NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University College of Engineering received special recognition at the university’s annual Sweet Talk event for having 100 percent participation in the university’s annual faculty and staff giving campaign, which raises money to benefit TSU students.

Held on Nov. 30 in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center, Sweet Talk provided an opportunity for campus employees to enjoy delicious pastries and discuss the importance of supporting students beyond the classroom.

“I challenged my almost fifty faculty and staff members in the College of Engineering and encouraged them to give individually,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the college. “They have demonstrated that by investing in TSU and showing their support for what they believe and I believe is one of the best places to work in the city of Nashville.”

Sonya Smith, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving and chair of the campaign, expressed her gratitude to the campaign co-chairs and various contributors for raising $141,451 during the 2016-2017 fiscal year.  She said the goal for the current fiscal year is to raise $155,000.

“We are excited about the upcoming year,” she said. “Our participation rate has increased from 99 faculty and staff to 329. I encourage faculty and staff to continue to support this important fundraising effort.”

According to Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, vice president of Research and Institutional Advancement, this “unified effort will remove financial hurdles” that students are otherwise unable to overcome.

“Before I start to shed tears over the joy that I am experiencing from all the wonderful gifts that we are receiving and our ability to give and help others, I just want to say thank you,” she said. “We always talk about team work makes the dream work. To see the numbers, to see the participation rate, to me it is a clear example of how teamwork is truly making the dream work at TSU.”

Dr. Joseph Perry, Director of Sustainability in Facilities Management, has been with Tennessee State University for 40 years. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Joe Perry, the director of Sustainability in Facilities Management, who has established an endowment at TSU, said he gives back because he is grateful for the opportunities the university has given him.  Perry, who started his journey 40 years ago in the security department, now has four degrees from TSU.

“I will always support this great university,” he said.  “Even when I am gone, my endowment will continue to support the needs of students.  I realize giving back will help the future leaders of tomorrow.”

Rosalyn Word, co-chair of the Faculty Staff Annual Giving Campaign, expressed her enthusiasm for the effort.  A member of the President’s Club, people who contribute $1,000 or more, Word said she came to TSU full-time because someone else made a financial contribution so that “I could be and do what it is I needed to do.”

“I know that for me to accomplish the things I have been able to accomplish there were people like us who made a financial contribution to make sure I could pursue an education, and become the person I was destined to be,” she said.

Word, assistant professor of dental hygiene at TSU, said her department has established a scholarship for students majoring in dental hygiene and hopes to award scholarships to two students next year.

Dr. Achintya Ray, chair of the Faculty Senate, along with Linda Goodman, chair of the Staff Senate, presented the $141,451 check to President Glenda Glover on Nov. 11 at Hale Stadium during the TSU-Southeast Missouri game.  He said the financial gifts of faculty and staff represent a “deep conviction that they can make fundamental change” in the lives of the young men and women TSU employees serve.

“I was deeply honored to go out with Ms. Goodman during the halftime of the game and present Dr. Glover with that wonderful check,” Ray said. “But I think what we presented was not the amount that was written on the check, but a confidence in the faculty and staff in the future of this great institution.”

Eloise Abernathy Alexis, associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, encouraged faculty and staff to give primarily through payroll deduction.  For more information about how to give, call (615) 963-2936.

Department of Media Relations

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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, 25 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