Tag Archives: Donations

New TSU academic affairs unit to promote student career pathways, university partnerships  

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This month marks a fresh start for thousands at TSU, embarking on an exciting chapter as college students. Not only for first-year students but also as the university welcomes new departments this semester. This year’s move-in incorporated a collaborative effort between the newly formed unit in Academic Affairs, Academic Career Pathways and Partnerships (ACPP), Residence Life, and several Employer Partners.

TSU and Fifth Third Bank representatives during Fall move in.

With these efforts, the collaboration welcomed nearly 1,000 first-year students over the course of three days, fed 300 community volunteers during move-in, and received a $10K donation from Enterprise Holdings.

Antoinette Duke, Director of Academic Career Pathways and Partnerships, said this collaboration showcased the commitment of multiple departments and employer partners to TSU’s motto: Think. Work. Serve. “Our units exemplify a shared vision to prepare TSU students for success in the professional world,” Duke said. She noted that the Enterprise Holdings donation would be divided equally between ACPP and the Career Development Center (CDC).

“ACPP and the CDC are set to collaborate closely, leveraging their combined expertise to help incoming freshman students identify their interests, skills, and work values,” Duke said.

Kroger representatives passed out waters and snacks to volunteers during fall move in.

Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Robbie Melton, who spearheaded the new unit under academic affairs, said the ACPP would provide comprehensive support and guidance to college students and their career journeys. “The office facilitates the seamless transition between academic programs and career pathways, ensuring students make informed decisions and acquire the necessary skills and experiences for their chosen professions,” Melton said.

The donated check was presented amid move-in with hundreds of volunteers from TSU Faculty and Staff, Student Activities, Student Affairs, and employer partners. The volunteers were all provided with lunch and refreshments every day of move-in.

Employer partners include Enterprise, Bank of America, Fifth Third, Dollar General, Altria, Cintas, Oracle, Kroger, RICH, and the university’s R.O.T.C. unit, all played a pivotal role in demonstrating their dedication to the university’s essence, according to Duke.

The ACPP looks forward to the career and professional development and exploration of the students as the university aims to ensure a journey tailored to their passion and aspirations.

In the new unit, Duke is working under the leadership of the assistant vice president of academic affairs, Dr. Johnnie Smith. Representatives from the CDC and residence life during the move-in event also included the newly appointed Director of the Career Development Center, Jeffrey Brown, the new Executive Director of Residence Life, Yolanda Parr, and the Associate Director of housing, Julius Proctor.

TSU receives $1.5 million from HCA Healthcare to create pipeline for future Black doctors and technology experts  

Tennessee State University and HCA Healthcare are continuing their partnership in a major way. In a recent joint press conference, the Nashville-based health system gifted TSU $1.5 million to provide scholarships for aspiring students wanting to becoming medical doctors and technology leaders, and for education initiatives.  

Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. healthcare scholar cohort class of 2025 receives their white coats, presented by alumni of TSU, MMC Physicians and dentist during the fourth annual lecture series and white coat ceremony. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

The HCA, TriStar Health donation will provide scholarship opportunities for 12 students enrolled in the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., Institute and three students majoring in computer science. The goal is to help build the pipeline for African American healthcare professionals and technology experts. The breakdown of the gift includes $1.4 million for Levi Watkins scholars pursuing a degree in the TSU accelerated medical program, while $100,000 will go Computer Science’s HCA Healthcare ITG Scholars. 

“We applaud and thank HCA Healthcare for this generous gift and continued support of TSU, and our talented students,” TSU President Glenda Glover said during the event. “This investment in our students helps them to become the future doctors and health technology leaders they aspire to be. HCA is making their dreams a reality.” 

Mitch Edgeworth, division president for HCA Healthcare TriStar Division, said their cooperation is proud to be able to invest in the university.  

The breakdown of the gift from HCA Healthcare and TriStar Health includes $1.4 million for Levi Watkins scholars pursuing a degree in the TSU accelerated medical program. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“Rooted in our mission to care for and improve human life, we are committed to providing resources and opportunities for future healthcare leaders to grow, learn and make a difference through this partnership,” Edgeworth said. “TriStar Health is proud to be part of HCA Healthcare and supports this incredible investment that will establish a strong and diverse pipeline of future physicians and healthcare ITG leaders in our community.” 

Class of 2025 Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Institute cohort students said this opportunity will help them succeed in becoming future physicians, dentist, and healthcare professionals to bridge the healthcare gap and provide for underserved communities in need. 

“I hope to reduce the racial inequalities in the medical field as well as fixing the patient and physician trust between the African American community and the physician,” said Sierra smith, a biology major whose goal is to become an anesthesiologist. 

Donnell Shaw, an aspiring dermatologist majoring in biology, said he looks forward to creating a skin care line for African Americans. 

“I hope to accomplish owning my own private practice and making my own Black skin care line. I’ve always loved helping people and giving back.” 

While $100,000 of the donations will go Computer Science’s HCA Healthcare ITG Scholars, HCA will also provide seven ITG staff members to serve as adjunct faculty for the fall semester. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

The gift is part of the organization’s larger commitment to give $10 million over three years to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions.  

Currently, there are 117 new students in the computer science program. In addition to the scholarships for computer science students, HCA will also provide seven ITG staff members to serve as adjunct faculty for the fall semester. 

Christopher Jeff, a junior majoring in computer science, said he felt elated to know that corporations like HCA want more students with a passion in Computer Science to achieve their long-term goals. Jeff aspires to become a software engineer. 

“It means that there are places like HCA that want nothing but the best for people that attend HBCUs and to see them succeed,” Jeff said, noting that he is grateful for the scholarship opportunities and additional faculty members provided by HCA. 

TSU scholars engaging with HCA, TriStar Health representatives before a check presentation of $1.5 million. Their goal is to help build the pipeline for African American healthcare professionals and technology experts. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

TSU and HCA Healthcare have a long-standing partnership. In 2015, the corporation donated $1 million to fund internship opportunities and support the growth of the Health Information Management program. Sherri Neal, chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer of HCA Healthcare, said gestures as such, are building a more diverse talent pipeline of healthcare. 

“Increasing the diversity of our healthcare workforce is vital to providing more equitable, culturally competent care to our communities,” Neal stated. 

HCA Healthcare Scholars and HCA Healthcare ITG Scholars will be provided with hands-on shadowing opportunities, mentors, seminars, leadership sessions, career guidance and internship opportunities. 

Please visit www.tnstate.edu/biology/special_programs.aspx to find out more about the TSU accelerated medical program, and https://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/degrees/accelerated.aspx  computer science.

TSU alumni giving exceeds half million dollars in honor of parents

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The children of two prominent Tennessee State University alumni have donated $250,000 in honor of their parents who attended TSU 80 years ago.

Damon Lee-2
TSU alumnus Damon Lee III, (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Damon Lee III, a 1967 graduate with a Business Administration degree, made the donation in the names of Damon and Rachel Lee at TSU’s 2016 Scholarship Appreciation Reception on April 7. His sister, Kimberly Lee-Lamb, also contributed to the gift, which will benefit TSU’s College of Business by providing scholarships to out-of-state juniors and seniors majoring in business.

The Damon and Rachel Lee Scholarship Endowment Fund was established in 1999 with a $200,000 donation to TSU. The family donated $50,000 to the university in 2005, and with this latest donation, their total contributions to the university exceed $500,000.

TSU officials say the family’s recent donation is among the top five given by a family in the university’s history.

“We are very grateful for the contributions the Lee family has made to Tennessee State University over the years,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “This latest donation not only shows their continued commitment to TSU, but their desire to better the lives of students by helping them get a quality education to compete in the global marketplace.”

Damon and Rachel Lee were college sweethearts. Damon was a founding member of TSU’s Beta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and graduated with honors in 1935 with a degree in History. Years later, after relocating to Los Angeles, he earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and license.

Rachel was a Business Education major and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. After graduating in 1936, she began a career as a business education teacher at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia. She continued her teaching career in Los Angeles at Los Angeles Unified School District.

Damon Lee III said both his parents were business advocates who believed in “people having a knowledge of business, regardless of your profession.”

“The whole world revolves around business,” said Lee, a retired Los Angeles-based corporate marketing executive.

Eloise Abernathy Alexis is associate vice president for institutional advancement at TSU. She said while the latest donation by the Lee family will benefit students, she believes it will also inspire other alumni to give to the university.

“Regardless of the amount, when an alum sees another alum give, they say … ‘I should do that too,’” said Alexis.


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, 22 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.