MTSU Trailblazers Recognized During Black History Month

Filed Under: President's Post

Four history-making women pose for a photo Feb. 7 outside MTSU's Tennessee Room before the University's 16th annual Unity Luncheon, which celebrates the "unsung heroes" of community service during Black History Month. From left are luncheon guest speaker Dr. Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, executive director of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women, and Unity honorees Olivia M. Woods, Thenartis Ellis and Mary Scales. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Middle Tennessee State University celebrated Black History Month in February with many wonderful events. I was pleased to attend many of the observances, including the 2012 Unity Luncheon on Feb. 6 that recognized a trio of honorable women and, most recently, the Pioneer Summit on Feb. 27 , a panel discussion that featured some of MTSU’s first black students discussing their groundbreaking experiences.

My congratulations to our Unity luncheon honorees: Thenartis Ellis, Mary C. Scales and Olivia Murray Woods. And my thanks to our featured speaker, Dr. Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, executive director of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women. You can read more about this event on

I also appreciate the seven pioneers who shared their compelling stories at our Feb. 27 panel discussion: Leonora Washington, Michael McDonald, Jimmy Powell, Mary “Beanie” Secrest, Dr. Phyllis Hickerson-Washington, Coach Dean Hayes and Tommy Haynes. The Daily News Journal covered the event, moderated by Vincent Windrow, our director of intercultural and diversity affairs.

There were many other fine events in February for Black History Month. And there’s still one more left: U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is scheduled to deliver the keynote address for MTSU’s observance of Black History Month at 7 p.m. Friday, April 6, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building. Read more here.

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