Tag Archives: Guest Speaker

TSU gears up for Vice President Kamala Harris’ historic commencement address as excitement builds

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University officials say the campus is all a buzz as the 2022 Spring Commencement ceremonies kicked off on Friday and continues this morning with Vice President Kamala Harris. Vice President Harris will deliver the keynote address at the Undergraduate Spring Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m., at Hale Stadium.

“Overjoyed is an understatement to how I feel about Vice President Kamala Harris delivering the keynote address,” says Tiara Thomas, student trustee on the TSU Board of Trustees, who will receive her bachelor’s degree in political science.

“I am so grateful to have a woman like Vice President Harris who has been exactly where I’ve been, step by step, as an HBCU grad, and is where I’d like to be someday. This has pushed my TSU experience over the top.” 

Mallory Moore, a Birmingham native and outgoing Miss TSU, added, “I am super excited to have as my commencement speaker the most distinguished HBCU alumnus in the United States.” Moore is receiving her undergraduate degree in health science.

Sydnei Everett’s graduation is still a year away, but the first-year graduate student is among many like her who wish they were graduating Saturday. 

“I looked on Instagram and saw that TSU had posted the graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies and I said, ‘wait a minute, is that Vice President Kamala Harris?’ She’s actually speaking to the Class of 2022,” Everett says. “I wish that was my class. I look up to Kamala Harris a lot. Not only is she my sorer, but just a prominent figure for black women today.” 

Derrick Sanders, the outgoing Student Government Association president, who will receive his bachelor’s degree in English on Saturday, sums up all the excitements this way: “Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to TSU as the commencement speaker is a chance for students to see who they have the ability to be, hear from one who sat in the same seat as they, and be inspired by one of the most distinguished HBCU alumni in the United Stated of America. This opportunity speaks volume to the fact that anything is possible if you have the right mind.” 

You must have a ticket to attend today’s commencement with Vice President Harris. Graduates received 10 tickets for the event. Nearly 600 graduates are expected to walk across the stage. On Friday, Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Randall Woodfin was the keynote speaker for the Graduate Commencement ceremony. Music industry giants and mega producers Dallas Austin and Sir James the Baptist received honorary doctoral degrees along with PhD and master’s candidates. 

For more information on https://www.tnstate.edu/records/commencement/

Graduating seniors are excited with anticipation about the historic visit to mark this major milestone in their lives.


SoBran CEO Amos L. Otis Featured Speaker to Close Out Research Symposium April 3

Amos L. Otis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Amos L. Otis, founder, president and CEO of SoBran Inc., will be the featured speaker for the Awards Luncheon and official Closing Ceremony of the University-Wide Research Symposium Friday, April 3. The event begins at noon and takes place in the Farrell-Westbrook Auditorium, located on the main campus.

Every year, the Research Symposium serves as a foundation to provide students with authentic experiences in presenting their research before advancing to regional, national and international research symposia, and prior to professional careers. Now in its 37th year, the weeklong symposium will officially close April 3 as students are presented with awards for their scholarly presentations.

The 2015 Research Mentorship Award will also be presented to an honored faculty member for serving as a mentor and/or advisor to the greatest number of winning student research entries, while a new member is inducted into the Million Dollar Research Club.

Amos Otis founded SoBran Inc., in 1987 after a distinguished 21-year career as an Air Force officer. He has led SoBran from a lean start-up in the basement of his Fairfax County, Virginia, home to a $63 million dollar company with three divisions. The divisions include BioScience, Engineering and Logistics, and SafeMail® and Security. SoBran consistently appears on the Inc. Magazine “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and the Black Enterprise “Top 100 Industrial Service List.”

Throughout its growth, Otis has guided SoBran based on the foundation of the Air Force values Integrity, Service and Excellence.

Otis has been recognized for his management and entrepreneurial skills as well as his civic leadership. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Cincinnati Branch in 2012. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Dayton Development Coalition, and a life member of the NAACP. He has also been profiled in Black Enterprise magazine as an innovator in workforce readiness.

One of his passions is educational opportunity for deserving youths. Otis has established a number of scholarships and endowments including the SoBran/Scoman Educational Scholarship Endowment at Tennessee State University at Nashville. In Montgomery, Alabama, he established the Brenda Faye Otis-Lee Educational Scholarship at the St. Jude Educational Institute.

Otis has consulted for the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences for Post-Doctoral Programs and The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. He is Treasurer of the Tennessee State University Education Foundation Board, and chairs its Finance Committee.

In addition, Otis chairs the Beta Nu Boule’ Education Foundation of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and he is a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

While in the Air Force, Otis served as a Titan II ICBM combat crew commander; USAF Plant representative at Hughes Aircraft Corporation, a cost analyst for the Aeronautical Systems Division (General Officer’s staff), and comptroller for the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing (Kunsan, South Korea). He has also served as a professor of Air Science for the District of Columbia’s AFROTC Detachment at Howard University, and as program manager at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s Special Programs.

Otis holds a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University, an MBA from The California State University System, and a master’s of Military Art and Science from Air University.

For more information on the Research Symposium, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/research/or contact Nannette Carter Martin, co-chair at 615.963.5827, or Tamara Rogers, co-chair at 615.963.1520.



37th Annual University-Wide Research Symposium set for March 30 – April 3

Noted Molecular Geneticist Georgia M. Dunston Featured Symposium Keynote Speaker March 30


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 42 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.