TSU Food Distribution Brings Relief to Hundreds of Families in North Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)- A drive-thru food distribution at Tennessee State University on Saturday offered relief to hundreds of residents in the Nashville metro area.

About 200 volunteers, wearing masks, gloves and maintaining the required social distance, showed up to help distribute food to about 500 families. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Second Harvest Food Bank, along with TSU and One Generation Away, hosted the contact-free, mobile food pantry distribution outside the TSU indoor practice facility for anyone experiencing hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the aftermath of the March 3 tornado. No registration was required.

Organizers say TSU offered one of the best locations for the food distribution, as more than 500 families were served. Cars lined up from Walter S. Davis Boulevard onto the campus, and up to the Olympic statue. Drivers were directed to the indoor practice facility parking lot and exited on Schrader Lane.

“COVID-19 has caused a lot of challenges to various communities and we want to make sure that when and where TSU can, that we help the community during this pandemic,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s chief of staff. “Partnering with various entities in the community is one way to help with some of the challenges that we are facing. They had a need and TSU had a space that was best configured in a manner to best serve the need.”

TSU alum Sherrie McGuire, left, and her daughter, Makenzie McGuire, were among the volunteers who participated in the food distribution on Saturday. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Chris Whitney, founder of One Generation Away, a Franklin, Tennessee-Based food ministry, said the ministry conducts about 40 food pantries in Tennessee a year at different locations, mainly in church parking lots.

“We are so grateful to TSU for allowing us to be here today,” Whitney said. “We were looking at somewhere off Clarksville Pike to serve the North Nashville community after the tornado but with the pandemic, we needed a larger parking lot and we thought TSU would be an ideal location.”

About 200 volunteers, wearing masks, gloves and maintaining the required social distance, showed up to arrange tables, unpack boxes, fill grocery bags, and load food into the trunks of cars, as each family drove up. Among the volunteers were Sherrie McGuire, a TSU alum, and her daughter, Makenzie McGuire.

“Service is one of the core values that TSU instilled in us, and that’s what we are doing here today,” said Sherrie, a teacher at Donaldson Christian Academy, who earned a bachelor’s degree in social work at TSU in 1995. Donaldson Christian Academy was damaged during the tornado, which destroyed several buildings on TSU’s agricultural farm. 

“It’s been a double whammy for my family,” added Sherrie. “We were hit with the tornado on March 3rd,  with a lot of damage then you add COVID-19 to it. A lot of people are hurting. So, I am glad to be back at my school to help serve.”

Sherrie’s daughter, Mackenzie, a senior at Donaldson Academy, who has been a volunteer with One Generation Away since she was about 6 years old, agreed.

“Suffering through the tornado and then the pandemic is just unimaginable,” said Makenzie, who wants to study nursing to become a neonatal nurse practitioner. “So, it is just good to get out and help in the community.”

Grant Winrow, special assistant to TSU President Glenda Glover, who helped to coordinate the distribution on the TSU campus, said it is a wonderful opportunity for the university to partner with “anyone in the community that’s trying to do something philanthropic” for the citizens of Nashville.

“We are just a family here at TSU,” he said. “So, I think it is an opportunity for us to open up our resources to be able to assist anyway we can.”

Winrow credits former Metro Councilman Lonnell Matthews Jr., a TSU alum, with also helping to coordinate the food distribution at TSU.

TSU also runs a food pantry for students facing temporary hardships. When campus is opened, donations to the Tiger Pantry can be dropped off at the Ralph H. Boston Wellness Center located next to the Gentry Center Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. –  5 p.m.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 tnstate.edu.CHERYL

TSU and Kroger lend helping hand to students remaining on campus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU students still living on campus who could use some extra help with food and snacks, recently got help from the university and Kroger, the nation’s second largest general retailer.

Melissa Eads, Corporate Affairs Manager for Kroger Nashville (Submitted Photo)

In a partnership with the Tiger Pantry at TSU, Kroger donated 60 $25-gift cards to the university for students who did not leave campus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are tremendously excited about how community partners such as Kroger continue to show support for our students,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students.


“This donation will help some of our most vulnerable student population who have limited options. We will continue to seek out opportunities to help students navigate this very different learning environment.”

On March 16, TSU transitioned to online classes as a precaution to contracting COVID-19, and subsequently asked all students to go home. However, about 70 students who could not go home for various reasons, asked to stay on campus. These students continue to receive living resources from the university, including meals if they have a meal plan for the semester.

One of them is Sparrow Haynes, a senior, who is also a resident assistant. He said “it has been a struggle” to work and transition to online courses and deal with the pandemic at the same time.

“I would like to thank Kroger and TSU for this gift card during this time,” said Haynes, a health science major from Nashville. “This gift card will really help me to get some snacks and food so I can eat good while preparing to finish strong this semester.”

Melissa Eads, corporate affairs manager for Kroger Nashville, said her company is happy to partner with TSU to help students during this difficult time.

“Through our ‘Zero Hunger Zero Waste’ plan, we are focused on supporting efforts that provide food to those who may be struggling to make ends meet,” Eads said.   “We appreciate TSU and their work to meet the needs of their students.”

Iris Ramey, TSU’s associate vice president for corporate partnership and strategic initiative, said the university is grateful to Kroger for the gift cards during “this unprecedented time.”

“Kroger has always been a dedicated benefactor to Tennessee State University, and for this, we are very thankful,” Ramey said.

For more information on corporate partnerships and strategic initiatives, and how to secure philanthropic support to TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/partnerships/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 tnstate.edu.CHERYL

TSU alumna Earnestine Dawson keeps things moving smoothly on Capitol Hill amid COVID-19 pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover and other alumni say they’re proud of the impact alumna Earnestine Dawson is making on Capitol Hill amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Earnestine Dawson poses for graduation shoot at TSU. (Submitted photo)

Dawson, a 2005 graduate of TSU, recently made national headlines when she was profiled by The New York Times. She is the House Democratic Caucus’ digital director, charged with convening and managing digital conferences on congressional activity and policy debate. 

However, because of the virtual Congress the Caucus has set up for members due to the coronavirus, Dawson’s direction has become even more important to lawmakers. 

“At a time of stress and uncertainty, I’m so proud to see a TSU alumna helping to calm the waters at our nation’s capital, and in such an important role,” says President Glover. “Our University motto is Think, Work, Serve, and Ms. Dawson epitomizes that and more, especially during this unprecedented time in our country’s history. Her responsibilities highlight the caliber of students Tennessee State and other HBCUs produce that go on to have a global impact.”

Since March 16, Dawson has moderated more than a dozen two-hour caucus calls, and facilitated over 300 questions from 235 lawmakers. Her cheery voice is a welcome sound to lawmakers as she directs them to do things like “press star three” to ask questions, and to unmute their phones when they have the floor to speak. 

Some lawmakers say her voice is a reminder of what it was like when there was just radio, others describe the calmness of her direction as the glue that holds them together in uncertain times.

Dawson, humbled by their comments and the national attention she’s received, says she’s just doing her job. 

“The work is more important than me as an individual,” says Dawson. “I help them know that everything is going to be OK. They are making some tough decisions for the American people.”

A native of Cleveland, Mississippi, Dawson dreamed of becoming the nation’s first black woman elected to Congress from Mississippi. While at TSU, she majored in speech communication with an emphasis in mass communication, and was active on campus. She was the Junior Class Representative on the Student Government Association, and also pledged Alpha Chi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Incorporated.  

Earnestine Dawson (far left) in National Broadcasting Society photo sophomore year at TSU. (Submitted photo)

Amaris L. Johnson joined the sorority the same time Dawson did in 2003. She says even back then, Dawson’s pleasant, cheery attitude stood out. 

“She had this signature tagline. Anytime she gave a report or her name, she would say, ‘Greetings and salutations, my name is Earnestine Elaine Dawson,’” recalls Johnson, adding that her sorority sister was also good at resolving issues. 

“When we were disconnected, she was always able to defuse the situation and bring a level of calmness. When I read the (New York Times) article, I saw the same thing. That’s her.” 

Alum Charles Galbreath agrees.

“What’s so funny about the article, that was her spirit then,” says Galbreath, a former Mr. TSU who interacted with Dawson at the SGA. “Just a good energy. When she walked in a room, her positivity and her attitude walked in with her.”

Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association, says the attention Dawson is receiving makes her proud. 

“I often say, TSU prepares our alumni to go anywhere and handle the most difficult situations,” says McReynolds. “She is a prime example of this.”

Dawson acknowledges TSU helped make her the person she is today. 

“TSU was my growing up moment,” she says. “I walked away from TSU being much stronger than I came in, and I’m really appreciative of that.”   

To read The New York Times profile on Dawson, visit https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/us/politics/democrats-coronavirus-earnestine.html.

NOTE: Featured photo by James Marrow

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 tnstate.edu.CHERYL

TSU faculty, students use online classes to continue teaching and learning amid COVID-19 pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Treveon Hayes is not letting anything stop him from completing his course work and ultimately getting his college degree – not even the coronavirus. 

Treveon Hayes. (Submitted photo)

The Tennessee State University freshman is among countless students at higher education institutions across the country who have transitioned to online learning as a precaution to contracting COVID-19. 

“It’s been an adjustment, but I have goals, and I can’t let anything stop me from reaching them,” says Hayes, an elementary education major from Memphis, Tennessee. 

Earlier this month, TSU President Glenda Glover and other university administrators held a live meeting via Zoom with over 200 student leaders to assure them that TSU is dedicated to accommodating them while they finish the semester remotely as a result of the virus. 

“We are going to do everything humanly possible to accommodate you to ensure that you succeed in spite of this very daunting challenge,” said Dr. Glover. “It is tough for everyone across the world as we face the daily uncertainties and dangers that this virus presents. We’re going to do whatever we can to ensure that you remain whole.”

TSU students say they appreciate the effort of university faculty and staff, but they acknowledge the distance learning has been challenging because of the absence of things like face to face interaction with their instructors. 

“We were able to go to their office, now it’s mainly emails,” says Rekha Berry, a senior from Mobile, Alabama, majoring in history and political science. “I definitely miss the face to face with instructors.”

Music education major Jakori Hollinger practicing at home. (Submitted photo)

Nevertheless, they are finding ways to adjust. For Hayes, who has two to four classes a day, he practices better time management.

“After class, I give myself about five minutes to use the restroom, grab a snack, then get right back to class,” adds Hayes. “I have to time manage myself. The work has to be done. No excuses.”

Jakori Hollinger, a music education major from Montgomery, Alabama, says the lack of in-person instruction has caused him to do more reading and research in order to understand certain concepts.

“Whereas, if I was sitting in front of them, they could just show me how to do it,” says Hollinger, “I could just pick it up and it would be no issue.”

However, despite the circumstances, he lauded TSU’s faculty and staff for “working with students to make this transition as easy as possible.”

On March 16, TSU was the first public university in Tennessee to transition to all online classes as a result of COVID-19.

Dr. Robbie Melton, interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies at TSU, says prior to the coronavirus the university was exploring several types of online options for students. 

“We were already positioned to transition online when the coronavirus hit, which is why it only took us less than a week for a full transition,” says Melton. “We had the software and the tools and the training. And we had faculty training every day, including weekends, to assist the faculty in this new norm.”

Dr. Cheryl Seay is executive director of TSU’s Global Online and the lead person in helping TSU’s faculty transition to online instruction. She says sessions are held seven days a week via Zoom to address faculty questions or concerns, and she’s pleased with the participation and adjustment. 

Speech pathology grad student Jordan Robinson prepares to use a clinical simulation. (Submitted photo)

“The faculty have really stepped up to the plate,” says Seay. “They are doing everything they can to embrace this. I’m just really proud of our faculty.”

Dr. Tina Smith, chair of TSU’s Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, set up the first distance education program for the state of Tennessee in the area of speech pathology when she came to TSU in 2005. As a result, Smith says her students have had an easier time adjusting to remote learning. The biggest change she’s had to make involves the clinical component. 

“I now use clinical simulation, virtual patients,” says Smith. “Real clients, but online. We’re also using Zoom to do telehealth with our clients. That’s the new frontier for speech pathology.”

Dr. Learotha Williams, an associate professor of history at TSU, says he realizes these are difficult times for everyone, which is why he checks on the well-being of his students at the beginning of each online class. 

“I ask how each of them are doing, and what I can do to assist,” says Williams. “I also ask them to write a journal entry about how the coronavirus is impacting their lives where they live. It allows them to put their feelings on paper. And as a historian, it’s given me a wide gaze of what students are going through during this period.”

Like many students, Dr. Robert Elliott, chair of TSU’s Music Department, says he too misses the face-to-face interaction. He described the challenge of trying to virtually help a student who was playing Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” on his bass guitar. 

“I’ve got my instrument (bass guitar) in my living room, and he’s got his instrument in his living room,” says Elliott. “He told me at one point, ‘Doc, I can’t wait until we’re back in your office.’ I said me too.” 

TSU has 23 distance education undergraduate and graduate programs and will offer most of the classes online this summer. Summer sessions are scheduled to begin in late May, early June. To learn more, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/aeao/.

For more on campus operations affected by the coronavirus, and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 tnstate.edu.

TSU Waives ACT, SAT Admission Scores for Fall 2020 due to COVID-19

By Kelli Sharpe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is temporarily waiving the ACT and SAT scores as requirements for incoming freshmen for Fall 2020. The modified admission requirement is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, students will still be required to have a GPA of 2.5 or higher, completed application, and official high school transcript submitted for admission, which should indicate strong academic achievement in core coursework. 

“TSU’s decision was made in light of the testing companies’ decision and the circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr. Alisa Mosely, interim vice president for Academic Affairs. 

“The University continues to undertake temporary measures to address and manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This temporary admission adjustment applies for the Fall 2020 term only.” 

In March, the College Board and ACT, Inc., announced that they were suspending the availability of SAT and ACT testing due to logistical and safety issues associated with administering the tests during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ACT is an entrance exam most universities and colleges use to make admissions decisions. 

TSU is currently opened for fall registration, and is accepting applications for housing. (Photo by TSU Media Relations

Dr. Carjamin Scott, TSU’s director of admissions and recruitment, says the university is committed to removing all enrollment barriers that were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and helping talented students achieve their dream of becoming college graduates.

“The waiver will ensure that qualified students who are interested in TSU will have an opportunity to be evaluated for admission this fall. Whether on campus or online, first–year students will receive a quality education, and we have staff readily available to assist them with completing their application for enrollment,” says Scott.  

University officials say this will only apply to the upcoming fall semester. TSU joins a number of schools across the country to waive the ACT, as well as the SAT scores in response to the pandemic. 

TSU will offer summer school classes online, and is currently opened for fall registration and accepting housing applications. Students interested in enrolling for the Fall 2020 should visit www.tnstate.edu/apply.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

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 seven 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 Virtual Spring Preview Day Gives Prospective Students Innovative Look at University Offerings, Programs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Jelani Nash of Fort Worth, Texas, received his certificate of admission to Tennessee State University, the usually quiet and shy Nash was emotional. The screen on his laptop revealed the certificate welcoming him to TSU.

TSU President Glenda Glover zooms in to welcome prospective students and parents to the university’s first virtual Spring Preview Day. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“It just felt good and I was very excited,” said the high school graduating senior, as he and his family gathered in their living room in Fort Wort to participate in TSU’s first live virtual Spring Preview Day on April 9.

Like many prospective TSU students observing travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nash was among hundreds of other incoming first-year freshmen who had to make their college commitment or receive acceptance letters without having visited the TSU campus.

In all, organizers said more than 300 users, mainly students and parents, connected to the event with questions to admissions recruiters. Many TSU administrators, student leaders, faculty, staff and alumni joined the conversation.

“Welcome to Tennessee State University and our very first virtual Spring Preview Day,” said President Glenda Glover, as she kicked off the live broadcast zoomed from the TV studio in TSU’s Performing Arts Center.

“Good afternoon to our students and to our parents! We are using this virtual format of programming to announce this wonderful spring preview day because of where we are in America today. We have banded together to fight this coronavirus that has gripped our nation. So, the health and safety of you as students and parents on our campus is paramount. As you prepare to start your college careers, we have some exciting things planned for you this fall. We thank you and we are happy to greet you as you take your first step to becoming a TSU Tiger.”

Ashley Janae Edgar, left, an incoming freshman, receives her certificate of admission from Associate Vice President for Admission Terrance Izzarance, during a visit on campus. (Submitted photo)

The virtual spring preview, termed “Vision 2020: I see You at TSU,” gave potential students a new and innovative way to learn about the institution, said officials. They included a virtual tour of the campus, student interviews about campus life, meeting academic demands, and what it takes to apply and enroll at TSU.   Also, in response to the global pandemic and the closure of various testing sites, viewers learned that TSU is considering waiving the ACT for students applying for the Fall 2020 semester. Officials say the university wants to ensure that all interested and capable students have an opportunity to be evaluated for admission. However, applicants must still have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA and an official transcript to be considered for admission.

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Alisa Mosley, was among university officials who joined in to tell the audience about TSU’s many outstanding programs, its diverse faculty, as well as opportunities for students to engage in internships, study abroad and service learning programs.

A viewer watches the virtual Spring Preview Day on her cell phone. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“So, there is really something for everyone here at TSU,” Mosley said. “When you go through those kinds of opportunities you come out stronger and your passion fortified and you are prepared to engage on the local, national and international levels.”

Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Admissions and Recruitment, described the virtual preview as “a different platform, but the same brand of TSU excellence.”

“We are really trying to expand our reach to those who may not be able to come to us,” he said. “So, this virtual preview day is an exciting opportunity for us to reach thousands for the cause of TSU.”

Ashley Janae Edgar, of Atlanta, who has committed to coming to TSU in the fall, also watched preview day with her family. She said the exchange with the recruitment staff was “amazing.”

“It was extremely helpful and very informative,” said Edgar, who plans to major in criminal justice. She received her admission certificate during a visit on campus in November.

Dr. Carjamin Scott, Director of Admissions and Recruitment, helps to answer students and parents’ questions during the virtual preview day. (Photo by TSU Media relations)

 For Jelani Nash and his parents, they think TSU is the perfect fit for the incoming freshman.

“We are definitely comfortable with him going to Tennessee State University,” said Jelani’s father, Omar Nash, who added that his whole family enjoyed watching the virtual spring preview.

“Although we wanted him to stay close to home, we have a nice family connection in Nashville. Also, my wife enjoyed seeing the president of the university because she is a sorority sister, and my daughter said the campus was beautiful. This virtual preview is a definite plus for you guys.”

You can watch Virtual Spring Preview Day on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jz98el-MZo

 For more information on admission to TSU, visit http://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

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 tnstate.edu.

TSU Mourns the Loss of assistant football coach Tarvaris Jackson

Courtesy: TSU Athletics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State assistant football coach Tarvaris Jackson passed away late Sunday night in Alabama. Jackson served as the quarterbacks coach for the 2019 season.

“My heart is so heavy with hurt hearing of the passing of Coach Jackson,” said TSU Director of Athletics Teresa Phillips. “We were blessed with him for a short time but he did make an impact with our young men in this one season at TSU. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his young family and all who knew and loved him. We lift up all who are mourning today. Each loss is piercing. Today I ask God’s comfort to spread through the TSU community, the nation and the world.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Jackson family in this time of bereavement,” said TSU Head Coach Rod Reed. “We are devastated. He was an awesome young man and he will be missed by our players, our staff and the TSU family.”

Jackson mentored TSU quarterback Cameron Rosendahl to one of the better seasons in Big Blue history. The senior signal caller set a program record for completions in a season (241) and became the fourth player at TSU to throw for over 3, 000 yards. Rosendahl’s 3,023 yards is the second highest total in a single season at Tennessee State.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

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 seven 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.

Tennessee State University Names Mikki Allen New Athletics Director 

By Kelli Sharpe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Mikki Allen has been named the next director of athletics at Tennessee State University. TSU President Glenda Glover made the announcement on Thursday during a virtual press conference that included top administrators, head coaches and alumni, along with members of the press.

Dr. Mikki Allen

Allen comes to TSU after 11 years in sports administration, including his most recent position as the assistant director of athletics for Player Relations and Development at the University of Tennessee. Under his leadership, Allen set a new standard in the Southeastern Conference by creating a comprehensive development and transitional assistance program for Tennessee football student-athletes. The program was designed to guide football student-athletes from enrollment through their transition to post-football professional careers.

“With the retirement of AD Teresa Phillips after a stellar career here at TSU, it was essential that we find a leader that could build upon our recent successes, as well as our storied legacy of winning,” Glover said. “I believe we have found that in Dr. Allen. He’s a successful leader who puts student-athletes first, builds strong relationships both internally and externally from his success as a fundraiser, and just as important, Allen is committed to the development of coaches and staff to achieve at a very high level. We are extremely excited about the future of TSU Athletics.”

Allen, a four-year letterman and member of the UT 1999 National Championship Team, has strong ties to TSU, where he earned his master’s degree. His wife received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the university as well.

“I’m honored that President Glover has entrusted me to be the new Director of Athletics for Tennessee State University. To have the opportunity to be reconnected to our TSU family means everything to my wife, Jekia, and me,” Allen said. 

 “Tennessee State University is very special to my family’s legacy. This is about returning to an institution that I not only have a great passion for, but one that has been both impactful and transformative throughout my life. I have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for the work that Teresa Phillips accomplished during her 16-year tenure.  As the new Director of Athletics, I look forward to carrying the torch forward and elevating the sports programs at TSU to the top of the OVC pyramid.”

After a brief stint in the NFL due to injury, Allen joined the Tennessee Athletics staff in 2009 and excelled during multiple record-breaking fundraising years.  Serving as the Director of Athletics Development, Allen played an invaluable role for Tennessee Athletics in helping to secure more than $20 million in capital campaign gifts during his tenure as an athletics fundraiser.

The new AD will lead TSU Athletics that consist of 15 programs, and will officially begin in his new position May 1.  UT Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer called Allen a born leader and winner.

“Tennessee State is getting a man of great integrity and a born leader,” Fulmer said. “Mikki has made impactful contributions across several departments here at Tennessee over the years and has earned the respect from administrators and staff all throughout campus. The vast experience he’s gained has him well prepared to lead a department of his own. A former national championship student-athlete, he knows firsthand what a winning culture looks like. I know he’ll work tirelessly to build relationships and develop robust support systems to deliver a first-class student-athlete experience.”

Allen replaces Teresa Phillips, who is stepping down after 16 years with the university. Student-athletes excelled in the classroom under her leadership and posted some of the school’s highest graduation rates.  

Allen’s wife, Jekia, is a ’99 TSU graduate and currently is an elementary school Assistant Principal.  The couple has two children, Mikenzie Rae (12) and Jansen Michael Allen (8). 

Allen, 42, is a native of Middle Tennessee (Murfreesboro, TN), received his Bachelor of Arts and Science degree at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2001, Master of Arts and Science degree in Sports Administration from Tennessee State University in 2007 and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2016.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

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 seven 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 President Glover, administrators stress ‘meeting needs’ of students amid the COVID-19 pandemic in virtual meeting

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover assured students that TSU is dedicated to accommodating them while they finish the semester remotely as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Dr. Glover and other TSU administrators held a live meeting via Zoom with over 200 student leaders on April 2.

“I wanted to take this opportunity to just stop and make sure that we are meeting your needs,” Glover said. “We are going to do everything humanly possible to accommodate you to ensure that you succeed in spite of this very daunting challenge. It is tough for everyone across the world as we face the daily uncertainties and dangers that this virus presents. We’re going to do whatever we can to ensure that you remain whole.”

Students submitted their questions via the chat component. Topics included student refunds or credits, graduation, summer classes, and campus preparations for returning students in the fall. TSU registration opens tomorrow, and students may apply for housing now. 

Student Government Association President Katelyn Thompson of Memphis, Tennessee, said she was pleased with what she heard from Dr. Glover and other top staff.

“I’m proud of the university and student body coming together,” said Thompson, a graduating senior double majoring in criminal justice and psychology. “At the end of the day, excellence is our habit. We can’t get anywhere unless we come together.”

Charlie Green Jr., a senior from Jackson, Tennessee, agreed.

TSU President Glenda Glover addresses students in virtual meeting.

“This is a lesson for all of us,” said Green, a double major in architectural engineering and urban studies. “But Dr. Glover showed students that she’s about the business of making sure that we are taken care of and that our needs are being met.”

On March 16, TSU was the first public university in Tennessee to transition to all online classes as a precaution to contracting COVID-19. The university also canceled all campus events where large crowds are expected, and suspended all international travel through the end of April to minimize exposure to the disease. On March 23, the university ceased normal operations, allowing most employees to work remotely.

 Miss Junior Maya Howard, a business administration major, said she’s comfortable that when she returns to the university from Cincinnati, Ohio, that the campus will be thoroughly sanitized.

“I noticed as I was moving out that they were on top of making sure that everything was clean,” said Howard.

The university has continued a complete wipe down to protect the campus from COVID-19 and other diseases. TSU is using professional cleaning companies with disinfectants and sanitizing equipment to wipe down its main campus and downtown location. 

SGA President Katelyn Thompson talks to students in virtual meeting.

President Glover told students the virtual meeting will be the first of several she will hold to keep students updated on campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since transitioning to all online instruction and telework for faculty and staff, the university has hosted several virtual student events, such as this. Last week, TSU made history by establishing a chapter of the National Music Honor Society, Pi Kappa Lambda, and inducting its first members. 

For more on campus operations affected by the coronavirus, and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

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 seven 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.

Tennessee State University Continues Campus Wipe Down Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

NASAHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With nearly all students away and classes online, Tennessee State University is continuing a complete wipe down to protect the campus from the COVID-19 and other diseases.

In the TSU campus wipe down, workers are using equipment and products that are extremely effective in killing the coronavirus. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

The university is using professional cleaning companies with disinfectants and sanitizing equipment to wipe down its main campus and downtown location. Cleaning crews are using protective equipment including gloves, body suits, and products that are “extremely effective” in killing the virus, company representatives say.

Interim Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Albert Hill says the goal is to keep the campuses clean and less susceptible to the spread of infectious illnesses, such as the coronavirus.

“We just want to make sure that when our students and employees return, they feel comfortable going into the classrooms, residence halls, and work places,” says Hill. “We also want to assure parents that their children are safe.”

On March 16, TSU was the first public university in Tennessee to transition to all online classes as a precaution to contracting and spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). The university also canceled all campus events where large crowds are expected, and suspended all international travel through the end of April to minimize exposure to the disease. On Monday, March 23, the university ceased normal operations, allowing most employees to work remotely.

Lecture halls are also receiving thorough cleaning in the campus-wide wipe down at TSU. (Phopto by TSU Media Relations)

 “These decisions were made in the best interest of the university, as both the federal government and State of Tennessee have declared a state of emergency,” says TSU President Glenda Glover.

 “In following directives from the Governor and Mayor, we have adjusted the traditional manner in which we serve our students and operate the university and will continue to take every precaution necessary to minimize the spread of the virus.   Most importantly, we are ensuring that students continue to learn and excel academically by providing all the resources needed to successfully engage and complete online courses.” 

  TSU has one confirmed case of a student testing positive for COVID-19. The individual, who did not live on campus, has been at home in self-isolation for a number of days while receiving the necessary care to treat their condition.

Dr. Joseph Perry, TSU’s director of sustainability, says the cleaning crews are doing an “excellent job” of making sure chemicals they are using are safe for humans and the environment.

“We are going to do this until we get to the point where we feel it is safe for people to come back into the buildings,” says Perry. “Essential staff and faculty who occasionally come on campus are safe because they are allowed to go in only certain areas.”

The U.S. Department of Education recently launched a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) information and resources web page for schools and school personnel.

For more information on campus operations and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

NOTE: Kelli Sharpe contributed to this story.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

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 seven 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.