Tag Archives: Miss TSU

TSU announces new student government association leadership for 2023-24 academic school year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  Tennessee State University Student Government Association has a new group of officers for the 2023-2024 academic year, many of which are familiar faces within the student delegation. The new student leadership, including a Mister TSU and a Miss TSU, was announced Friday during Tiger Fest, an annual event followed by student election commission week.

Student election commission winners during the 2023 Tiger Fest. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Derrell Taylor, a junior from Memphis studying business administration with a concentration in management, was elected as the 83rd SGA president. Chrishonda O’Quinn, a junior from Chicago, Illinois, studying business administration with a minor in mathematics, was elected as SGA vice president. Victoria McCrae, a rising senior from Memphis studying biology pre-med, was crowned as the 94th Miss TSU. Davin Latiker, a junior from Chicago studying mass communications, was elected as the new Mister TSU and will accompany McCrae.

O’Quinn, McCrae, and Taylor were all members of the junior delegation. Taylor, who previously served as the junior class president, said he is elated to serve as the next SGA president. “I am praising God and I am very grateful for this opportunity,” he said. “TSU, the mission begins now.”

Former Mister and Miss TSU welcomes the newly elected royaltys. From left to right; Tre’Veon Hayes, Mr. TSU Davin Latiker, Miss TSU Victoria McCrae and Sa’Mariah Harding. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Cristal Powell-Roach, assistant dean of student activities and leadership, said she looks forward to working with the dynamic newly elected leaders while the students embrace new opportunities for growth and development. “We have a great team,” Powell-Roach said. “I am very excited about our winners.”

O’Quinn said her biggest passions are representation and leadership. “I am eager to be a voice for the voiceless, to be a selfless, passionate, and strategic leader,” O’Quinn said. “And to work alongside not only SGA and administration but the student body to build our institution.”

McCrae, who previously served as Miss junior, said she had dreams of becoming Miss TSU one day. “I knew I wanted to be a queen since I got here freshman year,” she said. “I worked hard, and it has come to fruition. I am so blessed and thankful.”

While Mister TSU, Latiker said he is grateful for the opportunity as well. “It is great to enter this legacy and have the opportunity to expand my network, give back to my school, and serve the students.”

O’Quinn said she is confident that the student leaders will take proactive steps towards achieving their desired goals on campus with a positive narrative.

Hollywood actress Nia Long highlights TSU annual Women of Legend and Merit awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Hollywood superstar and multi-award winning actress Nia Long had a message for Tennessee State University students, honorees, and guest: Be graceful, be fearless, and be your authentic self.

Hundreds gathered on April 11 for the highly anticipated annual TSU Women of Legend and Merit (WOLM) Awards, a ceremony recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of women in the community.

WOLM honorees, President Glenda Glover and actress Nia Long. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

The elaborate awards dinner in Kean Hall honored dozens of local notable women with Hollywood legend Nia Long as the keynote speaker.

“If you change your thinking, your doing will be different,” Long said during the event. “Be fearless. No one is going to believe in you the way you believe in yourself.”

With an extensive body of work that includes television, film credits and production, Long detailed the journey of her career and overcoming obstacles as a woman in the entertainment industry.  “Sometimes we are given less than. But don’t pay attention to that, keep moving forward.”

Hundreds gathered on April 11 for the highly anticipated annual TSU Women of Legend and Merit (WOLM) Awards ceremony. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

During the event, three TSU students asked Long questions, including Miss TSU Sa’Mariah Harding, who asked how the Hollywood actress was able to overcome and be able to step into her own lane as a Black woman.

Miss TSU Sa’Mariah Harding, a senior from Indiana, hugs Nia Long moments before the annual Women of Legend and Merit awards. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“Be yourself no matter what,” Long told Harding. “Stick to what feels real.”

TSU President Glenda Glover congratulated the honorees and recognized Long for her thriving career on the big screen that has earned her many accolades.

Long received a lifetime achievement award in recognition of her range within the entertainment industry.

The WOLM awards is designed to bring awareness and raise funds to support the TSU Women’s Center, which offers student-focused programming to empower individuals and student organizations. The center’s Director, Seanne Wilson, said this year’s WOLM event, themed “Extraordinary Women Living Legendary Lives,” was aimed to empower both men and women to discover their destiny without fear.

President Glenda Glover and actress Nia Long. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

The honorees this year, in various categories, were Dr. Cherae M. Farmer-Dixon, Dean of School of Dentistry at Meharry Medical College – Medicine; Dr. LaDonna Boyd, President/CEO R.H. Boyd – Media; Dr. Laquita Stribling, Vice President, Tennessee Manufacturing and logistics – Business; Patricia Malone Smith, Director of Corporate Relations, Urban League of Middle Tennessee – Community Service; Janet Rachel, President, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Metropolitan Nashville Chapter – Leadership; Laura Fitzgerald Cooper, Attorney and Freelance Writer – Education; and Jennifer Bell, Associate Athletic Director, Tennessee State University – Athletics.

Tamar Williams, a sophomore mass communications from Memphis, Tennessee, received a Women’s Center student ambassador award.

For more information on the TSU Women’s Center, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/womenscenter/

About Nia Long

Nia Long recently produced and starred in the Netflix smash hit thriller Fatal Affair which debuted at number one on the platform. Additionally, Nia starred opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie in the Apple film, The Banker, for which she received an NAACP Image Award nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.” Other recent film credits include Janicza Bravo’s Sundance-nominated.

Lemon, and Netflix’s Roxanne Roxanne with Chanté Adams and Mahershala Ali. In TV, recent credits include Kenya Barris’ #BlackAF and Justin Simien’s Dear White People. Nia is well known for her iconic work in Boyz In The Hood, Friday, Love Jones, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Third Watch, and The Best Man franchise; the latter two garnering her three NAACP Image Award wins. Recently, she headlined the Sony feature film Searching 2, a follow-up to the hugely successful and critically acclaimed box office hit Searching, as well as the Netflix feature Plus/Minus. She also starred in the Peacock limited series The Best Man: The Final Chapters, where she reprised her two-time film role alongside the original cast, and also appeared in the Netflix comedy, You People, opposite Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy, with Kenya Barris directing.

Former Miss TSU and Memphis educator Pippin passes at age 96

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Harriet Louise Johnson Pippin, who was the oldest living former Miss Tennessee State University, and 30-year Memphis area educator, has died at age 96. Pippin was described as a sweetheart, as she was born on Valentine’s Day. She died on June 10 in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Pippin was Miss TSU in 1946-47 and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. 

Harriet Louise Johnson Pippin (Photo submitted)

Her career as an educator with Memphis City Schools, included Booker T. Washington High School and Georgia Avenue Elementary, retiring 31 years later. She loved her family and had a passion for traveling and serving Christ as a member of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Memphis for over 70 years, according to her obituary. 

Barbara Murrell, former Miss TSU, who won the crown 13 years after Pippin, said she was “a determined, extraordinaire queen.” 

“She will be remembered for her warm and caring personality, inspiration provided to other queens at our Annual Teas, and dedication to serve as a role model for all of us who respected and loved her dearly,” said Murrell, who was a senior administrator at TSU for many years. She noted that Pippin’s poise as a queen exuded dignity and determination. 

President Glenda Glover with former Miss TSU Harriet Louise Johnson Pippin at a recent Miss TSU Tea at the President’s residence. (Photo submitted)

The Ashland, Kentucky native married William Pippin just a year before graduating from TSU. The pair had four children and several grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. 

Pippin’s family expressed their sentiments in her obituary by writing, “We will miss her tremendously, yet her legacy will continue to live in each of us.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

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.

Student mentorship, retaining excellence focus of new Miss TSU Mallory Moore

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News) – As the 2021-2022 Miss Tennessee State University, Mallory Moore is using her unique position to implement a platform built around mentorship and providing opportunities for fellow students.  

Miss TSU Mallory Moore

To achieve her goal, she has initiated “Our Turn – Doing M.O.O.R.E,” or Making Opportunities Open to Retain Excellence, aimed at continuing TSU’s legacy of scholarship, leadership, and service; as well as “Shadowing a Tiger,” a mentoring program for freshmen and sophomores. 

“I want to do a mentorship initiative because I know for me coming in as a freshman, I didn’t have that and it made things a lot difficult for me,” says Moore. “I don’t want other students to face those difficulties. So, I want to create this program for the freshmen, and I am including the sophomores because the sophomore class didn’t get one because they were home due to the pandemic.” 

Moore is a senior health science major from Birmingham, Alabama. She won the coveted Miss TSU title in April after a fierce election process that also ushered in a new Mr. TSU (Mark T. Davis, Jr.), a new Royal Court, and other Student Government Association officers. 

As a former Miss Junior, Moore says she understands the challenges students coming to college for the first time face, such as coping in a new environment, developing new study habits, and making new friends. She wants to help them overcome potential pitfalls that could hinder their progress. 

“I am very determined, and I see that a lot of people see that I am very confident, and as a leader, I want to pass that on to them,” says Moore. “I want them to understand that college is fun, but to also remind them that there is a greater goal and an expected end, which is their eventual graduation.”  

Moore says although coming to TSU was to fulfill her mother’s dream of attending an historically black college or university (HBCU), she has no regrets about becoming a “Big Blue Tiger.” 

“The reason why I chose to come to TSU is because my mom wanted to go to TSU when she was my age, but my grandmother wouldn’t let her. She wanted her to go to a predominantly white institution. So, she begged me to go on a visit. I took my mom’s advice and came on a visit, and I immediately fell in love the moment I stepped on the campus. It has been the perfect home for me.” 

In addition to being Miss TSU, Moore is active in many campus organizations and programs. For two years, she served on the university’s cheerleading team, whose coach, Dwight Pope, she credits with helping to keep her on track.

“Coach Pope was very hard on , and I was upset with him at times, but looking back, he was teaching things I needed to know for this moment,” she says.

Moore is a member of the TSU choir, and the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success. She was initiated into Chi Psi chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity Incorporated, Alpha Psi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, and Order of Omega National Honor Society for Greek Leaders. 

The coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU will be part of Homecoming week activities. It will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 27 in Kean Hall, starting at 7 p.m. 

For more information about TSU’s 2021 Homecoming, visit https://bit.ly/3aBoV7M.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

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 eight 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.

Tennessee State University announces new student leaders for 2021-22 after second virtual election

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University‘s Student Government Association has a new group of officers for the 2021/2022 academic year, and for the second time in the institution’s history, the campaigning and elections were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mister TSU Mark T. Davis, Jr., and Miss TSU Mallory Moore

The new student leadership, including a Mister TSU and a Miss TSU, was announced by the Student Election Commission earlier this month during Tiger Fest, after weeks of campaigning.  

TSU President Glenda Glover, along with staff from the Office of Student Affairs, congratulated the new officers when the election results were announced. 

Derrick Sanders, Jr., SGA Executive President

Derrick Sanders, Jr., a senior English major from Cincinnati, was elected executive president, while Jevaria Jefferson, a senior biology major from Memphis, Tennessee, was elected executive vice president. 

Birmingham, Alabama, native Mallory Moore, a senior health science major, won the coveted crown as the new Miss TSU. Mark Davis, as the new Mister TSU, will escort her. Davis, of Cincinnati, is a junior mass communications major. 

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, described the new officers as a “dynamic group” of student leaders.

Jevaria Jefferson, SGA Executive Vice President

“They were each very strategic in sharing their platforms during the campaign,” Stevenson said. “Student leadership at TSU is not accidental but very intentional, and this group proves that in practice.” 

Sanders, who becomes the 81st administration executive president of the SGA, said he wants to be the “voice for the unheard, the eyes for the overlooked, and the heart for the discouraged.” He said his vision for the university embodies a “marketable TSU; academic excellence and affordability; recruitment, retention and resolution; community outreach; and honoring and highlighting all Tigers.”

“I want TSU to be the premier HBCU through proper planning and progressively developing the institution’s growth in enrollment and visibility,” said Sanders, who previously served as freshman class president, university ambassador, and a Tiger tour guide. His Generation of Educated Men student organization was among the first volunteer groups to help with the cleanup after the March 3, 2020 tornado that hit the TSU campus.

“With this vision, aligned with the passion of the Tigers who stand with me, we can take Tennessee State University to higher heights,” Sanders added.

Mallory, the new Miss TSU, said she sought the crown to do MOORE – Making Opportunities Open to Retain Excellence – for TSU. 

“It is our turn to continue the legacy of scholarship, leadership and service,” Mallory said. “Becoming Miss TSU is like a dream. I am so excited to put in the work for my illustrious institution.” 

Dr. Tobias R. Morgan, assistant dean of Student Engagement and Leadership, congratulated the new student leaders and thanked the Student Election Commission under the chairmanship of Akiliyiah Sumlin, for the very efficient way the process was conducted. Sumlin is a senior agricultural sciences major from Langston, Oklahoma. 

“Sumlin has been a true leader within SGA and the SEC branch since her freshman year,” Morgan said. “We are beyond thankful for her service and dedication.” 

Following is the list of the new Miss TSU court and other members of the SAG: 

Mister. Senior – Shaun Anderson 

Miss Senior – Destiny Pennington 

Senior Class President – Jayden Perry 

Senior Class Vice President – Cedrick Waters 

Senior Class Secretary – Dominique Wallace 

Mister Junior – Treveon Hayes 

Miss Junior – Sa’Mariah Harding 

Junior Class President – Coreyontez Martin 

Junior Class Treasurer – Johndylon Jeffrey 

Mister Sophomore – Alexander Brooks 

Miss Sophomore – Anasia Strickland 

Sophomore Class President – Aliyah Holmes 

Representatives-At-Large 

Kenneth Rolle 

Tanya McNeal 

Maya McClary 

Kassidy Johnson 

Jai Lewis 

Skye Green

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

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 eight 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.

Miss Tennessee State University Kayla Smith Participates in Ebony’s HBCU Campus Queens Competition

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Ebony magazine has begun its annual HBCU Campus Queens voting competition, and Miss TSU Kayla Smith wants to be among the Top 10 featured in Ebony’s April/May edition.

She wants your vote.

Smith is competing against more than 50 other hopefuls trying to make the Top 10 list. For Smith, becoming an Ebony Top 10 HBCU Campus Queen would fulfill a dream she has had since becoming Miss TSU.

“I believe in ‘black excellence,’“ she said. “That’s something I demonstrated when I  ‘broke the norm’ at predominantly white Germantown High School and became the first female African-American senior class president. At TSU I have maintained that, and certainly hope to demonstrate that as an Ebony Campus Queen.”

A native of Memphis, Smith is a senior health science major with a concentration in therapeutic studies and a minor in psychology. Her career goal is to become a successful occupational therapist with the goal of owning a rehabilitation center.

Since coming to TSU, Smith has been determined to fulfill the university’s motto of “THINK. WORK. SERVE,” by taking on roles that promote academic excellence and hard work. She is a former Miss Women of Infinite Potential, and the outgoing Miss Junior.

She is also a member of the Honors College, Golden Key International Honor Society, Pep Club, Pre-Alumni Council, HIP’Notyze Dance Troupe, and Princess Generation of Educated Men. In between classes, she welcomes college-bound students during campus tours to encourage the next generation to follow her lead.

Dr. Tracey Ford, TSU’s vice president for Student Affairs, said Smith is “definitely a perfect campus queen” because of the special qualities she has.

“Kayla Smith is an amazing young lady who has demonstrated leadership, scholarship and also a strong member of our community,” Ford said. “She relishes her role in being a role model to our students. Our institution is definitely better for having Kayla as our Miss TSU. Not only is she a beautiful person on the outside, she is an amazing spirit on the inside.”

Voting for the Campus Queen is in progress and ends on Jan. 15. The public can vote twice a day. To vote for Smith, visit http://bit.ly/2zZDaiQ.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

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.

TSU Royal Court Shines at Annual Kings and Queens Leadership Conference; Wins “Best School Spirit” Award

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With pomp, intellect, sophistication and that old “Big Blue” spirit, Miss TSU, Mr. TSU and their Royal Court were quite a standout at this year’s HBCU Leadership for Queens and Kings Konnection annual conference in New Orleans.

Delvakio
Miss TSU Tyra Laster, and Mr. TSU Delvakio Brown and their Royal Court won the “Best School Spirit” award at the Leadership for Queens and Kings Konnection annual conference in New Orleans.

The Tennessee State University team walked away with the “Best School Spirit” award, topping out representatives from more than 40 HBCUs, when it came to showing school spirit. The TSU Royal Court’s shouting drowned out efforts by the other competitors to upstage them.

“It was an honor receiving the award and nominations,” said Mr. TSU, Delvakio Brown. “Tyra (Laster) and I do our best to represent Tennessee State University at the highest standard at every opportunity and this time was no different.”

According to organizers, in addition to showing school spirit, the conference (July 16-19) was intended to provide HBCU Queens and Kings the opportunity to connect and learn from one another as well as listen to trained professionals talk about articulation, stage presence, etiquette, confidence and professionalism.

King and Queen 5
Randy Arnold, front, and Seanne Wilson, far left, were two of the three advisors who accompanied Mr. TSU, Miss TSU and their Royal Court to the New Orleans conference July 16-19.

“My experience at the Kings and Queens Conference was fantastic.  I was nervous about the upcoming school year but attending this conference boosted my confidence.  I learned how to set out plans and have faith in them,” Brown said.

In addition to Brown and Laster (Miss TSU), members of the Royal Court who attended the conference were Darrrian Munroe, Mr. Junior; Cedric Tyus, Mr. Senior; Marcellous Glispie, Mr. Sophomore; Crimson Ducket, Miss Junior; Amber Franklin, Miss Senior; and Jeneisha Harris, Miss Sophomore. Advisors included Randy Arnold, director of Student Organizations and Leadership; Seanne Wilson, coordinator of the Women’s Center; and Frank Stevenson, director of Strategic Populations.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

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.

Mother, daughter share legacy of Miss TSU crown

A mother and daughter from Tennessee State University share a common bond. Mother Patsy Whitmon Thomas (left) was Miss TSU 1981-82, while her daughter, Samantha Thomas is the current Miss Tennessee State University 2014-2015.
A mother and daughter from Tennessee State University share a common bond. Mother Patsy Whitmon Thomas (left) was Miss TSU 1981-82, while her daughter, Samantha Thomas is the current Miss Tennessee State University 2014-2015.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – There are many things that mothers and daughters share at some point in their lives. Mothers enjoy the experience of lending their favorite earrings to their daughters to wear during prom. Many can’t wait to pass down the family heirloom handed from given generation-to-generation as “something old” for the doting daughter-bride. And, when their daughters have children of their own, mothers adore nothing more than handing out motherly advice, sharing family recipes and caring for their grandchildren.

These are just some of the joys of a mother-daughter relationship every mother imagines. But one Tennessee State University mother has experienced a little extra special moment that will provide a lifetime of memories for both mother and daughter.

Last spring, Nashville native Samantha Thomas was elected the 2014-2015 Miss Tennessee State University. Why was this so special? Because Patsy Whitmon Thomas, Samantha’s mother, wore the crown 33 years earlier as the 1981-1982 Miss Tennessee State University. It marked the first time in the university’s history that a mother-daughter legacy has worn the coveted crown in one of the university’s top student leadership roles.

“Truthfully, I did not know whether she was going to win or lose,” Patsy said. “I was so torn up about it; I didn’t even make it to the pageant. I was driving when I heard the news and just started crying driving 30 miles per hour on a 70-mile-per hour highway. People were passing me by wondering if I was okay. I felt like this was Divine intervention because I never encouraged or cultivated any of my children to do anything that I or their father did as students. I just never put that kind of pressure on my children.”

Patsy, a three-time graduate of TSU, with bachelor and master degrees in Health and Physical Education, and a doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision, said during her reign as Miss TSU her focus was on addressing accountability and excellence among the student body. She said her daughter has taken her own independent route and has really not asked for advice on how to handle herself as Miss TSU. Patsy said she has witnessed how her daughter is dealing with the leadership role and is very proud of her.

“She [Samantha] is handling it pretty well by herself,” Patsy said. “I simply tell her to listen, respect the opinions of others and to be flexible, which doesn’t mean you have to compromise your standards. It is important we all learn that we can have differences, but not be indifferent.”

Samantha’s path to the Miss TSU post began during her service as Miss Freshman in 2011-2012. She then began working on campus as part of the Student Government Association becoming the only female Representative At-Large elected during her sophomore and junior years. When she decided to run for the position of Miss TSU going into her senior year, she wanted to give her all and said she wanted to demonstrate that the role was “more than a position or title, but a lifestyle.”

“While this is the most memorable year of my college experience, I don’t want to get distracted with the hype of things. I must remember why I’m here – and that’s to get an education,” Samantha said. “My goal is simply to be a positive example. I’d like to be remembered for Sam who did everything for TSU that she could. I want to help TSU and get to know my peers. I want to be known as the person who really worked hard and loved all my fellow students as the individuals they are.”

Patsy remembers fondly her time at TSU. Like her daughter, she was an active part of campus life serving as Miss Junior, as a member of the Student Government Association, being named to Who’s Who, and as an Honors student joining Gamma Beta Phi National Honors Society.

“I feel that other students who have parents who have graduated from TSU should also pursue leadership roles to impact change, and growth for our children – not just African-American children, but globally and to instill the value of family,” she said.

Despite her initial hesitation to attend TSU, because she thought it was too close to home, Samantha said she is glad she made the choice. She has served as a University Ambassador for three years, and is also an Honors student holding memberships in the Phi Eta Sigma, Golden Key, Phi Kappa Phi and National Society of Collegiate Scholars Honor Societies.

“I love TSU, and it [experience] has definitely taught me how to go out there and get it for myself,” Samantha said. “The faculty and staff are so inspirational. They help mold you, and it makes you so ambitious and hungry for success. You learn to exhibit confidence and to be humble in your interactions with others.”

Her stellar academic performance has afforded her the financial support needed to complete her education. For the fourth year, she has received the Academic Higher Achievement Scholarship.

“My scholarship has been the biggest blessing because that hardship is not on me or my family,” said Samantha, a Dental Hygiene major and member of the Undergraduate Student National Dental Association. “I want to go to dental school which is very expensive, so the scholarships I have received at TSU are a blessing for me. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay for school.”

The spirit of giving is something the Thomas family has long practiced. Patsy said the family often takes mission trips, and continues to give back to TSU through a scholarship established in her late father’s name. Additionally, Samantha is imparting the importance of giving back to her fellow students as well as the significance of thanking donors.

“Every little bit helps,” she said. “If you can’t write a check for $500, then give $20.”

While both Patsy and Samantha share the glory of the crown, they also share a distinct TSU legacy in other respects. Patsy’s father, the late Sam Whitmon, a 1948 TSU graduate, was a respected educator, coach and former athletics director at the university. He was also instrumental in establishing the university’s baseball team and taught biology for many years. Additionally, the Thomases are part of the tradition of high-stepping majorettes boasting three generations with Patsy’s mother, Dorothy Mallory, a 1950 graduate, dancing for the Big Blue, as well as Patsy during her junior and senior years, and now Samantha as part of the “Sophisticated Ladies.”

“It’s really an honor to be in this position because so many people remember my mom and grandfather,” Samantha said. “It’s great when the alumni make the connection and they start sharing stories about them [my family]. It does my heart good to be associated with people who are remembered so fondly.”

Patsy and Samantha will celebrate in grand style with students, alumni and the community as part of TSU’s Homecoming Week activities during The Coronation for Mr. and Miss TSU. The event will take place Wednesday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m. in Kean Hall, located on the main campus. For more information, call (615) 963-5085.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 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.

With Glitz, Glamour and Pomp, Mia Black is Ready to Put on “Miss TSU” Crown

Mia Black
Mia Black

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – After much jitters and now excitement, Mia Black is ready to put on her crown as the next Miss Tennessee State University.

“At first I was a little held back but after all the practices, it all seems real now and I am excited and ready,” the Atlanta beauty said when asked about preparations for her coronation on Wednesday, Oct. 23.

The “crowning moment,” part of a long tradition at TSU, is one of the highlights of a series of activities with glitz, glitters, pomp and circumstance that is expected to draw thousands of dignitaries, alumni, officials and community leaders and residents to Nashville and TSU this week.

Key among them is the inauguration of Dr. Glenda Glover, as the first female and eighth president of Tennessee State University. All of these activities coincide with the 2013 Homecoming celebration and parade along historic Jefferson Street.

“This makes it even more special with the inauguration of Dr. Glover,” said Black, who, along with Michigan native Michael Johnson, will be crowned “Miss” and “Mr.” Tennessee State University, respectively. “He (Johnson) is really a very good king. He makes sure I have everything I need.”

When asked about the readiness of members of her Royal Court, Black said they are all excited and ready, but was not ready to give out many details about their outfits, especially her dress.

“My Court is ready and excited, we have purchased our dresses, and all I can say to that is that the girls are wearing royal blue halter dresses from Glitz Bridal,” Black said. “My dress is also from Glitz Bridal, and it’s a diamond, off-white dress with petals and lace.”

The coronation or the crowning of a queen or king, especially at HBCUs, is rooted in traditions that affirm ethnic heritage, build self-esteem, and develop leaders.

“The coronation of Miss TSU is a historical event within the culture of the institution that provides leadership, etiquette and public speaking to not only Miss TSU but the ladies in her Royal Court,” said Dr. Jame’l Hodges, director of Student Activities. “Many of the former TSU queens, like Chandra Lipscomb (1980)and Barbara Murrell (1960), remain very active in providing grooming and etiquette tips to the ladies.”

As en example, Hodges said, Dale Williams, a former Miss TSU, has taken what she learned from her time at TSU in the 90s to create her own Kings and Queens leadership conference that is today educating college kings and queens from HBCUs around the world.

Black, whose theme is “Get Active, Bleed Blue & Grow TSU,” said her agenda is to get students to be more active in University activities, develop pride for their school, and getting people to know all that is positive about TSU.

“TSU has done so much for us and we need students to know that and to send out a message about the greatness of this university,” said Black. “We are all thankful to our parents and families, who are all eager and ready to attend our coronation.”

Members of the Miss TSU Royal Court are: Kierra Allen-Craig, Miss Senior – a Social Work major from Memphis; Amethyst Stephens, Miss Junior – a Physical Therapy major from Kankakee, Ill.; and India Ward, Miss Sophomore – a Psychology major from Munster, Ind.

The coronation begins promptly at 7 p.m., in Kean Hall to be followed by the ball.

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
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About Tennessee State University
With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university and is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu