Tag Archives: Emmanuel S. Freeman

TSU expert says slow decline in Tennessee’s COVID cases not enough: ‘We need to do better’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A recent report shows that Tennessee is ranked 7th in the nation with the number of COVID-19 cases, which is a drop from number 1 and a 21 percent decrease compared to a week ago. According to the weekly State Profile Report for Tennessee released Tuesday, the state also fell to 18th in COVID deaths, dropping from 11th the previous week. 

Dr. Wendelyn Inman

While this decline shows improvement, a Tennessee State University public health expert says, “We need to do better.” 

“Twenty-one percent is excellent. That means our cases have fallen, but we still have a high transmittable number,” says Dr. Wendelyn Inman, an infectious disease expert and professor and director of the public health program in the College of Health Sciences. “It still puts us in the top 10. That 21 percent is not enough to garner, ‘I don’t have anything to worry about.’ It says that we’ve done better, and we hope it continues.” 

Inman, previously the chief of epidemiology for the State of Tennessee, says she hopes the numbers keep declining.

“Instead of being 7th, we need to come out of the top 10,” she says. “That’s my hope. We are the volunteer state. We should be number 1 in the fewest cases.”

On what the state can do to continue the downward spiral, Inman cited efforts at Tennessee State University. She says although TSU falls in a zip code with 37 percent vaccination rate, the university is more active in encouraging solution, which is prevention.  

“TSU is encouraging our people to be healthier during this pandemic; that’s something we can be proud of. We are being positive with our population, encouraging them to get immunized. For the state, we are not doing enough. Twenty-one percent is great, but wouldn’t 70 percent be better?”  

In June, TSU, in collaboration with the Nashville Metro Public Health Department, started offering vaccines to residents 12 years old and up. The university’s student health center also stays open for COVID testing. 

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students, says TSU has remained very active in executing a plan to mitigate issues around COVID. He says that more than 50 percent of students living on campus have been vaccinated, and more than 3,000 of all students have been tested. The university tests an average of more than 100 students a day. 

“We are doing very well in our effort to keep the campus safe,” says Stevenson. “I think we kind of created a wall or barrier that is making it tough for the virus to spread on campus as aggressively as we’ve seen it spread in other places.” 

 Vaccines are administered Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in Kean Hall on the main campus. Daily testing is also set up in Kean Hall.  

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

$1 million FedEx donation, scholarship awards highlight 33rd Southern Heritage Classic

Memphis, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – While the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis is a time for festivities, reunions, and football, for Tennessee State University, it’s also an opportunity to seek scholarship support for deserving students, as well as recruit some of the city’s top high school graduates. And this year’s return to the classic – after a break caused by the pandemic – was no different.

President Glenda Glover talks to Jailen Leavell, reporter with CBS affiliate WJTV Channel 12 in Jackson, Mississippi, about student achievement at TSU. Leavell is a May graduate of TSU. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

During the halftime, Memphis-based corporate giant FedEx, a longtime TSU partner, presented the university with a $1 million check. By the end of the four-day Classic weekend, TSU President Glenda Glover had awarded scholarships totaling $1 million to 55 Shelby County high school students to attend the university, which will also use the funds from FedEx for scholarship support and other student needs.

“Our goal has always been to attract the best and brightest, as well as help students with financial needs complete their education,” Glover said. “We are so grateful for our partnership with FedEx that has resulted in internships and employment opportunities, as well as leadership development training for our students. This donation will help many students achieve their lifelong dream of earning a college degree.” 

More than 46,000 fans packed the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to watch the TSU Tigers take on the JSU Tigers in the 33rd Southern Heritage Classic. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

In the 33rd Southern Heritage Classic, TSU lost to Jackson State University 38-16 in front of more than 46,000 fans at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. But top TSU graduate, Jailen Leavell, said he was not disappointed. 

“I sure would have loved for us to win the football game, but it is very pleasing to know that funds received, and efforts made at the Classic will help so many students receive their education,” said Leavell, a May communications graduate, who works for CBS affiliate WJTV Channel 12 in Jackson, Mississippi.  

Dianna Williams, CEO of Dianna M. Williams, Inc., right, presents a check for $15,000 to the Sophisticate Ladies, an auxiliary group of the TSU Aristocrat of Bands. Receiving the check are, from left, Dr. Reginald McDonald, Band Director; and Melaneice Gibbs, Coach of the Sophisticated Ladies. (Photo by Andre Bean)

“The preparation that TSU gave me was amazing. The fact that in five months of graduating I am working, that goes to show that the scholarship money, donations, and programs at the university are making a difference.” 

Tre’veon Hayes, a junior elementary education major from Memphis, who attended one of President Glover’s recruitment fairs as a high school senior, extolled Dr. Glover for continuing to use the Classic to shine a light on the needs of students from his community. 

“President Glover does everything to push students to be motivated,” said Hayes, who serves as the current Mister Junior at TSU. “I am grateful to her for her investment, which is giving somebody in my community a chance to succeed.” 

The TSU Aristocrat of Bands kicks off the halftime show at the Southern Heritage Classic. (photo by TSU Media Relations)

Also receiving a financial donation at the classic was the TSU Aristocrat of Bands. Businesswoman Dianna Williams, CEO of Dianna M. Williams, Inc., donated a $15,000 check to the AOB’s auxiliary group, the Sophisticated Ladies, to be used for immediate needs.

Following a cancellation last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Classic was seen as a clash of NFL stars featuring legendary running back and new TSU Tigers head coach Eddie George, and Hall of Fame defensive back Deon Sanders in his second year as coach of the JSU Tigers. 

But this year’s battle of the Tigers also brought out the barbecue pits, and the battle between the Aristocrat of Bands and Jackson State’s Sonic Boom of the South.  

TSU leads JSU with the most wins, 17-11, since the Classic started in 1990. 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU remembers former student and Freedom Rider Ernest “Rip” Patton as a fighter for justice

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Ernest “Rip” Patton, a former TSU student and member of the 1960s Nashville Freedom Riders, passed on August 23. The University is remembering Patton as a stalwart of the civil rights movement who dedicated his life to fighting for equality and justice for people of color.  

President Glenda Glover says Patton was courageous and determined in his fight for justice.

Patton was buried Friday in Nashville after homegoing celebrations at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church. He was 81. 

TSU President Glenda Glover said Patton was unyielding and showed remarkable courage in risking imprisonment, injury and even death to ensure that blacks were treated fairly. 

“From his days as a student at Tennessee State University and throughout his life, Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton was steadfast in his fight for equality and justice for African Americans,” President Glover said. “We remember him for his courage and determination to bring hope to past, present and future generations in our country and the world. The TSU family is deeply saddened about his passing but will remember him with great pride as an alumnus that made a tremendous sacrifice to make difference.  We send our heartfelt condolences to the Patton family on their loss.” 

Patton participated in the downtown Nashville civil rights sit-ins in 1960, a movement that eventually led to the desegregation of the city’s lunch counters and other public spaces. At 21 and a student at the then Tennessee A&I, Patton was among the first wave of Freedom Riders to arrive in Jackson, Mississippi, on a Greyhound bus to force the desegregation of interstate transportation facilities. The group was arrested upon arrival. 

Dr. Jerri Haynes, Dean of the College of Education, presents Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton with an award in recognition of his contribution to the fight for equality and justice as a Freedom Rider. (Submitted photo)

After the group’s release from prison, Patton and 13 other students were expelled from A&I for participating in the Freedom Ride, and never got to finish their degrees.  

Nearly 47 years later, in 2008, TSU granted the students honorary doctorate degrees. The Tennessee Board of Regents initially refused to grant the honorary degrees, but then TSU President Melvin Johnson insisted that the former students’ “extraordinary achievements” were worthy of recognition.

“These degrees serve to remind this generation of a time when young people were willing to risk their reputations, careers, freedom and lives for a higher cause,” Johnson said. 

According to the Freedom Rides Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, Patton later went on to be a jazz musician, while also remaining a vocal advocate and educator in the civil rights movement. He returned to his alma mater on occasions to talk to students about his experience as a Freedom Rider. 

Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton occasionally returned to his alma mater to talk to students about his experience as a Freedom Rider. Here he speaks to students in the College of Education during a Black History Month celebration. (Submitted photo)

At a Black History Month celebration on February 17, 2020, the College of Education honored Patton with an award for the contributions he made to the cause for equality and justice as a Freedom Rider. 

Linda Fair, coordinator of field placement and clinical experience in the TSU Department of Teacher Education and Student Service, knew Patton for more than 45 years when they sang together in the choir at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church. Fair was also instrumental in bringing Patton to speak to students in the College of Education. 

“Rip was passionate about speaking to young people and trying to inspire them as far as the diversity that is needed in this country and all over the world,” said Fair, whose husband, John Fair – former CEO of the Urban League – was in the movement with Patton. “His (Patton) goal was to remind young people about the history of African Americans in the United States and what they went through.” 

Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton is survived by son, Michael (Bernadette) Patton; grandchildren, Alyxa Mae and Dante’ Andrew Patton; niece, Michelle (James) Holt; nephew, Charles (Debra) Patton; and other relatives and friends.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

Annual event welcoming new TSU Tigers comes as the university records highest enrollment in five years

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Amid record enrollment, Tennessee State University recently welcomed new students for the 2021-22 academic year during a ceremony in the Gentry Complex. Previously called freshman convocation, this year’s induction ceremony featured first-time freshmen, returning sophomores, who did not have a convocation last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as transfer students. 

With females dressed in white with pearls, and males dressed in white shirts and TSU blue ties, the new students pledged to commit themselves “to serious intellectual and cultural efforts.” (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

TSU has more than 1,500 first-time freshmen, the largest class in five years. The convocation on Aug. 27 was live streamed for the hundreds of students and family members who could not attend because of university, state, and federal regulations in place due to the pandemic.

“I am extremely proud to welcome you to Tennessee State University,” President Glenda Glover said, as she greeted the students, minutes before they took their pledge. “It is my honor to stand before you today, not only as your president, but as a fellow TSU Tiger. You have embarked on an incredible journey. I encourage you to do your best. The journey will not always be easy, but never give up.” 

Members of the inaugural class of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Institute were among the freshmen inducted. (Photo by Andre Bean)

Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Admissions and Recruitment, presented the students for the induction. 

“Madam President, it is my pleasure to present these young people who have satisfied all of the requirements for admission to Tennessee State University as freshmen and students with advance standing,” Izzard said. 

With each student’s hand raised and symbolically holding a lighted candle representing “knowledge and truth,” they took the TSU Freshman Pledge. 

Naia Hooker, a transfer student, said the induction was a “totally new” experience. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Naia Hooker, a transfer junior business major from Oakland, California, said she chose TSU to be closer to family members, but the induction ceremony gave her an experience she will never forget. 

“To me, this induction means a new opportunity to be more serious and hone my craft as an outstanding student,” said Hooker, who is transferring from the College of Alameda. “This is totally new to me, but it was a good feeling to see all of my fellow students pledging to do our very best.” 

Freshman Hercy Miller, a business major from Los Angeles, said hearing all the speeches from President Glover, faculty, and student leaders made him even more excited about coming to TSU. 

Hercy Miller, left, and Victoria McCrae led the freshmen and sophomores, respectively, as they took the pledge. (Photo by Andre Bean)

“What I heard from them has given me more encouragement to be the very best,” said Miller, who will also be playing basketball at TSU. “I am a very committed person. I see TSU as a place where I can build myself as a leader and a committed student.”  

For the ceremony, females dressed in white with pearls presented to them by the TSU Women’s Center, and males dressed in white shirts and blue pants, sporting TSU-supplied blue ties. They pledged to commit themselves “to serious intellectual and cultural efforts” and to deport themselves “with honor and dignity to become better prepared to live a full and useful life in society.” 

Among students inducted were members of the inaugural class of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Institute; and Tiger PALs, a peer mentoring group, representing the sophomore class. 

Tiger PALs, a peer mentoring group. represented the sophomore class. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

In addition to student representatives, speakers at the convocation included Dr. Kimberly Triplett, chair of the Faculty Senate; Debbi Howard, director of Alumni Relations; Tasha Andrews, executive director of New Student Programs; Derrick Sanders, president of the Student Government Association; Mister TSU Mark T. Davis, Jr.; and Miss TSU Mallory Moore. 

Featured photo by Andre Bean

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

Mother, three children enter college at TSU, promise to motivate each other

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Tajuana Dixon-Nations graduated high school 27 years ago, she put pursuing higher education on hold to raise a family. Little did she know that one day she and her children would enter college at the same time and at the same institution: Tennessee State University.

TSU President Glenda Glover; and Terrence Izzard, Associate VP for Admissions and Recruitment, greet Tajuana Dixon-Nations and her children. From left are: Izzard, Gregory Nations, Jr., Gelon Nations, President Glover, Chantrise Dixon, and Tajuana. (TSU Media Relations)

On Aug. 18, the mother of four started classes at TSU as a freshman, along with her 18-year-old son Gelon Nations, also a freshman, who is majoring in psychology. Gregory Nations, Jr., Tajuana’s middle son and a sophomore, is transferring to TSU to join mom, little brother, and big sister, Chantrise Dixon. Chantrise is re-enrolling after dropping out of TSU a few years ago to care for a family of her own.

The family said it is all about trying to motivate each other, and because of a long history with TSU.

“I am hoping to change the dynamics for my family, to ensure a good future for all of us,” said Tajuana Dixon-Nations, of LaVergne, Tennessee, who is majoring in business. “This was a decision we made when my youngest son talked about taking a year off after high school. I said, ‘That’s not going to happen; Gelon needs to be in school.’ So, all of us decided to rally around him.”

A TSU admissions counselor, left, talks to Tajuana Dixon-Nations and her children about enrollment at the university. (TSU Media Relations)

Gregory, who is transferring from Middle Tennessee State University where he is majoring in business, and big sister Chantrise, said they also want to keep an eye on their younger brother.

“Right then I decided it was a perfect time to go after my dream of going to college to better myself, and at the same time stay close to my children as an encouragement, especially to my youngest,” said Tajuana, an enrollment specialist with Metro Nashville Public Schools. “I always wanted to attend TSU. It’s a dream come true for me. Many family members came to this university.”

Through the intervention of TSU President Glenda Glover, Tajuana and her children have secured the necessary assistance to help finance their education. They will all receive financial aid. Gregory and Chantrise will benefit from special incentives offered to transfer and returning students.

“It is exciting when an entire family wants to attend Tennessee State University,” said President Glover, who met the mother and her children as they interacted with admissions and financial aid counselors in Kean Hall. “We are glad that financial aid was available to make it possible to get their balances paid so they all can come and finish their degree. We are excited about this.”

Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Admissions and Recruitment, said educational advancement is a “family affair.” He congratulated Tajuana and her children for the team effort to better themselves.

“Educational advancement is one of the most dynamic ways for upward mobility,” Izzard said. “To have this family join us this fall is really an honor and a momentous opportunity for them to be uplifted through education.”

For Gelon, the new freshman, the thought of coming to school with his mom never crossed his mind. “That’s crazy,” Gelon said, when he found out. “I didn’t even know she was coming. It was surprising, but I was excited, because we might be able to help each other. I am glad my sister and brother are also here.”

Chantrise, who is returning as a business major, said she is glad to see her brothers in school, and it gives her “a special feeling” to see their mother taking the time to pursue her education.

“Being the oldest, I wanted my little brothers to make more out of themselves; I had to get them down here,” said Chantrise, who has two kids of her own. “Our mother has been there for us. She put her life on hold for us and I am just so happy not to just see her in school, but right by our side. I also need to set an example for my own children.”

Gregory added that he has great expectations for the family, especially with “mom working along with us.”

“I am glad that she encouraged me to transfer to be here on the same campus with her,” Gregory said. “Now, she has the chance to go back and take care of what she missed out on. For my little brother, I didn’t want him to sit out. So, I said I will transfer to be with him.”

Tajuana’s eldest son, Ta Juan Dixon, serves in the Tennessee National Guard. She said she will do most of her classes online, to keep up with her job, as well as stay near her husband, Gregory Nations, Sr.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU public health expert discusses seriousness of COVID-19 Delta variant

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With evidence mounting about the dangers of the COVID-19 Delta variant, a TSU public health expert is urging the public to take the warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seriously and get vaccinated. 

Dr. Wendelyn Inman

“This is no time for hesitancy,” said Dr. Wendelyn Inman, an infectious disease expert and professor and director of the public health program in the College of Health Sciences. ”The vaccines work. This Delta variant is nothing to brush off; it is very serious.” 

Reminding the public about the need to take necessary precaution, including wearing masks, and how the CDC arrives at its conclusions, Inman said the agency looks at “all of the data – the bigger picture.” 

“They look at anecdotal information, they look at statistics, they look at the obvious and they look at the things that really are in the background that we really don’t see,” said Inman, who was previously the chief of epidemiology for the State of Tennessee. 

“So, it will take them days to explain things to us. But what they have digested in offering solutions for us as the prime directive is to save lives. A lot of times we don’t understand that and a lot of times we don’t agree with it. But if they have chosen to make a recommendation to wear mask again, even in-doors, even if you have been immunized that means our situation is taking another level of seriousness.” 

In its recent recommendation urging people in COVID-19 hotspots like Tennessee to resume mask-wearing in indoor public spaces, the agency laid out what is known about the delta variant, which now accounts for most of the COVID-19 cases in the United States. 

Dr. Felicia Tinuoye

“The Delta variant is showing every day its willingness to outsmart us and be an opportunist,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “In rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others. This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations.” 

In Tennessee, the state’s Department of Health rates 85 of the state’s 95 counties with “high” or “substantial” transmission ratings. The remaining 10 have “moderate” ratings. Davidson County, which includes Nashville, is rated “substantial.” 

Inman described the COVID-19 microbe as “an enemy that takes advantage of us touching, breathing, and seeing each other.” 

“So, why we may not understand how microbes are transmitted, you need to know that the variant is more transmissible than its last existence. It has mutated. This happens in the microbial world every day. That’s why we have the Delta variant,” Inman said.

Dr. Tatiana Zabaleta

In June, TSU, in collaboration with the Nashville Metro Public Health Department, started offering vaccines to residents 12 years old and up at the university’s Avon Williams Campus. The next vaccine event will be on Aug. 30 in Kean Hall on the main campus, from 9 a.m. – noon. To register, visit www.signupgenius.com/go/tsu

Dr. Felicia Tinuoye and Dr. Tatiana Zabaleta, international public health professionals, are part of the MPH, or Master’s in Public Health program at TSU. They said in addition to their medical disciplines, they have learned so much in the TSU program to help them better understand the seriousness of the need to get protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant. 

“The program gives students exposure on how to be proactive,” said Tinuoye, of Nigeria, who completed her MPH degree in April. “TSU is doing what it is supposed to be doing. We need to ensure that the public gets the right message to help people make up their minds about available preventive measures.” 

Zabaleta, from Colombia, who graduates in December, agrees. 

“This program has given me the opportunity to learn more about global health and how to help solve the problem of health disparity in my own country,” she said. “TSU’s MPH program empowers students to really get involved in helping people, especially during this pandemic.” 

To learn more about the university’s COVID-19 protocols, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/covid19/ 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU offering ‘guaranteed’ $10,000 scholarships to transfer students from community colleges, four-year institutions

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Are you a college student thinking about transferring? Continue your journey at Tennessee State University with a $10,000 scholarship.  

Nia Ellison

The university is offering the scholarships to students from two-year and four-year institutions who transfer to TSU this fall semester. In addition to the scholarships, the university has streamlined its transfer process by expanding the enrollment services team, to ensure that the transfer process is seamless.

“The $10,000 guarantee scholarship is an expansion of the effort of our president, Dr. Glenda Glover, who is committed to ensuring that students from the community colleges of Tennessee get an opportunity to complete a four-year degree here at TSU,” says Terrence Izzard, Associate Vice President for Admissions and Recruitment. 

The offer is also extended to students from other institutions outside of Tennessee, says Izzard. 

Nia Ellison, Cedric Williams and James Edgecombe have accepted the scholarship offer and are among many students who have committed to transfer to TSU for the fall. They also like the school’s academic offerings, as well as its “family-like” campus atmosphere. 

Cedric Williams

“I like the way the school is set up,” says Ellison, a sophomore biochemistry major who is transferring from Lawson State Community College. “I am transferring to TSU because of its well-known biochemistry program, one of the few HBCUs that has that major. I had already decided to come to TSU before I heard about the $10,000. I was greatly surprised.” 

For Williams, who has visited TSU in the past, he is coming to the university because of its dental hygiene program. 

“Every time I went to the campus it felt more like it was family oriented. It just seems like everybody knows everybody,” says Williams, a sophomore, who is transferring from Lane College. “Besides, I couldn’t turn down $10,000, that is special.” 

Officials say the guaranteed scholarship is also meant to help ease the financial difficulties and hardships posed by the pandemic. 

“The admission criteria is not different,” says Izzard. “But coming from the pandemic, students have financial barriers from parents losing their jobs due to cutbacks. So, students are really in need of the financial support, and also student support, in transitioning back into school post-pandemic.” 

Edgecombe, who is transferring from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, says he heard “great things” about TSU from friends that encouraged him to come to the university. 

James Edgecombe

“High school friends of mine who went to TSU influenced me to go,” says Edgecombe. “I also heard such great things about TSU and so I wanted to experience it for myself. The $10,000 was also a major enticement. I did not get much money coming into my last school, so this is a big help.” 

Admission officials say students applying for the scholarship must be in good academic standing and meet the university’s minimum requirement of a 2.0 grade point average for admission. Registration for summer and fall began March 1 and ends August 20. The university plans to return to in-person classes in July. 

For more information on admission to TSU as a transfer student, please Contact a transfer admissions counselor or schedule an appointment to visit campus today. 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU streamlines process for welcoming returning students; program saves time, money

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For Tennessee State University students planning to return for the fall semester, the university has announced new streamlining measures to make the admission process much simpler and easier. The new measures affect housing application, registration, and financial aid processes. Officials say the course of action will save students time, money, and make campus living more accessible.  

Jeia Moore

In Residence Life, for instance, between now and July 22, students with a balance of up to $5,000 are eligible to apply for housing. That’s up from the previous threshold of $400. Additionally, students can now apply for and receive housing assignment immediately, while returning students get the opportunity to select their rooms, using a new, self-serve (RMS Mercury) software that enables housing and residential staff to deliver customized content to students.  

Registration for summer and fall began March 1 and ends August 20. The university plans to return to in-person classes in July.  

Jeia Moore, an information systems major from Memphis, Tennessee; and Michael Forney, a mass communication major also from Memphis, are already enrolled. Moore is returning for her junior year, and Forney, his senior year. Both students say navigating through the system is “so much easier” than years back when they first came to TSU.  

Michael Forney

“This smoother process has really made the procedures so easy and helps students understand what we are registering for,” says Moore. “Being able to select your own room choice and roommate is an exciting privilege.”

“The new housing portal system is very efficient, with step-by-step instructions,” adds Forney. “This is really exciting.” 

For registration and records, the university says it has enhanced the myTSU portal to help students register for classes at a much faster and easier pace. It also provides step-by-step instructions on how to log-on, pay outstanding balances, and how to remove holds – prerequisites to getting fully registered. For upperclassmen and those in doubt about their academic standing, DegreeWorks – a web-based degree audit and academic tool – provides students and advisors with an overview of remaining courses and credit hours required for degree completion.  

“We encourage returning students and all other students to use the myTSU portal. Once they have met with their advisor, it is very efficient in helping them register themselves,” says Dr. Verontae L. Deams, TSU’s registrar. “DegreeWorks is updated regularly, and it lets students know where they stand academically.”   

In enrollment and student success, officials say innovation and strengthening relationships and communication are helping to get the message across to returning and prospective students about the quality learning environment at TSU.  

“There are many things we learned during the pandemic, many of which we will keep as we look forward to serving our students for the 2021-2022 academic year,” says Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for admissions and recruitment.

In financial aid, officials say most scholarship offers are geared toward returning students, but students must act fast.

“Applying for admission and completing all admission requirements timely allows a student to be considered,” says Amy Boles Wood, assistant vice president for Financial Aid and Scholarships.  

Overall, admissions and student affairs officials say with the coming return to in-person learning, everything possible is being done to make the transition easy and seamless for all students – using technology and lessons learned during the pandemic to make “learning and campus life far more exciting.”  

According to Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, the university is establishing a “virtual one-stop space,” equipped to handle students’ concerns.   

For instance, says Stevenson, with the virtual space, if a student has questions about housing, financial aid, or records, they won’t have to go to all three offices physically to get answers.   

“They can visit the one-stop through an appointment and individuals from each of those areas will be available in a virtual space to address the student’s concern,” he says. “Using Zoom or TEAMS, you can get on and schedule a meeting and someone will meet you in that virtual space. That’s exciting!”  

Stevenson also announced that the university will continue its partnership with myURGENCYMD, a national telemedicine firm, that provides 24-hour, seven-days-a-week virtual doctors’ visits at no cost to the university’s student population. The service connects students to doctors via phone, video, and email.  

“We offered telehealth as a trial during the pandemic,” says Stevenson. “We are very satisfied with the services our students were able to receive. So, we are currently preparing to offer that as a full menu during the fall and spring to our students.”

To learn more about TSU’s fall return operations, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/return/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU reports more than $70 million in annual research funding, highest ever in school history

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Faculty at Tennessee State University attracted more than $70 million in sponsored research and external funding during the 2020-21 fiscal year, a new school record.

President Glenda Glover

This marks the third consecutive year the university has exceeded $50 million in annual sponsored research funding and beats the previous record of $54.5 million set in 2016. TSU ranks among the top historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) attracting the most research funding in the nation. 

“This continued record-breaking endeavor is a true testament to the hard work and tenacity of our faculty and staff, especially as we navigate the financially rough waters caused by COVID-19,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “A crucial cornerstone of an institution’s success is measured through its research.”  

Dr. Frances Williams

In addition to the increased research awards, TSU officials say faculty and staff also submitted the highest number of proposals in the university’s history for a single year. Of the 221 proposals submitted to various funding agencies, a record 160 were awarded for funding. 


“This increase in research awards received shows the commitment of our faculty, staff, and students to their scholarly activities,” says Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs.  “These efforts demonstrate the university’s research competitiveness, which is also evidenced by TSU’s Carnegie Classification as an R2: Doctoral University.” 

Of the funding received this year, a $14 million grant to the Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences to support the Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA) from the US Department of Health and Human Services was the single largest award received. Next was a $6 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture to lead a national effort in developing new tools to manage a wood-boring beetle that attacks trees. 

Dr. Kimberly Smith

“I am thrilled about TSU reaching this record accomplishment in research funding,” says Dr. Kimberly Smith, director of the Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences at TSU. She is using her funding to provide professional development support, such as training, tuition assistance, and mentoring to center-based and family childcare providers across the state of Tennessee.

“I am excited about the positive energy and momentum and look forward to TSU continuing to reach new milestones in research funding,” adds Smith. 

Dr. Karla Addesso

In the College of Agriculture, whose faculty account for more than half of all awards received, Dr. Karla Addesso is using her $6 million NIFA grant to lead a team of researchers and graduate students in a multi-state and multi-commodity project at TSU’s Otis L. Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. They are studying the “management of a genus of related flatheaded borer beetles” that attack trees and other woody plants in nursery, landscape, fruit, and nut orchard systems. 

“These beetles are a key concern to nursery producers in Tennessee and other states, as well as in walnut in California, hazelnuts in Oregon, and blueberries in Florida,” says Addesso, associate professor of entomology. 

Axel Gonzalez

Axel Gonzalez, a graduate student with Addesso, says working on the project and the TSU research environment have allowed him to gain experience in different areas, such as learning to set experiments in field and lab conditions, as well as data collection and analysis.  He is also excited about the level of research funding the university is receiving.

“Under Dr. Addesso’s supervision, my skills as a researcher have improved exponentially,” he says. “Now I’m able to see science from a different perspective.”

Here are some of the other top awards received in 2020-21: 

  • Dr. Jerri Haynes, Dean of the College of Education, multiple awards totaling $1,325,000, from the Tennessee Department of Education.  
  • Dr. De’Etra Young (College of Agriculture), $1,005,263 for the “TSU 1890 Scholarship Program: Training and Mentoring the Next Generation of Leaders in Food and Agricultural Sciences” from the US Department of Agriculture. 
  • Dr. Lin Li (College of Engineering), $1,000,000 to provide scholarships to support Undergraduate Student Success and Broaden Participation in Engineering and Computer Science, from the National Science Foundation. 

  • Dr. John Ricketts (College of Agriculture), $1,000,000 for Rapid Rollout of eight National Standard-based Rigorous and Remote AFNR Courses for Underserved College-bound Students, from the US Department of Agriculture. 
  • Dr. Margaret Whalen (College of Life and Physical Sciences), $877,180 for the “MMC, VICC, & TSU Partnership in Eliminating Cancer Disparities,” from the US Department of Health and Human Services. 
  • Dr. Robbie Melton (Graduate School), $788,577 to provide Strategic Planning to Implement Open Educational Resources and Practices in HBCUs 2020-22, from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. 

For more information on sponsored programs at TSU, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/research-1/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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