Tennessee State University marks 103rd birthday with procession, speeches and music

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Members of the Student Government Association celebrate during the 2015 TSU Founders’ Day program in Kean Hall. (photo: John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Tennessee State University is 103 years old.

President Glenda Glover, accompanied by keynote speaker State Rep. Harold M. Love Jr., led a procession of faculty for a Founders’ Day celebration in Kean Hall, with cheers from the audience and selections from the TSU Wind Ensemble.

“This is a great day for Tennessee State University,” said President Glover, as she recounted events in the university’s history from its founding in 1912 to the role it plays today as a major center of education in the nation.

“From 1912 when the then-Agricultural and Industrial Normal School for Negroes, built to provide educational opportunity for Blacks, opened its doors to the first 247 students, TSU has maintained a tradition of excellence in education for a diverse population,” Glover said.

In his keynote address, Rep. Love, a 1994 graduate of TSU, reminded administrators, teachers and students that they have a special role to play in maintaining the institution’s legacy of excellence. Teachers, he said, must learn to understand the special needs of each student to help that student succeed.

tsu founders“Don’t be quick to give up on a student because he or she misses a class or two,” Love said. “That student may just grow up to become a state representative one day,” the Tennessee 58th District representative added, referring to his own path as a student.

Speaking on the theme ‘Honor Our Legacy,’ Love said those who laid the foundation for TSU, although under tough circumstances and with scarce resources, were determined to ensure that their students were well prepared for the world ahead of them.

“To honor that legacy, university administrators must learn to go the extra mile to help that student who may be late registering or in meeting his or her requirements for class,” said Love who has long ties to the university.

Love earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from TSU before going on to earn a master’s degree in ‘theological studies’ at Vanderbilt University. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in public administration at TSU. His late parents, Harold Love, Sr., and Mary Y. Love, also attended TSU and was an administrator at the university for many years.

He thanked President Glover, also an alumnae, for the invitation and her own legacy of excellence in earning multiple degrees. He called on students to be more focused and away from the ‘gadgets.’

“Students, don’t rely on TV and all the gadgets out there. Be focused on your learning as your way of honoring the legacy of this great institution,” Love said.