NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Beverly Smith, national president and chief executive officer of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, will serve as the keynote speaker for this year’s Women of Legend and Merit Award Dinner at Tennessee State University on April 10 in Kean Hall.
Smith, who also serves as the assistant commissioner and Georgia State director for Adult Education and GED Testing through the Technical College System of Georgia, said she is excited about addressing the young ladies at TSU because of the many issues facing women today.
“We are at a time today when the power of women really matters,” she said. “The power of our voice is clearly something of significance these days whether or not we are comfortable enough with ourselves to use or understand it.”
TSU President Glenda Glover echoed the same sentiments.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Beverly Smith to our campus for our Women of Legend and Merit Awards Dinner, and look forward to hearing her inspiring and powerful words,” she said. “Women of Legend and Merit is in its 11th year and couldn’t have come at a more pivotal time in our nation’s history. Women should feel empowered and celebrated. Our dinner allows us to do this and raise scholarship and program dollars for students, all while partnering with the community.”
Seanne Wilson, chairperson of the event, which raises money for student scholarships, said Smith’s visit will give 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 is an opportunity for them to meet women from varying organizations and diverse positions in life, and to hear their stories and their struggles and how they made it,” said Wilson, who serves as coordinator of the TSU Women’s Center.
According to Wilson, the Women’s Center is 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.
Wilson said the purpose of this event is to empower and uplift the female students at TSU.
Smith said the influence of her father, a civil rights activist, as well as powerful women in her family and early mentors such as legends Dorothy Heights and Althea Gibson helped propel her to success.
“You can’t be what you can’t see, and I think that certainly holds true especially for us in our communities. A lot of times it is very difficult to be what you can’t see,” she said. “If we celebrate who we are and who we have been, it gives us an opportunity for greater heights.”
This year’s honorees are Vivian Wilhoite, Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County property accessor; Dr. Tameka Winston, TSU interim chair of Department of Communications; Many Bears Grinder, commission of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs; and Tina Tuggle, Tennessee Titans director of community relations.
Awards will also be presented to retired educator Gwendolyn Vincent, and TSU freshman Natalie Cooper.
To purchase tickets for the April 10 awards dinner or learn more about the Women’s Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/legendandmerit/.
Department of Media Relations
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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.