Category Archives: NEWS

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star Kelly McCreary speaks to TSU student leaders about the importance of voting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Actress Kelly McCreary, best known for her role on the ABC award winning drama series “Grey’s Anatomy,” spoke to Tennessee State University student leaders on Oct. 1 as part of “VoteHBCU IG Live,” a national campaign to mobilize HBCU students to vote. The initiative encourages student organizations at historically black colleges and universities to plan events focused on voter education and engagement. Currently, TSU is leading all HBCUs with registering the most students to vote.   

McCreary, the VoteHBCU team leader for TSU and several other participating institutions, spent time with members of the TSU Student Government Association via Instagram Live to discuss activities and other strategies. Newely-elected SGA President Dominique Davis, and Tiara Thomas, student trustee on the university’s Board of Trustees, were part of the social media event. 

“As our team leader, Ms. McCreary speaking to us was very important,” said Davis, a senior business administration major from Danville, Illinois. “We gave her a brief overview of what TSU has already done, the initiatives that we started, and some of the events that we have done to get students more involved.”  

Davis and Thomas spearheaded efforts to start Power to the Polls, as part of  the TSU campus-wide mobilization campaign for the VoteHBCU initiative. Along with the SGA, they partnered with the Men’s Initiative to organize a daylong voter education and registration rally that featured Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, and Davidson County Election Commission Board member AJ Starling.   

On Sept. 27, Thomas facilitated a 45-minute Zoom workshop on absentee voting to educate members of the university’s 97-man football roster on how to ensure their ballots are counted.  All members of the team are registered to vote.  

“It was very exciting to have her speak to us,” Thomas said. “I know a lot of our students watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ So, it is a familiar face that we can connect with on a national scale to encourage us to vote.”  

 McCreary, who began her career acting in theatre, and eventually making it to Broadway, has performed in a number of productions. She made her screen debut doing voice work for several animated children’s educational programs, and later made guest appearances on the television series “I want my pants back,” “Castle,” and “Scandal,” to name a few. On “Grey’s Anatomy,” the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native played Dr. Maggie Pierce, the half-sister of Ellen Pompeo, the series lead actress as Meredith Grey.  

For more information of McCreary’s career and her body of work, visit https://instagram.com/seekellymccreary?igshid=128759uji8w9d

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.

TSU students seek internships, job opportunities as record number of companies attend first-ever virtual career fair

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is making sure its students are not missing out on internships or employment opportunities, since many on-campus recruitment activities were cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

On Sept. 22, the university held its first-ever virtual career fair with a record 169 companies represented. Nearly 600 students from various disciplines attended. Handshake, an online platform that helps college students get jobs, facilitated the virtual workshop in collaboration with the TSU Career Development Center. Students directly interacted with employers through group and one-on-one sessions.

Reginald Holland, III, a second-year graduate student in agricultural sciences, and KeAnna Dakwa, a civil engineering major, were among the early participants in the virtual fair.

Reginald Holland, III, says he is looking for internship in the agriculture field. (Submitted Photo)

“This (virtual fair) was very unique and interesting,” said Holland, of Clarksville, Tennessee, who was looking for internship opportunities in the agriculture field. “I spoke with several employers. They were very receptive and interested in what I had to say.”

Dakwa, a junior from Huntsville, Alabama, who was also looking for an internship, said she felt good talking with representatives of major companies and agencies like the U.S. Department of Energy, Michigan Department of Transportation, Conoco, Duke Energy and DTE Energy.

“It was really awesome,” said Dakwa. “I really enjoyed the one-on-one sessions, and I really think I have a good chance of getting an internship, because of how I connected with them.”

KeAnna Dakwa, a civil engineering major, says she left the fair feeling good about landing an internship. (Submitted Photo)

Frank Stevenson, associated vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, described the record turn-out of employers as “a community-wide celebration of career opportunities for our student.”

“This year’s career fair was so amazing in that we had the largest turn-out of employers who were really interested in our students,” Stevenson said. “We recognize doing it this way, there is some value in the virtual experience. This was the result of a complete push of the entire university – Academic Affairs, the Honors College – to make sure our students were prepared.”

Unlike the in-person career and employment fairs the Career Development Center hosts each year, students who attended the virtual fair registered and submitted resumes ahead of time to be able to participate. The center also provided students with a virtual career-guide manual with topics that are normally covered during face-to-face interactions with employers.

William Corneh, left, a second-year business marketing major, talks to representatives of Provider Trust about internship opportunity, during the 2020 Spring Internship Fair. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“The goal was to make sure our students made a great impression and that employers had a good idea about what our students were looking for,” said Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of the Career Development Center. “Additionally, many of these companies not only registered for this fair, but came prepared to offer jobs to many of our students.”

Company representatives said they were impressed with the TSU students’ presentations, outlook and approach, and that they had a very good grasp of what they were looking for.

Cornelia Butler, a TSU alum and continuous improvement manager of Detroit-based DTE Energy, said her company was looking for students interested in summer internships in computer and electrical engineering, with the potential for full-time employment.

‘It was so exciting to meet some of the TSU students, they are articulate, passionate about what they want to learn and where they want to go,” said Butler, who along with her husband and a son, earned engineering degrees at TSU.

“Just from their GPAs, from their experiences, and what they want to do, it was exciting to meet them. My goal definitely is to find opportunities for summer internships, and to get back with those students,” Butler said.

Cheryl Mabry-Shirey, manager of talent acquisition at The General, one of the fair’s sponsoring companies, also described the TSU students as focused, engaging, upbeat and positive.

“We talked a lot about our open positions and our internships,” said Mabry-Shirey, who also represented her company at the 2020 Spring Internship Fair, that resulted in internships for TSU students.

“Overall, it was very productive. We were more focused on internships and entry-level positions and full-time positions for people who are ready to go straight to work after school,” she said.

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

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.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg remembered as a ‘giant’ on the nation’s highest court

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may have stood a little over five feet, but those remembering her say she was a giant on the nation’s highest court, and her influence will be felt for generations.

TSU President Glenda Glover

Tennessee State University joined the country in mourning her death.

“If ever there was a crusader for justice, she was that, and more,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Early on in her legal profession, Justice Ginsburg helped to reshape history as a staunch advocate for equal protection and opportunity for women under the constitution. She consistently delivered votes on the most divisive social issues, including voting rights, health care, and affirmative action. And it is in that same spirit of perseverance, equality and justice, that we will continue her legacy.”

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, a Women’s Studies faculty member and dean of the College of Liberal Arts at TSU, said Ginsburg “achieved icon status usually reserved for film and music stars.”

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis

“Besides Thurgood Marshall, I cannot think of another member of SCOTUS to be this recognizable as an individual,” said Morgan-Curtis. “At 5-foot-1, she towered over everyone else on the bench. She was a giant, in her own right.” 

Morgan-Curtis added that Ginsburg’s work with the American Civil Liberties Union, where she founded the Women’s Rights Project, pushed the protections of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment for both men and women, as well as minorities.

“The fact that states cannot set different drinking ages for men and women results from Ginsburg’s work as an attorney. The protection for men as care givers comes from her work.” 

Dr. Shameka Cathey

Morgan-Curtis said Ginsburg’s majority opinions also “pushed fair and equal protection under the law, and many argue that her dissent in the Ledbetter case was the blueprint for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.”

That legislation, which dealt with equal pay and amended part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was the first bill signed into law by former President Barack Obama in 2009.

Following Ginsburg’s passing, an effort is underway to replace her prior to the Nov. 3 presidential election. TSU Political Science Professor Shameka Cathey said the replacement of Ginsburg before the election “could put our country in limbo.”

“We would have a nation of people who are swinging to the left, with a Supreme Court on the right,” said Cathey, whose focus includes civil rights and African American politics. “The impact could lead to a Supreme Court turning back the clock on civil rights, voting rights, and many other vital rights central to the heart of our democracy.”

Junior Tiara Thomas

However, regardless of who replaces Ginsburg, TSU junior Tiara Thomas said her impact will not be diminished.

“Justice Ginsburg made a space for women in society, when there seemed to be none available,” said Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi. “And this is what my peers and I can do to keep her legacy alive. We will continue to fight for safe spaces for ourselves, to advance and change the world.” 

To learn more about Women’s Studies at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/cla/programs/womensstudies.aspx.

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 students host voter registration campaign featuring Secretary of State, election commissioner

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett recently spoke to Tennessee State University students about the importance of voting and how to make sure their ballots are counted in one of the most anticipated presidential elections in decades.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett tells TSU students to be active participants in the formation of their government by making their voices heard through voting. (TSU Media Relations)

Hargett, along with AJ Starling, of the Davidson County Election Commission, participated in a student-led voter education and registration rally on Sept. 18. The presidential election is Nov. 3.

“(The) Election is just 46 days away from Today,” Hargett reminded the group of students gathered at Hale Stadium.

“I am really excited that members of the TSU Student Government Association are trying to rally their fellow students to get them engaged in the process by making sure they register to vote,” said Hargett, whose office is responsible for conducting and certifying election results. “We want people to be active participants in the formation of their government, because I don’t care what you look like, where you come from or who your mom and daddy are, we are all better off when we engage as citizens in this process.”

Student leaders and representatives of the Men’s Initiative display signs encouraging their fellow students to register to vote. (TSU Media Relations)


Dominique Davis, president of the SGA, welcomed Secretary Hargett and commissioner Starling, and urged her fellow students to heed the admonitions of the officials to exercise their rights as citizens.

“I hope you all are listening and sharing this impactful information with the students here at TSU,” Davis said. “Like the secretary said, it is one thing to register but another thing to go and exercise your right to vote. Let’s be sure that we are being the change that we want to see in our country because this election is so vital for our generation.”

First-time voters Khai Cole and Jananitabeal Oates, right, register to vote at the rally. (TSU Media Relations)

In addition to the SGA, other organizations like GOVT, or Getting out the Vote, the Men’s Initiative, and Power to the Polls – a national HBCU initiative, helped to organize the daylong campaign.

Organizers said more than 200 students registered to vote for the first time at the rally. Among them were Khai Cole and Jananitabeal Oates, two freshmen.

“It feels really good (to register) because I feel like I can really make a change and a difference in the world,” said Cole, an arts and graphic design major from Memphis, Tennessee. “It feels good to see fellow students doing this because they understand us.”

AJ Starling, member of the Davidson County Election Commission, right, admonished the students to turn out in big numbers to vote. (TSU Media Relations)

Oates, an animal science major from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, agreed.

“It feels empowering to register to vote. It makes you feel included in the process and in the family at TSU,” she said.

Starling, a longtime community and political activist, encouraged the students to “act fast and vote in large numbers.”

“I want to see you all vote 2,000 per day,” Starling said. “We are anticipating that this presidential election will have the largest voter turnout in the history of our state. So, if you are voting absentee or mail-in ballot, act real soon.”

Before the rally, officials said TSU President Glenda Glover urged administrators, faculty and staff to ensure that students are actively engaged in the process.

“Dr. Glover challenged us to make sure that our students were aware and participating in this year’s elections,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students. “As such, Student Affairs launched the Power to the Poll initiative in collaboration with other HBCUs to motivate our students and our campus community to take advantage of the opportunity to have a say in this year’s elections.”

Nationally, voting hurdles like proof of residence, absentee ballot use, or voter identification often keep college students away from the ballot box. But the students said Friday’s event was aimed to prevent that. They custom designed and displayed stickers and signs that read, “I registered to vote today,” “Steps to requesting a ballot,” “Completing your ballot,” “Deadline for requesting and mailing in your ballot,” and “mailing in your ballot.”

“Many of our students here at TSU are not from Tennessee, and a large portion of our campus will be voting absentee or mail-in ballot,” said Tiara Thomas, student trustee on the TSU Board of Trustee, and brainchild of GOVT, who has also been working with the Power to the Polls initiative.

“We want to make sure that a lot of our first-time voters and those who are voting absentee for the first time know exactly how to navigate that process,” Thomas said. “I am really excited that they are very receptive to our efforts.”

Dr. Andre Bean, director of the Men’s Initiative and coordinator of Power to the Polls, said he was excited about the turnout, as well as the students’ enthusiasm about the campaign and their “understanding of the process to be counted.”

“So, what we want to do is make sure our students are registered to vote, they know what their registration status is, and that they are more educated about the opportunity to vote absentee and mail-in ballot,” Bean said.

A few more rallies are planned up to Election Day.

 For information on deadlines to register, early voting, mail-in voting, and absentee ballot, visit https://www.nashville.gov/Election-Commission.aspx

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 remembers actor Barry Scott who established a theater at the University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Current and former Tennessee State University students and faculty say the influence of alumnus Barry Scott will continue long after the accomplished actor is gone.

Scott passed away on Sept. 10 at the age of 65. One of his many accomplishments was being the founder and producing artistic director of the American Negro Playwright Theatre at Tennessee State University, where his parents and grandparents graduated.

Scott was known to be an authority on the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He wrote and starred in Ain’t Got Long to Stay Here as a tribute to King. According to a biography of Scott on the website of his management company, he was so convincing in his portrayal of King, that Coretta Scott King once cornered him between acts of a play to compliment him on his realistic portrayal of her husband.

Scott’s acting credits include television’s “I’ll Fly Away” and “In the Heat of the Night.” He was also a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Actor’s Equity Association, American Film Radio and Television Association and served on the board of the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Scott’s voice could be heard on commercials and PSAs around the country. He did voice work for ESPN, CBS, ABC, NBC, Disney, SPIKE TV – TNA Wrestling, The Discovery Channel, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, McDonalds, The American Heart Association and more.

TSU senior Jayla Barnes of Franklin, Tennessee, says she’s proud to follow in Scott’s footsteps.

“He paved the way for me,” says Barnes, a communications major with a concentration in theater. “Having had someone of his caliber at TSU, and being able to say that I go to the college that Barry Scott was once at, is amazing,”

Theater major Justin Gunn agrees.

“inside TSU’s Performing Arts Center are posters of different plays, and there are some that Mr. Scott directed, like Romeo and Juliet,” says Gunn, a senior from Chicago. “Now, when I look at those posters, I think about him, and his influence.”

Former TSU dean of students Barbara Murrell says she admired Scott’s “focus on his craft.”

“I had great respect for him,” says Murrell, who each TSU homecoming has an oratorical contest in honor of her late husband, Robert N. Murrell. “He was a gentleman, and a talented actor and orator.”

Lawrence James is a professor of theater at TSU and former interim head of the university’s Communications Department. He says Scott’s theater company was among the first that was “founded by an African American and that produced predominantly black material.”

“A number of our students worked with him and for him,” says James. “I know they will carry a lot of what he gave to them during his time here at TSU.”     

TSU alumnus Jeff Obafemi Carr, also an actor, wrote in a blog about his opportunity as a youth to act in a passion play opposite the older Scott.

“Even then, Barry Scott was one of our heroes,” recalls Carr. “We couldn’t believe the number of lines he held in his memory with just a few days of practice. I still recall the pride in being cast in my first cameo role opposite Barry, as Pontius Pilate.”

Carr adds that Scott was an excellent mentor and someone he and his friends wanted to emulate.

“We wanted the power, presence, and voice this man projected. This man who looked like us; this man who was one of us.“

NOTE: The featured design is from Jeff Carr’s blog. To read his blog, visit: https://bit.ly/3mlChts.

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 computer science major lands top-paying job with Fortune 500 company after graduation, urges others to follow in his footsteps

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Landing a job at a Fortune 500 company usually means earning a sizable salary and enjoying perks like a big signing bonus and paid moving expenses. Tennessee State University 2020 graduate Malik City recently had that experience. 

Malik City

The Nashville native and computer science major was hired by Bank of America as a software engineer. City will earn $94,000 his first year, which includes a $10,000 signing bonus. He credits his time at TSU and being a part of the Enterprise Systems Computing initiative for his new employment opportunity. 

“I feel very fortunate and very thankful to TSU for the preparation I received, which made all of this possible,” said City, who midway through his college career, switched from electrical engineering to computer science with the infusion of enterprise computing.

“TSU is a big part of who I became as a man and a professional. I had great professors in the computer science department who gave me a great foundation and knowledge in many aspects of computer science and the enterprise system.”

The enterprise computing initiative was launched at TSU in 2014 to help prepare students to compete for high-paying enterprise internships and jobs. Since then, up to 22 students have been placed with enterprise companies earning annual average starting salaries of more than $84,000. TSU is the only Tennessee institution that offers courses in enterprise computing.

Malik City attends the 2017 SHARE conference sponsored by IBM in Providence, Rhode Island. (Submitted Photo)

John Thompson, a former IBM senior manager, is TSU’s enterprise systems consultant.  He works with major Fortune 500 companies to identify their areas of need and pass that information over to the deans and chairs to identify the best way to infuse the requirements in the curriculum.

“The world’s largest banks, travel agencies, credit card transactions, global retailers, and communications service providers run on enterprise system,” said Thompson.  “This requires graduates in all majors such as criminal justice, mass communication, computer science, business, engineering, health science, agriculture, education, etc., to have some degree of base knowledge in enterprise computing concepts.”

There are 17 enterprise companies in Tennessee, including eight in Nashville, Thompson said. They include HCA, Mellon Bank, Comdata, BMI, State of Tennessee, Bridgestone, Amazon, and Vanderbilt.

While at TSU, Malik also served as a mentor in the VIL Kids Computer Science Program. (Submitted Photo)

“TSU, being the only school in Tennessee offering courses in this area, can be a major source to fill the huge demand for enterprise computing skills that is being created by the retiring baby boomer generation,” he said.

Dr. Ali Sekmen, chair of TSU’s Department of Computer Science, said enterprise computing and related courses are offered to ensure that students possess the fundamental knowledge that “major companies are looking for in this area.”

“Students like Malik, who have a fundamental understanding of enterprise systems, are more competitive as they enter the pipeline of a qualified workforce to replace the current retiring workforce,” Sekmen said.

Antoinette Duke, associate director of the TSU Career Development Center, added that TSU’s overall goal is to ensure that students leaving the university have the skill sets and experience needed to successfully compete for top jobs in business and industry.

“We are committed to providing services to our students that prepare them for meaningful career goals,” Duke said.

According to Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell, professor and Enterprise Systems manager, the program is opened to students in all disciplines.

“Malik’s success is one of the major achievements of the enterprise program at TSU, but we don’t want students to think this is just for computer science majors,” Mitchell said. “We want to attract other students to this program. It was designed under the Office of Academic Affairs for students in any discipline.” 

City, who will be relocating to his new company’s headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, encouraged other students to take advantage of the program, which he called a “high industry need area.”

“I was very fortunate to come into the industry right after college,” said City. “My mainframe experience did it for me. That extra edge separated me from the competition, because my manager said by having that experience proved that I had the willingness and appetite for knowledge.”

In addition to software engineer, graduates of the Enterprise Systems Computing would be qualified for jobs such as network support specialist, network analyst, network engineer, PC support specialist, and PC help desk.

For more information on TSU’s Enterprise Systems Program, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/.

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 remembers trailblazing golf coach Dr. Catana Starks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Catana Starks, a Tennessee State University alumna who became the first African-American woman to coach an all-men’s team at the collegiate level, is being remembered as a humble trailblazer whose legacy will live on in those she inspired.

Dr. Catana Starks

The history-making golf coach, whose story was made into a movie in which she was portrayed by Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson, passed away Sunday at the age of 75.

“Our hearts are saddened by the passing of Dr. Catana Starks,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “She was a trailblazer, a true champion, whose legacy will continue in all those she inspired, on and off the golf course. Dr. Starks epitomized the excellence that TSU strives to instill in all its students. The thoughts and prayers of the entire TSU family are with her family and loved ones.”

Starks coached the TSU men’s golf team from 1986 until 2005 when she led the Tigers to a National Minority Golf Championship. The team shot a record-setting 840 as a unit.

Starks returned to Nashville in 1980 to become the swimming coach for the Tigers. When TSU entered the Ohio Valley Conference, the athletic department dropped the swimming program to add golf and named Starks as the head coach.

During her time as a coach, Starks earned her doctorate degree, began teaching, and eventually became the department head of Human Performance and Sports Sciences at TSU.

Under her guidance, the team also produced Sean Foley, who went on to be Tiger Woods’ swing coach; Sam Puryear, who became the first African American men’s head golf coach in any major conference (Michigan State); and Robert Dinwiddie, an All-American who went on to play on the European professional tour.

Puryear called Starks a “true coach.”

“She was a true advocate and believer in the term student-athlete,” said Puryear. “She helped make me a better student, athlete and now coach. I am paying a lot of her messages and lessons forward.”

Former TSU golfer Eric Wilhite (1988-92) said Starks was “like a second mom for our entire golf team.”

“I have so many memories and learned a ton of life lessons that I continue to practice today,” said Wilhite. “Her dedication to the TSU golf program was amazing. But her commitment to develop us as men is what I appreciated the most. I am very grateful I had a chance to play for a special person and TSU Legend.”

In 2011, Starks’ story inspired the movie “From the Rough” starring the late Michael Clarke Duncan and Henson, who portrays a fictionalized version of Starks named Cassandra Turner. The character parlays a successful stint as coach of a women’s swim team at a historically black university into a shot at building a men’s golf team. With the availability of black players scarce, Turner scours Europe, Australia and Asia for hidden talent and constructs a uniquely multi-racial team.

Michael Critelli, a producer who helped develop the film’s story, said what stood out most about Starks when he talked to her was her humbleness.

“She was a very humble woman, who was very reluctant to talk about her many accomplishments,” said Critelli. “One of the of the biggest challenges I had constructing her life story for the film was that she would not brag about what she had done. I would have to find out about her achievements from other people.”

And it is through others, that Starks will live on, added Critelli.

“Her legacy is most pronounced in the many people she inspired, and who are inspiring others through her example,” he said.

 To learn more about golf at TSU and other sports, visit https://www.tsutigers.com/mgolf/.

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 makes history with first-ever virtual Student Government Association campaign, elections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In a historic move, Tennessee State University recently held its first-ever virtual Student Government Association campaign and elections for 2020/2021. Usually conducted in the spring after weeks of in-person campaigning on campus, the elections this year were held last week solely online as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Undergraduate and graduate students showed up in record numbers to vote for their favorite candidates.

New SGA leaders: From left, Dominique Davis, Executive President; Naton Smith, Jr., Mr. TSU; Mariah Rhodes, Miss TSU; and Toree Sims, Executive Vice President

The new student leadership, including a Mister TSU and a Miss TSU, was announced by the Student Election Commission on Saturday, August 29.

TSU President Glenda Glover, along with staff from the Office of Student Affairs, faculty, alumni, family members and guests, was on hand to congratulate the new officers when the election results were announced.

Danville, Illinois, native Dominique Davis, a senior business administration major with a supply chain concentration, was elected the new SGA executive president, while Toree Sims, a computer science major from Louisville, Kentucky, was elected executive vice president.

Dr. Tobias R. Morgan, Assistant Dean of Student Engagement and Leadership, left; and Akiliyiah Sumlin, Chair of the Student Election Commission, announce the winners of the elections.

Winning the coveted Miss TSU crown was Mariah Rhodes, a senior political science major from Memphis, Tennessee. Naton Smith, Jr., a health sciences major from St. Louis, will escort Rhodes as the new Mister TSU.

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said although the elections were delayed due to COVID-19, the students’ enthusiasm was “very high and the virtual presentation added a very positive dimension” to the whole process.

“Not only were they creative and very much on point, but the level of interest and enthusiasm of the students shown by the number of voters was pretty exciting,” Stevenson said.  “We have a great group of student leaders that is ready to work hard, and we are very proud of the political process and how our students presented themselves.”

Davis, who becomes the 80th administration executive president of the SGA, said she is excited about the core of leaders in the new administration.

“In this challenging time that we are in, we know that we have a lot to deliver to our student body,” said Davis. “I am just really excited. We have a lot of great student leaders who are very eager to serve the needs of our student body and I know we will be able to get a lot done.”

The theme of the new student government is “Trailblazing,” Davis said.

For Rhodes, the new Miss TSU, she assured fellow students that although the university is cutting down on activities because of the pandemic, she plans to implement a number of events virtually to keep students engaged.

“I am going to be the best representation for TSU,” said Rhodes. “This year is going to look different, but we are going to make sure students are part of everything. We will be more transparent with students, making sure they are included in all decisions we make.”

Dr. Tobias R. Morgan, assistant dean of Student Engagement and Leadership, congratulated the new student leaders and thanked the Student Election Commission under the chairmanship of Akiliyiah Sumlin, for the very efficient manner in which the process was conducted. Sumli is a senior agricultural sciences major from Langston, Oklahoma.

“Sumlin rose to the occasion and was able to adapt to an ever-changing environment as we reworked our plans numerous times to ensure the integrity of the election process,” said Morgan.  “We wish each of you leaders much success as you lay the groundwork for a new normal among student leadership and governance at Tennessee State University.”

Following is the list of the new Miss TSU court and other members of the SGA: 

Mr. Senior – Michael Caldwell from Atlanta – Mechanical Engineering major

Junior Class President – Imani Marshall of Tampa, Florida – Mathematics major

Miss Junior – Mallory Moore of Birmingham, Alabama – Health Sciences major

Mister Sophomore – Widmark J. Cadet, Jr. of Chester, Virginia – Business Administration/Marketing major

Miss Freshman – Taryn Henry of Tallahassee, Florida – Cardiopulmonary Science/Respiratory Therapy major

SUBG Chair – Sydnei Everett from Nashville – Public Health Major


Representatives At Large


1. Nzinga Ajamu from Memphis, Tennessee – Business administration/Supply Chain major

2. Kailyn Allen from Memphis, Tennessee Mass Communication major

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.

SACSCOC Removes Probationary Status as TSU Demonstrates Academic Excellence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has demonstrated to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) that the institution is in compliance with the Principles of Accreditation. The accreditation agency announced Thursday that the sanction has been removed based on the successful report that TSU submitted which addressed one part of the eighty-five standards. In June of 2019, the university was put on probation for not fully addressing the one concern. TSU remained fully accredited during the sanction period and at no point were students, faculty, research, and any other campus activities impacted.

President Glenda Glover

TSU President Glenda Glover confirmed in a letter to the campus family that the one-year probation invoked by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges was lifted and that the institution remains in good standing with SACSCOC.

“We are pleased with the decision by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to remove the probationary status,” Glover wrote. “Our faculty, staff, and administration worked extremely hard to effectively address the one concern advanced by SACSCOC. I know that we are on solid ground for the future with our strong academic programs, record-setting research and grant awards, and unwavering commitment to provide students with a quality education.” 

TSU was placed on probation for failing to provide adequate documentation for the standard outlining the use of assessment findings to improve educational programs. The standard requires institutions to document and determine if students are achieving established outcomes for each academic program, then assess the outcomes, and demonstrate that improvements are being made based on the assessment findings.

“We are extremely pleased with TSU’s efforts,” said SACSCOC President Belle Wheelan. “University leadership along with faculty and staff implemented a successful plan that demonstrated their commitment to students and the university. The commission is always pleased when an institution is removed from this status and can focus on its future.” 

When SACSCOC notified the university of the sanction June last year, Dr. Glover called the action “unfortunate” but vowed to address the probation head on and made it clear to the TSU family that the institution was never in danger of losing its accreditation.

At the time, Dr. Glover stated, “We have a plan in place to meet this standard and we will submit the required documentation immediately. We have every confidence that we can address this standard going forward.”

Glover is confident that the institution now has the infrastructure and internal controls to make sure that the institution will not have to deal with this issue again.

SACSCOC provides accreditation for institutions in 11 states, Latin America and other international sites approved by its board of trustees. 

NOTE: Kelli Sharpe contributed to this story. 

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.