Board nominees l-r; Stephen Corbeil, Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell, Bishop Joseph Walker III, Deborah Cole, Dr. Glenda Glover, TSU president; Obie McKenzie, Richard Allen Lewis, Dr. Ali Sekmen, Pam Martin and Bill Freeman Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations

By Lucas Johnson

NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) –Tennessee State is a step closer to having a university board.

The state Legislature on Monday, Feb. 13, approved Gov. Bill Haslam’s nominees for TSU’s University Board of Trustees. The Senate unanimously approved the group, and the House overwhelmingly passed them 94-3.

The nominees now head to the governor’s desk for final approval.

The board is part of the governor’s Focus on College and University Success (FOCUS) Act, which changes the way public higher education institutions in Tennessee are governed. Instead of being under the Tennessee Board of Regents, the state’s six public four-year universities will now be governed by a local board.

TSU’s board nominees are:

Deborah Cole, president and CEO of Citizens Savings Bank & Trust Co.

Stephen Corbeil, president of TriStar Division of Hospital Corporation of America

Bill Freeman, chairman of Freeman Webb, Inc., a real estate development firm based in Nashville

Richard Allen Lewis, Sr., owner of Lewis & Wright Funeral Home, which has served the greater Nashville community for over 50 years

Pam Martin, president of Cushion Employer Services and 2014 appointee to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission

Obie McKenzie, managing director of BlackRock, Inc. and founding board member of the National Association of Securities Professionals

Edith Peterson Mitchell, clinical professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology for the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, and current President of the National Medical Association

Bishop Joseph Walker III, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Nashville and presiding Bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, International

To see the nominees’ full bios, or learn more about the FOCUS Act, visit

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