Tag: Tennessee State University

Grandmother Theresa Styles, 68, and Granddaughter Zuri Styles, 22, Graduate Tennessee State University Together

Theresa Lyles, left, and Zuri Lyles, right. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Tennessee State University News Service, TSU senior Zuri Styles, 22, and her grandmother, senior (and senior citizen) Theresa Styles, 68, were both part of the same graduating class last Saturday.

Both Styles women walked across the stage to accept their degrees when TSU held its spring undergraduate commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex on May 5. Theresa’s degree is in sociology, while Zuri received a bachelor’s degree in health information management and a minor in business.

“I never contemplated this,” Theresa said when asked about she and her granddaughter graduating at the same time. “Who new that when I started back then that I would be graduating at the same time as she did. Nobody but God.”

Theresa, a grandmother of 15, started at TSU in 1967, but dropped out in 1970 to raise her family. A little over a year ago, she came back to school without knowing she earned enough credits back then to put her close to graduating, until her academic advisers told her. But a few months into her schooling, alongside Zuri, tragedy hit the family. Theresa lost her middle daughter, Zuri’s mother, on January 6.

“That hit us so hard that I almost dropped out because I was struggling and my grandmother went through a depression,” said Zuri. “But we kept encouraging each other. Through it all, we started working harder and did everything we needed to get the job done.”

Zuri, who has a job offer with St. Thomas General as an information systems analyst, said she plans to attend graduate school and get a degree in physical therapy. For now, Theresa will continue to help with raising her grandchildren, but she is glad to finally get her degree. “I always wanted to come back, but just never had the chance to do it,” she said. “I am glad I did, and it’s even better that I am doing it with my granddaughter. We encouraged each other. It was tough, but we had to tunnel through.”

 

R.I.P. Dr. S. Allen Counter, 63, Noted Neurophysiologist, Ethnographer and Founding Director of Harvard Foundation of Intercultural and Race Relations 

S. Allen Counter (photo via news.harvard.edu)

by Rachael Dane via news.harvard.edu

S. Allen Counter, the founding director of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations and a noted neurophysiologist, educator, and ethnographer, died on July 12.  According to wikipedia.com, Counter was also known for his achievements as an explorer. In 1971, he located a group of people living in the rain forest in northern Brazil, Surinam and French Guiana; the group was descended from African slaves who had escaped from slave ships. In 1986, Counter located descendants of earlier U.S. explorers of the arctic, Matthew A. Henson and Robert E. Peary. Counter was elected to The Explorers Club in 1989. Counter also designed Arthur Ashe‘s memorial at Woodland Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, dedicated on what would have been Ashe’s 50th birthday on July 10, 1993.

“Harvard has lost a great champion of inclusion and belonging in Dr. Allen Counter,” said President Drew Faust. “Through his leadership of the Harvard Foundation, he advanced understanding among members of our community and challenged all of us to imagine and strive for a more welcoming University and a more peaceful world. We remember today a campus citizen whose deep love of Harvard, and especially our undergraduates, leaves a lasting legacy.”

“During my years as president of Harvard, no one did more than Allen to make minority students feel welcome and at home at Harvard, to promote fruitful interaction among all races, and to serve as understanding adults to whom many undergraduates could turn in order to register their concerns, answer their questions, and have their legitimate problems communicated to the Harvard administration so that they could be understood and acted upon in appropriate ways,” recalled Derek Bok, who led the University from 1971–91 and from 2006–07. “Much of what he accomplished was unrecognized, but his contributions were invaluable, and I will always feel a great debt of gratitude for his service to the University.”

Counter did his undergraduate work in biology and sensory physiology at Tennessee State University and his graduate studies in electrophysiology at Case Western Reserve University, where he earned his Ph.D. He earned his M.D. at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. He came to Harvard in 1970 as a postdoctoral fellow and assistant neurophysiologist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Early in his University career, Counter lived in a student residence hall as dormitory director, resident tutor, and biological sciences tutor.

In the early 1970s, the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services) named him to the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the National Institute of Mental Health. In 1975, several proposals came before the council requesting funding for projects involving psychosurgery and electrode implants in human brains. At that time, the government’s rules protecting human subjects were still evolving, and Counter believed the projects were inherently racist. He insisted the council not approve them, and they were not acted upon.

In the same decade, Counter taught inmates at MCI Concord with the Massachusetts Correctional Concord Achievement Rehabilitation Volunteer Experience, where he said he gave inmates the same advice his grandmother had given him: “Read a book. Develop your mind.” A later study showed that participants in the program had a lower recidivism rate than prisoners who did not take part. After a sabbatical fellowship at UCLA with neuroscientist Alan D. Grinnell in the late 1970s, Counter returned to Cambridge, where his research at Harvard Medical School focused on clinical and basic studies on nerve and muscle physiology, auditory physiology, and neurophysiological diagnosis of brain-injured children and adults. Continue reading “R.I.P. Dr. S. Allen Counter, 63, Noted Neurophysiologist, Ethnographer and Founding Director of Harvard Foundation of Intercultural and Race Relations “

Lezley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s Mother, Earns High School Diploma Alongside College-Bound Daughter Daysa Brown

Michael Brown’s mother and sister, Lesley McSpadden (l) and Daysa Brown (r), graduate high school on same day (photo via tuko.co.ke)

via eurweb.com

Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, recently walked across the stage in Missouri to receive her high school diploma.What’s also interesting is that McSpadden earned her diploma alongside her daughter, Daysa Brown, thanks to the local school district’s adult high school education program, which allowed her to attend classes on weekday afternoons.

McSpadden dropped out of Ladue Horton Watkins High School after giving birth to her son Michael in her junior year. After creating the We Love Our Sons & Daughters Foundation, she decided to go back and get her diploma. The initiative, made in her late son’s honor, focuses on advocating for justice and advancing education.

Specifically, McSpadden got encouragement to go back and finish high school from Art McCoy, a Missouri school district superintendent after he learned she never completed school.  McSpadden worked on getting her diploma at Jennings High School in Jennings, Missouri along with her daughter, Deja Brown. However, their schedules didn’t overlap. “She would just go to afternoon class, so we never really interacted at school or in class or anything,” Brown told the St. Louis American. “But I did help her on homework. Like, math, she was like, ‘I’m stuck! I don’t understand this!’ so I would try to help her the best I could, because it was geometry, which I took already.”

The mother-daughter duo crossed the stage on the same day at Chaifetz Arena on May 26. It’s also worth noting that McSpadden, who presented her daughter’s diploma, is the first graduate of the district’s adult program.

Deja Brown, who will attend Tennessee State University in the fall, told the St.Louis American that she’s proud of herself and her mother for finishing school. “I know it’s something that she’s wanted to do,” she said. “She’s done it and she’s worked really hard, and she’s so excited and I’m excited for her!”

Meanwhile, Benjamin Crump, the family lawyer, told the Post-Dispatch that the ceremony was especially meaningful considering the trauma the family has experienced. He said McSpadden told him she “has a purpose now to try to uphold the legacy of her son.”

Michael Brown was 18 years old when he was shot six times by white officer Darren Wilson in August 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. His killing sparked days of protest in the predominantly black city. The unrest garnered national attention and Black Lives Matter protests spread throughout the country.

To read full article, go to: Lezley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s Mom, Just Got Her High School Diploma

72-Year-Old Darlene Mullins Finishes College With Honors After 55 Years

72 year-old college graduate Darlene Mullins (photo via huffpost.com)

by Taryn Finley via huffpost.com

It’s never too late to go back to school.

Just ask 72-year-old Darlene Mullins, who recently graduated from Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee. The grandmother of four walked at the school’s commencement Saturday.

Darlene left school nearly 55 years ago in the name of love. She was a track star at the historically black college and met her husband-to-be, John Mullins, in 1962, she told USA Today. “I thought he was the finest thing walking on the campus,” Darlene told the HBCU’s campus magazine in 2014. The duo knew they would marry each other the moment they met and began dating shortly after. But Darlene’s track coach noticed that she was spending most of her time with her boyfriend. Her coach gave Darlene, who was training to go to the 1964 Olympics, an ultimatum: the track team or John. Darlene chose John.

She finished her freshman year with 25 credits and married John in 1963. Her husband graduated in 1964 and began working. Darlene took care of the household and was a stay-at-home mother to their son and daughter. The family lived in six states over the years, due to John’s successful career in business. Darlene told the campus outlet that she eventually began a career in retail and cosmetology as their children grew older.

Though she remained busy, she always longed to finish school. That feeling intensified when the couple would visit the HBCU for homecomings and other celebrations.“Something kept nagging at me,” she said. “I always told my children to make sure they finish what they started and I kind of felt it was time to live up to my own advice.”

To read full article, go to: 72-Year-Old Finishes College With Honors After 55 Years, Inspires Us All | HuffPost

Memphis Teen Kevuntez King Sold Newspapers for 5 Years so His Single Mom Wouldn’t Have to Pay His College Tuition

Kevuntez King
Kevuntez King (FOX 13 SCREENSHOT)

article by Stephen A. Crockett Jr. via theroot.com

When 17-year-old Kevuntez King was just a preteen, he decided that not only was he going to college, but his mother, a single parent, wasn’t going to pay for it.  “She just taught me how to be independent like she had it, [and] she just wanted me to go get it myself,” Kevuntez told Fox 13.

So, at the age of 12, Kevuntez got a job selling papers at a downtown Memphis, Tennessee intersection, and for five years he worked that job, saving the money he made.  “When it came down to school, my mom didn’t have to come out of pocket to do anything or I didn’t have to take out any loans to go to school,” Kevuntez told Fox 13.

Making around $200 a week, Kevuntez reached his goal, earning enough money to pay all of his tuition at Tennessee State University, where he will study physical therapy.

Kevuntez says he knows that what he’s accomplished is just the tip of the iceberg, and he has advice for anyone who feels that life can be challenging: “Make sure you surround yourself with people that’s trying to go up in life and not trying to bring you down. Just stay positive and always believe in yourself and push for it.”

Read more at Fox 13.

HBCU Young Alumni Seek to Break Stereotypes as ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ Photo Goes Viral

Nyerere Davidson never imagined that a gathering with friends from around the country would produce an iconic photo representing the future of historically black colleges and universities, but the 2008 Florida A&M University graduate couldn’t be happier about it.

“I just thought it would be a nice illustration to counteract the stereotypes about young black people,” says Davidson, a Milwaukee native and recent transplant to Washington D.C. who organized the shoot as a commemorative moment for his birthday celebration last month in the District.

“This is a range of different people from different parts of the country, different shades, different looks and different styles representing what black excellence looks like. And all of us are from HBCUs.”

Davidson is a marketing executive with the YMCA’s national headquarters, and promotes the organization’s Healthy Living/Healthy Communities initiative. A former volunteer with the YMCA’s community-based Black Achievers program in Milwaukee, he says that imagery is a powerful part of connecting with black youth and showing real possibilities in education and professional life.

“With everything going on at Mizzou, and in cities throughout the country, I think this shows young black people in a totally different way,” he said. “We’re all professionals – doctors, fashion designers, corporate executives – but we’re young and we embrace our responsibility to our communities and what our image means to the outside world.”

“Today we live in a world where there is so much attention devoted to the distorted portrayals of African Americans specifically black males,” says Jacob Waites, a 2010 Cheyney University graduate who was among the attendees featured in the photo. “A society where one image can have a huge impact on perception. This is why it’s imperative that images such as the one from Nye’s 30th birthday brunch is so essential. It’s time to dispel the exaggerated views of African Americans and give the world a real-world experience.”

Friends with alumni ties to FAMU, Claflin, Howard, Morgan State, Alcorn State, Tennessee State, Morehouse and Cheyney are represented in the image.  Many say they are proud of their HBCU experience and aware of the role that scenes like this play in promoting similar experiences for future HBCU students.

“Being a part of this photo was iconic for me– when we came together, W.E.B. Dubois ‘Talented Tenth’ essay came to mind,” says Kimberly Guy, a 2002 Tennessee State alumna.  “He asserted, ‘The Talented Tenth of African Americans must be made leaders of thought and missionaries of culture among their people….Negro Colleges must train men [and women] for it.'”

“In an era of social media with its sometimes derogatory and stereotypical portrayals of African Americans, I feel this photo captures the essence of the Talented Tenth. As a proud HBCU alum, this pic represents collectively all professional black in society that are proudly commited to carrying on the legacy established by our forebears while exceeding society expectations for our race. We are leaders, we are pillars of the community, and we are ‘regular folk’. But most importantly we are young, gifted, and Black.”

article via hbcudigest.com

 

Ret. Air Force General Edith P. Mitchell Named New President of the National Medical Association

Dr. Edith P. Mitchell
Dr. Edith P. Mitchell

Edith P. Mitchell was named recently as the 116th president of the National Medical Association (NMA). The NMA is the oldest professional society for African-American physicians and represents about 30,000 members.

Dr. Mitchell is a retired Brigadier General of the United States Air Force. She currently serves as the director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

“I am deeply honored to be sworn-in as president of this prestigious organization,” Dr. Mitchell said at the association’s recent national convention in Detroit. “There is still much work to be done with regards to disparities in medical treatment. I believe that we can all work together and make great strides to address barriers in helping underserved populations get better care and lead to better health care in our nation.”

Dr. Mitchell is a graduate of Tennessee State University in Nashville and the Medical College of Virginia. She completed her residency at Meharry Medical College.

article via jbhe.com

R.I.P. Leo Branton Jr., Civil Rights Lawyer Who Defended Angela Davis

April 6, 1972: Defense attorney Leo Branton listens to Angela Davis as the two walk from court at San Jose. For obit of Branton.
April 6, 1972: Defense attorney Leo Branton listens to Angela Davis as the two walk from court at San Jose.

Leo Branton Jr., a civil rights and entertainment lawyer whose stirring defense of ’60s radical Angela Davis brought him his most celebrated victory in a six-decade career often spent championing unpopular cases, died of natural causes Friday in Los Angeles. He was 91.  His death was confirmed by his son Tony Nicholas.

Branton, the only African-American graduate of Northwestern University’s law school in 1948, helped singer Nat King Cole integrate an exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood, defended Communists in McCarthy-era Los Angeles and won misconduct cases against the Los Angeles Police Department decades before Rodney King became a household name.

“He was a hero of mine,” said Connie Rice, a prominent Los Angeles civil rights attorney who helped lead efforts to reform the LAPD after the King beating.  “All the things I’ve done, Leo Branton did 50 years before I even thought about going to law school. He saw himself not as a private practitioner out to make money for himself but as a lawyer with the skills to be a champion for black liberation.”

Continue reading “R.I.P. Leo Branton Jr., Civil Rights Lawyer Who Defended Angela Davis”

Rodney Bennett Becomes 1st African-American President of the University of Southern Mississippi

rodneybennettRodney Bennett has been selected as the next president of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. He will be the first African-American president of any of the five predominantly White state universities in Mississippi.

Dr. Bennett has been serving as vice president for student affairs at the University of Georgia in Athens. He previously was dean of students and interim provost for institutional diversity at the University of Georgia. Earlier in his career, Dr. Bennett was dean of students at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Ed Blakeslee, president of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning in Mississippi, stated, “With a student-centered approach grounded in experience in all facets of the university, Dr. Bennett brings a tremendous depth of knowledge of higher education, its challenges and how to meet the challenges to help more students succeed in the classroom and beyond. I believe the Board of Trustees has made an excellent choice for the next leader of the University of Southern Mississippi.”

Dr. Bennett holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. He earned a doctorate in educational administration at Tennessee State University in Nashville.

article via jbhe.com

New President at Tennessee State Starts Job by Making a $50,000 Contribution to the University

Glenda Baskin GloverAs her first act of business after becoming president of Tennessee State University on January 2, Glenda Baskin Glover presented the university with a check for $50,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund in her name. She hopes the gesture will propel other alumni to financially support the university. “I want our alumni and everyone to get involved in financially supporting our institution, so I am beginning the process with my contribution. I challenge each alumni chapter to match my gift or follow my lead in giving to TSU.”

Before taking over as the eighth president of Tennessee State University, Dr. Glover was dean of the College of Business at Jackson State University in Mississippi. She had been at Jackson State since 1994. Previously, she was chair of the department of accounting at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Glover is a certified public accountant. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Tennessee State University, Dr. Glover holds a law degree from Georgetown University, an MBA from Clark Atlanta University, and a Ph.D. in business economics and policy from George Washington University.

article via jbhe.com