Tag Archives: Trudie Thomas

More than 2000 of TSU’s best and brightest recognized at annual Honors Convocation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently recognized more than 2,000 students with the distinction of best and brightest at its Honors Day Convocation on March 22. The event was held virtually for the second straight year due to the pandemic.

President Glenda Glover

All the students recognized maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Among the honorees were 400 President’s List scholars. These are students who have maintained 4.0 GPA throughout their matriculation.

Amaris Johnson, a 2003 TSU graduate, and director of OEM Operations at Eaton Corporation, was the keynote speaker. She was a member of the Honors College while a student at TSU. 

Dr. Coreen Jackson, Dean of the Honors College, left, presents Trinity Gourdin with the Dr. McDonald Williams Highest Senior Honors Award.

Before Johnson’s address, TSU President Glenda Glover congratulated the honorees for their achievements. She challenged them to further develop their talents “to be the leaders you have been chosen to be.”

“Honors Day is more than personal recognition; it is a challenge to soar even higher,” Glover said. “As honors students, we will depend on you to research challenges and issues and to develop solutions that will remake our university. Whether it is the COVID pandemic, or racial injustice, it is you, our honorees, who must contribute to finding a path that leads to solutions to the threats that we currently face.” 

Tiara Thomas, Student Trustee on the TSU Board of Trustees, received the Outstanding Student Leader Academic Award. (Submitted photo)

Johnson, a former Miss Honors, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management at TSU. Speaking on “Promoting academic excellence, transforming leaders, while beating odds in a global pandemic,” she reminded the honorees that as honors students, they have been prepared to promote excellence in any circumstance they face in life, “even a pandemic.” 

“You see, when excellence is your habit, things like pandemic don’t get in your way. It doesn’t cause you to panic and run,” Johnson said. “They cause you to thrive and shine.” 

Trudie Thomas, Coordinator of the Honors College, right, presents Amaris Johnson, the convocation speaker, with a special award.

She told the students that success is within reach, but they must be vigilant in their pursuits with a clear plan in going after their career. She named five “pearls of wisdom” that foster success and that “separate people that model excellence as a habit from those who don’t.” 

According to Johnson, the pearls of wisdom are: Money talks and everything else walks; Slay every day the power of executive excellence; Your network is your net worth; Chase experiences not money and titles; and Be intentional and know your endgame. 

Aubrey Sales, a senior political science major with a 4.0 GPA, has been admitted to four of the top-10 law schools in the nation. (Submitted photo)

“I have a firm belief that if you don’t define your own race, you will find yourself crossing someone else’s finish line,” Johnson said. “Define your endgame, be intentional and develop your map that matches your vision. You’re a pearl of excellence. Whatever you do, do it with excellence.” 

Aubrey Sales, Torrance Buntyn, and Christopher Buford II were among students honored and who participated in the convocation. They are thankful for the recognition. 

Sales, a 4.0 senior majoring in political science, said it was a humbling experience to be recognized for “your hard work with the world watching.” 

Torrance Butyn, a senior music education major, has been accepted at several top universities to pursue his graduate degree in music. (Submitted photo)

“I am very thankful to Tennessee State University for honoring us,” said Sales, of Huntsville, Alabama, who has been admitted to four of the top-10 law schools in the nation. “I had the best professors at TSU, who I credit for the preparation I received.” 

Buntyn, also a senior, is a music education major from Jackson, Tennessee. He has a 3.9 GPA.  

“The Honors Convocation has always been an exciting event for honoring academic scholars at TSU,” said Buntyn, who has been accepted to several top universities to pursue his graduate degree in music. “Being a part of the Honors Convocation always reminds me that hard work pays no matter what, and that there is always a reason to celebrate the small things in life.” 

Christopher Buford, a senior mechanical engineering major, is staying at TSU to purse his master’s degree. (Submitted photo)

Buford, a senior mechanical engineering major, has a 3.7 GPA. The future business owner plans to stay at TSU to earn his master’s degree in mechanical engineering. 

“I enjoyed being a part of the Honors College,” Buford, a Nashville native, said. “They taught me that life is limitless and I can do more if I put my mind and heart to it.”   For more information on the TSU Honors College, visit  https://www.tnstate.edu/honors/

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.

TSU Faculty and Staff Celebrate Giving With ‘Sweet Talk’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Department of Dental Hygiene received special recognition at the university’s “Sweet Talk” event, along with the Office of Events Management and the Department of Residence Life.

Each area achieved 100 percent participation in the university’s annual faculty and staff giving campaign, which raises money to benefit TSU students.

Sonya Smith, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, thanks ‘Sweet Talk’ attendees for giving as part of faculty and staff giving campaign.

“Some made direct deposits. Some made one-time gifts. But what matters most is the sacrifice,” said Sonya Smith, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving and chair of the campaign. “Whatever your sacrifice is, we just ask you to be a part of the faculty and staff campaign.”

The event, which took place Feb. 14 on the Avon Williams Campus, provided an opportunity for campus employees to enjoy delicious pastries and discuss the importance of supporting students beyond the classroom.

Smith expressed her gratitude to the campaign co-chairs and various contributors for exceeding their goal of $155,000 for the 2017-2018 fiscal year by raising $161,763.  She said the goal for the current fiscal year is to raise $175,000. The campaign has raised $136,000 of that amount.

Rosalyn Word, a faculty member in the Department of Dental Hygiene and a co-chair of the faculty and staff annual giving campaign, expressed excitement about the effects of increased giving in dental hygiene.

Department of Dental Hygiene Faculty and Staff Members

“One of the things that we have been able to do in the Department of Dental Hygiene is establish a dental hygiene academic scholarship. The first year we were able to award one $1,000 scholarship to a deserving student,” Word said. “This year we were able to award two $1,000 scholarships to our dental hygiene students. I am really excited about that initiative, and we hope to be able to carry this legacy on, and keep this scholarship going.”

Eloise Alexis, associate vice president for Institutional Advancement, said Sweet Talk provides an opportunity for her staff to say thank you to participants and ask attendees to rally others to support students.

“The amazing thing about faculty and staff in this initiative is that, not only do they give of themselves all day and everyday in the classroom and as staff by supporting our students in the campus environment, they also give back to Tennessee State University from their hard earned resources to Tennessee State,” Alexis said.

Office of Events Management and Conference Services Administration and Staff Members

Trudie Thomas, coordinator for the Honors College and a co-chair of the campaign, said Sweet Talk helps a lot of students who really need support to attend the university.

“I like to give because it helps the university, and it has an impact on some child’s life. When I was in school tuition was $65 a quarter,” said Thomas, who graduated from TSU in 1972. “I give because I see the need, especially with black students right now. Education is an investment.”

“Sweet Talk” Committee Members show off variety of tasty desserts prepared by TSU Alum Alexis Hughes-Williams, Owner of Something Sweet, LLC.

TSU Alumna Alexis Hughes-Williams, owner of Something Sweet, LLC, provided a variety of colorful desserts for the event. Hughes-Williams, who graduated in 2011 with a degree in business/marketing, said Sweet Talk provided the perfect opportunity for her “virtual pop-up shop” to collaborate with the university.

With the deadline for reaching this year’s goal being June 30, Smith encourages faculty and staff to continue giving. For more information about how to participate in the campaign, call (615) 963-2936.


Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.