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News Archive (Fall 2011)      



Decreased Student Loan Interest

There’s great news for students who have outstanding variable Federal Stafford and PLUS Loans. On July 1, 2008, the interest rates on the following loans decreased:

  • Stafford Loans in repayment status decreased from 7.22% to 4.21%
  • In-school, grace, or deferment-status Stafford Loans decreased from 6.62% to 3.61%.
  • PLUS Loans decreased from 8.02% to 5.01%.
These rates will be in effect through June 30, 2009 and only apply to loans issued on or after July 1, 1998 and before July 1, 2006. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid at 731.426.7658.

Actor/Social Activist to Speak at Commencement

Gloria Reuben, nationally-known actress and singer, will be the commencement speaker at the Lane College Commencement Convocation on Sunday, June 15 beginning at 2:00 p.m. in the J.F. Lane Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building.

Over the past decade, Reuben has amassed impressive credentials as a regular fixture on network television, starring in numerous films, performing in a highly-touted off-Broadway production, touring with one of pop music's most celebrated divas, and now adds recording artist to her cachet with the release of her debut record, Just for You. A gifted actress, exciting vocalist, and committed activist on social issues, Reuben brings energy and enthusiasm to every audience.

Most television viewers will remember Reuben as the health care professional “Jeanie Boulet” who traumatically battled HIV/AIDS in the hit series, ER, a role that garnered her multiple Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe nomination in a five-year run from 1994-2000.

Rueben debuted in film, starring in Timecop and Nick of Time and appearing in The Young Riders, The Round Table, and Homicide: Life on the Street. She also starred in the critically acclaimed off-Broadway production of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues." In 2000, Reuben extended her career into music, singing back up on the North American leg of Tina Turner's "24/7" concert tour.

In 2003, the Canadian born actress/singer shuttled between co-starring in the Lifetime Television dramatic series 1-800-MISSING and recording her CD. In addition, Reuben was an Associate Producer on the show, and performed the series theme song, "This Dream Is Real.” Some of her other television credits include The Agency, and major television movies Feast Of All Saints, Innocent Blood: The True Story of the Salem Witch Trials, Indiscreet, Soul Survivor, Percy and Thunder, and Deep In My Heart.

During a time when the music industry has been sending out mixed messages to aspiring artists, Reuben decided to finance her own record and enlisted Grammy-Award winning songwriter/producer Barry Eastmond (Anita Baker, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston) to produce the CD.

Most recently, Reuben co-starred in The Sentinel and Life Support. In Fall 2008 she will be starring as a public defender in Steven Bocho's new crime drama on TNT, Raising the Bar. Also, her portrayal of Dr. Condoleezza Rice in Stuff Happens, garnered her a 2007 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in New York.

Reuben spends a great deal of time working on behalf of the causes she feels the most compelled to support. In 2004, she was honored to introduce Kofi Annan at the UN AIDS Day ceremony at the St. John the Divine Cathedral in Harlem. During 2005, Reuben spoke at the Planned Parenthood introduction to their collaboration with the “Rights Have No Borders” project. On World AIDS Day in 2005, Reuben was the keynote speaker at the first Black Women's Conference on HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles. On World AIDS Day in 2006, she was a keynote speaker on Capitol Hill, urging for the support of programs that offer comprehensive sex education and awareness on HIV/AIDS. She has also been an avid supporter for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Planned Parenthood, and ANSA (Artists for a new South Africa.)

Lane Alumna Selected As New Marshall University Vice President

Shari Clarke, a 1983 graduate of the college, has been named vice president of multicultural affairs at Marshall University in Huntingdon, West Virginia. She will begin her duties on June 1. Most recently she served as the Associate Vice President for student affairs at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Her responsibilities at Temple included the administrative oversight of the offices of career development services, counseling services, disability resources and services, international student services and academic support. She also served as a liaison to the student health services operation. She has experience in higher education administration, including serving as associate to the president for diversity for the University of Nebraska Central Administration Offices. In this position she was responsible for the diversity and gender equity initiatives for all four campuses comprising the University of Nebraska.

Clarke also served as Vice President for Student Affairs at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, where she oversaw the areas of multicultural affairs, residence life, Greek Affairs, student activities, and the women's center. She created the award-winning Dialogues in Diversity during her tenure at the University of Maine as Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs. At Nebraska, she developed the regionally acclaimed SHE Leadership Academy for young women.

Following her tenure at Lane, Clarke went on to earn her Master's in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and her Doctorate from the University of Nebraska.

Record Number of Prospective Students and Parents Slated to Attend New Student Orientation

Lane will host its New Student Orientation Session beginning on Friday, July 11 through Sunday, July 13. Over 700 students are expected to attend with 1,500 parents and sponsors in tow. This three-day session will help prospective students to understand the college’s expectations and provide them with some early exposure to college life. Concurrent workshops and social activities will be held for parents and sponsors. Attendees will live in campus housing and meals will be provided in the College’s Dining Hall.

In a highly compressed period of time, attendees will participate in informational sessions, financial aid workshops, class scheduling, and numerous other experiences that have been designed to facilitate their enrollment and matriculation at the College.

Registration will take place on Friday, and again on the following Saturday. The first formal session will take place in the J.F. Lane Health and Physical Education Building on Saturday morning. From there, students and parents will receive further scheduling information for the remainder of their stay. For students, Saturday will end with movies, and a myriad of many other activities. Special activities are also planned for parents and sponsors. Provisions have been made for socializing, the traditional barbeque picnic, and Sunday worship.

All meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday; and breakfast and lunch on Sunday – will be served to students, parents and guests.

Updated information regarding times and specific locations of events will be provided at this site once they have been determined.

Lane honors 103-year-old alumna 1928 Lane College graduate receives school's first 80th year diploma

Mrs. Etta B. Stinson Williamson, 103, lives on Lane Avenue just around the corner from Lane College's campus where 80 years ago she walked as student preparing for a career as a teacher. She is blind and she doesn't walk much now, but Lane College President Wesley Cornelious McClure visited her home on Monday to acknowledge her contributions to the community.McClure presented the College's first 80th-year diploma to Mrs. Williamson, who graduated from Lane in 1928.

While sitting in her home McClure talked with Mrs. Williamson, who also taught him while he was in grammar school. "She was a strict teacher," McClure said. "I liked what I was doing," said Mrs. Williamson of her teaching career. She said that she started teaching when she was 15 and taught until she was in her 60's. Mrs. Williamson started teaching in Medon and taught the first grade at Lincoln Elementary School in Jackson for many years.She impressed McClure with her memories of old Jackson neighborhoods and by reciting Bible scripture and poetry that she still remembers. "Her memory is outstanding," McClure said.Mrs. Williamson recited "IF," by Rudyard Kipling and the 23rd Psalms.

President McClure was so impressed by his former teacher that he asked her to recite a poem during Sunday's commencement exercises for the 2008 class of Lane College graduates. "We plan to honor you again because you are a queen, we're celebrating a queen," McClure said.

Mrs. Williamson still has the yearbook from her days as a Lane College student. Underneath her photo is her motto, "Do all you can, for as many as you can." For her activities, she listed teaching at North Jackson Public School and her membership in Kappa Lambda Phi.

Television Personality to Speak at Lane College Commencement

Television personality Star Jones will be the commencement speaker at the College's Commencement Convocation on Sunday, April 27, beginning at 2:00 p.m. at the Oman Arena.

Ms. Jones, who is also an attorney, former prosecutor, author, and lecturer, offers a fresh perspective to the day’s most talked about crime and justice, political and sociological stories from the worlds of news, entertainment and pop culture. She is best known to television viewers for her candor, confidence, and uncanny ability to clarify muddy legal and social issues. Her knowledge of the law and talent for television has won her critical acclaim as a news and legal correspondent.

Star has had an amazing television career spanning more than 15 years. After her initial debut on Court TV in 1991, she became the NBC legal correspondent for the Today Show and Nightly News; hosted her own syndicated talk show, Jones & Jury; was senior correspondent and chief legal analyst for Inside Edition; hosted Live from the Red Carpet for E! Entertainment Television; and was a co-host of the Emmy®-award winning talk show, The View, for nine years. She was recently the executive editor and host of the Star Jones Show on truTV (formerly Court TV), a daily news and information talk show. During her television career, Star has covered, reported on, or provided commentary regarding the latest developments in every major criminal and civil trial of the last decade. She has obtained exclusive and/or personal interviews with everyone from Mike Tyson, Rodney King, and O.J Simpson to a host of celebrities, entertainers and captains of industry, politicians and lawyers, as well as several former United Statespresidents.

As a young prosecutor in Brooklyn, she received national media attention in court with a number of highly publicized victories. To date her conviction rate (94%...31 of 33 cases) remains the best in the county. As law is still Star's first love, she has been for the last 20 years a licensed attorney in the state of New York.

Star is the author of two best-selling books, a featured guest on numerous television shows and, most important to her, heavily involved in numerous philanthropic efforts. As the goodwill ambassador for First Star, she is the voice of the effort to give basic rights to children in America’s foster care system. She is on the Board of Directors/Trustees of The East Harlem School, The G&P Foundation for Cancer Research and God’s Love We Deliver. Additionally, she is on the International Advisory Boards of Girls, Inc. and Dress for Success. In 2002, Star launched her own not-for-profit foundation, The Starlet Fund, which makes financial grants to individuals and organizations that are dedicated to the support and encouragement of women, girls and families in need.

Lane Alumna Receives New Command



Navy Commander Voresa Croom Booker recently ended her tour of duty at the helm of the Navy’s Nashville Recruiting District office in a Change of Command ceremony held earlier this month at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson. Her new assignment is with the Navy Recruiting Command in Millington, Tennessee.

Commander Booker grew up in Jackson where she attended Lincoln Elementary, Jackson Junior High, and Jackson Central Merry High School. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Lane in 1981.

In 1983, Cmdr. Booker enlisted in the Navy and was commissioned in March 1985. She reported for duty as executive officer at the Navy Recruiting District in Nashville in April 2005 and assumed command in July 2006.

Her area of responsibility spans more than 120,000 square miles with Navy Recruiting Stations in eight states-including all of Tennessee and Arkansas, and parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, and Kentucky.

Cmdr. Booker has received personal awards and decorations, including two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, a Joint Commendation Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

The U.S. Navy currently has over 335,000 personnel on active duty, and of that number, less than 100 are African-American female Commanders.

Exciting New Book Co-Authored By Lane Administrator and Professor

Dr. Vicki Vernon Lott, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Prof. Clifton Laird, Instructor of English, are the co-authors of a new book that offers college-level students a new way to boost their reading comprehension. Their book, Break It Down!, features fun critical-thinking activities that increase reading skills and brainpower. It presents tips in a way that not only encourages and helps students to improving their reading and writing skills, but also offers an accessible approach to academia. Additionally, this book assists students in expanding vocabulary, and also helps them to think more critically and express themselves properly. Break It Down! is an excellent tool for standardized test preparation, and does a great job of preparing students to meet the various academic challenges that they will face throughout their college years.

Break It Down! is published by Xlibris Press. Cloth Hardback copies are available for $29.99, while trade paperback copies sell for $19.99. Both versions are available in bookstores nationwide and at Amazon.com.

Dr. Lott is a native of Milwaukee, WI and has served the College since 1993. Prof. Laird is a native of Louisville, KY and has taught English at Lane since 1997.

Jackson Native Crowed Miss Lane College

Carolyn Johnson, a native of Jackson and the daughter of James and Teresa Johnson is the new Miss Lane College. She is a 2006 graduate of Jackson Central-Merry High School, where she graduated fifth in her class. She is presently a sophomore biology major who currently holds a 4.0 GPA. During her freshmen year, Ms. Johnson was the Freshmen Class President, and she has been a Student Health Ambassador for two years. Her future goals include receiving a Ph.D. in Public Health from Meharry Medical College in Nashville and becoming a clinical epidemiologist.

Lane Honored at State Capitol

The acoustics of the House Chamber at the State Capitol in Nashville provided the ideal setting that gave the harmonious voices of the Lane College Concert Choir a very unique flavor. On Monday, February 25, the Choir, under the direction of Mr. Allen Franklin Todd, provided song to members of the State House and Senate, as well as Capitol employees and gallery visitors. The occasion for this performance was the 105th Tennessee General Assembly’s Annual Black History Month Celebration honoring Tennessee’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The highlight of the program was President McClure’s address to legislators from the well of the House. After first thanking them for the historical moment that this opportunity afforded in his life and in the life of Lane College, he then eloquently and passionately advised them of the immense progress that Lane College is experiencing; shared with them that the policies of respect of elders, curfew, and mandatory chapel are rigorously maintained; and reinforced the College’s focus on the black male.

Following President McClure’s address, the House unanimously passed House Joint Resolution (HJR) 918 which recognizes Lane College as “an exemplary educational organization that has made significant contributions, through an abiding commitment to academic excellence, to the … State of Tennessee”.

Over 30 alumni, 150 students, administrators, and staff members accompanied the President and Choir to this event, which was hosted by the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators.

Noted Journalist Relates Stories of Civil Rights Struggle

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, an award-winning journalist who has been a part of two civil rights revolutions, spoke about her experiences at chapel on Wednesday, February 20th. She talked about being a black student and journalist during the civil rights era in the United States and later covering the South African apartheid. Approximately fifteen hundred people were in attendance at the chapel service, which was held in the J.F. Lane Health and Recreation Gymnasium. In the last five decades, the Emmy-award wining journalist has worked as a reporter for the New York Times and The New Yorker and as a correspondent for PBS' NewsHour. During Wednesday's service, Hunter-Gault talked about the hostility she faced being one of the first two black students at the University of Georgia.

Students protesting their arrival threw bricks and shot guns outside of her dorm, and she was later suspended from the school because of the uproar. Hunter-Gault said that afterwards she became emotional because she had thought she had failed.

"I was crying out of frustration, but it was not fear," she said.

She returned to the University of Georgia and in 1962 became the first black woman to graduate from the school. In her quest to gain admission to the university, Hunter-Gault was represented in Court by the late attorney Donald L. Hollowell, a Lane College graduate.

The value system instilled in her by family, teachers and the black community while growing up in Covington, Ga., allowed her to be prepared when fighting life's battles, she said.

"I was prepared for life with a suit of armor," she said.

Fresh out of school, Hunter-Gault went to work as a reporter for The New Yorker and held several journalism jobs before going to the NewsHour in 1983. In 1985 she went to South Africa to report on the apartheid system for NewsHour.

"Relentless violence was on the rise when I first went to the continent," she said.

Hunter-Gault would see first hand the impact of the apartheid and how similar it was to the fights she had faced in the United States.

"So many people simmering with discontent, not having their dreams fulfilled," she said.

While black people in townships often went without any amenities, they still had the perseverance to fight for democracy, she said.

Hunter-Gault, who has lived in Johannesburg since 1997, said black people there now are trying to re-establish ties that have been broken since apartheid. Those same efforts can be made in the United States as well, she said.

"I encourage young people to travel roads not taken."

Freshman Nicholas Fair said he was inspired to hear about the struggles that earlier generations faced.

"Sometimes people lose track and don't take advantage of what it takes to make it through," he said.

Stansbury Honor Opens Black History Month Observance

At the kickoff event for the observance of Black History Month at the University of Memphis, Lane alumnus Mark Stansbury, a member of the Class of ’67, received the Authur S. Holmon Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was presented by the University of Memphis Black Student Association. Stansbury, an assistant to University President Shirley Raines, is widely known for his role as a weekend announcer for radio station WDIA-1070 AM, and for his avid pursuit of photography. He’s also been active with the Memphis Race Relations and Diversity Institute, the Memphis NAACP, and the United Negro College Fund. Stansbury is a co-founder of Diversity Memphis.

A graduate of the first Leadership Memphis class, Stansbury served as interim president of Shelby State Community College from 1994-96.

The award capped the opening ceremony for Black History Month at the University.

Initial Run of Emergency Notification System a Success

Mother Nature’s flirtation with icy rain and other forms of frozen precipitation proved to be the catalyst that led to the maiden use of the College’s Emergency Notification System on Thursday, January 31. Prompted by numerous news reports throughout the West Tennessee area that several businesses, schools, churches, and colleges would be closed on that day because of the weather, Lane officials made their own determination that city roads and campus walkways were sufficient to accommodate a regular Lane College school and work day. Once this determination was made, Lane’s Executive Vice President, Ms. Sharron Burnett, punched in an encrypted code that immediately notified all of the College’s students, faculty, and staff that the College was open for business as usual. The alerts were simultaneously sent to email addresses, cell, and home telephones.

A follow-up evaluation of the effectiveness of the alert system revealed that all persons who were registered for the alert service were notified in a matter of seconds without any technical complications whatsoever; and that the operation proceeded in an extremely smooth and flawless manner.

The Lighthouse


What has been known for 123 years as St. Paul CME Church; located on the hill at Lane Avenue and Middleton Street and affectionally known as the College's church, has now become The Lighthouse. Purchased by Lane in 2006, The Lighthouse has been extensively renovated, and will be used for the training of student ministers, lay men and women for religious and civic positions, and as a performing arts center for cultural presentations.

Because of the fact that this majestic building has been the gathering point for numerous generations of God's children, and has proved to be a guiding light that has emitted hope and a measure of expectation to all who have entered therein, The Lighthouse will continue to stand like a mighty oak and shine for decades to come.


Emergency Alert Text System Put in Place

Lane is now using a new text messaging system to alert students, faculty, and staff of any emergencies that may occur. Messages are sent to recipients on their cell and landline phones, Blackberrys, PDAs, text pagers, and email accounts.

The system, called e2Campus, is provided by Omnilert, LLC…a company headquartered in northern Virginia. The self-service, web-based, mass notification system will empower College administrators to send instant alerts from one interface anywhere, anytime, and on any device all at once. In addition to emergency broadcasts, the system will be used to alert students and staff of all-points bulletins, weather advisories, closings, and event cancellations, among other things. Even in a weather-related emergency where power has been lost on campus, the message will still be delivered.

“We are extremely pleased to offer this vital service to all of our stakeholders,” said President McClure. “The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our number one priority. Accordingly, the major investment that the College has made in this new technology is well worth the security and peace of mind that it affords,” he added.

The service began at the College in November. By January 10, all students, staff, and faculty will be covered.

Lane announces Snead as its new Head Football Coach

The continuity of a winning football program is the expectation of Lane College President Wesley Cornelious McClure as he announced the selection of Dearrion Snead as the new head football coach of the Lane College Dragons at a recent Press Conference held in the Office of the President.

"Coach Snead is an excellent choice to lead the Dragon's Football team, and I am thrilled and elated that he has accepted this position. As the Dragon's former Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator, Coach Snead is in an excellent and unique position to provide the steady leadership that is needed at the helm of this successful program. Last year, the Dragon's defense was solid and, under Coach Snead's leadership, it was recognized as stellar by the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). This is Coach Snead's first opportunity to serve as a Head Coach, and I am pleased to have given him the opportunity. I have the utmost confidence in his abilities, and I am assured that he will retain the Dragon's tradition of winning. Foremost in my decision to promote Coach Snead is his obvious concern about the well-being of his student-athletes. He is committed to recruiting gifted and capable players, guiding them towards the goal of reaching the full potential of their talents both athletically and academically, and graduating them to become the future leaders of this nation", said McClure.

Snead, 38, is taking over for the recently departed Johnnie Cole, who left after three seasons as head coach to become the head coach at Texas Southern University, his alma mater. "I look forward to this opportunity and challenge", Snead said after being formally introduced. "The administration has assured me that it is committed to maintaining the winning ways of this football program, and I am here to make sure that it happens. I pledge to give my all and to show President McClure that his selection of me for this coveted position was the right choice", he added.

Snead, a native of Richmond, Virginia, brings 15 years of collegiate football experience to Lane, with assistant coaching stops at Guilford (NC) and Arizona Western colleges, and Shaw (NC), Texas Southern, Virginia State, Southwest State (MN), Tiffin, (OH), Tennessee State, and East Stroudsburg (PA) universities. Last year under Snead's leadership, the Dragon's defensive squad finished the season ranked 12th in the nation in total defense; 23rd in rushing defense; and 9th in passing defense.

McClure Graces Cover of National Magazine

Lane College President Wesley Cornelious McClure appears on the cover of the September/October edition of The Crisis magazine. In its current issue which is distributed throughout the world, President McClure speaks to the significant challenges that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) face in the 21st century. In the article, written by prominent writer Reginald Stuart, President McClure speaks to the fact that recent years have been especially tough on HBCUs. “It’s been a turbulent decade,” said McClure, board secretary of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and former chairman of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), the professional association of HBCU presidents. “I’ve never seen anything like this and it’s going to continue,” added McClure, who has been in higher education for 38 years, of which 19 have been at Lane. McClure’s comments refer to higher costs, shrinking public funding, diminished corporate and philanthropic support, high-stakes testing, and competition for students.

However, when speaking of Lane College’s significant increase in student enrollment and capital facilities, President McClure declares that Lane’s throwback to old-school HBCU rules is working (e.g. dress code, curfew, mandatory chapel and class attendance, respect for women and adults). “We have some rather strict rules. There are not many institutions that hold on to their traditional role”, said the President.

Lane College is rightfully proud to have President McClure at the helm of this institution, and is prouder still of the honor, distinction, and national acclaim that he has brought to Lane College through his service to higher education.

The Crisis is the official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and was founded by Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois in 1910. It is published bi-monthly by the Crisis Publishing Company, Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland.

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