Southern Heritage Classic More than Football, Builds Careers and Promotes Relationships

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s victory in the 28th Southern Heritage Classic on Sept. 9 wasn’t the only thing sophomore Micah Williams had to celebrate.

The Army ROTC awarded the TSU communications major a $42,500 scholarship during a sideline ceremony at the end of the first quarter of the game.

President Glenda Glover, joined by Rapper and actor T.I., and Associate Vice President for Administration, Dr. Curtis Johnson, right, receives a check for $10,000 from Coors officials at the 28th Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I love the classic, but receiving this scholarship from the Army is just so exciting,” said Williams, an Army cadet who’s planning a career in the U.S. military. “I am honored to be able to serve my country and to be debt free when I leave college.”

Just like Williams, the classic also brought great excitement to TSU fans and supporters to cap a week of activities.

Army Master Sgt. Gabriel Cleveland, left, presents a check for $42,500 to Army Cadet and TSU communications major Micah Williams at the 28th Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Before a crowd of more than 47,000 at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, TSU defeated Jackson State University 17-15 to extend its current winning streak to 6-0 over the JSU Tigers. The win improves TSU to 17-11 in the Southern Heritage Classic.

“This is just another sweet victory for our Tennessee State University Tigers and fans,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.

For TSU, the weeklong celebration was more than about football. It was also a time for administrators, staff, student and alumni to engage in academic and relationship building activities that impact student learning, recruitment and support.

For instance, the annual Memphis Recruitment Reception hosted by the Office of Admissions, took place Wednesday evening at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown hotel. More than 50 high school students and their parents attended the reception to receive information on offerings and programs at TSU.

By the end of the evening, 25 students with exceptional GPAs and ACT scores were awarded full scholarships to attend TSU. One of those students was Talia Chambers of Middle College High School.

“I came here tonight just to get some information and now here I have a full-ride scholarship, this is great,” said Chambers, who has a 4.0 GPA, and plans to major in animal science. “I am very excited to attend Tennessee State.”

A daylong college-recruitment fair in the Pipkin Building on Friday followed the reception. Hundreds of students received information on offerings and programs at TSU and other participating institutions.

Alumni engagement, usually a major feature of the Southern Heritage Classic week, saw a packed room of former students and supporters attend the Memphis Alumni Mixer in the Case Management Building.

At the gathering, Glover called for a moment of silence in honor of those affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. She also gave an update on developments at TSU, including a new governing board, and the university’s new strategic plan and its emphasis on new admission standards.

“We are focusing on recruiting students who are academically talented,” Glover said. “We have raised our admissions standards. We want to bring in students with the support and ability to graduate. We are no longer the school of last resort. Those days are over.”

Department of Media Relations

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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 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