Tag Archives: TSU President Glenda Glover

TSU President Glenda Glover nominated for 2021 inclusive leader award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU President Glenda Glover is a nominee for the GlobalMindED 2021Inclusive Leader Awards. Glover is among leaders from across 15 industry sectors nominated for this year’s awards. Winners will be announced virtually on Nov. 3.

President Glenda Glover

The awards recognize the “most inclusive” leaders in key industries for their innovations and bold actions to promote access and equity for women, people of color, and underrepresented populations in their recruiting, development, and in their pipeline strategies from education to employment.

“I am delighted and honored to be nominated for this prestigious award, along with other distinguished leaders who are impacting our world in very positive ways,” Dr. Glover said. “GlobalMindED’s work to close the equity gap by creating a capable, diverse talent pipeline with programs for students from the least resourced background is highly commendable.”

According to its webpage, GlobalMindED serves low-income students, returning adults seeking badges/credentials, First Gen to college and inclusive leaders who teach them, work with them and hire them. The organization’s goal is to reach 25,000,000 First Gen college students, graduates, those who work with them and those who want to hire them algorithmically connected to role models, mentors, internships and jobs. 

Students and the general public are invited to attend the awards ceremony on Nov. 3, beginning at 5 p.m. Central/6 p.m. Eastern. To attend you must register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wcSRBKoARb-5d75rLrp8yw

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 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 halftime of the big match up between TSU and Jackson State University on Sept. 11, 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 Southern Heritage Classic. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

TSU ended up losing to Jackson State 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, is being remembered 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.

TSU President Glenda Glover said Patton, who passed Aug. 23 at age 81, 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 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.