Tag Archives: Gov. Bill Lee

TSU Interim president marks first day with Gov. Lee, Rotary Club meeting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Interim President Ronald Johnson marked the beginning of his tenure with a significant community event on his first day in Nashville. President Johnson attended the July 8th Rotary Club of Nashville meeting, which featured Gov. Bill Lee. Rotary President and TSU alumnus Dr. Alfred Degrafinreid II recognized Johnson, who attended as guest of TSU Board Dr. Marquita Qualls.

Dr. Marquita Qualls, left, Interim President Ronald Johnson, center, and Rotary President Dr. Alfred Degrafinreid II attends the Rotary Club of Nashville meeting July 8. Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University.

President Johnson described the Rotary meeting as eventful, as he had the opportunity to meet with the governor and dozens of business leaders and stakeholders to continue fostering access and information for the university’s portfolio.

“What we’re working on is sustaining a future-ready Tennessee State University,” Johnson said. “We want to elevate our impact and elevate our competitive edge.”

Johnson emphasized the importance of building relationships with community leaders and counterparts with an effort to maintain “leverage.”

“That’s what we need as an HBCU, as a land-grant institution, even as an institution that’s looking to go from R2 to R1,” Johnson added. “If you make that connection, then we will be writing a new history for Tennessee State, a history that is a renaissance, not a recovery.”

Gov. Bill Lee, a longtime Rotary member, was the featured guest speaker for the July 8 meeting.

Gov. Lee, a longtime Rotary member, noted that the state of Tennessee must continue to create pathways for student success across the state.

“At the end of the day, we need to elevate our entire educational system, so we can continue to create workers that are going to be needed by the companies that are coming,” Gov. Lee said.

This week’s meeting was a TSU affair as it marked both President Johnson’s first day in Nashville and Dr. Degrafinreid’s first day as Rotary president.

TSU President Dr. Ronald Johnson, left, poses with TSU alumna Dr. Phyllis Qualls at a Rotary Club meeting attended by several TSU alumni.

“Dr. Johnson was exposed to 215 leaders from across the region and he got a chance to really make sure that Tennessee State University was recognized in a positive light in terms of him coming here on his first day to learn about our region,” Degrafinreid said.

Another major milestone was the record attendance. Hundreds of participants, many of which were TSU alumni, came together to discuss service-related issues and how the organization can create better opportunities for citizens in the region and for HBCUs. “Dr. Johnson’s visit allowed him to meet many Tennessee State University alumni who are members of this club, and they could reaffirm that we’re here to support him and we’re here to support Tennessee State University.”

Over 200 leaders from across the region were in attendance for the Rotary Club of Nashville meeting.

Rotary is a global enterprise that partners with institutions to gain access beyond local boundaries. In the near future, the organization looks forward to establishing a Rotaract Club at Tennessee State University to help train students for leadership roles, service, and community engagement, Degrafinreid said.

President Johnson said, with the support of TSU alumni and community leaders, he looks forward to leading TSU toward a future of growth and innovation.

Hundreds attend MLK convocation featuring MSNBC political analyst Joy-Ann Reid

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Hundreds of people attended Tennessee State University’s annual convocation on Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

TSU President Glenda Glover speaks to gathering before march. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

Despite the bitterly cold temperature, quite a few people turned out for the march that started in front of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church and ended at TSU’s Gentry Complex, where the convocation was held. The keynote speaker was MSNBC political analyst and author, Joy-Ann Reid.

TSU President Glenda Glover set the tone for the convocation in her greetings.

“We’re here because we understand if ever there was a time that we needed each other, that time is now,” said Glover, who is also the international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the primary sponsor of this year’s convocation.

“We honor Dr. King and those leaders that he inspired to continue the struggle for equality.”

Marchers line up to head to convocation at Gentry Complex. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

Reid echoed Glover’s sentiment in her speech when she said people need to continue fighting for racial justice, economic justice, and not just recite King’s speeches.

“We have to ask ourselves, what have we done with this legacy?” said Reid. “America right now needs to get motivated, not to quote King, but to live the dream he was fighting for.”

The convocation was attended by community leaders and lawmakers, including Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper, and his brother, Nashville Mayor John Cooper.

“What he hoped for is not complete,” said Lee. “We, being here today, continue that dream that he had that isn’t finished in this country.”

Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated attend convocation. (TSU Media Relations)

On Saturday, TSU hosted the MLK Joint Day of Service with seven other universities and colleges. More than 700 students gathered in Kean Hall before being bused to various locations throughout Nashville to volunteer as part of the annual event.

Students enjoyed an early lunch before being greeted by university leaders and hearing Freedom Rider and TSU Alum Ernest “Rip” Patton share inspiring words about his experience as a civil rights activist.

“This is your day, and this is your time to make a change because what we did in the 60s, we did if for generations to come,” said Patton

Brittanie Pruitt, a sophomore nursing major from Covington, Tennessee, who returned after participating in the Day of Service last year, said community service is critical.

Brittanie Pruitt, a sophomore nursing major, volunteering at Harvest Hands Community Development as part of the annual Joint Day of Service in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“It’s definitely important to give back. Everybody needs a helping hand,” said Pruitt, who spent her afternoon with a group of 25 volunteers organizing classrooms at Harvest Hands Community Development, a nonprofit organization that provides after-school programming in South Nashville. “You might need help one day, so it’s always important to give back.”

Shirley Nix-Davis is director of outreach for TSU’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement and co-chair of the Day of Service. She said 326 of 715 students who signed up for the event were TSU students.

To learn more about TSU’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/servicelearning/.

Department of Media Relations

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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 38 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.