Congressman Jim Cooper urges TSU graduates to vote, give back to university

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Congressman Jim Cooper lauded Tennessee State University graduates for their hard work, and urged them to do two things: vote and support the university.

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TSU graduate students wait to receive their degrees. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Cooper, who represents Middle Tennessee in the U.S. Congress, gave the address at TSU’s graduate commencement on Friday in the Howard C. Gentry Complex on the university’s main campus.

TSU President Glenda Glover provided greetings to the graduates and their families and friends before Cooper spoke.

“This is your day,” she said. “Today we honor you for reaching this significant milestone.”

Cooper echoed President Glover’s sentiment.

“This is truly a special occasion,” Cooper said. “It’s the culmination of years of hard work; it’s the demonstration of true excellence. Our nation needs such excellence.”

Cooper also appealed to the graduates to vote and give back financially to TSU.

“These two things are basically free,” he said. “Voting doesn’t cost you anything. Giving a small sum to your alma mater doesn’t really cost very much at all. But participation in both are essential.”

Cooper said before the event that he was “excited to honor Tennessee State University’s graduate class,” and that the “world is ready for their knowledge and leadership.”

Taking Cooper’s words to heart, graduate George Davis will put his TSU education to work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he has secured employment. Davis received a master’s in agricultural science with a concentration in data analysis and business management.

He’s among a number of TSU graduates – both grad and undergrad – who have jobs lined up.

“You’ve got to seize every opportunity that you get,” said Davis, a Memphis native. “Having a job lined up just shows me how hard I’ve worked.”

Nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner will give the address at TSU’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 6, at 8 a.m. in the William Jasper Hale Stadium, also on the university’s main campus.

“I’m so honored to speak to these graduates,” Joyner said in a statement. “I know these TSU Tigers have put in plenty of sweat – and yeah, tears – so they can go out and change the world.”

Altogether, 1,067 TSU graduates – 266 grad and 801 undergrad – will participate in Tennessee State’s spring commencement ceremonies. Of the undergrads, 128 will get degrees in nursing, 56 in criminal justice, 51 in business administration, and 50 in health sciences.

Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at