Tag Archives: TSU alum

TSU Part of History: Four Alums Who Met at Tennessee State University 30 Years Ago Attend Royal Wedding in the U.K.

Courtesy: CBS This Morning

LONDON – (TSU News Service) – Almost 3 billion people around the world were expected to tune in to watch the royal wedding on May 19. More than 100,000 people gathered in the streets around Windsor Castle, hoping to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in person.

Among those well-wishers were four women who first met at Tennessee State University more than 30 years ago. The TSU alums have traveled all over the world together since then, and this year they made the trip to London to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

See full news video at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/royal-wedding-meghan-markle-prince-harry-american-friends-glamour-diversity/

Tiffany Gray, Margarita Jackson, Debbie Howard and Melanie Smooth kicked off their big weekend of festivities with a champagne toast to the royal couple, at their hotel. Courtesy photo

Tiffany Gray, Margarita “Margo” Jackson, Debbie Howard and Melanie (Melissa) Smoot have taken an annual vacation together for 15 years, and when they heard about the royal wedding, they couldn’t pass up the chance to travel “across the pond” to see royalty up close.

Howard, of Nashville, and Smoot, of Birmingham, Alabama, were all smiles as they began their journey to London on May 16.

“They’re young, they’re hip, they’re cool, he’s marrying an American girl,” Howard told reporters after arriving in the British capital. “Go Meghan!”

The four women kicked off their big weekend of festivities with a champagne toast at their hotel; “to Meghan! to Harry!”

Fashion and fascinators were very much at the forefront of the friends’ minds – and they had no intention to hold back: “It is the royal wedding. You have to be over the top!”

Like the rest of the world, they were still wondering on Friday what Meghan would wear.

“She is not going to do traditional,” predicted Gray, also of Nashville. “She is going to do something edgy.”

Howard said she foresees a “straight line with lace,” and hopes the royal bride will don something that belonged to Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana.

Perhaps most important for the American group, is how Meghan Markle – a biracial American actress – might change the British royal family.

“I think their love signifies diversity,” said Jackson. “By him choosing his bride and she is African-American, just makes it the best.”

“Her dreams came true. She got the prince,” added Gray.

The friends each bought new outfits for Saturday’s big event – hats and fascinators included. They claimed a spot outside Windsor Castle to catch a glimpse of the royal couple on what was an historic day.

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 Amos Otis Honored with 2015 Rosa Parks Courage Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University alumnus Amos Otis (’65) has been selected as a 2015 Rosa Parks Courage Award honoree. As part of the 60th anniversary observance of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted 382 days and set off the Civil Rights Movement, the Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute (SYLDI) and Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) honored Otis and other individuals during the “Evening to Remember” awards ceremony Dec. 4 in Montgomery, Alabama.

The event saluted those who have fought for civil rights in Alabama and across the nation and have made significant contributions to civil rights helping to raise the public’s awareness in the spirit of Rosa Parks, who once said, “Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.” Parks’ refused to give up her seat on a city bus Dec. 1, 1955.

“I am immensely proud to have been one of five people to receive the Legends Award during the gala,” Otis said. “This award acknowledged my inspirations gained from my community, and especially Mrs. Rosa Parks, through her defiance of the dehumanizing Jim Crow laws. My quest has been to equal their sacrifices and teachings by becoming a successful businessman and entrepreneur, then sharing my success with the institutions of my hometown, Montgomery, Alabama.”

Otis grew up in Montgomery in the same neighborhood as Rosa Parks, who often talked with him and other young children about “the achievements of their people – Negroes,” Otis said.

Along with Otis, other recipients included Southern Poverty Law Center Founder and CEO Morris Dees; U.S. Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan); civil and human rights activist Juanita Abernathy; and the Rev. and Mrs. Samuel Rodriguez, among others.

Emcees for the evening were TSU alumni Xernona Clayton (’52) and Dr. Bobby Jones (’59). Clayton was the first black woman to have a prime time talk show with “The Xernona Clayton Show” in 1967 while Jones, a Grammy winner, has hosted the longest-running cable television program, “Bobby Jones Gospel,” on BET.

“Why do I think that we need to celebrate the Montgomery Bus Boycott, because I think we truly changed world history,” Doris Dozier Crenshaw, civil right pioneer and founder of the SYLDI told the Montgomery Advertiser. “Rosa Parks was an advocate of education and community service. We work to bring together people who are doing things special in the community.”

Otis founded SoBran, Incorporated in 1987 after a distinguished 21-year career as an Air Force Officer. He led SoBran from a lean start-up in the basement of his Fairfax County, Virginia home to a $61 million company with diverse bioscience, engineering, logistics, and risk management expertise. Under his leadership, SoBran has reached Inc. magazine’s list of America’s fastest-growing private companies and Black Enterprise magazine’s list of the top 100 industrial/service companies. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University, an MBA from The California State University System, and a Master of Military Art and Science from Air University.

“As a successful businessman and graduate of TSU, Amos epitomizes the essence of a Tennessee State University Tiger,” said Cassandra Griggs, director of the TSU Office of Alumni Relations. “For more than 20 years, he has devoted his time through participation in roundtable discussions with students, his professional expertise as a Foundation Board member and his generosity through contributions to an endowment for student scholarships. We congratulate Amos on receiving the 2015 Rosa Parks Courage Award. He is most deserving.”

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 38 undergraduate, 22 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 Alum Robert Covington Excelling in Second Season with NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers

Courtesy: Tennessee State Sports Information

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Former Tennessee State men’s basketball star Robert Covington is excelling on basketball’s biggest stage as a starter for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.

Robert Covington
Robert Covington was a decorated player for the Tigers during his four-year career at Tennessee State University. (Courtesy Photo)

After battling injury early in the season, the 6’9, 215-pound forward is averaging 14.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while leading the NBA with 3.2 steals per game. Now in his second season with the 76ers, Covington netted a career-high 28 points to go with a career-best eight steals on Nov. 28 versus the Houston Rockets.

In the 76ers final three games in November, Covington secured six-plus steals, making him the first NBA player to accomplish the feat in three-consecutive games since Alvin Robertson in 1986.

A 2013 graduate of Tennessee State University, Covington split time between the NBA’s Houston Rockets and the NBA D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers in his first season as a professional in 2013-14. The Illinois native played his way to NBA D-League Rookie of the Year accolades, earning a spot on the 76ers roster the following season.

Covington was a decorated player for the Tigers during his four-year career, securing First Team All-Ohio Valley Conference accolades in 2012 and Second Team All-OVC honors in 2011 and 2013.

Current TSU Head Coach Dana Ford coached the now-NBA player during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, when Ford served as an assistant coach. Covington scored 1,749 career points for TSU, good for the eighth most in school history.

Covington and the 76ers were back in action Tuesday with a home game versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

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 38 undergraduate, 22 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.