Tennessee State University prepares graduates to move from the classroom to the workplace

NASHVILE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Matthew Edwards says graduation day will be a culmination of trials and tribulations, redemption and ultimately success when he crosses the stage at Tennessee State University to receive his degree on May 7.

The Agricultural Science major says all the hard work, along with family and faculty support, have paid off and he looks forward to a job as soon as he graduates.

TSU student Matthew Edwards to graduate with Agriculture degree at spring commencement. (By John Cross, TSU Media Relations).

“The College of Agriculture has a partnership with the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, and they are considering me for a job after I graduate,” said Edwards. “When they make the offer, I’ll be ready to jump right in.”

Edwards has had his hands full with classes and two jobs to cover college expenses and gain invaluable knowledge he believes will put him above other graduates. He works 30 hours a week for Metro Parks and Recreation in Nashville, and is also a TSU lab technician.

“I congratulate all of our graduates and wish them the very best as they enter a new and exciting chapter of their lives,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Commencement is an exciting time for the university because it highlights the academic achievement of our students and the commitment of faculty and staff in their educational and social development. TSU students are prepared to work and serve in the global marketplace.”

Edwards credits the hands on approach from faculty for getting him back on track when he first transferred to TSU in 2013.  The combination of classroom instruction, along with real world exposure the College of Agriculture offered, is what he believes helped the most.  Edwards said he’s fully prepared to compete with others in his field because of programs and partnerships offered in the College of Agriculture.

Dr. De’Etra Young is an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and coordinator of the Scholars Program. She said the industry partnerships in Agriculture and other TSU departments help prepare students for the workforce, as well as organizations that promote professional development.

“TSU allows our students the opportunity to really gain hands on experiential learning,” Young said.

Employers plan to hire 11 percent more college graduates for U.S. jobs this year than last, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Future students and graduates can expect that same attention and focus on employment after graduation from TSU in part due to a $150,000 job placement grant. The University is one of 30 colleges awarded funds from the United Negro College Fund Career to Pathway Initiative. The funds will help students gain the knowledge, preparation, insight and skills needed to secure meaningful employment following graduation.

The more than 1,300 graduates will likely gain more insight about the global marketplace, as well as some words of wisdom, from this spring’s commencement speakers.

TSU alumna Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, a retired Air Force brigadier general who is currently president of the National Medical Association, will speak at the graduate commencement on Friday, May 6 at 5 p.m. at the Gentry Center Complex. Mitchell took over as head of the nation’s oldest professional society for African-American physicians last year. She is also a member of the American Medical Association, and Aerospace Medical Association.

On Saturday, May 7, former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., will address the undergraduate class at 9 a.m. in Hale Stadium.  Ford, a five-term former member of Congress from Tennessee, is currently a political analyst and contributor for CNBC and MSNBC, and a professor of public policy at New York University. His father, Harold Ford, Sr., is an alumnus of TSU.

The undergraduate ceremony will be streamed live beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday from the University’s homepage. Visit www.tnstate.edu for more information.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.