TSU planning historic virtual Homecoming celebration amid pandemic

Tennessee State University may not be having a traditional Homecoming this year because of the pandemic, but its Big Blue spirit will still shine through another way: virtually.

For 2020, TSU has planned several virtual events Oct. 23-25 under the theme ‘Essentially TSU – We’re in This Together!’

“Every aspect of our lives has changed considerably since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic from earlier this year,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “TSU’s ongoing commitment in prioritizing the health and safety of the campus has led us to host an abbreviated schedule of events to celebrate and reflect.”

Here are some of the planned events:

Friday, Oct. 23

  • Tiger Statue Unveiling Ceremony at 10 am, CDT
  • Founders Day Program at 10:30 am
  • In the spirit of tradition, a Virtual Pep Rally, ‘Big Blue Spirit Day,’ at noon. Senior football players will be saluted, and there will be a special social-distance performance by TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands.
  • First-ever virtually elected Royal Court for the Mister and Miss TSU Coronation at 7 pm

Saturday, Oct. 24

  • Virtual scholarship gala titled ‘An Evening of Jokes and Jazz!’ Veteran comedian, Jonathan Slocumb, will host the event featuring TSU alumni trumpeter Melvin Miller and award-winning saxophonist Jazmin Ghent.
  • TSU will recognize some of its alumni who are essential, front line workers and first responders. There will be special acknowledgement of dedicated TSU employees, who keep the University safe and operating effectively during the pandemic

Sunday, Oct. 25

  • The virtual celebration will conclude with a Gospel Brunch at 1 pm, hosted by TSU alum Dr. Bobby Jones, known in many circles as the Ambassador of Gospel Entertainment.
  • Noted alumni clergy, Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings and Rev. Dr. Tony Evans, will round out the program.

Tiara Thomas, student trustee on TSU’s Board of Trustees, said even though this year’s homecoming will not be traditional, she and her peers are still looking forward to the events.

“I believe all students and alumni alike can agree that our love for TSU is unconditional,” said the junior from Biloxi, Mississippi. “We will not allow COVID-19 to silence our celebration of our beloved TSU and all of its excellence. The Homecoming committee has worked hard to virtually capture the traditions of Homecoming Week.”

“We may not be celebrating in person, but we wanted to host some events to still keep our students and our alumni community engaged,” said Grant Winrow, Homecoming chairman and special assistant to President Glover.

Winrow said he hopes alumni and other supporters of the university who traditionally make the trip to Nashville will use those travel funds for a “scholarship of your choice” at TSU.

“Please give a portion of those monies that you would spend coming here to the TSU Foundation,” said Winrow, who offered a glimmer of hope for next year.

“I think that 2021 will be our year to come back stronger than ever before, in the Big Blue spirit of tradition,” he said.

For more information about the TSU Foundation, visit <www.tnstate.edu/foundation>.

To see the Homecoming activities, visit <www.youtube.com/user/TSUMedia>.

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