Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson to headline Women of Legend and Merit Awards at Tennessee State University
TSU Honors Women March 24th
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Women of Legend and Merit Awards will honor women leaders on Tuesday, March 24, 7 p.m. at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville. Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson will serve as the keynote speaker for the evening.
“Tennessee State University is proud to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of women in our community, and the Women of Legend and Merit Awards presents a perfect opportunity for us to highlight the achievements so many have made in advancing our community and nation,” said Dr. Glenda Glover, president of Tennessee State University. “These women have lived lives of inspiration, courage and sacrifice. It is our privilege to share their stories and achievements.”
Henson, who currently stars in Lee Daniel’s major hit musical drama Empire as Cookie Lyon, and is the recipient of the 2015 NAACP Image Award as Entertainer of the Year, will share her message of encouragement with attendees during the program. She has lit up the big screen in numerous films, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008 in which she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She starred in From the Rough (2014) portraying former TSU golf coach, Dr. Catana Starks, the first woman coach to win a NCAA Championship. Henson is a 2011 Emmy nominee for Best Actress in a movie or miniseries for Lifetime’s Taken From Me, and also starred as Detective Joss Carter in the highly rated J. J. Abrams CBS crime drama, Person of Interest.
“We are certainly looking forward to hearing from the dynamic Taraji P. Henson, and paying tribute to some very dynamic and inspiring women,” said Peggy Earnest, TSU dean of students and chairman for the event. “Many of them have made inroads which have opened doors of opportunity for younger women to meet today’s challenges and fulfill their own promise of a brighter future. We are excited about saluting this new class of honorees.”
The Women of Legend and Merit Awards is a special celebration saluting dynamic women leaders in business and the community in a variety of fields. The first event was held in 2007 and is designed to bring awareness and raise funds in support of the TSU Women’s Center, and seeks to expose the university’s female student population to positive role models, networking opportunities and resources to assist in their academic, personal and professional growth as women.
This year’s honorees include:
Barbara Landers Bowles (Leadership), vice chairman, Investor Resources Group;
Sharon Kay (Media), general manager, WFSK-FM 88.1, Fisk University;
Mercedes C. Maynor-Faulcon (Legal), assistant U.S. attorney, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice;
Sherri Neal (Business), vice president, Cultural Development and Inclusion, HCA;
Phyllis Qualls-Brooks (Government), executive director, Tennessee Economic Council on Women;
Renato Soto (Community Service), co-founder and executive director, Conexion Americas;
Wendy Thompson (Education), vice chancellor, Office of Effectiveness and Strategic Initiatives, Tennessee Board of Regents; and,
Renita J. Weems (Religion), vice president, American Baptist College.
The center will develop and sponsor programming that enhances the skills of women and assist in their development as scholars and professionals. Lastly, the center will work closely with the university's Women's Studies Program to provide academic courses that explore issues of gender, sexuality and inequality through examination of the lives and efforts of women.