Tag Archives: freshmen

TSU freshmen recount first semester of college, say university offers environment for success

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With their first semester mastered, many first-time freshmen say coming to TSU was worth the effort while they are gearing up for the spring semester that will begin on Jan. 17.  In fact, many who were asked to recount their first semester college experience, say not only are they returning for their second semester, but they also plan to stay and graduate.

Keyon’Dre Boyd

“My first-semester experience was everything I expected it to be since I dreamed of becoming a Tennessee State Tiger,” says Keyon’Dre Boyd, from Atlanta, a biology major, who dreams of becoming a pediatric pathologist. “It has been an honor to connect with students from all backgrounds and classifications, as well as to be able to excel academically.”

Boyd says the ever presence of student organizations that have helped him to easily assimilate and grow, as well as great professors, outstanding student advising, and finding a “loving” church home that even gave him a scholarship have helped to make his experience more rewarding.

“This is fulfilling the dream I had when I signed up for TSU and is helping me reach my career goal.  I see myself as a TSU Tiger for the next three years until I graduate,” he says.

Boyd is not alone.

Zoe Hammond

Zoe Hammond, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who came on a full-ride scholarship, and Kendall Paxton, of Memphis, Tennessee, say the family atmosphere and the HBCU culture were a major reason why they chose TSU, and they were not disappointed in their first semester.

“I am grateful that I got the opportunity to come to TSU. When I came here, I just love the environment, people just care for you,” says Hammond, who is majoring in public health. “I took a chance coming to TSU because I had not come here before. Although I got the scholarship, I didn’t know what lied ahead, but I was opened to trying something new, and it’s paying off.”

For Paxton, a political science major, who is also a member of several student organizations, a campus tour with her mother during her senior year in high school gave her an immediate feel that TSU is where she wanted to be.

Kendall Paxton

“It felt like home. Everybody was speaking to everybody,” says Paxton, a Tiger Tour Guide, and a member of Bloom Academy, a leadership program for first-year females.

Adjusting to college life can be a struggle for many students. How to manage the newly gained freedom, learning to live with roommates, handling finances, and dealing with new academic demands are just a few of the new challenges. Admissions officials at TSU say the goal is to ensure a nurturing environment where students “immediately see and feel that one-on-one” presence of advisors, councilors and others ready to listen.”

“Creating an environment of belonging and a culture of care is the driving force that causes our students to return and continue their studies at TSU,” says Terrence Izzard, TSU’s associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success. “There are very real challenges in making that transition to college and we are committed to supporting each student.” 

Tasha Andrews-Carson is assistant vice president for New Student Programs and Retention. She says the university is “very intentional about providing engagement opportunities to support students as new Tigers.”

Garrison Holland

“It was a very busy semester for the Office of First Year Experience,” says Andrews-Carson. “From their welcome week activities to getting them prepared for their finals, it was my goal to provide support from beginning to end of their first semester.”

Garrison Holland, of Milledgeville, Georgia, agrees.

“My first semester at Tennessee State University has been wonderful. I am glad that I picked this wonderful institution to attend,” says Holland, a business administration major with a concentration in supply chain management, and a minor in psychology.

Freshman Orientation is Jan. 12, 2023. Classes begin for all students on Jan. 17. For more information, visit the Office of Academic Affairs at https://www.tnstate.edu/academic_programs/index.aspx

TSU Alums and Owners of National Food Chain Slim and Huskys Inspire Incoming Freshmen with Story of Hope, Success

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Clint Gray III and Emmanuel “E.J.” Reed, TSU alums and two of the three owners of a major national restaurant chain, recently inspired incoming freshmen with their message of hope and success during a ceremony on campus. The co-owners of Slim & Husky’s, the famous hip-hop pizza franchise, spoke about how a dream they had in their college dorm kicked off with a $3,000 startup money and grew into building a multi-million-dollar company with branches across the country.

“Slim & Husky’s was born right here at TSU, in these dorms,” Gray reminded the students. “As freshmen and college students, we had the same dream as most of you to make a difference, but we had a plan and we worked on it.” Gray and Reed named vision, strategy, and execution as the key to their success.

“Your first step is to have a vision,” Gray added. “Just like most of you, we came to TSU as three young, motivated, and ambitious knuckleheads. We had a dream sitting in the same seats you are sitting in, faced with the same challenges that you are going to face, like getting up early for class, going to study hall, and for some of us, going to football practice, but we had one vision.” 

That message of having a dream with a vision, strategy and execution plan struck an immediate chord with Talisa Elliott, who had long heard about Slim & Husky’s, but said she was very moved to be in the presence of the actual owners and to hear their story of “how they made it through TSU to get to where they are.

“I love supporting Black-owned businesses but hearing their stories of how they turned $3,000 into a $7M deal in seven years, is amazing,” said Elliott, a mass communications major from Memphis, Tennessee. “Hearing these guys makes me even more excited about coming to TSU. Their message is extremely encouraging, considering my own dreams and motivations.” 

Reginald Ponder, of Atlanta, a pre-med biology major, also said the presentation added to his excitement about being at TSU and what he can become. “Everything has been going great. I have been networking and speaking to people. Orientation was fine,” said Ponder, who is interested in vying for a student leadership position. “I am looking forward to being in student government. Clubs and organizations do a lot of work on campus. I want to be part of that.” 

Gray, Reed, and Derrick More graduated from TSU in 2007. Two years later, the trio regrouped and revisited their college dream of owning a business. With $3,000 between them, they started a three-man moving business with a rented truck. Within seven years, they had built a multi-million dollar moving company that set the stage for opening the first location of Slim & Husky’s Local Pizza Beeria, at 911 Buchanan St., in 2017. Today, the company has 10 locations across the country, with a plan to open 50 more locations in the next five years. 

“Our vision would be nothing if we hadn’t taken the time to plan out our moves,” Reed said. “So, whatever it is that you guys want to do, it starts with a vision, and then you strategize how you get from point A to point Z. But it doesn’t stop there. You must execute your plan, or it will all mean nothing.” 

Tasha Andrews-Carson, executive director of new student programs, said the gathering, part of freshman welcome week, was intended to get the students “acclimated and familiarize” with the university. 

For more information on admission at TSU, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/

First-time Freshmen Take up Residence at Tennessee State University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) -Tennessee State University has some new tenants: the Class of 2020.

On Wednesday, August 17, more than 1,200 first-time freshmen received keys to their residence halls, along with identification cards and passes to dining facilities, mail boxes, and classrooms. Upperclassmen began moving in the next day.

Hundreds of parents and other family members accompanied their children as volunteers – including staff, alumni and fellow students – helped the newcomers settle in their residence halls.

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Morganne Norwood, of Woodbridge, Virginia, was among nearly 1,200 first-time freshmen who moved in for the 2016 fall semester at TSU. She was accompanied by her parents, from left, step father Patrick Thomas, Windy Norwood, mother; Morganne; Don Norwood, father; and Debra Norwood, step mother. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The ease of transition caught the attention of Don Norwood, of Woodbridge, Virginia. He made the trek over night to drop off his daughter Morganne, who will be majoring in political science.

“It was like clockwork,” he said about the welcome they received at Wilson Hall, where Morganne will stay. “Folks were in line to help us unload and pack stuff, while others waited with refreshments and gifts. My daughter is going to love it here.”

Kim Grant of Milwaukee shared that sentiment. She said she believes her daughter, Aaliyah, is also going to enjoy college life at TSU.

“She looked at a couple (of colleges), but once she got the acceptance letter from TSU, all that went out the window,” Grant said. “She didn’t care about anything else. So I said, ‘if that’s what you really want, that’s what I’m going to make happen.'”

Aaliyah Grant said attending an HBCU provides a unique experience, and she’s looking forward to that more than anything. She said she also can’t wait to see TSU’s band.

“I don’t know how to play anything, but I know how to listen,” she said.

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Jordan Gossett, of Memphis, Tennessee, was accompanied by his mother, Erika Stokes. He plans to major in business administration. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Jordan Gossett of Memphis, Tennessee, said he visited TSU several times and fell in love with it.

“I just love the atmosphere; it just feels like a good HBCU experience,” said Gossett, who plans to major in business administration. “I am the first to attend an HBCU in my immediate family. Maybe I can be the start of a tradition in my family.”

TSU officials hope some new initiatives they’ve put in place will allow all students attending the university to have a good experience.

The initiatives include an “All Day Dining Plan” with 10 guest passes for each student who participates; an online specialty store for TSU paraphernalia; expanded parking access; enhanced parking permits to curb losses: and a personal alert system with Bluetooth capability that works with cell phones on and off campus.

“We are excited about our new students and the services we have put in place to make them comfortable,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president for administration.


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.



Move-In Day at TSU Brings Fun, Excitement but Mixed Feelings for Parents, Families

Faculty, staff and student volunteers help cart new students and their belongings during Freshman Move-In Day at TSU (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – If the traffic snarls and congestion in all directions to the TSU campus Aug. 19 didn’t get your attention, the circuslike atmosphere with hundreds of parents, students and volunteers hurling in suitcases, refrigerators, widescreen TVs and other items of convenience was surely a sight to behold.

Volunteers wearing blue T-shirts marked “VOL-UN-TEER” or “JUST MOVIN’ IN,” swarm cars to unload new students’ belongings as they and their families arrive on campus. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Music could be heard from the dorm buildings as volunteers including staff, alumni and students, slicked with sweat and wearing blue T-shirts marked “VOL-UN-TEER” or “JUST MOVIN’ IN,” with golf carts in tow, swarmed cars and started unloading belongings, and anything else a college freshman might need for a first year away from home.

For many, freshman Move-In Day is an exciting and nerve-racking time when children leaving the nest arrive on campus for the first time, while parents help their children settle in their residence halls.

First-time freshman and Psychology major Caylun Chatmon, left, from Memphis, gets help from his family as he arrives to check in his room in Watson Hall. His dad, Montreal Holmes, mother Michele Holmes, older brother Curtis Chatmon, and 6-year-old little brother Jamarison Holmes made the trip to make sure the new freshman was situated. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Michele Holmes was one of those enjoying the day as she and her husband, Montreal, helped her middle son, Caylun Chatmon, settle in his room in Watson Hall.

“Although I have been through this before, it is sad to see him go,” said Michele whose eldest son, Curtis Chatmon, a sophomore at Lane College, was also lending a hand along with 6-year-old little brother Jamarison Holmes. “He (Caylun) was our baby for a little while, but I am OK; he is prepared and I want him to be successful.”

Caylun Chatmon, from Memphis, Tennessee, plans to major in Psychology, and joined more than 1,300 other first-time freshmen, who received keys to their rooms as part of Freshmen Move-In Day.

“I will miss home but I am ready; I know that to be successful, I just need to keep my head straight and stay focused,” said Caylun, who was later seen taking in the sights on the other side of campus. “It’s very diverse here; I see a lot of different kinds of people and there’s a bunch of different activities to help you.”

More than 1,300 first-time freshmen, accompanied by parents and other relatives, checked into their residence halls on Move-In Day at TSU. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

For the next few days before classes begin on Monday, the new students will participate in activities such as an open house where they will learn about their colleges and academic departments; “Playfair,” where they get to meet their classmates; attend a motivational lecture; and a pep rally to show their school spirit as freshmen.

During move-in, students, staff, faculty and alumni were not the only ones who made the day fun. Representatives from several area businesses and organization were on site with tents giving out free food, drinks and paraphernalia. WTST, The Blaze, TSU’s student-run radio station, was also in the mix providing music and entertainment.

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.