Category Archives: Athletics

TSU joins Secretary of State, other universities, in hosting voter registration tailgates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is doing its part to get people registered to vote during National Voter Registration Month. The university, along with Tennessee’s eight other Division I Public Universities, is working with the Secretary of State’s office to hold a voter registration drive during the tailgate before a home football game at each school. 

Secretary of State Tre Hargett participates in a student-led voter education and registration rally at TSU last September. (TSU Media Relations)

TSU is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18, when the Tigers take on Kentucky State.

“Like most Tennesseans, we love college football and the excitement of game day,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett, who participated in a student-led voter education and registration rally at TSU last September.

“These Voter Registration Tailgates are the perfect opportunity for us to show students and fans how easy it is to register to vote in Tennessee so that they can get in the game and make their voice heard on Election Day.”

The Voter Registration Tailgates kicked off on Sept. 11 at Tennessee Tech University, East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Voter Registration Tailgates will continue at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and TSU on Sept. 18; the University of Memphis on Saturday, Sept. 25; and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Middle Tennessee State University and Austin Peay State University on Saturday, Oct. 2.

At each tailgate, students and football fans will be guided through the registration process in minutes using the Secretary of State’s fast, easy and secure online voter registration system, GoVoteTN.gov. They will also be able to get their questions about Tennessee’s easy voting process answered by local election officials.

The Secretary of State’s office is working with students, university leadership and staff, athletic departments, student government associations, campus civic engagement organizations and local county election commissions to host the Voter Registration Tailgates.

The Voter Registration Tailgates are part of the Secretary of State’s ongoing efforts to help all eligible Tennesseans register to vote and are one of the many initiatives the office is carrying out in celebration of National Voter Registration Month.

For more information about registering to vote in Tennessee, go to GoVoteTN.gov or call the Division of Elections toll-free at 1-877-850-4959.

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.

More than 1,300 first-time freshmen move into residence halls at TSU, biggest enrollment increase in five years

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Khalil Davidson dreamed of attending a historically black college or university. But not just any HBCU. The Falls Church, Virginia, native set his sights on Tennessee State University, and now he’s a Big Blue Tiger.

TSU President Glenda Glover, and Frank Stevenson, Associate VP for Student Affairs, tell a local reporter that everything is being done to ensure adequate accommodation for the record number of new students. (TSU Media Relations)

On Aug. 10, the incoming freshman, his dad Edward Davidson, Jr., and little brother Chaz Thomas, packed the family car – with all of Khalil’s belongings in tow – and made the nearly 10-hour trek to Nashville to check the business major into his dorm room at TSU. Also, on the trip were sister Aasia Davidson and cousin, Mason Scott. 

“I am excited,” Khalil said, as he received the keys to his new residence in Watson Hall. “I always wanted to attend an HBCU because of the culture, and TSU’s good business program just stood out. It was an easy decision.” 

Incoming freshman Khalil Davidson, second from left, arrives at TSU, fulfilling his dream of attending an HBCU. He was accompanied by his father, Edward Davidson, left; sister Aasia Davidson; cousin Mason Scott; and little brother Chaz Thomas, front left. (TSU Media Relations)

It was move-in day at TSU, when first-time freshmen began checking into their residence halls. This year, TSU saw a big increase in enrollment, as more than 1,300 first-time freshmen – the highest in recent years – moved in. The move was held over three days to ensure adequate spacing due to the pandemic. The high enrollment posed an unprecedented demand for housing, but the university said it had completed nearly 97 percent of requests, and all students would have housing by the beginning of classes on August 16, or shortly afterward.  

TSU President Glenda Glover, who was on hand greeting students, parents, and relatives, called the influx an “exciting time” for the university. 

Curtis Ford, left, leads a large group of family members to drop off his daughter, J’da (second from left), who will major in communications. (TSU Media Relations)

“It is a historical moment for us to see so many first-year students and returning students,” said Glover, who helped students unload their luggage. “We are glad that we have arrived at such a monumental place in TSU’s history. We can assure all parents that their children are in good hands.”

J’da Ford, of Memphis, Tennessee, checked into Wilson Hall accompanied by a large group of family members that included her grandmother, father, mom, big sister, and a little sister.

“TSU has a great performing arts program, and I always wanted to stay close to home,” said Ford, who will major in communications. “I have a few relatives that have come here, and I know a lot of alumni who spoke highly of the school. Although I am a little nervous about leaving home, I am excited to be here.”

Yvette Mood, of Charlotte, North Carolina, consoles her younger daughter, Makayla Mood, who is sad about her older sister, Amere’ Eadie (in the back), going away for college. (TSU Media Relations)

Curtis Ford, J’da’s father, said he is not nervous about his daughter leaving home. 

“We like to kick our birds out of the nest so they can fly,” he said. “I trust that she will do well.” 

Also checking into Wilson Hall was Amere’ Eadie, who made the overnight drive from Charlotte, North Carolina, with 7-year-old sister Makayla Mood and their mother, Yvette Mood, sharing the ride.

Like many of the new freshmen, Eadie said she chose TSU because of the HBCU culture. And, that message was clear, as she and her mother sported T-shirts with TSU blue and bold “HBCU” inscriptions. 

“I wanted to expand and know where I was from and not just stay in a bubble my whole life,” said Eadie, who will major in criminal justice. “For TSU, after looking at some things online and doing some research, it looked like just the place I want to be.” 

President Glover hangs out with a group of student volunteers helping with the new freshman move-in. (TSU Media Relations)

Eadie’s mom, Yvette Mood, said she knows her daughter has a great future and is ready to see her pursue her dreams. “She is ready. She is determined and driven, so I know she will do well,” said Mood. 

But little sister Makayla Mood was not having any of it. She was not ready to see her sister leave. “I am sorry she is leaving,” she said, nearly sobbing.

Despite the pandemic, which disrupted many of the university’s academic, cultural, and social activities, officials are excited about the increased enrollment and normal return to educational activities. The university will be open and fully operational for the fall 2021-22 academic year, with continued enforcement of federal and state health and safety regulations. 

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students, said, “This is a really exciting time to have this level of uptick of students who are ready to be back on campus. We have a lot of things planned for the campus and I think our first-time freshmen are going to see the energy and excitement of this campus.”

Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Admissions and Recruitment, added: “Today begins the journey for one of the largest classes in the history of the university. We know they will leave a legacy here at TSU.”

Many volunteers, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni helped with the move-in by unloading and loading luggage, manning water stations, directing traffic, and performing other activities to ease the newcomers’ transition. Churches, vendors, and TSU partners like Fifth Third Bank, Turner Construction, the Army National Guard, Predators, Regions Bank, and American Job Center, set up tents and tables to give out snacks, water, and other goodies. 

For more information on admissions at TSU, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/.

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 trailblazing educator and President Emeritus Dr. Frederick S. Humphries

By Lucas Johnson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Frederick Stephen Humphries, President Emeritus of Tennessee State University and Florida A&M University, is being remembered as a stalwart of higher education and staunch advocate for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Former TSU President Frederick S. Humphries receives a special Presidential Recognition from President Glenda Glover at the 2017 Scholarship Gala. (TSU Media Relations)

The trailblazing educator, who was TSU’s fourth president, passed away on June 24 at the age of 85. Humphries remained close to TSU and continued his financial support of the institution. In 2017, President Glenda Glover presented him with a Special Presidential Recognition during TSU’s homecoming.

“Dr. Humphries was a stalwart of higher education, and more importantly a staunch advocate for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs),” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “He demanded that HBCUs have their rightful place as leading institutions and this was evident during his leadership of the historic merger of the University of Tennessee at Nashville and TSU.”

Humphries grew up in the small town of Apalachicola, Florida, where he attended the all-black Wallace M. Quinn High School and was one of only nine graduates in the class of 1953. There, undoubtedly, the seed was planted for the greatness he would achieve in education.

Humphries realized his abilities, and never looked back. Following high school, he enrolled at Florida A&M University and went on to earn the Bachelor of Science degree magna cum laude in chemistry in 1957. He was also a distinguished military science graduate, and reportedly the first black officer to be commissioned into the Army Security Agency (Army Intelligence Branch). After serving in the Army for two years, Humphries entered the University of Pittsburgh in 1959 as a teaching assistant in chemistry, became a graduate research fellow the next year, and earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1964, the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in that discipline from the University of Pittsburgh.

In 1974, Humphries was named president of Tennessee State University. While at TSU, his excellent administration skills resulted in recruitment of top faculty, better academic programs, increased enrollment and quality of students, and expanded scholarships and support activities.

During his time at TSU, Humphries, who was quite vocal during the landmark court case, insisted on the predominance of TSU over UTN. This ultimately led to the merger of TSU and UTN, with TSU becoming the surviving institution. Historians say the posture and eloquence of Humphries in court is largely held as being responsible for the court decision, along with the presentation of attorney Avon Williams, and the efforts of Tennesseans for Justice in Higher Education. Between 1980 and 1985, Humphries and his staff gave leadership to the merged TSU, and began serving an increasingly larger portion of the Nashville community.

Humphries went on to become president of Florida A&M University in 1985, where he excelled for six years, gaining increased recognition on the state, national, and international levels. Florida A&M later conferred upon him the President Emeritus title.

Humphries was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the American Association of Higher Education, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, and the American Association of Minority Research Universities, just to name a few.

His honors and awards include the Drum Major for Justice Award in Education by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; President’s Award for Excellence in Higher Education by 100 Black Men of America, Inc.; Leadership Grant by the Prudential Life Insurance Company of America Foundation; and many others. Among Humphries’ most memorable awards are the Distinguished Alumnus Award presented by the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh; the United Bicentennial Medal of Distinction by the University of Pittsburgh on its 200th anniversary; the Thurgood Marshall Educational Achievement Award by Johnson Publishing Company for the most outstanding contributions to education; and “Floridian of the Year” by the Orlando Sentinel, the first African American to be honored with this award

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.

Former TSU trustee Bill Freeman donates $300,000 to support the university’s football program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Former Tennessee State University Trustee Bill Freeman has donated $300,000 toward the university’s football program. The donation comes on the heels of former all pro Tennessee Titan Eddie George recently being named TSU’s new head football coach. 

Bill Freeman

Freeman, chairman of Freeman Webb Company, said he is excited about everything TSU is doing under President Glenda Glover to elevate the football program at the university. A member of the initial reconstituted TSU Board of Trustees, Freeman served two terms before stepping down about a year ago. In 2015 and 2016, Freeman and his family donated a total of $275,000 to various programs at TSU.  

“I am excited about everything Dr. Glover is doing at Tennessee State University,” Freeman said. “I am equally excited about Eddie George. This is a great time for the university going forward. I am happy to assist with the continued growth and development of the university. Babs and my decades long commitment to TSU is evident. ” 

Dr. Mikki Allen, TSU’s director of athletics, said the university is “extremely grateful to Mr. Freeman for his generosity” to the school, especially the football program.  

“This type of leadership gift shows Mr. Freeman’s commitment for making an impact in the lives of our student-athletes,” Allen said. “This transformational gift will continue the momentum that we have in our football program and move us forward in our pursuit of winning the Ohio Valley Conference and FCS national championships.”  

George, who was appointed head football coach on April 13, said Freeman’s gift will “help transform our football student-athlete spaces and enhance the value of the players’ experience in the football program.”  

“Our players and staff are thankful for Mr. Freeman’s financial commitment to Tiger Football, and we are looking forward to finishing these spaces for our student-athletes,” George added.  

Jamie Isabel, TSU’s associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, Corporate Relations and Foundation, and a friend of Freeman, received the gift from the Nashville businessman.   

“I am excited to have received this large donation from Freeman Webb and its chairman, my friend, Bill Freeman,” Isabel said. “Bill, his company, and his family are the first to make such a large donation to the new era of TSU football. As a former TSU board member, Bill’s interest is very much noted in his gift.”  

To donate to the TSU Foundation, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/foundation/  

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.

Feasibility study explores possibility of TSU becoming first HBCU to have men’s, women’s hockey teams

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University could become the first historically-black institution to have varsity men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. A feasibility study is exploring the possibility that would also make the university the first in the state to establish a program in Tennessee. TSU, in partnership with the National Hockey League, Nashville Predators and College Hockey Inc., is hoping the study will be a favorable one, leading to the historic expansion of intercollegiate athletics.

“The idea of establishing a collegiate hockey program at TSU is a tremendous opportunity as the nation’s first HBCU to take on this endeavor,” said President Glenda Glover. “This allows us to expand the sport, increase diversity, and introduce a new fan base.”

“Our partnership with the Nashville Predators and Sean Henry continues to cultivate groundbreaking programs that will have a lasting impact on the University and our students. We are appreciative for the leadership from the National Hockey League and NCAA College Hockey Inc. in helping to lay the foundation for this process with hopes of bringing college hockey to TSU.”

Since 2017, the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association have sponsored feasibility studies to U.S. colleges and universities that are interested in exploring the addition of NCAA D-I Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey to their athletic offerings. The study helps guide the schools through the planning, processes, and requisites for establishing a varsity hockey program. This project was launched to aid the development of high-level hockey across the United States, which will provide more opportunities for elite players, access and exposure to new families, and new facilities.

The feasibility study will answer questions about how viable is hockey at TSU, and what needs to happen to put teams on the ice.

“Despite the absence of a Division-I Hockey program, the state is filled with talented prospective student-athletes that could build a winning program at Tennessee State University,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Mikki Allen.

“We are extremely excited about the prospect of adding men’s and women’s ice hockey to our athletics programs. Having the support of the Nashville Predators and the NHL is truly phenomenal and it speaks to the commitment that these two organizations have to growing the game of hockey.”

Over the last decade, Middle Tennessee has seen the second-highest percentage increase in youth hockey in the United States. In the past six years alone, there have been four new facilities – and seven sheets of ice – that have been built or are in the process of being built in Middle Tennessee.

“Taking this initial step with Tennessee State University, led by their ambitious and visionary leadership, awakens thought on potential playing opportunities, new facilities, and new avenues to watch live hockey, all driven by an HBCU and NHL club in the heart of Nashville. This could be a game-changer.” said Kevin Westgarth, Vice President Hockey Development and Strategic Collaboration at NHL.

“The passion and vision of President Glover, Dr. Allen and all of Tennessee State University’s leadership in pushing to make hockey a more diverse and inclusive sport through this feasibility study is both inspiring and humbling,” said Nashville Predators President and CEO Sean Henry.

“Through their passion and track record they will be able to create another success story for other schools and communities to chase and ideally emulate. Pair that with our incredible community, our fan base and wealth of community corporate partners and we will collectively take SMASHVILLE and our sport to new heights because of their pursuit of excellence on all fronts.”

Last year, TSU and the Predators partnered to promote student success through scholarships for retention, along with educational and employment opportunities. Jamie Isabel, TSU’s associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, Corporate Relations and Foundations, facilitated the partnership. Isabel said the college hockey teams would benefit the city of Nashville.

“This relationship is certainly indicative of the commitment to the city of Nashville and support of the community by Mr. Herb Fritch, board chair and its members, and Sean Henry, President and CEO and staff,” said Isabel. The former metro councilman added, “Each and every time we called the Predators they showed up.”

The Predators’ partnership with TSU falls in line with the National Hockey League’s “Hockey Is For Everyone” initiative, and the Predators’ effort to create positive change with their GUIDER (Growth, Understanding, Inclusion, Diversity, Equality and Representation) initiative, founded with the objective of diminishing the prevalence of social injustice.

Results from the feasibility study are expected late fall.

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.

Tennessee State University names former All Pro TN Titan and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George Head Football Coach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Looking to take the program to the next level, Tennessee State University has named Eddie George as head football coach. TSU director of athletics Dr. Mikki Allen made the announcement Tuesday as George was introduced to the Tiger family. 

New TSU head football coach Eddie George (center) with President Glenda Glover and Athletics Director Mikki Allen. (Photo by Emanuel Roland)

“Eddie George has been a winner in every facet of the game, and we look forward to him bringing that same commitment to our players and having it translate into winning on and off the field,” said Allen. “We are excited to have him join us and lead the next chapter of our storied football program.” 

“I am excited about being named head coach at Tennessee State University,” said George. “I thank Dr. Glover, Dr. Allen, and each of you for the confidence you have placed in me.”

“All I have done has prepared me for this moment, whether that’s my football career, my entrepreneurial endeavors, my acting career.”

“Coaching is a full commitment, a duty of service. I take that seriously. I’ve done a lot of soul searching and due diligence. The more I thought about it, I got more and more excited about it. It was like picking up an old guitar or getting back on a bike, it’s familiar but in a different capacity.”

“It’s exciting. I’m going to be innovative, creative and fun.” 

President Glenda Glover called it a great day for the university and looks forward to working with Eddie George as he sustains a successful football program. 

“For decades, TSU has always made bold and strategic hires within our athletic programs that laid the foundation for our storied success in sports,” commented Glover. “Eddie George, with the resources he will bring to TSU, is the right choice and investment for the future of the TSU football program and the TSU community.” 

The celebrated former NFL star will make an announcement regarding his coaching staff in the coming days. 

George played college football for The Ohio State University and won the Heisman in 1995. That season, his senior year, George rushed for a school record 1,927 yards and 24 touchdowns, an average of 148.23 yards per game, while also catching 47 passes for 417 yards and another score. He left Ohio State second in school history in career rushing yards (3,768) and third in rushing touchdowns (44). The Philadelphia native finished with 4,284 all-purpose yards, 45 touchdowns, and a 5.5 yards per carry average. 

In 1996, George was the first-round draft selection of the then-Houston Oilers. He won the NFL Rookie of the Year award that same year and was the Oilers/Titans’ starting tailback through 2003, never missing a start. He made the Pro Bowl four consecutive years (1997–2000), and assisted the Titans to a championship appearance in Super Bowl XXXIV, where he scored two touchdowns in the loss to the St. Louis Rams 23-16. 

Eddie George addresses questions from media at Tuesday’s press conference. (Photo by Emanuel Roland)

George is only the second NFL running back to rush for 10,000 yards while never missing a start, joining Jim Brown. Only Walter Payton (170) started more consecutive regular season games than George’s 130. 

In 2004, George signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys where he started eight games and finished the season with 432 yards and four touchdowns. He officially retired in 2006. 

George’s career totals include 10,441 rushing yards, 268 receptions, 2,227 receiving yards, and 78 touchdowns (68 rushing and 10 receiving). 

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.

NBA star, TSU alum Robert Covington awards $25K scholarships to two student athletes at his alma mater

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two Tennessee State University student athletes will each receive a $25,000 scholarship thanks to NBA star and TSU alum Robert Covington.

He made the announcement during the recent NBA All-Star weekend in Atlanta. The scholarship recipients are Nashville, Tennessee, junior Micahlea Njie (VB) and Michael Thompson (track), a junior from Miami, Florida.

Covington graduated from Tennessee State University in 2013 with a degree in Exercise Science while finishing his college basketball career ranked seventh on Tennessee State’s all-time list in both scoring (1,749 points) and rebounding (876). 

The Portland Trail Blazers forward is currently the only NBA player to have graduated from an historically black college or university. Covington sported a TSU jersey when he competed in the All-Star skills competition.

In November, he gifted TSU with a donation for a construction project to enhance the university’s basketball program. The facility, to be called the “Covington Pavilion,” will have two practice courts, locker rooms and offices for the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

The gift is the largest of that magnitude to an HBCU by a former athlete who was a product of its program. During the announcement of the gift, Covington talked about the impact of attending TSU, an HBCU.

“This university (TSU) has molded me, gave me the foundation and helped me play with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I wouldn’t change it for nothing. I’m a walking product of a kid that went to an HBCU and created a narrative for myself. I feel like now is the time for change and progression all around. I’m in a great place to give back to the place that shaped who I am – not only as an athlete but as a man. “

This year, as part of NBA All-Star 2021, the league and the players’ association  committed more than $2.5 million in funds and resources toward HBCUs.

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.

Yamiche Alcindor, renowned journalist and White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour, will give the address at TSU’s virtual fall commencement Nov. 28

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Yamiche Alcindor, a renowned journalist and White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, will deliver the commencement address when Tennessee State University holds its second virtual graduation ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 28.

The fall commencement will begin at 9 a.m. and will be livestreamed on the TSU homepage (www.tnstate.edu), YouTube (www.tnstate.edu/youtube) and Facebook (www.tnstate.edu/facebook).

More than 700 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines. 

Alcindor, noted for telling stories about the “intersection of race and politics,” has directly questioned President Donald Trump a number of times on a range of issues, including the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on black people and communities of color, the protests following the death of George Floyd, and the consequences of the President’s immigration policies. 

A contributor for NBC and MSNBC, Alcindor often appears on a number of shows, including “Morning Joe,” “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” and “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd. She previously worked as a national political reporter for The New York Times, where she covered the presidential campaigns of Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), as well as Congress. She also wrote about the impact of President Trump’s policies on working class people and people of color. 

Before joining The Times, Alcindor was a national breaking news reporter for USA Today and traveled across the country to cover stories, including the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut., the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, and the police-related protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore. 

In 2020, the White House Correspondents’ Association named Alcindor the recipient of the Aldo Beckman Award for Overall Excellence in White House Coverage, and the National Association of Black Journalists named her Journalist of the Year. She has also been honored with the Gwen Ifill Next Generation Award by Simmons University. 

A native of Miami, Florida, Alcindor holds a master’s degree in broadcast news and documentary filmmaking from New York University, and a bachelor’s in English, government and African American studies from Georgetown University. 

Department of Media Relations

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

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

TSU using technology, innovative incentives to curb coronavirus spread among students and staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – College campuses across the country are using creative ways to battle the latest surge of the coronavirus. At Tennessee State University – with one of the lowest number of cases among Tennessee colleges – officials are using technology and offering incentives to students to help curb the spread of the virus among the campus population. 

Healthcare personnel say students are proactive and anxious about coming into the health center to register to be tested for the coronavirus. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

The university has stepped up its rapid testing, encourages students to do more contact tracing using a new software, and has set up electronic temperature checks around campus. Tigers Mask Up, an initiative that offers students discount cash coupons for observing proper protocols, has also been introduced. Additionally, the university encourages free discussion of the virus among students and staff. 

“It is not a taboo to talk about cases and persons who are experiencing symptoms. The open discussion helps,” says Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and head of the TSU Coronavirus Pandemic task force. 

He says the Tigers Mask Up initiative, introduced by the task force, is intended to recognize the efforts of students who go the “extra mile” to ensure compliance. 

TSU introduces a mobile app for contact tracing among the campus population.

“The task force monitors what’s going on and makes recommendations to modify activities when necessary or initiate efforts to move us ahead, and so far, our efforts are paying off,” Johnson says. 

A New York Times survey of more than 1,700 colleges and universities shows more than 214,000 cases and 75 deaths (mostly college employees) since the pandemic began, with Tennessee colleges accounting for 6,540 of those cases.  Since TSU reopened for the fall with hybrid learning, the university has reported less than 75 cases, with mostly mild to no symptoms and no hospitalization. 

Johnson and others attribute TSU’s low number to the university’s vigilance with testing and students’ overall cooperation with protocols put in place to keep them safe. The TSU Student Health Center is averaging between 50-100 students who come in per day to be tested. 

Tigers Mask Up initiative recognizes the efforts of students who go the “extra mile” to ensure compliance. 

Dana Humphrey, head nurse of the Student Health Center, says testing is going very well and students are very open to coming in to get tested. 

“The kids are really engaged and trying to come and get tested,” she says. “They are proactive and really anxious about follow-ups and making sure they are healthy.” 

Frequent testing is widely encouraged among the student population. In fact, the Aristocrat of Bands, and all sports program on campus have made testing mandatory for their members. Band members are required to test once a week if they live on campus, and twice a week if they live off campus. Members of all sports programs are required to test once a week. 

Kristian Davis, a freshman biology major from Birmingham, Alabama; and Terriana Holt, a senior human performance sports science major, have tested a combined 15 times. Davis was positive on her first test and went into mandatory quarantine. She says she came into contact with someone who was positive. Davis has since been cleared. 

“I have been tested six times,” she says. “I tested positive and went into isolation for two weeks. The staff was really nice, making sure I had everything I needed. I am glad TSU is making sure we are safe.” 

For Holt, a member of the AOB, where she plays the trumpet, the experience with frequent testing “is no sweat,” she says. 

“I really don’t mind because it is for my health and for the health of my fellow band members and the health of the school in general,” says Holt, who has tested nine times. “I see it as just a precaution.” 

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, says students who test positive for COVID-19 are placed in an area identified as IQ, or isolation and quarantine zone where they receive “round the clock” service, including a health professional, meal service delivered three times a day, laundry service, and medication if needed. 

“We have had great success managing students who have tested positive in providing a safe and comfortable space for them to be in while they go through their time period mandated by the CDC,” says Stevenson. “We’ve had a couple of students who were taken to the hospital for checkup, but none have been admitted or hospitalized. For the most part, 95 percent of the students that we’ve encountered have had very mild to no symptoms.” 

Dr. William Hytche, assistant vice president of students affairs, manages activities in the IQ zone. He says students with positive cases are put in quarantine, while those who have been exposed or have been around someone who is positive, are put in isolation. Those in isolation are given a resting period to see if they develop the virus. In either case, a student stays in the IQ zone for a minimum of 10 days. To be released, Hytche says a student must be tested and produce two negative results over two days. 

“Students in the IQ zone have access to medical staff and must give a daily report of how they feel,” says Hytche. In addition to help with the student’s physical health, mental health services are also available. 

“If a student feels like, “The walls are closing in on me’, we get the university counselors involved who contact the student and evaluate their situation,” ‘Hytche says.

For updates or information on TSU’s COVID-19 protocols, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/return/ 

Department of Media Relations

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

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

TSU football players, coaches learn more about absentee voting to make sure their voices are heard

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently held a 45-minute workshop on absentee voting to educate members of its 97-man football roster on how to ensure their ballots are counted in one of the most anticipated presidential elections in decades.

Coach Rod Reed

Coach Rod Reed hosted the “The TSU Tiger’s Guide to Absentee Voting Virtual Seminar,” which was facilitated by Tiara Thomas, student Trustee on the University’s Board of Trustees.  Thomas’ Zoom presentation included steps to requesting an absentee ballot, filling it out and returning the document on time. It also included a demonstration of the application process, as well as a chatroom for participants to ask questions.  Election Day is Nov. 3.

Dieuseul Stcyr, a defensive back from Macon, Georgia; and Cam Durley, an offensive tackle from Houston, Texas, said the seminar was an eye-opener for them as first-time voters. The two players for the Tigers have completed their registration and will be voting, thanks to the urging of their coach.  

Tiara Thomas

“First and foremost, the seminar was very important. We need to hear this kind of message more often,” said Stcyr, a senior communications major. “For many of us, like me, growing up at home we did not get this knowledge of what it means to vote, where to vote and what you need to vote.”  

Durley, a senior human performance and sport studies major, added that the workshop was very informative and “that all students need to attend.”  

“I really liked it,” said Durley. “In addition to information coach gave us, this seminar put me in the right direction and what I need to do to get my vote in.”  

Thomas provided players with information on how to access and navigate their respective secretaries of state’s websites, as well as the proper forms of identification needed to complete an absentee application.   

Tiara Thomas, Student Trustee and member of of the Aristocrat of Bands, works along with Coach Reed to present the virtual absentee vote seminar for football players. She plans to get all band members 100-percent registered to vote. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I am glad to see the football team 100-percent registered to vote,” said Thomas, a junior political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi.  “Whether they know it or not, as leaders on this campus, people look to them and follow their example. So, I hope many more will join to make an even bigger impact this year. We have students here at TSU that are not from Tennessee, and this means they will be voting absentee or mail-in ballot.”   

Coach Reed said with the looming social and civil unrests, and ever-present effort to suppress votes, it was important for players to know how critical their participation is as citizens.  

“I think that it is very important for our kids to understand what their role is in what’s going on in our country,” said Reed, who announced a 100-percent voter registration for the entire football team.  

“Our kids are looking at what’s going on in this society – from George Floyd to Breonna Taylor and all those things that happened over the summer. Those things left a lot of them angry. Besides, we have to educate our kids on the process and how voter suppression occurs. So, we are trying to get them the mechanisms to be able to vote and be effective with their ballots.”

Reed issued a challenge to all HBCU sports programs, especially the Ohio Valley Conference, to get their students registered to vote.

Thomas, who volunteered to follow up with the players, has been a crusader on campus for voter education and registration. She is the creator and chair of the TSU Votes Student Coalition. Recently, she partnered with two other student organizations to host a daylong voter registration rally on campus that featured Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, and Davidson County Election Commission Board member AJ Starling.  

Thomas said in 2018, only 34 percent of the campus actively voted.  

“As trustee this year, my goal is to double that turnout, if not 100 percent,” she said.   

Thomas is a member of TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands, where she plays the French horn. She said she is working to accomplish what the football team has done, and get a 100-percent voter registration for band members.  

For information on deadlines to register, early voting, mail-in voting, and absentee ballots, visit the website of the Secretary of State in your state. 

Department of Media Relations

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

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