This week on In Black America, producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. speaks with Dr. Glenda Glover, President of Tennessee State University and International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha University, Inc., the oldest Greek letter organization established by African American college-educated women.
Intro music [00:00:08] The In Black America theme music, an instrumental by Kyle Turner.
Announcer [00:00:15] From the University of Texas at Austin, KUT Radio, this is In Black America.
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:00:22] Well, as a college president, I see firsthand the plight of Black colleges. I see the financial struggles. We see what’s needed for them to invest and to act for sustainability. So one of my platforms, one of the major platform is HBCU. A Call to Action HBCU to help market pay to use to help students who choose to attend. Hey, so we see you can go along with that instead of doing something that talks about awareness, because that’s where we had a first awareness campaign. We all need an awareness campaign. ABC Usually money. We are way too aware of them. We need money. So we said we would set out to do a campaign to raise money, basically. See you. You started 2018. The first year that I was president of Alpha Kappa Alpha and we raised over $1 million, $1.3 million. In that one day.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:01:22] Dr. Glenda Glover, International president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and president of Tennessee State University. This past fall, local chapters, private donors and corporate matching dollars from across the globe helped a 100 year old service organization reach a $1 million fundraising goal for the second consecutive year. The sorority has essentially raised $1 million for the benefit of historically Black colleges and universities. HBCU, as part of its HBCU Impact Day Initiative, founded in 1908 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C.. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., is the oldest Greek letter organization established by African-American college educated women. The sorority is comprised of nearly 300,000 members and more than 1000 graduate and undergraduate chapters in this country and around the world. I’m John L. Hanson Jr. And welcome to another edition of In Black America. On this week’s program, HBCU Impact Day Initiative with Dr. Glenda Glover, International president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and president of Tennessee State University. In Black America.
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:02:43] We thought the way to make an impact is for the membership to galvanize and show that we are serious about HBCU. If you really love something, you will spend money. If you love time, you pay money for it. And so we love HBCU. We showed that by raising over $1,000,000.20 18. We had to repeat it in 2019 and do it again in 2020 and 2021. We plan to raise $1,000,000 each year in support of HBCU. But let me say this. Not only did we raise it, we gave out. We gave back out to HBCU use right away. Three months later, we had a meeting. I guess it was fine with me. In February, we had a meeting in Chicago, invited one third of the college presidents, HBCU presidents, to Chicago to take a corporate office, and we started an endowment. And at each university we gave everybody a $50,000 check because they signed an agreement. And so because this endowment represents sustainability, and that’s what we mean to sustain HBCU, they need funding.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:03:39] Dr. Glenda Glover is committed to making a difference in young people’s lives. As the international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and president of Tennessee State University, she knows firsthand the importance of a college education. And February 2019, A.K.A., gets it $1.6 million to the first 32 of 96 HBCU through the ACC HBCU Endowment Fund. The second cycle consisting of 32 more HBCU will be funded in 2020. The endowment fund falls on these organizations. Target HBCU for Life A Call to Action, which aims to promote HBCU use by encouraging students to attend and matriculate to these institutions. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Glover earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Tennessee State University, a master’s from Clark Atlanta, a doctorate from George Washington University, and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Glover is one of few African-American women to hold a Ph.D. CPA and JD combination in the nation. Recently In Black America spoke with Glover regarding Aka’s HBCU Impact Day and significance of HBCU.
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:05:00] I was born in Memphis. I ran in Memphis. I spent a lot of time in Tennessee and Washington, D.C. and Atlanta and Jackson, Mississippi, and now I’ve come back home to Nashville.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:05:13] Any brothers and sisters?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:05:15] Yes. Six of us. Wonder why younger brother and their five siblings. I’m the third one.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:05:22] And I read somewhere that you are a daughter of civil rights activist.
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:05:28] My father is a similar civil rights activist. And in fact, they had a street naming after him last year. We were very honored about that. He, uh, he passed away in the mid-nineties. And so his children are now living up to his his goals and ideas.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:05:46] Tell me what was like, like growing up, I mean, in Memphis excuse me, Memphis.
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:05:50] Where I grew up. I went to high school in Memphis, went to elementary school in Memphis, is my church in Memphis. It was like any other young lady growing up in Memphis. We understood that there a better day was coming and we looked at my dad, how he possibly could in Memphis to make that day reality and making sure his children went to college. And I try to contribute back to society and become the leaders that we try to become.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:06:20] Well, I understand one of the some of your favorite subjects while you were in school.
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:06:23] It was always math. So that’s why I chose accounting. It was always math. It was always numbers. And I love the dictionary and I love the scriptures.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:06:33] And you did your undergraduate way at Tennessee State.
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:06:36] Tennessee State.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:06:37] And why?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:06:38] So you can imagine what I’m blessed is. What I’m honored is to come back and leave the very school that gave me my foundation. It’s, um. It’s just a not unusual blessing.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:06:49] I understand. And you want a few African-American women and hos pace day, a CPA and a law degree. Why were you so and merged in education at a young age.
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:07:03] That says it? I was just very much immersed into the education arena, studying the dictionary, growing up, trying to pursue the more difficult areas, because I thought if you learn at the same level as everyone else, then you are gonna compete at the same level. But if you chose a harder path, you were slightly ahead above your peers. So I kind of grew up with the thinking and chose math and and accounting and economics and business. So the rewards have been great. I use I use every aspect of everything. Every day of my life. Jonathan, say you’re on the verge of it.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:07:45] And you players AK and 71 Y that sorority.
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:07:51] And AK 71 at Tennessee State University. And let me say this, it’s a full circle moment for me. Alpha Kappa Alpha at Tennessee State. Come back and lead Tennessee State. It is a full circle moment for me, and it is a very special moment in my life. It’s all about Kappa Alpha because of what it represents a service organization who is all about service, not just on the service organization, because there are others. But that’s the one that stood out most to me at the time.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:08:19] And you all have a Oh, I had a fundraising initiative. Tell us about the HBCU Impact Day.
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:08:26] Well, as a college president, I see firsthand the plight of Black colleges. I see the financial struggles. We see what’s needed for them to advance and to act for sustainability. So one of my platforms, one of the major platforms, is HBCU is a call to action, HBCU to help market HBCU to help students who choose to attend HBCU. And so along with that, instead of doing something that talk about awareness, cause that’s where it was here, that first a awareness campaign. We all need an awareness campaign. HBCU usually money. We are well aware of them. We need money. So we said we will set out to do a campaign to raise money for HBCU Inspired In 2018, the first year that I was president of Alpha Kappa Alpha and we raised over $1,000,000, $1.3 million. And at one day we thought the way to make an impact is for the membership to galvanize and and show that we are serious about HBCU. And if you really love something, you will spend money on it. If you love time, you paid money for it. And so we love HBCU. We show that by raising over $1,000,000.20 18, we had to repeat it in 2019 and do it again in 2020 and 2021. You plan to raise $1,000,000 this year in support of basically you. But let me say this. Not only did we raise it, we gave out. We gave back out to HBCU use right away. Three months later, we had a meeting. I guess it was fine with late February. We had a meeting in Chicago, invited one third of the college presidents, HBCU presidents, to Chicago to today, a corporate office. And we started endowments at each university. We gave everybody a $50,000 check because they signed an agreement. And so because this endowment represents sustainability, and that’s what we mean to sustain HBCU, they need funding. So we want to take the lead in that and show, again, being a college president, I know the needs. I know the financial need.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:10:36] What do you see the immediate challenges besides funding, which is a big challenge that HBCU face today?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:10:47] Well, yes, funding is always a challenge, but I think the the major challenge that HBCU has, the lack of a solid the advocacy is what’s needed. And when you go to the legislature, you go to other areas. You can really see others out there pushing their universities. They’re out there. They have strong advocacy that’s missing in the Black community. We have it to a certain extent, but we need to beef up that because money will come from those who are pushing the university. That’s how you get more funding. You have folks out there beating the bush, the president for you. And so that’s that’s what we really, really need.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:11:29] Tell us about your five point vision plan for the university.
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:11:33] Oh, sure. Well, so first, the first part about the institution is we want to make sure first that students receive a quality education. That’s always why we go to HBCU. The one single reason that we attend this talk about college is you get a good education, so some other things come with it. Of course, come kind of with that may be you got to have similar mind and some individuals who are similar to you but the number one reason go to college education. So that first part of vision is to make sure that students receive a quality education, and then you want to make sure there’s customer service. I mean, schools need to improve customer service, and we’re one of them. The customer service needs to be beefed up where customer service is. The second one. They want to have the community engagement because t issue is part of the community. We don’t operate as solo. We operate within the community of which we serve. So we want to make sure that we’re we’re visible to the community. We’re serving the community we want to. Increase our enrollment and ensure that we don’t just have enrollment based on numbers, based on quality of students, ensure that students have the wherewithal to graduate. We don’t do them any service by omitting a student who will have no support, no opportunity to graduate. So that’s why we say if it makes sense to do that. And then, of course, public safety is always an issue. So we know we have some standards. When I came here seven years ago, but now we’ve kind of refined them a little bit more as we as we went along.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:13:18] How has the enrollment been thus far?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:13:20] Yeah, enrollment dropped there declined. We made the standards a little different. We say standards and made them higher to be admitted. But it is. And in time it will come back around this year. Enrollment is up because it took a dive for two years and then this year turned around. It took about three years. This year was turned around and we’re happy that it’s turned around.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:13:47] Can you talk to us about any partnerships that you all have developed in the city in Nashville?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:13:53] Well, we’ve because we also have into the community and into the corporate world that I sit on a corporate board. So I’m really immersed in the corporate world. We have two outstanding new partnerships in the community itself. We have HCA, the Hospital Corporation of America, where we give back. We have Amazon, Apple, we’re HCA regions right here in the city and also fifth, Third Bank, Pinnacle Financial Partners. And then we have a national partnership that we just enter into which we are very, very special to us. One with Apple, where we’re teaching people how to code. Everyone can code and not coding, whether you know, C++ or COBOL. Not that I forget. I’m talking about app developer development and understanding of the coding aspects of solving problems. You know, so and it’s been a fun partnership. In fact, this year, this fall is the first time we’re offering the courses for credit. And we’ve had some academies where we talk about coding. But this fall we’re doing it for credit. We have about a thousand students who were interested at various levels between the high school, the dual enrollment, the alumni, the college level, you know, I mean, at the graduate level. And then there are those who are in and that’s who’s taking the course. So it’s everyone I can call everyone can create this a music series. So we’re talking about creativity and music, creativity, then the promise of Amazon. Amazon has moved to Nashville in the process of moving in Nashville. And so we’re developing an outstanding partnership with Amazon. In fact, they’ve endowed a professor in our cause of computing and engineering in the computer science area. So we’re having fun with the partnership. We’re developing more. Each time we meet, we want to Silicon Valley just meet with firms and establish new partnerships.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:15:49] I understand that when you were at Jackson State, you implemented a Ph.D. program in business part two of that program. How important are these programs to the sustainability of HBCU for the future?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:16:05] Absolutely important. You know, we started growing our own doctors. And once there was a time when I would hear my peers make comments that you don’t want all your degrees from a Black college, you all get one degree. Well, that sounds ludicrous. If you have the the quality of the faculty and you have a good university. A great university. Yes. Stay there and get a degree. That’s what happens in majority institutions. They have they have spots that are pretty much I’m not going to say earmarked, but spots for students who attend them at undergraduate level. And so there’s nothing wrong with getting a master’s degree or a doctorate from your HBCU. And so we grow our own doctor. We come back and teach the knowledge that we’ve gained to the students. That’s what it’s all about. That’s how we sustain ourselves. We grow doctorates, we come back and let them impart that knowledge to others.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:17:01] How do you go about in the recruitment process?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:17:04] Well, we meet with superintendents and we meet with faculty. We meet with principals and and and discuss the high demand areas STEM health, health sciences, business. So and we have various receptions across the state and across the country is that we have a grass roots approach because we think every student is important. Every student has value. Everybody speaks to the great student with the good GPA, and we are no different. But that’s how we got to pass over.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:17:40] Talk to us about Mr. Mosley. How is he doing?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:17:43] Oh, he’s doing great. I see him two or three times a week. He’s just an outstanding young man. I mean, a 4.2 GPA, a 30 1act. I mean, he had a fit when he was homeless. He just didn’t give up. He doesn’t quit. And he’s been helping his friends, uh, giving city issues with time about two years. So he’s a great recruiter, So we love him for that. And he recruits gives two or three former about. So he loves it here TI as you know he has an issue he has access to the president now because the way we went down and picked him up and brought it back to Nashville, she was no longer homeless.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:18:20] What is his major engineering?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:18:24] Yes, he’s he’s an engineer and he said he’s doing well. I was I talked to one of them. They said he was doing well.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:18:30] Has it been difficult over the years and and recruiting faculty to your institution at other HBCU?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:18:38] Is there some HBCU have problems recruiting a faculty? I think the location helps because we’re in Nashville and because Nashville is such a growing city and 100 people move here per day according to the news. It’s not hard to recruit people to come to Nashville. We have to make sure we get the right person for our university who live in part a right, not only to the student. That’s very important to make sure that students are getting what they need from the professors. So we stay on top of that one.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:19:12] What lessons have you learned as far as the eighth president of Tennessee State University?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:19:18] I learned that is a lot of fun right there and that it’s a 24 hour job. And, uh, but I mean, I love it. It’s, um, I think it’s all about being back home and being well received. Your home town and your home state. A lot of it is absolutely political, is very poor, but we’re got a political home. And so I understand the politics. I grew up knowing the politics of Tennessee, and then we got dispersed with some politics in Georgia and and D.C. and Mississippi. But I came back to Tennessee and and I understand it here. And it’s it’s and it’s knowing the faculty and I respect them, the faculty, and I understand and share governance that, yes, I sit in the chair as president, but I understand and respect the faculty because that’s who we depend on to keep our students going. And so when they bring things to me to consider how to make sure that I have an open mind, and many times they’re great ideas, so. Mm hmm.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:20:20] Do HBCU presidents meet annually or semiannually on on a regular basis?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:20:26] There’s several groups. We have the United Negro College Fund. You know, you ask the right questions, private schools, and then we have Thurgood Marshall work with public schools, and then we have the Nephew, National Association of Equal Opportunity, which works with all with both together. So you can see our first year in the office now extended itself to a few. And then there’s some tests and doing some extensive supply to public schools too, because as you have a grant along with two other, uh, HBCU whose work with USC Arts and I sit on the board of UCLA, you know, I’m a state president. And so in the board, by being president of Alpha Kappa Alpha, I’m on the board of UCLA. And then I work with Thurgood Marshall quite closely because Thurgood Marshall has given us scholarships for our students last year. This year, we call him up and say, Listen, we’re in need. We got to get ready to go home for not paying for no funding. And so they find ways to help, you know, because they’re there to help us as a as big institution. And then we have a nephew, which is more of a our legislative arm and just a the conglomerate that, you know, a lot of public and private, uh, under the umbrella of Mafia. And they work very diligently with us to ensure that we’re on top of things on the hill and on other aspects.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:21:43] Does the fundraising initiative that Alpha Kappa Alpha is undergoing, is it year round? And those that hadn’t participated in the initiative Day this last week, can they still make a donation?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:21:59] Oh, yes, it is year round. We have a big emphasis on this. One day we designated HBCU Day Impact Day and PAC make a and and that’s when we ask all the sorority members and others to just call in and give or send money and or credit card go online and give but is year round. We have year round initiatives. We have the last year at our at our annual meeting. I think the very reason, of course, that we take our collections and we talk to various corporations, ask them to give. So that’s what we’re doing now. We partner with some, we partner with, we’re part of several companies and they’ve all made contribution to make commitments. So. This may dollar one day for a product so much very much needed because we know what HTC use needs. So we try to make a year round effort to raise money. But don’t let me leave there. But I’ll tell you how you know what I can give. So they can text a.k.a. HBCU. To four, four, three, two, one. That’s a.k.a. HBCU. You text at the four, four, three, two, one. Or you just get by mail. You can send to the HK corporate office or online. aka1908.com.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:23:13] Dr. Glover Do you have an opportunity to go down and speak to young people about the importance of college education in this 21st century?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:23:22] All the time I’m doing Sunday in Clarksville, Tennessee, and then two weeks later back down to Jackson State and then two weeks later, back in Memphis at another chair, things Mount Olive Church. I’ve been to Mississippi Boulevard in Memphis, and there’s various churches and then various other, you know, the community. I was a commencement speaker, so we always talking to just meeting with students one on one. One of the programs I get invited as much as the schedule permits are the Congressional Black Caucus, where a meeting last Tuesday went up there as a member. As soon as they’re they’re already in school. We talk about graduate school. And so there are just so many opportunities we just so appreciative of. So we have to we have to stay focused on what we’re doing. And we’re talking to students about attending HBCU, what first go to college and then if you choose to go to college, we want you to consider HBCU. If you don’t go to college because that’s one of our programs to get to and kind of kind of have to cap the college admissions process. So have to get through that process of going to college. I found that many of the students, men of our population don’t understand how to get into college. They can go online, do an application, but after that they don’t really understand how to go back and just follow it through the financial aid, how to find scholarships, AC how to prove A.C.T. score. So we’re doing all of that to help students in my administration is a very education centric center, but also has some other elements to it. As you know, we have breast cancer wherever we have a breast cancer mobile unit that goes around that travels around the country giving mammograms to women who cannot afford to do it, to have other wives. Because you and I both know that that women that is for African-American men. We find out much later in life, mostly in the profit we’re faced for, we find out we have cancer. And so we wanted to do. And so we’ve done over 200 already. And of those probably about, I would say about 15% of the 10 to 12, 15% have come back positive, which is good. Well, not good, but it’s good. We found out, you know, that’s that’s the purpose of it, to make sure you have an abnormal if I can’t say positive test that something abnormal came back let me know for now go back to the doctor. So then we have economics to show you how to do your financial planning issue. By the time you, you know, you get to retirement age when we were about to have enough money to live for you, how to live within your means, how to save and how to spend intelligently. And then we we have we’re back to the arts. We cannot we can never ignore the arts. The Harlem Renaissance. That was the true absolutely the heart of Black Black history. And then then the last one is internationalism, how we can make sure get A’s international. So those are the five points was again, the first one, the education, which you asked about. And that’s what we’re doing, education, raising money for Black colleges.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:26:28] Dr. Glover, before we run out of time on this conversation, what would you tell a young individual? Because we have we have to have a lot of young people who say they don’t need to go to college or don’t want to go to college. Why is it important that a college education is obtained for for the future of of of this society?
Dr. Glenda Glover [00:26:51] Well, it’s all about self-improvement and self-sustainability. If you want to improve your standing in your community, your standing in life, you really want to consider college. You want to go to college. You don’t want to stop at the first four years. You want to go on to graduate school and get as much education as possible. That is truly true of the tickets. And so we our students, we don’t want to cross that many students, even those who without may say, I’m not going to college. Students want to go to college. That’s why this is so important to try to have financial resources available for them, because I think the average student we have found and we are in every neighborhood, the wealthier neighborhood, those that are that are below the third census tract, we and they all want to go to college.
John L. Hanson Jr. [00:27:40] Dr. Glenda Glover, International president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and president of Tennessee State University. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, ask Jeff Future In Black America programs. Email us at In Black America at k u. T that o. R. G. Also, let us know what radio station you heard is over. Remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. The views and opinions expressed on this program are not necessarily those of the station or of the University of Texas at Austin. You can hear previous programs online at kut.org. Until we have the opportunity again for technical producer David Alvarez, I’m John L. Hanson Jr. Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again next week.
Announcer [00:28:31] CD Copies of this program are available and may be purchased by writing to In Black America. CDS KUT Radio 300 West Dean Keeton St., Austin, Texas 78712. This has been a production of KUT Radio.