NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University continued a Homecoming tradition Wednesday night with the crowning of a new Mr. and Miss TSU.
Hundreds of people — including parents, relatives, friends and fellow students — packed a jubilant Kean Hall to witness the coronation of Alec Forrest and Kayla Smith, and their court.
TSU President Glenda Glover congratulated the new king and queen after giving them the oath of office. Dr. Tracey Ford, vice president for Student Affairs, followed the president. She charged the two students to take their roles seriously.
“Taking on the responsibility of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU is steep in tradition, as many are looking up to you,” Ford said. “Be reminded that this is serious.”
Forrest, a senior business major from Jackson, Tennessee, is the outgoing Mr. Junior. He said in an interview before the coronation that his goal is to help develop young men with character and vision by leading by example.
“You can’t expect people to do one thing and they see you doing quite the opposite,” Forrest said. “I like to impact people. When I leave this institution, I want to come back and see someone in a leadership position because of an influence I had on them.”
Smith, who becomes the 88th Miss TSU, is from Memphis. She is a senior health science major with a concentration in therapeutic studies and a minor in psychology. She said becoming Miss TSU or “black excellence,” as she puts it, has always been a goal. The journey, she said, began when she “broke the norm” at predominantly white Germantown High School and became the first female African-American senior class president. Her leadership ability and academic success granted her a full-ride scholarship to TSU.
“College for me would be nowhere else but Tennessee State University,” Smith said. “TSU stole my heart with its southern charm and hospitality. I have always been in awe of the rich history and modern culture. I just cannot get enough of it.”
The new Mr. and Miss TSU Court include: Landon McCall, Mr. Freshman; Braxton Simpson, Miss Freshman; Jonathan Miles Hammock, Mr. Sophomore; Sierra Holmes, Miss Sophomore; Darian McGhee, Mr. Junior; Brandi DeCoats, Miss Junior; Andrew Crawford, Mr. Senior; Danielle Perry, Miss Senior.
In addition to the Mr. and Miss TSU coronation, this year’s Homecoming, which will culminate Saturday with a parade and the big football matchup between the Tigers and Austin Peay, includes a “stellar group” of honorees, grand marshals and star power.
In keeping with the theme, “The Road to Greatness Begins with Excellence,” the university has selected honorees and grand marshals that exude the excellence TSU strives for. They include Dr. Frederick S. Humphries, who will receive Special Presidential Recognition. Dr. Humphries, TSU’s fourth president, served from 1974-1985.
Other honorees are: Dr. Sterlin Adams, retired, professor and special assistant to Dr. Humphries; Dr. Evelyn P. Fancher, retired, director of libraries; Dr. Raymond Richardson, retired, professor and chair of physics, mathematics and computer science; and William “Bill” Thomas, former head football coach and athletic director.
The grand marshals for the popular Homecoming parade (from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Blvd.) are: Georgette “Gigi” Peek Dixon, senior vice president and director of national partnerships, government and community relations, Wells Fargo; Alfred Gordon, vice president of operations for Frito-Lay North America; State Senator Thelma Harper, 19th District, Tennessee General Assembly; and Roosevelt “Bud” Reese, CEO, CMI Foundation.
Besides the game and parade, another major highlight of TSU’s homecoming is the Annual Scholarship Gala, which will take place on Friday, Oct. 13, at the Music City Center. This year, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry will serve as honorary chairperson. Nationally syndicated radio show host, actor and comedian, Rickey Smiley, will be the gala’s master of ceremony. Proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships are used to provide financial assistance to students. The goal is to raise one million.
For more information about Homecoming 2017, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/documents/HomecomingSchedule.pdf
Department of Media Relations
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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.