Tag Archives: SGA President Derrick Sanders

Vice President Kamala Harris leaves students inspired after powerful commencement address at TSU, telling them to be the change the world needs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – “To know 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.” That statement sums up how Derrick Sanders felt Saturday after hearing Vice President Kamala Harris’ historic and powerful commencement address at Hale Stadium on the main Tennessee State University campus. The Vice President told graduates to seize the opportunities afforded them to “shape the future of our country.” 

Students flock to Vice President Kamala Harris’ side in jubilation to get selfies, as she enters Hale Stadium accompanied by President Glenda Glover. (Submitted Photo)

“Vice President Harris accepted not only the honorary doctorate degree but she accepted the love, worth and fellowship of this great institution,” added Sanders, outgoing president of the Student Government Association, who received his bachelor’s degree in English. 

Sanders was not alone in his praise of the vice president’s visit and speech. From the rousing cheers that greeted her as the motorcade entered Hale Stadium, to her inspirational speech, and receiving an honorary degree, sentiments about the vice president have reverberated across the TSU family, graduates, and their families. All are still taking in the historic moment where they got to hear and see the vice president of the United States up close on their campus. 

Derrick Sanders, of Cincinnati, Ohio, celebrates after receiving his bachelor’s degree in English. (Submitted Photo)

Sanders’ mother, Marlene Sanders, who came from Cincinnati, Ohio, to see her son receive his degree from the vice president, described the moment as life changing. 

“I was really proud of what Vice President Harris and Dr. Glover did together – two Black women with one goal,” said the proud mother. “I appreciated that she stayed through unforeseen circumstances and took pictures with each graduate. Her words were receptive, appreciative, and encouraging.” 

Vice President Kamala Harris congratulates Student Trustee Tiara Thomas after receiving her degree in political science. (Submitted Photo)

Tiara Thomas, of Olive Branch, Mississippi, whose parents were also in the audience to see her receive her degree in political science, added, “Having Vice President Harris as the keynote speaker was an incredible way to end my undergraduate experience. Her speech gave me chills as I was able to sit on stage with her and see my future possibilities in her.” 

Frederick Parson, a TSU alum and Tiara Thomas’ father, said the vice president’s speech was genuine, relatable, and appropriate. 

Tiara Thomas’ family traveled from Olive Branch, Mississippi, to celebrate her graduation from Tennessee State University. (Submitted Photo)

“It not only inspired the graduates but also those in the audience, like my two youngest daughters who look like she does.  Kudos to the VP for sharing a special moment in time with us that we won’t forget,” Parson said. 

The vice president’s visit to deliver the commencement address at TSU was historic, as it was her first at any university since taking over the second highest office in the land.  Citing current domestic and global affairs, Harris reminded members of the Class of 2022 that they are “graduating in an unsettled world” but were equipped to be the change agents needed to make it better for all people.  

That note struck a chord with Matthew C. Benton, of Atlanta, who received his bachelor’s degree in business administration. 

It was all jubilation Saturday as students celebrated their graduation. (Submitted Photo)

“The speech was as inspirational and empowering as I imagined it would be, and was exactly what I needed to hear,” Benton said. “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. I’m forever grateful to President Glenda Glover. My commencement day is a very special part of TSU history, thank you President Glover.”

Jacqueline Payne was also in the audience to see her son, Emmanuel Wallace, receive his degree in agribusiness. 

“I was extremely proud to see my son along with his peers graduating, and seeing Kamala made me really feel Black Excellence in its rawest form,” Payne said. Her son, Emmanuel Wallace, agreed. 

Emmanuel Wallace’s mother, Jacqueline Payne, was in the audience to see her son receive his degree in agribusiness. (Subitted Photo)

“Graduating among such a successful and ambitious class is very empowering,” Wallace said. “Having the first black female vice president of the United States deliver our commencement speech while encouraging us to be the change in the world was exceedingly inspirational.” 

Jodyn White-Rowell, whose family members traveled from Delaware, Georgia, and Florida to see her receive her bachelor’s degree in agricultural science, said she was inspired.

Jodyn White-Rowell, who received her degree in agricultual science, celebrates with her mother Kimberly White-Rowell. (Submitted Photo)

“Seeing Vice President Kamala Harris, someone who pushes boundaries and inspires others to chase their dreams, come to speak to us encourages me to continue to follow my dreams and push boundaries that are set in front of me,” she said.

Jodyn’s mother, Kimberly White-Rowell, added, “We were so excited to see our daughter and the other graduates walk across the stage. We were also so inspired by President Glover and the commencement speech from VP Kamala Harris who spoke to the heart of all the students, calling the next generation of change agents to the world stage. I can’t wait to see what they all become as educated graduates of TSU.”

You can view the 2022 Spring Undergraduate Commencement on the TSU YouTube channel by visiting 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 


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

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.