PICTURED ABOVE: Ocean of Soul
The Texas Southern University campus was abuzz for seven days as students, alumni, faculty and staff celebrated its 2016 Homecoming – ReMember the Times. This year’s week-long slate of events featured three concerts, a basketball game between alumni and students, a comedy show, college open house receptions, a coronation, tailgating and a parade – all on the campus located in the heart of the city’s historic Third Ward. The Homecoming football game was held at nearby BBVA Stadium, home of the TSU Tigers. Homecoming was held October 16 – 22.
TSU President Austin A. Lane was present for most events throughout the week, engaging students, alumni, faculty and staff in a jam-packed Homecoming schedule. Lane hosted a brunch for students, played in the Clash of the Classes basketball game, represented his fraternity (Kappa Alpha Psi) at the Wild and Out comedy show, interacted with alumni at their gatherings, continued the Listen and Learn Tour, played in a round of golf at the alumni Tiger Paw Golf Classic, and attended the University’s Remember the Times Showcase and Concert, hosted by KTSU Radio. Lane served as Grand Marshal of the Grand Tiger Parade and presented TSU’s Royal Court during halftime at the football game.
“It was a whirlwind, but the Tiger energy was high. There was something for the TSU community, both youngsters and elders, and the University fulfilled its mission to ReMember the past as we look forward to a bright future,” Dr. Lane said.
Homecoming Week opened with a spirit-filled gospel concert featuring two-time Stellar Award-winners, The Walls Group, vocalists Kathy Taylor and TSU’s Living Testimonies Choir. TSU’s Royal Court was crowned in an elegant Coronation Ball that featured Miss TSU CaSandra Cantue and Mr. TSU Moses Mbai. Students partied the night away with a Greek Step Show, attended an all-white party and Concert, featuring the hip-hop group Migos. The ReMember the Times Old-School Party, hosted by KTSU-FM 90.0, featured DJ extraordinaire Doug E. Fresh and a tribute to late music icons Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Prince, with performances by Chris Walker, Mary Griffin, and Rick Marcel of the Walker Entertainment Group. Homecoming culminated with the much-anticipated return to the community of the Grand Tiger Parade, the campus Tailgate Party and the Clash of the Tigers football game featuring TSU versus Jackson State. TSU fell short to Jackson State in a hard-fought loss, 21-13.
Zachery Johnson, the drum major at Kashmere High School who has been featured in a popular Metro television commercial, came one giant step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming a member of TSU’s famed “Ocean of Soul” Marching Band. Johnson was awarded a full scholarship to attend TSU next fall and audition to be a drum major for the University’s renowned marching band.
“Zachery is a great example of why alumni support of TSU scholarship fundraising campaigns is so important,” said TSU First Lady Loren Lane. “When we identify students such as Zach with excellent credentials and a burning desire to join the TSU family, we want to be able to give them that opportunity.”
To this end, Mrs. Lane announced that she will lead a University signature event in the Spring, on April 29, where one hundred percent (100%) of the proceeds will go to deserving students for scholarships. Sponsorships are available and persons interested in supporting this initiative by becoming a sponsor, volunteer or by purchasing tickets should call TSU’s University Advancement Office at 713-313-1361.
The Grand Tiger Parade returned to the Third Ward community and people of all ages lined the two-and-a-half–mile route to witness a record number of marching bands, clubs, walking units, floats and decorated cars – 183 in all – that were entered into this year’s parade. People cheered as the parade rolled through the community after a nine-year absence. Spectators even held signs that read, ‘Welcome Back to the Community Texas Southern University’.
The Kashmere High School band participated in the parade and Zachery Johnson was stopped numerous times to take photos with excited spectators. Vivian Prescott Sorey, an elementary education major and TSU class of 1968, served as Miss Homecoming 2016.
The Texas Southern University National Alumni Association (TSUNAA) presented Dr. Lane and TSU Board of Regents Chairman Derrick Mitchell with a check, in the amount of $40,000, at the football game. The Briggs family of Beaumont, Texas was also in attendance at the game and donated $5,000 to TSU.
Other Homecoming events included Campus Sustainability Day, when over 70 student volunteers spruced up the Blodgett Urban Gardens; Breakfast After Dark, hosted by TSU’s Student Government Association; Student Appreciation Day, where TSU faculty and staff served lunch to the student body; and a Yard Fest.
“This year was one for the books! This is how Texas Southern University tailgates at Homecoming are supposed to be,” Corrie Williams, a Dallas alumna, said.
Rochelle Pollard is an alumna and was excited about returning to campus. “Yes, celebrating 25 years was a special homecoming event,” she said. “Next year will be bigger and better! Keep TSU great!”
“We are already planning for TSU’s Homecoming 2017,” said Justin Dorsey, one of the student leaders. “This year’s homecoming was nothing but fun, fun, and more fun!”
“Texas Southern University Homecoming 2K16 was epic and owes me nothing,” said Laural Brown. “It was a revival and I can only applaud President and First Lady Lane, the TSU faculty and staff, alumni, students, friends and our community for raising the bar of school spirit and pride. The best is yet to come for our University and our visionary president.”
“When I was at the Homecoming parade, I cried tears of joy,” said TSU student Nycole Hutchens. “Tears were literally coming down my eyes. You have to understand how historic of a moment this was for me, especially since it’s my last semester as an undergrad.”
“Not in 67 years have I witnessed such an outpouring of interest in and concern for Texas Southern University,” said Dr. Thomas F. Freeman, TSU’s iconic Forensics coach who has served the university for 67 years. “Thank you for your leadership role in making this possible.”
Freeman said he was moved to write the note after repeatedly hearing, people say, “I am so glad they brought the parade back…I’m so glad they brought it back to the community.”
“We certainly are getting rave reviews about this year’s homecoming celebration,” stated Eva Pickens, Vice President for University Advancement, the division responsible for marketing, communications, alumni and development units. “We were listening when students said they wanted a homecoming that combined the present with the past. Alumni said they wanted a traditional homecoming. We are hopeful that we blended their wishes together and that everyone enjoyed Homecoming as much as we enjoyed preparing each event for them. I wholeheartedly agree that this homecoming will be a part of our history books.”