Hundreds Run at TSU to Raise Funds for Education, Celebrate 125th Anniversary of 1890 Land-Grant System

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nearly 600 participants, including alumni, faculty, students and fans took part in the Second Annual “Big Blue Tiger 5K Run/Walk” at Tennessee State University today to culminate a weeklong celebration of Ag Week, alumni fundraising activities, and the 125th anniversary of the 1890 Land-Grant system.

Representative Brenda Gilmore (fifth from left, front) congratulates 1890 Land-Grant anniversary events organizers minutes before blowing the whistle for the start of the Big Blue Tiger 5K Run/Walk. (Photo by John Cross, Media Relations)

State Representative Brenda Gilmore kicked off the day’s events with a statement at the Gentry Pavilion on the main campus, applauding race participants for their courage and determination to promote healthy living.

“Tennessee is in the top ten when it comes to obesity and ranks high with other ailments in the nation,” Gilmore said. “Your showing here today demonstrates your determination to help eliminate these diseases that affect so many of our people. I am here to encourage you for taking this step to healthy living.”

She thanked the race organizers, including the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, the Office of Alumni Relations, and the TSU National Alumni Association for their collaboration to mark the anniversary of “an event as important as the land-grant system.”

“The 1890 Land-Grant has been a major source of help and resources for Tennessee State University and many of our HBCUs. It is more than fitting for us to join in the celebration of such major milestone as 125 years of a mission that continues to support so many,” Gilmore said.

Following Gilmore’s presentation, runners and walkers took to the starting line for the 3.2-mile trek that took them around campus by way of 33rd Street, Alameda, Walter Davis, up to the Olympic Statue, and to the finish line in Hale Stadium.

TSU Athletics Director, Teresa Phillips, left, congratulates Big Blue Tiger 5K winners Adrienne Hicks, first female finisher, and David Johnson, overall winner. (Photo by John Cross, Media Relations)

Finishing in 21 minutes and 11 seconds, David Johnson, a TSU sophomore and Health Science major, came in first as the overall winner. TSU alum Adrienne Hicks (’02,’06), who finished in 26 minutes 44 seconds, was the first female to cross the finish line. “Please mention that I am an AKA,” Hicks said, as she celebrated with friends.

The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences presents a check for $2,500 to the Alumni Foundation for student support. From left are Cassandra Griggs, director of Alumni Relations; Tony Wells, president of the National Alumni Association; Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of CAHNS; Dr. Latif Lighari, associate dean for Extension; and race organizers Charla Lowery and Darnell Crawley. (Photo by John Cross, Media Relations)

As part of the celebration at the finish line, Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of CAHN, presented a check for $2,500 to the Tennessee State University Foundation on behalf of his college. Later, at the “Blue and White Game” in Hale Stadium, the National Alumni Chapter of Beta Omicron also present a check for $37,000 to the Foundation toward the group’s established endowment.

Beta Omicron
National Alumni Association President Tony Wells, and Cassandra Griggs, director of Alumni Relations, receive a check for $37,000 from members of the National Alumni Chapter of Beta Omicron to the Tennessee State University Foundation.

“With tuition going up each year, every cent counts,” said Tony Wells, president of the TSU National Alumni Association, as he thanked donors, supporters and race organizers for their contributions. “These funds and your efforts will help keep needy students in school.”

The day’s events will culminate with the “Legends Game,” also in Hale Stadium, organizers said.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
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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 42 undergraduate, 24 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