The Wilson County Chapter of the Tennessee State University (TSU) Alumni Association hosted their 4th annual Scholarship Banquet on Friday, June 10.
The banquet was held at the Ward Agricultural Center and welcomed scholarship recipients, Lydia Betha, who cheers at TSU, and Darian Aliyah Barr, a 2015 Lebanon High School graduate who plans to continue her education as a sophomore at TSU. Distinguished guests included National TSU Alumni President Tony L. Wells, TSU President Glenda Glover and keynote speaker, former Memphis Mayor AC Wharton Jr.
The theme of the banquet, "Real Fathers, Real Men," coincided with the upcoming Father's Day holiday.
Wharton, a native of Lebanon, is a 1966 honors graduate of TSU. Following his education at TSU, he attended the University Of Mississippi School Of Law. He first served as Mayor of Shelby County for seven years - and was the first African American to serve in that office. Most recently, he served as Mayor of Memphis. He has also taught law at the University of Mississippi on an adjunct basis for 25 years.
Wharton said he felt it was his obligation as an alumna of TSU to give back. "I am where I am because of Tennessee State," he said. "There is a great relationship between TSU and Wilson County. Wilson County is a humble county, but has sent doctors and lawyers everywhere because of the nurturing nature of TSU... It is going to be of critical importance that each university muster up as much support as it can."
And who better to help future students than past ones?
Wells, who flew in from Washington, D.C. for the event, pointed out that when he started his education at TSU tuition was about $6,000 per year.
"Now it is over $15,000 a semester. The cost of tuition has been steadily going up. The amount we receive from the State of Tennessee is declining. We have to do our part to offset the money not coming from the state," he said. "If we want the quality of students we want to have, we have to increase our giving."
Lebanon Housing Authority Executive Director Patrick Johnson served as Master of Ceremony at the banquet. Acknowledgements and recognition were given by J.W. McGuire and the invocation was given by Thomas Marks. Calvin Rogers Jr. provided musical entertainment and Spence Talley welcomed Wharton to the podium.
Lebanon Ward 2 Council Member Fred Burton read a proclamation and Aniece McClure presented scholarships. Robert Moxley Sr. presented a gift to the speaker.
Closing remarks were given by Mayor Wharton's sister Ruth Wharton and Ms. Audrey Stradford.
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto and County Commissioner Annette Stafford were also in attendance.
For additional information on the TSU Alumni Association Wilson County Chapter, contact president Linda Tapley or Vice President Amelia Tapley-Irvin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, respectively.