Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University
Former names
Tennessee A & I College
Tennessee Normal School for Negroes
Motto Think. Work. Serve
Type Public
Established June 19, 1912 (1912-06-19)
Affiliation Tennessee Board of Regents
Academic affiliation
Endowment $51 million[1]
Chancellor John Morgan
President Glenda Baskin Glover
Provost Mark Hardy
Academic staff
Students 9,027 (Fall 2014)[2]
Undergraduates 7,073 (Fall 2014)
Postgraduates 1,954 (Fall 2014)
Location Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
36°10′00″N 86°49′50″W / 36.16667°N 86.83056°W / 36.16667; -86.83056Coordinates: 36°10′00″N 86°49′50″W / 36.16667°N 86.83056°W / 36.16667; -86.83056
Campus Urban, 903 acres (4 km²)
Colors TSU Blue and White[3]
Athletics NCAA Division IOVC
Nickname Tigers
Website www.tnstate.edu
Tennessee State University Historic District
Location 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Architect Marr & Holman, et al.
NRHP Reference # 96000677
Added to NRHP June 14, 1996

Tennessee State University (Tennessee State or TSU) is a public land-grant university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Founded in 1912, it is the largest and only state-funded historically black university in Tennessee. It is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Tennessee State University is a comprehensive urban institution offering 38 bachelor’s degrees, 24 master's degrees, and seven doctoral degrees.


The university was established as the Tennessee A&I State Normal School for Negroes in 1912.[4][5] Its dedication was held on January 16, 1913.[4] It changed its name to Tennessee A&I State Normal College in 1925.[4] Two years later, in 1927, it became known as Tennessee A&I State College.[4]

In 1941, the Tennessee General Assembly directed the Board of Education to upgrade the educational program of the college. Three years later the first master's degrees were awarded and by 1946 the college was fully accredited the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[6]

In 1968, the college officially changed its name to Tennessee State University. And in 1979, the University of Tennessee at Nashville merged into Tenneessee State due to a court mandate.[6]

Today, Tennessee State University is divided into eight schools and colleges and has seen steady growth since its inception. The university's health science program is the largest in the state and one of the largest in the nation.[7]


The 500 acres (2.0 km2) main campus has more than 65 buildings, and is located in a residential setting at 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd in Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessee State's main campus has the most acres of any college campus in Nashville. The Avon Williams campus is located downtown, near the center of the Nashville business and government district. Tennessee State offers on-campus housing to students. There are on campus dorms and two apartment complexes for upperclassmen. 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.


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[8] Tier 2
Washington Monthly[9] 56[10]

The university is currently accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award 38 baccalaureate degrees, 24 master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in seven 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.

Tennessee State is classified as a "Doctoral University with Moderate Research Activity."

The University Honors College (UHC) is an exclusive academic program founded in 1964 that caters to select academically talented and highly motivated undergraduate students.[11]

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 of Health Sciences. The College of Engineering is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and the National Association of Industrial Technology (NAIT).

College of Engineering

College of Business

College of Liberal Arts

College of Education

College of Health Sciences

College Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences

College of Public Service and Urban Affairs

Student activities


Tennessee State University sponsors seven men's and eight women's teams in NCAA sanctioned sports.[12] The school competes in the NCAA's Division I Football Championship Subdivision and is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference.

Fraternities and sororities

NPHC fraternities

NPHC sororities

Other fraternities and sororities

Honor societies


Aristocrat of Bands (marching band)

Notable alumni

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.


Name Class year Notability References
U. L. "Rip" Gooch Commercial Pilot (20,000+ hours) and Certified Flight Instructor; FAA-Designated Flight Examiner; Owner/President, Aero Services, Inc., Wichita, Kansas; regional distributor (Kansas and adjacent), Mooney Aircraft; Member, Wichita Airport Authority; Member, Aviation Advisory Committee, Kansas Dept. of Transportation; 1993 Kansas Governor's Aviation Honor Award; Inductee, Black Aviation Hall of Fame [13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

Civil rights

Name Class year Notability References
Xernona Clayton 1952 Civil rights activist [22]
U. L. "Rip" Gooch Civil rights activist; Commissioner, Kansas Commission on Civil Rights; (also see : "Politics" below) [13][15][16][23]


Name Class year Notability References
Dr. Glenda Glover 1974 Eighth president of Tennessee State University [24]

Music and entertainment

Name Class year Notability References
Jimmy Blanton jazz musician [25]
Hank Crawford jazz musician [26]
Moses Gunn actor [27]
Carla Thomas singer
Leon Thomas jazz singer
Key Wane 2012 hip hop record producer [28]
Rufus Thomas singer (attended one semester)
Oprah Winfrey 1987 talk show host/actress/entrepreneur [29]
Young Buck hip hop star
Lee Summers 1980 Broadway Original Dreamgirls/actor/writer [30]


Name Class year Notability References
James Clayborne, Jr. 1985 Member of the Illinois Senate [31]
Harold Ford, Sr. Member of the U.S. Congress [32]
John Ford Member of the Tennessee Senate
Howard Gentry, Jr. politician [33]
U. L. "Rip" Gooch Member, Kansas Senate (oldest serving Kansas state senator at 2004 retirement); Member, City Council of Wichita, Kansas; (also see : "Civil Rights" above) [13][15][16][23][34][35][36]
Thelma Harper Member of the Tennessee Senate [37]
Harvey Johnson, Jr. Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi [38]
Dr. C. O. Simpkins, Sr. dentist in Shreveport, civil rights activist, and member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1992 to 1996 [39]
A C Wharton Mayor of Memphis, Tennessee [40]
Mark Funkhouser Former mayor of Kansas City, Missouri [41]



Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Joe Adams CFL football player [42]
Brent Alexander NFL football player [43]
Hubbard Alexander American football player
Bennie Anderson 1999 NFL football player [44]
Dick Barnett 1959 NBA basketball player [45]
Ralph Boston Olympic athlete; three time medal winning long jumper [46]
Sam Bowers Gridiron football player [47]
Waymond Bryant NFL football player [48]
Chandra Cheeseborough Olympic runner; gold and silver medalist
Robert Covington 2013 NBA Basketball Player
Dave Davis NFL football player [49]
Richard Dent NFL football player and member of Pro Football Hall of Fame [50]
Lamar Divens NFL football player [51]
Larry Tharpe NFL football player [52]
Cleveland Elam NFL football player [53]
Charley Ferguson AFL football player [54]
Sean Foley golf instructor to PGA Tour players [55]
Ryan Fann Paralympic Runner [56]
Randy Fuller NFL football player [57]
Rogers Gaines NFL football player [58]
Joe Gilliam NFL football player [59]
W. C. Gorden 1952 former head football coach at Jackson State University from 1976 to 1991. Member of College Football Hall of Fame http://www.collegefootball.org/famer_selected.php?id=90149 [60]
Mike Hegman NFL football player [61]
Jarrick Hillery American football player [62]
Claude Humphrey NFL football player and member of Pro Football Hall of Fame [63]
Daniel Johnson NFL football player
Ed "Too Tall" Jones NFL football player [64]
Joe "Turkey" Jones NFL football player [65]
Larry Kinnebrew NFL football player [66]
Anthony Levine NFL football player [67]
Madeline Manning Olympic runner; gold medalist [68]
Anthony Mason NBA basketball player [69]
Edith McGuire Olympic runner; gold and two silver medalist [70]
Steve Moore NFL football player [71]
Lloyd Neal NBA basketball player [72]
Brian Ransom NFL football player [73]
Leonard "Truck" Robinson NBA basketball player [74]
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie NFL football player [75]
Carlos Rogers (basketball) 1994 former NBA basketball player [76]
Wilma Rudolph Olympic runner; first woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympics [77]
Simon Shanks NFL football player [78]
Nate Simpson NFL football player [79]
Ahmaad Smith American football player [80]
Ollie Smith NFL football player [81]
Wyomia Tyus Olympic runner; first person to retain the Olympic title in the 100 m. [82]
Charlie Wade NFL football player [83]
Carl Wafer NFL football player [84]
Javarris Williams NFL football player [85]

See also


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  2. "Tennessee State University : Quick Facts" (PDF). Tnstate.edu. 2013. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  3. Tennessee State University Style Guide (PDF). Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Lovett, Bobby L. "Tennessee State University". The Tennessee Encyclopedia of HIstory and Culture. Tennessee Historical Society and the University of Tennessee Press. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  5. Lamon, Lester C. (Spring 1973). "The Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial Normal School: Public Higher Education for Black Tennesseans". Tennessee Historical Quarterly. 32 (1): 42–58. JSTOR 42623357. (registration required (help)).
  6. 1 2 http://www.blackpast.org/aah/tennessee-state-university-1912
  7. http://www.tnstate.edu/academic_programs/index.aspx
  8. "Best Colleges 2017: National Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016.
  9. "2016 Rankings - National Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  10. "2014 National Universities Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
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  12. "Official Site of Tennessee State Athletics". TSUTigers.com. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  13. 1 2 3 Senate Resolution No.1770: A Resolution congratulating and commending Senator Ulysses Lee "Rip" Gooch, Kansas State Senate, 2013
  14. "Gooch and Johnson honored as aviators," Sept. 6, 2001, Wichita Business Journal
  15. 1 2 3 Gooch, U.L. "Rip" with Glen Sharp, Black Horizons: One Aviator's Experience in the Post-Tuskeegee Era,2006, Aviation Business Consultants, Wichita, KS. (Self-published autobiography, partially published online at Google Books, and distributed by Amazon.com
  16. 1 2 3 U.L. "Rip" Gooch - Legislator, aviator and activist, website of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission, Office of the Governor, State of Kansas, Sept. 13, 2013 (retrieved Oct.29, 2014).
  17. Noble. Horace - "Jayhawk at Skyhook 2014; Senator U.L. "Rip" Gooch attends Skyhook 2014", Sept. 2014, BPA ATIS newsletter, Black Pilots of America, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; notation that Gooch was an original member of the black aviation organization "Negro Aviation International, Inc.," before transferring to the BPA, and notes his attendance at "Skyhook 2014" "the premier event of Black aviation." Reports his May 2014 election as Sergeant-at-Arms of the Jayhawk Chapter of the BPA.
  18. "Salina bankers deny claim they discriminate against minorities,", "Salina Journal, June 6, 1971, page 8, (retrieved Oct.29, 2014 from "Newspapers.com"); includes TEXT identifying "U.L. "Rip" Gooch, president of Aero Services Co., Wichita," as one of the speakers.
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