By SOTG News Service
Gov. Bill Haslam’s nominees for Tennessee State’s University Board of Trustees are a step closer to being approved by the state Legislature. The state Senate Education committee unanimously approved the group on Wednesday, Feb. 8, a day after House Education Committee members also gave their unanimous approval.
The board is part of the governor’s Focus on College and University Success (FOCUS) Act, which changes the way public higher education institutions in Tennessee are governed. Instead of being under the Tennessee Board of Regents, the state’s six public four-year universities will now be governed by a local board.
TSU’s board nominees are among those moving through the legislative process. The nominees will now be voted on by the full House and Senate.
Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and Haslam’s leading advocate for the FOCUS Act, explained to Senate Education members that, if confirmed, the nominees “will assume responsibility for the general administration of the university.”
Several Senate Education members lauded the makeup of TSU’s prospective board.
“I don’t think in my 27 years in the Senate I’ve had the opportunity as I have on this committee to see such a great cross section of the excellent citizens that we have in our state,” said Sen. Rusty Crowe. “This is exciting; amazing people.”
Haslam’s TSU board nominees include:
- Deborah Cole, president and CEO of Citizens Savings Bank & Trust Co.
- Stephen Corbeil, president of TriStar Division of Hospital Corporation of America
- Bill Freeman, chairman of Freeman Webb, Inc., a real estate development firm based in Nashville
- Richard Allen Lewis Sr., owner of Lewis & Wright Funeral Home, which has served the greater Nashville community for over 50 years
- Pam Martin, president of Cushion Employer Services and 2014 appointee to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission
- Obie McKenzie, managing director of BlackRock, Inc. and founding board member of the National Association of Securities Professionals
- Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell, clinical professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology for the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, and current President of the National Medical Association
- Bishop Joseph Walker III, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Nashville and presiding Bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, International