Distinguished Tigers

Our Story.  Our Legacy.  Our Commitment.

Photo of Dr. Glenda Glover
Dr. Glenda B. Glover

Photo of Dr. Alvin Crawford
Dr. Alvin Crawford

photo of Tracey Otey Blunt
Traci Otey-Blunt

photo of coach temple
 Coach Ed Temple

Head shot of Jesse Russell 
Jesse E. Russell

photo of L Starr
Latasha Starr

Head shot of Tony Forte
Tony Forte

dr. Catana Starks
Dr. Catana Starks

Joe Gilliam, Jr.

photo of Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Photo of Jimmy Blanton playing instrument
Jimmy Blanton

Photo of Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell
Dr. Edith
Peterson Mitchell
Photo of General Lloyd Newton
General Lloyd Newton, Ret.
Photo of Elaine Cato
Elaine Cato
Amos Otis

Howard Gentry, Jr.

Photo of Richard Dent
Richard Dent

Bryan Williams

Photo of Kevin Williams
Kevin W. Williams
Photo of Chandra Cheeseborough
Chandra Cheeseborough
Photo of Ralph Boston
Ralph Boston
photo of edith mcquire duvall
Photo of Dr. Levi Watkins
Dr. Levi Watkins
Photo of Senator Thelma Harper
Thelma Harper
photo of cromartie
Photo of Wilma Rudolph
Wilma Rudolph
Photo of Dr. Bobby Jones
Bobby Jones
Photo of Xernona Clayton
Xernona Clayton
Photo of Moses Gunn 
Moses Gunn
  Photo of Tina Tyus-Shaw
Tina Tyus-Shaw

Photo of Michelle Robinson
Michelle Robinson

  Photo of JoAnn North
Jo Ann North

Tuesdae Knight

photo of solomon westbrook  
Dr. Solomon Westbrook




Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover began serving as President of Tennessee State University, on January 2, 2013. 
Dr. Glover was formerly the Dean of the College of Business at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. 
She is a certified public accountant, an attorney, and is one of two African American women to hold the
Ph.D-CPA-JD combination in the nation.  Dr. Glover's educational development began as a student at Tennessee
State University, where she majored in mathematics.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, she pursued
the Master of Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University.  She then completed her doctorate in business
from George Washington University, and later completed her law degree from Georgetown University. Back to top


Alvin H Crawford graduated Cum Laude from Tennessee State University in 1960.  He became the first African American to
graduate from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine.   Specializing in treating scoliosis, or curvature of the spine,
Dr. Crawford is one of the nation's foremost authorities on video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, which allows surgeons to 
insert rods through small incisions to straighten the spine.  Among his long list of positions, honors, and awards is the first
African American president of the Scoliosis Society in 2001, Hall of Fame of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and
the Trumpet Award in 2009 to name a few.  Dr. Crawford will receive the Laurel Wreath Award, the highest award
bestowed by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.  Back to top


Joe Gilliam was one of the first African American quarterbacks to start a regular season game in the NFL. 
While his chance to start came at a time when teammate and quarterback Terry Bradshaw was on strike,
Gilliam capitalized on the opportunity by leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 30-0 victory over Baltimore. 
His college career record of 39 wins, three losses, two Division II national championships and being named
National Black College Player of Year are testaments to his talents.  Back to top


A 1986 graduate of Tennessee State University, Oprah Winfrey, the multi media mogul, has garnered international appeal
for her talk show. As the first Black woman billionaire in world history, Winfrey has overtaken EBay CEO, Meg Whitman,
as the richest self-made woman in America. Back to top


An accomplished string bass player, Jimmy Blanton was discovered and signed with the famed
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington Big Band Orchestra. Blanton is noted best for his bass solos in
Duke Ellington’s “Ko Ko”, “Jack the Bear” and “Concerto for Coutie.” Back to top


Dr. Mitchell is a clinical professor of Medicine and Medical Onocology, program leader in Gastrointestinal Oncology and associate director of diversity for the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.  Mitchell received a B.S. in biochemistry from Tennessee State University in 1969.  In addition to her medical achievements, Dr. Mitchell is a retired Brigadier General from the Air National Guard.  She served as assistant to the Command Surgeon for U.S. Transportation command and headquarters Air Mobility Command based at the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.  Dr. Mitchell has authored and co-authored more than 100 articles, book chapters and abstracts on cancer treatment, prevention and cancer control.  Back to top


Jesse Russell graduated from Tennessee State University in 1972 with a BSEE and a MSEE degree from Stanford University in 1973. Russell is recognized globally as a leader, technology expert and inventor in the field of wireless communication. His innovations in digital signal processing lead to the modern cell phone that changed the world.  Russell holds over 75 patents and continues to invent and innovate in the emerging area of next generation broadband wireless networks, technologies and services, which is frequently referred to as 4G. Russell was inducted into the United States' National Academy of Engineering for his innovative work in digital cellular communications technology.  Russell is currently Chairman and CEO of incNETWORKS,Inc. a New Jersey, USA based Broadband Wireless Communications Company focused on 4th Generation Broadband Wireless Communications Technologies, Networks and Services.  Back to top


Starr's innovative academic and professional approach to Engineering and Science provided her unique research opportunities with NASA Ames, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), The Boeing Company, and the Centro de Astrobiología (SPAIN), all before beginning her career as a Systems Engineer for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC). Less than a year later, LaTasha was one of only 15 engineers throughout LMSSC selected to participate in the Engineering Leadership Development Program (ELDP) for the 2008 class.  LaTasha graduated with a bachelor's degree in Aeronautics and a minor in Biology from Tennessee State University. At the University of Washington(Seattle), LaTasha earned her Master's degree from the College of Engineering in Human Centered Design & Engineering with a concentration in User Interface Design.  Back to top



After graduating in 2002 with a BBA from Tennessee State University, Forte has made a career and hobby of impacting & marketing to youth culture.  As a regional accounts manager for Nike Inc., Tony specializes in emerging fashion opportunities with young adults. He currently resides in New York and started his career in fashion with Sean "Diddy" Combs, as an employee of Sean John Clothing. During his tenure at Sean John, he serviced accounts in the Northeast, International, and managed sales of strategic projects. As a manager of strategic initiatives, he oversaw commerce for projects such as the highly influential "Vote or Die" campaign of 2004.  Upon his departure from Sean John, Forte worked with yet another highly acclaimed entertainment mogul, Russell Simmons. Since being at Nike, he has been the recipient of several highly acclaimed company awards including Nike "Rookie of the Year".  Back to top


Tennessee State University alumna and faculty member was the first female head coach of an NCAA Division I men's golf team.  Starks story has been captured and will be shared with the world in a feature film, From the Rough.   Starks who holds a bachelor's( '69), master's ('73) and doctorate ('80) degree from TSU coached the men's golf team to the National Minority Golf Championship in 2005.  While Starks no longer coaches golf, she remains a lover of the sport and a fan.  Today, she heads TSU's Human Performance and Sport Sciences department, and has been instrumental in updating the curriculum, student enrollment and increased graduation rates in both the bachelor's and master's degree programs.   Back to top


Earning a bachelors of science degree in aviation education in 1966, Lloyd “Fig” Newton
would later serve as the commander for Air Education and Training Command, headquartered
at Randolph Air Force Base. Over the course of his career, the four star General Newton flew
269 combat missions in North and South Vietnam; and has logged more than 4,000 flying hours
in the F4, F-15, F-16 and the F-117 stealth fighter. Back to top


A 1990 graduate of Tennessee State University, Elaine Cato secured national support for the invention
of the Backless Brassier in 2008. Her product invention, now available in the public marketplace, received
the second runner-up prize on ABC’s “American Inventor.” Back to top


Amos Otis, a 1965 graduate of Tennessee State University, began his career with the humble idea of flying airplanes,
realizing later his true talents were engineering and environmental services. Otis is now the president and CEO of
SoBran, Inc., an engineering and environmental services company based out of Virginia. Back to top


A Nashville native, serves the Metropolitan Government of Nashville as the Criminal Court Clerk of Davidson County in the Twentieth Judicial District.  Gentry was elected three times to countywide public office. He was a Metro Council member-at-large before being elected Metro Nashville-Davidson County’s first African American vice mayor. He was reelected in 2003.  Gentry formerly served as CEO of Backfield in Motion, a nonprofit organization that combines athletics and academics to inspire inner-city boys to reach their potential.  He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in education from Tennessee State University in 1974 and 1998, respectively. Back to top


A 1977 graduate of Tennessee State University, Jo Ann North recently retired from her post as Davidson
County Property Assessor, where she served since 1992. Having been honored as the Assessor of the Year,
North is also recognized as the first woman elected as an At-Large member of the Metropolitan Council of
Nashville, Davidson County. Back to top


An eighth round draft pick by the Chicago Bears 1983, Dent became the first TSU alumnus voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2011 class.   Dent played 10 seasons with the Bears and was named MVP in Super Bowl XX.  Dent remained with the Bears until 1993.  He went on to play for the San Franciso 49ers, Indianapolis Colts and the Philadelphia Eagles.  At the time of his retirement in 1997, Dent's lifetime stats included 137.5 sacks, 8 interceptions and one 89 yard touchdown.  Back 


Senior partner of a New York City law firm who earned a B.S. degree from TSU in 1978, was recently elected chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Conference of Bar Examiners . The NCBE develops tests that are used as part of the bar examination in every jurisdiction in the United States. The Indianapolis native is a member of the New York State Bar Association Committee on the Bar Exam, the Howard Law Alumni Association, and the New York County Lawyers’ Association. A founding partner with Pettus and Williams, a Manhattan-based law firm, Williams is no stranger to the NCBE and the law profession.Williams, who was elected at the August meeting of the NCBE, becomes only the second African-American male to chair the Board of Trustees in the organization’s 83-year history. He is also, a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Back to top


Michelle Robinson Wilkins is a 2000 graduate of Tennessee State University and a former Miss TSU. Coupled with
her beauty Wilkins, known as Myshel Wilkins in the music industry, is a strong musical talent having performed
with Tamia, Kelly Price and American Idol Mandisa Hudley. She has recorded an album entitled “Its Time.” Back to top


Kevin Williams a 1983 graduate of Tennessee State University and TSU Foundation board member is the former president and managing director of General Motors Canadian operation. Armed with his bachelor’s degree, Williams notes, “Tennessee State prepared me for the reality of corporate life.” One of his many career accomplishments . Back to top


At the early age of 16, Chandra Cheeseborough broke onto the world scene of track and field by winning two
gold medals at the 1975 Pan American Games. Cheeseborough developed her skills at Tennessee State University
and continued her legacy at the 1984 Games when she became the first woman to win gold medals in both relays,
which were held less than an hour apart. Cheeseborough is continuing the great track and field legacy of Tennessee
State University as the current coach for women’s track. Back to top


Ralph Boston, the long jump Olympic Gold Medalist in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, is a notable
Tennessee State University alumnus. A 1962 graduate, Boston also won a silver medal for the long jump
in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and a bronze medal in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. Back to top


A 1964 graduate of Tennessee State University, Edith McGuire Duvall competed with fellow teammates Wyomia Tyus
and Wilma Rudolph on the famed Tennessee State Tigerbelles Track Team. In the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo,
she competed against fellow teammate Tyus in the 100 meter, and won two gold medals; one gold for the
4 x 100 meter relay team and the second in her favorite event, the 200 meter. Back to top


A 1966 graduate of Tennessee State University, cardiac surgeon Dr. Levi Watkins is known for the creation
and the implantation of the Automatic Implantable Defibrillator (AID). The AID detects irregular heart rhythm
and shocks the heart back to life. Back to top


Thelma Harper graduated from Tennessee State University in 1978. Since 1991, Harper has served as Senator
for the 19th District in the Tennessee General Assembly. Her political career has led to the position of delegate
for the 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992 Democratic National Conventions. Back to top


A 1950 graduate of Tennessee State University, Edward Stanley Temple, who served as head women's track coach
at Tennessee State University from 1953 to 1994, led over forty athletes to Olympic competition, bringing home a
total of 23 Olympic medals (13 gold, six silver, and four bronze). His teams also won 34 national team titles and 30
Pan-American Games medals. As the women's coach, Temple laid a foundation for growth in women's athletics,
a boom that continues to this day. Back to top


Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, becoming the first American
woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics. A Black Athlete Hall of Famer, Wilma Rudolph’s childhood
was plagued with polio, scarlet fever and pneumonia; and, for a few years she lost the use of one leg.
She achieved Olympic greatness and worldwide acclaim as a Tennessee State University Tigerbelle,
where she received a full scholarship and ultimately received her degree in elementary education. Back to top


"What Dick Clark is to rock 'n' roll and Don Cornelius is to soul, Bobby Jones is to gospel music," declared
Washington Post writer Mike Joyce in 1995. Bobby Jones graduated from Tennessee State University in 1959,
and beginning in 1980 produced Bobby Jones Gospel Hour, which airs weekly on the Black Entertainment Television
(BET) cable network. Along with his credits in the gospel music industry, Jones was named Dominica
Ambassador At-Large in 2006. Back to top


President and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation and creator of The Trumpet Awards, a 1952 graduate of
Tennessee State University, Xernona Clayton is a media icon. The retired vice-president of urban affairs at
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS) in Atlanta, GA, Clayton is the originator of the extremely popular
"Moments in History," one-minute broadcasts on African Americans that were televised daily during Black History Month. Back to top


A 1959 graduate of Tennessee State University, Moses Gunn is the renown actor who in 1977 received an Emmy nomination for his appearance as tribal chieftain Kintango in the ground-breaking miniseries Roots. Gunn is also noted as the founder of the Negro Ensemble and received several Obie Awards for his off-Broadway work. Back to top


Niece of three time Olympic Gold Medalist, Wyomia Tyus, and fellow Tennessee State University alumnus, Tina Tyus-Shaw continued the legacy of greatness. Chosen to carry the Olympic Torch through Savannah, Georgia, Tyus-Shaw is the television news anchor and journalist for WSAV-TV in Savannah. Back to top


Rodgers-Cromartie is an American football cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals. He was drafted first round; 16th pick by the Cardinals in 2008.  Dominique played in the 2009 Super Bowl, and career highlights include 136 tackles and 13 interceptions.  Back to top 


A veteran media, political, and public affairs specialist, Blunt is the senior vice president for corporate communications and public affairs at RLJ Companies.    Blunt served as deputy communications director to now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign.  A 1990 graduate of Tennessee State University, Traci has more than 15 years experience leading public relations and public affairs campaigns for corporate, political, and non-profit organizations.  Back to top


A native of San Diego, California and a 1999 alumna of Tennessee State University. While a TSU student, Knight was actively involved on campus joining Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.’s Alpha Chi Chapter in 1996, the Pre-Alumni Council and serving as a peer counselor. She is currently employed with the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce as vice president of Business Development and Membership. Prior to joining the chamber, she served as director of marketing and public relations at the YMCA of Greater San Antonio. Knight is well-traveled and educated, studying abroad at the Universidad de la Católica in Lima, Perú as well as receiving a MBA from Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas. When Knight is not working she spends time in service to others as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, the VA Hospital, Kiwanis and with her beloved sorority. Back to top



Westbrook earned a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science degrees both in Chemistry in 1951 and 1952, respectively.  As a chemist for Lucidol he was responsible for the development of chemicals and processes to stabilize peroxides.  Wesbrook is recognized as an expert in the development of polymers (plastics), stabilizers, desensitizers and phlegmatizers.  He has  published numerous scientific papers and has been awarded nineteen patents in the USA, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Germany and Japan.   Westbrook is a member of Beta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, Beta Kappa Chi and Kappa Delta Pi Honors societies.  He was also listed in Who's Who in American College Students in 1952.  Back to top