Category Archives: FEATURED

TSU hires Duanté Abercrombie as first HBCU Men’s hockey head coach

By Nick Guerriero

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover and Director of Athletics Dr. Mikki Allen are pleased to welcome Duanté Abercrombie as the inaugural head coach of the men’s hockey team. The historic hire makes Abercrombie the first head coach of a hockey program at a historically Black college or university (HBCU).

“I am incredibly excited to embark on building this program, supported by God, my family, TSU students, alumni, and all those eagerly awaiting this moment,” said Abercrombie. “I firmly believe that one day, TSU will be recognized not only as a powerhouse on the ice but also as a program whose student-athletes leave a profound legacy on the world, enriched by the lessons learned at TSU.”

In June 2023, TSU announced plans to become the first HBCU to offer men’s hockey. The hiring of Abercrombie further solidifies that plan.

“Duanté Abercrombie’s appointment as TSU’s head coach of hockey is a testament to our dedication to breaking barriers,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “We recognize the profound significance of bringing hockey to an HBCU and providing our students with unparalleled opportunities that will enrich their college experience. This bold move builds upon the TSU legacy that we had envisioned for the institution as a comprehensive university offering a wide range of academic and extracurricular programs, with a continued commitment to excellence.”

Abercrombie is an inaugural member of the National Hockey League Coaches’ Association’s BIPOC Coaches Program, which aims to specifically support Black, Indigenous, and coaches of color in several areas including skills development, leadership strategies, communication tactics, networking, and career advancement opportunities.

Raised in Washington, D.C., Abercrombie was mentored throughout his hockey journey by notable Black hockey figures such as Neal Henderson and Graeme Townshend. Henderson, the first Black and third person of color inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, has led the Fort Dupont Cannons Ice Hockey Club since 1978, garnering numerous distinguished awards. Townshend, the first Jamaican-born player in the NHL, operates the Townshend Hockey School, where Abercrombie serves as a senior instructor, working with NCAA and NHL prospects.

Abercrombie’s dedication to hockey and community involvement has not gone unnoticed. He’s been nominated by the Washington Capitals for the 2024 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award for his work as an inaugural member of the Capitals’ Black Hockey Committee and as a co-creator/ lead instructor with the Rising Stars Academy, a free program providing elite skill development and mentorship for local hockey players of color. Henderson was nominated for the inaugural award in 2018, which has since been presented annually “to an individual who – through the game of hockey – has positively impacted his or her community, culture, or society.” This year’s award recipient will be announced before the late-June NHL Draft in Las Vegas.

“Today is a historic moment for Tennessee State University Athletics, as we welcome our first-ever hockey head coach and marks a significant step in our plans to start the program,” said Allen. “Extensive experience in player development and coaching is crucial in building a reputable program, along with the ability to motivate and inspire our student-athletes to excel both on and off the ice. Coach Abercrombie possesses these skills and more. We’re excited to embark on this groundbreaking journey together!”

In addition to men’s hockey, Allen’s ever-expanding athletic offerings will increase between 2025-28 to include baseball, women’s soccer, and women’s swimming and diving.

Professionally, Abercrombie spent the 2022-23 season with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs organization as a member of the coaching staff for the Maple Leafs, Toronto Marlies (American Hockey League affiliate), and the Newfoundland Growlers (East Coast Hockey League affiliate). As part of his responsibilities, Abercrombie worked closely with the video coaches to create and present detailed pre-scout and player analysis packages to individuals and the team. On the ice, he assisted in each player’s development process, helped with the preparation and execution of practice, and led healthy scratches’ game day preparation. During games, he was either coaching from the bench or was the 5-on-5 eye in the sky.

Abercrombie has been involved with several NHL BIPOC initiatives including as a guest coach for the San Jose Sharks 2023 training camp under head coach David Quinn and Mike Grier, the first Black NHL general manager; the Boston Bruins’ 2021-22 scouting mentorship program, and the Arizona Coyotes in 2021 where he was the subject of ‘NHL Bound’, a four-part series on ESPN which chronicled two Black hockey coaches chasing their dream to work in the NHL as part of Arizona Coyotes’ first-ever coaching internship program, dedicated to creating a deeper pool of diverse talent. Viewers got a behind-the-scenes look at the Coyotes’ management and coaching staff operations and Abercrombie and Nathanial Brooks’ personal dedication, sacrifices, and passion for shattering stereotypes and earning their place behind an NHL bench.

“I knew after our first interaction that Duanté was the right person to lead the charge,” said Nick Guerriero, Director of Hockey and Assistant AD for Communications & Creative Content. “His understanding of HBCU culture, the collegiate hockey landscape, and the NHL will benefit our team tremendously. I’m thrilled to work with Coach Abercrombie as we develop TSU Hockey into a championship-caliber program.”

In 2020, The Athletic selected him for its 40-Under-40 hockey list as an individual shaping the game’s future. At the time of publishing, the list included then-future and now-current front office members and head coaches such as Spencer Carbery, Washington Capitals head coach; Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach; Kyle Dubas, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager; Brett Peterson, Florida Panthers assistant general manager and 2024 U.S. men’s national team general manager; Lindsay Pennal, executive director of the NHL Coaches’ Association; David Carle, University of Denver head coach; Patrick Burke, NHL senior director of player safety; Rod Braceful, director of player personnel U.S. NTDP; Stephanie Jackson, USA Hockey director of diversity & inclusion; Jeremy Collation, former Chicago Blackhawks Head Coach; and Chris Snow, former Calgary Flames assistant general manager.

In 2019, Abercrombie joined the Stevenson University (NCAA Division-III) coaching staff, where at the time of his hiring, he was just one of four Black coaches in NCAA men’s hockey. In 2021-22, The Mustangs recorded an 18-win season along with a nine-game winning streak to conclude the season, and Ryan Kenny was tabbed, the United Collegiate Hockey Conference Goalie and Middle Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

Abercrombie attended Hampton University where he competed in track and field until an injury ended his sprinting career. Upon leaving Hampton, Abercrombie had brief stints with the West Auckland Admirals in the New Zealand Ice Hockey League (NZIHL), the Steele City Warriors, and the Brewster Bulldogs of the Federal Hockey League.

An alumnus of the well-renowned Gonzaga College High School, Abercrombie led his Eagles to multiple championships as a player and a coach. He also coached at Georgetown Preparatory School, and in his first year, he helped lead his team to its first Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) Championship.

Abercrombie is married to the former Melanie Moore, a Hampton and Teachers College at Columbia University graduate and high school educator, and they are the proud parents of children Patrick and Ava.

A formal press conference and reception to officially introduce Abercrombie will take place with dates and times to be announced at a later date.

“WHAT THEY ARE SAYING” 

Kyle Dubas, Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager
“I had the chance to work with Duanté last season in Toronto and came to know him as a tremendous communicator with great energy and knowledge of building out a great developmental program. It is very exciting to see Duante’ get this opportunity to build the program at Tennessee State.”

Mike Grier, San Jose Sharks General Manager
“Duanté is a very intelligent and hard-working person. He has a great hockey mind. He is detailed and organized. Duanté has a wonderful personality and has the unique ability to connect with all of his players.”

Brett Peterson, Florida Panthers Assistant General Manager & Team USA GM
“Congratulations to Dante and Tennessee State on this historic hire. Dante is a driven and focused coach who has studied the game at every level in preparation for this opportunity.  I am excited to see college hockey expand its diverse vision under his leadership, and I know the program is in good hands with Dante.”

Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach
“Duanté is a natural leader with an incredible passion for hockey and coaching.  I’m thrilled for him to be getting this well-deserved opportunity to guide TSU’s hockey program.”

Lindsay Pennal, executive director of the NHL Coaches’ Association
“TSU has found the right coach in Duante’ Abercrombie. He has put in the time and the work to earn this role and take the reins of the new men’s hockey program. He’s an intelligent, passionate, and kind person who puts his players first. We can’t wait to see Duanté step behind the bench when TSU plays that historic first game.”

Graeme Townshend, former NHL player, President of Townshend Hockey Skating Systems

“Duante will prove to be one of the best hires in College Hockey. He brings a wealth of experience that is rooted in a high degree of character, compassion, and integrity. He will prove to be an incredible role model for ALL members of the Tennessee State University community.”

TSU announces newly elected SGA leaders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Student Government Association has welcomed a new group of officers for the 2024-2025 academic year, many of whom are familiar faces within the student delegation. The new student leadership, including Mister TSU and Miss TSU, was announced after a competitive student election commission week.

One of those familiar faces is Chrishonda O’Quinn, who now serves as the 84th SGA president after previously holding the position of SGA vice president. O’Quinn, a junior from Chicago, Illinois, is studying business administration with a minor in mathematics. Anyah Sanders, a junior from Miami, Florida, studying biology and previously the Junior Class president, was elected as the new SGA Vice President.

Chandler Holt, a rising senior from Birmingham studying health sciences, was crowned as the 95th Miss TSU. Chandler Cotton, a junior studying biology, was elected as the new Mister TSU and will accompany Holt.

Cristal Powell-Roach, assistant dean of student activities and leadership, expressed excitement about working with the dynamic newly elected leaders while the students embrace new opportunities for growth and development. “We have a great team,” Powell-Roach said. “I am very excited about our winners.”

O’Quinn expressed gratitude for the support from the students and faculty who entrusted her to return and assume the presidency. “It honestly warms my heart, and it makes me eager to really hit the ground running this year,” she said. “I’m happy I was able to have a year in a position like Vice President because I fully understand student leadership, especially within the top four, and how to be effective and help the student body. Being vice president taught me a lot about student leadership and how to implement change within a role like that.”

Sanders said she watched O’Quinn do an amazing job as vice president for the 2023-24 academic school year and wanted to follow suit. “She (O’Quinn) set the standard, and I wanted to not only build on the work that she did but also make an impact on my own,” Sanders said. She looks forward to maintaining and amplifying organizations on campus and bridging any gaps between administration and students.

Holt, who once served on the Pre-Alumni Council, said her sophomore year she witnessed coronation, and that is when she envisioned becoming Miss TSU one day. She noted that she felt like God aligned her life to have this experience. “It was such a pivotal moment,” Holt said after the SEC announcements. “It just feels unreal. I look forward to focusing on overcoming and addressing the challenges that we face as students. I want to prioritize the students’ well-being in a mental and physical state. I want to ensure that we all are one and that we all support each other.”

The 34th Mister TSU elect, Cotton, who was recently selected as one of only five students nationwide to receive the prestigious 2024 Jordan Smith Undergraduate Student Fellowship Award, said he is also grateful for the opportunity. O’Quinn expressed confidence that the student leaders will take proactive steps towards achieving their desired goals on campus with a positive narrative.

TSU gala celebrates President Glover’s legacy 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As her grandchildren escorted her into the gala, TSU President Glenda Glover’s Salute to Excellence Gala became an unforgettable evening, graced by the presence of 1,000 of her closest family members and prominent friends, all gathered to honor her remarkable leadership and impactful legacy.

The event, held at the Grand Hyatt Nashville, commemorated nearly 12 years of dedicated service to her alma mater. It featured a reception followed by dinner program hosted by lawyer and media personality Star Jones and comedian and radio personality Rickey Smiley. The room filled with applause, joyful laughter, compelling stories, and rich memories shared with Dr. Glover over the years, including national and local leaders, philanthropists, and many more.

Dr. Glover being escorted into the Salute to Excellence Gala by her three grandchildren.

Dr. Glover received heartfelt letters and video messages from figures like United States President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, media mogul and TSU alumna Oprah Winfrey, Nashville mayor Freddie O’Connell, Tennessee governor Bill Lee, American civil rights and social justice activist Al Sharpton, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson Sr., gospel singer Dr. Bobby Jones, and National co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, Bishop William J. Barber II.

During the gala Dr. Glover reflected on her journey as the 8th and first female president of TSU, paying homage to her late parents. 

 “Over 11 years ago, I said that TSU would soar, and that’s what we celebrate this evening,” Dr. Glover said. “The greatest gift a university can embark on students are roots to lay a foundation and wings to soar. How TSU has soared, the fulfillment of a promise to soar to the highest heights of academic excellence.”

Throughout the evening, many speakers reflected on Dr. Glover’s compassionate yet calculated leadership, hence her background in mathematics from the university.

“Under your steadfast leadership, TSU has emerged as a shining example of what we can achieve in this country when we strive to bring the American Dream within reach for all people,” President Biden stated in a letter to Dr. Glover. “As you rose to become the first female president of the very school you attended, your character, devotion, and passion have left an indelible mark on countless students, faculty, and staff members who have called TSU home over the years. I hope you feel well-deserved pride in all you have achieved in your years as president of this incredible institution. Though your presence on campus will be dearly missed, your legacy will endure in the hearts and minds of TSU students for generations to come.”

Comedian and radio personality Rickey Smiley, left, and lawyer and media personality Star Jones, filled the room with applauds and laughter as the pair hosted the evening’s gala.

Dr. Glover received numerous gifts, including an April 13th proclamation from the mayor’s office, a self-portrait painted by artist Donna Woodley and presented by TSU’s national alumni association members, monetary donations, and gifts from members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, as Dr. Glover holds the title of immediate past International President of the sorority and more.

As guests mingled and enjoyed their 3-course meals, they listened to several salutes to excellence from Dr. Glover’s adult children, TSU head football coach Eddie George, Congressional Black Caucus members, immediate past TSU board of trustee members, and Doug Kreulen, president, and CEO of metro Nashville airport authority. Campus faculty and staff also heard remarks from Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s national alumni association president Charles Galbreath, and remarks from the gala’s chair and co-chair Grant Winrow and Barbara Murrell.

In a special video presentation, Vice President Kamala Harris said that Dr. Glover’s leadership has been transformative. “Dr. Glenda Glover, a champion for our nation’s HBCUs, a servant leader committed to the betterment of our local and global community, and a role model who exemplifies excellence in all that she does,” Harris said. “As president of Tennessee State University, she elevated the profile of this historic institution.”

Throughout the evening, amidst the celebration and heartfelt tributes, speakers and guests lauded Dr. Glover for her remarkable decade-long accomplishments at TSU.

President Glenda Glover, center, was gifted a self-portrait painted by artist Donna Woodley that was presented at the gala by TSU staff and national alumni association members.

Dr. Glover’s leadership has been marked by consecutive years of record enrollment, successfully steering the institution through the pandemic, and securing a record $100 million-plus in research awards. Under her leadership the TSU endowment has doubled to $100 million, new buildings, including a new residence hall, and securing $250 million from the State of Tennessee, the largest one-time appropriation from a state to an HBCU.

While Rev. Al Sharpton stated in a video presentation that Dr. Glover’s unwavering advocacy for HBCUs has been a beacon of hope for students and educatorsOprah Winfrey had similar sentiments. 

Winfrey stated that Dr. Glover fought for their alma mater to ensure that HBCUs receive the support they deserve. “Your commitment to TSU and its students has been steadfast, you’ve been a beacon of inspiration for us all, you have led with such passion, you have maintained your integrity, and also a deep love for TSU,” Winfrey stated in a video presentation.

Dr. Glover takes selfie with attendees and friends during the gala at the Grand Hyatt.

“Dr. Glover, you are the reason our alma mater is reclaiming its rightful place at the forefront of higher education. You’ve made me so proud to be a graduate of Tennessee’s only public HBCU. Congratulations on your retirement, and may your future be filled with everything you deserve, meaning joy, serenity, contentment, and continued success.”

Being a Memphis native and daughter of a civil rights activist, Dr. Glover talked about keeping up a good fight for the betterment of TSU. “It was my goal to elevate TSU and to leave TSU in a better position, a better place than when I arrived in 2013,” she said. “I’ve told you before, I finished my course, but I have not finished my calling.

Thank you, Tennessee State University for my roots and wings. TSU today, TSU forever. May God bless TSU.”

After an evening filled with echoed heartfelt speeches and warm memories, the sentiment that resonated most was related to Dr. Glover’s faith, inspiration, and transformation. With each accolade and tribute, the Salute to Excellence Gala illuminated the profound impact of her tenure, serving as both a celebration of her accomplishments and a farewell to her role as president of TSU.

Hundreds Expected for Exciting Admitted Student Day at TSU on May 18

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As graduation draws near for Tucker Kyne from Knoxville’s Cannon County High School, the spotlight is on his aspirations to play football for the Tennessee State University Tigers. Excitement grows as Kyne prepares to take the next step toward his dream by committing to attend TSU.

More than 400 students and family members participated in last year’s Admitted Students Day, in Poag Auditorium. (Media Relations File photo)

On May 18, Kyne, who wants to major in human performance and sports sciences, will be closer to realizing his dream when he joins nearly 700 other first-time freshmen to participate in Committed Students Day at TSU. The event, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Kean Hall on the main campus, promises to be a day filled with enthusiasm and possibilities.

“It will mean the world to me to play football for the Tigers and have the opportunity to earn a college degree as a student athlete,” says Kyne, as he expresses his eagerness to join the TSU community. “I am proud to be a TSU Tiger.”

For prospective participants, registration for Admitted Student Day opens on April 1. The program is designed to provide valuable insights into TSU’s academic offerings and campus life, guiding students toward a successful transition into their college journey. The day will be packed with engaging activities and informative sessions to address key questions and critical points for academic and student success.

LaMar-Octavious Scott, director of Admissions, encourages all interested students, applicants, and admitted individuals to participate in the event for Fall of 2024. He underscores the importance of the event in supporting students and their families through the enrollment process and ensuring a smooth and fulfilling start to their TSU experience.

“I want to invite all students that have interest, applied, and those admitted to join us at Admitted Students Day 2024,” says Scott.

Before participating in Committed Student Day, all invited students are provided with a Next Steps Checklist to ensure they comprehend the enrollment requirements. They are also urged to “Accept Admission,” register for New Student Orientation, apply for On-Campus Housing, as well as complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA form to apply for Federal Student Aid.

As the date approaches, families like Tucker Kyne’s parents eagerly await the chance to become part of TSU’s legacy of academic and athletic excellence. Paula Kyne, Tucker’s mother, says, “We are so thrilled for Tucker to attend a school with such rich tradition. Can’t wait to support the Tigers on Saturdays.”

For more information and to stay updated on Admitted Student Day, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/admitted.aspx.

TSU to honor President Glover at upcoming Salute to Excellence Gala

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Promising to be an evening to remember, Tennessee State University will host the Salute to Excellence Gala to honor President Glenda Glover on Saturday, April 13. The TSU family, Nashville community, and a who’s who list of friends, including national leaders and celebrities, will come together to celebrate President Glover’s leadership and legacy. The event will take place at the Grand Hyatt Nashville to commemorate her 12 years of dedicated service to her alma mater.

Grant Winrow

“This is a way for us to say farewell, but not goodbye,” said Grant Winrow, who is the co-chair of the ticketed gala event. “This is a celebration of praise to thank our fearless leader who embodies the true meaning of our motto, ‘think, work, serve,’ as the university’s president.”

Winrow said the celebration of Dr. Glover’s legacy exemplifies her leadership, ‘taking TSU to unimaginable heights.’

“Dr. Glover is a national figure who will continue to embody the TSU Tiger spirit. As her special assistant, I’d like to express my gratitude, as it has been quite an honor and a tremendous journey that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

The event will consist of a reception followed by dinner and a program hosted by TV and media personality Star Jones alongside comedian and radio personality Rickey Smiley. The evening will be a celebration of excellence, with a performance by the TSU’s Grammy award-winning Aristocrat of Bands, fondly called AOB.

Madison Scott

TSU senior and head drum major Joshua Knox said he looks forward to being a part of the gala tribute to Dr. Glover.

He noted how special it is due to Glover’s involvement in their Grammy-winning journey, include being on the first song on the album. “As a band, we deeply appreciate all the support, words of encouragement, and her influence to open doors for us,” Knox said. “Her presence during our crucial moments, like our Rose Bowl performance in California, or our Juneteenth performance at the White House in Washington D.C. last summer, meant a lot to us.”

Joshua Knox

Madison Scott, a sophomore who is the co-captain of the Sophisticated Ladies, said with over a decade of leadership at TSU, Dr. Glover’s farewell will be one to remember.

“It’s significant to celebrate her to this magnitude because she definitely had a big impact on what TSU is today,” Scott said. “I know that she truly cares about the students and TSU as a whole. Dr. Glover is a president who listens and empathizes with the students, and I’ll forever appreciate that.”

Sammy Freeman, a criminal justice major, added that President Glover had been an inspiration to him, being from the same hometown of Memphis.  “President Glover showed me I could achieve whatever I set my mind to do,” Freeman said.

Sammy Freeman

“I recall her talking to a group of us, as freshmen, telling us that is does not matter where you start. It is the preparation and where you finish that matters most. She has done everything a president was supposed to do.”

SGA president Derrell Taylor remarked how the president’s leadership inspired him and other students as well.

“Dr. Glover’s unwavering dedication to our student body has left an indelible mark on our university’s history,” Taylor said. “As the first female president of our university, Dr. Glover has led by example and accomplished many milestones throughout her journey, paving the way to inspire future generations of leaders.

Derrell Taylor

On behalf of the student body, we are truly grateful for Dr. Glover’s commitment to advancing and advocating for TSU.”

President Glover decade-long accomplishments include consecutive years of record enrollment, successfully navigating the institution through the pandemic, record $100 million-plus in research awards, doubling the TSU endowment to $100 million, several new buildings, including a new residence hall, and securing $250 million from the State of Tennessee, the largest one-time appropriation from a state to an HBCU.

Dean Barbara Murrell

 “This is our way of saying thank you, Dr. Glover, for a job well done for an ever-lasting legacy,” stated Barbara Murrell, who is the co-chair of the event. “We wish her the very best in her future endeavors, hoping that the journey ahead will be filled with success and fulfillment as she embarks on the next chapter of her life.”

For more information regarding the Salute to Excellence Gala and to purchase tickets, visit www.tnstate.edu/salute/.

Student Advisor Nick Horton to join TSU Sports Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University freshmen advisor Nick Horton is headed to the TSU Sports Hall of Fame. On April 12, Horton will join 24 other former athletes for the special recognition. The 2024 TSU induction class includes NBA star Robert Covington, former NFL star Dominique Rogers-Cromatie, and the late legendary Tigerbelle Mamie Rallins, who will be honored posthumously. Horton is being celebrated for his outstanding track career and continued contributions to his alma mater.

Nick Horton receives a block in his honor at the Olympic Statue on campus in recognition of his becoming  TSU’s first Male Athlete of the Year in 2004. (Submitted photo)

“I am overjoyed, happy, and I think it is well deserved, but also humbled,” Horton said. “When I came to TSU, all I wanted to do was run. But to know that I will be mentioned in the same room with esteemed athletes and coaches is truly a remarkable honor.”

Horton graduated from TSU in 2004, as a decorated member of the Flying Tigers men’s track team. The Milwaukee native ran the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes and served as team captain in his junior and senior years. His accolades consist of 10 gold medals as an OVC champion, Athlete of the Week, Male Track Athlete of the Year, and representation in national and regional competitions. In 2021, he was inducted into the Dominican High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his achievement in track and field.

Horton’s dedication to mentoring students and guiding them toward success exemplifies his commitment to serving his university and community, something that is celebrated by his freshmen students and colleagues.

Nick Horton talks to incoming freshman and public health major Jaden Snider, about selecting the appropriate classes for her first semester. (Submitted photo)

“Mr. Horton was very kind and very helpful in advising me to take the right classes for my freshman semester,” said Jaden Snider, a public health major from Detroit. “From how he interacted with me, I am not surprised that he is being honored this way. He is a good mentor.”

Olympic gold medalist Chandra Cheeseborough, who is TSU track and field head coach and HOF inductee, praised Horton’s accomplishments, calling him a valuable asset to the university.

“I signed Nick to TSU as a student athlete, and he came to do great things. He was an outstanding athlete in the conference, and I am proud to see him return to contribute to our university’s legacy of success.”

Nick Horton specialized in the 200-meter and 400-meter dash as a Flying Tiger. (Submitted Photo)

Isabelle Langham, executive director of the Office of Student Success, commended Horton’s success, saying, “We are proud of Nick and celebrate this deserving honor. Nick is not only a decorated athlete but an exceptional advisor who cares deeply about students and TSU. I’m lucky to have been an undergraduate student on the yard during his tenure with TSU athletics and privileged to see him come back home and continue an undeniable legacy of service and excellence. We salute him and all the honorees.”

Former TSU Men’s Track Coach Kelly Carter recalled that Horton had the skills, upon meeting the freshman, and predicted he would excel in the sport.  “I thought he was going to be really good. I knew once he got the training that he needed, with his attitude and the way he carried himself, I just knew he was going to be great.”

The TSU Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 12 is at the Grand Hyatt on Broadway, in downtown Nashville, and is a part of the 2024 Coming Home Celebration.

PROFILE PHOTO
Nick Horton still holds records at Eastern Illinois Lantz Fieldhouse set in 2004, where he represented TSU in the NCAA Mideast Regional Championship. (Submitted photo)

TSU Pres. Glenda Glover, Senator Raphael Warnock headline Spring Commencement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University proudly announces that United States Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock and President Glenda Glover will be taking the stage as the keynote speakers for the 2024 Spring Commencement ceremonies. Senator Warnock will address graduate school students on Friday, May 3 at the Gentry Center Complex. The event will start at 5 p.m.

Senator Warnock, who is also an HBCU graduate, holds an undergraduate degree from Morehouse College and a master’s and PhD from Union Theological Seminary. The senator represents the State of Georgia and serves as Senior Pastor at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Ebenezer is the noted church of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Warnock is the youngest pastor selected to serve in that leadership role and has done so for over 16 years.

Senator Warnock was elected to the United States Senate in January 2021. Currently, he serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, as well as the Special Committee on Aging.

“We are pleased to welcome Senator Raphael Warnock to TSU,” said TSU President Glover. “Senator Warnock’s dedication to public service, commitment to social justice, and inspiring journey will undoubtedly resonate with our graduate school students. We look forward to an uplifting and memorable commencement ceremony with him.”

On Saturday, May 4, President Glover will deliver the keynote address, during the undergraduate ceremony, at Hale Stadium which begins at 8 a.m. It will mark her final commencement as president, a culmination of nearly 12 years of service to her alma mater.

“This momentous occasion holds a deep personal significance for me, as it symbolizes years of hard work and dedication from our incredible students,” commented Glover. “Students and faculty have often approached me about being the commencement speaker, and I believe this is the ideal time. It will be a privilege to stand before them in this capacity, sharing words of wisdom, inspiration, and encouragement as they celebrate this significant milestone that highlights the transformative power of education.”

George Pickens IV is graduating a year early, with a 3.9 GPA, and will earn a biology degree as a part of the inaugural class of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Scholars. He recalled how President Glover recruited him to the accelerated medical program.

“President Glover was just so welcoming, heartwarming, and hospitable,” he said of their first meeting. “That is a big reason why I even decided to come to TSU. We’ve had a personal connection in which she has guided me throughout this journey. I wish Dr. Glover farewell, congratulations, and the best wishes for her future endeavors.”

The Florida native will attend medical school following graduation. “I’m extremely excited, but it’s also a bit bittersweet because my years at TSU have been some of the best years of my life,” Pickens added. “Just being able to connect with a plethora of like-minded individuals and the experiences I’ve had in this tight-knit community, it’s something I will definitely miss.” 

Kayla Jenkins, the senior class president, will obtain a degree in criminal justice next month when she walks across the stage. The Nashville native said she eagerly anticipates the president’s remarks. “I had the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Glover on several occasions and witnessed her great leadership and dedication to the university firsthand. I look forward to her speech at graduation, that will close this chapter and set the stage for new beginnings.” Jenkins added that her aspirations are rooted in securing a position at the juvenile justice center in Nashville. “I am excited about what the future has in store for me,” Jenkins said as she reflected on her journey.

“My time at TSU has been nothing short of transformative.”

TSUs commencement will include 552 undergraduate students and 197 graduate students. TSU hopes graduates will make it “TSU for Two” and consider pursuing a second degree. University officials encourage graduates to arrive one hour before the ceremony due to parking. While masks are not required, everyone is asked to exercise caution.

TSU spring commencement will also be live streamed from the University’s YouTube channel at www.tnstate.edu/livestream .

Celebrating 60 years of excellence at the 2024 Spring Honors Convocation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University proudly hosted its 12th Annual University-wide Honors Convocation, recognizing nearly 3,000 students for their outstanding academic achievements and overall success. The event, themed “Timeless Achievements,” commemorated 60 years of honors excellence and showcased the remarkable accomplishments of thousands of TSU students.

President Glenda Glover

“For six decades, the TSU Honors College has invested in the good ground of top students who have distinguished themselves through scholarship, research, service, and academic excellence,” said Dr. Coreen Jackson, the Dean of the Honors College. “Indeed, the world itself has been the grateful beneficiary of the seeds of honors planted right here at Tennessee State University.”

The Honors Convocation celebrated distinguished undergraduates from all University disciplines, including 834 current Honors College members. This year, 149 Honors seniors were recognized, with eight of them achieving the President’s List status, students who maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout their time at TSU.

The Honors Convocation celebrated distinguished undergraduates from all University disciplines, including 834 current Honors College members.

President Glenda Glover was presented  with the inaugural speaker award during the event, in memory of her legacy. President Glover was a member of the Honors Program, as a student, and lead the transition of the program to become the Honors College. This was her final convocation as president.

“This Honors Convocation is more than a personal recognition, but it is a challenge to soar because you are called to a great responsibility,” Glover said. “You are called to high expectations.”

This year’s convocation was also the last for the first cohort of Dr. Levi Watkins Jr.,scholars as the students will be graduating this spring.

TSU seniors and biology majors John Kim, left, and Jaden Knight.

TSU seniors and biology majors Jaden Knight and John Kim, who are a part of the inaugural class, were proud to participate in their final honors convocation of their collegiate journey and closing it out with fellow cohorts. “I am a first-generation college student and will be the first to become a doctor,” Knight said. He left the convocation with a 4.0 GPA and some advice to the next Dr. Levi Watkins cohort scholars. “Lean on your fellow cohort members,” he said. “They’ll become your family, so definitely take advantage of that.”

“And leverage the networking opportunities that this program gives you,” Kim added, who will also become the first doctor in his family as well.

The 60th convocation was also a celebration of academic excellence for the students’ families, many of whom drove hours to witness.

Kennedy Cason, left, and her mother Missy Cason .

Missy Cason drove more than four hours to see her freshman daughter, Kennedy Cason, complete one of her first collegiate milestones. Cason, a freshman with a 3.75 GPA studying biology, said it felt great to be recognized. “It’s very good that Tennessee State takes the time out to acknowledge students like us who work hard and put their education first.”

Cason’s mother, Missy, said she wouldn’t have missed this moment for anything. “She’s doing well, and I’m proud of her,” Cason said about Kennedy. “We don’t know a student’s background, we don’t know where they come from, and to honor and recognize these students and let them know that they’re doing such a good job is a push they probably needed.”

TSU honored Attorney James Clayborne Jr., as the distinguished guest speaker for the Honors Convocation. He is a TSU alumnus with a degree in political science and serves on the TSU Foundation Board of Directors. As the Founding Partner of the only African American certified minority-owned law firm between Chicago and Kansas City, he brought over two decades of experience in municipal law, product liability, commercial litigation, personal injury, and class actions.

Attorney James Clayborne Jr.

Clayborne Jr.’s speech was about experiencing positive energy, putting forth faith over fear, and conquering life with a great attitude. “Don’t be too afraid to take the first step,” he told the students.

“When you wake up in the morning, it’s your opportunity with the right attitude and faith to begin to write the script on how your movie and your life will end.”

He talked about being hopeful in fulfilling those dreams and associating with the right individuals to succeed. “TSU, may success follow you throughout your life and may you have the right attitude and courage to do what’s right.”

For more information on the TSU Honors College, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/honors/ .

Tennessee State University receives $4.95 million IGNITE federal investment

By Greg Nasif

“Godmother of HBCUs” Welcomes Infrastructure Investments She Fought for in Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (D, NC-12), Founder and Co-Chair of the bipartisan HBCU Caucus, celebrated a federal investment of nearly five million dollars into Tennessee State University as part of the federal Institutional grants for the New Infrastructure, Technology, and Education for HBCU Excellence (IGNITE) Act she led and passed in the 2023 Omnibus Budget bill. 

The investment of $4,946,573 will go into repairing infrastructure backlogs on campus. At TSU, some of the funds are slated to support a new biomedical research center. 

“Tennessee State University is pleased to receive this funding and appreciates the efforts of Congresswoman Alma Adams and her commitment to our university, our students, and all HBCUs,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.

“Congresswoman Adams has been a longstanding champion for HBCUs from starting the HBCU Caucus to her continuous advocacy for our institutions by securing millions of dollars in much needed funding.”

“Hard work to pass infrastructure funding for our HBCUs is finally turning legislation on paper into brick and mortar results,” said Rep. Adams. “This nearly $5M IGNITE grant for Tennessee State University, long overdue, will pay off immediately for their students, and in the long run with a new biomedical research center that saves lives. With a fully supportive White House, I will keep working to secure more funding to close the backlog of needed repairs on HBCU campuses where so many young people of color are building their futures.” 

Dr. Quincy Quick, Associate Vice President of Research and Sponsored Programs and Chief Research Officer expressed much appreciation for Congresswoman Adams efforts.

“As an R2 Carnegie designated research institution, this funding will considerably assist Tennessee State University in our pursuit to achieve an R1 research designation, the highest research education classification bestowed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the American Council on Education,” Dr. Quick said. “This funding will support the establishment of the Center of Biomedical Sciences, and significantly enhance our biomedical sciences and behavioral research capacity.”

Rep. Adams has advocated for a fuller version of the IGNITE Act to address the vast backlog of infrastructure repairs and investments HBCUs seek to rebuild their campuses and stay competitive with the many land-grant universities which Black students were forbidden from attending for up to a century or more. 

TSU hosts successful ‘Ag Week’ celebration

By Charlie Morrison 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – During the week of March 11- 16, Tennessee State University put its own spin on national ‘Ag Week’ with a six-day long celebration highlighting student life in the College of Agriculture. Activities included battery recycling, trivia, therapy animals, and an electric car show, along with guest speakers, tours, discussions, and catered lunches. As evidenced by the smiling faces, laughter, and rounds of applause that permeated the event, it was well-received by hundreds of TSU students.

A TSU student, left, speaks with Dr. Kaushalya Amarasekare during day 2 of the week long celebration highlighting student life in the College of Agriculture.

The event coincided with national Ag Week, which kicked off on March 18 across the country. Students, faculty members, and College administrators came out in droves each day, marking the first Ag Week post Covid-19.

“We like to take a moment each year to celebrate who we are as an academic community,” College of Agriculture Dean Dr. Chandra Reddy said.

“We think happy students are productive students, I believe it’s important to create an environment of joy around our community, and that’s what we tried to do with Ag Week 2024.”

The Departments of Agriculture Science and Engineering and Food and Animal Sciences shared the first day of Ag Week 2024. This included a showcase in which faculty presented their vision for the department’s future, before shifting gears to a Food and Animal Sciences Department trivia competition. The first day closed out with a build-your-own ice cream sundae event featuring therapy animals, several hayride tours of the TSU Agricultural Research and Education Center farms.

Dean Reddy, left, with Jules Smith, a Kroger representative, following Smith’s video presentation on crafting formal business pitches during the College of Agriculture’s Ag Week.

Day two of Ag Week 2024 was dedicated to the newly established Agribusiness Department and “Agribusiness Day” at the Farrell-Westbrook Building Auditorium featuring a video presentation on the art of making formal business pitches, a presentation from a Kroger representative, followed by presentations and discussions on the topic led by TSU Ag undergraduates Kerrington Howard and Omari Mason.

The Department of Environmental Science took over day three of the celebration with a battery recycling event preceding the annual TSU Ag Student Appreciation Day cookout held Wednesday offering free barbecue and an electric vehicle car show.

TSU Ag’s Human Sciences Department celebration was kicked off with a student recognition breakfast in Humphries Hall, followed by a lunch with Human Sciences program students and faculty where they created homemade pizzas, and a custom tote bag and hat creation event sponsored by the TSU Fashion Society.

The Department of Environmental Science hosted a day during Ag week that featured an electric car show on campus.

TSU Ag then held annual awards luncheon the next day, recognizing standout students, faculty members, and staff at the College of Agriculture over the past calendar year in categories such as Outstanding Young Researcher, Outstanding Extension Agent, and Outstanding Teaching Faculty.

 “The College of Agriculture is one big family where we share in hard work, camaraderie, and school spirit,” said Dr. De’Etra Young, associate dean of Academics and Land-grant Programs.

“Ag Week is really just about celebrating that family, having some fun, and sharing some laughs with that family. It is a moment each year when the academic side of things takes a back seat to the community aspect of the College, when we chat, we eat, we do activities all in the name of growing that sense of family, that sense of community here at TSU Ag.”

The week-long event rounded out with the College’s annual Awards Luncheon on Friday and the “Ag Alumni and Friends Day” event on Saturday. Students got the opportunity to network with agriculture alumni.

Dr. Young added that TSU’s Ag Week was a significant contribution to community building for the College of Agriculture and the university.

To learn more about the college of Agriculture, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/