Southern Heritage Classic Week Brings Victory, Builds Relationships for TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For Tennessee State University, the 27th Southern Heritage Classic was all that – classic.

The TSU Tigers trounced the Jackson State University Tigers 40-26 before more than 46,000 at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, to culminate a weeklong series of activities and celebration.

The TSU victory was their fifth straight over the JSU Tigers, and improves TSU to 16-11 in the Southern Heritage Classic.

But the weeklong celebration was more than about football.

The TSU administration, staff, students and alumni engaged in a number of academic and relationship building activities that impact student learning, recruitment and support.

President Glover speaks to reporters in the Liberty Bowl minutes before signing a partnership agreement with national syndicate radio host Tom Joyner that would increase the number of STEM teachers in Memphis and Shelby County, and Metro Nashville. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations).

A day before the football game, TSU and national syndicated radio host Tom Joyner announced a partnership that could give Tennessee’s two largest school districts a major boost in STEM teachers.

The initiative encourages community college graduates to attend TSU and teach in Memphis and Nashville after graduation.

“Today’s agreement with the Tom Joyner Foundation will help deserving students from five of our community colleges fulfill their desires to attend Tennessee State without the distractions of worrying about how to pay for tuition and fees,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Most importantly, we’re providing Memphis and Shelby County, along with the Metropolitan Nashville school system, with much needed STEM teachers for the students.”

Following the signing ceremony, President Glover and some senior members of the administration stopped over at Hanley Elementary School, where the president received a rousing welcome by the more than 600 cheering students in the school’s gymnasium.

President Glover gives a pep talk to more than 600 elementary students during a stopover at Hanley Elementary School in Memphis. To Dr. Glover’s left is Dr. Sha Fanion, Aspire Hanley 2 Elementary principal and TSU graduate. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman)

“Do you want to go to college?” “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “Have you heard about Tennessee State University?” “Do you know what a university president does?”

These were questions Glover posed to the excited students, with a general mix of overwhelming “yes” and some “no” responses to each question.

“Our expectation for Dr. Glover’s visit is for scholars to know college is for certain no matter where they come from,” said Dr. Sha Fanion, principal of Aspire Hanley 2 Elementary and a 2003 graduate of TSU with a bachelor’s degree in special education. “Prior to Dr. Glover coming, we talked about her and the role of a university president. They were excited to know that she is a native of Memphis.”

Earlier during the week at the Memphis/Shelby County Presidential Reception, a recruitment ceremony for aspiring students and their parents, officials gave out scholarship information and other admission requirements.

Another key activity of the Southern Heritage Classic week is the Alumni Mixer hosted by the Office of Institutional Advancement, to thank alumni and supporters of TSU for their contribution. More than 200 filled the reception hall of Case Management, Inc., to meet former school mates and friends, as well as dine and receive updates from officials about activities and development at their alma mater.

“We just want to say thank you for all that you do for Tennessee State University to help keep needy students in school,” Glover said. “Your continued financial, material and other support and gifts are making a big difference in our students’ lives. We are thankful beyond measure for your support.”

At the VIP Mayor’s Reception, another mainstay of the classic week, officials of Baptist Memorial Health Care presented President Glover with a check for $5,000. The fund is to support a scholarship for a deserving student from Shelby County, who is in the allied health program at TSU.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

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