“It is an exciting privilege to stand before you today to accept the presidency of Tennessee State University and I look forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead.”
With that statement, Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover officially became the eighth president of Tennessee State University, with thousands watching including family members, state and local dignitaries, alumni, faculty, students and delegates representing more than 50 institutions of higher learning.
The Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, John Morgan, performed the investiture of Dr. Glover, giving her the oath and Chain of Office, which made her the first African American female to lead a TBR institution.
Among other dignitaries participating in the investiture of Dr. Glover were several former TSU presidents, including Dr. Frederick Humphries, Dr. James Hefner, and Dr. Charles B. Fancher, who served briefly as interim president. Also participating in the ceremony was Mayor Karl Dean, of Nashville.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, by way of a video, congratulated Dr. Glover, calling the inauguration “a proud and momentous occasion and an extraordinary milestone” for the state.
“Dr. Glover is well respected by her colleagues and is well suited to oversee this historic institution,” Haslam said.
Giving her inaugural address on the theme, ‘Roots and Wings,’ Dr. Glover spoke about the possibilities that come with getting a good education.
“Roots and wings are the greatest gift a university can give to its students,” Dr. Glover said, adding that roots can help a student lay the foundation of success, while wings can help them to soar as high as possible.
She recounted her own humble beginning and her experience as a student at TSU, and thanked the university “for giving me the wings and the roots to be the person I am.”
Saying that she grew up in a house with no running water or indoor facilities, the 1974 TSU graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics said it does not matter where you come from—it’s how determined one is to succeed that counts.
“I’m living witness that God can do exceedingly abundantly above all you could ever ask, ever hope or imagine,” Glover said. “Here I am today: a university president.”
While emphasizing academic excellence, Dr. Glover, who has been in office since Jan. 2, recounted successes, partnerships and collaborations formed since arriving at TSU. For the first time, the president said, no students was turned away for lack of funding, pointing to the “overwhelming” response of community and business partners, alumni, student and staff to an SOS sent out that raised more than $500,000 in just six days and saved 350 students from being turned away or purged for lack of funding.
“Alumni giving has doubled from this time last year,” she said. “We are forming more partnerships with the community and businesses not just for fundraising but also to be great academic partners.”
Meeting and celebrating with hundreds of family members and well wishers amid the buzz immediately following her investiture.
Support for the new president was infectious.
Dr. Bobby Jones (’59), gospel great, and a platform guest, was one of the first to congratulate Dr. Glover.
“This is my alma mater, and to come here and to have the honor of sitting on the platform with my new president is a humbling experience,” Jones said.
State Sen. Thelma Harper, also a TSU graduate, said: “She [Glover] is ready for the job and TSU is ready for her. We will support her fully.”
Gwendolyn Oatis Neal (’69, ’71) said: “I know [Glover] will move TSU to its highest.”
Dr. Glover, whose inauguration ceremonies coincided with Homecoming, crowned out her celebration with the Inaugural and Scholarship Ball at the Opryland Hotel, the parade along Jefferson Street, and the Homecoming football game.