NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University alum and the man considered the father of gospel television was honored Saturday night by his peers, including gospel sensation and Grammy Award winner Kirk Franklin. Dr. Bobby Jones was celebrated for his more than 40 years of contributions to the gospel music industry and received a lifetime achievement award.
The special recognition, made in collaboration with the GMA Dove Awards, was a part of TSU’s annual Gospel Explosion in Kean Hall, kicking off the 2019 homecoming week for the university. TSU President Glenda Glover, joined by Franklin and and GMA representatives, presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Jones.
Jones won a 1983 Dove Award for his “I’m So Glad I’m Standing Here.”
“On this very stage 60 years ago, I received my bachelor’s degree, and four years later, I received my master’s degree,” Jones recalled. “The strange thing about it is here I am receiving a lifetime achievement award on the same stage. I am so grateful for this honor.”
Franklin, known for such gospel hits as “Love Theory,” ‘Wanna Be Happy,” and “A God Like You,” sent fans in the the packed Kean Hall screaming when he appeared on stage with the TSU New Direction Choir for several selections.
Before appearing with Franklin, New Direction earlier opened the night with with performances that left the crowd wanting more.
Other big name stars included JJ Hairston, renowned leader of Youthful Praise choir; Koryn Hawthorne, contemporary gospel singer and finalist in Season 8 of NBC’s singing competition The Voice; and James Fortune, gospel music recording artist, songwriter and producer.
Referred to as the “Ed Sullivan of Gospel Music” and a staunched supporter of TSU, Jones, a Nashville native, is an American gospel music legend. For 36 years, Jones brought gospel music to a national TV audience with his legendary Sunday morning program “Bobby Jones Gospel.” He gave big breaks to rising stars like Yolanda Adams and Kirk Franklin.
Homecoming week runs through Saturday, Oct. 19, culminating with the parade along Jefferson Street, and the football game between TSU and Austin Peay at Nissan Stadium. For more information on Homecoming go to http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.