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NAME CHANGE: TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY

After Walter Davis retired as president in 1968, another TSU alumnus, Andrew Torrence, was named the University’s third president. During his relatively brief tenure, the state legislature dropped “Agricultural & Industrial” and officially changed the name to Tennessee State University.

 

MERGER WITH UT OF NASHVILLE

When Frederick Humphries became TSU’s president in 1975, Nashville was also home to a second public four-year university. The Knoxville-based University of Tennessee began offering extension credit in Nashville in 1947 and expanded its programs throughout the 1960s. By 1971, it was accredited as a degree-granting institution that occupied new quarters at the corner of Tenth and Charlotte Avenues. But in 1968, TSU faculty member Rita Sanders filed a lawsuit, which became known as Geier v. Tennessee, alleging a dual system of higher education in Tennessee based on race. On July 1, 1979, the case was settled by a court order merging the former University of Tennessee at Nashville with TSU. As president, Humphries was the first to face the challenge of maintaining the balance between TSU’s role as one of America’s preeminent historically black universities and its emerging status as a comprehensive national university.

 

The Geier v. Tennessee case, however, remained alive for 32 years. Rita Sanders Geier was joined by the U.S. Department of Justice and by TSU professors Ray Richardson and H. Coleman McGinnis as co-plaintiffs in the suit. After numerous court-ordered plans failed to produce progress, all parties achieved a mediated consent decree that was ordered by the court on January 4, 2001.

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CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AND PROGRESS

Following a year as interim president, Otis Floyd became TSU’s fifth chief executive in 1987 and continued moving the university forward, initiating efforts that resulted in the state general assembly providing an unprecedented $112 million for capital improvements in 1988. Under this plan, nearly all campus buildings were renovated and eight new facilities were constructed, including the Floyd-Payne Campus Center, the Ned McWherter Administration Building, the Wilma Rudolph Residence Center, and the Performing Arts Center.

Then, in 1990, the Tennessee Board of Regents appointed Dr. Floyd its chancellor, opening the way for James Hefner to become TSU’s sixth president in 1991. Hefner supervised additional improvements to campus facilities and fostered enrollment growth to an all-time high of 9,100 students. The Otis Floyd Nursery Crops Research Station in McMinnville was dedicated in 1996, and, in 1999, researchers at the TSU Center for Automated Space Science were the first to discover a planet outside our solar system.

Melvin N. Johnson became the university’s seventh president in June of 2005, and was instrumental in continuing to bring national attention to the university by recognizing the Freedom Riders 14, engaging the university in the Tennessee Campus Compact, receiving national awards for community service and engagement, awarded $8 million for Race to the Top Funds by President Obama, opening the university’s doors to flood victims and businesses, and obtaining Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

 

In the University’s 100-year history, Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover became president in January 2013 and continues making changes to further emphasize the excellence for which TSU is known worldwide.

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Today, Tennessee State University offers 45 bachelor’s degree programs and 24 master’s degree programs and awards doctoral degrees in biological sciences, computer information systems engineering, psychology, public administration, curriculum and instruction, educational administration and supervision, and physical therapy. In entirety, Tennessee State University comprises eight colleges and schools.

TSU & the Olympics

Tennessee State University has a rich Olympic heritage involving the TSU Tigerbelles.

Coach Ed Temple - Former TSU track Coach Ed Temple, who was the head coach of two Olympic teams, was selected as a member of the 2012 class of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Read more.

A statue of Ed Temple will be constructed at the new Nashville Sounds’ ballpark which is intended to provide the most exposure for the legendary Tennessee State women’s track coach, Mayor Karl Dean said.

Wilma Rudolph , a TSU Tigerbelle, was an Olympic Sprint Champion - Read more about her athletic feats on the official Olympics website .

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