Tag Archives: TSU President Glenda Glover

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.

TSU remembers trailblazing educator and President Emeritus Dr. Frederick S. Humphries

By Lucas Johnson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Frederick Stephen Humphries, President Emeritus of Tennessee State University and Florida A&M University, is being remembered as a stalwart of higher education and staunch advocate for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Former TSU President Frederick S. Humphries receives a special Presidential Recognition from President Glenda Glover at the 2017 Scholarship Gala. (TSU Media Relations)

The trailblazing educator, who was TSU’s fourth president, passed away on June 24 at the age of 85. Humphries remained close to TSU and continued his financial support of the institution. In 2017, President Glenda Glover presented him with a Special Presidential Recognition during TSU’s homecoming.

“Dr. Humphries was a stalwart of higher education, and more importantly a staunch advocate for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs),” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “He demanded that HBCUs have their rightful place as leading institutions and this was evident during his leadership of the historic merger of the University of Tennessee at Nashville and TSU.”

Humphries grew up in the small town of Apalachicola, Florida, where he attended the all-black Wallace M. Quinn High School and was one of only nine graduates in the class of 1953. There, undoubtedly, the seed was planted for the greatness he would achieve in education.

Humphries realized his abilities, and never looked back. Following high school, he enrolled at Florida A&M University and went on to earn the Bachelor of Science degree magna cum laude in chemistry in 1957. He was also a distinguished military science graduate, and reportedly the first black officer to be commissioned into the Army Security Agency (Army Intelligence Branch). After serving in the Army for two years, Humphries entered the University of Pittsburgh in 1959 as a teaching assistant in chemistry, became a graduate research fellow the next year, and earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1964, the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in that discipline from the University of Pittsburgh.

In 1974, Humphries was named president of Tennessee State University. While at TSU, his excellent administration skills resulted in recruitment of top faculty, better academic programs, increased enrollment and quality of students, and expanded scholarships and support activities.

During his time at TSU, Humphries, who was quite vocal during the landmark court case, insisted on the predominance of TSU over UTN. This ultimately led to the merger of TSU and UTN, with TSU becoming the surviving institution. Historians say the posture and eloquence of Humphries in court is largely held as being responsible for the court decision, along with the presentation of attorney Avon Williams, and the efforts of Tennesseans for Justice in Higher Education. Between 1980 and 1985, Humphries and his staff gave leadership to the merged TSU, and began serving an increasingly larger portion of the Nashville community.

Humphries went on to become president of Florida A&M University in 1985, where he excelled for six years, gaining increased recognition on the state, national, and international levels. Florida A&M later conferred upon him the President Emeritus title.

Humphries was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the American Association of Higher Education, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, and the American Association of Minority Research Universities, just to name a few.

His honors and awards include the Drum Major for Justice Award in Education by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; President’s Award for Excellence in Higher Education by 100 Black Men of America, Inc.; Leadership Grant by the Prudential Life Insurance Company of America Foundation; and many others. Among Humphries’ most memorable awards are the Distinguished Alumnus Award presented by the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh; the United Bicentennial Medal of Distinction by the University of Pittsburgh on its 200th anniversary; the Thurgood Marshall Educational Achievement Award by Johnson Publishing Company for the most outstanding contributions to education; and “Floridian of the Year” by the Orlando Sentinel, the first African American to be honored with this award

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 dedicates new innovative, interdisciplinary Health Sciences Building

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University reached a major milestone recently when it dedicated its new four-story 102,000 square-foot ultramodern Health Sciences Building, the first state-funded building on the campus in more than 25 years.

President Glenda Glover greets officials and guests minutes before cutting the ribbon to the new building. (Photo by Andre Bean)

With the latest technology, the $38.8 million facility features simulation labs with mannequins that react like people, as well as motion science labs that can serve as rehab clinics. Disciplines in physical/occupational therapy, health information management, nursing, and cardiorespiratory care are all housed in the new building.

“We are so excited. This is a new day in the history of TSU, and a major milestone for our university,” said President Glenda Glover, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building on June 17. Several state and local officials, as well as senior TSU administrators, faculty, staff and students attended the ceremony. Officials included some members of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Tennessee Board of Regents, The TSU Board of Trustees, and the Tennessee General Assembly.

Several state and local officials, as well as senior TSU administrators, faculty, staff and students attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Photo by Andre Bean)

“This state-of-the-art facility will enhance student learning in health sciences as TSU continues to fill the gap for healthcare professionals,” Glover said. “It will help fill the demand by training students in innovation and engagement. We thank each of you for coming out today. We thank representative of THEC, the TBR, TSU Board of Trustees, and Rep. (Harold) Love, who fought hard to get us the funding for this building.”

Sara Henderson, a senior cardiorespiratory care major, said “everything in this building is hospital-grade.”

The new Health Sciences Building is the first state-funded building on campus in more than 25 years. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“This new building is very innovative, I am really enjoying it,” said Henderson, of Memphis, Tennessee, who is among the first students already taking classes in the new facility. “In here we have the right resources to sharpen our skills and be prepared to go into the hospitals upon graduation. We have areas here where we can actually carry out functions like those in hospitals.”

The Bed Laboratory in the School of Nursing is one of the many cutting-edge learning tools for students in the new building. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s chief of staff and associate vice president for administration, oversaw the new building project from design to construction. He said to ensure that the project had the best possible outcome to meet students’ learning needs, there was a lot of collaboration and discussion with stakeholders.

Roslyn Pope, a nursing faculty, simulates a basic assessment of a patient in critical care. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We allowed faculty input and went to other facilities around the state and saw what they had,” Johnson said. “We consulted with experts and this is what we came up with that best prepares our students to lead.  This is one of the most high-tech facilities that we have on campus, and this dedication is an opportunity for the university to showcase just one of the many things they are doing in the production of graduates who are going to contribute to health and wellness.”

 With the first historically black institution to have a student-run PT/OT therapy clinic, TSU’s health sciences program also includes disciplines in speech pathology and audiology, as well as a dental hygiene clinic that offers low-cost to no-cost services to the community and staff. The Speech Pathology and Audiology, and Dental Hygiene programs are housed in different buildings on campus.

The Tiger Clinic is tied to the orthopedic class for rotating students in physical therapy. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Tennessee State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., a staunch TSU supporter, who earned bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from the institution, was among those who fought tirelessly in the General Assembly for money to fund the new building before it was approved in state budget under former Gov. Bill Haslam. Love said alumni and former students returning to the campus will be proud to see the new edifice.

“Having walked on this campus many times as a student and former student to see this new building on TSU’s campus is very exciting,” he said. “We are talking about preparing students to be able to go out and transform our society and make it a better place, but also to be able to prepare students with the skills and technical know-how to be able to compete in the global market place.”

The Health Information Management Lab is one of many facilities with cutting-edge technology available to students in the new building. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Ronald Barredo, dean of the College of Health Sciences, described the new building as a “vehicle” to do collaborative practices, community service, and interdisciplinary teaching.

“These are all parts of our vision that I think will be best realized when we have a facility such as this that helps provide the environment for the university’s ‘think, work, serve’ mission to be accomplished,” Barredo said. “As healthcare providers, service is integral and we owe it to the community to provide them the very best.”

Dr. Malia R. Jackson, an assistant professor, teaches occupational therapy. She said the innovation and real-world setup in the new building are very helpful for students.

“I think this is an amazing environment, especially for our students with regards to the different technologies that are in the classrooms,” Jackson said. “The way the classrooms are set up, it is very similar to what they will experience in the real world as they transition from the classroom to field work.”

Also speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony was Dr. Deborah A. Cole, TSU alum and the newly elected chair of the TSU Board of Trustees; and Dr. Michael Harris, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

TSU officials say the new Health Sciences Building is just one of many ongoing and upcoming construction projects that are aimed to enhance students’ living and learning. A 700-bed residence hall estimated at $75.2 million, now under construction, is expected to be completed in early 2022.

FEATURED PHOTO
From left: Dr. Ronald Barredo, Dean of the College of Health Sciences; Douglas Allen, Vice President of Business and Finance; Van Pinnock, Member, TSU Board of Trustees; President Glover; Dr. Deborah A. Cole, Member, TSU Board of Trustees; and Dr. Michael Harris, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs (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.

TSU remembers trailblazing alumna Thelma Harper as a strong, ‘unwavering’ advocate and supporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Those who remember the late former state Sen. Thelma Harper know she’d be smiling from ear to ear right now just hearing about Tennessee State University. Her love for her alma mater was unwavering. Whether in the Senate where she fought fiercely for equitable funding for TSU, or in the community where she was a powerful voice, or at events on campus, Harper was an advocate like no other.  

TSU President Glenda Glover shares an interesting moment she had with Sen. Thelma Harper, as she pays tribute to the late former lawmaker during the Celebration of Life service at TSU. (Photo by Ashley Benkarski)

 “Senator Thelma Harper was a fierce advocate for Tennessee State University, and a true friend. She never forgot her roots and remained committed to the values instilled in her by her parents as a public servant,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.

“At TSU, we celebrate her life and will be forever thankful for all she did for her alma mater. If there is one individual that truly embodied the university‘s motto of think, work, serve, it was Senator Harper. On behalf of the entire TSU Family, we thank you for your service.” 

In 2018, weeks before her retirement from the state Senate, alumna Thelma Harper, third from right, participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for two new residence halls on the main TSU campus. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Harper, a Democrat and the first black woman elected to the state Senate in 1989, died April 22. She was 80. A native of Brentwood, Tennessee, Harper graduated from TSU in 1978, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting. She went on to break many glass ceilings and earned many “firsts” in history as a politician and a national figure. In all, she never forgot her TSU.

“Her commitment to Tennessee State University is measured by what we see on the campus,” said fellow TSU alum and state Rep. Dr. Harold Love, Jr. “Fighting for students to have access to great academic programs, promoting TSU equal funding – for me, that was one of the joys when I first got elected to be able to work alongside her to have TSU not forgotten about in the state budget.” 

Danielle Knight, TSU graduate and Sen. Harper’s last intern up to her retirement in 2018, says the late lawmaker inspired her so much that she has set her sight on becoming an elected official. (Photo by Ashley Benkarski)

In one final visit to her alma mater, and in appreciation of the late state senator’s lifelong commitment to TSU, the University served as the backdrop for Harper’s “Celebration of Life” service in the Gentry Complex Center on May 6. President Glover, along with administrators, staff, students, faculty, alumni and the community filed by to pay their final respect. 

Barbara Murrell, a TSU alumna and former administrator, remembers Harper as a TSU student and her rise as a state and national figure. 

“Senator Harper was a servant leader who was always available to focus on the needs of her alma mater, Tennessee State University and the community she served,” said Murrell, retired TSU vice president for student affairs. “She was respected, admired and appreciated by all who observed her willingness to accept the motto of her alma mater, think, work, serve and make it her own.”  

Sen. Harper, in one of her signature stylish hats, along with other lawmakers, joins TSU President Glover, administrators, staff and students during TSU Day at Capitol in 2018. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Danielle Knight and Marissa Faith King were Harper’s mentees when they interned at the Capitol as TSU students. They recalled the late lawmaker’s personal involvement in their development.  

“Sen. Harper helped me a lot as an intern working with her in the General Assembly,” said Knight, a 2018 TSU graduate in political science, who was Harper’s last intern up to the senator’s retirement the same year. “As a student, she impacted my life and inspired me so much working with her that I decided to become a legislator, to help people in my community as she always did.” Currently a lobbyist aid with the state and a financial services representative with a credit union, Knight’s career goal is to become an elected official.  

For King, who interned with two other lawmakers but interacted with Harper and her staff on many bills, she said the late senator taught her to be firm in a world dominated by men and competing political interests.

“She taught us as black female interns it is okay to stand your ground,” said King, a 2017 criminal justice graduate and an executive legislative assistant in the state House of Representatives. “She told me, ‘It is always necessary to have a seat at the table and make sure you’re being heard and being respected.’”  

Harper was always a major presence at the annual TSU Day at the Capitol, when a wave of TSU blue – students, administrators, faculty, staff – converged on the Capitol with displays of academic offerings and cutting-edge research. She made sure to personally invite her fellow lawmakers to see the “pride of her alma mater.”  

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said Harper’s “consistent voice for opportunities for TSU was unmatched in the state Legislature.”  

“She never missed being a part of the Homecoming events, including being at the parade every year,” Stevenson said. “She never missed celebrating our graduation services. She was just amazing to this university and our campus community.”  

Additionally, while Harper was fighting for TSU in the Tennessee General Assembly, she was also hands-on at the university, mentoring students, especially young women about their personal choices and career goals. She served on the advisory board of the Women’s Center from the inception of the center in 2007 until her passing. She was among the first recipients of the Women of Merit and Legend Award given by the center each year to upstanding women in the community. At the 2018 WOLM awards ceremony, President Glover presented Harper with a special award for her “trailblazing years as a public servant.”  

“She was very helpful and diligent in supporting women’s and student scholarship,” said center director Seanne Wilson. “She was one of the first to provide seed money and scholarship dollars to start the center. She mentored some of the young ladies on professional development, and really just gave them access to her.”  

Harper was buried Thursday at Greenwood Cemetery following the service at TSU. 

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 using $25,000 gift from Renasant Bank to help students succeed during pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is using a $25,000 donation from Renasant Bank to help fulfill student needs, particularly during the pandemic. Officials say the funds will go toward assisting students in need of financial support, as well as making sure they have the tools they need to complete their coursework.

In a letter, Renasant Bank said the financial donation is in support of “student emergency scholarship” at TSU, as part of its legacy of strong community service. In addition to Tennessee, Renasant serves communities in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

“TSU is grateful to Renasant Bank for its support of the institution and our students,” says President Glenda Glover. “We made a commitment to students that the university would ensure quality of student learning and their academic success during this pandemic. This gift from Renasant helps us keep that promise by providing much needed support for students as we enter the spring semester.”

Tracey Morant Adams, Renasant Bank’s senior executive vice president, says, “When the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic began to impact our communities, Renasant made an intentional decision to redirect much of our charitable donations to support COVID relief efforts. Our support of TSU’s student emergency scholarship program demonstrates a sincere desire of community service by our company during a very critical time.”

Danielle Glenn

Currently, there are about 1,600 students living on campus, that’s about 50 percent of full occupancy. Classes are offered in hybrid, online and in face-to-face formats, including distance learning. For various reasons, many students have chosen to live on campus, stay in their dorm rooms, and complete their courses online.

Danielle Glenn, a junior criminal justice major from Atlanta, who lives on campus and takes classes online, says she is “extremely” happy that Renasant Bank is helping students “at this very critical” time.

“This is a great way to help many students stay in school,” says Glenn. “Many students are facing some real hard time, and this money will help many of them continue their education, especially during this pandemic.”

Tiant Perry, Jr.

Junior accounting major Tiant Perry, Jr., from Montgomery, Alabama, agrees.

“When I heard about the gift from Renasant Bank I was really happy because there are students on campus right now with balances that they don’t know how they are going to settle,” says Perry. “This generous donation will go a long way to help out many students on campus.”

Jamie Isabel, TSU’s associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, Corporate Relations and Foundations, says the financial gift from Renasant is an example of the bank’s commitment to the university, and the “value of corporate partners to students and the university.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded 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.

One year after tornado, TSU family remembers community support, help from ‘total strangers’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University may have been caught in the devastation of a tornado that hit northwest and east Nashville early last March, but the campus family also experienced an outpouring of community support and resilience in the aftermath that has fostered healing and a spirit to rebuild.

President Glenda Glover pets 1-year-old Gracie the goat, which was born the night of the tornado. Gracie’s mother survived the storm and gave birth to two kids that night. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“It was so much outpouring of love and support. People came from different places on different days,” says Dr. Glenda Glover, president of TSU. “Nashvillians stuck together, some students were on spring break and when they came back, they jumped in. We were overwhelmed with the level of love and support and care.” 

March 3 marked the one-year anniversary of the EF2 tornado that struck shortly after midnight. TSU’s Agriculture Farm took the biggest hit. Five of six structures, including research facilities, greenhouses, and a pavilion, were reduced to rubble. Two calves were killed, and several goats injured.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, talks to a reporter from the spot where the nearly 300-seat pavilion once stood. The pavilion and several other structures were damaged. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Other parts of the main campus received damage to signs and building rooftops, as well as downed power lines, uprooted trees, and other debris. About 85 students who did not go away for the spring break were on campus, but no injuries were reported.

Officials estimate total damage to the campus to be about $20 million.

However, amid the scars of what was lost or destroyed, one thing that has stood out is the volunteerism displayed by people from all walks of life. When asked what they remembered most about the tornado and the aftermath, faculty, staff, and students noted the general outpouring of support from total strangers.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering, right, led a team of faculty, staff, student and community volunteers to remove debris. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Jeia Moore arrived in Nashville from her spring break a few days after the storm hit.  

“It was sad to see my campus like that because so much student work had been lost,” says Moore, a junior information systems major from Memphis, Tennessee. A year later, however, Moore is impressed with how the university has been able to pull through, even with the onset of the coronavirus at the same time. 

“TSU, we are not going to be down too long. We are going to come back,” says Moore. “I am just happy that we are still able to function like we never missed a beat.” 

Volunteers from all walks of life signed up to help with the cleanup effort after the tornado. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Bryce Daniel, a junior health sciences major from Fort Worth, Texas, was in his dorm room in Hale Hall when the storm hit. Hale Hall was not affected, but the sight of the destruction on the other side of campus was too overwhelming for Daniel to ignore. 

“I immediately felt I needed to give back and help my campus recover,” says Daniel, who’s part of “Generation of Educated Men,” or GEM, a social and educational student group. The group mobilized and was among the first volunteers to join the cleanup effort on the Ag farm. 

Members of Generation of Educated Men, a campus group of TSU students, were among the first volunteers to join the cleanup effort. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I was glad to be safe and blessed to still have all of my things. So, it was just natural to go and give back to help clean up my campus,” says Daniel. 

Some renovations on the main campus are either completed or ongoing. As for the Ag farm, TSU officials say discussions with state and federal agencies and insurance underwriters are ongoing, and construction should start soon and be completed by year’s end.  

“Effort to reconstruct is slower, complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are moving along, it might take some time, but we will get there,” says Glover. 

Debris was thrown about in every corner of the Ag farm in the aftermath of the tornado. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

On the learning aspect, she says it’s been a grueling year, because things are at a slower pace. How students are taught changed drastically, with teaching and learning now about 85 percent virtual.  

“We have some aspects that are not virtual, and we do require in-person learning, so we want to make sure that is taken care of,” says Glover. “Once COVID has run its course, we believe that we will be moving at a faster pace.” 

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, heads the reconstruction effort at TSU. He says recovery will take time, but the main concern is making sure teaching and research are not affected.

As the days went by, more volunteers showed up to lend a hand in the cleanup. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We look forward to rebuilding a better campus,” says Johnson. “We expect our rebuilding to have better structure, better technology. ”

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, agrees, saying the goal is to “make sure all of our buildings and research facilities are much better and much stronger.” 

On the show of support, Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, says in the aftermath of the storm he saw a campus community determined to bounce back, “not only to represent Tiger pride, but the city of Nashville strong.” 

“Our students, faculty, staff, everyone put the gloves on, rolled up their sleeves and were committed to making our campus continue in the space of beauty,” says Stevenson. 

GEM member Derrick Sanders, a junior secondary English education major from Cincinnati, Ohio, who drove into Nashville the next morning amid the destruction, says “it felt so good to see people come together for the enhancement of TSU.”

“I saw people from the community, people from different churches, even students giving out anything they had to help. It just felt good to know that we are a family, and we can help each other,” says Sanders. 

TSU honors best and brightest students at first virtual Honors Day Convocation; speaker donates $50K to Alma Mater

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently recognized its best and brightest students with the university’s first-ever virtual Honors Day Convocation. More than 2,100 students with grade point averages of 3.0 or higher were recognized on March 2 for academic excellence.

President Glenda Glover

Among the honorees were 400 President’s List scholars. These are students who have maintained 4.0 GPAs throughout their matriculation.

Damyon J. Thompson, a 2003 TSU graduate and chief of staff to the general manager of IBM’s Automation Division, was the keynote speaker. Thompson was a member of the Honors College at TSU.

Before Thompson’s keynote speech, TSU President Glenda Glover congratulated the honorees for their achievements. She challenged them to further develop their talents “to be the leaders you have been chosen to be.”

Daymon J. Thompson

“Honors Day is more than personal recognition; it is a challenge to soar even higher,” Glover said. “As honors students, we will depend on you to research challenges and issues and to develop solutions that will remake our university. Whether it is the COVID pandemic, or racial injustice, it is you our honorees who must contribute to finding a path that leads to solutions to the threats that we currently face.”

Thompson, who earned two bachelor’s degrees – computer science, business information systems – from TSU, started his remarks with a $50,000 donation to the university’s Enterprise Computing program, on behalf of him and his sister, Shari D. Thompson, a 2006 TSU graduate and member of the Honors College. A high industry demand area, the enterprise computing initiative was launched at TSU in 2014 to help prepare students to compete for high-paying enterprise internships and jobs.

Kerrington Powell received the Dr. McDonald Williams Award for Academic Excellence.

Speaking on “Promoting academic excellence, breaking paradigms, and transforming growth leaders in the new decade,” Thompson told the honorees that to succeed they must have growth mindset, be technologically inclined, and have an executable plan. He said the world is filled with people with fixed mindset, who are afraid of challenges or failure, and those with growth mindset who embrace change, challenges and see failure as a chance “to pivot” and learn from their mistakes.

“At age 29, I took and chance to advance my career and took a job in a foreign country where I knew no one, I did not understand the culture, but I am glad I did. It paid off,” said Thompson, who engages with business unit leaders to execute the direction of the 7,000-person, $5 billion IBM division.

Meleena Warters

“I embraced the challenge and the change because, I said, ‘you know what, if I can learn and grow from this, it will really set me up when I return home.’ And it did although with challenges. I had a growth mindset, I said let me jump in, let me embrace the change, let me go across the world and see what happens,” Thompson said. “In the midst of COVID-19, the social justice reckoning of 2020, economic uncertainty, and the massive amount of debt students are facing every day, we have to hit the ground running. We have to keep our focus ahead.”

Meleena Warters and Larry McNary, Honors College scholars, were among the students recognized at the virtual convocation. They are inspired and are very grateful for the recognition given for their academic achievements.

L:arry McNary

“I know it takes a lot of work to be on the honor roll or on the Dean’s List, but to have your peers, the who institution and speakers come out and congratulate you on a personal level is really very important and feels good,” said Warters, a junior mass communications major from Brentwood, Tennessee, with a 3.9 GPA.

McNary agreed.  “This is about recognizing the hard work that students put in, and that means a lot,” he said. “I feel grateful and supported to be a part of something like that.” McNary, who is from Memphis, Tennessee, will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He has a 3.7 GPA.

Among those also recognized were Honors College Scholars, those on the Dean’s List, members of the university-wide Honor Societies, Student Leadership Award recipient, the top graduating seniors, and the recipient of the Dr. McDonald Williams Scholarship for Academic Excellence.

Dr. Michael Harris, interim Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. Coreen Jackson, interim dean of the Honors College; and other senior officials participated in the convocation.

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 President Glenda Glover named one of ‘Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University begins the new academic year with a major accolade for the University’s president.

Dr. Glenda Glover has been named one of the “Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021,” by HBCU Campaign Fund, a national non-profit organization that advocates for student and higher education.

“I am honored to be included with this distinguished group of university presidents selected by HBCU Campaign Fund, a well-respected organization that advocates for our students and institutions,” President Glover said.

“It is particularly gratifying because of the common mission we share of ensuring the highest academic achievement of our students.”

According to HBCU Campaign Fund, presidents and chancellors selected for the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders award have “proven their responsibilities for shaping policies, changing perspectives, and making decisions that affect millions of individuals in the higher education space, and the daily needs of what an HBCU or Minority-Serving Institutions contributes.”

“These individuals play a prominent and influential role in leadership and display the characteristics of the following responsibilities in the progression of effectively moving an institution forward,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., president, CEO and founder of HCF.

See the complete listing of award recipients and fourth-class inductees via https://hbcucampaignfund.org/the-ten-most-dominant-hbcu-leaders-of-2021/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded 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 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.

TSU recognizes fall 2020 graduates with second virtual commencement, more than 700 honored

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recognized hundreds of fall graduates through its second virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday. More than 700 undergraduates and graduates were honored during the program, held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

President Glenda Glover

Yamiche Alcindor, a renowned journalist and White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, delivered the keynote address. Before her speech, TSU President Glenda Glover greeted the graduates and welcomed alumni, staff and guests watching the program livestreamed on all the major social media platforms. 

“It is my distinct honor and privilege to extend heartfelt congratulations to you,” Glover said. “I applaud you for having reached this extraordinary milestone in your academic career. It does not matter how long it took you, you are being honored today because you are graduating. You have endured. We honor your sacrifice. You have overcome obstacles, you have multiplied your talent, you increased your resources.” 

Yamiche Alcindor

Alcindor, noted for telling stories about the “intersection of race and politics,” and directly questioning President Donald Trump on race issues and the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on black people, encouraged the graduates to pursue their life’s passion and purpose, stay the course no matter the setback, and learn to do the right thing even when no one is watching. 

“Be assured that as you receive your degrees today, you are already fulfilling your ancestors’ wildest dream. Continue to strive and walk in that reality,” Alcindor said. “Make a career of doing that thing that drives you. Maybe you are graduating without a job or without the job you thought you would get. Maybe you are graduating with a lot of student loans and you are anxious about what comes next. Give yourself space to develop and focus on putting one foot in front of the other.” 


A contributor for NBC and MSNBC, who often appears on shows like “Morning Joe,” “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” and “Meet the Press,” Alcindor told the graduates to brace themselves for setbacks as they pursue their various careers, citing her own experience early on as a young journalist. 

“When I started my career in journalism, the setbacks came very quickly, and they will come for you too,” she said. “Each of you will experience moments when people will challenge the very premise of your very existence and your pursuits. Maybe some will criticize your career choices, condemn whom you choose to love, demean your cultural background. I say, press forward.” 

Jay Bobinger, who received his undergraduate degree in agricultural sciences, talked about his TSU preparation that he said will propel him into a very bright future. 

“In my experience at TSU, I found a campus faculty that set me up for success in the workforce with patient and intentional mentorship and connecting me to resources to achieve my goals,” said Bobinger, who is from Kingston, Tennessee. “I once read that life makes way for those who know where they are going, and I would say the same is true at TSU.” 

Julien Dooley, who graduates with a degree in commercial music, entertains fellow graduates with a rendition of “Escalondo” by noted classical guitarist and composer Jaime Zenamon.

Cydney Smith, of Nashville, who received a bachelor of science degree in public health, was equally optimistic about the future. 

“I owe Tennessee State University for the endless memories and learning experiences that have happened to me in these past years,” Smith said. “The staff and professors, that I grew close to, pushed me constantly to excel in school work even when I thought I would not see the finish line.” 

At Today’s graduation, Jason Archer was presented with the Academic Excellence Award for achieving the highest grade point average in his class. 

Like in the past, deans of the various colleges presented candidates to President Glover for the conferring of degrees, as the graduates’ names scrolled across the screen. 

Among those presented for conferring of degrees were four university administrators who received their doctorate degrees in education leadership. They included Dr. Arlene Nicholas-Phillips, executive assistant to the president and liaison to the TSU Board of Trustees; Dr. Phyllis Danner, director, Research and Sponsored Programs; Dr. Anita McGaha, director of disability services; and Dr. Corrine S. Vaughn, director, Research and Sponsored Programs. 

During the ceremonies, several past TSU graduates made appearances with words of congratulations and encouragement for the graduates. Among them was Olympic gold medalist Ralph H. Boston. 

Julien Dooley, a member of the Honors College, who received his bachelor of science degree in commercial music, entertained his fellow graduates with a rendition of “Escalondo” by noted classical guitarist and composer Jaime Zenamon.

To see video of the virtual commencement, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PH8iqdqMHM&feature=youtu.be

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded 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 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.

Yamiche Alcindor, renowned journalist and White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour, will give the address at TSU’s virtual fall commencement Nov. 28

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Yamiche Alcindor, a renowned journalist and White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, will deliver the commencement address when Tennessee State University holds its second virtual graduation ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 28.

The fall commencement will begin at 9 a.m. and will be livestreamed on the TSU homepage (www.tnstate.edu), YouTube (www.tnstate.edu/youtube) and Facebook (www.tnstate.edu/facebook).

More than 700 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines. 

Alcindor, noted for telling stories about the “intersection of race and politics,” has directly questioned President Donald Trump a number of times on a range of issues, including the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on black people and communities of color, the protests following the death of George Floyd, and the consequences of the President’s immigration policies. 

A contributor for NBC and MSNBC, Alcindor often appears on a number of shows, including “Morning Joe,” “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” and “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd. She previously worked as a national political reporter for The New York Times, where she covered the presidential campaigns of Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), as well as Congress. She also wrote about the impact of President Trump’s policies on working class people and people of color. 

Before joining The Times, Alcindor was a national breaking news reporter for USA Today and traveled across the country to cover stories, including the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut., the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, and the police-related protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore. 

In 2020, the White House Correspondents’ Association named Alcindor the recipient of the Aldo Beckman Award for Overall Excellence in White House Coverage, and the National Association of Black Journalists named her Journalist of the Year. She has also been honored with the Gwen Ifill Next Generation Award by Simmons University. 

A native of Miami, Florida, Alcindor holds a master’s degree in broadcast news and documentary filmmaking from New York University, and a bachelor’s in English, government and African American studies from Georgetown University. 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded 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 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.