By Meagan Gosa
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — The highly anticipated annual Tennessee State University Women of Legend and Merit Awards, which recognizes the achievements of women, returned recently after a two-year break due to the pandemic. On Tuesday, April 5, four amazing trailblazing women received the coveted glass slipper symbolic of the awards, at an elaborate ceremony in Kean Hall, featuring Hollywood legend Lynn Whitfield.
The honorees were recognized for their achievements in various disciplines. Deputy Mayor of Nashville Brenda Haywood received the award for Community Service; Attorney Phyllis Hildreth, Education; General Session Court Judge Allegra Walker, Government; and Channel 5 News Anchor/Producer Tuwanda Coleman for achievement in Media. Lashan Dixon, former Mrs. United States of America, was also honored with a special award.
In an evening of glitz and glamour, TSU President Glenda Glover congratulated the honorees and recognized Whitfield for her long and successful Hollywood career that has earned her an Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nomination. The day before the event, Whitfield had a brief interaction with about a dozen students on the main campus.
“We are pleased to have you on our campus to speak to our students,” Glover told the actress. “And to our honorees, alumni, faculty, students, and supporters, we are so happy to see you. Thank you for your support.”
Whitfield, noted for such movies as “Eve’s Bayou,” ‘The Josephine Baker Story,” and “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate,” capped the evening with a monologue attributed to such powerful women as actress Ruby Dee, poet Maya Angelou, and author Nikki Giovani.
“I really don’t think that anybody invites an actress to anything just to make a speech,” Whitfield said. “I feel what I should do right now is, not try to ‘preachify’ to you but entertain you.” And she did, with song, dance, and acting!
Also honored at the awards ceremony was TSU freshman Gabrielle Mosby, a business administration major with a concentration in supply chain management. Throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, Mosby has maintained a 3.43 grade point average. She was recognized as this year’s Rising Star and awarded a $1,500 scholarship to pursue her dream of owning an investment firm.
“It was truly an honor to be celebrated among legendary women such as Mrs. United States of America, actress Lynn Whitfield, and all of the women who were honored here tonight,” said Mosby, who is from Memphis, Tennessee. “It is amazing to see that one day I will be legendary like them and this is the start of it.”
Seanne Wilson, the director of the TSU Women’s Center, said the Women of Legend and Merit Awards dinner is intended to inspire the young women on campus to be leaders in all areas of their lives.
“I’m always excited to bring fresh, young, relevant women to the table to help them to look toward where they inspire to go,” Wilson said. “As such, I’m always looking for connections as far as membership, professional development, and women that can help other women to the next level.”
For more information on the TSU Women’s Center, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/womenscenter/.