Category Archives: Homecoming

TSU’s We Are One Homecoming Attracts Record Crowds

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s 2023 homecoming drew thousands of proud alumni, family, and friends from across the country to celebrate the annual week of activities. With the theme “Through Resilience and Perseverance, We Are One,” Tennessee State University proudly kicked off the weeklong celebration with the Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest and Gospel Explosion, followed by other traditional events like the coronation of Mister and Miss TSU, the homecoming parade down historic Jefferson Street, and, of course, the football game. This year also featured plenty of star power in the land of ‘Golden Sunshine.’

TSU student leaders cheering on the football team during the 2023 homecoming game at Nissan Stadium.

Homecoming chair Grant Winrow said this year’s events were ‘nothing short of perfection.

“We did a great job executing some fantastic enhancements to homecoming,” Winrow said.

“The highlight of my homecoming is that we had a wonderful time celebrating without any incidents reported. It was a very intentional effort that we partied with a purpose, with all the fundraising that took place.” Winrow also noted how livestreaming the legendary homecoming parade for the first time ever was a huge success, with thousands of viewers.

There was a warm welcome extended to the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Medical/Dental Accelerated Pathway Program cohorts during a white coat ceremony to honor students on their journey toward becoming medical doctors, dentists, and healthcare professionals.

TSU was the first stop on The Shop UNINTERRUPTED HBCU Tour. Guests for the live taping included TSU alumnus Dwane “Key Wane” Weir, Jr., actress and producer Crystal Renee, The Shop co-creator Paul Rivera and comedian KevoStage served as hosts.

TSU’s homecoming continued with a music concert featuring Kash Doll, Boosie, Moneybagg Yo, Glorilla, and more for students to have an unforgettable night with some of their favorite rap artists. In the midst of events, Mr. and Miss TSU, Davin Latiker and Victoria McCrae, had their special night, their coronation, during homecoming to officially wear the crowns as queen and king.

“To me, coronation is truly a magical experience,” said McCrae, who was crowned as the 94th Miss TSU. “It is a moment that you not only cherish with the currently reigning royal court but with all royals, admin, family, and students. Being coronated is an indescribable feeling. It is a true moment of happiness and an overwhelming sea of joy.”

TSU President Glenda Glover waves to the crowd of thousands at the 2023 homecoming parade heading down historic Jefferson Street

Davin Latiker believed that coronation represents a significant moment of recognition. “It is a night dedicated to acknowledging the remarkable achievements of the individuals within the royal court,” he said. “It’s an event that celebrates excellence and serves as an opportunity to reflect on the journey that brought us here.”

Hollywood came to campus as TSU was the first stop on The Shop UNINTERRUPTED HBCU Tour. Guests for the live taping included TSU alumnus Dwane “Key Wane” Weir, Jr., a Grammy award-winning music producer and songwriter who has worked with Beyonce, Drake, Jazmine Sullivan, and Big Sean just to name a few.

Hundreds of alumni, family and friends at the inaugural alumni “We Are One” Day party at TSU.

He was joined by actress and producer Crystal Renee, from Tyler Perry’s Sistas and Zatima television shows. The Shop co-creator Paul Rivera and comedian Kevin Fredericks, professionally known as KevOnStage, served as hosts. The TSU show will air in November on the show’s YouTube Channel and will also feature President Glenda Glover, the Aristocrat of Bands along with Mister and Miss TSU Davin Latiker and Victoria McCrae.

For alumni, the party was in full swing with DJ D-Nice. The DJ to the stars entertained homecoming crowds for two days, on Friday at the Ultimate Day Party and Saturday at the TSU Official Tailgate Event.

Coach Eddie George and the TSU Tigers are 4-2 this season after winning the homecoming game over Norfolk State.

Debbie Howard, director of the office of alumni relations, said that homecoming goers called this year’s events one of the greatest of all time. “With so many events being held on campus now, whether it’s the pep rally, the step show, the addition of the inaugural alumni day party or the parade, it just felt like home to many,” Howard said. “To many alumni, this homecoming was one to cherish for a lifetime.”

Homecoming culminated with the TSU football Tigers improving to 4-2 this season, with a win over Norfolk State. And of course, the Aristocrat of Bands stole the halftime show.

Tennessee State University’s Homecoming 2023 was more than an event but was a testament to the pride, unity, and excellence as one.

TSU Holds Annual White Coat Ceremony, Pipeline for Medical and Healthcare Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – From Houston, Texas, to Tennessee State University, the Lord family said the 12-hour drive was well worth it to witness a significant milestone in their son’s journey towards becoming a medical professional. Ethan Lord, a freshman biology major, is part of TSU’s third annual White Coat Ceremony, an event marking the progress of students on the path to becoming doctors and dentists through the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Medical/Dental, Accelerated Pathway Program.

Dr. Connie Graves

The program is a collaborative effort between Tennessee State University and Meharry Medical College aimed at creating a pipeline for future healthcare professionals. Ethan has aspirations to become an orthopedic surgeon.

“I am grateful and excited,” Ethan Lord said. “It feels good to be recognized. My parents drove 12 hours last night, so I am thankful for that.”

Lord’s mother, who is a pediatrician, acknowledged the challenges ahead but expressed unwavering support.

Cohort 1 presented Dean Barbra Murrell with a framed photo from 2020 symbolizing their journey together and appreciation for her unwavering support.

“We just want him to know that we will be behind him,” she said. “I am looking forward to seeing him mature and solidifying his goals.”

Ethan’s father is a physical medicine and rehab specialist.

“The white coat ceremony is a traditional event; we knew the significance of it, and Ethan wanted us to be here.” Lord spoke highly of Ethan being a mature student and knows that he will do well in the program.

Cohort one officially receiving their white coats to kick start their medical and dentistry journeys.

During the ceremony, TSU President Glenda Glover expressed gratitude, especially to parents, while also acknowledging the legacy of TSU alumnus Dr. Levi Watkins Jr.

“We honor Dr. Levi Watkins and the role he played in advancing medicine, performing lifesaving research and, in fact, saving lives through his invention,” President Glover said.

“I look forward to you becoming role models and essential healthcare professionals. I am just as excited and eager to watch you as you become role models for other TSU students.”

Dr. Dawn, left, and Edward Lord III, right, drove 12-hours to witness their son Ethan receive his white coat during the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Medical/Dental, Accelerated Pathway Program.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Connie Graves, emphasized the significance of the event, reminding the students of those who paved the way for them. Inspired by Dr. Watkins’ legacy, she spoke about excellence, authenticity, and activism, challenging the students to fulfill their dreams.

“There is excellence in this room, and there is activism in this room,” Graves said. “And on this day as you receive your white coat, you have accepted the challenge. Congratulations as you enter your journey into the field of medicine.”

Students from cohorts 1-3 received their white coats during the ceremony. Barbara Murrell, chair of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Institute and fondly referred to as Dean Murrell, was also recognized for her vision to establish the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Institute and her dedication to ensuring the program’s success. Cohort 1 presented Dean Murrell with a framed photo, symbolizing their journey together. The group also presented President Glover with a white coat to demonstrate their appreciation for her unwavering support.

Cohort 1 presented President Glover with a white coat to demonstrate their appreciation during the ceromony.

Dean Murrell thanked the students for their contribution to TSU and the nation and emphasized their role as “the cure.”

“To cohort one, you started off with us, we grew together, we made it through to this day together, and now we are going to medical school together. I thank all of you for choosing TSU and what you have brought to the university and what you will bring to our nation.”

McKhia McCrary

McKhia McCrary, a senior from cohort one who will be attending Meharry next fall, highlighted the importance of HBCU pathway programs in providing resources to underrepresented communities. She ended with some advice for the third cohort students about pursuing medicine and dentistry.

“Always remember your why,” McCrary said. “Classes get hard, you’re active on campus, but if you remember your why, you can push through anything. Remember why you went into the medical field and why you’re needed.”

To learn more about the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Medical/Dental, Accelerated Pathway Program, visit

TSU announces ‘We Are One’ 2023 homecoming celebration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With the theme of “Through Resilience and Perseverance, We Are One,” Tennessee State University proudly announces homecoming 2023 is October 8-14.  Homecoming kicks off the with the annual Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest and Gospel Explosion on Sunday, Oct. 8 to start the weeklong celebration. In addition to the big game between fellow HBCU Norfolk State University and the TSU Tigers, major events will include Mister and Miss TSU Coronation along with the Royal Court, the scholarship gala, the legendary Jefferson Street parade, and numerous alumni and student activities. 

President Glenda Glover

“This year’s theme embodies the spirit of solidarity and unity that defines the university and its local community, said TSU President Glenda Glover. ” There’s no homecoming like a TSU homecoming. We have planned for a celebration that will welcome thousands of alumni back home to our campus, their campus.”

President Glover added that she is pleased to have TSU alumni, former faculty and administrators to serve as the grand marshals and honorees the homecoming. 

The Grand Marshals leading this year’s parade include former Senator Brenda Gilmore, state government administrator Dr. Turner Nashe, and Tennessee Tribune publisher and civil rights activist Rosetta Miller-Perry. The honorees are longtime educator and administrator Dr. John Cade, legal maestro-turned-community leader Sammy Comer, and retired TSU Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and English professor Dr. Gloria Johnson.

Grammy award-winning Aristocrat of Bands during homecoming in 2022 welcoming alumni, family and friends to TSU.

The Special Presidential Honorees, distinguished as lifetime achievement luminaries, include civil rights leader Dr. Xernona Clayton, ambassador and gospel music advocate Bobby Jones, the chair of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Institute, Dean Barbara Murrell, and former long-time director of Field Services and Extension, and director of Financial Aid Homer Wheaton.

TSU students will continue to benefit from homecoming with the Annual Scholarship Gala, TSU’s signature fundraising event. It will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 13, at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Nashville. TSU homecoming Chair and director of strategic planning Grant Winrow said the gala gives alumni and supporters a chance to party with purpose and give back. 

Grant Winrow

“This is our biggest opportunity to let the world know how TSU has been a presence amongst colleges and universities across the country with our historical accomplishments and achievements,” Winrow said. “We have some of the most illustrious alumni who have stepped foot on this campus.”

Referring to this year’s honorees and grand marshals, Winrow said this is a selection to be very proud of.

“We have an unprecedented number of honorees this year. They are the epitome of dedicated service to the university.”

Student Government Association President Derrell Taylor said this year’s theme is impactful. “It’s a great opportunity to emphasize that we are one. We are part of the same product, goal, and mission,” Taylor said. “It’s meaningful because it is one of the most anticipated moments of the year. Students are excited to be able to put on their flyest outfits and attend some of the best events of the year.” 

Derrell Taylor

Taylor also noted how this is his last homecoming as an undergraduate student and Dr. Glover’s last homecoming as an active president. “This is our president’s final victory lap. It will be nice to see everyone come home and give her her flowers.” 

President Glover announced her retirement in August. 

Director of Athletics Dr. Mikki Allen said homecoming is all about the community honoring the past, celebrating the present, and investing in the future of Tennessee State University. “Homecoming is much more than a single event. It’s a celebration of history, culture, community, and the enduring legacy of Tennessee State University,” AD Allen said.  

“We know a major part of the celebration will be the football game. We’re excited to play Norfolk State University and I know Coach George will have our team ready to perform at a high level.”

Dr. Mikki Allen

The 2023 homecoming will also feature the now Grammy award-winning Aristocrat of Bands, who will be a major highlight of the TSU homecoming parade. Thousands are expected to line up and down Jefferson Street, hours before the big game, to see the trailblazing band. The parade route is from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard.  

For more information on all the events for the 2023 TSU Homecoming, visit

TSU alum designs groundbreaking sneaker through Nike highlighting university 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The tiger spirit has been embedded in Tennessee State University since 1912. However, a new groundbreaking Nike “Yardrunners” sneaker collection has given alumni and students a new way to strut their school spirit.

“THINK. WORK. SERVE. ” has always been the motto at Tennessee State University. But in this instance, TSU students are ‘serving’ looks this fall as Nike launched a multicolor Dunk Low sneaker displaying the university’s colors designed by TSU alum, Kalynn ‘KT’ Terrell.

TSU alum Kalynn ‘KT’ Terrell is a fashion designer who customized a Nike sneaker this year displaying the university’s colors. (Photo by Hunter Hart photography)

“This was a goal that I always wanted to accomplish and the prototype was my exact design,” Terrell said.

Head drum major of the Aristocrat of Bands Marro Briggs, said he was excited to get his hands on a pair of the sneakers as the historical aspect, is deeper than the aesthetic.

“This is a once in a lifetime … a piece of history,” Briggs, an economics and finance major, said. “I was really excited because I love shoes. This sheds a bigger light on us and our culture. I am happy they (Nike) chose TSU.” 

The TSU themed sneakers feature tiger-printed shoelaces with a “Tiger Pride” branding on the striped insoles. The shoes also feature 1912 embroidered on the heel tabs. The inner tongue highlights the TSU motto with a color scheme of red, blue, black, white, and yellow. 

Terrell, a 2016 TSU graduate, added that the yellow gives the sneaker a special touch. The color symbolizes the land of golden sunshine, another university moniker fondly used by alumni.

AOB drum majors from left to right, Jeremiah Mensa, Joshua Knox, Curtis Olawumi, Marro Briggs, all purchased TSU Dunk Low sneakers. (Photo by Julian Curry)

“For me it (yellow) represents completion,” Terrell said. “It’s not your alma mater until you walk the stage …  so, it symbolizes that I made it. I did it.”

Terrell is a fashion designer, wardrobe stylist and serial entrepreneur from Huntsville, Alabama, who began a partnership with Nike in 2020.

When Terrell was a teenager, she knew that fashion and tennis shoes were more than just a hobby, they were a lifestyle. During undergrad, Terrell said she always had a sense of self as she walked the campus with confidence, graduating with a degree in psychology.

“I became who I am because of Tennessee State University,” Terrell said. “If I had never attended TSU, I probably wouldn’t be comfortable dressing how I dress now.”

Terrell’s style and branding landed her with an opportunity of a lifetime, designing a shoe for Nike.

“This opportunity meant the world to me. It’s groundbreaking and it lets me know that I am on the trajectory of going in the right direction.”

The TSU themed sneakers feature white or tiger-printed shoelaces with a “Tiger Pride” branding on the striped insoles. The shoes also feature 1912 embroidered on the heel tabs, and the TSU motto on the inner tongue with a color scheme of red, blue, black, white, and yellow. ( Photo courtesy of Nike)

This year, Nike Yardrunners class focused on “HBCU alumni who are forging a legacy through fashion that will inspire future generations.” 

Tennessee State University Dunk Low is part of a four-piece HBCU Yardrunners first-ever shoe collection that also highlighted sneakers created by women who attended Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, and North Carolina A&T University.

TSU Nike Dunk Low was released during homecoming week at local retailers like ROOTED and City Gear, and online on SNKRS, selling out within hours.

Former Miss TSU and fellow Alabama native Mallory Moore said she’s thrilled to see her alma mater in the spotlight and proud of the individual behind the design. 

“HBCU’s are finally being showcased for their positive contributions to society and the leaders they produce, specifically Tennessee State University,” Moore said.

“TSU has a big sneaker community, so it feels amazing. I am grateful that the university I once served is being celebrated in a major way.”

Kalynn Terrell is a fashion designer, wardrobe stylist and serial entrepreneur from Huntsville, Alabama, who began a partnership with Nike in 2020. (Photo by Chrisean Rose)

Everyone is hopeful that the Nike spotlight will bring future endeavors to the university. Terrell said she looks forward to collaborating with her alma mater again. She noted how HBCUs and African Americans move the culture forward in the fashion industry.

“We are the style,” Terrell said. “We are the standard.”

Terrell is the owner of three product base businesses: Nose In The Air, KT Wore It, and Nose In The Air Hair Co. She said operating her businesses and staying true to herself has aligned her with opportunities she was destined for.

“When I am gone, what’s going to be here to keep my name afloat,” Terrell said when asked about leaving a legacy. “I am trying to create something that is bigger than me. I would love to leave a staple.”

About Nike Yardrunners

Nike’s Yardrunners is a series to celebrate the cultural contributions and history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, along with their students and alumni.

TSU Homecoming a major success with nearly $6 million raised for student scholarships; record attendance noted

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University 2022 Homecoming is one for the history books. From the Annual Scholarship Gala and the widely anticipated parade on Jefferson Street led by the world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands, to the coin toss at Nissan Stadium by TSU alumna and Daytime Emmy winning producer Erica Goings, all indications are that the events this year were a huge success. Thousands of alumni and friends from across the nation returned for the weeklong celebration that capped off with the TSU Tigers’41-17 trouncing of the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats in the Homecoming football game.

TSU President Glenda Glover waves to the thousands who gathered along the parade route on Jefferson Street. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“Back in Stride Again” was the theme, which emphasized picking up from where things ended last year, when the university returned to in-person celebration following a two-year break due to the pandemic. The spectacular events also highlighted a stellar group of honorees and grand marshals. Andrella Kenner, Global Warming Ambassador; and the Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, served as Grand Marshals for the Homecoming Parade, while former TSU first lady Edwina Hefner, and Communications and Public Relations Executive, Dr. Harold Jackson, received the distinction as honorees.   

Student success was a big winner, with corporations, groups and individuals stepping up to make donations for scholarships that totaled more than $6 million. TSU President Glenda Glover, surrounded by company executives and representatives during the halftime show at Nissan Stadium, thanked them for their gifts and support to the university.    

TSU fans celebrate as the Tigers tame the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats during the Homecoming game at Nissan Stadium. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“TSU students are our greatest investment, and it speaks volumes about the corporate community and their social responsibility, along with alumni to see them give back in such a major way,” President Glover said. “This level of support is truly inspiring and makes Homecoming even more exciting.” 

As always, Homecoming is a time to rekindle old friendships. That sentiment was not lost on Doretha Watkins Crisp, Betty Wilke, Janice Webb, and Nearlene Bass Johnson, all from the Class of ’78, as well as Doris McKinnie Littleton and Helen McKinnie Golden, Class of ’80. The six met at TSU and have been friends ever since.  Every year for Homecoming, they pay a visit to where it all began, at TSU.  

The world-renowned TSU Aristocrat of Bands make their much-anticipated appearance at the Homecoming parade. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“We’ve lost two friends over the years, but we still get together, all from a friendship we formed at Tennessee State University,” said Crisp, as the six sat together along Jefferson Street, near campus, decked in their TSU paraphernalia to watch the parade. “We come to Homecoming together. We bring our husbands; we meet other friends, and we just have a good time.”   

Webb added: “Homecoming is like a family reunion. You come and see people you haven’t seen in years. The amazing thing is we recognize each other. We may not always remember the name, but we remember the faces, and once we start talking, it’s like, ‘Hey, we had a class together.’”   

L-R, Doretha Watkins Crisp, Betty Wilke, Janice Webb, Nearlene Bass Johnson, Doris McKinnie Littleton and Helen McKinnie Golden formed a friendship at TSU that has lasted nearly four decades. They return together each year for Homecoming. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

For freshmen Sir-James Ford and Jamiyah Dozier, attending their first Homecoming was an eye-opening experience.  

“I really had no idea about what it was going to be like, because I have never experienced anything like that before,” said Ford, a business administration major from Nashville, who is president of the freshman class.  “The pep rally, the step show, the concert, all of that changed my experience about what Homecoming is about.”   

Sir-James Ford

“Homecoming was fun. It is nice having everybody back on campus and actually being able to gather and meet more people,” said Dozier, a health science major from Huntsville, Alabama, who attended the Homecoming with her parents. “It was really exciting to be in a new environment and have another opportunity to meet more people and just have fun.”   

Grant Winrow, chair of the Homecoming Committee, said, “Fun and excitement was exactly what we were hoping for. We were definitely back in stride again and accomplished our mission with a cherry on top with the win on the football field.  And our event was safe. That was one of our main goals.”   

Jamiyah Dozier

While receipts from the Scholarship Gala, TSU’s signature fundraising event, are still being tabulated, Winrow believes the event was very successful. He said more than 125 entrants took part in this year’s parade, one of the largest in school history. Over 22,000 turned out to watch the football game in Nissan Stadium, while a record 15,000 were outside tailgating.

TSU Back in Stride for 2022 Homecoming Celebration

By Kelli Sharpe

Nashville, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – There’s no homecoming like a TSU homecoming as the University gears up for this year’s celebration. The 2022 theme is “Back in Stride Again,” as TSU prepares to welcome thousands of alumni back to the 500-arce campus. Homecoming is October 2-8 and kicked off the week-long celebration with the annual Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest and Gospel Explosion on Sunday.    

The celebration will be highlighted with a scholarship gala, the legendary TSU parade, and of course the homecoming football game between the Tigers and Bethune-Cookman University out of Florida.   

From the legendary Homecoming Parade to the Annual Scholarship Gala, students, staff and faculty look forward to getting Back in Stride Again for the 2022 homecoming celebration.

“TSU homecoming is always a special and exciting time of year for the University as we welcome alumni and friends to our campus,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.   

“This marks the second year we’ve held in-person activities to highlight student achievement and showcase our accomplishments as an institution. It is also a time to celebrate alumni and supporters who have left an indelible mark on TSU.”  

This year’s honorees are: Grand Marshals Entrepreneur, Ms. Andrella Kenner, Global Warming Ambassador and Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley. Honorees are Communications and Public Relations Executive, Dr. Harold Jackson and Former TSU first lady, Mrs. Edwina Hefner.

Grant Winrow

In addition to the big game against Bethune-Cookman at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 8 and the parade that morning, another major highlight of TSU’s homecoming is the Annual Scholarship Gala, TSU’s signature fundraising event. It will take place on Oct. 7 at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Nashville.    

TSU Homecoming Chairman Grant Winrow added that this year promises to be even more exciting, but safety will remain a priority even as the pandemic has tapered off.   

“Homecoming week officially begun with an array of events, to kick off the annual celebration,” said Winrow.   

“Last year certainly lived up to the hype and was indeed a homecoming for the record books. So, get ready and come prepared this year, as we are “Back in Stride Again,” picking up where we left off. The health and safety of everyone is our number one priority. We will adhere to all safety protocols that are still in place and ask that you practice social distancing throughout the weekend. Although wearing a mask is no longer mandatory, it is encouraged when inside among large groups.”    

Kenneth Rolle II., said TSU students are looking forward to getting Back in Stride for homecoming this week.

Student Government Association President Kenneth Rolle II., said for students, TSU’s homecoming can be summed up in two words, ‘get geeked.’

“That is all that needs to be said. TSU alumni and friends from near and far will know it’s homecoming week by those two simple words.”   

Other homecoming activities this year include the Ralph Boston and Dr. Catana Starks golf tournament in the morning on Oct. 6; followed by the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Institute White Coat Ceremony that afternoon at 2 p.m. and the homecoming concert featuring upcoming rappers Glorilla, Nardo Wick, Est Gee, Babyface Ray and the Ying Yang Twins later that day; the Breakfast of Champions, the homecoming pep rally, the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, and the National Pan-Hellenic Step Show all on Oct. 7; and the legendary Homecoming Parade on Oct. 8. The parade will be from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard.   

For more information about TSU’s 2022 Homecoming, visit .

TSU kicks off 2022 homecoming with 34th annual Robert N. Murrell oratorical contest 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University kicked off this year’s Homecoming with the 34th annual Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest on Sunday. Cash prizes of $700, $500, and $300 were awarded respectively for first, second, and third place winners in the freshman and upperclassman divisions. There were 28 participants in total this year – 10 freshman and 18 upperclassman. 

The freshman winners are Lauren Porter, 1st place; Aaron Anderson, 2nd place; and Tyler Vazquez, 3rd place. 

Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest organizers and President Glenda Glover congratulates winners of the annual event.

The upperclassman division winners are: Aliyah Holmes, who also serves as SGA Vice President, claimed 1st place; Maya McClary, 2nd; and Akyra McDougal, 3rd place. 

Students were required to use the homecoming theme, Back in Stride Again, for their presentation. Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell, Professor of Communications and presiding chairperson for the annual contest, said she was excited about the event turnout and chosen theme. 

“Doing something like this is very motivational and encouraging to students,” Mitchell said. “They (contestants) spoke about the effects of the pandemic and how it stopped us in our tracks. Now that we are recovering, we are back in stride again.” 

Mitchell said the contestants aligned this year’s theme to the pandemic, education, and the point of view of minorities and African Americans. She noted how the freshmen who haven’t even completed their public speaking courses yet, are talents in the making. “The skills that they are going to have as executives, business people, lawyers … it (the event) is motivational to them to have an audience appreciate them and test their skills to get better every year,” she said. 

“They are gifted, well trained and have a bright future.” 

(L to R) President Glenda Glover, SGA Vice President Aliyah Holmes, Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell and Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis after Holmes receives first place cash prize for the upperclassman division of the 34th annual Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest.

The contest, established in 1988, is named in honor of the late Robert N. Murrell, a longtime administrator and dean of men at TSU. It encourages students to develop skills in research, writing and oratory. The funds afforded to the winners are sponsored by the Nashville chapter of the alumni association, the Robert N. Murrell scholarship fund, and the Department of Communications. 

Following the oratorical contest, TSU’s Homecoming events continued with the Gospel Explosion in the Gentry Center Sunday evening. The free concert featured TSU New Direction Choir, award winner artist Earnest Pugh, Pastor Mike McClure Jr., and gospel artist Detrick Haddon.    

Other homecoming highlights throughout the week include the Ralph Boston Golf Tournament, Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. White Coat Ceremony and Symposium. The Homecoming Concert featuring artist Glorilla, Nardo Wick, Est Gee and Babyface Ray, the Greek Step Show, and the Charles Campbell Fish Fry.

On Friday evening, TSU has also planned a stellar Scholarship Gala at the Renaissance Hotel. 

Homecoming will conclude Oct. 8 with the Homecoming Parade from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard, and the big football matchup between the Tigers and Bethune-Cookman University at Nissan Stadium. 

To see all Homecoming activities, visit