By Lucas Johnson
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University received awards for “Best Student Organization” and “Alumnus of the Year” at the recent 2018 Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ Digest Awards.
The winners were announced at a ceremony on June 22 in Washington, D.C.
TSU’s Collegiate Citizens Policy Academy received the “Best Student Organization” honor, and James Shaw, Jr. got the top alumnus award.
The Academy, believed to be the first in the nation, is an opportunity for students to see “what real police work looks like,” says TSU Dean of Students Frank Stevenson, the brainchild of the academy.
The program exposes students to various aspects of police work, including domestic violence investigation, making split second decisions in a firearms training simulator, traffic stop training, and how the Metro Nashville Police Department uses special resources such as SWAT, horses and canine units.
In the case of the Alumnus Award, James Shaw, Jr. made national news in April when he disarmed a Waffle House shooter. Shaw continues to be recognized for his actions. Last week, “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman gave his MTV “Best Superhero” Award to Shaw, who was attending the MTV Movie and TV Awards in Santa Monica, California.
“Receiving an award for playing a superhero is amazing, but it’s even greater to acknowledge the heroes that we have in real life,” Boseman said. “So I just want to acknowledge someone that is here today, James Shaw, Jr.”
Immediately after the shooting, Shaw started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the families of the Waffle House shooting victims. Last month, he presented a check for more than $240,000 to the families at a private ceremony at TSU, which has also set up a scholarship in Shaw’s name.
The HBCU Awards is the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievement at historically black colleges and universities throughout the country. Winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, journalists, HBCU executives, students and alumni for the merit of accomplishment and for generating positive coverage for HBCU campus communities.
More than 700 nominations were received for this year’s nomination process, an event record.
Last year, TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands and the university’s College of Engineering received top honors in the HBCU Digest Awards.
The year before that, TSU got three honors: Alumna of the Year, Dr. Edith Mitchell; Female Coach of the Year, Track and Field Director Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice; and Female Student of the Year, RaCia Poston.
In 2015, TSU’s women’s basketball team got Female Team of the Year, and student activities received Best Student Organization.