Hear What They Have to Say about TSU...
Like many students Chinedu Nwanwoala (‘07) reached his senior year before thinking about his plans beyond high school. When the light bulb finally went off he decided he needed to find a way to get into college. That revelation led him to an army recruitment office and eventually to Tennessee State University.
“I realized I needed to get to college, but I didn’t really plan accordingly while I was in high school,” he said. “So one day I went to a recruiter’s office and devised a plan to not only serve my country, but to also go to school.”
He started his educational pursuits at Langston University and discovered the university was not a fit for him admitting, “I felt too big for the school.”
With a desire to focus his academic pursuits in the field of finance, Nwanwoala moved to action when a Tennessee State University graduate told him about the TSU’s accredited business program. This, coupled with a visit during Homecoming festivities in 2003, sold it for the Oklahoma City native.
Nwanwoala officially transferred to TSU in 2004 as a sophomore. He said working with the TSU Office of Financial Aid made the transition easy. When arriving at TSU, Nwanwoala began to immediately get involved in the campus, working with the Air Force ROTC, the Vanderbilt University Army ROTC and becoming a member of B.L.A.C.K., Inc. (Brothers for Love, Achievement, Culture, and Knowledge), an organization that encourages unity and solidarity among young black men for the purpose of bringing about a positive change in their community. Additionally, he served as a work study student in the Division of Business and Finance, where he worked under the leadership of Cynthia Brooks, vice president for the Division of Business and Finance, who served as his mentor.
“Everyone in the division adopted him,” Brooks said. “He was like a sponge, wanting to soak up everything inside and outside of the classroom that would prepare him for success. He would always tell me, ‘Mrs. Brooks, you’re going to be so proud of me one day.’ When he came back recently to visit from his military assignment in Iraq, I told him I didn’t think it possible that I could ever be prouder of him than I was that moment. He is a great young man.”
Nwanwoala graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration on economics and finance. That same year, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and then to 1st Lieutenant. A year from now, he hopes to be elevated to captain. Each step up means more responsibility, more pay and more work.
“My military experience has taught me how to be a leader and what it takes to motivate people. To be just and fair and having integrity and honor in what you do,” Nwanwoala said. “I plan to go back to school to get my master’s degree in finance and accounting. Then a couple of years after that, I want to work on my doctorate in finance.”
He remains a “true blue” alumnus and continues to support the university through annual giving and positive conversation with potential students and his peers.
“The reason I give back is because there might be someone like me who just needs a chance – and somebody took a chance on me,” he said. “TSU didn’t just teach me how tough life is, but [it taught me] how to handle it.”
Nwanwoala said he learned about professionalism, research and other important business matters during his time at the university.
“With the right attitude and professionalism you can get anywhere,” he said. “You have to take pride in what you do. It’s about discipline, professionalism and how to keep yourself composed. There is a level of mental toughness you must possess, personal presentation and staying calm and making the right decisions.”
He continued, “TSU took care of me. The staff was great to me and they gave me that chance. All I came to TSU with was a car, some clothes and a little hope. I grew up and became a professional because of TSU.”
Univ Rel & Dev