveiling of ‘Forever’ Postal Stamp Honoring Lena Horne

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University hosted the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s “Forever Stamp” featuring legendary performer and civil rights activist Lena Horne on Friday in the Kean Hall welcome center.

The new stamp, which is the 41st in the Black Heritage series, is a colorized black-and-white photograph taken of Horne in the 1980’s by photographer Christian Steiner. The dress Horne wears in the photograph appears royal blue, a color she frequently wore. The background of the photograph includes a few clouds, reminiscent of her Stormy Weather album. Horne’s name appears at the bottom of the stamp, with the words “USA” and “Forever” appearing just above her name in the bottom right corner. The words “Black Heritage” appear at the top of the stamp.

Toni Franklin, the postmaster of Nashville, joined TSU Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff, Dr. Curtis Johnson, faculty, staff, students, postal officials and guests during the unveiling ceremony in Nashville in the Kean Hall foyer on the main campus. The stamp was dedicated by Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman during a January 30th ceremony at the Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York.

Franklin described Horne as “a woman who used her platform as an entertainer to become one of America’s most public advocates for civil rights and gender equality.”

“The Lena Horne Commemorative Stamp is being issued as a ‘Forever Stamp’,”  Franklin said.  “It goes without saying, Lena Horne will forever be in our hearts.”

Steven Lewis, Curator of the National Museum of African American

Steven Lewis, curator of the National Museum of African American Music, speaks before the unveiling. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Music slated to open in Nashville in 2019, served as the ceremony speaker. He provided a brief history of Horne’s contributions to the entertainment industry and African American History.

“Lena Horne lived a long life, and she had an amazingly varied body of work spanning activities of literally all forms of popular media including film, television, recordings, musical theatre, and night club appearances,” he said. “The constant throughout her career, however, was her commitment to activism on behalf of African Americans.”

Attendees participated in a brief reception following the event. The TSU Jazz Band provided entertainment, performing renditions of Horne’s classics, including her popular song, Stormy Weather.

Best known for her movie roles in “Cabin in the Sky” and “Stormy Weather,” Horne began her career as a dancer at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. She endured decades of discrimination in her storied career, and eventually emerged as a civil rights activist performing at various rallies across the South, pressing for anti-lynching legislation with Eleanor Roosevelt, lending her support to the National Council for Negro Women and taking part in the March on Washington in 1963.

 

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.

 

Grant Writing Specialists Visit TSU for Nashville’s First NSF Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – National Science Foundation (NSF) representatives visited the campus of Tennessee State University on Thursday to provide insight for researchers who hope to secure funding from the agency.

The daylong workshop, called NSF Day, included discipline-specific breakout sessions featuring NSF representatives, a panel with NSF-funded researchers from Tennessee and discussions about things to consider before writing a proposal as well as opportunities for fellowships.

Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, vice president of Research and Institutional Advancement, welcomed the group to TSU’s Avon Williams Campus with the shout, “Big Blue”, as she applauded them for attending the first NSF Day held in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We are here today to spend time on a topic that is near and dear to my heart,” Crumpton-Young said. “One of the things I love most about each day is the opportunity to think about research, discovery and the things that we have an opportunity as faculty, staff and students to work on that will address global challenges and make a difference in how we live our lives.”

The NSF is the federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” according to the foundation’s website. NSF supports fundamental research in science, engineering and education across all disciplines.

Fahmida Chowdhury (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Fahmida Chowdhury, program director in the NSF Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE), said researchers should make sure NSF is the right funding agency for them before they begin writing a proposal. She also stressed the importance of pinpointing what is unique and important about the proposed study.

“A lot of times scientists who have a great idea take it for granted that everyone knows it is a great project. It’s a great project for you, but why is it so great for everybody else in your field and not only for the advancement of your field, but also for society at large,” Chowdhury said. “You have to think about those things, and make those part of your motivation for writing the proposal.”

Chowdhury also highlighted the importance of having an effective assessment plan.

“How will you know that what you will do in the next five years has been successful,” she said. “Always make that part of your proposal.”

Muhammad Khan, who currently works as a molecular research analyst with Dr. Ahmad Naseer Aziz, TSU associate professor of Molecular Genetics, said attending NSF Day may help him secure funding to further his research, as well as provide opportunities for students.

“One of our key priorities in writing grants is to benefit the students,” Khan said.  “Grants help us provide them with stipends, the chemicals important to their research, and we also expose them to approaches which will help maximize their learning.”

Holly Brown, NSF Lead for the TSU NSF Day said the event gives the foundation an opportunity to reach out to the research community and individuals who are potential researchers.

“Today we have a crowd that is typically early career researchers. Some of them are assistant professors, a lot of them are from the TSU community themselves, and we also have people from other universities in the area,” Brown said.

“At the end of the event we want everyone here to know how to apply for a grant, and to feel comfortable talking to us as program officers and us as the experts,” she added.  “It really comes down to, ‘Contact your program officer if you have questions.’ And people really don’t do that if they don’t know who they are.”

US Senator Lamar Alexander said in a video message to attendees that the National Science Foundation has an annual budget of about $7 billion and makes about 12,000 new funding awards each year in fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences.

“Tennessee State should be proud to be selected as one of the four sites that will host an NSF Workshop Day this year,” he said.

Nicholas Kovach, research specialist in the TSU Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, said the university secured more than $2 million from NSF in the last fiscal 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 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.