TSU students, fellow sorority members inspired by Vice President Harris and impact on HBCUs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated chapter at Tennessee State University say they are proud to see Kamala Harris, a fellow member and HBCU grad, become vice president of the United States, but they’re even more excited about the attention she brings to historically black colleges and universities.  

TSU President Glenda Glover

Harris was sworn in at a star-studded inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday with former Vice President Joseph Biden Jr., now the 46th president of the United States. Harris is an alumna of Howard University, an HBCU.

“Senator Harris’ swearing in is a full circle moment for HBCUs and African-American Greek organizations that worked tirelessly to give the black community a voice from the turn of the century, through Jim Crow and the civil rights movement, to present day,” said AKA International President and CEO Dr. Glenda Glover, who is also president of TSU. “Vice President Harris’ ascension to a successful, dedicated public servant is a direct correlation to the philosophy HBCUs and our Black Greek organizations impress upon our students.”

Tiara Thomas

Before the inauguration, Glover announced that the service organization would declare Wednesday, January 20, 2021 as Soror Kamala D. Harris Day. 

“Like so many of you, I am simply beaming with pride as we witness the inauguration ceremony of a HBCU graduate, member of the Divine Nine, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kamala D. Harris, to the Office of Vice President of the United States,” said Glover. 

Junior Tiara Thomas, a member of TSU’s Alpha Psi Chapter of AKA and student representative on the university’s Board of Trustees, said she was “overwhelmed with emotions” when Harris was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first woman of color to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.  

Jeia Moore

“I am joyful to see a black woman elevate to such heights, especially during these racially divided times,” said Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi. “VP Harris has done for little black girls what President (Barack) Obama was able to do for little black boys. Vice President Harris has broken the concrete ceiling for girls like me aspiring to succeed in politics. I could one day be the next Kamala Harris.” 

AKA member Jeia Moore is a junior from Memphis majoring in business information systems. She said the fact that Harris graduated from an HBCU shines a spotlight on the 100-plus historically-black institutions.  

“It shows that despite their struggles, HBCUs prepare students for success,” said Moore. “As an HBCU student at TSU, I’m ready for what comes after graduation.”  

Ammria Carter

AKA member Ammria Carter agreed.  

“It speaks volumes to how prepared you can be after attending an HBCU,” said Carter, a junior political science major from Cleveland, Ohio. “Vice President Harris has inspired me to work even harder.” 


When Biden selected Harris to be his running mate, TSU Political Science Professor Brian Russell predicted Harris would cause more young people to consider attending HBCUs if she became vice president.  


“It’s going to energize a lot of younger African-American students to look in the HBCU direction,” said Russell. “That’s going to be exciting.” 

In a virtual address to TSU’s faculty and staff on Tuesday, Glover said she is among HBCU leaders who have personally met with Biden and Harris to discuss ways to help HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. Glover said the Biden-Harris administration has pledged $70 billion to the institutions, including $20 billion that will help them increase research facilities they need to compete with larger universities.  

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU President Glover lauds employees’ dedication, stresses campus safety in Spring 2021 Faculty-Staff Institute address

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover on Tuesday thanked the institution’s employees for their dedication amid the pandemic, and re-emphasized that safety is a priority for the entire campus family.

TSU President Glenda Glover

“Our number one issue right now is your safety,” said Dr. Glover in a virtual address to the Spring 2021 Faculty-Staff Institute. “We are still working our way through the most unprecedented crisis of our time. I commend you on how you have responded to this crisis. We will not hesitate to protect the safety and the health and the welfare of our students, faculty and staff.”

She said the university is sticking with a comprehensive plan that was put in place last semester and was effective. Like last year, there is a 14-day “safer in place” policy upon arrival for all students in residence halls. Online classes begin Jan. 25 for two weeks. The majority of the classes will continue online, with some in-person and hybrid instruction. Students receive a 15 percent discount for enrolling in all online classes. The semester will conclude with a commencement ceremony on May 1.

Other safety measures for the campus include wearing of face coverings and social distancing at all times; regular cleaning and sanitizing of buildings; temperature checks upon entering campus and randomly throughout campus; and use of shields throughout the campus. There’s also a non-emergency COVID-19 phone line and email for reporting concerns.

Before Glover’s address, Dr. Michael Harris, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, as well as the chairs of the Staff and Faculty Senates, also lauded employees for their commitment during these unprecedented times, and provided words of encouragement.

“This too shall pass,” said Harris. “We will get through it by working together. That is the key.”

Dr. Kimberly Triplett, the Faculty Senate chair, echoed his sentiment.

“We face many uncertainties, but I’m sure we will come together to move this university forward,” said Triplett. “We can only do this together.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, said he’s pleased with measures TSU has taken to keep the campus safe.

“The university has ensured the safety and well-being of its students and employees throughout this challenging health crisis,” said Hargrove. “It is important that we adhere to the protocols put in place, and practice a behavior that allows us to continue to instruct, learn, serve, and operate as an institution.”

Despite its challenges, Glover also noted the university’s successes, like first-year enrollment being up over 1,600 freshmen, and establishment of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Institute, a partnership with Meharry Medical College to create a pipeline for early entry into medical college.

She also pointed out that, to date, TSU has received more than $59 million in grant and research awards. TSU ranks in the top five historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in receiving research funding, and is the top HBCU in receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“They have a respect for us; how we have handled their money in the past,” said Glover.

She also noted that she is among HBCU leaders who have personally met with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, a Howard University alumna, to discuss ways to help HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. Glover said the Biden-Harris administration has pledged $70 billion to the institutions, including $20 billion that will help HBCUs and MSIs increase research facilities they need to compete with larger universities.

In her address, Glover said TSU is scheduled to receive an additional $12.5 million this semester under the HBCU provision of the CARES Act. Last year, TSU received $7.2 million in general CARES Act funding, with an additional $16.2 million under the HBCU provision.

The federal relief funding will be used primarily for scholarships and technology devices, which the university has been providing students to assist them with distance learning. 

“What TSU is doing is great,” says Alexus Dockery, a sophomore from Memphis, Tennessee, majoring in political science at TSU. “It will allow students to get the support they need, and further advance their education.”

To view TSU’s operational guidelines during COVID-19 and more, visit http://bit.ly/37DPoAY.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris expected to have generational impact, say TSU president and others

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover and other members of the TSU family say U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and what she has the potential to achieve will impact generations to come. 

TSU President Glenda Glover

The world tuned in to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to see the inauguration of Harris and Joseph Biden Jr., who became the 46th president of the United States.  

“Words cannot express how proud I was seeing Kamala Harris, an African-American woman and HBCU graduate, sworn in as vice president of the United States. This is a great day for our country, historically black colleges and universities, and for all of us!” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “African-American women have been the backbone of this country, and now an African-American woman has ascended to the second highest office in the nation; with the opportunity to create policies that will impact us for generations to come. I particularly look forward to legislation that will enhance TSU as a premiere institution and our entire HBCU family.”  

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis

Harris is now the nation’s first female vice president, first black vice president and first black female vice president.  

“From this day forward, it will be normal for a woman to be the vice president of the United States, for a black person to be vice president of the United States, and for a citizen of Asian descent to be vice president of the United States,” said Samantha Morgan-Curtis, a Women’s Studies faculty member and dean of the College of Liberal Arts at TSU.  

“When we watched Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first woman of color to sit on the Supreme Court, swear in Kamala Harris as the vice president of the United States, we recognized that representation matters and works. This lesson is as important for young men, as it is for the young women.” 

Senior Dominique Davis

Dominique Davis, the president of TSU’s Student Government Association, agreed.  

“Vice President Harris’ victory is exactly what the world needed to see transpire, especially African-American women,” said the senior business administration major from Danville, Illinois. “For far too long, African-American women have been underrepresented. However, Vice President Harris, along with many other power houses, have certainly began to shift that reality. I have faith that Vice President Harris will guide and elevate America as we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times.” 

Dr. Learotha Williams, a history professor at TSU, said some now ask the question: Is Vice President Kamala Harris the most powerful woman in world history?  

Dr. Learotha Williams

“If one can make the argument that the United States—for reasons good and bad—is the most powerful nation in human history, then her place as vice president, as the last voice in the room before the president makes an important decision, and her position, which is but a metaphorical and physical heartbeat from the presidency, then the answer is yes,” said Williams. “Her position and the power associated with it are not titular or ceremonial, they are real.”  

Dr. Robert Elliott, head of TSU’s Department of Music, said he realized Harris’ impact on future generations while talking to his granddaughters – 9 and 10 – at breakfast before the inauguration was televised.  

“One told me, ‘This is like the first time in the history of the world that we will have a woman vice president,’” recalled Elliott. “The other said, ‘Yeah, and in four or eight years, maybe we will have the first woman president because all of the ones before were men.’ It is great to see these young girls feeling empowered and believing that there are no limits to what women can do or be.” 

Dr. Robert Eilliott and his granddaughters, Chloe (l), Leah (r).

Other women before Harris to seek the position of president or vice president include Shirley Chisholm, who in 1972 became the first Black American and the first woman to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. Geraldine Ferraro was the first female vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, in 1984. In 2008, Alaska’s then-governor Sarah Palin was Republican John McCain’s running mate. 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s famed Aristocrat of Bands to be part of Biden, Harris inauguration celebration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands will be part of the “We Are One” virtual celebration for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 19, is an evening hosted by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which will celebrate and honor the Black community and African Diaspora. The event will feature performances and speeches from distinguished guests, including TSU President and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated International President and CEO, Dr. Glenda Glover.

The celebration will be live-streamed from 8:00-9:30 PM Eastern (7:00-8:30 Central) at https://bideninaugural.org/watch/. It will also be broadcast

AOB participates in Battle of the Bands. (Submitted photo)

on Urban One, Revolt TV, and the Instagram pages of HBCU Grad, NowThis News, The Source, The Shade Room, BET, TheGrio TV, Daily Kos, Watch The Yard, Blavity, and on NBC Peacock’s The Choice.

“The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands is very excited to be a part of the inauguration celebration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,” says Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands. “In the midst of a very challenging year, our band program continues to display the excellence of Tennessee State University.”

McDonald says the band submitted four videos for inauguration organizers to include in the celebration, and that footage from the videos will be used in some capacity.

Band member Tiara Thomas says the band’s inclusion says a “lot about the elite nature of the Aristocrat of Bands.”

“Although virtual, this is one of multiple appearances the AOB has made in Washington, D.C. over the years,” says Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi. “However, I feel this one is as monumental as the performance for President Obama, because we are celebrating a fellow HBCU graduate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,“ a Howard University alumna.

Former President Barack Obama greets AOB band members during their visit to the White House in 2016. (TSU Media Relations)

In 2016, during the administration of President Barack Obama, the band was invited to Washington, D.C. to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The band performed on the south lawn of the White House, the first HBCU band to perform for the Obama administration at the White House.

The AOB was the first band from a historically-black university invited to march in the inaugural parade for President John F. Kennedy. One of the students who marched in that parade was Edward L. Graves, who became director of bands from 1979 to 2014 (retired).

The AOB also returned to Washington, D.C. in 1993 and 1997 for the Inaugural Parades of President Bill Clinton.

To learn more about the AOB, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU students participate in virtual Joint Day of Service to honor legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students and their peers from other area higher education institutions did not let the pandemic stop them from honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The students participated in a virtual MLK Joint Day of Service on Jan. 18. Before the coronavirus, students would gather at one of their schools before being bused to various locations throughout Nashville to volunteer as part of the special day.

This year, once students register, they had a choice of four nonprofit organizations to virtually learn about the entities, how they are faring during the pandemic, and how to volunteer with the nonprofits. A short service activity followed with a reflection on the students’ experiences.

Besides TSU, participating schools included Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, Belmont University, Trevecca Nazarene, Lipscomb University, Vanderbilt University, and Nashville State Community College.

“All of the schools agreed that despite the pandemic, students needed the opportunity to honor the legacy of MLK in a virtual setting through service,” said Dr. Erik Schmeller, director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at TSU. “Given the racial and political upheavals of the last year and more recently, we felt the Dr. King quote, ‘Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve,’ was particularly relevant and serves as our theme this year.”

Volunteers organize classroom at Harvest Hands Community Development as part of last year’s MLK Joint Day of Service. (TSU Media Relations)

The organizations participating this year were Greater Nashville Regional Council, Turnip Green Creative Reuse, Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary, and Project Transformation.

TSU junior Brittanie Pruitt, a nursing major from Covington, Tennessee, said community service is critical, particularly amid the current pandemic.

“It’s definitely important to give back; everybody needs a helping hand,” said Pruitt. “You might need help one day.”

On Jan. 16, TSU’s Honors College joined the Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship in a Virtual Nashville MLK Day Youth Symposium. The theme was “Moving the Movement: Honoring Our Past, Present and Future.

For more information about TSU’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/servicelearning/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU enhances student preparation for careers in technology in partnership with Propel Center, a New Global HBCU Headquarters for Innovation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is partnering with Propel Center, a new global campus headquartered in Atlanta that will support innovative learning and development for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide. TSU will collaborate with Propel Center and the entire HBCU community to bring leadership and career development programming to its students.

TSU President Glenda Glover

For the past two years, TSU has been working with Apple to launch and expand the school’s HBCU C2 initiative through the TSU Global SMART Technology Innovation Center. The initiative brings coding and creativity experiences to all 100-plus HBCUs and their communities.

In the new partnership, TSU officials say Propel Center will focus more on helping students, where the TSU Center will concentrate on faculty at HBCUs and their communities.

“Tennessee State University is excited to be partnering with Propel Center,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “The TSU Global SMART Technology Innovation Center has been working with HBCU faculty leaders to help them learn about coding and app design and development, as well as bring coding and creativity experiences to their communities. This new partnership will strengthen that effort.”

Dr. Robbie Melton, Associate Vice President of the Global SMART Technology Innovation Center, agrees.

Dr. Robbie Melton

“The Propel Center expands the TSU Apple HBCU C2 National Hub “Everyone Can Code and Create” by creating a state-of-the-art technology innovation physical site for all HBCU students to now have full access to the latest 21st century technology tools, engineers, computer scientists, and resources to prepare them for the digital workforce,” says Melton. “Our students will now have a place to take them to the next level of innovation and entrepreneurship for the new digital careers of the future.”

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, says the tech giant is pleased to be part of the initiative.

Lisa Jackson, Apple

“We are thrilled to join with partners and community stakeholders to support the Propel Center and be part of this groundbreaking new global hub for HBCU innovation and learning, devoted to helping faculty create best-in-class curriculum and ensuring students have access to cutting-edge skills,” says Jackson.

Propel Center was imagined and designed by Ed Farm, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing education through technology — with Apple and Southern Company supporting the project as founding partners. The Propel Center is designed to connect HBCU students to technology curriculum, cultural thought leaders, entrepreneurship skills development, and accelerator programs, with a focus on social justice and equity. 

Curriculum options will include AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creativity, career preparation, and entrepreneurship tracks. 

TSU freshman Elise Russ

Students from participating schools will access Propel Center’s online digital learning platform from anywhere, and will also have access to the 50,000 square-foot Propel Center headquarters in Atlanta, equipped with state-of-the-art lecture halls, learning labs, and on-site living for a scholars-in-residence program.

TSU freshman Elise Russ says she is looking forward to the benefits of the new partnership.

”I believe the Propel Center partnership will significantly enhance the greatness that is within not only TSU students, but all HBCU pupils,” says Russ, a civil engineering major from Nashville. “The digital platform that will be accessible to us will also readily display our research, enhance talents, and create a network among students that will ignite knowledge and mastery in various fields.”

Treveon Hayes, a TSU sophomore elementary education major from Memphis, Tennessee, says the partnership is an “amazing opportunity.”

TSU sophomore Treveon Hayes

“It’s another example of HBCUs preparing students for life after graduation,” says Hayes.

Last month, TSU’s national coding hub welcomed 23 new HBCUs to be community coding centers, which means almost three dozen schools are now part of the initiative.

To learn more about TSU’s HBCU Cinitiative, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/hbcuc2/.

For more information about Propel Center, visit PropelCenter.org.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU continuing to prioritize safety of students, employees with COVID-19 plan for spring return

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University officials are continuing to take steps amid the pandemic to ensure students and employees are safe when classes resume next week. A comprehensive plan that was put in place last semester was effective, officials say, and they plan to utilize it once again and enhance it where necessary.

Currently, the plan is to open residence halls on Jan. 21 and begin online classes Jan. 25 for two weeks. In-person classes will resume Feb. 8. The semester will conclude with a graduate commencement ceremony on April 30, and undergraduate ceremony on May 1.

“The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff are a top priority,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “While there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, it is important that we remain COVID-19 vigilant, which is why we continue to consult with TSU stakeholders and public health officials to ensure the well-being of everyone on campus.”

Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and head of the TSU Coronavirus Pandemic task force, says the university will “repeat the process used in fall 2020 for students returning to the university for spring 2021.”  

“The university experienced success in the process and will review the after-action comments and data yields,” says Johnson. “Meetings are presently occurring to ensure changes to improve services for students and employees are considered and instituted when and where possible. The university is conducting numerous cleaning and sanitizing processes to prepare facilities for the spring opening.” 

Like last semester, the university is implementing a 14-day “safer in place” policy upon arrival for all students in residence halls. The policy requires students to stay in their places of residence unless they need to perform essential activities, such as getting food, or going to medical appointments.

Classrooms will continue to be assessed to determine the number of students that can occupy the rooms, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Computer labs are also being marked to determine the number of persons allowed to use them at the same time. Desks and high-touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day for classes, labs, and public areas between usage.

Other safety measures for the campus include wearing of face coverings and social distancing at all times; regular cleaning and sanitizing of buildings; temperature checks upon entering campus and randomly throughout campus; and use of shields throughout the campus. There’s also a non-emergency COVID-19 phone line and email for reporting concerns.

The University will also work closely with the Tennessee Department of Health for contact tracing. For any positive diagnostic test results, TSU will operationalize the protocols in place, and will follow the state reporting guidelines.  A contact tracing team will be in place to identify potential secondary cases to limit the spread of infection. TSU has also established its own early contact tracing.

Frank Stevenson, TSU’s associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, says about 2,200 students will be living on campus in the spring, and that the university is doing everything it can to create a safe and comfortable learning environment for them.

“We will continue to provide (COVID-19) testing for our students on campus through our Health Center,” says Stevenson. “Students can schedule a time to be tested with our health professionals five days a week. We will also continue our telehealth services. This was a new initiative to provide services to students 24 hours a day, including mental health services.”

Since students began distance learning in March 2020, TSU has also worked diligently to make sure they have the electronic devices needed to complete their coursework, like laptops. Students say they appreciate the university’s effort in this regard, as well as what it’s doing to keep the campus safe during the pandemic.

“I feel very safe returning in the spring,” says Treveon Hayes, a sophomore elementary education major from Memphis, Tennessee. “At the beginning of last semester, I was uncertain. But with the requirements and guidelines TSU has put in place, I feel safer than ever. TSU has my trust.”

As for distance learning, the university has received thousands of dollars to assist with technology needs, including support for course redesign software and staff to aid in remote teaching and learning.

“What TSU is doing is great,” says Alexus Dockery, a sophomore from Memphis majoring in political science at TSU. “It will allow students to get the support they need, and further advance their education.”

TSU is scheduled to have a virtual Spring 2021 Faculty-Staff Institute on Jan. 19. To see a calendar of other spring events, visit https://bit.ly/3awJqUl.

To view TSU’s operational guidelines during COVID-19 and more, visit http://bit.ly/37DPoAY.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU President Glenda Glover named one of ‘Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University begins the new academic year with a major accolade for the University’s president.

Dr. Glenda Glover has been named one of the “Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021,” by HBCU Campaign Fund, a national non-profit organization that advocates for student and higher education.

“I am honored to be included with this distinguished group of university presidents selected by HBCU Campaign Fund, a well-respected organization that advocates for our students and institutions,” President Glover said.

“It is particularly gratifying because of the common mission we share of ensuring the highest academic achievement of our students.”

According to HBCU Campaign Fund, presidents and chancellors selected for the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders award have “proven their responsibilities for shaping policies, changing perspectives, and making decisions that affect millions of individuals in the higher education space, and the daily needs of what an HBCU or Minority-Serving Institutions contributes.”

“These individuals play a prominent and influential role in leadership and display the characteristics of the following responsibilities in the progression of effectively moving an institution forward,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., president, CEO and founder of HCF.

See the complete listing of award recipients and fourth-class inductees via https://hbcucampaignfund.org/the-ten-most-dominant-hbcu-leaders-of-2021/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU researchers named among ‘1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two Tennessee State University researchers have been named among the “1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America” by Cell Mentor.

Dr. Frances Williams

Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president of Research and Sponsored Programs and professor of electrical engineering; and Dr. Quincy Quick, associate professor of biology, were cited by Community of Scholars in its latest posting in Cell Mentors, a web resource that provides support and resources for emerging scientists.

Williams and Quick, acknowledged as top scientists in the nation, have extensive research, teaching and scientific backgrounds.

“It is an honor to be recognized as one of the ‘1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America’ on Cell Mentor,” Williams said upon receiving news of her selection. 

“I am humbled to be included with some of my STEM heroes and sheroes.  I hope that students see the list and are able to envision themselves as the next generation of scientists and innovators that make a positive impact on our world.”

Williams is widely published, and holds a patent in the areas of advanced materials and devices, biosensors, and nano- and micro-electromechanical systems processing and devices. She has received grants totaling over $15 million as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator.

Dr. Quincy Quick

Quick, who investigates brain tumors and serves as scientific grant reviewer for several cancer journals in the nation, said it is a “humbling and grateful experience to be acknowledged for your work, along with your peers like Dr. Williams, as well as the other African American scientists” around the United States.

“The visibility from a minority standpoint is critical,” Quick said. “Often times our work at HBCUs is overlooked in comparison to other majority institutions. Acknowledging the breadth of all of the African Americans across all types of institutions is a critical exposure for everybody.”

In addition to research projects supported by federal state funding, Quick has mentored more than 80 students at the Ph.D., master’s and undergraduate levels, as well as a research mentor for several NSF and NIH training and developmental programs.

At TSU, students are also celebrating the selection of Williams and Quick as inspiring black scientists by Cell Mentor.

“It is no surprise that Dr. (Quincy) Quick would be recognized for an accomplishment such as this,” Mariel Liggin, a senior biology major from Louisville, Kentucky, said about her professor. “His dedication to science can be been in the classroom as well as in the lab. He is one of the reasons why I continue to pursue my major in biology.”

Of Dr. Williams, civil engineering graduate student Morgan Chatmon, congratulated her professor for the recognition.

“Dr.  Williams is a dynamic leader, powerful motivator, and beneficial contributor to the STEM staff and student at TSU,” said Chatmon, of Omaha, Nebraska.

According to the Cell mentor, The Community of Scholars is “a group of Persons Excluded because of their Ethnicity or Race (PEER) composed of postdoctoral fellows, early-stage investigators, instructors, and consultants with a common passion to advance scientific discovery while innovating diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.”

To see the complete list, visit: https://crosstalk.cell.com/blog/1000-inspiring-black-scientists-in-america(link is external).

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About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU employee’s community outreach helping families cope during pandemic, holidays

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As thousands of families struggle to put food on the table during the holidays amid the pandemic, a Tennessee State University employee and her private ministry are helping to make sure no one in the community goes hungry.

Antoinette Hargrove Duke is founder of “But God Nette Working For You,” a ministry of volunteers and community partners started in 2014 to provide food for those in need across Davidson and Rutherford counties in Tennessee. So far this year, the ministry has distributed more than 140,000 pounds of food, or about 55,000 meals to needy families.

Antoinette Hargrove Duke and her “But God” ministry volunteers and partners distribute food the fourth Friday of every month at locations across Davidson and Rutherford counties. (Photo by TSU Media relations)

“We are able to serve so many families by networking with other agencies,” says Duke, who is interim director of TSU’s Career Development Center.  “We partner with organizations within our community to serve families in need of food, clothing and other resources.” 

Duke and But God – for short – volunteers do not get paid for their work. They get support from local churches and individuals who donate equipment and make financial contributions to the organization. Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is the group’s biggest partner and provider. Along with Second Harvest, the group distributes food the fourth Friday of every month at locations across Davidson and Rutherford counties.

Volunteers prepare packages to give out at the drive-thru, contact-free food distribution at Meharry Boulevard Church of God. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

A recent report in The Washington Post shows that more Americans are going hungry now than at any point during the deadly coronavirus pandemic — a problem created by an economic downturn that has tightened its grip on millions of Americans. In Middle Tennessee, the problem is even steeper, especially among children. Reports show that the number of children at risk of hunger has jumped from one in seven to more than one in five as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Second Harvest. 

“And this is why we keep doing what we are doing, to give people hope,” says Duke.  

On Friday, with food delivered by Second Harvest, Duke and her group, including nearly 100 volunteers from local organizations, served more than 300 families in a drive-thru, contact-free food distribution at Meharry Boulevard Church of God. According to Duke, the church and its pastor, the Rev. Vernon Ray McGuire, Jr., have adopted But God as a community partner that provides volunteers and financial donation to the group. 

Pastor Vernon Ray McGuire, Jr., of Meharry Boulevard Church of God; and Antoinette Duke welcome volunteers at the Dec. 18 food distribution. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Donna Hobbs, of Nashville, was one of those in line Friday to receive help at the food distribution. After working in the hospitality industry for many years, Hobbs was furloughed from her job in March. Although she landed a new job recently, Hobbs says she is glad she heard about Duke and But God ministry and their food distribution, “because it is still difficult to make ends meet.” 

“I have never done anything like this before. I have never had to reach out,” says Hobbs. “I am the one that’s always volunteering and giving. I am really humbled to be able to see this going on and to be able to get help.” 

Pastor McGuire, who was formerly part of a food giveaway program in Franklin, Tennessee, where he pastored another church before relocating to Meharry Boulevard Church of God, says he was drawn to Duke and But God ministry because of the group’s mission to meet the needs of others. 

“Sister Antoinette (Duke) has been a blessing to the community,” says McGuire. “There is a lot of people in need during this pandemic. We became a partner because we love and agree with what they do and their concern for others.” 

 Duke says she’s thankful to the many “wonderful” people and organizations that are willing to work day or night to help “touch the many lives we try to reach.” 

For more information about But God ministry, visit http://www.findglocal.com/US/Nashville/428539363922684/But-God-Ministry-Nette-Working-For-You