Tag Archives: obituary

TSU remembers trailblazing educator, historian, author Dr. Bobby L. Lovett

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Bobby L. Lovett, award-winning author, historian, and Professor Emeritus of Afro-American history at Tennessee State University, is being remembered as a trailblazing educator, civil rights advocate, and a pillar in the Tennessee historical community.

“Dr. Bobby Lovett made a lasting impression on his students, colleagues, and anyone who crossed his path,” President Glover said. “Dr. Lovett embodied our motto of think, work, and serve and took his role very seriously in cultivating young minds for future leadership and representing TSU.”

For more than 30 years Dr. Lovett served as professor of history at TSU until his retirement in 2011. For 10 of those years, he also served as dean of the then College of Arts and Sciences. 

A prolific writer, Lovett’s historical expertise led him to author more than eight books on American and African American History. His most recent book, A Touch of Greatness: A History of Tennessee State University, published in 2012, is part of series that examines the role of historically black colleges and universities throughout the civil right struggle and American history. His 2005 book, The Civil Rights Movement in Tennessee: A Narrative History, won the “Tennessee History Book Award” by the Tennessee Library Association and Tennessee Historical Commission.

Former colleague Dr. Learotha  Williams described Lovett as a mentor and friend.

“I would not be at TSU were it not for Dr. Lovett,” said Dr.  Williams, associate professor of history, who said Lovett invited him to “look” at the position when it was open.

“In addition to teaching and his love for students, I think when it comes to what he meant to the city, he’s the father of black Nashville history; that is the stuff that he talked about. He was the guy that highlighted and said that we need to pay attention to this one, in order to understand Nashville.”

Lovett was a founding member of the Nashville Conference on African American History and Culture. Started in 1981, the conference brings together historians, educator, students, and other individuals interested in how African Americans shaped the history of Nashville and Tennessee.

He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, where he received his public-school education and completed Booker T. Washington High School. Lovett earned his B.A. at Arkansas A.M. & N State College (today’s University of Arkansas campus at Pine Bluff) and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Before coming to TSU, Lovett taught history courses in the Memphis Public School System (1969-1970) and at Eureka College (1970-1973).

Dr. Lovett was laid to rest  on Friday, Dec. 29 in Woodlawn Memorial Park after funeral services at First Baptist Church Capitol Hill, in Nashville.

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

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.