Tag Archives: Tennessee Titans

TSU President Glenda Glover honored with Inspire Change Changemaker Award from Tennessee Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In a heartwarming ceremony at Nissan Stadium, Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover was honored with the prestigious 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker Award by the Tennessee Titans.

The long-time educator and HBCU advocate was recognized for her exceptional work in pursuit of social justice in higher education. The Changemaker Award recognizes individuals in each NFL team market who make a difference in their communities across Inspire Change’s four focus areas: education, economic advancement, police-community relations, and criminal justice reform.

“I am honored to be recognized as the Tennessee Titans 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker,” said President Glenda Glover. “Historically Black Colleges and Universities are home to so many diverse, gifted, and brilliant students who have the ability to make a difference globally. TSU is proud to partner with the Tennessee Titans in preparing students to go out into the world and to change it for the better.” 

Left to right, Tennessee Titans representatives Adolpho Birch III, Johari Matthews, TSU President Glenda Glover, and Titans CEO, President Burke Nihill during the Inspire Change Breakfast and reception at Nissan Stadium to honor Dr. Glover with a prestigious 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker Award. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University.)

For decades, Dr. Glover has worked to transform the HBCU student experience for the benefit of thousands of students and the state of Tennessee at large under the NFL’s Inspire Change Education pillar. Members from the University family, Tennessee Titans staff, and the Nashville community were on hand to acknowledge her contributions and impact. Among them was Mika McKinney, a TSU alumna and current intern for the Titans, who is benefitting from President’s Glover on-going partnership with the team.  McKinney is pursuing her master’s in sports administration from the institution as well.

“The TSU Titans partnership has bridged the gap between theory and practice, giving me real-world insight that goes beyond experts,” McKinney said. “This has been an experience nothing further than transformative. It’s about people, growth, and community, and continuing to work better for the future.” She emphasized the collaboration’s impact on mentorship and personal growth beyond football and academics.

Mika McKinney, a TSU alumna and current intern for the Titans, speaks on this partnership going beyond sports and academic.

Dr. Glover, moved by McKinney’s words, expressed her joy in seeing students like Mika thrive.

“It makes my job worthwhile,” Glover said. “I am so honored. It recognizes the partnership between TSU and the Titans and what we are going to do in the community and what we want to do with HBCUs.” Dr. Glover also underscored the value of the educational experience and their commitment nationwide.

In his words acknowledging President Glover’s significant impact, Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell emphasized the strength of the TSU and Titans partnership and celebrated the moment as reflective of the city’s unity.

“It’s a great day for football and a great day to celebrate one of our community’s finest,” Mayor O’Connell stated.

Tennessee Titans CEO and President Burke Nihill expressed his gratitude for Dr. Glover’s friendship and the ongoing collaboration between TSU and the Titans. “To our organization, your legacy will always be transitioning from a TSU, Tennessee Titans partnership to a TSU, Tennessee Titans friendship,” Nihill said.

Mayor O’Connell addresses the audience in front of dozens, paying tribute to Dr. Glover for the prestigious award bestowed upon her by the Tennessee Titans.

Johari Matthews, VP and Executive Director of the Tennessee Titans Foundation and Community Impact, explained the selection of Dr. Glover as the 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker recipient.

“Dr. Glover was chosen because of her committed work to higher education, specifically supporting HBCUs,” Matthews said. “She has made it her mission to ensure that young people have access to higher education while also bringing attention to the many inequities and resources and funding that our HBCUs endure.”

Kind remarks about surrounding Glover’s legacy were also shared by TSU alumna Tina Tuggle, the VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Titans and Adolpho Birch III, who oversees the Titans’ Chief External Affairs.

In addition to the breakfast program, President Glover was honored on the field during the Titans game against the Texans. She was greeted with cheers as she was once again recognized as the Titans Inspire Change Changemaker award.

President Glover at Nissan Stadium holding the NFL Changemaker award as the 2023 recipient for the Tennessee Titans.

“This recognition means so much to me because I am a diehard Titans fan, so much so that we hired Eddie George, one of the most prolific players in the Titans franchise history, as our head football coach. I am so appreciative of what we are starting and where we are headed from here with this partnership.”

The Inspired Change Changemaker award comes with a generous $10,000 donation from the NFL Foundation. Glover will donate the entire sum back to Tennessee State University.

As the first female woman and alumna to serve as president of TSU, President Glover has overseen significant increases in enrollment, alumni fundraising, research dollars, and academic offerings. Glover is a certified public accountant, an attorney, and one of two African American women to hold the Ph.D-CPA-JD combination in the country. In 2022, President Joe Biden appointed her as Vice Chair of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

For more information on the 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker recipients, visit NFL.com/causes/inspire-change/changemakers.

TSU and Tennessee Titans expand historic partnership with launch of team’s Impact Program, ‘ONE Community’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As the Tennessee Titans continue their long-standing partnership with Tennessee State University, on Thursday the team officially announced the launch of their Impact Program, ‘ONE Community.’

The ONE Community platform includes multi-faceted programs that reach many of Nashville’s most underserved communities with a focus on three areas – Opportunity, Neighborhoods, and Education.

TSU is one of 16 local and regional organizations that is a part of the community benefits platform.

Tennessee Titans held a press conference at TSU on Thursday to officially announce the launch of their Impact Program, ‘ONE Community.’

“TSU is excited about the expansion of our partnership with the Titans and the opportunities students will gain to be successful through internships and employment with the team,” said Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover during a press conference held at the university.

“Our historic relationship, an HBCU and NFL franchise, spans over 25-years and centers around both organizations’ commitment to serve communities in the city we proudly call home, Nashville.”

With ONE Community, TSU and the Titans will be expanding their long-standing relationship by launching a new partnership that will establish several initiatives including athletics, academics, students and university support through scholarship and job shadowing programs, professional development opportunities, and employment opportunities.

The team will also continue its partnership by hosting TSU games at the new stadium and engage in other TSU-related initiatives.

Tennessee Titans President Burke Nihill speaks during a press conference announcing the launch of, ‘ONE Community.’ (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

The Titans will serve as the annual presenting sponsor of the John Merritt Classic and partner with TSU to expand gameday activation and expanded branding opportunities.

TSU graduate student Nykole Allen-Clark, who is the division captain for Project Destined, an organization that also partners with the Titans, said this opportunity is huge for the university.

“I am extremely excited about the Tennessee Titans partnership,” Allen-Clark said. “This program will provide students and adult learners with unmatched exposure to a development in the community.”

Adolpho Birch, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for the Tennessee Titans, said ONE Community represents a substantial amount of work and effort and is a product of extensive interaction and feedback from residents and community leaders. 

“Ultimately, increasing opportunities for workforce and small business development, nurturing and enhancing our neighborhoods in need, and supporting education at all levels are what the community believed would be most impactful,” Birch said.

Johari Matthews, a TSU alum and Titans Foundation’s programs director, said they are proud to announce their partnership. “Our valued relationship with President Glover, the TSU athletic department and the students and staff are all very critical to the Titans story,” Matthews said.

The Titans Foundation’s Programs Director, TSU alum Johari Matthews (center) with TSU students during a Titans press conference. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“We believe that every student deserves an educational journey with the resources, experiences, and access necessary to create a meaningful path to vocational and life success.”

The project has been underway for more than two years. The announcement comes on the heels of the city of Nashville and the Titans reaching an agreement on a newly proposed football stadium earlier this week estimated at $2.1 billion.

For more information about ONE Community, visit www.tennesseetitans.com/news/titans-launch-impact-program-one-community.

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.

TSU Lays Foundation for Former TN Titans Cheerleader to Make Her Mark in Male-Dominated Sports Management Industry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Sports management is a tough business, especially if you are a female, but Ashley Danielle Allen aims to change that.

“You know, it’s a male-dominated industry,” said Allen, director of player relations with a3 Athletics, a full-service sports agency representing football and golf athletes. “You are going to have to have a little bit more just to compete with the guys.”

Ashley Danielle Allen received her master’s degree in sports administration. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Trying to have ‘a little more’ to be competitive has kept the mother of three young children busy on multiple fronts. But on May 3, Allen took a break and celebrated a major achievement. She was among nearly 250 students who received degrees when Tennessee State University held its spring graduate commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex. Allen received a master’s degree in sports administration.

“I am really excited about receiving my graduate degree from such a great institution,” said Allen, who earned her bachelor’s degree in business at TSU in 2008. “For a longtime, I knew I wanted to go back to school. I looked at the surrounding area for competitive programs. But TSU was kind of home for me, and I received good advice, and I am glad I listened and came here.”

In addition to her master’s degree, Allen, who previously wanted to be an NFL agent, is also pursuing a law degree at Nashville School of Law. She has more than 10 years of experience in professional sports – from being an NFL cheerleader to managing player relations.

“I decided to get my master’s because I thought I wanted to be an NFL agent, and in order to be an agent you needed to be a lawyer or have a master’s degree,” said the Nashville native.

At a3 Athletics, she helps NFL and PGA players with community relations regarding activities off the field. Among them, currently, she is conducting 10 football camps for such players as Kevin King of the Green Bay Packers, Terrell Dean of the Arizona Cardinals, and Cameron Irving of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ashley Allen was a cheerleader for the Titans from 2008-2009. (Submitted photo)

“I put on their camps and handle any appearances throughout the off season, and any appearance efforts they want to do throughout the season. A lot of the players are really focused on the game during that time,” said Allen, who also coaches the Tiger Gems at TSU. “I really love helping kids. Seeing the kids’ faces from hosting camps for players just makes me very happy.” Her children – two girls and a boy, ages 14, 7 and 4 – travel with her to the camps.

Before going into sports management, Allen was a former Titans cheerleader. After two years with the Titans in 2009, she stepped down, but stayed active with the alumni association, later handling media relations for the group.

“We worked together with the coach in terms of tryouts and other events throughout the year. I networked as much as I could, but I did not want to cheer anymore. At that point, I decided that I actually wanted to do something in the management role, especially as an agent,” said Allen.

Ashley Allen is the Director of Player Relations with a3 Athletics sports agency. (Submitted photo)

That’s when she says she decided to pursue her master’s degree, and subsequently, law school. She started work at a law firm, whose owner was also a sports agent. Allen says she would like to one day negotiate contracts for players.

“That’s my favorite in law – contract law – which is what my intention is in the long run with my law degree,” she said.

Allen said she also wants to give back to her alma mater for all she has received from TSU.

“The relations I built being in sports for over 10 years have really helped me, and I can use that as leverage for my institution,” she said. “As a way of giving back, I would love to help the university more once I leave, like seeking internship opportunities for TSU students with my agency. I love to teach, even if I have to go get my doctorate. I would love to come back and teach.”

Department of Media Relations

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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 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.