Percent Greek: Estimated variously between 3 and 17 percent
Location: 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
Founded: 1909 as the Agricultural and Industrial State Normal School, but it became TSU in 1912. The Tennessee State Board of Education didn't recognize it as a full-fledged university until 1922.
Famous Graduates: Oprah Winfrey (television superstar), Lloyd Newton (highest-ranking African American in the Air Force), Harold Ford (Tennessee's first African American congressman), Dick Barnett (NBA player), Wilma Rudolph (Olympic athelete)
Notable Accomplishment: Tennessee State University graduate and track and field legend Wilma Rudolph received one of the nation's highest honors when a U.S. postage stamp was issued in her honor this summer.
Where can I park?
Although shuttles, buses and a pedestrian-friendly campus make it possible to get by without a car, TSU is also a very auto-friendly campus. If you're a student, you have already purchased a parking permit; it was included with your tuition payments. All you have to do now is visit the TSUPD and get a decal to put on your car. Parking lots outside most of the dorms and major buildings on campus make parking easyas long as they're not already full. Parking is easier early in the mornings before all the off-campus students drive in. Once the lots get filled, especially around lunchtime, you should still be able to find a spot; you just might have a long walk.
Which course or professor will change my life?
David Padgett teaches a variety of courses and directs Tennessee State University's award winning Geographic Information Systems (GIS) lab. The lab uses computerized mapping technologies to display data on social, economic and environmental characteristics of different neighborhoods, cities and regions. If you love looking at maps, or just want to take an interesting course, look for his courses on geography and cartography.
If, while taking professor Padgett's course on the geography of Africa, you find out that you are an African cultures fanatic, you've come to the right place. TSU also offers the only freestanding African Studies program in the Southeast. The program is one of only three of its kind among historically black colleges and universities in the United States.
Where do all the guys/girls stay?
All the freshman men stay at the south end of campus, in Watkins Hall, while the freshman women are all at the north end of campus in Wilson Hall. Both dorms have computer labs, lounges and study areas. Watkins has a laundry room, and there are kitchen facilities on five floors of Wilson, which also has the reputation for being impossible to infiltrate if you're not a resident. Have your ID handy, and only drop by during visitation hours. The policies on visitation hours vary from semester to semester, since the acting dorm directors establish them. The only co-ed freshman housing is the honors dorm, leveling the playing field for the nerds.
Will I feel out of place if I'm not African American?
Tennessee State University began accepting students in 1912. At that time, racial segregation kept white and black students in different colleges. Thus, while TSU is now an integrated school, it was founded as an institution exclusively for the education of African Americans. These days, the student body is about 75 percent black, 21 percent white, with the remaining 4 percent comprising other ethnicities. TSU students represent 42 states and 52 countries.
The diversity of the student body, though, hasn't changed the identity of the school at its core. It remains one of America's premier historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Where can I go to get some work done?
The easiest answer is the Brown Daniel Library in the center of campus. Even with 420,000 books, there's still plenty of space for cranking out some calculus problems in this 82,000-square- foot building. If your test is not for a few days, the second floor has a reputation for being more of a hang out, while the third floor is more conducive to actual work.
How can I find out what's going on?
The campus paper is The Meter. There is also a campus radio station (580 or 1600 AM, or channel 99 on campus cable). Both are valuable resources for learning about social and cultural events. Besides these, the best sources for events unique to TSU are the bulletin boards in each dorm and flyers handed out at lunch and other gatherings. There's also an online and print calendar of events for the biggest campus happenings. And, if you're lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, there are PA systems in many campus buildings and dorms.
By Brian Christens
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