TSU celebrates history-making Homecoming with new constructions, record fundraising and parade attendance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This year’s Homecoming at Tennessee State University involved a bit of history-making, in addition to the excitement.

The Tigers’ trouncing of the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (41-14) in the football game at Nissan Stadium on Saturday was just the icing on the cake. Add that to the much-anticipated parade along Jefferson Street that brought out thousands, and groundbreaking ceremonies for four new buildings, as well as a scholarship gala the night before that raised a record amount to keep students in school.

President Glenda Glover waves to the crowd along the 2018 Homecoming parade route. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The Scholarship Gala is the university’s single largest fundraising event. Organizers said when all the tabulation is completed, they expect this year’s proceeds to top last year’s $1.3 million intake.

No doubt, TSU President Glenda Glover called this year’s Homecoming one of the most exciting in school history.

“We are on record pace here,” Glover said to a packed room of cheering fans at the President’s Homecoming Reception at Nissan Stadium, just before the football game.

“We broke ground for four new buildings this week, including two new residence halls that will

The world-renowned TSU Aristocrat of Bands participates in the Homecoming parade. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

help us to recruit more quality students. We are just very excited.”

The new structures include two new residence halls, a Health Sciences Building and an Alumni Welcome Center. The new dorms will be the first to be built at the university in 23 years, and the Health Sciences Building will be the first state-funded building to be constructed on the campus in 15 years.

Glover also touted the record number of participants in the 2018 Homecoming parade.

“We had 140 entrants in this year’s parade, that’s the largest ever. It is really good to see the Nashville community come out in such numbers to support TSU,” she said.

Mr. TSU and Miss TSU and their Court wave to the cheering crowd from atop their Homecoming float in the 2018 parade along Jefferson Street. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

At the reception, Glover recognized and congratulated several individuals, including Special Presidential Honoree James Shaw, Jr., the “Waffle House Hero”; the parade grand marshals, and the Homecoming honorees. She also recognized and thanked TSU alums Amos and Brenda Otis for their “generous contribution” of $1million toward the construction of the new Alumni Welcome Center.

She paid special tribute to the family of injured TSU football player Christion Abercrombie for their courage. The family, including Abercrombie’s aunt, Shawn Neason, and uncle Kevin Richardson – sporting the player’s No. 6 jersey – later joined President Glover for the coin toss at the start of the game. Also present at the reception was Abercrombie’s other uncle, Obie Mitchell, and Chris Wyckoff, a family friend.

TSU President Glenda Glover, along with senior administration and Foundation Board members, receive a check for $1 million from TSU alums Amos and Brenda Otis toward the construction of an Alumni Welcome Center on campus. Picture from left are: President Glover, Amos Otis, Brenda Otis, Dwaye Tucker, Foundation Board chair; Dr. Lesia Crunpton-Young, VP for Research and Institutional Advancement; Joni McReynolds, President of the TSU National Alumni Association; Cassandra Griggs, Alumni Affairs director; and Dr. Curtis Johnson, Chief of Staff. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Like Glover said, excitement about homecoming was widespread and rekindled a lot of memories.  Nathan Andrews was all smiles as he stood in front of what is now Humphries Hall and pointed to the parking lot on the other side – soon to be the home of the Alumni Welcome Center.

“That was a baseball field, where we passed the time in the evening,” said Andrews, of Nashville, who came to TSU in 1959. “And where I am standing was a little beer joint. We couldn’t go to many places so some of us would sneak around here.”

Injured TSU football player Christion Abercrombie’s family member accompany President Glover for the coin toss at the start of the Homecoming game at Nissan Stadium. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Andrews said although he is not active as he should be, he watches the parade every year if his health allows, and sits at his favorite spot – “across from the baseball field.”

Colette Combs, of Miami, Florida, a 1976 TSU graduate, looks forward to always coming back to where she called her beginning.

“Homecoming is filled with exciting moments of rekindling and renewing old friendships,” said Combs, who this year celebrated her 45th anniversary as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. “This is a time when we celebrate and reminisce on precious memories formulated here at Tennessee State University.”

A group of TSU alums, attending the Homecoming parade, celebrated their 45th anniversary as members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Several members of the class are not in the picture. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

From Oct. 14-20, Homecoming events included the Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest, a gospel concert, the Mr. TSU and Miss TSU coronation, the Homecoming Concert, the Alumni Whiteout Party, the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, the President’s Legacy Society Luncheon, and the Breakfast of Champions, among others.

Also this year, the university launched the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Symposium in honor of the late TSU alum and pioneering heart surgeon. The Watkins family, who attended the inaugural symposium, received rousing applause from the audience and President Glover for contributing $500,000 to establish the Levi Watkins, Jr. Endowed Scholarship at TSU.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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.