Tag Archives: Aliyah Holmes

TSU recognizes the best and brightest, nearly 3,000 students celebrated during honors convocation 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University honored nearly 3,000 students, recognizing the best and brightest at its 2023 Spring Honors Convocation, which is a ceremony that  highlights academic rigor.

Among the convocation honorees were 2,974 Dean’s List students who maintained a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and 483 President’s List scholars who maintained a 4.0 GPA and received medallions.

TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover, left, the Highest Honors Senior Award recipient Jae Walls, center, and Dean of the Honors College Dr. Coreen Jackson, during the 10th annual spring honors convocation. (Photo by Aaron Grayson) 

This year the Dr. McDonald Williams Highest Honors Senior Award recipient was Jae Walls, a presidential scholar from Atlanta, Georgia, who is one of the two students that were selected for the American Heart Association HBCU Scholars Program.

Walls is a junior studying biology who said she was proud of her award at the honors convocation. She noted how excited she was about the event being held in-person for the first time since the pandemic. 

“I am excited because everyone has been so busy at college, so I think this is a great opportunity to celebrate our academic achievements together,” Walls said. She noted that 2,974 students making the Dean’s List just shows what kind of talent TSU produces.

“It shows how intelligent students here at TSU are and how they can work through these hard classes. It is important to have events like this because it allows TSU to showcase how great the students are.”

Deja Story and Madison Taylor are two TSU freshman being recognized as Presidents List scholars this spring during the annual Honors Convocation. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Tyler Vazquez, a presidential scholar recipient and a Dr. Levi Watkins scholar who is studying molecular biology, said he looked forward to seeing his peers and college deans in-person to celebrate their hard work paying off.

“It’s incredible to be able to honor so many students for their academic excellence,” Vazquez said. “It is no easy journey … kudos to all the students.”

There are approximately 269 freshmen that were recognized for being on the President’s List as well. Also included are 165 Honors seniors that will be graduating this spring.

Of the 2,974 Dean List students, those with a 3.0 or above, 1325 are from TSU’s record-setting freshman class.  Last semester, the University welcomed over 3500 first-year students. It was the largest in school history and top among HBCUs. The incoming class also had a GPA average of 3.4.  The Honors College has a total enrollment of 824 students as of March 2023.

SGA Vice President Aliyah Holmes, left and President Glenda Glover, right, with the 2023 Honors Convocation speaker TSU alumnus Dr. Eddie R. Cole, center, who was presented an award during the event. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Dr. Coreen Jackson, the Dean of the Honors College, said she is proud to witness many outstanding students ecstatic about their impressive academic journey. “Despite them going through the pandemic and dealing with all the challenges for the last few years, these students have weathered the storms and continued to hold their heads up and continue to strive towards academic excellence,” Jackson said.

“We are so pleased and proud of their accomplishments. Having the opportunity to honor them is just amazing.”

The Honors Convocation keynote speaker was TSU alumnus Dr. Eddie R. Cole, an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA and the author of a multi-award-winning book, The Campus Color Line. During the event, Dr. Cole expressed his gratitude towards his undergraduate professors and experience at the university for setting him up for a successful professional career.

Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., scholars during the 10th annual honors convocation ceremony. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“In so many ways I am just thrilled to be here because looking at you, I see myself,” the 2007 graduate said to the honor students.

“One thing that is clear out of all my success as a student at the next level … was that Tennessee State University prepared me to be there. It was my HBCU experience,” Dr. Cole said.

For more information on the TSU Honors College, visit  https://www.tnstate.edu/honors/ .

TSU unveils plans for historic $250 million from State, model for other HBCUs

By Kelli Sharpe, Alexis Clark

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – On the day the nation celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., MLK Day, Tennessee State University shared its plans for the historic $250 million from the State of Tennessee. It is the largest one-time investment to a historically black university by a state. The funds come at a critical time as states across the nation are being held accountable even more for underfunding HBCUs. The funds are for capital improvement projects only as outlined by the State.  

University officials say long overdue repairs and upgrades are now on the way, citing many of the campus structures have gone without improvements for decades. 

TSU president, student and university leaders, local lawmakers during an unveiling for historic $250 million campus-wide infrastructure projects. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

TSU President Glenda Glover says the much-needed funding will cover expenses for upgrades to several academic and student services buildings, in addition to the electrical and HVAC systems. 

“We are excited to share with you our plans for using this historic funding that will assist with TSU’s continued growth and campus development as we provide students with the best academic environment possible.” Glover adds. “This will allow us to enhance our campus for further sustainability as we continue our service to our students.” 

A total of six structures will see improvements, including: Boswell Science Complex, Davis Humanities Bldg., Elliott Hall, Jackson Hall, Harold Love, Sr. (LRC), and McCord Hall. University officials say they are beginning with buildings that have reached or are near their life expectancy. 

TSU student leaders spoke about the excitement of announcing the improvements to their campus as they reflected on the day honoring civil rights icon, Dr. King. 

Boswell Science Complex is one of six buildings that will be apart of structures that will see improvements at the university.

“Today we are seeing that dream come into fruition as we are seeing six buildings being renovated to uplift TSU,” says Student Government Association President Kenneth Rolle, II. “I am glad to be on this side of history to say I was here when we started this project.” 

SGA Vice President Aliyah Holmes shared the same sentiments and noted that one of the buildings slated for improvements is a major part of student life. 

“As a student … the building I am most excited about, is the Davis Humanities Building. We use that building a lot,” Holmes says. 

“We use that building for classes as well as events, and student engagement at TSU is such an important aspect. That is also another aspect that keeps students wanting to come here. I want to applaud Dr. Glover … and our executive cabinet for being able to advocate and listen to the student body.” 

During the unveiling SGA president Kenneth Rolle, II says he is glad to be on this side of history to say, “I was here when we started this project.” (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Gov. Bill Lee and lawmakers allocated the historic funding package in April 2022 for infrastructure developments and major improvements that also include outdoor lighting, HVAC system upgrades, and interior décor.  

President Glover thanked Gov. Lee and lawmakers and applauded State Rep. Harold Love, Jr. for his work to ensure TSU gets funds that had been withheld for decades. Love, who is also a TSU alumnus, believes the enhancements will play a greater role in attracting world-class students and faculty. 

“This is a start of a multi-year project to make sure we invest in facilities at Tennessee State University. If we are providing a high-quality education, we must provide the facilities that are state of the art,” says Rep. Love. “These upgrades and improvements will help to sure that all of our students are equipped with all they need to be able to be great scholars and our faculty to be able to be great instructors.” 

Rep. Love was joined by fellow Davidson County lawmaker Sen. Heidi Campbell and State Architect Ann McGauran.    

SGA Vice President Aliyah Holmes shares her excitement about buildings slated for improvements during the project unveiling on Jan. 16, 2022. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

TSU officials say the goal of the campus improvements is to eliminate life-safety issues, address deferred maintenance, and invest in academic buildings. 

“TSU is working to extend the life expectancy of our facilities to better accommodate our students and to enhance their college experience while here,” says Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff. 

The historic funding is the result of a joint legislative committee’s research in 2021. It was revealed in April 2021 that TSU could be due $544 million, dating back to the 1950s, because of years of unpaid land-grant matches by the state. President Glover and Rep. Love, Jr., who served as chairman of the committee, commented then that the outcome was critical to the livelihood of TSU.  

Glover told the crowd during her final remarks at the unveiling that she appreciated the hard work from both sides of the political aisle to reach an agreement instead of being embroiled in a lengthy court battle like in Mississippi and Maryland with their HBCUs. 

Shaun Wimberly, who serves as the student trustee for the university, summed it up best when he proclaimed he’s already thinking about his future that will include TSU. 

“I’m excited for TSU’s future and what this funding and these upgrades will do for my school. I will be a proud legacy as my children will come here to get a quality education.”   

TSU SGA Pres. and VP attend White House roundtable on impact of Dobbs ruling by SCOTUS   

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  Student Government Association President Kenneth Rolle, II and Vice President Aliyah Holmes attended a roundtable discussion on reproductive rights and how the Dobbs decision could impact college students across the country. Vice President Kamala Harris extended the invitation to Rolle and Holmes, as well as to other student leaders to hear their thoughts first-hand regarding the issue.    

TSU Student Government Association President Kenneth Rolle, II and Vice President Aliyah Holmes said experiencing a roundtable discussion on reproductive rights at the White House was a monumental moment and looks forward to spreading awareness on campus. (Photo submitted)

Rolle said the opportunity was monumental for the university’s student body and brought forth additional information on how overturning Roe vs. Wade impacts students and young adults.  

“It was a great day in D.C,” Rolle said. “This is a great opportunity for Tennessee State University to showcase the student leadership that we produce here, but on a national stage. They (White House officials) want to hear the student’s perspective, and how we feel about the issue of women’s reproductive rights.”  

Rolle said the roundtable discussion with Vice President Harris provided students with information on how to advocate for change and properly educate the campus on this issue. The Orlando, Florida native said he looks forward to becoming more knowledgeable on how the Supreme Court’s ruling affect women’s rights following the visit. “I foresee us doing a push to raise awareness.”

SGA leaders take a selfie in front of portraits of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris during their visit at the White House.

Prior to their arrival, Holmes said her focus was spreading awareness on campus when she returned from Washington D.C. “HBCU students even being invited to the White House to participate in this discussion makes us feel like our voices do matter,” Holmes said. “It was a great experience. Being able to come back to our institution to share the knowledge that we gained is a great opportunity. Inviting TSU student leaders will have a huge, lasting impact on our institution and our student body.”

In August, TSU President Glenda Glover visited the White House, at the request of VP Harris, for a similar roundtable discussion and to obtain pertinent information that could aid TSU students in making well-informed decisions regarding their healthcare needs.

TSU announces new Student Government Association leaders in first in-person election since pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU New Service) – It’s officials! Tennessee State University Student Government Association has a new group of officers for the 2022-2023 academic year. The new student leadership, including a Mister TSU and a Miss TSU, was announced Friday during an elaborate ceremony on the main campus after a week of campaigning. It was the first in-person campaigning and election since the pandemic.

Kenneth Rolle II, SGA President

TSU President Glenda Glover, along with staff from the Office of Student Affairs, congratulated the new officers when the election results were announced. 

Kenneth Role II, a senior urban studies major from Orlando, Florida, was elected president, while Aliyah Holmes, a sophomore double major in political science and criminal justice from Houston, was elected vice president.

Aliyah Holmes, SGA Vice President

Sa’Mariah Harding, a rising senior majoring in mathematics and secondary education from Indianapolis, was elected the 93rd Miss TSU. Tre’Veon Hayes, the new Mister TSU, will escort her. Hayes, a rising senior majoring in elementary education, is from Memphis, Tennessee.

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, described the new officers as a “dynamic group” of student leaders.

“They were each very strategic in sharing their platforms during the campaign,” Stevenson said. “Student leadership at TSU is not accidental but very intentional, and this group proves that in practice.” 

Sa’Mariah Harding, Miss TSU

Rolle, who becomes the 82nd executive president of the SGA, said his goal is “to get students’ concerns at the forefront of the agenda.”

“My goal is to make sure student concerns are heard and something is done about them, especially when it comes to financial aid, student housing, and the rest.,” Rolle said.

Harding, the new Miss TSU, who ran on the theme “The Louder the Prouder the Tiger Family,” said her goal is “to get every woman on campus feel as a queen.”

Tre’Veon Hayes, Mister TSU

“I want to make sure that every woman feels good about themselves every day when they wake up,” Harding said. “I want to make sure they are proud about who they are, and loud and proud about being a TSU Tiger.”

Dr. Andre Bean, assistant dean of Student Engagement and Leadership, said he’s confident the new group of SGA leadership has a strong agenda to move the student body in a very positive direction.

“I am excited about this group of students and I am looking forward to what they have to bring to the table,” Bean said.

Following is the list of the Royal Court and other members of the SGA:

Mister Senior – Irwin Todd

Miss Senior – Zion Bonds

Mister Junior – Timothy Brewer

Miss Junior – Victoria McCrae

Mister Sophomore – Cotton Chandler

Miss sophomore – Zaria Hobbs


Michael Darden

Tanya McNeal

Kyra Tucker

Dajah Robinson

Keyanna Canady

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
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Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

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 eight 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.