NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Debra K. Porter Johnson was a proud graduate of Tennessee State University, a proclamation from the university said about the woman killed by a prison escapee in her home on Aug. 7.
TSU President Glenda Glover, accompanied by senior university administration officials, presented the proclamation to Johnson’s family, with a special donation during a fundraiser organized by WKRN Channel 2 at Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, where Johnson was a member.
“We celebrate the life and the legacy of Debra Johnson,” Glover said. “She was just an ideal sweetheart of a person, very professional all the time, downright nice, and we are happy to honor her because she just loved TSU.”
Johnson was a great football lover who came to all of TSU home games and functions, Glover said. As a result, the president announced that at this year’s John Merritt Classic, Johnson’s usual seat at home games will be draped with the university flag in honor of the slain TSU alumna.
The proclamation, presented to Johnson’s son Mychal Austin, described the former Tennessee Department of Correction administrator as a devoted mother and grandmother whose love for her family “was only seconded by the love she had for her God. Her passion for people was seen each day on and off her job. Her untimely passing leaves a void that even time may never fill but her legacy of love will live on,” the proclamation read.
Austin, the youngest of Debra Johnson’s three children – Stanley (Memory) Johnson, Dr. Shernaye Johnson – said it was heartwarming and ‘highly’ appreciative of TSU to honor their mother.
“We appreciate TSU for thinking about our mother,” Austin said. “She went to all the home games and all the events that she could. Bestowing this honor on her will be something that our family cherishes. We really appreciate TSU for all the university has done for the community, especially North Nashville, and Middle Tennessee and across this nation. We take great comfort in knowing that this great institution of higher learning cares about our mother.”
Glover thanked Channel 2 for hosting the fundraiser to benefit Debra Johnson’s family.
Debra Johnson was buried Aug. 15 at Greenwood Cemetery North following funeral services at Temple Church in Nashville.
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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.