TSU to mark historic milestone as first HBCU to introduce collegiate ice hockey

By Nick Guerriero

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is set to make history by becoming the first historically black college or university (HBCU) to offer men’s ice hockey at the collegiate level. TSU will make this groundbreaking announcement at Bridgestone Arena prior to the 2023 NHL Draft on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. The addition of ice hockey highlights the University’s dedication to fostering diversity, inclusion, and expanding athletic opportunities for students.

“Bringing ice hockey to Tennessee State University is a part of our continued commitment to provide our students with new opportunities and to broaden new interests in areas where they have traditionally had limited or no access,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.

“We appreciate our ongoing partnership with the Nashville Predators which has played a pivotal role in our decision to pursue this historic undertaking, of starting an ice hockey program at TSU, and the first for an HBCU. TSU has a tremendous legacy in athletics. Adding ice hockey to our programs will start a new chapter and build upon that legacy.” 

TSU President Glenda Glover

TSU Hockey will commence its inaugural season in 2024, signaling a new era for the university. The team will begin as a club-level program but aspires to achieve NCAA Division I status for both men’s and women’s sides in the near future. While no specific timeline exists for achieving varsity NCAA status, TSU is committed to building a solid foundation for long-term success.

“Today is a historic day as Tennessee State University, a prestigious HBCU, collaborates with the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Nashville Predators in an unprecedented partnership,” stated Dr. Mikki Allen, TSU Director of Athletics.

“TSU had been a great partner of the Predators for some time, and we are excited to help them work toward the goal of becoming the first HBCU to field a NCAA Division I college hockey team. President Glover and Dr. Allen are visionaries in their respective positions and should be lauded for continuing to build Nashville into the ultimate hockey town.”

The club hockey program will receive comprehensive oversight under the guidance of the Department of Athletics, ensuring a well-structured and successful implementation. TSU is currently in the process of hiring a Director of Club Hockey Operations, who will be responsible for fundraising, seeking corporate partnerships, recruiting student-athletes, and managing day-to-day operations. In the interim, Assistant AD Nick Guerriero will handle all inquiries related to TSU Hockey.

Dr. Mikki Allen, TSU Director of Athletics

“I am thrilled to embark on this exciting journey with Dr. Allen to promote diversity and excellence in collegiate hockey,” said Guerriero. “We will strive to elevate the program to new heights, establishing a legacy that will inspire future generations. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the development of the program on and off the ice, and I eagerly anticipate the challenges and successes that await us.”

The foray into collegiate ice hockey represents a significant milestone for Tennessee State University and the broader HBCU community. By breaking barriers and creating fresh opportunities, TSU Hockey aims to establish a lasting legacy of inclusion, excellence, and athletic accomplishment.

“Together, we celebrate the power of collaboration as we dismantle barriers, diversify the game, and propel hockey into a new era of inclusivity,” Allen remarked. “This partnership serves as a catalyst, driving change and ensuring that the game we love embraces the beauty of diversity. With Tennessee State University, the NHL, and the Nashville Predators working hand in hand, we have the potential to reshape the future of hockey and inspire generations to come. Together, we will forge a path towards a more inclusive and united hockey community.”

To support this initiative, the NHL, NHL Players Association, Nashville Predators, and College Hockey Inc. will play integral roles in the lead-up to the announcement. College Hockey Inc. conducted a feasibility study in 2021, emphasizing the significance of introducing ice hockey at an HBCU to promote diversity and inclusion in sports.

“Introducing hockey at the collegiate level is always exciting but Club Hockey at Tennessee State University is truly special,” said Kevin Westgarth, VP Hockey Development & Strategic Collaboration. “Welcoming Club hockey at a storied HBCU is a meaningful step in the right direction for the sport and will undoubtedly contribute to the vibrant hockey community and inspire future generations of players.”

The Nashville Predators organization has maintained a strong relationship with TSU and began the partnership by joining the University in its February 2020 ‘One Million in One Month’ fundraising campaign as a major contributor. The Nashville-based NHL team has continued to donate to the TSU’s scholarship programs and provide internship and job opportunities through the TSU Career Development Center. 

Furthermore, during Black History Month in February 2022, the NHL hosted the Black Hockey History Tour at Hale Stadium, a pivotal step in bringing the sport of hockey to the TSU campus.

TSU Alumni provide Scholarships for engineering students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Former Tennessee State University graduates are paying it forward for the next generation of engineers. The TSU Engineering Alumni Association (TSUEAA) has awarded academic scholarships to 12 talented undergraduate and graduate students. The College of Engineering Alumni Scholarship Endowment (ASE) is twofold, the investment not only relieves a financial burden, but also ensures that current students achieve their overall goal of graduating.

Warona Mdlulwa, who is a junior studying engineering, said she is grateful to be an ASE recipient. “Receiving the TSU Engineering Alumni Association Scholarship has not only lightened my financial burden but has also provided me with renewed motivation and confidence to pursue my academic and career goals, ” Mdlulwa said. “This recognition serves as a testament to my hard work and dedication, and it reassures me that my efforts have not gone unnoticed.”

The TSUEAA President, Sherrill Toran, said the selected applicants were granted a range of $1,000 – $3,000.

“The scholarship is essential for our students because it helps them understand that there is a financial barrier, but there is support for them,” Toran said. “It’s important for them to continue their educational endeavors and move on to their global careers.”

Kamren James, a senior who is also a scholarship recipient, said he is honored and that this scholarship opportunity will allow him to focus on his studies even more. “This scholarship will go a long way in helping me to achieve my academic and career goals,” James said. “It will allow me to focus on my studies and reduce the financial burden.”

Toran noted that the students had to submit essays regarding their engineering aspirations and community efforts as part of the selection process.

The association is set to have a scholarship recipient reception in the fall. Toran told the university that the organization will also have a professional development seminar showcasing how to apply for scholarships, requirements with proper documentation, and expectations. The TSUEAA is continuously raising additional funds for the next cycle of academic scholarships. The new applications portal for Fall 2023 opens on July 1 to align with getting funds in accounts prior to the academic semester beginning.

“People come here to get an education,” Toran said. “And we want to continue to invest in our students.”

If you are interested in the academic scholarship, email Toran at [email protected]. If you’d like to donate to the ASE campaign, click here. For more information about the College of engineering visit www.tnstate.edu/engineering/

The College of Engineering Alumni Scholarship Endowment recipients: 

Christopher Buford II, first year graduate student; Jose Portillo, First year graduate student; Kayla Wallace, Graduating senior – Dec. 2023; Anthony Wheeler, Graduating senior – Dec. 2023; Michael Stevens, Graduating senior – Dec. 2023; Zackee Dosky, Senior; Kamren James, Senior; Lakeesa Gilyard, Senior; Kasi Cost Junior; Warona Mdlulwa, Junior; Tamuari Murray, Junior; Marvellous Eromosele, Sophomore.

TSU awarded record-setting $95 million plus in research funding on road to R1 designation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has reached a new milestone in research awards with over $95 million from various funding agencies and sponsors, for the 2022-2023 academic year. From groundbreaking discoveries to innovations in renewable energy and sustainable technologies, university officials believe these research efforts will continue to transform lives and shape the future of TSU students.

“I applaud our Research and Sponsored Programs division for the implementation and continuation of a robust program that speaks to TSU’s commitment to changing the world through our research,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.

In 2021, TSU’s external research funding was just over $70.7 million. The University has experienced a 34% increase since then. This includes an $18 million USDA/NIFA NEXTGeneration grant awarded to the college of agriculture that helped to propel TSU to the new record setting total.  

“We have hit the highest total in grant awards in the institutions history this fiscal year,” said Associate Vice President of Research and Sponsored Programs Dr. Quincy Quick.

 “This puts TSU in the upper echelon of research funding among HBCUs.”

“The USDA/NIFA grant isn’t just a financial fortune, but it is a transformative opportunity that will propel the TSU to new heights and academic excellence,” Dr. Quick added.

Quick, who is leading the R1 designation effort, says the goal is to ultimately reach a $150 million in total grant awards within the next five years. The R1 status the highest research designation, under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning.

“Research expenditures is the key metric for going from R2 to R1,” Quick said.

To date, TSU’s Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences and the College of Agriculture have received a total of  $65.9 million awards of this year’s total.

Here are some of the other top awards received in 2022-23: 

·       Dr. Andrea Tyler – Title III, $10,254,498 (Department of Education) 

·       Dr. Quincy Quick – RSP, $5,000,000 (Department of Energy) 

·       Dr. Karla Addesso – College of Agriculture, $2,479,982 (USDA) 

·       Dr. Melanie Cantu – College of Agriculture, $2,016,694 (USDA) 

·       Dr. Rebecca Selove – RSP, $1,772,784 (National Institutes of Health) 

·       Dr. Deo Chimba – College of Engineering, $1,611,168 (Dept. of Transportation) 

·       Dr. Margaret Whalen – RSP, $1,255,618 (National Institutes of Health) 

·       Dr. Roy Sonali – College of Agriculture, $1,158,373 (USDA) 

·       Dr. Jianwei Li, College of Agriculture, $1,118,709 (USDA) 

·       Dr. D’Etra Young – College of Agriculture, $1,000,000 (USDA) 

·       Dr. Robbie Melton – Academic Affairs, $1,000,000 (Apple/Hewlett Packard) 

·       Dr. Catherine Armwood – College of Engineering, $1,000,000 (NSF) 

·       Dr. Dafeng Hui – College of Life & Physical Sciences, $1,000,000 (NSF) 

·       Dr. Lin Li – College of Engineering, $1,000,000 – (NSF) 

·       Dr. Hongwei Si – College of Agriculture, $1,000,000 (USDA/NSF) 

·       Dr. Richard Mu – RSP, $1,000,000 (NSF) 

TSU College of Agriculture Awarded $18 million Grant Award from USDA

By Dr. Alyssa Rockers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture has been awarded an $18 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA). TSU’s award is a part of USDA NIFA’s NextGen grant program, a $262.5 million investment in higher education to create and sustain a more diverse workforce for the next generation of food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences professionals. Of the 33 awarded projects across 24 states, TSU is only one of five institutions awarded Tier 3 funding. This includes projects up to $20 million and at least three partnering institutions across two states.  

“This is game changer for Tennessee State and further enhances our stellar reputation as a premier land-grant institution, with one of the top Agriculture programs in the country,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.

“Our goal as an institution is to provide our students with a quality education that will position them to compete and have successful careers in the global marketplace. This amazing opportunity with USDA will allow us to continue to fulfill that goal due largely to the commitment and vision of Dean Chandra Reddy and Dr. John Ricketts, principal investigator for the grant, and their staff.”

 The program is funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. Dr. Chandra Reddy, TSU’s Dean of Agriculture, and Dr. John Ricketts were on hand for the official announcement in Washington.

“We are quite excited with this announcement today by USDA Secretary Vilsack that the TSU College of Agriculture will be receiving $18 million to cultivate the next generation of agricultural graduates,” said Dean Reddy. “We are one of the select few institutions that received this level of funding recognizing our longtime efforts in this area through many successful initiatives particularly the Dean’s Scholars Program.” 

“I congratulate Dr. Ricketts and the team for putting together a comprehensive proposal and we will deliver on our commitments.”

 TSU’s project entitled, “NEXTGENeration Inclusion Consortium for Building the Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Human Sciences Pipeline (FANHP)” is led by Ricketts, who is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Sciences at TSU.

“This project will establish an inclusive consortium of institutions to build and sustain the future of the workforce in food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences,” said Ricketts.

“Through this project, TSU and our partners will be able to advance equity in this workforce for future generations.”

Scholarships and learning opportunities are crucial components of the grant. The project will allow TSU students to apply for full scholarships covering tuition, board and other related expenses,  internships, and other learning opportunities to expose them to careers in Agriculture. Dr. De’Etra Young, who oversees all the College of Agriculture’s scholarships, will serve as a co-project director along with Dean Reddy.  

“I am excited to be a part of this historical funding opportunity from USDA,” added Dr. Young, associate dean for the college’s academics and land-grant programs.

 “The Next-Gen grant will allow us to transform our student success portfolio, provide greater access to higher education through scholarships, and strengthen our current experiential learning and study abroad opportunities.” 

Additionally, programs related to FAHNP will be provided to community members to help them gain more information about the career options available to their young people. In addition to TSU, this project is a partnership with faculty from Fort Valley State University, Alcorn State University, the University of Houston, Chief Dull Knife College, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee – Martin, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt University, and the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences organization.

TSU faculty involved in this project along with Dr. John C. Ricketts (Principal Investigator), are College of Agriculture Dean, Dr. Chandra Reddy (Co-Project Director), Dr. De’Etra Young, ( Co-Project Director , Dr. Alyssa Rockers, Dr. Brione Lockett, Dr. LaPorchia Davis, Dr. Thomas Broyles, Dr. Yujuan Chen, Dr. M.S. Mahmud, Dr. Pramir Maharjan, Dr. Dilip Nandwani, Dr. Kilonzo-Nthenge, and Dr. Samuel Nahashon.

 For more information about programs sponsored by this grant award, please contact TSU Media Relations at 615.963.5331 or [email protected].

A national reputation: TSU Choral Group performs at Carnegie Hall

June 2nd marked Mayson Harris’ second trip to New York City. But in a twist of fate, this visit to the Big Apple held something extraordinary in store. The prospect of performing at Carnegie Hall fueled Harris, a member of the TSU Meistersingers, with ambition, and the students embarked on a mission to turn their dream into reality.

Through donation after donation, the TSU premiere choral group’s fundraising efforts totaling $20,000 were successful, leading to an unforgettable performance at Carnegie Hall—a musical ensemble of a lifetime.

“Carnegie Hall is a grand place,” said Harris, a rising senior at TSU studying music. “To actually perform there, the acoustics were amazing. I could hear all the voices blending together. I can’t wait to see what our choir does next,” the baritone singer said.

TSU Meistersingers and Dr. Angelica Dunsavage visits the Met Art Museum during their trip to New York before performing at Carnegie Hall.

Eight TSU Meistersingers traveled to NYC to premiere a new musical piece alongside students from other universities, captivating an audience of hundreds with their sound on June 5. Out of more than 80 singers from various colleges and community choruses, TSU was the only HBCU to be a part of the 30-minute performance at Carnegie Hall.

“Having more Black voices in Carnegie Hall, especially from HBCUs, will always have a big impact,” said Harris from Nashville. “If one can do it, we can take it a step further and have all HBCUs at Carnegie Hall.”

Accompanying the TSU Meistersingers during their performance was their passionate Director of Choral Activities, Dr. Angelica Dunsavage.

Dr. Dunsavage expressed that the Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), an organization the singers collaborated with, were amazed by their performance.“They (DCINY) were really impressed by our students,” said Dunsavage, noting that they commended their preparation and professionalism and extended an invitation to return for any future opportunities.

TSU Meistersingers and Dr. Angelica Dunsavage attends Hadestown the Musical in New York .

The students showcased a musical piece titled “Where We Find Ourselves,” inspired by a series of photographs taken during the Jim Crow era in North Carolina. This piece is a Carnegie Hall premiere composed by Michael Bussewitz-Quarm. Dunsavage emphasized that exposure at this level is crucial for the TSU Meistersingers.” It means a lot to our students to start building travel up and getting more of a national reputation for the choral program.”

The performance also held great significance for TSU student Link Fisher III, who considered singing on the same prestigious stage as some of his favorite vocalists like Sarah Vaughan or Ella Fitzgerald an exceptional opportunity.

“Sharing a stage that all these greats have shared, it was a moment to thank God for allowing me to be here,” Fisher said. “All these opportunities keep presenting themselves. You take them and you learn from them.” Fisher, a senior studying performing arts and French, revealed that his post-graduation plans involve “living life to the fullest.” He plans to attend graduate school in Paris to pursue a career in conducting music and opera singing.

The enthusiasm and dedication of the TSU Meistersingers will propel them to new heights. Sharing their voices with professional musicians at Carnegie Hall is another accolade that will unlock endless opportunities.

For more information about TSU Meistersingers visit www.tnstate.edu/music/meistersingers. Check out a video of the TSU Meistersingers rehearsing for the Carnegie Hall performance with composer Michael Bussewitz-Quarms and students from other universities here.

TSU graduate students selected for prestigious Tennessee Hospital Association’s Agenda 21 Internship Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two Tennessee State University graduate students have been selected for the Tennessee Hospital Association’s (THA) Agenda 21 Internship Program. J’la Jenkins, and Bege Mallam, both public health majors, were among 12 students from schools across the country who participated in a 12-week, paid supervised learning experience for qualified graduate students in healthcare administration or a related field.

A native of Alabama, Jenkins, who is pursuing her master’s degree in public health, will intern at Vanderbilt Medical Center, while Mallam, who is from Nigeria, and also pursuing his master’s degree in public health, will intern at West Tennessee Healthcare in Jackson, Tennessee.

Jenkins was not immediately available to comment on her selection, but Mallam said he is grateful to TSU for the support he has received and honored to be one of only 12 selected to be a part of the prestigious THA internship program.

“I’m humbled to be able to explore the opportunities in healthcare and to experience the practice of what we learn in class,” Mallam said. “Thank you for the recognition, and here’s to illuminating a path toward a brighter future in healthcare!”

Mallam said his long-term goal is to engage in medical outreach and health interventions among marginalized communities.  TSU College of Health Sciences Dean Ronald Barredo said the public health program continues to produce quality students who will go on to excel in the field because of opportunities like this provided by THA. 

“We are extremely proud of the selection of J’la Jenkins and Bege Mallam for the Tennessee Hospital Association’s Agenda 21 Internship Program,” said Dr. Barredo. “Their selection embodies not only the mission of the College of Health Sciences in preparing tomorrow’s healthcare leaders, but also — and more importantly — the institution’s motto of Think, Work, Serve.”

Dr. Wendelyn Inman is interim director of the TSU public health program. She said she is extremely proud of Jenkins and Mallam.

“Tennessee State University is noted for producing outstanding leaders,” Inman said. “With the training Jenkins and Mallam are getting from TSU, combined with their experience from the Tennessee Hospital Association’s Agenda 21 Internship Program, they get to step into leadership roles.”

Designed to increase diversity in hospital executive leadership, the Agenda 21 Internship Program provides selected candidates with additional exposure, knowledge and skills, that prepare them for a successful career in the healthcare industry. Through close work with administrators and staff, Jenkins and Mallam will gain hands-on experience as part of their hospitals’ leadership teams.

“The Agenda 21 Internship Program has operated for 28 years with the mission of providing learning opportunities in Tennessee hospitals for students who are from minority and under-represented groups in hospital executive leadership.” said Karizma Whitfield, Agenda 21 program manager at THA. 

Applications for the Agenda 21 Internship Program are accepted in the fall semester each year and students are placed the following spring with THA member hospitals for their summer internships. Learn more about the Agenda 21 Internship Program at https://tha.com/focus-areas/agenda-21-internship-program/.  

TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands readies for historic Juneteenth celebration at the White House

Tennessee State University will be well represented when the Aristocrat of Bands performs at the White House Juneteenth celebration later today, Tuesday, June 13. The Grammy-award winning band, fondly called AOB, will be a part of an all-star music event as President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden host dignitaries for the first Juneteenth Concert on the White House South Lawn. The festivities will start at 7pm EST.

The band held a final rehearsal, at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, DC, before the big performance. Others set to perform include fellow Grammy winners Jennifer Hudson and the Fisk University Jubilee Singers. 

The nation will officially observe Juneteenth on Monday, June 19. President Biden signed the Juneteenth holiday into law in 2021. Hundreds of thousands of Americans celebrate Juneteenth to highlight the end of slavery. Juneteenth is the 12th federal holiday, and the first since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was signed in 1983.

Click here for video from rehearsal.

Celebrating community, culture and music other confirmed appearances will also include the following artists:

Audra McDonald

Broadway Inspirational Voices

Cliff “Method Man” Smith

Colman Domingo

Hampton University Concert Choir


Maverick City Music

Morgan State University Marching Band – The Magnificent Marching Machine

Nicco Annan

Patina Miller

Step Afrika!

“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band The concert is also taking place during Black Music Month.

About Juneteenth

Juneteenth, which has also been referred to as Black Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, not only marks the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas on June 19, 1865, but is also a historic moment in American history and the culmination of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation that was written three years prior.


TSU School of Nursing executive director, professor named 2023 Rising Star nurse leader

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s school of nursing executive director and professor Dr. Courtney Nyange has been recognized by the Tennessee Nurses Association, the Tennessee Hospital Association, and the Tennessee Action Coalition for her outstanding leadership in the nursing profession. 

Dr. Nyange is the first at TSU to receive this honorable recognition as a Rising Star.

Left to right, students Reina Bueso and Deon Myles with Dr. Nyange during the BSN May 2022 pinning ceremony.

“This honor is an opportunity to showcase excellence,” Nyange said. “Excellence on the individual level, and excellence in the School of Nursing. We too, are doing great things in the School of Nursing at Tennessee State University and I’m glad we are being recognized for it.”

Out of 25 rising stars from universities and colleges across the state, TSU is listed as the only HBCU to have a recipient this year as a nurse leader to receive the recognition.

“All too often HBCUs get overlooked and we don’t receive the recognition that we deserve,” Nyange said. “I’m extremely proud of this honor and hope that it is a catalyst for other HBCU nursing programs, faculty, and minority nurses to be recognized.”

The Tennessee Action Coalition said that the Rising Star Nurse Leader program aspires to engage and empower young nurses to lead the profession in improving the health of Tennesseans.

Students provided education on Automated External Defibrillator (AED) usage and heart health during the Library’s Heart Health Event in February, 2023. From left to right, student Sharmeen Abdulah , Dr. Nyange, students Me’Yori Hillman, Patricia Bell, and Cayse Perry.

“This is an elite group of young Tennessee nurse leaders representing the three grand divisions of Tennessee, a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, frontline clinicians, academicians, and managers,” according to a press release from the Coalition.

Nyange’s goal for TSU’s School of Nursing is to become the premier HBCU nursing program in the southern United States. “I plan to recruit and retain top nursing faculty and ensure they are well prepared to educate the next generation of minority nurses.”

Nyange said this recognition brings a sense of representation to inspire nursing students.

“They will see that they are being taught and led by highly qualified faculty who look like them and I think they’ll be excited to be a part of our School of Nursing.”

To learn more about TSU’s nursing program, visit www.tnstate.edu/nursing/

TSU Aristocrat of Bands makes successful, historic debut at CMA Fest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Grammy-award-winning Aristocrat of Bands continues to go where no other band has gone! This time, it was the 2023 Country Music Association Fest (CMA) in downtown Nashville, serving as the opening act. Early morning concertgoers rocked to the soulful sounds of AOB and watched the Sophisticated Ladies, creating an unforgettable HBCU band experience. Thursday marked another successful and historic performance as the TSU band became the first collegiate band to perform at the four-day music festival.

AOB members before hitting the stage at the 2023 Country Music Association Fest (CMA), in downtown Nashville as the opening act.

“This is important because people don’t usually associate country music with HBCU bands, said Hailey Russell, a Nashville native who is a piccolo section leader for AOB. “So, us performing today felt like bridging a gap and letting us celebrate music all around.”

Russell said the best part of the overall experience was kicking off the CMA Fest Hall of Fame Ceremony with a performance on the John Seigenthaler pedestrian bridge. “Playing on the pedestrian bridge with everyone who walked past being able to enjoy our music even if they weren’t there for the CMA Fest was my favorite part.”

AOB member Jayden Stitchcomb walks up the steps with his instrument, ready to debut at the CMA Fest.

TSU graduate student Jibril Lee, who plays the trumpet, said he was very excited about the outcome of the crowd and their performance. “It was a different stage, a different environment and it was amazing,” Lee said. “I’m feeling pretty excited about the future of AOB performances of this magnitude, like the CMA Fest.”

The massive crowd, at the Riverfront Stage, also roared with applause as the band accompanied local 8th grade student Ariah McEwen, who sang the National Anthem.

AOB and the Sophisticated Ladies rocked the crowd with an unforgettable HBCU band experience.

Assistant band director Larry Jenkins said the performance represented everything AOB and the university stands for. “This was an amazing performance,” Jenkins said. “I am glad we were able to represent the university on this stage and that the crowd got to experience the culture as we know it.”

While AOB’s director Dr. Reginald McDonald said he is grateful that the students took time out of their summer to be a part of CMA Fest memories. “For them to give up two weeks of their summer to be here for TSU, is truly amazing,” McDonald said.

“I am feeling extremely proud right now. This is the opportunity for people to see the excellence of TSU.”

To watch AOB’s debut at CMA Fest, visit TSU’s YouTube.

AOB accompanied IT Crestwell Middle School student Ariah McEwen, who sang the National Anthem on the Riverfront Stage at CMA Fest.

Next week AOB members will help celebrate the nation’s first official observance of Juneteenth with President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House on June 13.

AOB is also hosting their 10th Annual Edward L. Graves High School Summer Band Camp from June 11-17, marking this year as the largest High School Band Camp ever with 267 kids registered from across the country.

TSU explores AI in education, will hold demonstrations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University serves as the nation’s only HBCU Smart Technology Innovation Center, and has partnerships with tech giants Microsoft and Apple, along with T-Mobile, Amazon and several others.

Through these collaborations, TSU has worked to bridge the technology divide among HBCUs and communities of color. Now the University is looking to forge deeper into the field by exploring the opportunities and possibilities of integrating education with artificial intelligence (AI).

Dr. Robbie Melton

Dr. Robbie Melton, Vice President of Technology Innovation Strategies and interim provost and acting vice president of academic affairs, heads the TSU SMART Global Technology Innovation Center that researches the effective use of emerging technologies in education, that now includes AI.

Starting June 5, Dr. Melton will be available to conduct AI demonstrations that will include creating curriculum and lesson plans in under 4 minutes, along with art and music in less than 2 minutes.

“TSU has always been on the cutting edge of technology and it’s important that faculty learn more about AI because these tools are already transforming and disrupting the traditional methods of reading, writing, research, teaching and training,” says Melton.  

AI Generated Images as such are created by using text to image prompts, no photography required.

While the concept of artificial intelligence in education presents an array of unprecedented academic, ethical and legal challenges, Melton believes these technological advances have educational value and benefits that can’t be overlooked. 

“It’s important for TSU faculty to learn how AI works in enhancing teaching and learning before taking a stand to ban it or try to stop it in the classroom. AI pushes us to incorporate critical and higher order thinking skills, that go beyond basic observation of facts and memorization.” 

Melton recently conducted a national webinar for several historical black colleges and universities (HBCUs) regarding the educational impact of AI for underrepresented groups and cultures.

To register for this event:
Webinar: June 22ndor 29th1:00 – 3:00
Avon Williams SMART Center