Category Archives: Alumni

TSU program is helping 101 educators from the state’s largest school districts achieve their dream of becoming assistant principals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University College of Education has received another $300,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Education to train an additional 51 aspiring assistant principals in Middle Tennessee school districts. This brings to 101 the total number of individuals to be trained in the one-year program.

Dr. Jerri Haynes

“Tennessee State University is taking the lead in the state’s assistant principal training program, as a further recognition of the quality of our programs,” says Dr. Jerri Haynes, dean of the College of Education.”

“This is an opportunity the university is certainly proud to receive. Through this program we are helping to fill the void or shortage of assistant principals, especially minorities.”

Dr. Eleni Elder, professor of educational leadership, is one of the leads on the Aspiring Assistant Principals’ Program. (TSU Media Relations)

Last January, the college received $300,000 to begin the training of the first group of 49 aspiring assistant principals. Officials say this is part of a longstanding collaborative partnership between the university, the state agency and K-12 systems aimed at attracting more qualified applicants for positions in school leadership.

The funding from the Tennessee Department Education will be used to conduct a one-year, master’s degree-level training for cohorts from the region, including four of the state’s largest school systems – Metro Nashville Public Schools, Shelby County Schools, Rutherford County and Clarksville. In May, the first cohort took one course during Maymester, an accelerated summer program. To catch up, the new group will take two courses during next year’s Maymester to finish the program at the same time.

Dr. Terrance McNeil, assistant professor of educational administration and coordinator of the training program, says to have the ability to have “such a large influence” on what happens next across the state in terms of educational leadership is a tremendous opportunity for the College of Education.

“We have taken the lead in the state in terms of this initiative,” says McNeil. “What that mean is that we have the rare opportunity to prepare the next generation of principals in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Education, and that really makes us happy from the professional standpoint.”

TSU students in the educational leadership program contacted in January said the strength of the curriculum would be helpful in developing the leadership skills of the aspiring assistant principals.

“This program helps build character because it offers a lot of field experiences where we go and directly talk to people and observe what they are doing,” said Pragati Natraj, a first-year graduate student from India majoring in instructional leadership.

Bridney Jones, who’s also pursuing her master’s degree in educational leadership, agreed.

“I believe this course will benefit the new cohorts by giving them strong hands-on and practical experience they will need as leaders,” said Jones, of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

According to Haynes, participants in the program are teachers who have been selected by their superintendents or principals to take part in the training. All courses in the program, which is from June 2020 to June 2021, are offered online. When completed, participants will receive professional licensure as educational leaders.

“We have developed a special program of study for this project,” says Haynes. “We are going to provide them the theory and application, as well as internships and on-the-job training. They will receive university mentors, and we will work to identify mentors at their schools where they work.”

Dr. Latasha Lang, an adjunct faculty, who is one of the instructors in the program, says to be able to be taught by people who have experience as principals or assistant principals is a “wonderful opportunity” for the trainees.

“For those that are aspiring to become assistant principals, this is an excellent way to get information about what actually occurs in the school building,” says Land, who also currently serves as a high school assistant principal. “The program offers the opportunity to discuss scenarios, to be able to ask questions, and get information on things that have actually occurred. I am very excited about this.”

For more information about the Aspiring Assistant Principals Program and other graduate-level programs  in the in the College of Education, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/coe/.

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 Infectious Disease Control Expert Suggests Universities Do Fall Openings in Phases

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With new coronavirus hot spots emerging across the country as states continue to ease restrictions, and some universities consider re-opening for the fall, a TSU infectious disease control expert says, “not so fast.”

Dr. Wendelyn Inman

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, professor and director of public health programs in the College of Health Sciences, says when it comes to universities, re-openings and easing of restrictions must be done in phases, “not all the way.”

“Our students come from all over the world and from so many different backgrounds, and for some, it is not feasible to work remotely, long term. TSU is their home, their jobs are here,” says Inman, a public health professional who was previously the chief of epidemiology for the State of Tennessee.

 “Let some students come back to campus, especially if they need a place to stay, and a place to study.  Provide them with essential tools to complete their education, and for many of them that includes a safe place to live and from which to work.” 

TSU Media Relations

In Tennessee, especially Davidson County where officials have seen a recent uptick in the virus, while some institutions, including TSU consider plans for fall opening, Inman says universities should limit in-person face-to-face interactions with faculty and staff, but require faculty and staff to provide digital, visual interactions. 

In May, TSU announced it was planning to start classes in the fall, but under additional safety protocols to protect the public health and safety of its students and employees. President Glenda Glover appointed a Fall Course Delivery Task Force to help develop the best strategy for classes this fall.

“We are evaluating and developing operational safety measures, best practices, and academic related logistical options to prepare for the return of students in the fall with the focus on the health and safety of the campus community,” President Glover said recently in a correspondence with TSU faculty and staff.  

Courtesy: TDH

“These measures will include the ongoing cleaning of campus facilities, the use of larger classrooms and hybrid in-person and online course presentations, and the implementation of appropriate social distancing standards.”

Like most higher education institutions across the country, TSU’s students completed the semester online and the majority of the university’s employees continue to work remotely.

Inman says as a part of a re-opening plan, and “to make a TSU education” even more special during COVID-19, the university should assess each student and each department for their ability to reach their students.

“Use COVID-19 resources to equip each faculty member with a cellular device, specifically to respond to student and university calls,” she says.

TSU is already implementing many of the things Inman proposes. Whether students are on campus or not, the university has taken steps to meet their needs. For those students who needed digital devices to complete their online coursework for the semester and summer, the university provided them with more than 40 laptops and tablets.

 
“TSU plans to phase in the reopening and return of its students,” says Dr. Curtis Johnson, Chief of Staff and head of the Fall Course Delivery Task Force. “we will be monitoring the virus, the number of people and areas impacted, and of course the university will do all due diligence to make it as safe as possible.”

TSU students say they appreciate the university’s effort to accommodate them, especially their instructors, but they acknowledge the distance learning has been challenging because of the absence of things like face-to-face interaction with their instructors. 

“We were able to go to their office, now it’s mainly emails,” says Rekha Berry, a senior from Mobile, Alabama, majoring in history and political science. “I definitely miss the face to face with instructors.”

For more on campus operations affected by the coronavirus, and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

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.

Virtual TSU Financial Aid Workshops Help New College Students Tap into Funding Resources

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – If you need money for college, one of the most important forms to complete is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Tennessee State University is making the process easier for prospective students and their parents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Glenda Glover speaks via Zoom to students and parents participating in the Virtual FAFSA Hour. (TSU Media Relations)

TSU is holding a series of “Virtual FAFSA Hour” workshops to meet students where they are and walk them through what can sometimes be an overwhelming task. This also includes making students and parents aware of potential scholarships and other incentives the university can offer to help offset college expenses. The event begins with greetings from TSU President Glenda Glover.

“Welcome to TSU, and good afternoon. I am thrilled and just so happy to greet all of you new TSU students who plan on coming this fall,” said TSU President Glenda Glover, who spoke via Zoom. “We just can’t wait to receive you with open arms. Right now, we are coming to you virtually. I know that there are some issues or questions concerning FAFSA. We are here to answer those questions.”

The virtual sessions allow new admitted students who have not done a FAFSA, and those who have not completed their financial aid file, to directly interact with financial aid counselors for assistance. The virtual workshop is also open to continuing students who have not renewed their FAFSA.

“This was really nice and different,” said Nicole Reese, who joined the call from her living room in Park Ford, Illinois, with her incoming freshman son, Gabriel Reese. Nicole has been through financial aid offices before with an older son, but “the experience was nothing like TSU.”

Tyeisha Weeks, who wants to study physical therapy, calls with a question from her bedroom in Chicago. (TSU Media Relations)

“We got a chance to sit face-to-face with these wonderful people, they were patient and knew what they were doing, we got all of our questions answered, and we got a chance to hear the president of the university. I am ready for my child to come to TSU.”

Gabriel agreed. “I do like TSU,” said the graduating senior from Rich East High School, who visited TSU several times when a cousin attended the university. “I thought their answers were very thorough and they were extremely helpful. I am very excited.”

Dr. Angela Bryant, Assistant Vice President for Financial Aid, responds to calls on the Virtual FAFSA Hour. (TSU Media Relations)

With a goal of reaching about 3,000 prospective students about completing their financial aid requirements, organizers say a stream of students and parents are calling in and taking advantage of the virtual financial aid workshops.

Financial aid officials said the Virtual FAFSA Hour, first of its kind at TSU, is intended to ensure that qualified students have access to all available funding sources, while remaining safe and secure in their home with their families amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In our efforts to keep everyone safe and adhering to the call to social distancing, it is a benefit for all of us to participate in the virtual opportunities TSU is offering,” said Dr. Angela Bryant, assistant vice president for financial aid. “With regard to financial aid specifically, what better way to  secure funding for fall 2021 than to take advantage of the FAFSA Hour. We are here to help these students meet their financial needs for school.”

 In addition to federal loan and assistance programs, TSU offers many different avenues of financial help to prospective students, including state, local and institutional grants or scholarship opportunities. These include the 250-Mile Radius Tuition Rate for students from high schools in surrounding states, the HOPE scholarship for Tennessee residents, the Academic High Achiever Scholarship, the TSU Academic Work Scholarship, the TSU Building Bridge Grant, and several others.

Diamond Parish, of Nashville, is an architectural engineering major and a returning freshman. She called in from her bedroom to resolve issues with her “TSU account.”

“In no time my issue was resolved, I got the answer I wanted,” said Parish, adding that she saw “very little” difference between her in-person experience in the financial aid office and the virtual call-in. “The way they were doing it, it felt like I was right next to them.”

Like Parish, Tyeisha Weeks, from Chicago, who wants to study physical therapy, also called in to the Virtual FAFSA Hour from her bedroom.  She had already sent in her form but was following up to make sure everything was in order. She was not disappointed.

“They were just so helpful,” said Weeks, a graduating senior from John Marshall Metropolitan High School in Chicago, who heard about TSU from alumni and from newspapers. “Everybody was very nice. They took us through the steps and they were very patient.”

Terrance Izzard, associate vice president for admissions and recruitment, said the series of virtual FAFSA workshops was intended to make it easy for students in the midst of travel restrictions.

“We are excited about you coming to Tennessee State University,” he told callers. “Our team in enrollment and financial aid work closely together to make sure we are here so you don’t get stuck in the process. We want to let you know that you are our priority.”

In addition to the “Virtual FAFSA Hour,” the Offices of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid have planned several other virtual workshops to help ease students’ transition during this pandemic.

For more information on financial aid at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/financial_aid/

Featured Photo: Nicole Reese, left, and her son Gabriel Reese call in from Park Ford, Illinois.

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 Launches Nation’s first COVID-19 Academy to continue support and recovery for Nashville families

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  Tennessee State University has long-term plans to continue outreach to Nashville families, especially underserved communities hit hardest from the novel coronavirus with the newly established COVID-19 Academy.  

President Glenda Glover

“TSU has established the COVID-19 Academy to continue efforts to help the Nashville community as it recovers from the pandemic,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “The academy will work to bridge the health care disparity for people of color that experts say will have a lasting impact for generations to come. This is being done through a holistic approach combining access to care, human services and education.” 

Glover says the academy will connect residents with health services, such as telehealth and telemedicine providers, food banks and pantries, as well as employment and educational resources. For its online and certificate learning component, the COVID-19 Academy will conduct webinars on outreach, community gardening and preparedness, workforce development, entrepreneurship and small business development, and continuing education for healthcare individuals. 

The Academy will also maintain a strong link with Nashville Nurtures, a food resources partnership between TSU and Mount Zion Baptist Church, under the auspices of the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, to serve the needs of the community.

Dr. Ronald Barredo

TSU alumna Oprah Winfrey recently awarded a $2 million grant to NashvilleNurtures through her charitable foundation to provide immediate relief to families needing food.

Ms. Winfrey said she was compelled to help because of how African-American communities are being disproportionally affected by the virus. She voiced her concern about the lack of access to healthcare, leading to a larger number of deaths and the economic toll on communities of color.

“The reason I’m talking about it is because there is going to be a need for people of means to step up, and you got those people right here in Nashville,” said Ms. Winfrey. “I mean, this thing is not going away. Even when the virus is gone.”

Agreeing with Winfrey, Glover said it was important that TSU continue to help families as they face uncertain futures due to the devastating impact of the virus and that’s being done with the newly created COVID-19 Academy at the university.

Dr. Ronald Barredo, dean of the College of Health Sciences and a member of the university’s task force on COVID-19, says the academy, which was launched recently, serves as an institutional response to the current pandemic.

“Among its various components, the Academy provides up-to-date information about the coronavirus and links not only to the metropolitan and Tennessee state governments, but also to pandemic-related information from recognized authorities and national agencies,” says Barredo.

Dr. Veronica Oates

Through the Department of Human Sciences in the College of Agriculture, the Academy provides links to resources in nutrition education and food safety, child development and parenting, emergency preparedness, youth development, community gardening and faith-based initiatives.

According to Dr. Veronica Oates, interim chair of the Department of Human Sciences and a member of the task force, in addition to child development and family care, food handling and management is another key area of emphasis for the Academy. 

“The idea is for restaurants and people who are in food service to actually be able to implement some of the new post-COVID-19 requirements and suggestions,” says Oates. “We could provide the type of expertise or consultation to help them with how they can actually run their businesses and make sure that they are safeguarding their employees and the public.”

Rita Fleming, assistant professor and extension specialist, adds that at a time when many Americans are worried about their ability to afford food or groceries due to the pandemic, the academy, through the TSU extension services, can help people stretch their food budget.

“Tennessee State Cooperative Extension has always been dedicated to serving current and future needs of Tennesseans by providing educational information and programs that safeguard health, increase livelihood, and enhance the well-being of community needs, “ says Fleming, a task force member.

Workforce development, another key part of the COVID-19 Academy’s certificate learning component, will use available resources at the university, such as the Career Development Center, and in the community to help meet the skills and employment needs of the people.

“The Career Development Center recognizes the unique employment needs of all individuals,” says Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of the center.  “We will serve as a gateway to offer career service resources to help assist in exploring different career options during these challenging and uncertain times.”

For more information on the COVID-19 Academy at Tennessee State University, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19academy/educationalresources.aspx

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 Thanks Healthcare Workers On the Frontlines Fighting COVID-19, Highlights National Nurses Week

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently showed its appreciation for frontline workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by gifting more than 2,500 potted African Violet plants to healthcare workers at several hospitals, clinics and other facilities in the Nashville metro area.

Each healthcare worker received an African Violet plant with a note thanking them for their effort on the frontline. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Representing TSU President Glenda Glover, the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Dr. Chandra Reddy, led a group of university officials and staff to deliver the plants to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers at Ascension Saint Thomas West, Select Specialty Hospital, Nashville General Hospital, Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Clinic, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The act of kindness was in recognition of National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

Each plant, decorated in a see-through shimmering plastic wrap, carried an inscription that said, “Thank you for being on the frontline for all of us.” They were donated through a partnership with Optimara, a horticulture company in Nashville.

“We just want to say thank you to nurses, doctors, medical technicians, and other hospital workers for risking their lives to save COVID-19 patients and the community,” Reddy said, as dozens of nurses, each observing required social distance, lined up at the main entrance at St. Thomas Went to receive a plant.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, talks to the media about TSU’s immense gratitude to the frontline workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“The African violet plant we are gifting is just a symbol of freshness and hope going forward in our fight against this pandemic.”

Samantha Straton, Chief Nursing Officer at Ascension Saint Thomas West, who received the TSU representatives, thanked the university and said the hospital staff was grateful for the gift.

“This is really meaningful for our frontline caregivers who have been working so hard through the COVID-19 pandemic, and it happens to be Nurses Week,” Straton said. “This is a great way to express appreciation for the hard work of all our nurses and frontline caregivers. We really value our relationship with TSU. We often have clinical students here at Ascension Saint Thomas West as well as  some of our other facilities. It is a great partnership and we really just want to say thank you.”

The Director of the BSN program at TSU,  Dr. Pinky Noble-Britton, was among those representing the university. Like Straton, Noble-Britton highlighted the “outstanding” partnership TSU has with medical facilities in Nashville.

Samantha Straton, left, Chief Nursing Officer at Ascension Saint Thomas West, joins Dr. Reddy, and Reinhold Holtkamp, Sr., President of Optimara, to present plants to the staff of the hospital. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“As a nurse and an educator, it’s heartwarming to see the community support, especially for the men and women on the frontlines providing care during this pandemic,” said Noble-Britton, who is also associate professor of nursing.

“We have a great nursing program and want to also thank St. Thomas West and all of the other hospitals and clinics, as well as Optimara for being such focused community partners with us.”

Reinhold Holtkamp, Sr., president of Optimara, said his company and TSU have had a long relationship in many areas.

“We have collaborated together for many years with the College of Agriculture, and they have given us a lot of support,” Holtkamp said. “So, when we had the opportunity to work together on this sign of friendship for our frontline workers together, we immediately ceased that moment.”

TSU is currently accepting applications for the traditional BSN program. For information on the program, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/nursing/bachelor.aspx

For information on the TSU College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s World-Renowned Aristocrat of Bands Names New Leaders as Group Prepares for 2021 Tournament of Roses

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands prepares for its historic appearance in the Tournament of Roses in January, the marching band has announced a new lineup of drum majors.

Julien Dooley, the only returning drum major, will lead the “Fantastic 4” in 2020-2021. (Submitted photo)

The new “Fantastic 4,” as they are called, were announced at the AOB’s recent virtual banquet, which also recognized outgoing drum majors who are part of the 2020 TSU graduating class. Julian Dooley, a senior communications major from Decatur, Georgia, who will lead the new Fantastic 4, is the only returning member. Joining him are Justen Ramsey, rising junior, health science, from Atlanta; Travion  Crutcher, rising junior , mechanical engineering, from Huntsville, Alabama; and Cameron Brown, senior, mass communications major from Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands, congratulated the new Fantastic 4, and paid special tribute to the outgoing members for their accomplishments and service to the university.

“I thank you for your love, service, hard work, dedication and loyalty to the Fantastic 4, the Aristocrat of Bands and Tennessee State University,” McDonald said. “Congratulations on your accomplishment in earning your degrees. We wish you the very best in all of your future endeavors.”

Justin Ramsey, Drum Major No. 2

 The outgoing drum majors, who will receive their bachelor’s degrees in various disciplines at the August 1 commencement ceremonies are Hassan Moody, from Decatur, Georgia, business administration; Cole Gilbert, from Jonesboro, Georgia, health science; and Xavier Ellis, from Stone Mountain, Georgia, criminal Justice.

At the virtual banquet, the AOB also announced captains for the Sophisticated Ladies, Royal Elegance, and section leaders for the instrumentalist.

In March, the world-renowned AOB received official invitation to participate in the 2021 Rose Bowl Parade on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, California. Dr. Robert B. Miller, president and chairman of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, came to TSU to personally present the band with the official tournament flag and invitation.

Travion Crutcher, Drum Major No.3

The AOB will be one of only four university bands nationwide to participate in the parade, with a domestic television audience of more than 38 million.

“Only the best of the best are invited  and the Aristocrat of Bands is one of them,” Miller said in the Gentry Complex, amid thunderous cheers from university officials, relatives, former band members, and Mr. and Miss TSU and their royal court.

Cailyn Sparks, a member of the AOB Sophisticated Ladies Dance Line, called the Rose Bowl Parade invitation “an opportunity of a life time.”

“I am glad my mom and dad and maybe some other family members will be there,” said Sparks, a junior elementary education major from Phenix City, Alabama, who will be going to California for the first time. “I am extremely excited about going to the Rose Bowl and excited to be there with my family.”

Cameron Brown, Drum Major No. 4

McDonald added, “If you know anything about parades in this country, the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy’s Parade are numbers one and two,” he said. “To have either one of those parades on your performance as a portfolio, says a lot about your band program.”

In addition to the Tournament of Roses invitation, receiving the Best Band ranking, and a record ninth appearance at Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational, the AOB is enjoying a stellar year of achievements and accolades. In April 2019, during the NFL Draft in the Music City, the AOB were featured on the nationally syndicated ESPN sports talk show, First Take; the band received a shout out from pop star Lizzo for the band’s rendition of her “Truth Hurts” medley. In January 2019, percussionists from the band performed in the Rose Parade. They were also featured performers at the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons’ 2019 home opener.

For more information on the AOB, visit http://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

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Congratulations Class of 2020

Congratulations to the nearly 700 Tennessee State University undergraduates and graduates! Wishing you continued success as you showcase TSU’s Big Blue excellence to the world. Class of 2020: 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Food Distribution Brings Relief to Hundreds of Families in North Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)- A drive-thru food distribution at Tennessee State University on Saturday offered relief to hundreds of residents in the Nashville metro area.

About 200 volunteers, wearing masks, gloves and maintaining the required social distance, showed up to help distribute food to about 500 families. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Second Harvest Food Bank, along with TSU and One Generation Away, hosted the contact-free, mobile food pantry distribution outside the TSU indoor practice facility for anyone experiencing hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the aftermath of the March 3 tornado. No registration was required.

Organizers say TSU offered one of the best locations for the food distribution, as more than 500 families were served. Cars lined up from Walter S. Davis Boulevard onto the campus, and up to the Olympic statue. Drivers were directed to the indoor practice facility parking lot and exited on Schrader Lane.

“COVID-19 has caused a lot of challenges to various communities and we want to make sure that when and where TSU can, that we help the community during this pandemic,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s chief of staff. “Partnering with various entities in the community is one way to help with some of the challenges that we are facing. They had a need and TSU had a space that was best configured in a manner to best serve the need.”

TSU alum Sherrie McGuire, left, and her daughter, Makenzie McGuire, were among the volunteers who participated in the food distribution on Saturday. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Chris Whitney, founder of One Generation Away, a Franklin, Tennessee-Based food ministry, said the ministry conducts about 40 food pantries in Tennessee a year at different locations, mainly in church parking lots.

“We are so grateful to TSU for allowing us to be here today,” Whitney said. “We were looking at somewhere off Clarksville Pike to serve the North Nashville community after the tornado but with the pandemic, we needed a larger parking lot and we thought TSU would be an ideal location.”

About 200 volunteers, wearing masks, gloves and maintaining the required social distance, showed up to arrange tables, unpack boxes, fill grocery bags, and load food into the trunks of cars, as each family drove up. Among the volunteers were Sherrie McGuire, a TSU alum, and her daughter, Makenzie McGuire.

“Service is one of the core values that TSU instilled in us, and that’s what we are doing here today,” said Sherrie, a teacher at Donaldson Christian Academy, who earned a bachelor’s degree in social work at TSU in 1995. Donaldson Christian Academy was damaged during the tornado, which destroyed several buildings on TSU’s agricultural farm. 

“It’s been a double whammy for my family,” added Sherrie. “We were hit with the tornado on March 3rd,  with a lot of damage then you add COVID-19 to it. A lot of people are hurting. So, I am glad to be back at my school to help serve.”

Sherrie’s daughter, Mackenzie, a senior at Donaldson Academy, who has been a volunteer with One Generation Away since she was about 6 years old, agreed.

“Suffering through the tornado and then the pandemic is just unimaginable,” said Makenzie, who wants to study nursing to become a neonatal nurse practitioner. “So, it is just good to get out and help in the community.”

Grant Winrow, special assistant to TSU President Glenda Glover, who helped to coordinate the distribution on the TSU campus, said it is a wonderful opportunity for the university to partner with “anyone in the community that’s trying to do something philanthropic” for the citizens of Nashville.

“We are just a family here at TSU,” he said. “So, I think it is an opportunity for us to open up our resources to be able to assist anyway we can.”

Winrow credits former Metro Councilman Lonnell Matthews Jr., a TSU alum, with also helping to coordinate the food distribution at TSU.

TSU also runs a food pantry for students facing temporary hardships. When campus is opened, donations to the Tiger Pantry can be dropped off at the Ralph H. Boston Wellness Center located next to the Gentry Center Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. –  5 p.m.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.CHERYL

TSU and Kroger lend helping hand to students remaining on campus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU students still living on campus who could use some extra help with food and snacks, recently got help from the university and Kroger, the nation’s second largest general retailer.

Melissa Eads, Corporate Affairs Manager for Kroger Nashville (Submitted Photo)

In a partnership with the Tiger Pantry at TSU, Kroger donated 60 $25-gift cards to the university for students who did not leave campus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are tremendously excited about how community partners such as Kroger continue to show support for our students,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students.


“This donation will help some of our most vulnerable student population who have limited options. We will continue to seek out opportunities to help students navigate this very different learning environment.”

On March 16, TSU transitioned to online classes as a precaution to contracting COVID-19, and subsequently asked all students to go home. However, about 70 students who could not go home for various reasons, asked to stay on campus. These students continue to receive living resources from the university, including meals if they have a meal plan for the semester.

One of them is Sparrow Haynes, a senior, who is also a resident assistant. He said “it has been a struggle” to work and transition to online courses and deal with the pandemic at the same time.

“I would like to thank Kroger and TSU for this gift card during this time,” said Haynes, a health science major from Nashville. “This gift card will really help me to get some snacks and food so I can eat good while preparing to finish strong this semester.”

Melissa Eads, corporate affairs manager for Kroger Nashville, said her company is happy to partner with TSU to help students during this difficult time.

“Through our ‘Zero Hunger Zero Waste’ plan, we are focused on supporting efforts that provide food to those who may be struggling to make ends meet,” Eads said.   “We appreciate TSU and their work to meet the needs of their students.”

Iris Ramey, TSU’s associate vice president for corporate partnership and strategic initiative, said the university is grateful to Kroger for the gift cards during “this unprecedented time.”

“Kroger has always been a dedicated benefactor to Tennessee State University, and for this, we are very thankful,” Ramey said.

For more information on corporate partnerships and strategic initiatives, and how to secure philanthropic support to TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/partnerships/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.CHERYL

Bright Lights of Hollywood on (the) Horizon For TSU Sophomore As Actor, Filmmaker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When it came time for Robert Spicer to select a university after high school,  he had only one place in mind, The Land of Golden Sunshine. Former students had already flooded the young Chicagoan’s mind with words of how wonderful it is to be a Tiger.

Robert Spicer

“To get me ready, I spoke to several people who were alums of TSU; all spoke so highly of their experiences,” says Spicer, a sophomore mass communication major at TSU. “I would hear statements like, ‘There is no other university like TSU’ and ‘TSU will change your life.’”

True to what he heard, Spicer says his life has really changed in the less than two years he has been at TSU. He says the university offers a sense of “community and family,” with everyone trying to “lend a hand and help you.”

“This is a wonderful place. From the professors to the administrators and students, this place is family. I am very much at home here, and I have no regrets for coming here,” he says.

A film and television enthusiast, Spicer has received many opportunities at TSU to connect with top artists and individuals in the film industry. In October, filmmaker Deon Taylor – known for movies like “Black and Blue,” “The Intruder,” “Meet the Blacks,” and “Traffik” – came to TSU and taught a master class to students as part of the International Black Film Festival.

In high school, Spicer was an academic standout at Chicago’s Mount Carmel High School, where he performed in many theater productions. He believes his fast-learning ability and commitment to be the best will help him succeed at TSU. And, he’s already on his way.

With a near 3.7 grade point average, Spicer has remained on the Dean’s List since arriving at TSU. He is a member of the Honors College, and the National Society of Leadership and Success, the nation’s largest leadership honor society.

Professors and advisors say Spicer demonstrates outstanding leadership, and takes on every task he is given with a great work ethic and a desire to learn.

“Robert is an amazing young man that I have had the pleasure of knowing since he arrived on campus,” says Karen Russell, assistant professor in the College of Liberal Arts and advisor to Spicer.

“In just his short time here, he has proven to be not only a leader in the classroom but a leader among his peers.  There are many great things in store for this young man,” adds Russell.

As he completes his sophomore year, Spicer says he plans to delve more into his major, with the hope of securing internships with major production companies. His goal is to make it big in acting and film production. The first in his family to attend a historically black university, Spicer says the experience gives him an edge in his future career.

“Although many from my family have obtained college degrees, I would be the first to attend and complete an education at an HBCU,” says Spicer. “I am truly grateful for my time and experiences at TSU.  It has and will continue to shape who I am as a person.”

For more information on the Mass Communications program at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/Communications/mass_communication.aspx

Department of Media Relations

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

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.