By Lucas Johnson
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — Thousands of people participated in Tennessee State University’s 2019 Homecoming activities, including the annual parade leading up to the big game.
The Tigers’ 26-24 victory over the Austin Peay Governors on Saturday, Oct. 19, was a fitting end to weeklong events that started on Oct. 13 with the Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest.
The highlight of the day leading up to the Saturday afternoon game was the parade, which featured former TSU football player Christion Abercrombie. He was selected as the Special Presidential Grand Marshal. It was the Atlanta native’s first Homecoming weekend after suffering a life-altering head injury during a 2018 football game against Vanderbilt University.
Earl Jones, a 1973 graduate of TSU, was among the many people who lined Jefferson Street in north Nashville to see the parade that started on 14th and Jefferson and ended at 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard.
Jones, who brought his wife and two great-granddaughters, said he hopes the little girls will continue the legacy and attend TSU.
“That’s what it’s all about, carrying on tradition,” said Jones.
Before the game, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee got things started with the coin toss.
Then early in the game, there was a somewhat solemn moment when a brief period of silence was held for TSU student Rickey Scott, who authorities say died from a gunshot wound.
Besides Abercrombie, other grand marshals were: Ola Hudson, retired teacher and administrator with the Metro Nashville Public Schools; Obie McKenzie, senior relationship manager for top investment firm BlackRock; and Donald Whitehead, retired journalist and broadcaster.
The honorees were: Samuel Abernathy, retired assistant professor and assistant track and field coach with renowned Tigerbelle coach Ed. Temple; Howard Gentry, Criminal Court Clerk for Davidson County and former TSU director of athletics; and Edna Overall, former TSU women’s basketball coach.
Another major highlight of TSU’s homecoming was the Annual Scholarship Gala, TSU’s signature fundraising event, which took place on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Music City Center. This year, the gala welcomed back comedian Jonathan Slocumb as the master of ceremony.
“The Scholarship Gala is a wonderful opportunity for Tennessee State University to enhance meaningful relationships with alumni, loyal friends and community partners on behalf of our student scholars,” Gala chairs Iris Ramey, Cassandra Griggs and Seanne Wilson said in a statement. “The Gala provides the critical funds necessary to meet the significant need for student scholarships, as well as ensure students have access to relevant academic programs that prepare them for an innovative and global marketplace.”
Other Homecoming activities this year included the Coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU; the Breakfast of Champions, the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, and the National Pan-Hellenic Step Show.