TSU Top Graduating Senior Selected to Introduce Gov. Haslam as Commencement Keynote Speaker

Annette Scruggs
Annette Scruggs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Annette Scruggs arrived in Nashville nine years ago from Georgetown, Guyana, it was a “no-brainer” when she decided to continue her education. Tennessee State University was the only university she applied to because she knew it was where she wanted to be.

“When I married my husband, I witnessed first-hand the influence the university had on his family,” said Scruggs. “He came from a long line of alumni from his mother, grandmother and great aunts. Because of that, I knew TSU was where I needed to be.”

When she first started her goal was to complete her degree, not be the best of the best, but simply do her best.

Four years later, Scruggs is the best, graduating with the highest grade point average of all the undergraduates at Spring Commencement. Because of her 3.942 GPA, a number she can readily quote, she will have the opportunity to introduce the keynote speaker, Governor Bill Haslam.

“My first thought was, ‘WOW!’ when they told me,” said the Interdisciplinary Studies major. “It is going to be quite the honor.”

Scruggs Family-5
Annette Scruggs, second from left, is surrounded by her family, (left to right) Osafa Hippolyte, Ashley Hippolyte and Meshaeh Hippolyte. All three of her children are students at Tennessee State University. (photos by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

To begin her educational journey, Scruggs started from scratch, she said, buying a GED certificate study guide, and took the SAT practice test, scored well and took the ACT test. “It was an easy process to apply for admittance, and once I was accepted, I just pursued my degree and never looked back,” she added.

So impressed was Scruggs with TSU from the start that her children followed her to the University, including her 23-year old daughter, Ashley, who is working toward her MBA; her 20-year old son Osafa, who is a junior Human Performance and Sports Sciences major; and 17-year-old freshman son, Meshaeh, who is also a Human Performance and Sports Sciences major.

“We are all proud TSU students,” said Scruggs, who will graduate with Summa Cum Laude honors. “I think people get the wrong impression of the University but it is a great institution where the faculty always put students first.”

Initially, Scruggs was not going to “take the walk” at graduation, she said, but thought better of it, admitting not only is she doing it for herself, but her children as well.

“I brought my children to this country with me to provide a better opportunity for them,” she said. “I believe they will have all the opportunities in the world starting with a degree from Tennessee State.”

Scruggs will introduce Gov. Haslam during Tennessee State University’s spring commencement exercise on Saturday, May 10 at 9 a.m. in Hale Stadium. She then has plans to apply to law school at the Nashville School of Law.


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Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
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Nashville, Tennessee 37209


About Tennessee State University

With nearly 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.