More Than 200 Top High School Seniors, Parents Attend TSU Memphis Recruitment Reception

By Emmanuel Freeman

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Kaitlin Mottley is a high achieving high school senior pondering what college or university to attend. She recently attended a program that has her considering becoming a Big Blue Tiger.

Jovon Jones, associate director of recruitment at TSU, talks to students and parents about scholarship requirements and deadlines. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“They said the main things I wanted to hear, like chance for a full ride scholarship, strong academic programs, and their reputation for a great family atmosphere,” said Mottley, a senior at White Station High School, where she maintains a 4.467 grade point average. She also has a score of 29 on the ACT.

The program on Sept. 5 was the Annual TSU Memphis Recruitment Reception at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown for graduating high school seniors and their parents and family members.

TSU’s Office of Admissions holds the reception each year as part of activities leading up to the Southern Heritage Classic between TSU and Jackson State University in the Liberty Bowl.

Kaitlin and her mother, Megan Mottley, were among more than 200 high school seniors from the West Tennessee area and their parents who attended the standing-room-only program in one of the hotel’s reception rooms.

Admissions officials say the goal of the reception is to seek out the best students, nurture them, and graduate them prepared for the global market. It also comes on the heels of sweeping changes TSU President Glover announced in 2016 that raised admission standards to attract the best and brightest student.

“We are going after outstanding students and this reception is usually a major draw for parents and their children, as you can see from this packed room tonight,” said Dr. Gregory Clark, TSU’s director of high school relations and NCAA certification.

He said nearly 80 percent of the students who attended have already met “scholarship requirements.”

“We have already received their scholarship applications, transcripts and ACT scores,” Clark said. To be considered for a scholarship, a candidate must have at least a 3.0 GPA and 21 or higher on the ACT. The deadline to apply is Nov. 1.

Joshua Cannon, who is still considering a major either in electrical engineering or accounting, has met all the requirements and is waiting to get an offer. The Middle College High School senior has a 3.8 GPA and 23 ACT. He was at the reception with his parents.

Like Mottley, Cannon is also encouraged by TSU’s strong family tradition and academic offerings.

“I know going to TSU will be a fun experience and strong preparation for my future,” said Cannon, who has several relatives who attended TSU. “I have already met the criteria and getting a full scholarship will be a big help for me and my family.”

For more information on TSU’s admission requirement, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/

 

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, 24 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 High Achieving Freshman Sets Sight on National Exposure, Engineering Entrepreneurship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Kennedy Marie McCurry is aiming high. The incoming freshman wants to be known as one of the best softball players of all time, and to own an architectural engineering firm. She believes TSU is the best place to prepare her for success.

“My goal in life is to eventually play in the National Pro Fastpitch League for a couple years and then move on to owning my own architectural firm,” says McCurry, an architectural engineering major, who will play softball for TSU.

Kennedy Marie McCurry

A Gallatin, Tennessee, native, McCurry says she is no stranger to TSU. Her father, Dr. Charles McCurry, is a longtime professor of electrical engineering at the university.

“I have been around TSU almost all my life,” says the 18-year-old. “My dad was a really strong influence on me. He really pushed me toward TSU. Also, I really like the softball team, and I always knew I wanted to do something in architectural engineering. And I know that TSU has a very strong engineering program. So all signs pointed toward TSU.”

Kennedy comes to TSU with outstanding academic and athletic credentials. She enters the university with a near 3.7 grade point average, and 28 on the ACT.  At Beech High School, where she graduated last May, she was a star player on the softball team. She was twice named to the All-District Team, she made the district tournament team and earned MVP. She played on the Middle Tennessee All-State Team her sophomore year, and was named to the MaxPreps All-American Second Team her senior year.

“I have always wanted to play D-I softball. I am proud to bring my educational and athletic skills to TSU,” she says. “I chose to attend Tennessee State University because of its rich heritage, sports legacy and nationally ranked College of Engineering.”

Kennedy could not have chosen TSU at a better time. She is among a new recruit of high achievers the university targets to attract the best and brightest students, since TSU raised its admission standards about two years ago.

Saying, “TSU is no longer a school of last resort,” President Glenda Glover in 2016 announced sweeping changes that raised admission standards to attract better students. Minimum requirements for incoming freshmen went up from a 2.25 GPA to 2.5, while the ACT score remained at 19.

““Excellence remains our top priority, but we can’t be the school of last resort,” Glover said.

For Kennedy, she says TSU’s emphasis on producing well-rounded students was another attraction.

“TSU had already laid the foundation to help me get a quality education by engaging me in activities to prepare me for my college work even before classes started,” she says.

Last summer, Kennedy was among 11 high school graduating seniors who participated in the Engineering Concepts Institute in the College of Engineering at TSU. ECI is a four-week pre-college, residential program intended to prepare participants for academic success in the mathematical sciences or engineering disciplines.

“ECI also helped me to make new friends. I am excited and looking forward to the many more accomplishments I plan to have at TSU,” says Kennedy.

For more information on the engineering program at TSU, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/

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, 24 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 Welcomes Class of 2022 at Freshman Convocation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Friday welcomed first-year students during the 2018 freshman convocation.

More than 1,300 incoming freshman students were inducted during the ceremony in Kean Hall.

Incoming female freshmen were dressed in white for their induction. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I am extremely proud to welcome you to Tennessee State University,” said President Glenda Glover. “It is my honor to stand before the Class of 2022 today, not only as your president, but as a fellow TSU Tiger. You have embarked on an incredible journey. I encourage you to do your best. Do not just strive to make an A, but strive to be an A.”

Porsha Hernandez, an economics and finance major from Nashville, said the induction ceremony made her feel at home.

“I have always been a very serious student and I plan to continue that here,” she said.

More than 1,300 first-year students were inducted during the 2018 Freshman Convocation. Male students wore white shirts and blue pants, sporting TSU-supplied blue ties. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. John Cade, vice president for Enrollment and Student Success, presented the students for the induction.

“Madam President, it is my pleasure to present these young people who have satisfied all the requirements for admission to Tennessee State University as freshmen and students with advance standing,” Cade said.

With each student holding a lighted candle symbolizing “knowledge and truth,” they took the TSU Freshman Pledge, administered by the interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Alisa Mosley.

Females were dressed in white and males in white shirts and blue pants, sporting TSU-supplied blue ties. They pledged to commit themselves “to serious intellectual and cultural efforts” and to deport themselves “with honor and dignity to become better prepared to live a full and useful life in society.”

Trinity Young, a math major from Indianapolis, said he took the pledge very seriously.

“I am committed to being a very good student in all areas for as long as I am here,” Young said.

In addition to student representatives, speakers at the convocation included Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association.

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, 24 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.

Johnson Sworn In As Public Defender, Becomes Sixth TSU Alum To Currently Serve as First African American In Position In Metro Nashville Government

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University alum Martesha L. Johnson has reason to celebrate. She is the first African-American Metropolitan Public Defender for Nashville-Davidson County.

Her swearing-in ceremony, which was held Aug. 28 in Poag Auditorium in the Walter S. Davis Humanities Building, represents the crowning achievement of years of service Johnson has provided since she set her sites on being a public defender when she served as an intern with the Nashville Public Defenders Office in 2007.

“It was during that summer internship that I sort of decided, that’s exactly what I want to do! I knew that I had an interest in criminal law. I knew that I had an interest in being a trial lawyer. I learned that I was passionate about those things while I was at Tennessee State,” she said. “So when I had the internship in 2007, it sort of changed the course of what I wanted to do as a lawyer, and I immediately knew then I wanted to be a public defender.”

Johnson with TSU President Glenda Glover.

After graduating Summa Cum Laude from TSU in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in English, Johnson immediately transitioned to law school at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where she graduated in August 2008.

Johnson began volunteering as a licensed attorney at the Nashville office in August 2008 and worked nights at Macy’s to support her career. Her determination paid off when her predecessor, Dawn Deaner, offered her a position in January 2009, and she hasn’t looked back.

Johnson receiving special gift from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at Swearing-In Ceremony.

After the ceremony, Johnson became one of six TSU alums who currently serve as the first African Americans to hold their positions in Metro Nashville Government. The other five alums include: Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry, County Clerk Brenda Wynn, Property Assessor Vivian Wilhoite, Register of Deeds Karen Y. Johnson and Juvenile Court Clerk Lonell Matthews.

State Rep. Harold Moses Love Jr. (58th District-D), who is a TSU alum and also pastor of St. Paul’s AME Church, said TSU has a legacy of producing public servants.

The Temple Baptist Church Praise Choir perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

“Tennessee State University has always produced leaders that have blazed trails for others to follow. The significance of these six alums serving in Metro Nashville Government at this time points to the preparation that TSU provided for them, the confidence that they each had to seek election and the trust that the voters placed in them,” he said. “They embody our Univeristy Charge of ‘Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve.’”

Erica Gilmore, assistant dean of Student Contacts and Council Member at Large for the City of Nashville, shared similar sentiments.

TSU Aristocrat of Bands

“It’s truly unbelievable to have so many firsts to represent a consolidated government in so many different areas,” she said. “It’s significant because African-Americans make up 28 percent of Nashville. That means that these persons who have won have a very broad appeal, which is very important in the political arena. It means that TSU has a strong commitment to the community. When we say ‘Think. Work. Serve.’, I think the graduates are really doing that.”

Public officials from throughout Middle Tennessee attended the ceremony, including Nashville Mayor David Briley, Davidson County Property Assessor Vivian Wilhoite, who served as the mistress of ceremony. Musical selections were provided by the Aristocrat of Bands and the Temple Baptist Church Praise Choir, which shared a rousing rendition of James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

 

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, 24 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.

Acclaimed Author and Motivational Speaker Eric Thomas Lectures TSU Students About Leadership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nationally recognized motivational speaker, Dr. Eric Thomas, returned to Tennessee State University August 31 with a message to the student body on  leadership.

“You can’t truly be a leader until you can lead yourself,” Thomas said.  “A lot of people want to be a leader meaning that you want a leadership position.  That doesn’t make you a leader.  A title doesn’t make you a leader.”

Thomas, who was the speaker at the TSU undergraduate commencement in May, returned to the university by “popular student demand,” according to student affairs officials.

TSU President Glenda Glover presents Dr. Eric Thomas with a TSU Tiger basketball jersey. (Photo by Torian Priestly, TSU Media Relations)

“We are really excited for his visit here,” TSU Dean of Students Frank Stevenson said. “By popular demand, the students responded to bring this distinguished lecturer and motivational speaker to the campus. He has a very unique story about persistence and the importance of getting a degree.”

Thomas spoke to the students during a lecture in Poag Auditorium on the main campus.

Called the “Hip Hop Preacher” for his creative style and high-energy messages, Thomas said getting a degree is not about impressing people.

“It’s about having ownership of yourself.  So each degree, each video, each thing that I do is about having more ownership of Eric Thomas,” the author said.

Dr. Eric Thomas, right, walks across campus minutes before his lecture in Poag Auditorium. Accompanying Thomas is the TSU Dean of Students Frank Stevenson. (Photo by Torian Priestly, TSU Media Relations)

Kennedy McCurry, a freshman architectural engineering major from Gallatin, Tennessee, was in the audience when Thomas spoke. She said the speaker’s emphasis on being able to lead oneself before trying to lead others stood out for her.

“I was really inspired,” McCurry said. “He helped me to realize that I need to start being more of myself and stop trying to fit in.”

Donovan Stewart, a sophomore nursing major from Birmingham, Alabama, has followed Thomas’ teaching and is inspired by the author’s message on perseverance. He likens life to a balloon, looking at Thomas’ example.

“When a balloon has no oxygen it deflates,” says Stewart. “I use that as my personal motivation in life because when you have things to get done and you don’t get them done, you don’t meet your goals. Dr. Thomas makes you get up and move; that’s what I like about him. I couldn’t wait to see him.”

In May, Thomas reminded TSU graduates that each of them is born with greatness, but to achieve it requires work.

For more information on future guest lectures, see http://www.tnstate.edu/campus_life/contact.aspx

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, 24 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.

The best in HBCU Bands meets the Best in Country Music, Keith Urban and TSU

By Kelli Sharpe

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands and country music megastar Keith Urban came together during the singer’s recent tour stop in Nashville and the show stopping performance has taken the world by storm.

Keith Urban and head drum major Hassan Moody take flight before landing in splits on stage. (Submitted photo)

The TSU world renowned band, fondly called AOB, was featured as a part of Urban’s closing song, and number one hit “Wasted Time.”  The singer introduced the band to a sold-out Bridgestone Arena.

The crowd roared with each marching step of head drum major Hassan Moody and the 40- member band ensemble. That was nothing compared to the dramatic closing that culminated when both Urban and Moody took flight and landed in splits on stage. The photo and video have gone viral on social media.

Hassan, an Atlanta, Georgia native, said it was a once in a lifetime moment and it couldn’t have happened at any other place than at TSU. After having a day to reflect, the business administration major said it’s something he will always cherish.

“You can’t explain that type of experience; the energy was absolutely unbelievable!” said Moody. “Only at TSU. My band members and I are thankful to TSU and Mr. Urban for the opportunity.”

Submitted photo.

Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of bands, said the request came from Urban unexpectedly, a day before his Nashville appearance.

“The band’s performance was amazing, and the element of surprise for the audience made our appearance even more electric,” said McDonald.

“We truly appreciate Mr. Keith Urban for giving our students and university this type of exposure on a national stage. I woke up to an email about 5:30 Thursday morning from Urban’s associate manager basically saying that he wanted the band to perform with him to his tune “Wasted Time” at his concert Friday night.”

McDonald added he informed band staff about the request and gave specific instructions for them to work out the logistics. He said the students learned a valuable life lesson as musicians.

Keith Urban, TSU Director of Bands Dr. Reginald McDonald, and band staff. (Submitted photo)

“Our students also had an opportunity to see the importance of being ready at a moment’s notice and staying ready for when the call is made. That’s how you shine. Our practice with Keith Urban was less than an hour before performing with him.”

This isn’t the first time TSU’s band has made national headlines or been in the spotlight. The AOB played on the lawn of the White House for President Barack Obama and guests in 2016 and performed at halftime of the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. Both venues were the first for any college band.

“The university is extremely proud of our students for their spectacular performance with country music star Mr. Keith Urban,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The Aristocrat of Bands serves as one of the institution’s greatest ambassadors as they travel around the nation, and even here at home, showcasing the best and brightest student musicians. We are a comprehensive university offering top academic programs and extracurricular activities. This iconic moment where HBCU meets country music could only happen at TSU, Nashville’s only public and most affordable university.”

Please visit the TSU homepage at www.tnstate.edu and social media to view video and photos of the performance.

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, 24 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 and Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr. launches new charity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU alum and Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr. launched his new charity during an anti-violence rally at Tennessee State University on Sunday.

Kids enjoying activities at “Come Together Day” rally at Hale Stadium. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Called “Come Together Day,” the event kicked off at Hale Stadium with vendors and activities for kids before moving into Kean Hall where there was a celebrity basketball game that included TSU alum and Philadelphia 76ers star Robert Covington.

“We’re so proud of James Shaw Jr. for stepping up to the forefront to launch this effort to bring people together,” said TSU President Glenda Glover, who has set up a scholarship at the university in Shaw’s name. “This is very important to this community, and TSU is an integral part of this community. We’re pleased that we can serve in this role.”

TSU alum and Philadelphia 76ers star Robert Covington talks to referees during break in game Sunday. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Nashville Mayor David Briley attended the rally and also lauded Shaw’s efforts.

“James has really shown how strong a man he is, and I look forward to working with him as he moves forward in his life and lifts up this community,” Briley said.

Shaw said the mission of The James Shaw Jr. Foundation is to work with other like-minded organizations and community advocates to eradicate violence and address mental health issues, as well as provide support, tools and resources for individuals and families who have experienced severe violence and trauma.

James Shaw Jr. shows off basketball skills. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“It’s about accountability and caring for one another,” Shaw said Sunday.

Chelsey Dyer of Nashville said she attended the rally with her 5-year-old son, Jeremiah, because she wanted to support Shaw’s effort to make the community safer.

“I think it’s awesome,” Dyer said. “We need to come together and make Nashville the best that it can be. We need more James’.”

Four people were killed and several others wounded on April 22 when a gunman opened fire in a Waffle House in the Nashville suburb of Antioch.

Family members of Waffle House shooting victims receive check from James Shaw Jr. during ceremony at TSU in May. (photo courtesy of TSU Media Relations)

Authorities have said there would have probably been more casualties had it not been for Shaw’s actions. He wrestled a rifle away from the gunman and tossed it over the counter before shoving the shooter out the door.

In May, family members of the shooting victims attended a ceremony at TSU to honor those killed and wounded in the shooting. Shaw presented the victims with a check for more than $240,000. Immediately after the shooting, Shaw set up a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $15,000. He raised much, much more.

Donations to the James Shaw Jr. Scholarship Fund can be paid through the link below or by mail. Please send to: The James Shaw, Jr. Scholarship Fund at Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University Foundation, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd. Box 9542, Nashville, TN   37209. Donors can also call, 615-963-5481.

https://epay.tnstate.edu/C20204_ustores/web/classic/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=415&SINGLESTORE=true

Note: Feature photo of TSU President Glenda Glover and James Shaw Jr. by Jon Strayhorn-Media Arts Collective.

 

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, 24 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 Welcomes New Male Freshmen with Third Annual ‘Tied to Success’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University first-time male freshmen packed Poag Auditorium on the main campus on Thursday evening for the third annual “Tied to Success,” a rite of passage for all incoming male students.

Dwight Beard, President of the Nashville Chapter of the TSUNAA, left, along with Mr. TSU Darian McGhee, greets students and participants at the 2018 “Tied to Success” ceremony in Poag Auditorium. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

As a welcome into the “Big Blue Brotherhood,” the young men were given TSU blue ties with the name of the university. For those individuals who needed help tying just the right knot, university officials and community leaders were on hand to provide assistance.

Dwight Beard, president of the Nashville Chapter of the TSU National Alumni Association, was among those demonstrating the art of tying the perfect knot. He applauded the program for helping the new students assimilate into the collegiate culture.

First-time male freshmen learn the art of tying the perfect knot at the ‘Tied to Success” ceremony. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“It’s important for them to understand that wearing of the tie is essential because they will need one for job interviews,” Beard said. “They may end up with a job in the corporate world, like I did, where how you look matters.”

Before the tie tying and male bonding, TSU officials talked to the freshmen about how they should behave on campus, and in general.

“As these students embark on their college careers and prepare for the professional world, we want to help them develop good character and avoid anything that could hinder their future success,” said Frank Stevenson, TSU’s dean of students. “’Tied to Success’ is a step in that direction; we’re preparing them now.”

As Dean of Students Frank Stevenson makes opening remarks at the “Tied to Success” ceremony in Poag Auditorium, student leaders and upper class men demonstrate the look of a man dressed for business. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Bryon Keith, a human resource management major from Louisville, Kentucky, who had never tied a tie before, said he appreciates the orientation and hopes other institutions will emulate TSU.

“’Tied to Success’ is a great representation at the university, and for us as young men,” Keith said.

For the third year, State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., a TSU alum, participated in the “Tied to Success” ceremony. Senior university male administrators, deans, faculty, staff, student government association leaders and upper class students joined him.

The Men’s Initiative Office in the Division of Student Affairs helped to coordinate “Tied to Success.” All together, there are more than 1,300 first-time freshmen enrolled at TSU this fall.

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, 24 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.

Nashville’s First African-American Public Defender To Hold Swearing-In Ceremony at TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Alum Martesha L. Johnson will be sworn in as the first African-American to serve as the Metropolitan Public Defender for Nashville-Davidson County next week.

Johnson, who was officially elected on Aug. 2 and will take office on September 1, said she decided it was time for her to seek the position when Dawn Deaner, Nashville’s current Public Defender, announced that she would not seek another term.

Martesha Johnson

The swearing-in ceremony will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 6 p.m. in the Walter S. Davis Humanities Building at TSU. It represents the crowning achievement of years of service Johnson has given since she set her sites on being a public defender when she served as an intern with the Nashville Public Defenders Office in 2007.

“It was during that summer internship that I sort of decided, that’s exactly what I want to do! I knew that I had an interest in criminal law. I knew that I had an interest in being a trial lawyer. I learned that I was passionate about those things while I was at Tennessee State,” she said. “So when I had the internship in 2007, it sort of changed the course of what I wanted to do as a lawyer, and I immediately knew then I wanted to be a public defender.”

Johnson performed as a member of the Tennessee State Aristocrat of Bands Sophisticated Ladies Dance Line during her undergraduate years at TSU.

After graduating Summa Cum Laude from TSU in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in English, Johnson immediately transitioned to law school at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where she graduated in 2008.

With her heart set on working in the Nashville Public Defenders Office, the newly licensed attorney met with the harsh reality that no new jobs were available at the office because of a hiring freeze caused by the economic recession.

“I made a decision that I was going to volunteer my services as a licensed attorney at the Nashviille office, and I did that,” said Johnson, who began volunteering in August 2008 and worked nights at Macy’s to support her career. Johnson’s determination paid off when Deaner offered her a position in January 2009, and she hasn’t looked back.

Since then Johnson has spent almost a decade serving Nashville by defending people who are accused of crimes but do not have the resources needed to hire an attorney.

“This job has been everything that I thought it would be. It is a great feeling to know that I really get to get up every single day to help people and advocate for people who need it the most,” she said. “My clients are poor. They have sometimes experienced trauma in their lives. They suffer from addictions, and a lot of things that contribute to their need to have a lawyer to represent them. I get to help them navigate through a system that is not always kind to poor people.”

Johnson with Retired TSU Assistant Professor of Pre-Law Julian W. Blackshear

Retired TSU Assistant Professor of Pre-Law Julian W. Blackshear said Johnson showed great promise during her undergraduate years at TSU.

“She stood out as being ambitious.   She really wanted to learn. She had a purpose for being in class. She soaked in everything I said, and she was hungry for legal knowledge,” said Blackshear, who founded the Pre-Law Department at TSU in 1975. “My standard quote to her all the time was ‘Succeed in spite of your obstacles, rather than fail because of them.’”

Johnson’s mother, Jacqueline Johnson, said MarTesha’s success serves as a source of inspiration for their entire family.

“This is one of the proudest moments not only for me personally but for my family as a whole. Martesha has always been very focused and very driven and has just excelled at everything she has put her hand to,” said Jaqueline, who earned her bachelor’s degree from TSU in psychology and went on to secure a master’s degree in public administration from the university in 2005, graduating the same day Martesha secured her undergraduate degree.

MarTesha Johnson with her mother, Jacqueline Johnson when the two graduated together from TSU in 2005. MarTesha earned her bachelor’s degree in Pre-Law with a minor in English, and Jacqueline earned her master’s degree in Public Administration.

“As she was growing up, I often used to tell her when I would drop her off at school, ‘Go forth and do well.’ And for me, this election as Public Defender has just been the culmination of her going forth and doing well,” said Jacqueline.

Blackshear said, with the election of Martesha, Davidson County is getting a “person of great character.”

“Martesha’s purpose embraces the notion that all people should be treated fairly, but with the end toward improving individuals to build people up rather than tearing them down. That’s the kind of person she is,” he said. “She is just one example of the many great students at Tennessee State University.”

 

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, 24 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 and Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr. to launch new charity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU alum and Waffle House hero James Shaw  Jr. will launch his new charity during an anti-violence rally at Tennessee State on Sunday, Aug. 26.

The event will begin at Hale Stadium and culminate in Kean Hall on TSU’s campus. Activities kick off at 2  p.m., and will include a celebrity basketball game.

Shaw said the mission of the James Shaw Jr. Foundation is to work with other like-minded organizations and community advocates to eradicate violence and address mental health issues, as well as provide support, tools and resources for individuals and families who have experienced severe violence and trauma.

“TSU is honored to be a part of this special event as Mr. James Shaw Jr. launches his foundation to address community issues and concerns that plague our neighborhoods. We are particularly pleased that TSU is a part of this kickoff event,” said TSU President Glenda Glover, who has set up a scholarship at the university in Shaw’s name.

“James could have easily stepped from the forefront and quietly gone on with his life. Instead, he has created a platform that allows him to be a voice for those who feel disenfranchised and have lost hope. His giving of himself speaks to his character and values.”

Four people were killed and several others wounded on April 22 when a gunman opened fire in a Waffle House in the Nashville suburb of Antioch.

Authorities have said there would have probably been more casualties had it not been for Shaw’s actions. He wrestled a rifle away from the gunman and tossed it over the counter before shoving the shooter out the door.

A few months ago, family members of the shooting victims attended a ceremony at TSU to honor those killed and wounded in the shooting. Shaw presented the victims with a check for more than $240,000. Immediately after the shooting, Shaw set up a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $15,000. However, he raised much, much more.

And he plans to continue the giving with his James Shaw Jr. Foundation.

“We can only make real progress if we work together, stand collectively and care for one another,” said Shaw. “I will never let my life, or those lives we sadly lost, be in vain.”

 

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, 24 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.