By Emmanuel Freeman
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — When Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover traveled to her hometown of Memphis last week, she had one goal in mind: Bring back Tupac Moseley.
Moseley had recently graduated valedictorian of his class at Raleigh-Egypt High School, and received $3 million in scholarships, all while homeless his senior year. This hands-on treatment didn’t go unnoticed by the shy teen.
“For the president herself to drive down to one of the schools to actually assist a student personally, one-on-one, to take him or her up there for a visit, it’s just mind blowing to me,” said Moseley, who will major in engineering.
Dr. Glover personally led a team of senior university officials to Memphis and presented Moseley with a full-ride scholarship, including housing and a meal plan.
“Tupac is not homeless anymore,” Glover said to the throng of media representatives and a cheering crowd assembled in the school cafeteria during a celebration for the teen. “He now has his own room with a meal plan with all the necessary amenities to help him continue his success as an academically talented student. That’s what we do. We are an HBCU, we care about our students. It is in our DNA that we can see a student with this much potential and talent and see what we can do to assist him even before he starts his academic journey.”
Moseley’s remarkable story of perseverance and success amidst homelessness and poverty has made national headlines. The 18-year-old became homeless in his senior year after his father died and the family could not afford the mounting bills. They moved to a campsite for the disadvantaged. In the midst of the hardship, the Memphis native found a way to stay focused in school, and “staying on top of everything that came his way in class work,” his high school principal said. He graduated with a 4.3 grade point average.
“Tupac is an amazing individual with excellent math knowledge,” said principal Shari Meeks. “He has taken the highest-level math here that we offer. He has attained college credits. He took a statewide dual credit challenge test in pre-calculus and passed it. He could have gone to any school in the nation. I think TSU will have an asset in Tupac. He is awesome and revered by his classmates – he helps them, he tutors them.”
At a sendoff reception for Moseley in the principal’s conference room, the standing room only audience included state and county Who’s Who, such as State Rep. Antonio Parkinson (District 98), who was instrumental in the TSU/Moseley talks; and Dr. Joris M. Ray, superintendent of Shelby County Schools.
Parkinson described Moseley as the “best and brightest talent that has ever been produced in Shelby County.”
“This is just the culmination of a lot of things that’s been going on,” Parkinson said about the reception. “Losing his father, homelessness, that was just too much for anyone. What we have done is just pull resources together to make sure that we provide the stability for him and Tennessee State University was part of the strategy to create that stability for one of our best and brightest talents.”
Superintendent Ray was thankful for the support system at the school – principal, teachers, counselors.
“This young man is a testament of being very resilient and strong,” Ray said. “I am so proud of his hard work, dedication, and he defied the odds with a great support system here at school that helped him to overcome and achieve in the midst of turmoil. I am so proud of Tupac, what he has done here, what he has done for our city and school district.”
As a way of telling his story and helping others facing hardship, Moseley created his own T-shirt based on his quote, “Your location is not your limitation.” He earned 50 scholarships worth a total of $3 million. He said he is majoring in engineering “because I love the smiles I get after helping people with tech issues.”
Moseley is not coming to TSU alone. Two other fellow graduates, including his best friend, Brandon Fontaine, also received scholarships and will attend TSU with him. President Glover included them in the trip back to campus on Wednesday as well. Fontaine is considering majoring in business management or mechanical engineering. The other student, Natoriya Owens, who wants to pursue a career in entrepreneurship, will major in theater arts with a minor in business.
President Glover added that this is what makes HBCUs so special for African Americans, and particularly first-generation college students and communities of color.
“This is the type of hands-on, special attention TSU provides our students, and especially those with unusual circumstances. It also speaks to the holistic approach and nurturing that HBCUs provide to students. Tupac is a prime example of the role TSU and other HBCUs play in addressing the total needs of our students.”
Tennessee State University is currently accepting students for the fall and have scholarships available for qualified students who want to major in STEM.