TSU Ag student lands fortune 500 job, aims to combat world hunger

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Kerrington Howard, a graduating senior at Tennessee State University, secured a job with a Fortune 500 company as a commodity trader, marking a significant step toward his goal of combating world hunger and assisting communities that suffer from food insecurities. “The end goal is to acquire the knowledge and then commit to action,” Howard said.

While the United States grapples with the challenge of food insecurity, Tennessee State University is producing students like Howard, who are determined to make a difference. More than 27 million Americans suffered from food insecurity as of July 2023, according to U.S. News.

Howard, of Maryland, D.C., is an agricultural science major who will be graduating May 4 and heading to Illinois this summer to pursue his career at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).

Howard’s agricultural journey began at the age of eight when he was introduced to his father’s land in Florida, where fruits were grown, and goats were raised. “That’s when I got accustomed to country life,” Howard said. While his mother and stepfather own a business in Maryland, it was his experiences on his father’s land that sparked his interest in agricultural business, leading him to concentrate on it at TSU.

When Howard was in high school, he was accepted into TSU’s 1890 summer apprenticeship where he gained hands-on experience with agriculture professors at the university. He then received a full-ride scholarship as a Farm Bill Scholar to attend TSU and took full advantage of his opportunities and resources.

Throughout his collegiate years, Howard secured internships at Mammoth Cave as an environmental education intern and at Waste Management as an environmental protection intern that extended through his junior year.

During his job search, he discovered the role of a commodity trader through Thurgood Marshall and secured the job after three rounds of interviews. “It was luck, and it was God,” he said regarding securing the job. “I want to make an impact on how the food supply works.”

ADM is a global leader in both human and animal nutrition. As a commodity trader for the company, Howard will trade resources like seeds, corn, and other grain products within the agriculture industry.

What inspired Howard to enter this field is to combat food deserts and underrepresented communities battling with food insecurities. “We’re the leaders in food production, yet we have communities that don’t have access to food,” he said.

According to Feeding America, 92 billion pounds of food annually, equal to 145 billion meals, are wasted in the U.S., which is 38% of all the food in America.

“Since we are in the city (of Nashville), we should be able to walk to food,” he said. “Knowing that we have many food deserts right in Tennessee, that’s part of my motivation.” In Tennessee, 21% of the state’s population lives in areas considered food deserts, 15% in urban food deserts and 6% in rural food deserts.

Howard said he considers TSU “comforting” and looks forward to applying what he has learned at the university in the workforce.

“TSU is the whole reason why I’m here today. They provided the education, the internship skills, and the resources so I can get where I am today,” he said. “So, I’m always grateful for TSU.”

Dr. De’Etra Young, agriculture professor and associate dean for academics and land-grant programs, said that Howard’s achievements speak volumes of the caliber of students the college produces. “As a Farm Bill Scholar, engaged in rigorous undergraduate research and internships, Kerrington embodies the dedication and preparedness fostered within our institution,” Young said. “His success in securing a position with Archer Daniels Midland not only reflects his individual excellence but also underscores the value of the education and opportunities provided by TSUAg.”

Howard will be walking the stage with a 3.5 GPA at the undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 4, with more than 550 fellow classmates.

TSU’s spring commencement will also be livestreamed from the university’s YouTube channel at www.tnstate.edu/livestream.

Family’s engineering legacy a part of TSU upcoming commencement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  When it comes to earning an engineering degree from Tennessee State University, the Buford family isn’t settling for just one—they are aiming for three. Shawn Buford will proudly graduate with her master’s, while her son, Joshua Buford, will receive his undergraduate degree, accounting for two of the degrees. The mother and son duo will participate in TSU’s upcoming Spring Commencement ceremonies, with The School of Graduate Studies on Friday, May 3, followed by the undergraduate ceremony on Saturday, May 4. The two, along with family and friends, will celebrate their academic milestone just one day apart from each other. 

Left to right, Joshua, Shawn and Christopher II Buford all are set to have degrees in engineering from TSU.

“It feels incredible,” Shawn said, as she prepares to receive her master’s degree in data science with a 4.0 GPA.

“It shows that you never get too old to go back to school. This is a family affair. Don’t ever let fear or insecurity keep you from what you’re doing because you’ll be missing out on your blessing.”

Shawn started her collegiate journey with a degree in chemistry nearly 30 years ago from Hampton University. The Brooklyn, New York, native and mom decided to go back to school after discovering that TSU had launched a new data science program in 2022.

Joshua, who is set to receive his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering on May 4 with a 3.7 GPA, picked up his cap and gown alongside his mother this week, both graduating with honors.

He stated that the duo graduating together wasn’t planned.

“I’m really proud of her,” Joshua said. “I know school has been something that she has enjoyed, and just getting to see her dream fulfilled is exciting. I’m happy to witness her live out her dream and walk across the stage, and then I get to walk the next day. It’s an opportunity that a lot of people don’t get to have.”

Meanwhile, the Bufords’ eldest son, Christopher Buford II, prepares to join the ranks next semester when he obtains his master’s in engineering. He and his mother Shawn began their journey together in 2022 when the pair both started the master’s program.

Shawn and Joshua Buford collect their graduation attire at the TSU bookstore. The mother-son duo, both engineering graduates, achieved honors this semester. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University)

“We’ve been very supportive of each other, and we just go home and get to talk about our experiences after classes,” Christopher said. “And then we just do work together because we need that support. So, it’s been an amazing experience.”

Christopher, who previously earned his undergraduate degree from TSU, is set to receive his master’s in mechanical engineering next semester. He shared that witnessing his mother’s return to school, alongside his younger brother, has inspired him to consider pursuing his Ph.D. at TSU in the near future.

“It’s been very motivating because I look at what my mom and Josh are doing, and it’s the fact that we’re getting our education from an HBCU,” Christopher said. “TSU has so many great opportunities here.”

The trio were all also inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society at TSU.

Both of Shawn’s sons gravitated to STEM due to her chemistry background, but with their father, Christopher Sr., being a 1992 TSU alumnus, it was an obvious decision to attend the school that was right in their backyard.

College of Engineering Associate Dean Catherine Armwood-Gordon revealed that TSU has graduated over 600 students from the College of Engineering from 2018 -2022. According to Zippa there are currently over 228,900 engineers employed in the United States and only 3 percent of engineers identify as African American.

Shawn said she looks forward to walking the stage and turning around to watch her sons follow suit to all be a part of increasing that 3.3 percent. “We helped each other, encouraged each other, and supported one another during this journey,” she said. “And as a non-traditional student, I didn’t know how the students in this generation were going to receive me. But the TSU students are incredibly smart, polite, and embrace me. So, it’s been such an incredible experience.”

Dr. Lin Li, the dean of engineering, praised the family’s dedication to education, stating, “The Buford family’s commitment to academic excellence is truly inspiring and reflects the values of TSU’s engineering program. Congratulations to the Buford family as we look forward to their return for yet another engineering degree.”

Shawn said she looks forward to returning to TSU to pursue another master’s degree with an end goal of teaching STEM education. While Joshua looks forward to kicking off his engineering career this year.

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 students on Friday, May 3, at the Gentry Center Complex. The ceremony begins at 5 p.m. President Dr. Glover will address undergraduate students the following morning, May 4, at 8 a.m. in Hale Stadium. TSU will live stream both ceremonies at www.tnstate.edu/livestream.

TSU Hosts Record-Breaking 1890 ARD Research Symposium

By Charlie Morrison

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University College of Agriculture served as the host for the 21st Association of 1890 Research Directors Biennial Research Symposium (ARD), held in April at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center in Nashville. As the immediate past Chair and steering committee member of the symposium, the College of Agriculture Dean, Dr. Chandra Reddy, was instrumental in getting the event to be held here in Nashville, and participants did not disappoint. The event was by all accounts the biggest, best-attended symposium in the organization’s nearly 50-year history.

TSU College of Agriculture faculty and staff during the 21st Association of 1890 Research Directors Biennial Research Symposium at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center.

More than 1,500 faculty researchers, college administrators, students, and staff from each of the 19 1890 land-grant HBCUs attended this year’s symposium. The premier event brought together agriculture-focused researchers from across the 1890 land-grant university system. In addition to showcasing the talents and achievements of the 1890 community, the symposium offered attendees interactive opportunities to share knowledge and build networks for expanded research collaborations.

Dean Chandra Reddy was buoyant about the College’s performance at the ARD. For Dr. Reddy, a successful showing at the symposium took everyone from the College’s participation, involvement, and engagement. “I am extremely happy that the event went so well. Our students and faculty succeeded in all the sessions and competitions, with outstanding preparation and engagement,” said Dr. Reddy. “So many of the attendees visited the College and were thoroughly impressed with our research labs and the cutting-edge research being conducted by our faculty, graduate students, and even undergraduate students.” TSU Agriculture students, faculty, and post-doctoral students contributed nearly 130 research posters and 300 oral research presentations that were put forth at the symposium, many of which received awards and cash prizes due to their research.

Kerrington Howard was one of three TSU College of Agriculture students who had the opportunity to address hundreds during the four-day symposium.

A large contingent of the TSU family, including President Glenda Glover, took part in the conference, presenting research, judging competitions, and fostering networking connections. “TSU recognizes the importance of agriculture, I recognize the importance of agriculture having grown up on a farm in Memphis, so I know and love the industry,” said Dr. Glover as she addressed the conference during its opening session. “Here we’re doing more to move agriculture forward on our campus in Nashville. Thank you for being here today and for such a meaningful engagement. Continue to perpetuate the legacy of research excellence.”

The theme of this year’s symposium was “Climate, Health, and Cultivating the Next Generation of Agricultural Leaders: Creating Solutions in Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources.” TSU students had the opportunity to present their research both orally and through poster competitions. The students networked with like-minded scientists from across the 1890 community and engaged in important topics such as climate science research, navigating grantsmanship, and outside funding activities, and presenting their research effectively.

During the four-day symposium, three TSU College of Agriculture students had the opportunity to address a venue in Opry that seated more than 1,500 participants. The students were TSU junior Kennedy Bentley, along with seniors Dominque Smith and Kerrington Howard. “It felt great to address the symposium because …. I wanted to show everyone that we’re doing something here (at TSUAg), I wanted to show the symposium what they were investing in,” said Howard, a dean’s list scholar. “And they need to see that we’re here doing the work so they keep supporting us.”

Dr. De’Etra Young won an inaugural McKinley Mayes Mentoring Award for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to mentoring both students and early faculty members.

During the event, Agriculture Professor and Associate Dean of Academics and Land-grant Programs Dr. De’Etra Young won an inaugural McKinley Mayes Mentoring Award. The award was created to recognize an administrator who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to mentoring both students and early faculty members.

At the symposium, graduate students showcased their research prowess, particularly excelling in oral presentations. The College of Agriculture dominated the food safety, nutrition, and health category, with Amritpal Singh securing first place, followed by Aakash Sharma in second, and Pallavi Rathore in third. In other categories, such as plant health and production, Divya Jain claimed the top spot, while Sudip Poudel secured second. Additionally, Jazmine Norwood stood out in the family, youth, community, and economic development category, winning the competitive poster presentation.

Aaliyah Cotton with an award for her oral presentation on renewable energy and natural resources.

Aaliyah Cotton represented the undergraduate student body with distinction, earning second place for her oral presentation on renewable energy, natural resources, and the environment. Overall, the College of Agriculture students showcased exceptional talent and dedication across various fields of study at the symposium.

“It was a prideful moment for my team and I to have our peer institutions treating us as a model for their own institutions and leaders,” Dr. Reddy said. “And we heard that a lot at this year’s symposium.”

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

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 .