Aug 15, 2023 - News

TSU president to retire in 2024

Glenda Glover

Tennessee State University president Glenda Glover. Photo: courtesy of Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University president Glenda Glover announced Monday that she would retire in 2024 after more than a decade on the job.

Why it matters: Glover led the historically Black university during a time of significant change. Under her leadership, the university gained a broader national profile and received recognition from the Grammys and the White House. She also successfully pressed state leaders to address a longstanding funding shortfall.

  • In February, though, Glover faced withering criticism from Republican lawmakers after a report from the comptroller stated that poor leadership had exacerbated an on-campus housing crisis.
  • The comptroller's report included a range of options for addressing issues at TSU, including ousting top leaders. (Lawmakers ultimately agreed to give the board a year to address problems.)

What she's saying: Glover tells Axios her decision to step down at the end of the 2023-24 academic year was informed by national issues affecting higher education, such as the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down affirmative action. She says she plans to move into advocacy after leaving TSU.

  • "My skill set, my leadership abilities, my voice is needed now more than ever in a much larger platform," Glover told supporters Monday at a celebratory news conference. "We'll fight to protect access and equity in higher education."

Flashback: Glover graduated from TSU in 1974. After earning advanced degrees and climbing through the ranks at other universities, she was selected in 2012 to return to Nashville as TSU president.

Leading TSU was "the honor of a lifetime," Glover says. She calls her decades-long relationship with the institution a "50-year blessing."

  • "There's no greater calling than to be called to come back home," Glover says.
  • "I've enjoyed it. I've had some ups and downs, but the downs have been so few."

State of play: Despite the criticism from lawmakers this year, Glover has consistently had broad support within the TSU community. TSU board vice chair Pam Martin cheered Glover as "an amazing leader."

The big picture: Supporters pointed to increased fundraising and an improved national brand as some of Glover's biggest accomplishments.

"As TSU's first female president, she has served with honor and distinction and has brought increased national acclaim to the university," House Minority Leader Karen Camper (D-Memphis) said in a statement.

  • "She has navigated some difficult times at the University as well, always developing solutions with dignity and class."

What's next: The TSU board is expected to begin discussions about selecting Glover's successor next month.

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