Tag Archives: Awards

Two agriculture professors earn national recognition

By Charlie Morrison, Alexis Clark

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two Tennessee State University College of Agriculture professors have been recognized for their outstanding contributions in research and excellence in education. Dr. Dilip Nandwani, a botanist and professor of organic agriculture, was named the 2024 American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) Fellow. While Agriculture professor and soil scientist Dr. Jason de Koff was recently named the winner of the 2024 Agronomic Education and Extension Award.

Dr. Nandwani is the first scientist from a Historically Black College and University or 1890 land-grant university to receive the prestigious honor. He has spent more than three decades teaching, researching, and mentoring in agriculture science and education.

“I am honored to be recognized by the American Society for Horticultural Science as a Fellow,” said Dr. Nandwani. “This award acknowledges 30 years of teamwork in horticultural research, Extension, and teaching, emphasizing our commitment to advancing society through horticultural education and principles.”

Dr. Nandwani is one of eight scientists named ASHS Fellows in the 2024 class. ASHS Nandwani manages TSUs certified organic farm, which includes fruits, vegetables, and herbs used for research and education efforts. Newly elected Fellows will be honored at an awards ceremony during an ASHS Annual Conference in September.

Dr. de Koff will also attend a ceremony to receive his American Society of Agronomy accolade, the Agronomic Education and Extension Award, recognizing excellence in education. The award includes a certificate, a complimentary ticket to the ceremony, and $2,000.

“This award is truly an honor,” said Dr. de Koff. “Working in Extension has allowed me to serve others, which is why I love what I do. I look forward to continuing to engage with and learn from all the stakeholders we serve.”

Dr. de Koff is active in the agronomy community, serving as President of the Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents and Specialists, Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources subcommittee in the Southern Region Program Leaders Network, and holds many other leadership roles. As a research scientist, he has received over 60 local, state, or national awards and $44 million in grants as Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator, including TSU grants.

“College of Agriculture Dean, Dr. Chandra Reddy, said that these achievements highlight the dedication and impact of TSUs College of Agriculture professors. “Dr. Nandwani and Dr. de Koff’s work continues to advance the fields of horticulture and agronomy, benefiting both the academic community and society at large,” said Reddy. He noted that these are important national recognitions by their peers in their fields of expertise. “Both faculty members have been with TSU for over a decade, and we are proud of their diligence and commitment to service.”

For more information about the College of Agriculture, visit TSU College of Agriculture.

Dr. Jason Smith receives OVC Outstanding Faculty Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Ask students in Tennessee State University’s Human Performance and Sports Sciences (HPSS) about Dr. Jason Smith and all will have the same response. Dr. Smith is known for his dedication, leadership, mentorship, and open-door policy.

These are just some of the reasons he received one of the 2024 Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Outstanding Faculty – Commitment to Student Success Awards.

Smith’s honor was announced at the 2024 OVC Basketball Championship

“As professors, we all devote a considerable amount of time to ensure our students’ success,” Smith said. “This award makes me feel proud of the time I dedicated, knowing it contributed meaningfully to the success of our students.”

The award recognizes educators who have significantly contributed to their institutions through student impact, university and curriculum development, and community involvement.

“Dr. Jason Smith is more than a great faculty member; he’s a great man,” said Calen Johnson, a senior majoring in Human Performance and Sport Sciences at TSU.

Johnson and fellow students shared the impact they believe Dr. Smith, who also serves as the Department Chair of the HPSS program, has had on students. One of those students is TSU junior Maya Grady, a Student Athletic Trainer with the University’s football team.

Calen Johnson

“Dr. Smith has such a family presence about him,” Grady said. “It flows from the head of the department all the way down to every single professor within our department. His energy is top-tier, and he captures every classroom or meeting he’s in with his vulnerability and compassion.”

Approximately 480 students are enrolled in HPSS program, with one-fourth of them being student athletes. Smith emphasized the strong rapport between student athletes, coaches, and the entire department.

Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Robbie Melton commended Dr. Smith’s constant drive for innovation in the classroom.

Maya Grady interned with the NHL Nashville Predators last semester at Bridgestone arena.

“This award also highlights his strong leadership within the department, leading key initiatives to update the curriculum and create new learning opportunities,” Melton said.

“Most importantly, it celebrates his role as an exceptional mentor to students, making time to provide guidance both within and outside of class. His door is always open for students seeking advice or support. This award is a well-deserved recognition for the immense impact he has made through his teaching, mentorship, and leadership.”

HPSS students have had numerous hands-on opportunities with national sports organizations here in Nashville. These initiatives include collaborations with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, the NHL’s Nashville Predators, the minor league baseball team Nashville Sounds, and more. All have resulted in internship and employment opportunities for TSU students.
“If we can fill that gap and build that bridge to get our students into their aspiring career field, that is our ultimate goal. That’s what gives me great pleasure,” Smith said.

Smith and other faculty members from across the athletic conference were announced at the 2024 OVC Basketball Championship. Smith’s dedication to his students’ success and his contributions to the HPSS program highlights the impact educators can have beyond the classrooms at TSU.

To learn more about TSUs Human Performance and Sport Sciences program, visit www.tnstate.edu/hpss/.

TSU President Glenda Glover honored with Inspire Change Changemaker Award from Tennessee Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In a heartwarming ceremony at Nissan Stadium, Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover was honored with the prestigious 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker Award by the Tennessee Titans.

The long-time educator and HBCU advocate was recognized for her exceptional work in pursuit of social justice in higher education. The Changemaker Award recognizes individuals in each NFL team market who make a difference in their communities across Inspire Change’s four focus areas: education, economic advancement, police-community relations, and criminal justice reform.

“I am honored to be recognized as the Tennessee Titans 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker,” said President Glenda Glover. “Historically Black Colleges and Universities are home to so many diverse, gifted, and brilliant students who have the ability to make a difference globally. TSU is proud to partner with the Tennessee Titans in preparing students to go out into the world and to change it for the better.” 

Left to right, Tennessee Titans representatives Adolpho Birch III, Johari Matthews, TSU President Glenda Glover, and Titans CEO, President Burke Nihill during the Inspire Change Breakfast and reception at Nissan Stadium to honor Dr. Glover with a prestigious 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker Award. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University.)

For decades, Dr. Glover has worked to transform the HBCU student experience for the benefit of thousands of students and the state of Tennessee at large under the NFL’s Inspire Change Education pillar. Members from the University family, Tennessee Titans staff, and the Nashville community were on hand to acknowledge her contributions and impact. Among them was Mika McKinney, a TSU alumna and current intern for the Titans, who is benefitting from President’s Glover on-going partnership with the team.  McKinney is pursuing her master’s in sports administration from the institution as well.

“The TSU Titans partnership has bridged the gap between theory and practice, giving me real-world insight that goes beyond experts,” McKinney said. “This has been an experience nothing further than transformative. It’s about people, growth, and community, and continuing to work better for the future.” She emphasized the collaboration’s impact on mentorship and personal growth beyond football and academics.

Mika McKinney, a TSU alumna and current intern for the Titans, speaks on this partnership going beyond sports and academic.

Dr. Glover, moved by McKinney’s words, expressed her joy in seeing students like Mika thrive.

“It makes my job worthwhile,” Glover said. “I am so honored. It recognizes the partnership between TSU and the Titans and what we are going to do in the community and what we want to do with HBCUs.” Dr. Glover also underscored the value of the educational experience and their commitment nationwide.

In his words acknowledging President Glover’s significant impact, Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell emphasized the strength of the TSU and Titans partnership and celebrated the moment as reflective of the city’s unity.

“It’s a great day for football and a great day to celebrate one of our community’s finest,” Mayor O’Connell stated.

Tennessee Titans CEO and President Burke Nihill expressed his gratitude for Dr. Glover’s friendship and the ongoing collaboration between TSU and the Titans. “To our organization, your legacy will always be transitioning from a TSU, Tennessee Titans partnership to a TSU, Tennessee Titans friendship,” Nihill said.

Mayor O’Connell addresses the audience in front of dozens, paying tribute to Dr. Glover for the prestigious award bestowed upon her by the Tennessee Titans.

Johari Matthews, VP and Executive Director of the Tennessee Titans Foundation and Community Impact, explained the selection of Dr. Glover as the 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker recipient.

“Dr. Glover was chosen because of her committed work to higher education, specifically supporting HBCUs,” Matthews said. “She has made it her mission to ensure that young people have access to higher education while also bringing attention to the many inequities and resources and funding that our HBCUs endure.”

Kind remarks about surrounding Glover’s legacy were also shared by TSU alumna Tina Tuggle, the VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Titans and Adolpho Birch III, who oversees the Titans’ Chief External Affairs.

In addition to the breakfast program, President Glover was honored on the field during the Titans game against the Texans. She was greeted with cheers as she was once again recognized as the Titans Inspire Change Changemaker award.

President Glover at Nissan Stadium holding the NFL Changemaker award as the 2023 recipient for the Tennessee Titans.

“This recognition means so much to me because I am a diehard Titans fan, so much so that we hired Eddie George, one of the most prolific players in the Titans franchise history, as our head football coach. I am so appreciative of what we are starting and where we are headed from here with this partnership.”

The Inspired Change Changemaker award comes with a generous $10,000 donation from the NFL Foundation. Glover will donate the entire sum back to Tennessee State University.

As the first female woman and alumna to serve as president of TSU, President Glover has overseen significant increases in enrollment, alumni fundraising, research dollars, and academic offerings. Glover is a certified public accountant, an attorney, and one of two African American women to hold the Ph.D-CPA-JD combination in the country. In 2022, President Joe Biden appointed her as Vice Chair of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

For more information on the 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker recipients, visit NFL.com/causes/inspire-change/changemakers.

College of Agriculture’s  De’Etra Young receives USDA National Teaching Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is proud to announce that Dr. De’Etra Young, Associate Dean for Academics and Land-grant Programs, received the prestigious U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Teaching Award. The national award, presented by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the USDA, recognizes excellence in agricultural sciences teaching and student engagement. Dr. Young is one of two recipients this year for the annual award and said she is honored for this recognition.

Dr. Manjit Misra, director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Dr. Young.

“This recognition celebrates my dedication to education and symbolizes the rich legacy of Tennessee State University, an HBCU committed to preparing students for success,” Young said. 

“At TSU, we take pride in our mission to excel in teaching and learning, offering experiential learning opportunities and fostering professional development for our students. This award is a testament to the University and College of Agriculture’s commitment to innovation in the classroom.”

The annual award includes a $5,000 stipend for teaching enhancements at TSU. Young is recognized as a leader in undergraduate research that is driven by her passion for environmental science and urban forestry. She has been committed to motivating students, like junior Blake Wright, to have that same passion and drive.  The Dallas, TX native is studying agricultural sciences. 

Blake Wright

“Even when I started my freshman year, Dr. Young had helped me so much.” Wright said.

“I was able to get accepted for an 1890 farm bill scholarship, and she makes sure students are aware of leadership opportunities. She overcomes challenges, presents great opportunity, and this national recognition is long overdue.”

As a mentor, Young has created many aspiring researchers over time, who have also gained national recognition for their contributions, according to the APLU website. CheKenna Fletcher, stated that she wouldn’t be in the position as a first-year Ph.D. student in agricultural sciences without Young’s support.

“Her tireless commitment to guiding students through their academic journey and beyond is unmatched,” Fletcher said.

CheKenna Fletcher

“From crafting heartfelt recommendation letters to being a constant source of encouragement, she embodies selflessness like no other, proving that leadership leaves no room for personal rest but thrives in the success of others.”

Dr. Chandra Reddy, the dean of the College of Agriculture, said Young is very deserving of this award as she is a role model to many TSU students and faculty.

“Dr. Young is an exceptional teacher, mentor, and advisor,” Reddy said.

“Dr. Young’s passion to engage high school and undergraduate students in research makes our novel summer apprenticeship and dean’s scholar’s program so popular with participating students and their families. I congratulate her on behalf of my colleagues in the College for getting selected for this prestigious national teaching award.”

Young, who has been at TSU for ten years, has been awarded more than $30 million in funding as a principal investigator (PI) and Co-PI.

Dr. Young assisting college of Agriculture students during the fall semester.

 “We applaud the 2023 winners of the Excellence in College and University Teaching Awards for Food and Agricultural Sciences,” said Wendy Fink, Executive Director of the Academic Programs Section at APLU.

“Through their dedicated and focused passion in mentoring and instruction, they serve as inspirational leaders for their students and other faculty striving to serve their students better.”

Dr. Young received her bachelor’s degree in Urban Forestry at Southern University and A&M College, and a masters and a Ph.D both in forestry from Texas A&M University. Visit our website to find more information about TSU’s Agricultural Sciences program or majors.

Dr. Robbie Melton named top 50 women leaders in education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Robbie Melton, has been named as one of the top 50 women leaders in education for 2023. The Women We Admire site states that the selected women are instrumental in guaranteeing that educational establishments maintain their adaptability and responsiveness to the ever-changing demands of society.

The recognition showcases the achievements of women in leadership roles, in diverse educational institutions across the nation. 

“This honor acknowledges our collective efforts in education, enriched by the unwavering support of my family,” Dr. Melton said. 

“It underscores the importance of diversity, inclusion, and our collective dedication to empowering future generations.”

The website states that while the first U.S. universities enrolled only men, women have made great strides in higher education. Dr. Melton is ranked number 11 on the list of the 50 honorees. In addition to serving as the interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs, she is also the VP of Technology Innovations for the SMART Global Technology Innovation Center and global researcher and international consultant for Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Dr. Melton’s past honors include the 2019 USDLA Hall of Fame, 2018’s Distinguished Women of Legend, OLC Leadership in 2017, WCET Lifetime Achievement in 2016, Top 30 Technologists in 2014, and the Apple Distinguished Educator in 2013.

Dr. Melton said she was shocked about the recognition and appreciates the celebration of women who are working relentlessly within the field of education.

“This is a celebration of every woman, teacher, and student working tirelessly for a more equitable world.”

TSU reports over $70 million in research funding, impacts childcare, global food security and more

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Early childcare for Tennessee families and global food security are among the top areas Tennessee State University is focusing on as the University reports continued record growth in research funding. TSU’s external research funding is just over $70.2 million with four months remaining in the 2022-2023 submission cycle. To date, the University’s Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences and the College of Agriculture have received the largest single awards totaling $28.9 million.

“TSU’s continued high research output and funded awards are a true testament to the hard work and commitment of our faculty and staff, especially as we also focus our attention on moving from an R2 to R1, the highest research designation, under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning,” says TSU President Glenda Glover.

The TSU Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences is using grants to fund childcare and family support programs in Tennessee.

“A crucial cornerstone of an institution’s success is measured through its research and just as important is how that research will benefit our communities.” 

For its work with children and families, the TSU Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences received a total $18,958, 417 in federal and state funding. The Center is using the grants to fund childcare and family support programs in Tennessee.  Of that amount, nearly $5.3 million came from the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start (ACF/OHS) to support Head Start and two Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership programs; and just under $13.7 million came from the Tennessee Department of Human Services (HHS/TDHS) to support the Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance and Tennessee Family Child Care Network. 

President Glenda Glover

The funding will provide services to 256 children and families and employ approximately 115 staff needed across the state. 

“The Center is proud of the work we do to support children, families, and professionals within the early childhood community,” says COELS’ director Dr. Kimberly Smith.  “We remain focused on educating and uplifting the early childhood workforce in Tennessee and we remain committed to improving the lives of the families we serve.”  

In the College of Agriculture, researchers are using a $10 million capacity building grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support 57 different projects in agricultural education, agricultural business, biotechnology, food science, animal science, environmental science, renewable energy, and human health and nutrition. Two of the major projects will conduct research to enhance nutritional security and environmental quality. 

Dr. Chandra Reddy

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the college and principal investigator of the capacity building grant, says the objective is to find solutions to challenges in global food security, enhancing the environmental quality, and nutritional security. 

“The other important goal of these projects is the diverse workforce development,” Reddy says.  “We are creating new knowledge and graduating diverse background students both at undergraduate and graduate levels.  We also share the research findings with public through our statewide extension programs to improve their productivity and quality of life.” 

CheKenna Fletcher is a first-year Ph.D. student in agricultural sciences with a concentration in food and animal sciences. Her research focus is on the extraction, isolation, characterization, and application of novel materials in health-promoting food products. She is ecstatic about the amount of funds the university is attracting for research. 

“TSU provides students and even professors with various opportunities to conduct research in a variety of fields with global interest,” says Fletcher, of Lebanon, Tennessee. “There are so many conferences, symposiums, and more one can attend to present his/her research, worldwide.” 

CheKenna Fletcher

In the first half of this fiscal year, TSU research proposals garnered more than $68.8 million in external sponsored research funding and now stands at $70.2 million, which is on pace to surpass the record $70.7 million received in 2021. That record-setting year for the University was one of the highest among all HBCUs. The new funding report is a major boost for the University in its continued planning to receive the “R1” research designation.  An R1 designation would mean more doctoral programs, research initiatives and funding for students and the university.  

Associate Vice President of Research and Sponsored Programs Dr. Quincy Quick, who is leading the R1 designation effort, says the goal is double the total amount of grants received. He believes TSU faculty and staff can ultimately reach the $140 million award mark.

Dr. Quincy Quick 

“Our recent historic research productivity and achievement over the last two fiscal years is a consequence of our outstanding and dedicated faculty and staff and their commitment to conducting and performing innovative and transformative high-level research,” says Quick. “Our faculty and staff are enthusiastically engaged in our mission for the highest status as we work collegially and diligently to become the fourth R1 designated institution in the state of Tennessee.” 

Here are some of the other top awards received in 2022-23: 

  • Dr. Andrea Tyler – Title III, $10,254,498 (Department of Education) 
  • Dr. Quincy Quick – RSP, $5,000,000 (Department of Energy) 
  • Dr. Karla Addesso – College of Agriculture, $2,479,982 (USDA) 
  • Dr. Melanie Cantu – College of Agriculture, $2,016,694 (USDA) 
  • Dr. Rebecca Selove – RSP, $1,772,784 (National Institutes of Health) 
  • Dr. Deo Chimba – College of Engineering, $1,611,168 (Dept. of Transportation) 
  • Dr. Margaret Whalen – RSP, $1,255,618 (National Institutes of Health) 
  • Dr. Roy Sonali – College of Agriculture, $1,158,373 (USDA) 
  • Dr. Jianwei Li, College of Agriculture, $1,118,709 (USDA) 
  • Dr. D’Etra Young – College of Agriculture, $1,000,000 (USDA) 
  • Dr. Robbie Melton – Academic Affairs, $1,000,000 (Apple/Hewlett Packard) 
  • Dr. Catherine Armwood – College of Engineering, $1,000,000 (NSF) 
  • Dr. Dafeng Hui – College of Life & Physical Sciences, $1,000,000 (NSF) 
  • Dr. Lin Li – College of Engineering, $1,000,000 – (NSF) 
  • Dr. Hongwei Si – College of Agriculture, $1,000,000 (USDA/NSF) 
  • Dr. Richard Mu – RSP, $1,000,000 (NSF) 

Music industry award-winning artist, producers Dallas Austin and Sir the Baptist to receive honorary degrees from TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University officials will award honorary degrees to two music industry artists and producers at the university’s 2022 spring graduate commencement on Friday, May 6.

Dallas Austin and Sir Williams James Baptist, award-winning song writers, artists, and producers, will receive the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of their contributions to the arts. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin will be the speaker for the graduate commencement.

Dallas Austin is a Grammy award-winning producer and 2019 inductee into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. (Photo submitted)

Dallas Austin, Grammy award-winning producer, is a 2019 inductee into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has over 50 Billboard Hot 100 records to his credit and a multitude of awards. Austin also has produced a pair of successful movies based on his own experiences growing up in Georgia —the 2002 “Drumline” and 2006 “ATL.”   

Sir the Baptist is a multi-disciplinary Christian American artist, two-time Grammy award-nominated writer, producer, BET Award nominee and winner of BMI 2021 Songwriter of the Year. 

He called receiving an honorary degree his greatest accomplishment of all time.

Sir Williams James Baptist is a multi-disciplinary Christian American artist, two-time Grammy award-nominated writer, and winner of BMI 2021 Songwriter of the Year. (Photo submitted)  

“To know that TSU appreciates my hard work as far as my career and Dallas’ career, we’re overwhelmed,” Sir the Baptist said.  “I think it is amazing. You work your entire life, and you may not feel like you’re as collegiate as the students who earn it, so you don’t quite feel like you deserve it,” he said, noting how humble and appreciative he is for the opportunity.

Sir the Baptist said his mother, and Austin’s mother, are both proud of this milestone. “No matter what song we worked on, no matter how big it got, our parents wanted us to graduate.”

Austin landed his first placement with “Cover Girl” for Princess & Starbreeze in 1987. From “Unpretty” and “Cool” to “Mowtownphilly” and “FourFiveSeconds,” Austin went on to craft hits for the likes of Another Bad Creation, Boyz II Men, TLC, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, and most recently Cedric Gervais, Kodie Shane and Klondie Blonde.

“Regardless of what it is, I want to create things that resonate with people and bring positivity,” Austin said. “Creating music, film, and art is the best way for me to help others and really do some good.”

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Frank Stevenson, who is also chair of the honorary degree committee, stated that having these two as honorees is a once in a lifetime opportunity for TSU.

“Both are in the music industry with an amazing array of acclaims and accomplishments in that space.” Stevenson said.

The Director and Assistant Director of TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands (AOB) Dr. Reginald McDonald and Dr. Larry Jenkins, couldn’t agree more.

Jenkins stated that Sir the Baptist and Austin has been connecting with AOB this semester through the Artist and Residency Program to provide new outlets for the students.

McDonald and Jenkins both stated that Austin and Sir the Baptist are not only influential to the band, but also to HBCU culture.

“I see their connection (with TSU) being a forever connection,” Jenkins said. “I think this collaboration propels TSU into some new spaces. The sets of eyes that will be on TSU will be amazing.” 

McDonald stated that the two being awarded at the commencement, along with having future networking opportunities will be monumental for TSU.

“It is almost like that next level of recognition,” McDonald said. “This is (a) huge, remarkable experience for our kids.”

The ceremony will take place in the Gentry Center Complex located on the main campus at 5 p.m., and will be livestreamed at www.tnstate.edu/livestream

The event will follow COVID-19 guidelines and face mask are recommended. Hand sanitizer and mask will be provided.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
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 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 Honda Campus All-Star Team returns from national competition with awards and grant money for university

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Team recently won awards and grant money at the 29th annual HCASC National Tournament.

The team finished third in the Bullard Division at the competition, which took place April 7-11 in Torrance, California, and involved 47 other teams from historically black colleges and universities.

TSU finished the competition with a record of 3-2, defeating Benedict College, Southern University in New Orleans and Cheney University, and losing to Prairie View A&M and Paine College.

The team’s collective effort earned $3,000 in grant money for TSU. Devon Jefferson, a member of the TSU Honors College who serves as the team’s captain, earned an All-Star award as the top scorer in the Bullard Division, which earned another $1,000 for the university.

TSU HCASC Team Captain Devon Jefferson

Jefferson, a junior marketing major from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, said although TSU didn’t make the playoffs this year, they grew as a unit. He said even though the award was given to him for his individual performance, it really came as a result of the work of the team.

“Honda always puts on a good tournament,” he said. ‘Even though we didn’t make the playoffs, we played some good close games and continued to mesh as a team.”

According to Dr. John Miglietta, professor of political science, who has served as the team’s coach since 2004, Jefferson is just the second TSU student to receive an All-Star award for being a top scorer at the national competition. Miglietta said the team was proud to participate in the event.

“The Honda Campus All Star Challenge is a great unique experience,” he said. “It showcases the academic knowledge of students from HBCUs around the country in the spirit of friendly competition.”

Members of the HCASC team who participated in the competition along with Jefferson are Breanna Williams, senior, music major from Marietta, Georgia; Alekzander Garcia, senior, chemistry major from Nyssa, Oregon; and Terrence George Young, junior computer science major from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Alexandria Ross, a freshman, economics and finance major from Memphis, Tennessee, also attended the competition as the university’s institutional representative.

Some other members of the TSU HCASC Club are Aliyah Muhammad, of Nashville, sophomore biology major; Donovan Varnell, sophomore political science major, from Nashville; and Micah Williams, sophomore, combined mass communications and military science major from Seoul, South Korea.

TSU has participated in 22 national championship tournaments earning a total of $174,500 in grant money since the inception of the program in 1989.



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 45 undergraduate, 24 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 tnstate.edu.

Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. National President to Speak at Women of Legend And Merit Event To Raise Scholarship and Program Dollars for Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Beverly Smith, national president and chief executive officer of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, will serve as the keynote speaker for this year’s Women of Legend and Merit Award Dinner at Tennessee State University on April 10 in Kean Hall.

Smith, who also serves as the assistant commissioner and Georgia State director for Adult Education and GED Testing through the Technical College System of Georgia, said she is excited about addressing the young ladies at TSU because of the many issues facing women today.

Beverly E. Smith

“We are at a time today when the power of women really matters,” she said. “The power of our voice is clearly something of significance these days whether or not we are comfortable enough with ourselves to use or understand it.”

TSU President Glenda Glover echoed the same sentiments.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Beverly Smith to our campus for our Women of Legend and Merit Awards Dinner, and look forward to hearing her inspiring and powerful words,” she said. “Women of Legend and Merit is in its 11th year and couldn’t have come at a more pivotal time in our nation’s history. Women should feel empowered and celebrated. Our dinner allows us to do this and raise scholarship and program dollars for students, all while partnering with the community.”

Seanne Wilson, chairperson of the event, which raises money for student scholarships, said Smith’s visit will give the young ladies at TSU an opportunity to witness a “woman of excellence” who is the head of a large body of women of excellence.

“This is an opportunity for them to meet women from varying organizations and diverse positions in life, and to hear their stories and their struggles and how they made it,” said Wilson, who serves as coordinator of the TSU Women’s Center.

According to Wilson, the Women’s Center is a “safe zone” for women at TSU who experience issues such as fear, anxiety and depression, as well as domestic violence, homelessness and the lack of food.

Wilson said the purpose of this event is to empower and uplift the female students at TSU.

Smith said the influence of her father, a civil rights activist, as well as powerful women in her family and early mentors such as legends Dorothy Heights and Althea Gibson helped propel her to success.

“You can’t be what you can’t see, and I think that certainly holds true especially for us in our communities. A lot of times it is very difficult to be what you can’t see,” she said. “If we celebrate who we are and who we have been, it gives us an opportunity for greater heights.”

This year’s honorees are Vivian Wilhoite, Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County property accessor; Dr. Tameka Winston, TSU interim chair of Department of Communications; Many Bears Grinder, commission of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs; and Tina Tuggle, Tennessee Titans director of community relations.

Awards will also be presented to retired educator Gwendolyn Vincent, and TSU freshman Natalie Cooper.

To purchase tickets for the April 10 awards dinner or learn more about the Women’s Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/legendandmerit/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

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, 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 tnstate.edu.

Hargrove Recognized Nationally for Contributions as STEM Educator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Tennessee State University dean of the College of Engineering, will receive the Ivory Dome Award at the 14th Annual Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) Technology Achievement Awards ceremony on March 9 in Dallas.

According to ITSMF President and CEO Viola Maxwell-Thompson, Hargrove’s commitment to developing tomorrow’s STEM leaders is in alignment with the organization’s mission of “increasing the representation of black professionals at senior levels in technology, to impact organizational innovation and growth.” She said the Ivory Dome Award is given to an individual focused on increasing the number of students in the STEM discipline.

“Dr. Hargrove won all of the support of the committee,” Maxwell-Thompson said. “We were so impressed with his achievements at TSU and how he has inspired and educated hundreds of students there as well as other areas within Tennessee where he has interacted with not only college students, but K-12 schools as well.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove

Hargrove, who earned his BS degree in mechanical engineering from TSU, immediately pursued his MS degree as a National GEM Consortium Fellow at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He later secured his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

“I am honored to received this award.  It is a result of the hard work of the faculty and staff of the College of Engineering at Tennessee State University, and the partnerships we have with industries like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and K-12 Education to promote STEM careers,” he said. “This award reflects the support of TSU and our commitment to expanding the workforce in STEM and the dedication of TSU leadership and the quality of the students in our program.

As a recipient of the Ivory Dome Award, Maxwell-Thompson said Hargrove will be an honorary member of ITSMF for one year, which will enable him to attend the organization’s symposium, network with other STEM professionals and mentor within the organization.

“We just want him to feel proud that he is being recognized in yet another way, considering the fact that he has tons of accolades and recognitions,” Maxwell-Thompson said. “This organization wants to also add to that list of recognizing an individual who is so incredibly passionate about the youth and tomorrow’s leaders.”

Hargrove said pursuing a career in STEM, obtaining advanced degrees and becoming a college professor were a result of the advice and mentoring he received from the TSU faculty while he was an undergraduate student.

“Seven out of the top 10 best jobs are STEM-related.  My role as Dean is to insure they are completing an academic program that prepares them to be technically competent and have the leadership skills to have successful careers,” he said. “My engagement with my own students and with our partnerships with high schools, help promote careers in STEM and encourage them to seek occupations in this area.  In most instances in K12 education, it’s about exposure and awareness.  The College of Engineering is committed to both.”

In addition to mentoring and educating students at TSU, Hargrove serves as a founding board member of STEM Preparatory Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. He also serves on the advisory STEM boards of several local K-12 schools.

Dr. Kimberly Gold, a cybersecurity engineer for the U.S. Navy, said Hargrove is the reason she has a Ph.D.

Dr. Kimberly Gold

“He is my mentor. He promotes rigor, excellence and he never turns his back on his students,” she said. “He’s someone they can count on. I was actually the first African-American female to graduate with a Ph.D. in computer and information systems engineering, and I could not have done that without him.”

Gold said Hargrove teaches his students to never come to him with complaints, but with solutions. She said his mentorship and the nurturing environment at TSU played a key role in her success.

“When I got to the Navy, we were less than maybe 8 percent of the population on our base so a lot of times people doubted my abilities because they were not familiar with working with people of color,” she said. “Hargrove would have these closed door sessions where he would teach us how to maneuver through systems that were not created for us to excel. So that is why I say he is more than just a mentor. He is also a friend.”

Maxwell-Thompson said she hopes honoring Hargrove will lead to future collaborations between ITSMF and Tennessee State University.

“We look at the number of students who are majoring in the technology piece of STEM, and we know that there are so many opportunities in technology that will present themselves by the year 2025, and we want to make sure that there are a good representation of black students that are ready to take on those roles.”

Founded in 1996, ITSMF is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to cultivating executive-level talent among black technology professionals. Their members hail from Fortune 500 companies, governmental agencies, technology businesses and academia. This annual event attracts top-notch technology industry leaders and has historically been hosted by companies like Bank of America, Lowes, Hewlett-Packard, PepsiCo and Lockheed Martin.


Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

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, 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 tnstate.edu.