Tag Archives: TSU interim president Ronald Johnson

TSU Interim president marks first day with Gov. Lee, Rotary Club meeting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Interim President Ronald Johnson marked the beginning of his tenure with a significant community event on his first day in Nashville. President Johnson attended the July 8th Rotary Club of Nashville meeting, which featured Gov. Bill Lee. Rotary President and TSU alumnus Dr. Alfred Degrafinreid II recognized Johnson, who attended as guest of TSU Board Dr. Marquita Qualls.

Dr. Marquita Qualls, left, Interim President Ronald Johnson, center, and Rotary President Dr. Alfred Degrafinreid II attends the Rotary Club of Nashville meeting July 8. Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University.

President Johnson described the Rotary meeting as eventful, as he had the opportunity to meet with the governor and dozens of business leaders and stakeholders to continue fostering access and information for the university’s portfolio.

“What we’re working on is sustaining a future-ready Tennessee State University,” Johnson said. “We want to elevate our impact and elevate our competitive edge.”

Johnson emphasized the importance of building relationships with community leaders and counterparts with an effort to maintain “leverage.”

“That’s what we need as an HBCU, as a land-grant institution, even as an institution that’s looking to go from R2 to R1,” Johnson added. “If you make that connection, then we will be writing a new history for Tennessee State, a history that is a renaissance, not a recovery.”

Gov. Bill Lee, a longtime Rotary member, was the featured guest speaker for the July 8 meeting.

Gov. Lee, a longtime Rotary member, noted that the state of Tennessee must continue to create pathways for student success across the state.

“At the end of the day, we need to elevate our entire educational system, so we can continue to create workers that are going to be needed by the companies that are coming,” Gov. Lee said.

This week’s meeting was a TSU affair as it marked both President Johnson’s first day in Nashville and Dr. Degrafinreid’s first day as Rotary president.

TSU President Dr. Ronald Johnson, left, poses with TSU alumna Dr. Phyllis Qualls at a Rotary Club meeting attended by several TSU alumni.

“Dr. Johnson was exposed to 215 leaders from across the region and he got a chance to really make sure that Tennessee State University was recognized in a positive light in terms of him coming here on his first day to learn about our region,” Degrafinreid said.

Another major milestone was the record attendance. Hundreds of participants, many of which were TSU alumni, came together to discuss service-related issues and how the organization can create better opportunities for citizens in the region and for HBCUs. “Dr. Johnson’s visit allowed him to meet many Tennessee State University alumni who are members of this club, and they could reaffirm that we’re here to support him and we’re here to support Tennessee State University.”

Over 200 leaders from across the region were in attendance for the Rotary Club of Nashville meeting.

Rotary is a global enterprise that partners with institutions to gain access beyond local boundaries. In the near future, the organization looks forward to establishing a Rotaract Club at Tennessee State University to help train students for leadership roles, service, and community engagement, Degrafinreid said.

President Johnson said, with the support of TSU alumni and community leaders, he looks forward to leading TSU toward a future of growth and innovation.