Category Archives: Uncategorized

TSU to host Pi Kappa Delta National Forensics Tournament

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will host the Pi Kappa Delta National Forensics Tournament March 14-17.

TSU’s award-winning Forensics team. (submitted photo)

Nearly 90 schools, with roughly 1,500 competitors, are expected to participate. It will be the first time in nearly two decades that a historically black college or university has hosted the tournament.

“For us to be hosting the national tournament is such a big deal,” says Sean Allen, TSU’s director of Forensics. “It’s the oldest, it’s the largest, it’s the most prestigious.”

TSU’s forensics team, which is having a record-breaking year, is looking forward to participating in the tournament, says Allen, who was an award-winning member of the Forensics team at Wiley College, which was the subject of the 2007 movie, “The Great Debaters”.

Last month, TSU’s team competed at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association state tournament.  It had been six years since the team won the state tournament, but it brought the championship back home. The team walked away with a total of 51 awards.

TSU freshman and Forensic member Jazmyn Bolden won several awards at the competition. The Houston, Texas native, who has been in Forensics since her freshman year in high school, says she’s excited about this month’s tournament, and proud that TSU is hosting it.

“It’s exciting because it’s being held at an HBCU,” says Bolden. “And it’s a big tournament.”

To learn more about TSU’s Forensics team, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/Communications/forensics.aspx

Find out more about Pi Kappa Delta at https://www.speechanddebate.org/pkd/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Alum Makes Moves In Hip Hop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dwane “Key Wane” Weir II still smiles when he recalls his mother buying him a keyboard for Christmas when he was 13 years old. Over a decade later, the Grammy-nominated producer and Tennessee State University alumnus who has worked with everyone from Beyoncé and Jazmine Sullivan to Drake and Meek Mill, still credits his mother for being his biggest inspiration.

“My mom taught me how to go out and really ‘get it-get it.’ I didn’t want to ask my mom for much,” he said. “If I were to ask her for something, she would be like, ‘You’d better figure out a way to get it.’ I think that’s dope because I didn’t grow up lazy.”

Weir, who spent most of his time at TSU as a music major with an emphasis in commercial music, changed his major to Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) during his final year so he could graduate early and focus on his music career.

Dwane “Key Wane” Weir

“On campus, I really didn’t get out a lot because I was making beats. I got signed when I was a sophomore or a junior, so I was always in and out of school,” he said.  “I did my work, but I was barely there.  I was only there for midterms and finals and whatever type of important assignments that were due. Outside of that, I was in the dorm making records, five to 10 beats a day.  I would go to the café just to get some food, take the tray back to the room, get back to it, send my e-mails and prepare my flights.”

Mark Crawford, TSU associate professor of Music and coordinator of the Commercial Music Program, said what impressed him most about Weir was his dedication and his musicality.

“He was really into it. He was about the music.  He breathes music.  He exudes music, and he’s just a very creative young man,” said Crawford.  “He has been fortunate enough to find an avenue where he could find reward for that. So he was a good student, but I think he was a better producer.”

As Weir’s advisor, Crawford said he noticed that while the producer was diligent, because of his competing demands, he was often the last one to make it to class.

Dr. Mark Crawford

“Sometimes he was late.  Well, when I talked to him about this, about his attendance and everything, he began to tell me about all the activities he was involved with outside of the class.    You know making his tracks and making his beats, trying to return phone calls, trying to make deadlines and all this kind of thing, and that’s when I first became aware of what he was into,” Crawford said.

“Big Sean was one artist he had an early connection with, and he would tell me about that connection. His senior year he began to get some really good placements.  He had a placement, I believe, with a Beyonce’ project,” Crawford recalled.  “I want to say his first year out or his second year out, the project he was involved with was nominated for a Grammy.  And then subsequently, he’s been nominated two more times.”

According to Weir, taking his mother to the Grammy Awards has been the highlight of his career.

“I’ve been nominated year after year which is a blessing, “ Weir said. “I remember I brought my mom when ‘Let It Burn’ got nominated, which is the Jazmine Sullivan joint I did, and I was like,  ‘Mom, you want to come with me to the Grammys?  She was like, ‘Yeah!’  I think that was like the coolest thing because I remember when she and I both had nothing, and she bought me that keyboard, and that changed everything.”

Beyonce’s “Partition”, Drake’s “All Me”, Meek Mill’s “Amen” and Jazmine Sullivan’s “Let It Burn” are just a few of the chart-topping songs with grooves produced by Dwane “Key Wane” Weir.

In spite of his success. the Detroit native remains humble.

“I remember what it was like before everything came.  I don’t want to go back to work,” he said, referring to a time when he worked at a car wash.  “I would be at work and would miss out on things because I would still have like five cars to wax.”

Two years ago he paid a surprise visit to the music department to show his appreciation to TSU, according to Dr. Robert Elliot, head of the Department of Music.

“Dwane, Dr. Crawford and I were all in my office, just the three of us, and Dwane said, ‘I’d like to thank you all.’ And we said, ‘Well, we appreciate that.  We are glad you are doing well.’  He said, ‘No.  You don’t understand.  I really want to thank you.’ And he handed me the check for $10,000. He said, ‘Now, help somebody else.’

Weir said the only thing that has really changed in his life since his days as a student is that he has developed a closer relationship with God.  Weir said he prays before he creates music, and he keeps a positive mindset.

“Everything still feels new to me.  I still make beats in my mama’s basement so really nothing has ever changed,” he said. “I go back home to my mom every now and then, and it just feels the same. It’s a blessing. I don’t want to get comfortable.  I don’t want to feel like I’ve made it because I haven’t.   I definitely still have a lot of work to do.”

For Weir that could mean earning another degree from his alma mater. Weir said he plans to eventually get a masters degree at TSU, and teach a course in the music department.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU to host screening of documentary about legendary track coach Ed Temple and the Tigerbelles

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will host a screening of the newly released documentary, “Mr. Temple and the Tigerbelles,” on Wednesday, March 14.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium  on the Avon Williams Campus in downtown Nashville. It is free and open to the public.

The documentary covers Temple and the Tigerbelles’ success during a time when the nation was embroiled in a civil rights crisis as African Americans sought equality. The film also features testimonials from historians, writers and former Tigerbelles.

The event will feature a brief panel with the filmmakers, Tom Neff and Shelly Hay, as well as reflections and remarks from some of the former Tigerbelles expected to attend.

TSU President Glenda Glover said the documentary is an “extremely proud moment.”

“Whenever I talk with individuals about Coach Temple, I also remind them that he was a great educator as well, ensuring that all Tigerbelles earned their degrees as top student athletes,” Dr. Glover said. “The members of the Temple Documentary Fund and the filmmakers did an amazing job of documenting the remarkable accomplishments of the Tigerbelles under the leadership of Coach Temple.”

Former Tigerbelle and Olympic gold medalist Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice said she’s looking forward to seeing the documentary.

“I am honored, and just excited about the showing,” said Cheeseborough-Guice, who currently serves as TSU’s director of track and field,

“It was truly a blessing to be able to be under the leadership of coach Temple, and then to go on and have this documentary done is such an awesome accomplishment.”

Temple was an internationally known track and field icon. He coached the TSU Tigerbelles for more than 40 years and the U.S. Women’s Track and Field team at the 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games. During that time, he produced 41 Olympians who won 23 medals, 13 of them gold. Temple passed away Sept, 22, 2016, at the age of 89. He belongs to nine different halls of fame and is one of three coaches inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.

“I had always admired Mr. Temple and his story of greatness,” said Bo Roberts, Nashville businessman and chairman of the Temple Documentary Fund. “What he and the Tigerbelles were able to accomplish over his 40-year coaching span was truly amazing. Their platform was much bigger than a coach and his players. They overcame racial and gender battles, and made a major impact on a nation and a world.”

The documentary premiered Feb. 26 on CBS Sports Network and has made several appearances on the channel since the initial airing. The film will continue to air on CBS Sports Network throughout the year. Please check your cable provider for local listings.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University hosts panel discussion on history, impact of HBCUs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University hosted a panel discussion Monday night about the history and impact of historically black colleges and universities.

Dr. Learotha Williams, assistant professor of history at TSU, and Dr. Reavis Mitchell, professor of history at Fisk University, participate in panel discussion. (photo by John Cross, TSU Public Relations)

The event in TSU’s Performing Arts Center was sponsored by TSU, Fisk and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Following the discussion, the PBS documentary, “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” was shown to the audience. The documentary first aired nationwide on Feb. 19.

“This documentary shows our purpose, this documentary shows our mission, this documentary shows our need,” TSU President Glenda Glover said during her greetings. “It shows we have risen.”

HBCUs have a history dating back to 1837, but most of them began as Freedmen’s schools after 1864, and grew to some 240 schools, colleges, and universities. Some 119 were eligible for collegiate accreditation by 1929. Today, there are about 100 accredited HBCUs – and their impact is felt nationwide, historians say.

“HBCUs … produce the vast majority of the professional class,” Dr. Learotha Williams, an associate professor of history at TSU and panelist, said before the event. “Doctors, lawyers, professors, engineers — If you search their economic background, you’ll see that in some way or another they were affiliated with an HBCU, either as an undergrad, or via graduate school.”

Mike Krause, THEC’s executive director, said the state is committed to helping Tennessee’s HBCUs reach their goals. He noted that Tennessee is the first state to have an HBCU initiatives director whose main objective is to focus on the needs of HBCUs.

“There’s no way that Tennessee reaches our goals as a state, unless we make sure that HBCUs reach their goals,” Krause said. “We want to make sure that HBCUs succeed.”

Krause added that HBCUs “offer students a special experience,” which Memphis native Marquis Richardson said attracted him to TSU.

TSU freshman Wateasa Freeman, aka “Writer’s Block,” does spoken word before panel discussion. (photo by John Cross, TSU Public Relations)

“It’s more black people, more black faculty, more black administration,” said Richardson, a junior majoring in business. “It’s good learning from African Americans who are knowledgeable in their field. It gives me motivation to do good in my field as well.”

TSU business major Marquis Richardson said Tennessee State’s nationally recognized programs and esteemed alumni attracted him to the university.

When Sydnie Davis was pondering what higher education institution to attend after graduating from high school, the Nashville native concluded she wanted an HBCU experience – a Big Blue one.

“When I got here, I fell in love,” says Davis, a fifth generation TSU Tiger now in her junior year. “I saw what my family had seen the many generations before me. I feel I’ve been able to succeed like no other, and the family atmosphere and love you feel on campus is overwhelmingly positive. HBCUS are one of the last safe havens for African American students.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

Tennessee State University and other local HBCUs join State to highlight history and students’ rise to success

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Sydnie Davis was pondering what higher education institution to attend after graduating from high school, the Nashville native concluded she wanted an HBCU experience – a Big Blue one.

“When I got here, I fell in love,” says Davis, a fifth generation TSU Tiger now in her junior year. “I saw what my family had seen the many generations before me. I feel I’ve been able to succeed like no other, and the family atmosphere and love you feel on campus is overwhelmingly positive. HBCUS are one of the last safe havens for African American students.”

Davis is among thousands of students across the country who each year attend historically black colleges or universities rather than predominantly white institutions. Their reasons will be part of a discussion on Monday, Feb. 26, that will take place before the showing of the PBS documentary, “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” which shares the history and impact of HBCUs.

The event is at 6:30 p.m. in TSU’s Performing Arts Center and is sponsored by TSU, Fisk and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The documentary first aired nationwide on PBS on Feb. 19 and will be available on local public broadcasting stations through March 22.

“Tell Them We Are Rising is a compelling documentary and gives an in-depth look at the need and establishment of historically black colleges and universities for people of color,” says Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover.  “TSU, like other HBCUs, has been, and remains, a cradle for black achievement that all of America should proudly embrace.”

Dr. Glover says she’s proud of the contributions the institution and other HBCUs have made, and continue to make, to society.

 “Through our doors have passed some of the country’s most notable and successful individuals, with outstanding contributions to the nation, and the world. Among these have been scientists, engineers, doctors, educators, entertainers, business people, sports legends, and the list goes on. Regardless of the challenges HBCUs may face, our institutions will always rise up, and strive to produce the very best.”

Founded in 1912 as the Agricultural and Industrial Normal School for Negroes, Tennessee State University today is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, land-grant institution serving students from all across the globe. From 247 students who began their academic career on June 19, 1912, the University has more than 8,000 students on two locations—the 500-acre main campus and the downtown Avon Williams campus. TSU has earned a top-20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service.

The University is recognized as a Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution and offers 38 bachelor’s degrees, 25 master’s degrees and seven doctoral degrees. It also boasts an outstanding athletics and sports legacy with 40 Olympic medals, and has produced outstanding graduates who are impacting the world in science, research, the arts, theater and many other areas.

TSU mass communications major Tramon Jones says TSU’s esteemed alumni, like media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph and NFL Hall of Famer Richard Dent, were part of his attraction to the university.

“When I saw that, I knew TSU was the place for me,” says Jones, a junior from Columbia, Tennessee.

Andrianna Johnson, a TSU psychology major who will be graduating in May, says she’s glad she attended an HBCU, especially TSU.

“TSU has been one amazing experience,” says the Chicago native. “The love, the support, the activism that happen within the community around TSU is also amazing. That’s definitely a highlight of coming to Tennessee State.”

HBCUs have a history dating back to 1837, but most of them began as Freedmen’s schools after 1864, and grew to some 240 schools, colleges, and universities. Some 119 were eligible for collegiate accreditation by 1929. Today, there are about 100 accredited HBCUs – and their impact is felt nationwide, historians say.

“Without the HBCUs, thousands of highly educated college graduates will not be produced in the U.S.,” says Dr. Bobby Lovett, a nationally recognized historian and former TSU history professor.

Dr. Learotha Williams, an associate professor of history at TSU who will be a panelist at Monday’s event, agrees.

“HBCUs … produce the vast majority of the professional class,” says Williams. “Doctors, lawyers, professors, engineers. If you search their economic background, you’ll see that in some way or another they were affiliated with an HBCU, either as an undergrad, or via graduate school.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU First to Host NSF Day in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Science, engineering and education researchers will have a unique opportunity to gain insight about how to secure research funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) at a workshop on February 22 at Tennessee State University.

The daylong workshop, dubbed NSF Day, will include discussions about how to submit fundable proposals, as well as discipline-specific breakout sessions featuring NSF representatives. This is the first time NSF Day is being hosted in Nashville.

“We are excited to bring an NSF Day to Tennessee State University,” said Holly Brown, NSF Lead for the TSU NSF Day. “Not only do these events provide a phenomenal opportunity for us to share vital information on our proposal and merit review processes, we are able to engage with some of the brightest minds in science and engineering.”

Robert Turner, senior mechanical engineering major

One student who has benefited from TSU’s partnership with NSF is Robert Turner, a senior mechanical engineering major from Nashville, Tennessee. Turner said working on an NSF funded research project has enhanced his experience at TSU in many ways.

“It has given me a perspective on what I would like to do for graduate school,” he said. “It is also exposing me to different technologies that I wouldn’t necessarily get exposed to throughout my undergraduate curriculum.”

After graduation, Turner plans to pursue a graduate degree in material science. He said working with Dr. Frances Williams, associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Engineering, has helped him expand his breadth of knowledge and given him the opportunity to network within the field of engineering.

“Dean (Williams) has always been helpful to me by setting me up with the right opportunities and helping me whenever I needed it,” he said. “The other researcher assigned to the project, Dr. Yury Barnakov, has also been helpful, as well as the graduate student that I am working with.”

John Barfield, TSU director of engagement and visibility in the Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, said students are the primary beneficiaries when universities receive research funding.

“Research projects train students to use innovative and new techniques,” he said. “They aid them in becoming accepted to internships, and graduate and medical schools. Research becomes paid jobs and scholarships for students, both of which increase student retention and matriculation rates.”

The NSF is the federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” according to the foundation’s website. NSF supports fundamental research in science, engineering and education across all disciplines.

Dr. Marie Hammond, TSU professor of psychology and principal investigator for two NSF grants currently funded at the university, said her research is geared toward constructing a framework for a theory of African American STEM career development.

Dr. Marie Hammond, TSU associate professor of psychology in the College of Education

Hammond said that she, along with a team of other researches at TSU, are attempting to increase the ability of African Americans to commit to and manage their STEM careers to ensure that they have the greatest likelihood of persisting to graduation and into the next phase of their STEM careers.

“The reason this research is so important is because the STEM workforce is primarily made up of Caucasian males.,” Hammond said.  “Think about what we are missing with only 5% of African Americans spread out across all the STEM fields.  What are we missing that African American men and women would pick up on to help improve healthcare, safety and our living environments.”

Hammond has secured close to $2.5 million in funding from NSF during her career at TSU, which has allowed her to hire a total of almost 50 graduate assistants. Currently, she has nine graduate assistants who aid with research, as well as four undergraduate students who collect data.

Nicholas Kovach, research specialist in the TSU Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, said the university secured more than $2 million from NSF in the last fiscal year. He said NSF representatives will be on hand all day to answer questions and personally engage in discussions with attendees.

“This is a rare opportunity,” he said. “The National Science Foundation holds only a few of these workshops each year, at different institutions across the country, and they are coming here to our campus.”

NSF Day provides background on the foundation, its mission, and priorities. Program managers and staff give overviews on proposal writing, programs that fall within and across NSF’s seven scientific and engineering directorates, and NSF’s merit review process.

Presale admission tickets are available on the TSU Research and Sponsored Programs website:  http://www.tnstate.edu/research/. Admission includes parking on the main campus with a shuttle service downtown, breakfast, lunch, and light snacks throughout the day.

For additional information about the NSF Day program, visit www.nsf.gov/nsfdays

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Unflagging commitment: Tennessee State University student pursues dreams through Aristocrat of Bands

Courtesy: The Tennessean

During her first two years in the Tennessee State University band, Deprea Crane lived off campus — on the other side of Nashville — a two-hour city bus ride away.

She couldn’t afford otherwise.

Deprea Crane (Tennessean Photo)

So on the mornings of flag corp pre-drills, she would get up at 3 a.m. to catch a pair of buses from beyond the airport to school.

And after late-night practice, she would again endure the long bus ride that would put her home around 1 a.m.

But she never missed a rehearsal. And she never fretted the sleeplessness.

Band, to her, is one of the best things in life.

“I just love doing it,” Crane gushes, her caramel-colored eyes brightening. “I love performing.”

On Saturday, Jan. 27, Crane and TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands performed in one of the most prestigious events of the year as part of the Honda Battle of the Bands in Atlanta.

‘Exciting and humbling’

The annual live showcase was created to celebrate and support the excellence of college marching bands at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

On Jan. 27 Crane took part in the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational. (Tennessean Photo)

“The Honda Battle of the Bands is basically a showcase to allow people to see the top eight black college bands in the country,” says Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s band director. “There’s no placement in regards to first, second or third. By being selected you’ve won.”

Each year, eight bands are selected from across the country to perform. The high-stepping, drum-thundering theatrics and music become a show-stopping event for thousands of spectators.

At one point during its performance, the Aristocrat of Bands spelled out “OPRAH” — who received a degree in Mass Communication from TSU and has provided scholarships for students at her alma mater.

“Everyone in the building, please give it up for Tennessee State University alum Miss Oprah Winfrey,” the announcer said over the band. “O, are you running for president in 2020?”

Being chosen for the Honda Battle of the Bands means rigorous practice schedules that must be juggled with class and homework demands.

But the reward, for many of the marching Aristocrats, goes beyond the field on which they play.

Every school participating in the Honda Battle of the Bands receives a $20,000 grant. At TSU, which will mark its eighth appearance at the event, that money goes to further support its music education program.

“Several kids in the band are currently here at TSU because of that commitment,” says McDonald. “It’s refreshing and exciting and humbling to me as a band director.”

For Crane, it’s personal.

Making music a visual experience 

Crane is paying her own way through college.

A Nashville native, the business information systems major is a member of the Honors College. She holds a 3.6 grade point average and has made the dean’s list each semester.

She will graduate this spring, a year early.

And every bit of her schooling has been funded through state and school scholarships.

That includes support from the Battle of the Bands grant. In fact, this year she is able to live on campus because of that aid.

But her schedule is still grueling.

Last semester she had three night classes. This semester she has more. That means taking a shuttle to TSU’s downtown campus and then hopping back on that same bus to the main campus — and then sprinting to band practice.

When she rushes in just after 7 p.m., her book bag slung over her shoulder, she’s already missed an hour. She quickly has to catch up on changes in choreography, learning new moves and new positioning.

But as she swings the silver pole of her big blue flag, artfully weaving it behind her back and tossing it in circles above her head, she doesn’t stress. She smiles.

This is her happy place.

And the whips and ripples from the blue cloth she flings are her favorite type of band accompaniment.

“We show visually what the music is saying,” she says. “In a band, you have to be very attuned with what you hear, but for us, we are able to show it.”

The White House, Atlanta and more

These students get a lot to show for it.

In 2016, the band performed on the White House lawn at a reception honoring the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were there that day, as were music icon Quincy Jones, former basketball star Kobe Bryant and actor Samuel L. Jackson, to name a few.

“Being a part of this band has opened up so many avenues for me,” Crane says. “And has opened up my eyes to so many things.

“We went to the White House. That’s not something you can just say that you did because you went to college. That’s an experience because you were a part of a prestigious unit, a band.

“We all do this together, we all work hard together, that way we can all benefit together.”

It’s all about unity

And every appearance at the Honda Battle of the Bands means performing with the top programs among HBCU bands in America.

“Any time you have something of that caliber it brings out your best,” McDonald says.

For Crane, the showcase — which is more like a talent show than a competition — is about unity.

“You get to connect with other people that enjoy something as much as you do,” she says. “To come to college and choose to do band, you have to have a lot of dedication and really love something like this to be a part of it.

“To find people who are like-minded, that is absolutely wonderful.”

And worth every bus ride.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

TSU takes on state opioid epidemic, will use nasal spray to prevent deaths

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has joined the fight to address the state’s opioid epidemic. The university recently implemented a new overdose prevention program to stop deaths associated with misuse and addiction.

Dr. Wendelyn Inman

Under the initiative, certified TSU police officers will be able to administer NARCAN Nasal Spray, a prescription medicine used for the treatment of an opioid emergency, such as an overdose. The initiative is in conjunction with Nashville Prevention, a division of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

“Our goal at the TSU Police Department is to minimize the likelihood that someone on our campus dies from an overdose of opiates,” said Aerin Washington, TSUPD’s crime prevention officer. “We want to be on the cutting edge of this movement as we strive to serve the community in every aspect that we can.”

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illicit drug heroin, as well as the licit prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others.

Of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, two million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 591,000 had a disorder involving heroin, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

TSU health experts say the university’s overdose prevention program falls in line with other preventive measures being used nationally to address the opioid crisis.

“This is one of the safe and effective methods of overdose prevention that is saving lives and supporting addiction recovery,” said Dr. Wendelyn Inman, associate professor of public health, healthcare administration and health services at TSU.

Dr. Charles Brown

“As first responders on TSU’s campus, trained officers can be the difference between a fatal outcome and a survivor.”

Earlier this week, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced an aggressive and comprehensive plan to end the opioid epidemic in Tennessee by focusing on three major components: prevention, treatment and law enforcement. Called TN Together, the plan includes providing every Tennessee state trooper with naloxone (NARCAN) for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose.

Dr. Charles Brown, also an assistant professor in public health at TSU, said the opioid epidemic is impacting people from all walks of life.

“It’s a drug that’s just not impacting the poor, but it’s also impacting the middle class and the healthy class as well,” he said. “It’s very important to understand the abuse from that standpoint. It can happen to anyone.”

In Tennessee, roughly 300,000 people are misusing drugs and about 82,000 of them are addicted, according to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.  The opioid problem claimed 1,186 lives in Tennessee through overdoses in 2016, which amounts to 17.8 people per 100,000, the state Department of Health says.

For more information about TN Together, including help for those suffering from addiction and other available resources, visit https://www.tn.gov/opioids.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Getahn Ward Remembered For Excellence, Community Service and Dedication To Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nashville’s most prominent journalists, as well as residents from Middle Tennessee, around the nation and the world, gathered in north Nashville Friday night to celebrate the life of journalist, professor and community leader Getahn Moses Ward.

Ward, who taught journalism as an adjunct professor at Tennessee State University, died Dec. 16 after a brief illness. He was 45 years old.

Varying emotions filled the high-spirited event as family members, coworkers and friends shared heartfelt testimonies in the crowded sanctuary of Born Again Church where Ward served as a deacon.

“He was a man of peace,” said Born Again Church Elder Jerome Brown.  “He was always busy, but he always did it from a place of peace.”

Described by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry as “the hardest-working reporter in Nashville,” Ward migrated from his native Liberia to Nashville in the early 90s, enrolling at TSU where he quickly rose to become editor-in-chief of the university’s student newspaper, The Meter.  He worked as a reporter with the Nashville Banner before it closed in 1997, and then served as a business reporter with The Tennessean beginning in 1998 until his death.

NewsChannel 5 weatherman and “Talk of the Town” co-host Lelan Statom said Ward’s passing is a reminder that “we need to celebrate life.”  Statom, who serves as the treasurer of the Nashville Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, worked for years alongside Ward, who served as the organization’s longtime parliamentarian.

“Just last month we asked him if he had an interest in being interim president,” said Statom.  “He politely declined on that because he knew where his passion was.  His passion wasn’t necessarily to be at the top of the chart for the organization.  It was to help students, which is something he did by serving as the chair of the scholarship committee for us.”

Since Ward’s death, TSU, The Tennessean, the Gannett Foundation and NABJ have partnered to create a scholarship in Ward’s name that will benefit aspiring journalists. The new scholarship is the first endowed scholarship in the history of the TSU Department of Communications. Organizers have already raised more than $30,000 with the goal of raising $50,000.

“It is a great way to honor the life of someone who gave back so much to the Nashville Community,” Statom said.

Individuals who would like to give to the scholarship fund should write a check to Tennessee State University, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd., Nashville, TN, 37209-1561. Online donations can be made at bit.ly/getahnward.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU, faith community, city officials begin New Year with 6th Annual Presidential Prayer Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and the Nashville faith-based community began the New Year with a morning of prayer during the 6th Annual Presidential Prayer Service on Wednesday.

Mayor Megan Barry. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

The service was held at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. TSU President Glenda Glover was the keynote speaker.

“As we start another semester, another year at TSU, we start with prayer, with thanks,” Glover said. “I am truly thankful that God has blessed me to lead such a marvelous university. I thank you for your prayers, and for embracing and supporting TSU; and for supporting me as your president.”

Faith-based leaders of various denominations from across Metro Nashville participated on the program or were in attendance, including gospel legend and TSU alum Dr. Bobby Jones, and community activist and pastor Bishop Joseph Walker III.

Others in attendance were Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, as well as other city and state officials, including State Reps. Harold Love, Jr. and Brenda Gilmore, and Councilwoman Sharon Hurt.

“It is so wonderful to be here, because today we’re celebrating Dr. Glover, and also recognizing the incredible power that TSU has in our community,” said Mayor Barry. “You make Nashville better, stronger, more just, more equitable. And you are producing graduates every day that are ready to serve and lead, including several who are on my staff, and several who work in metro government.”

TSU honor students Chris Buford, II and Breanna Brown participate in prayer service. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Jefferson Street Church senior pastor Aaron Marble, who succeeds community activist James Thomas, said he’s glad to be collaborating with TSU and plans to continue the tradition.

“TSU has strong ties to the Nashville community, and so does Jefferson Street,” Marble says. “So uniting the university, the church and the community, is just awesome.”

The service was followed by a breakfast in the lower auditorium of the church that was open to the public.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.