NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Since he was 12 years old, Mason McIntosh has strived to be in the best physical condition. On April 30, the 23-year-old will graduate with a M. Ed. in human performance and sports science that will allow him to help others be their fittest.
McIntosh will be among more than 900 graduates and undergraduates receiving degrees in various disciplines during Tennessee State University’s Spring Commencement ceremonies. Earlier this month, TSU officially announced the 2021 graduation exercises would return to campus following a year of virtual ceremonies because of the pandemic. The graduate ceremony, that will include McIntosh, will be Friday, April 30, at 4 p.m. in Hale Stadium. The undergraduate ceremony will be the next day at 8 a.m. in the stadium.
Growing up, McIntosh says his father encouraged him to stay in shape. He started lifting weights at age 12, and that sparked an interest in good conditioning.
“When I was looking for things to study in high school, I studied how to improve the body,” recalls McIntosh. “How the body works when it comes to the science behind it and how it functions at an athletic and sports level. I figured that’s what I’m passionate about, so why not study what you love? I like fitness. Why not master it and go to school for it?”
McIntosh, a Chicago native, played football for two Illinois high schools: Warren Township in Gurnee and Grayslake North in Grayslake. He played the positions of running back and safety at both schools. He would later attend Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he played safety and outside linebacker.
However, his sophomore year at Carthage he suffered a knee injury during the last game of the season that ended his aspiration to play professional football. He began to re-evaluate his future.
McIntosh says he’d always explored the possibility of attending a historically-black institution. So, when his dad moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2016, McIntosh followed him and set his sights on TSU. He transferred there his junior year and began to excel academically almost immediately.
In 2019, McIntosh earned a bachelor’s in HPSS with a concentration in exercise science, which will also be the case when he gets his M.Ed. He graduated with a 3.5 GPA when he got his BS, and he’s expecting a 3.8 or higher when he graduates April 30.
McIntosh’s instructors say he’s an exceptional student with a diligent work ethic.
“In 25 years as a department chair, no student has done better at the graduate level,” says Dr. James Heimdal, HPSS chairman. “First to arrive and last to leave every day; not afraid of hard work and long hours. Mason represents the best TSU has to offer.”
Dr. Robert Cochrum, an assistant HPSS professor and mentor to Mason, agrees.
“Most graduate students wait to be given a task, but Mason goes out of his way to ask if there is more he can do or more he can help you do,” says Cochrum. “I find this is a rare quality for people his age and/or younger students in a master’s program. I fully expect Mason to continue to grow and have a positive personal and professional influence on many people and organizations throughout his career.”
Mason credits TSU and his instructors for much of his success.
“TSU prepared me by getting me in front of the right people,” he said. “I’ve had great internship experiences because of TSU.
Mason plans to pursue a doctorate in Kinesiology at Auburn University, where he’s pretty much been given a full ride. He’s also received offers from two other schools with top Kinesiology programs. Mason would eventually like to become a strength conditioning coach at the collegiate or professional level.
CBS News anchor and reporter Michelle Miller will serve as the Friday evening commencement speaker for the graduate ceremony. Former New Orleans Mayor and National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial will be the undergraduate guest speaker on Saturday. Those planning to attend the TSU 2021 Spring Commencement Ceremonies are required to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Adults are strongly encouraged to have been vaccinated. Tickets are also required to attend. For more information about commencement, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/records/commencement/. The university will also livestream both events on Friday and Saturday. Visit (www.tnstate.edu/youtube) to watch.
To learn more about the Department of Human Performance and Sports Science, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/hpss/.
For more information about TSU’s 2021 Spring Commencement, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/records/commencement/.
Department of Media Relations
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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 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.