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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Spring 2020 Graduates
Celebrated Electronically

While the coronavirus prohibited Texas Southern University from holding its traditional Spring Commencement ceremony on May 9, the Spring 2020 graduate candidates were honored electronically with an eCelebration video that posted on Saturday. The video features remarks from Interim President Huewitt, Provost Kendall Harris, each of the academic deans, outgoing SGA President Marcus Nash, and special words of encouragement from TSU alumnus and ABC’s Good Morning America co-host, Michael Strahan. Additionally, there was an innovative music presentation (performed remotely by the Music Department) of the TSU Alma Mater that concluded the video. Conditions permitting, a tentative date for the in-person ceremony for the Spring graduates is scheduled for Saturday, August 8, in the H&PE Arena.
A Word from Michael Strahan
Texas Southern University  Alma Mater
A Message to our Spring Graduates from Interim President Ken Huewitt

Texas Southern University is preparing for a phased return to on-campus work. Informed by the latest guidance from local, state and federal government officials and public health authorities, the University’s COVID-19 Task Force has developed a three-phase strategic reopening of campus. Click here for a letter from TSU Interim President Kenneth Huewitt. Visit for additional information about Return to TigerLand.

News Around Campus

Athletics Holds Virtual Graduation & Sash Ceremony for 34 Student-Athletes

Even though COVID-19 halted on-campus operations, it was business as usual for the Texas Southern University Department of Athletics as the department honored 34 student-athletes and support staffers in the first-ever Student-Athlete Virtual Graduation & Sash Ceremony on May 7.
"I get more joy out of this day than anything," said Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Kevin Granger. "Knowing that our student-athletes will receive their degrees and move ahead to the next stage of their lives is what this is all about. Yes, you're coming to college to play sports but you are really here to graduate so you can set yourself up for better opportunities once you leave college." 
Under normal circumstances, the student-athletes and the athletic department staff would hold its annual Graduation & Sash Reception on campus as each graduate would receive their student-athlete sashes. With on-campus activities halted due to COVID-19, Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Enhancement Kimberly Evans and staff made the online transition as the student-athletes and athletic department staff were joined together through the Zoom platform.
85 TSU Student-Athletes Earn Academic Honors
A total of 85 Texas Southern student-athletes earned academic honors for their work in the classroom over the past academic year. In order to quality for honors, a student-athlete must obtain a 3.0 or higher GPA and have been enrolled at TSU for a full academic year (Spring 2019 and Fall 2019).

Texas Southern University alumni and supporters truly stepped up to the plate for our #GivingTuesdayNow campaign on May 5. Designed to align with the global day of giving for COVID-19 relief, the Office of Development hoped to raise $20,000 to provide emergency relief for students. We're happy to report that the campaign far surpassed that as 215 donors gave $30,816. Since the need for relief is ongoing, the #GivingTuesdayNow campaign will continue. You can join in supporting our students and donate, simply by texting ILOVEMYTSU to 41444. Thank you to those who gave, and those who will give. The Tiger Pride is strong and making a difference!

Here's a special thank you to all the donors from one of our TSU student recipients.

CARES Act Provides Much-Needed Funding for TSU Students

Thousands of eligible TSU students submitted applications for emergency funding related to the disruption they experienced during the Spring 2020 semester. The funding is part of the CARES Act, which stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund and sent money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. Students must submit a TSU CARES Act Emergency Aid Application in the MyTSU portal – on the Student Front Page in the Announcements section once the student logs in to MyTSU. More information about this program can be found at

Class of COVID-19

Texas Southern University and Class of 2020 graduates Kernard Jones, Andrea Moss and Taylor York were featured in a MSNBC special called "Class of COVID-19," which aired on Saturday. The new alumni spoke about the importance of HBCUs and how graduating during COVID-19 has impacted them. View the clip below:  

TSU Transitions to Online Tutoring

 As Texas Southern University students have made the transition to online learning, online tutoring is available to assist students as they navigate this new normal. The mission of the Student Academic Support Services (SASS) department – to provide academic support to TSU students – has transitioned in unique ways to help many students who have never experienced online instruction. The online tutoring department, SASS Online Tutoring (S.O.T.) employs peer tutors to help students maximize their academic potential.

Full Story

TSU Online Library Transition

Texas Southern University’s Library Learning Center began transitioning a wide variety of content online when they moved across campus from the Terry Library last summer. One of the many purposes of the library is to provide electronic access to scholarly content online and meet the needs of scholars on all levels. Over the past 10 years, over $1 million dollars was spent to ensure the electronic resources and services appropriately supported the institution.  

Full Story

Top HBCU Ranking for College Consensus

Texas Southern University has been ranked among the Best HBCUs for 2020 by College Concensus. TSU sits at No. 10 on the list and we are delighted! Click the link for an exclusive profile on the institution: 
Full Story

Life in a Virtual Career Center 

Finding a job or internship can be challenging under the best of conditions. Throw in a global pandemic that has turned job markets upside down, and it may seem downright impossible.
While the Texas Southern University Career & Professional Development Center can’t control all the different variables, it is making a difference – one student at a time - in lives of career-minded Tigers.
Full Story


Alumna and Real Estate Broker Tiffany Curry becomes the first 100% African American Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Franchise Owner in the World. Read more about her here. 

Alumna Melanie Johnson, Ed.D. appointed to Texas Animal Health Commission by Governor Abbott.
Johnson of Houston is the president and CEO of Collaborative for Children. She previously served as president and CEO of the John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science. Prior to this appointment, she served as NASA’s Space Center Houston’s Director of Education. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the HCA Houston Medical Center and the Foundation Board of Texas Southern University, and former member of the Council of the Texas Association of Museums. Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts in International Trade and French from Auburn University, a Master of Hospitality Management from the University of Houston, and a Doctorate of Education from Texas Southern University.

OIT – We are Here During COVID-19

The rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps one of the most significant challenges we will face in our lifetime.  Each day brings new information, requiring the entire community to be agile in prioritizing and addressing needs.  As TSU works to mitigate the impact, we are continuing our move to cloud-based and mobility platforms that will sustain learning and business continuity, not only for these unprecedented times but also for the future.  While we may not be in our usual workplaces, we are still collaborating, operating, and available to serve the TSU community.  We remain committed to supporting the advancement and sustainability of TSU's vision, mission, and student success.
As we continue to progress on our Renew 2022 projects, here is what you can expect in the next few weeks:

  • Financial Aid Department -- training on how to get the most ouf of Banner began this week.  Remember, all departments have access to the Banner On-Demand Subscription Library available, 24/7.  Instructions can be found here.
  • All Banner applications were moved to the Cloud this past weekend.
  • TSU's new OIT Website launched on May 11 to provide updates on technology modernization and the information you need when you need it.
  • Comprised of leaders throughout the campus, our Technology Project Governance Committee is discussing project management, solutions to meet the learning and business demands of COVID-19, and required organizational change to ensure the success of Renew 2022. May 21st is the next scheduled Governance meeting. 
  • Virtual orientation and online application projects are being fast-tracked to facilitate virtual tours for prospective students, applications to help expedite financial aid/funding, and ensuring business continuity and swift recovery.
  • As always, the IT Service Center is available to help with all of your technology-related needs:

Stay safe. Stay Healthy.
Go Tigers!

Center for Justice Research 
Applications now being accepted for Summer Virtual Internships

  The Center for Justice Research (CJR) is seeking students for our summer virtual internship. In this position, interns will participate in various research projects and assist with the development of research questions, data collection, data analysis, writing and presentations of research findings. Interns are also expected to attend weekly research team meetings (virtually).
If selected, you will serve as a representative of the Center for Justice Research, carrying out the research agenda established by CJR. These positions aim to develop the next generation of justice-oriented researchers. If interested, or you know a student in need of a summer position please apply here
As an intern you are given the unique opportunity to work with our highly trained researchers on various projects, as well as attend virtual conferences and networking events.  You will also have an opportunity to help our initiatives on:
  • Advancing police-community relations
  • Reforming prosecutorial decision making
  • Understanding predictive bias
  • Researcher development

Thank you for your consideration.

About the Center for Justice Research
The Center for Justice Research is a nonpartisan research center devoted to data-driven solutions for an equitable criminal justice system. Our mission is to reduce mass incarceration through targeted, culturally-responsive, evidence-supported solutions and strategic engagements.

Department and partners to offer more than a dozen free COVID-19 test sites week of May 18

Houstonians will continue to benefit from easier access to free COVID-19 tests as the Houston Health Department and its partner agencies offer 13 testing sites across the city the week of May 18, focusing on vulnerable communities.

Texas Division of Emergency Management

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the health department will open four drive-thru test sites at these locations:

  • Hilliard Elementary School, 8115 East Houston Street, May 18-20
  • Yolanda Black Navarro Middle School, 5100 Polk Street, May 18-20
  • B.C. Elmore Elementary School, 8200 Tate Street, May 21-23
  • John R. Harris Elementary School, 801 Broadway Street, May 21-23

TDEM sites require appointments, obtained by calling 512-883-2400 or visiting The sites will open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. or until each reaches its daily capacity of 250 tests.

United Memorial Medical Center

United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) and the health department will extend operations at an existing site and open five new drive-thru sites May 18-22 at these locations:

  • Fonwood Early Childhood Center, 9709 Mesa Drive, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
  • Forest Brook Middle School, 7525 Tidwell Road, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • United Memorial Medical Center, 510 W Tidwell Road, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
  • Cullen Middle School, 6900 Scott Street, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Griggs EC/PK/K School, 801 Regional Park Drive, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

The Houston Community College-Southeast testing site, 6815 Rustic Street, which opened May 7, will continue operations through May 22 from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. UMMC sites do not require people to have symptoms or appointments and have a daily capacity of 250 tests each. People needing information about UMMC test sites can call 1-866-333-COVID or visit

Houston Health Department Community-Based Sites

The health department continues to operate two free drive-thru COVID-19 community-based testing sites open to anyone, regardless of symptoms. Each site has capacity for 500 tests per day and opens daily until capacity is reached. People must call the department’s COVID-19 Call Center at 832-393-4220 to receive an access code and directions to the nearest community-based site.

Kroger Health

Kroger Health and the health department will operate a free drive-thru test site at the Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, 6719 W. Montgomery Drive, May 19-23. The site requires appointments by visiting The site will operate 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or until reaching its daily capacity of 175 tests.

Federally Qualified Health Centers

The health department is also providing test kits, lab access and equipment to four local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) so they can expand their COVID-19 testing capacity. The centers and phone numbers people can call to set up testing appointments are:

  • Spring Branch Community Health Center, 713-462-6565
  • El Centro de Corazon, 713-660-1880
  • Avenue 360 Health and Wellness, 713-426-0027 and
  • Lone Star Circle of Care at the University of Houston, 877-596-6192.

FQHC patients pay what they can afford, based on income and family size, and are not denied services due to inability to pay or lack of insurance.

Houstonians should visit for test site information and updates about the COVID-19 response.

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