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Tennessee State

Tennessee State University
Tennessee State University Seal
Motto Think. Work. Serve
Established June 19, 1912 (1912-06-19)
Type Public, HBCU
Endowment $43 million[1]
Chancellor John Morgan
President Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover
Provost Dr. Mark Hardy
Academic staff 550
Undergraduates 6,780
Postgraduates 1,995
Location Nashville, Tennessee,
United States
Campus Urban, 903 acres (4 km²)
Former names [Tennessee A & I College] [Tennessee Normal School for Negroes]
Colors Blue and White
Athletics National Collegiate Athletic Association
Nickname Tigers
Affiliations Ohio Valley Conference
Tennessee State University (TSU) is a land-grant university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. TSU is the only state-funded historically black university in Tennessee. The University is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.


Tennessee State University Historic District
Location 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Architect Marr & Holman, et al.
Governing body Tennessee Board of Regents
NRHP Reference # 96000677
Added to NRHP June 14, 1996

TSU was originally organized as the Agricultural and Industrial State Normal School in 1909 and began serving students on June 19, 1912. Its status was raised to a four-year teachers' college in 1922, and two years later it was renamed the Agricultural and Industrial State Normal College.[2] In 1927, "Normal" was dropped from its name.[2]

It was elevated to university status in 1951, renamed the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial University, and got full-fledged land-grant university status by the Tennessee State Board of Education in 1958.[2] In 1968, the state legislature dropped the words "Agricultural and Industrial" in favor of "Tennessee State University."[3] Since 1972, it has been operated under the auspices of the Tennessee Board of Regents.[2][4]

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University has grown dramatically from a small college to two campuses: the 500-acre main campus and the downtown Avon Williams campus, which is located in the heart of Nashville near the State Capitol. The diverse student population of more than 9,000 represents 46 states and 45 countries.

Tennessee State University is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degrees and 22 master degrees. Seven Doctoral programs include biological sciences, psychology, public administration, computer information systems engineering, administration and supervision and curriculum and instruction.

The present-day Tennessee State University exists as a result of the court-ordered merger on July 1, 1979, of Tennessee State University and the former traditionally White institution, the University of Tennessee at Nashville, which had begun as an extension of the Knoxville-based University of Tennessee.[2] This resulted in a downtown campus.


The university is currently accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award 45 baccalaureate degrees, 21 master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in six areas (Biology, Computer Information Systems Engineering, Education, Psychology, and Public Administration), as well as the two-year Associate of Science degree in nursing, and dental hygiene.

In December 2010, TSU was placed on warning from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and risks losing its accreditation if it does not address and correct major deficiencies in institutional effectiveness by December 2012.[5][6] In December 2011, TSU's accreditation was fully reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for 10 years.

The College of Business is accredited by AACSB, the Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International or AACSB International; the first in Nashville to earn dual accreditation of both the undergraduate and graduate programs in 1994. The Psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and the Teacher Education program by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The College of Engineering has developed corporate partnerships with NASA, Raytheon and General Motors. The School of Nursing boasts a 100% first-time pass-rate for students taking licensure examinations. The College of Health Sciences (formerly the School of Allied Health) has recently added much-in-demand programs such as the Masters in Physical Therapy and the Bachelor's of Health Sciences.

College of Engineering

The TSU College of Engineering is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), offering baccalaureate degrees in the areas of Architectural Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical and Industrial Technology, and Mathematical Sciences; graduate degrees in the areas of Computer and Information Systems Engineering, General Engineering (M.E.), Biomedical, Civil, Environmental, Electrical, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Engineering; with the Ph.D. in Computer and Information Systems Engineering with concentrations in Computer Communications and Networks, Control Systems and Signal Processing, Robotics and Computer Integration, and Manufacturing.

It is also accredited by the National Association of Industrial Technology (NAIT), offering the B.S. in Aeronautical and Industrial Technology with concentrations in Aeronautical Technology (through Academic Common Market), Aviation Management, Aviation Flight, and Industrial Electronics Technology (through Academic Common Market).

College of Business

The TSU College of Business was the first to earn dual Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International) accreditation (accreditation of both the undergraduate and graduate programs at the same time) in 1994.

College of Liberal Arts

  • Art (B.S.: National Association of Schools of Art & Design)
  • Music (B.S., M.S.:National Association of Schools of Music)
  • Social Work (B.S.: The Council on Social Work Education)

College of Education

College of Health Sciences

  • Dental Hygiene (A.A.S., B.S.: Commission on Dental Accreditation)
  • Health Care Administration and Planning (B.S.: Association of University Programs in Health Administration)
  • Health Information Management (B.S.: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management )
  • Medical Technology (B.S.: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences)

Cardio-Respiratory Care Sciences

Cardio-Respiratory Care Sciences students are prepared to become respiratory therapists. Students receive extensive clinical training in affiliated area hospitals. The Cardio-Respiratory Care Science program of study is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Students in the Cardio-Respiratory program of study receive a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care.


The Tennessee State University division of Nursing has a course of study for both an Associate of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing as well as a Master of Science in Nursing graduate program. The Division of Nursing is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission. The graduate program offers Holistic Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner and in Nursing Education as specialties in the Master of Science in Nursing program.

Occupational Therapy

Tennessee State University's Occupational Therapy program started in 1991. Once a student has earned a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy they are eligible to sit for the National Board Certification Examination. The TSU Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.

Physical Therapy

Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), the Physical Therapy program provides a pathway to a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. TSU has participated in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service since 2011 for its application process into the Physical Therapist graduate program.

Speech Pathology and Audiology

Tennessee State University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Master of Science in Speech and Hearing Science. Certification to practice speech-language pathology requires a Master's degree as entry level. The Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology's graduate program has maintained accreditation by the Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology since 1985.

School of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences

  • Family and Consumer Sciences (B.S. American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, American Dietetics Association)

Institute of Government

  • Public Administration (M.P.A.: The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration)


The 450 acres (1.8 km2) main campus has more than 65 buildings, and is located in a residential setting at 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd in Nashville, Tennessee. The Avon Williams campus is located downtown, near the center of the Nashville business and government district. It has been rumored that TSU is in the process of adding 3 satellite campuses in Memphis, Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Chattanooga, Tennessee hoping to reach more students across the state of Tennessee. No published information exists on the expansion. Tennessee State offers on-campus housing to students. There are on campus dorms and two apartment complexs for upper classmen. On campus facilities include dormitories Wilson Hall, Watson Hall, Eppse Hall, Boyd Hall, Rudolph Hall, Hale Hall, as well as the Ford Complex and New Residence Complex, TSU's two on-campus apartment complexes.

Student activities


Main article: Tennessee State Tigers and Lady Tigers

Tennessee State University sponsors seven men's and eight women's teams in NCAA sanctioned sports.[7] The school competes in the NCAA's Division I Football Championship Subdivision and is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference.

Fraternities and sororities

Notable alumni

Civil Rights

Name Class year Notability References
Xernona Clayton 1952 Civil rights activist [8]


Name Class year Notability References
Dr. Glenda Glover 1974 Eighth president of Tennessee State University [9]

Music and Entertainment

Name Class year Notability References
Jimmy Blanton jazz musician [10]
Hank Crawford jazz musician [11]
Moses Gunn actor [12]
Carla Thomas singer
Leon Thomas jazz singer
Rufus Thomas singer (attended one semester)
Oprah Winfrey 1987 talk show host/actress/entrepreneur [13]


Name Class year Notability References
Harold Ford, Sr. Member of the U.S. Congress [14]
John Ford Member of the Tennessee Senate
Howard Gentry, Jr. politician [15]
Thelma Harper Member of the Tennessee Senate [16]
Harvey Johnson, Jr. Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi [17]
A C Wharton Mayor of Memphis, Tennessee [18]


Name Class year Notability References
Brent Alexander NFL football player [19]
Bennie Anderson 1999 NFL football player [20]
Dick Barnett 1959 NBA basketball player [21]
Ralph Boston Olympic athlete; three time medal winning long jumper [22]
Waymond Bryant NFL football player [23]
Chandra Cheeseborough Olympic runner; gold and silver medalist
Dave Davis NFL football player [24]
Richard Dent NFL football player and member of Pro Football Hall of Fame [25]
Lamar Divens NFL football player [26]
Larry Tharpe NFL football player [27]
Cleveland Elam NFL football player [28]
Charley Ferguson AFL football player [29]
Sean Foley golf instructor to PGA Tour players [30]
Ryan Fann Paralympic Runner [31]
Randy Fuller NFL football player [32]
Joe Gilliam NFL football player [33]
W. C. Gorden 1952 former head football coach at Jackson State University from 1976 to 1991. Member of College Football Hall of Fame
Mike Hegman NFL football player [35]
Claude Humphrey NFL football player [36]
Daniel Johnson NFL football player
Ed "Too Tall" Jones NFL football player [37]
Joe "Turkey" Jones NFL football player [38]
Larry Kinnebrew NFL football player [39]
Anthony Levine NFL football player [40]
Madeline Manning Olympic runner; gold medalist [41]
Anthony Mason NBA basketball player [42]
Edith McGuire Olympic runner; gold and two silver medalist [43]
Steve Moore NFL football player [44]
Lloyd Neal NBA basketball player [45]
Leonard "Truck" Robinson NBA basketball player [46]
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie NFL football player [47]
Carlos Rogers (basketball) 1994 former NBA basketball player [48]
Wilma Rudolph Olympic runner; first woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympics [49]
Simon Shanks NFL football player [50]
Nate Simpson NFL football player [51]
Ollie Smith NFL football player [52]
Wyomia Tyus Olympic runner; first person to retain the Olympic title in the 100 m. [53]
Charlie Wade NFL football player [54]
Carl Wafer NFL football player [55]
Javarris Williams NFL football player [56]

See also

  • List of Tennessee State University presidents


Further reading

External links

  • – Official web site
  • – Official TSU athletics
  • – The Meter (Student newspaper)
  • – Alumni site

Coordinates: 36°09′57″N 86°49′49″W / 36.165874°N 86.830337°W / 36.165874; -86.830337

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