NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nashville’s most prominent journalists, as well as residents from Middle Tennessee, around the nation and the world, gathered in north Nashville Friday night to celebrate the life of journalist, professor and community leader Getahn Moses Ward.
Ward, who taught journalism as an adjunct professor at Tennessee State University, died Dec. 16 after a brief illness. He was 45 years old.
Varying emotions filled the high-spirited event as family members, coworkers and friends shared heartfelt testimonies in the crowded sanctuary of Born Again Church where Ward served as a deacon.
“He was a man of peace,” said Born Again Church Elder Jerome Brown. “He was always busy, but he always did it from a place of peace.”
Described by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry as “the hardest-working reporter in Nashville,” Ward migrated from his native Liberia to Nashville in the early 90s, enrolling at TSU where he quickly rose to become editor-in-chief of the university’s student newspaper, The Meter. He worked as a reporter with the Nashville Banner before it closed in 1997, and then served as a business reporter with The Tennessean beginning in 1998 until his death.
NewsChannel 5 weatherman and “Talk of the Town” co-host Lelan Statom said Ward’s passing is a reminder that “we need to celebrate life.” Statom, who serves as the treasurer of the Nashville Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, worked for years alongside Ward, who served as the organization’s longtime parliamentarian.
“Just last month we asked him if he had an interest in being interim president,” said Statom. “He politely declined on that because he knew where his passion was. His passion wasn’t necessarily to be at the top of the chart for the organization. It was to help students, which is something he did by serving as the chair of the scholarship committee for us.”
Since Ward’s death, TSU, The Tennessean, the Gannett Foundation and NABJ have partnered to create a scholarship in Ward’s name that will benefit aspiring journalists. The new scholarship is the first endowed scholarship in the history of the TSU Department of Communications. Organizers have already raised more than $30,000 with the goal of raising $50,000.
“It is a great way to honor the life of someone who gave back so much to the Nashville Community,” Statom said.
Individuals who would like to give to the scholarship fund should write a check to Tennessee State University, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd., Nashville, TN, 37209-1561. Online donations can be made at bit.ly/getahnward.
Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
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.