Tag Archives: nashville mayor John Cooper

TSU, faith-based community worship, reflect and connect during presidential prayer service  

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and metro Nashville’s faith-based community came together to celebrate the university through prayer for the new year. Started in 2013 when President Glover took the helm of Nashville’s only public institution, the presidential prayer service was her concept to connect TSU with area churches.

Dr. Glenda Glover’s message for the 9th presidential prayer service is to stay faithful while being ‘up against the wall.’ (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Prominent clergy members and believers from all denominations gather at historic Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church each January for the event.  President Glover is the keynote speaker.   

“This is our 9th prayer service, and we start it with prayer and thanks,” President Glover said. “I am thankful that God has blessed me to lead such a marvelous university. And I thank him for trusting me with such an awesome responsibility.” 

The community hasn’t attended a presidential prayer service since early 2020, due to the pandemic. Glover’s message was one of being faithful when you’re ‘up against the wall’ and the power of prevailing prayer.  

Faith-based community goers during the 9th Presidential Prayer Service at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“You can stop and give up because it’s too difficult, or you can pray and push forward,” Glover continued during her testimony. 

The TSU family is also a part of the service. This year it included newcomers to the event, TSU freshman class president Sir Ford and Shaun Wimberly Jr., who is the student trustee on the TSU Board of Trustees. 

Ford, a business administration major, says seeing faith-based leaders of various denominations from across Nashville and beyond come together was a great experience. 

Sir Ford

“As a freshman, it just shows how the community can come together,” Ford of Nashville says. “The president had a very powerful message, and I am hopeful to see that message translate this semester. I look forward to TSU showing the state of Tennessee what our HBCU represents.” 

Wimberly noted that the experience was heartwarming to see the community come together in support of TSU’s prosperity, “from the church to the Jefferson Street community, to the Islamic faith, the Hebrew faith and of course our TSU faculty, staff, and students,” he says.

“I think it only highlights the extent in which the university has impacted people.”

Shaun Wimberly Jr.

Rev. Aaron X. Marble, pastor of Jefferson Street presided over the program as the service continued with scriptures from Rev. Cora Alston, soulful singing from TSU’s Renee Craig, and greetings from every faith community by Minister Samuel X. 

Along with members of the clergy and supporters from nearby HBCUs, elected officials also attended in support of TSU. Mayor John Cooper, State Rep. Dr. Harold Love Jr., Metro Council member Sharon Hurt, Davidson County Trustee Erica Gilmore, and many more were present. 

TSU alum Rev. Dr. Love said it’s always a great start to the second semester of the school year to galvanize the community, “to ensure every student and faculty has a wonderful experience at Tennessee State,” he said.

State Rep. Dr. Harold Love Jr.

“The second semester we have students returning and you don’t know what their experience has been like while at home … and we want to give them support and let them know, we are here for them.”

Love says he is grateful for his TSU family and the surrounding community.

“TSU has helped mold me. You can also be shaped and molded by the university.”

The service culminated with moving prayers for the city, its youth and young people, along with TSU students, faculty, and staff. The prayer service concluded with a powerful moment when clergy members surrounded President Glover and asked God to continue to crown her wisdom as the spring semester begins on Jan. 17. 

Vice President Kamala Harris delivers dynamic, historic commencement address at TSU, receives honorary degree 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – “I’m now a Tiger!”

Vice President Kamala Harris cheered as she received an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters from Tennessee State University after addressing nearly 600 undergraduates at the Spring 2022 commencement ceremony.

As an official member of the TSU Alumni Family, Vice President Kamala Harris joins President Glenda Glover, and University officials for the University Alma Mater song to end a historic commencement day. (Photo submitted)

Harris was hooded by TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover as the crowd looked on, including University trustees, cabinet members and mayors John Cooper of Nashville and Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, AL. 

The historic moment took place Saturday at TSU’s Hale Stadium shortly
after Harris addressed the graduates with a heartfelt commencement
speech, marking this as her first address at a University and HBCU as Vice President of the United States.

Graduate Matthew Benton, who now has a degree in business administration, said that the historic event was as inspirational as he imagined.

“I’m thankful to have had a university President like Dr. Glover with the right connections and friendships to bring Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the United States, to our campus to give the keynote address.”

Tennessee State University graduate Matthew Benton after receiving a degree in business administration . (Photo submitted)

As a fellow HBCU graduate of Howard University, Harris gave the students a chance to mirror the person they can one day become.

The Vice President celebrated the 2022 graduates’ through their trials, mentioning the challenges of obtaining a degree through the COVID-19 pandemic, fundamental principles, and racial inequalities. 

Harris stated that the graduates are more than just a class of 2022 but graduates that the United States need in the near future.

“I look at this unsettled world, and yes I see the challenges, but I am here to tell you, I also see the opportunities. The opportunities for your leadership. The future of our country and our world will be shaped by you.”

The dark skies looming over Hale stadium didn’t stop Harris’ words of encouragement to shine through as she spoke value to more than one thousand attendees.

“You are fueled by self-determination,” she said. “Students from all over the world come here because they have big dreams.”

About 15-mintues into her speech, Harris’ shared a story regarding the first time she flew on the vice-presidential helicopter.

TSU graduate in crowd of students, smiling during spring commencement. (Photo submitted)

She looked out the window as the helicopter circled over her alma-mater and saw her 17-year-old self again toting books around campus.

“At a place just like this,” she smiled.

“That reinforced that I can be anything. Do anything. Even if it had never been done before,” she said as the crowd cheered.

“Like you, and full of hope and full of dreams with a future full of possibility. I stand before you today as the Vice President of America and as a proud graduate of an HBCU to say, there is no limit to your capacity of greatness.”


Vice President Kamala Harris smiles with TSU student on stage during historic Spring 2022 commencement day. (Photo submitted)

Harris reassured the graduates who will embark on a new journey, that their time at TSU has unlocked unimaginable opportunities.

“There is no barrier you cannot break,” she said, noting that the graduate’s perspective and experience will make the United States a stronger country. She mentioned that there will be a time that the graduates will walk into a room where no one else may look like them.

“And at that moment you must remember, you are not in that room alone. Always know that you carried the voices of everyone here and those upon the shoulders you stand,” Harris comforted the students.

A little piece of advice to the graduates from Harris: Be true to yourself.


Tennessee State University graduate Derrick Sanders Jr., after receiving a degree English. (Photo submitted)

Graduate Derrick Sanders, Jr., who now has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English, said that Harris telling the students to live in the moment, is what resonated with him most.

“To know now that she will forever be a part of my TSU history, and to be inducted as an official member of the Tiger Family was a tremendous honor to witness.”

As Harris is the first woman, and first person of color as Vice President of the United States, she closed out her commencement speech with a phrase her late-mother always told her.

Kamala, you may be the first to do many things … make sure you are not the last.

“I have been many first in my lifetime and as I look out at all of you today, I know I will not be the last,” Harris told the TSU graduates.

“Your country is so proud of you.” “May God bless you and may God bless America.”

The Biden-Harris Administration has invested $5.8 billion in resources and the reissuance of the White House Initiative on HBCUs. In March, President Biden announced TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover would serve as Vice Chair of President Biden’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs.

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.