The Tennessee State University (TSU)-Houston Alumni Chapter recently hosted their inaugural Audrey Hoffman Lawson Golf Scholarship Tournament at the beautiful scenic, historic and piney hills of Brock Golf Course.
The inaugural event attracted over 75 Friends of Tennessee State alums, led by Golf Event Chairperson Dr. Joe Rutherford Willie, III. Golfers from all over Houston showed up to tee-off for the purpose of raising funds for students who are currently enrolled or are planning to enroll at Tennessee State in the upcoming Fall Semester.
Because of her legacy, the Tennessee State University (TSU)-Houston Alumni Chapter chose to honor Mrs. Audrey Lawson by naming their first Gold Scholarship Fundraiser in her name.
The late Mrs. Audrey Hoffman Lawson is an esteemed graduate of Tennessee State, where she met her husband of 61 years, Rev. William A. (Bill) Lawson. Both of these outstanding Houstonians are not only graduates of Tennessee State, they also both served as Student Council Presidents while there. The couple met at Tennessee State after one of Audrey’s college friends told her about a tall handsome guy who had recently graduated and was headed towards a career in the ministry, and she dared her to write him. Young and courageous, Audrey took the dare, and wrote Bill a letter to which he wrote back. Her actions resulted in a letter writing campaign of over 600 letters over a four-year period until they were married. Together, they brought the same energy and leadership skills from Tennessee State to Houston, where they founded Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. Mrs. Lawson was largely recognized for her quest in service to children, civil rights and for helping save the Ensemble Theatre. She was so disenchanted with the public school system and with the plight and downward spiral of African American boys that she was compelled to open a Middle Charter School for all-boys, with girls joining later. It was very important to Mrs. Lawson for children to receive a fair and equal and comprehensive education, especially those children who were less fortunate.
Tennessee State has historically been successful in recruiting students from the Greater Houston area to attend Nashville’s most popular HBCU. Presently, there are approximately 150 Tennessee State alumni who live in the Greater Houston area, who hold successful careers in fields from engineering and law, as well as former professional athletes, teachers, ministers and entrepreneurs. Some of Houston’s and the nation’s most popular alumni who have graduated from or served in leadership at Tennessee State include: former president of Texas Southern University and World War II veteran Dr. Granville Sawyer; “The Maestro” Benjamin J. Butler, II, who pioneered the Ocean of Soul Marching Band; Bill Thomas, Head Football Coach at both Tennessee State and Texas Southern; the late Dr. Joe Willie, II.; Dr. Ralph Butler; the late Coach Holland Adams; Howard and Beverly Houston; Claude Cole; Dr. Chuck Walker; Oprah Winfrey; Ed “Too Tall” Jones; Joe Gilliam; Wilma Rudolph; Ralph Boston; Maurice White; Richard Dent; Dr. Bobby Jones; Xernona Clayton; Moses Gunn; and Dr. Glenda Glover, who is the current President of Tennessee State and the National President-Elect to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.