All posts by Emmanuel Freeman

TSU President Glenda Glover nominated for 2021 inclusive leader award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU President Glenda Glover is a nominee for the GlobalMindED 2021Inclusive Leader Awards. Glover is among leaders from across 15 industry sectors nominated for this year’s awards. Winners will be announced virtually on Nov. 3.

President Glenda Glover

The awards recognize the “most inclusive” leaders in key industries for their innovations and bold actions to promote access and equity for women, people of color, and underrepresented populations in their recruiting, development, and in their pipeline strategies from education to employment.

“I am delighted and honored to be nominated for this prestigious award, along with other distinguished leaders who are impacting our world in very positive ways,” Dr. Glover said. “GlobalMindED’s work to close the equity gap by creating a capable, diverse talent pipeline with programs for students from the least resourced background is highly commendable.”

According to its webpage, GlobalMindED serves low-income students, returning adults seeking badges/credentials, First Gen to college and inclusive leaders who teach them, work with them and hire them. The organization’s goal is to reach 25,000,000 First Gen college students, graduates, those who work with them and those who want to hire them algorithmically connected to role models, mentors, internships and jobs. 

Students and the general public are invited to attend the awards ceremony on Nov. 3, beginning at 5 p.m. Central/6 p.m. Eastern. To attend you must register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wcSRBKoARb-5d75rLrp8yw

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.

Gospel explosion featuring Grammy winner Tye Tribbett to kick off TSU’s 2021 Homecoming week

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is kicking off its 2021 Homecoming with a gospel explosion featuring Grammy and Stellar awards winning gospel legend Tye Tribbett. Known for such hit albums as “Greater Than” and “The Bloody Win,” the singer, songwriter and keyboardist will headline the show in the Gentry Center Sunday, Oct. 24, beginning at 6 p.m.

Other big-name stars and groups taking part in the concert include gospel notables Earnest Pugh, winner of Best Gospel Album at the 6th Annual Independent Music Awards; Stellar Award nominee Lisa Knowles Smith; the renowned TSU New Direction Gospel Choir; and the legendary Nate Bean & 4Given gospel group.

Themed “The Return,” this year’s homecoming is buzzing with excitement as the university returns to normal celebration, following the cancellation of homecoming last year and the scaling down of many other activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers say all safety protocols will be observed.

Jeia Moore is excited about The Return.

“I am pretty excited to have homecoming in person. It’s going to have many surprises and excitement,” says Jeia Moore, a senior information systems major from Memphis, Tennessee. “Lots of expectations are riding on this homecoming. The student body is really excited that we are keeping the tradition of the gospel explosion, which is bringing artists that have literally raised us from little kids in the church to who we are now.”

 Derrick Sanders, president of the Student Government Association, says, “This is going to be a homecoming to remember.” He’s glad the university is keeping safety in mind, and hopes homecoming participants will be responsible.

Derrick Sanders says Homecoming will be one to remember.

“We want everybody to stay safe; to wear a mask, protect one another,” says Sanders, a senior English major from Cincinnati.

Besides the big game against Murray State at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 30 and the parade that morning, another major highlight of TSU’s homecoming is the Annual Scholarship Gala, TSU’s signature fundraising event. It will take place on Oct. 29 at the Music City Center. This year, the gala welcomes Grammy award-winning artist Howard Hewett, and for masters of ceremony, award-winning radio personality Jasmine Sanders and comedian and actor Rodney Perry.

Other homecoming activities this year include the Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest on Oct. 24; the Coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU on Oct. 27; the homecoming concert featuring rappers Chief Keef, Sada Baby, Dreezy, and Big Scarr on Oct. 28; the Breakfast of Champions, the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, and the National Pan-Hellenic Step Show on Oct. 29; and the legendary Homecoming Parade on Oct. 30.

The parade will be from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard.

For more information about TSU’s 2021 Homecoming, visit https://bit.ly/3aBoV7M.

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.

Student mentorship, retaining excellence focus of new Miss TSU Mallory Moore

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News) – As the 2021-2022 Miss Tennessee State University, Mallory Moore is using her unique position to implement a platform built around mentorship and providing opportunities for fellow students.  

Miss TSU Mallory Moore

To achieve her goal, she has initiated “Our Turn – Doing M.O.O.R.E,” or Making Opportunities Open to Retain Excellence, aimed at continuing TSU’s legacy of scholarship, leadership, and service; as well as “Shadowing a Tiger,” a mentoring program for freshmen and sophomores. 

“I want to do a mentorship initiative because I know for me coming in as a freshman, I didn’t have that and it made things a lot difficult for me,” says Moore. “I don’t want other students to face those difficulties. So, I want to create this program for the freshmen, and I am including the sophomores because the sophomore class didn’t get one because they were home due to the pandemic.” 

Moore is a senior health science major from Birmingham, Alabama. She won the coveted Miss TSU title in April after a fierce election process that also ushered in a new Mr. TSU (Mark T. Davis, Jr.), a new Royal Court, and other Student Government Association officers. 

As a former Miss Junior, Moore says she understands the challenges students coming to college for the first time face, such as coping in a new environment, developing new study habits, and making new friends. She wants to help them overcome potential pitfalls that could hinder their progress. 

“I am very determined, and I see that a lot of people see that I am very confident, and as a leader, I want to pass that on to them,” says Moore. “I want them to understand that college is fun, but to also remind them that there is a greater goal and an expected end, which is their eventual graduation.”  

Moore says although coming to TSU was to fulfill her mother’s dream of attending an historically black college or university (HBCU), she has no regrets about becoming a “Big Blue Tiger.” 

“The reason why I chose to come to TSU is because my mom wanted to go to TSU when she was my age, but my grandmother wouldn’t let her. She wanted her to go to a predominantly white institution. So, she begged me to go on a visit. I took my mom’s advice and came on a visit, and I immediately fell in love the moment I stepped on the campus. It has been the perfect home for me.” 

In addition to being Miss TSU, Moore is active in many campus organizations and programs. For two years, she served on the university’s cheerleading team, whose coach, Dwight Pope, she credits with helping to keep her on track.

“Coach Pope was very hard on , and I was upset with him at times, but looking back, he was teaching things I needed to know for this moment,” she says.

Moore is a member of the TSU choir, and the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success. She was initiated into Chi Psi chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity Incorporated, Alpha Psi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, and Order of Omega National Honor Society for Greek Leaders. 

The coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU will be part of Homecoming week activities. It will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 27 in Kean Hall, starting at 7 p.m. 

For more information about TSU’s 2021 Homecoming, visit https://bit.ly/3aBoV7M.

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.

Mr. TSU Mark Davis wants to help male students develop into responsible men that impact society

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Mark T. Davis, Jr., the new Mr. Tennessee State University, says his goal is to help male students develop into men with good character traits that others can emulate. The goal, he says, is to change the stereotypical view people have of “our young males” because of the way many carry themselves. 

Mr. TSU Mark T. Davis, Jr.

‘We must try to change the way the world looks at our students, especially the black males, and TSU is doing a very good job in that area,” says Davis, a Cincinnati native. “I came here on an HBCU college bus tour, and immediately fell in love with the university.  ‘No durags, wife beaters, or sagging pants.’” 

A senior English major, Davis has developed a five-point plan called “BLUE IS KING,” where BLUE stands for Building Legacies Upon Existence. The plan focuses on sexual assault awareness, mental health, campus engagement, creating a definition of what a man is, and embracing your difference. He hopes this will leave a legacy that impacts future students. 

“This HBCU is preparing us for the real world,” says Davis, who formerly served as Mr. Junior. “What I want to accomplish as Mr. TSU is to really make sure that by the time I am done with my reign, people will remember how I made them feel as Mr. TSU,”  

As part of his plan, Davis has initiated several events he says help students stay engaged. They include: “Eye of the Tiger Scavenger Hunt,” an informative program with hints that tell something new about TSU; “Tailored Tuesdays,” which challenges males and females to dress up in business casual attire but emphasizes business professional; and “Today’s Quote,” that involves passing out motivational quotes in the courtyard on Wednesdays. 

“I really just am excited about my initiatives, in pushing forward what kings or professionals are supposed to look like, or what’s business casual,” says Davis. “I just want to make sure that when other people come on our campus and see a male, that that male is a good representation of TSU.”

Davis is part of Allure Modeling Troupe, Collegiate 100, and Pep Club.

The coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU will be part of Homecoming week activities. It will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 27 in Kean Hall, starting at 7 p.m. 

For more information about TSU’s 2021 Homecoming, visit https://bit.ly/3aBoV7M.

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 makes taking student portrait easy with first self-serve, innovative professional photo booth

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Do you need a professional-quality headshot for graduate school or a job application but don’t know where to go? Look no more, the Tennessee State University Career Development Center has you covered!

Brionika Johnson, a graduating senior, edits a headshot in the Iris Booth for her senior portfolio. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

On Oct. 6, the center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Iris Booth, an innovative, self-serve professional photo booth that allows students, faculty, and staff to take headshots. TSU is the first historically black higher education institution to use the Iris Booth, and one of only six universities in the nation with this high-tech equipment. It is used by corporations and hospitals in North America, Europe, and Asia. 

“This is amazing, and it is groundbreaking as our students now have the opportunity to experience professional photography brought by the Career Development Center,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students. “We are excited about what this will mean for our students moving forward. It gives them a head start going into the marketplace. It prepares them and allows them to have their best foot forward as they prepare for potential employment opportunities.” 

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, Director of the Career Development Center, welcomes officials, students and staff to the opening of the Iris Booth. From right, are: Frank Stevenson, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs; Prof. Rita Fleming, Faculty Senate representative; and Miss TSU Mallory Moore. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Brionika Johnson, a senior business administration major, was one of the first students to sit for her headshot in the booth, following the ribbon cutting. She was impressed by the clarity of her photo and how easy it was to use the system. 

“One thing that students complain a lot about is that they can’t get professional headshots when going to interviews, or going to companies,” said Johnson, who is from Atlanta. “This is another good example of the Career Development Center helping students prepare for the workforce.” 

Officials say the Iris Booth demonstrates the university’s commitment to engage and support students as they begin or continue their career journeys. The easy-to-use unit – located in the CDC – uses high quality lighting and allows users to approve or retake photos. It also allows users to crop photos, touch up blemishes, whiten teeth, or apply filters, and instantly delivers digital photos via email. 

Frank Stevenson, who is also Dean of Students, enters his profile information for a professional headshot. He calls the Iris Booth innovation ‘groundbreaking.’ (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“With the Iris Booth, we no longer have to find somebody for you to get a professional picture. We no longer have to hire anyone,” Antoinette Hargrove Duke, director of the Career Development Center, told students, as she thanked the leadership of the Student Affairs office for supporting the idea for the booth. 

“Our students deserve this cutting-edge technology,” Duke added. “They no longer have an excuse for looking their very best when going to look for internships or going for job interviews.” 

Duke also thanked her staff and the student leadership for their support, as well as the staff of the TSU Facilities Department for transforming the previous office space to install the photo booth. 

The Iris Booth is open to faculty, staff and students. Many attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Career Development Center. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Derrick Sanders, president of the Student Government Association, expressed appreciation to the CDC for its support, and urged his fellow students to take advantage of not only the new booth, but the center. 

“I just want to say to all the students to make sure you come here, not only to get your headshot, but take advantage of the resources in this office,” said Sanders. “The headshot is definitely a key piece to the industrial field and life after TSU. But I also encourage all of you to be engaged in this office.” 

Also participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Prof. Rita Fleming, who represented Dr. Kimberly Triplett, chair of the Faculty Senate; Mister TSU Mark T. Davis, Jr.; Miss TSU Mallory Moore; and Tanya McNeal, student ambassador. 

For more information on the TSU Career Development Center, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/careers/.

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 administrator, professor named to state post-secondary education reform group

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) -The State Collaborative on Reforming Education has selected two Tennessee State University officials to be part of its Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute for 2021-22.

Dr. Verontae Deams

Dr. Verontae Deams, university registrar; and Dr. Alexis Gatson Heaston, assistant professor in the College of Health Sciences, will join 30 other higher education, K-12, government, business, and nonprofit organization leaders selected by SCORE as the next cohort of the institute.

In partnership with The Hunt Institute, a leader in the movement to transform public education, SCORE will provide learning opportunities for participants in CTLI, whose goal is to eliminate barriers to post-secondary education and completion in Tennessee.

“I am honored to be selected as a participant in the 2021-2022 Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute,” Deams said. “This opportunity will allow collaboration with other thought leaders to ensure academic success in higher education throughout the state of Tennessee.”

Dr. Alexis Gatson Heaston

Heaston, who teaches public health, health administration and health sciences, said she is “humbled and excited” to be a part of the CTLI cohort.

“I look forward to working alongside a group of outstanding professionals whose aim is to ensure Tennessee attracts, recruits, and retains students on a post-secondary level,” she said.

According to the latest figures from the Lumina Foundation, Tennessee’s college attainment rate is just shy of 47 percent. Since 2019, SCORE has partnered with The Hunt Institute to provide national perspective for CTLI participants and help lead them in translating what they learn into action in their communities.

“Community college enrollment rates in Tennessee dropped significantly in the fall of 2020, most notably for Black and Hispanic students,” SCORE President and CEO David Mansouri said. “Given the compounding effect the pandemic is having on college enrollment, persistence, and completion, it is more urgent than ever that we partner with the leaders in this cohort to ensure that every Tennessee student has the opportunity and support needed to attend and complete postsecondary education.”

Dr. Javaid Saddiqi, president and CEO of The Hunt Institute, added, “Over the past three years, we’ve been impressed with the way in which CTLI has brought together a diverse group of thought leaders from across Tennessee. Among past cohort members, we’ve seen an immense increase in leadership capacity and knowledge regarding higher education issues.”

Since 2016, CTLI has created a space where leaders from across Tennessee collectively focus on eliminating barriers to postsecondary education and completion. Over the coming year, Deams, Heaston and their colleagues in the CTLI will work to identify the barriers and equity gaps that exist in the state’s post-secondary system and advocate within their own communities to drive systemic change.

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 2021 career fair offers job, internship opportunities as more than 140 companies attend

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Services) – Hundreds of Tennessee State University students looking for internships, full-time employment or co-op opportunities recently had plenty of selections at the university’s first in-person career fair since the pandemic.  

TSU senior business majors Katana Darby, right, and Khasia Perry talk to Isabella Lowrey, Human Resource Representative with Cintas, a business services company. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

More than 140 companies and potential employers converged on the main campus for the 2021 Fall Career Fair on Sept. 17. Representatives from government agencies, aerospace, banking, engineering, healthcare, and the entertainment industries set up tents, tables, and displays in the Gentry Center Complex to network with students about career and employment opportunities. 

Organizers said nearly 700 students attended the all-day fair. 

Katana Darby, a senior business administration major; and Shaun Wimberly, a second-year agribusiness major, were among the first students at the fair. They were both looking for internships. But Darby, who graduates in May, was also looking for a full-time employment opportunity. She thought her chances were good. 

Companies representing the automotive, engineering, aerospace, banking and healthcare industries attend the career fair. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“Employers have been really good, informative and responsive to my questions,” said the Chicago native, who talked with representatives from Cintas, a Cincinnati-based business services company. She is looking for a position in human resources or any related field.  

“I came to the career fair looking for open opportunities – internships, full-time and part-time positions – and things look very good,” Darby said. 

For Wimberly, of Louisville, Kentucky, who was also looking for opportunities in human relations, or any area that can utilize his agribusiness background, meeting employers in person was particularly appealing. 

Shaun Wimberly, an agribusiness major, right, talks to a company representative for an internship opportunity. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I am excited to be able to meet people face-to-face at my very first career fair at TSU,” he said. “I was able to make connections with employers to discuss how I can best contribute to their organizations.” 

Wimberly and Darby may just be in luck.  

Danita J. Jones, a 1991 TSU graduate and recruiter and business management specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said she came to the career fair with a job announcement for “someone who is hardworking with good communication skills.” 

TSU alum Danita J. Jones, left, Business Management Specialist with the Army Corps of Engineers, says she came to the fair with a job announcement. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I am looking for students in business administration, business management, human resources – someone to manage our district training program,” said Jones, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from TSU and started with the Army Corps of Engineers as a student aid. 

Overall, employers said TSU students – in dark business suits and black shoes – came prepared, and were very impressive in appearance, approach, and presentation. 

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, left, Director of the TSU Career Development Center, says employers are impressed about the students’ level of preparation. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, director of TSU’s Career Development Center, said a lot goes into preparing students for the career fair, including resume writing, and prepping for interviews. 

“We are glad that it shows because employers are talking about the turnout and how ready our students are,” said Duke. “Additionally, we are very excited about the opportunity to return to campus after being virtual for over 15 months. The excitement among our campus and university partners is amazing.” 

Kisa Caruthers, senior electrical engineer for Global Facilities at Burns & McDonnell, was at the fair as a recruiter for the giant engineering and construction firm. The TSU graduate said her company was interested in recruiting, especially minority students. 

Kisa Caruthers, Senior Electrical Engineer for Global Facilities at Burns & McDonnell, returns to her alma mater as a recruiter for her company. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“Our goal is to bring in students who can take all of those fundamentals from the classroom and actually have some application to it and expose our minority students to the real life of engineering,” Caruthers said. “We are talking about internships, co-op opportunities, as well as full employment. The students today are phenomenal. They came very prepared. I am very proud of them.” 

Among major sponsors of the career fair were Cigna, Berry Global, Inc., LG&E and KU Energy, Pathways Camelot Care Centers of Tennessee, and Smith & Nephew Supply Chain. 

For more information on the TSU Career Services Department, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/careers/ 

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 expert says slow decline in Tennessee’s COVID cases not enough: ‘We need to do better’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A recent report shows that Tennessee is ranked 7th in the nation with the number of COVID-19 cases, which is a drop from number 1 and a 21 percent decrease compared to a week ago. According to the weekly State Profile Report for Tennessee released Sept. 14, the state also fell to 18th in COVID deaths, dropping from 11th the previous week. 

Dr. Wendelyn Inman

While this decline shows improvement, a Tennessee State University public health expert says, “We need to do better.” 

“Twenty-one percent is excellent. That means our cases have fallen, but we still have a high transmittable number,” says Dr. Wendelyn Inman, an infectious disease expert and professor and director of the public health program in the College of Health Sciences. “It still puts us in the top 10. That 21 percent is not enough to garner, ‘I don’t have anything to worry about.’ It says that we’ve done better, and we hope it continues.” 

Inman, previously the chief of epidemiology for the State of Tennessee, says she hopes the numbers keep declining.

“Instead of being 7th, we need to come out of the top 10,” she says. “That’s my hope. We are the volunteer state. We should be number 1 in the fewest cases.”

On what the state can do to continue the downward spiral, Inman cited efforts at Tennessee State University. She says although TSU falls in a zip code with 37 percent vaccination rate, the university is more active in encouraging solution, which is prevention.  

“TSU is encouraging our people to be healthier during this pandemic; that’s something we can be proud of. We are being positive with our population, encouraging them to get immunized. For the state, we are not doing enough. Twenty-one percent is great, but wouldn’t 70 percent be better?”  

In June, TSU, in collaboration with the Nashville Metro Public Health Department, started offering vaccines to residents 12 years old and up. The university’s student health center also stays open for COVID testing. 

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students, says TSU has remained very active in executing a plan to mitigate issues around COVID. He says that more than 50 percent of students living on campus have been vaccinated, and more than 3,000 of all students have been tested. The university tests an average of more than 100 students a day. 

“We are doing very well in our effort to keep the campus safe,” says Stevenson. “I think we kind of created a wall or barrier that is making it tough for the virus to spread on campus as aggressively as we’ve seen it spread in other places.” 

 Vaccines are administered Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in Kean Hall on the main campus. Daily testing is also set up in Kean Hall.  

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.

$1 million FedEx donation, scholarship awards highlight Southern Heritage Classic

Memphis, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – While the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis is a time for festivities, reunions, and football, for Tennessee State University, it’s also an opportunity to seek scholarship support for deserving students, as well as recruit some of the city’s top high school graduates. And this year’s return to the classic – after a break caused by the pandemic – was no different.

President Glenda Glover talks to Jailen Leavell, reporter with CBS affiliate WJTV Channel 12 in Jackson, Mississippi, about student achievement at TSU. Leavell is a May graduate of TSU. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

During halftime of the big match up between TSU and Jackson State University on Sept. 11, Memphis-based corporate giant FedEx, a longtime TSU partner, presented the university with a $1 million check. By the end of the four-day Classic weekend, TSU President Glenda Glover had awarded scholarships totaling $1 million to 55 Shelby County high school students to attend the university, which will also use the funds from FedEx for scholarship support and other student needs.

“Our goal has always been to attract the best and brightest, as well as help students with financial needs complete their education,” Glover said. “We are so grateful for our partnership with FedEx that has resulted in internships and employment opportunities, as well as leadership development training for our students. This donation will help many students achieve their lifelong dream of earning a college degree.” 

More than 46,000 fans packed the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to watch the TSU Tigers take on the JSU Tigers in the Southern Heritage Classic. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

TSU ended up losing to Jackson State 38-16 in front of more than 46,000 fans at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. But top TSU graduate, Jailen Leavell, said he was not disappointed. 

“I sure would have loved for us to win the football game, but it is very pleasing to know that funds received, and efforts made at the Classic will help so many students receive their education,” said Leavell, a May communications graduate, who works for CBS affiliate WJTV Channel 12 in Jackson, Mississippi.  

Dianna Williams, CEO of Dianna M. Williams, Inc., right, presents a check for $15,000 to the Sophisticate Ladies, an auxiliary group of the TSU Aristocrat of Bands. Receiving the check are, from left, Dr. Reginald McDonald, Band Director; and Melaneice Gibbs, Coach of the Sophisticated Ladies. (Photo by Andre Bean)

“The preparation that TSU gave me was amazing. The fact that in five months of graduating I am working, that goes to show that the scholarship money, donations, and programs at the university are making a difference.” 

Tre’veon Hayes, a junior elementary education major from Memphis, who attended one of President Glover’s recruitment fairs as a high school senior, extolled Dr. Glover for continuing to use the Classic to shine a light on the needs of students from his community. 

“President Glover does everything to push students to be motivated,” said Hayes, who serves as the current Mister Junior at TSU. “I am grateful to her for her investment, which is giving somebody in my community a chance to succeed.” 

The TSU Aristocrat of Bands kicks off the halftime show at the Southern Heritage Classic. (photo by TSU Media Relations)

Also receiving a financial donation at the classic was the TSU Aristocrat of Bands. Businesswoman Dianna Williams, CEO of Dianna M. Williams, Inc., donated a $15,000 check to the AOB’s auxiliary group, the Sophisticated Ladies, to be used for immediate needs.

Following a cancellation last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Classic was seen as a clash of NFL stars featuring legendary running back and new TSU Tigers head coach Eddie George, and Hall of Fame defensive back Deon Sanders in his second year as coach of the JSU Tigers. 

But this year’s battle of the Tigers also brought out the barbecue pits, and the battle between the Aristocrat of Bands and Jackson State’s Sonic Boom of the South.  

TSU leads JSU with the most wins, 17-11, since the Classic started in 1990. 

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 remembers former student and Freedom Rider Ernest “Rip” Patton as a fighter for justice

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Ernest “Rip” Patton, a former TSU student and member of the 1960s Nashville Freedom Riders, is being remembered as a stalwart of the civil rights movement who dedicated his life to fighting for equality and justice for people of color.  

President Glenda Glover says Patton was courageous and determined in his fight for justice.

TSU President Glenda Glover said Patton, who passed Aug. 23 at age 81, was unyielding and showed remarkable courage in risking imprisonment, injury and even death to ensure that blacks were treated fairly. 

“From his days as a student at Tennessee State University and throughout his life, Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton was steadfast in his fight for equality and justice for African Americans,” President Glover said. “We remember him for his courage and determination to bring hope to past, present and future generations in our country and the world. The TSU family is deeply saddened about his passing but will remember him with great pride as an alumnus that made a tremendous sacrifice to make difference.  We send our heartfelt condolences to the Patton family on their loss.” 

Patton participated in the downtown Nashville civil rights sit-ins in 1960, a movement that eventually led to the desegregation of the city’s lunch counters and other public spaces. At 21 and a student at the then Tennessee A&I, Patton was among the first wave of Freedom Riders to arrive in Jackson, Mississippi, on a Greyhound bus to force the desegregation of interstate transportation facilities. The group was arrested upon arrival. 

Dr. Jerri Haynes, Dean of the College of Education, presents Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton with an award in recognition of his contribution to the fight for equality and justice as a Freedom Rider. (Submitted photo)

After the group’s release from prison, Patton and 13 other students were expelled from A&I for participating in the Freedom Ride, and never got to finish their degrees.  

Nearly 47 years later, in 2008, TSU granted the students honorary doctorate degrees. The Tennessee Board of Regents initially refused to grant the honorary degrees, but then TSU President Melvin Johnson insisted that the former students’ “extraordinary achievements” were worthy of recognition.

“These degrees serve to remind this generation of a time when young people were willing to risk their reputations, careers, freedom and lives for a higher cause,” Johnson said. 

According to the Freedom Rides Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, Patton later went on to be a jazz musician, while also remaining a vocal advocate and educator in the civil rights movement. He returned to his alma mater on occasions to talk to students about his experience as a Freedom Rider. 

Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton occasionally returned to his alma mater to talk to students about his experience as a Freedom Rider. Here he speaks to students in the College of Education during a Black History Month celebration. (Submitted photo)

At a Black History Month celebration on February 17, 2020, the College of Education honored Patton with an award for the contributions he made to the cause for equality and justice as a Freedom Rider. 

Linda Fair, coordinator of field placement and clinical experience in the TSU Department of Teacher Education and Student Service, knew Patton for more than 45 years when they sang together in the choir at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church. Fair was also instrumental in bringing Patton to speak to students in the College of Education. 

“Rip was passionate about speaking to young people and trying to inspire them as far as the diversity that is needed in this country and all over the world,” said Fair, whose husband, John Fair – former CEO of the Urban League – was in the movement with Patton. “His (Patton) goal was to remind young people about the history of African Americans in the United States and what they went through.” 

Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton is survived by son, Michael (Bernadette) Patton; grandchildren, Alyxa Mae and Dante’ Andrew Patton; niece, Michelle (James) Holt; nephew, Charles (Debra) Patton; and other relatives and friends.

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.