Annual event welcoming new TSU Tigers comes as the university records highest enrollment in five years

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Amid record enrollment, Tennessee State University recently welcomed new students for the 2021-22 academic year during a ceremony in the Gentry Complex. Previously called freshman convocation, this year’s induction ceremony featured first-time freshmen, returning sophomores, who did not have a convocation last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as transfer students. 

With females dressed in white with pearls, and males dressed in white shirts and TSU blue ties, the new students pledged to commit themselves “to serious intellectual and cultural efforts.” (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

TSU has more than 1,500 first-time freshmen, the largest class in five years. The convocation on Aug. 27 was live streamed for the hundreds of students and family members who could not attend because of university, state, and federal regulations in place due to the pandemic.

“I am extremely proud to welcome you to Tennessee State University,” President Glenda Glover said, as she greeted the students, minutes before they took their pledge. “It is my honor to stand before you 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. The journey will not always be easy, but never give up.” 

Members of the inaugural class of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Institute were among the freshmen inducted. (Photo by Andre Bean)

Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Admissions and Recruitment, presented the students for the induction. 

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

With each student’s hand raised and symbolically holding a lighted candle representing “knowledge and truth,” they took the TSU Freshman Pledge. 

Naia Hooker, a transfer student, said the induction was a “totally new” experience. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Naia Hooker, a transfer junior business major from Oakland, California, said she chose TSU to be closer to family members, but the induction ceremony gave her an experience she will never forget. 

“To me, this induction means a new opportunity to be more serious and hone my craft as an outstanding student,” said Hooker, who is transferring from the College of Alameda. “This is totally new to me, but it was a good feeling to see all of my fellow students pledging to do our very best.” 

Freshman Hercy Miller, a business major from Los Angeles, said hearing all the speeches from President Glover, faculty, and student leaders made him even more excited about coming to TSU. 

Hercy Miller, left, and Victoria McCrae led the freshmen and sophomores, respectively, as they took the pledge. (Photo by Andre Bean)

“What I heard from them has given me more encouragement to be the very best,” said Miller, who will also be playing basketball at TSU. “I am a very committed person. I see TSU as a place where I can build myself as a leader and a committed student.”  

For the ceremony, females dressed in white with pearls presented to them by the TSU Women’s Center, and males dressed 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.” 

Among students inducted were members of the inaugural class of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Institute; and Tiger PALs, a peer mentoring group, representing the sophomore class. 

Tiger PALs, a peer mentoring group. represented the sophomore class. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

In addition to student representatives, speakers at the convocation included Dr. Kimberly Triplett, chair of the Faculty Senate; Debbi Howard, director of Alumni Relations; Tasha Andrews, executive director of New Student Programs; Derrick Sanders, president of the Student Government Association; Mister TSU Mark T. Davis, Jr.; and Miss TSU Mallory Moore. 

Featured photo by Andre Bean

Department of Media Relations

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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