In a heartwarming ceremony at Nissan Stadium, Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover was honored with the prestigious 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker Award by the Tennessee Titans.
The long-time educator and HBCU advocate was recognized for her exceptional work in pursuit of social justice in higher education. The Changemaker Award recognizes individuals in each NFL team market who make a difference in their communities across Inspire Change’s four focus areas: education, economic advancement, police-community relations, and criminal justice reform.
“I am honored to be recognized as the Tennessee Titans 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker,” said President Glenda Glover. “Historically Black Colleges and Universities are home to so many diverse, gifted, and brilliant students who have the ability to make a difference globally. TSU is proud to partner with the Tennessee Titans in preparing students to go out into the world and to change it for the better.”
For decades, Dr. Glover has worked to transform the HBCU student experience for the benefit of thousands of students and the state of Tennessee at large under the NFL’s Inspire Change Education pillar. Members from the University family, Tennessee Titans staff, and the Nashville community were on hand to acknowledge her contributions and impact. Among them was Mika McKinney, a TSU alumna and current intern for the Titans, who is benefitting from President’s Glover on-going partnership with the team. McKinney is pursuing her master’s in sports administration from the institution as well.
“The TSU Titans partnership has bridged the gap between theory and practice, giving me real-world insight that goes beyond experts,” McKinney said. “This has been an experience nothing further than transformative. It’s about people, growth, and community, and continuing to work better for the future.” She emphasized the collaboration’s impact on mentorship and personal growth beyond football and academics.
Dr. Glover, moved by McKinney’s words, expressed her joy in seeing students like Mika thrive.
“It makes my job worthwhile,” Glover said. “I am so honored. It recognizes the partnership between TSU and the Titans and what we are going to do in the community and what we want to do with HBCUs.” Dr. Glover also underscored the value of the educational experience and their commitment nationwide.
In his words acknowledging President Glover’s significant impact, Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell emphasized the strength of the TSU and Titans partnership and celebrated the moment as reflective of the city’s unity.
“It’s a great day for football and a great day to celebrate one of our community’s finest,” Mayor O’Connell stated.
Tennessee Titans CEO and President Burke Nihill expressed his gratitude for Dr. Glover’s friendship and the ongoing collaboration between TSU and the Titans. “To our organization, your legacy will always be transitioning from a TSU, Tennessee Titans partnership to a TSU, Tennessee Titans friendship,” Nihill said.
Johari Matthews, VP and Executive Director of the Tennessee Titans Foundation and Community Impact, explained the selection of Dr. Glover as the 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker recipient.
“Dr. Glover was chosen because of her committed work to higher education, specifically supporting HBCUs,” Matthews said. “She has made it her mission to ensure that young people have access to higher education while also bringing attention to the many inequities and resources and funding that our HBCUs endure.”
Kind remarks about surrounding Glover’s legacy were also shared by TSU alumna Tina Tuggle, the VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Titans and Adolpho Birch III, who oversees the Titans’ Chief External Affairs.
In addition to the breakfast program, President Glover was honored on the field during the Titans game against the Texans. She was greeted with cheers as she was once again recognized as the Titians Inspire Change Changemaker award.
“This recognition means so much to me because I am a diehard Titans fan, so much so that we hired Eddie George, one of the most prolific players in the Titans franchise history, as our head football coach. I am so appreciative of what we are starting and where we are headed from here with this partnership.”
The Inspired Change Changemaker award comes with a generous $10,000 donation from the NFL Foundation. Glover will donate the entire sum back to Tennessee State University.
As the first female woman and alumna to serve as president of TSU, President Glover has overseen significant increases in enrollment, alumni fundraising, research dollars, and academic offerings. Glover is a certified public accountant, an attorney, and one of two African American women to hold the Ph.D-CPA-JD combination in the country. In 2022, President Joe Biden appointed her as Vice Chair of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
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