NATIONAL ALUMNI HISTORY
Unlike the origin of other alumni chapters, the Nashville Alumni Chapter had its beginning as the Alumni Association in 1915. As the college grew, producing more and more graduates who were employed throughout the United States, many chapters were formed in various parts of the country. This caused the Alumni Association to evolve into a General Alumni Association and later into a National Alumni Association. Graduates residing in the Nashville area had always been members of the original Alumni Association or General Alumni Association until 1949 when a Nashville Chapter was organized and chartered in 1950.
The idea of an Alumni Association took shape when a group of students of the 1913 Summer Session anticipated such an organization following their graduation and drafted the following resolution:
Resolutions - Summer 1913
No information is available on the results of this meeting or subsequent meetings until 1923. After the institution was elevated to college status in 1922, President Hale established on campus an Office of the Alumni in 1923, during the week of commencement 1923 the Alumni Association was reorganized. C. D. Purdy, '22 was elected President and R. B. J. Campbell, '18 was elected Executive and Corresponding Secretary in charge of the Office of the Alumni. Christopher C. Purdy became a member of the first college graduating class in 1924, and remained president of the Alumni Association until 1928.
The 1923 reorganizational meeting was a fruitful one. A new and simple, yet comprehensive institution administration through the legislative action of 1925. All fourth-year graduates had to pursue and complete the Constitution which was formed since the old Constitution had been lost; plans were made for the 1924 decennial celebration of the 1914 graduating class, the first class of the institution; and the group went on record as having endorsed the erection of a stadium as a gift to the institution.
One of the tasks of the Office of the Alumni was to inform all graduates to send any news of interest to the office and especially information on the achievement of graduates. This office placed this type of information in each school catalog, in addition to mailing an "Alumni form" to all graduates to fill out and return. The institution already had a record of many graduates for School Catalogs prior to 1923 that listed the names, positions held, and addresses of many alumni.
Graduates responded to the request, however, for other institutional publications, especially the Tennessee A. and I. State Normal College Bulletin, gives additional information on alumni. For instance, in 1932, Theodore Poston, '28, informed the school of his experience as a newspaper correspondent in Soviet Russia, Erma Jewell Hughes, '30, told that she owned and operated Hughes Business College in Houston, Texas and Phinetta Baker, '31, told of a special program she conducted at the Carroll Country Training School in Mckenzie, Tennessee.
In subsequent issues of the bulletin, Ollie Stewart, '30, informed the institution that he had written and sold an article in the November, 1939 issue of American Magazine and to a magazine section of the New York Times October 2, 1939 issue. Hazael E. Welton, '32, informed the institution of his 1939 doctorate degree from Ohio State University in the field of Optometry. Hazael Welton, in 1981, contributed over $20,000 to the scholarship endowment that bears its name of Tennessee State University and in 1982 the Hazael, '4l, Edward Welton Plaza, which is erected in front of the Joseph Payne Student Union Building, was dedicated.
In 1925, the Alumni Association worked closely with the Office of the Alumni and urged all Academic graduates to return to college to complete a collegiate course in preparation for the changes caused which required at least one year of college work in order to hold any kind of position in the State. The Alumni Association sent out a warning that none of its sons and daughters would be deprived of their position through the operation of this law.
The Alumni Association continued to develop and expand and by 1928 regional vice-presidents had been established. Clarence Hayden Wilson, the regional vice-president for Middle Tennessee, was in charge of plans for the celebration of the first Homecoming on Thanksgiving Day, November 29, 1928. Meredith G. Ferguson, re-elected in 1928 as president of the Alumni Associations, issued the following