Tennessee TRiO Organization and History

In The Beginning . . .

From 1965 through 1969, and prior to the organization of Tennessee TRiO, all TRiO programs were administered by the US Office of Education. With the election of President Richard M. Nixon, the administration of TRiO programs was divided into ten geographic regions of the country. Tennessee was a part of Region IV which later became the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP) in 1977. It was during the 10-region format in 1973, that Tennessee followed other southern states in organizing its 31 TRiO Programs This organization was originally known as Tennessee Association of Special Programs (TASP).

Founding Officers were:

  • Clara D. Hewitt, President, Lane College
  • William Matthew Jackson, Vice-President, Girls Club of Memphis
  • Joy Rogers Stout, Secretary, Girls Club of Memphis
  • Sylvester Dunn, Treasurer, Fisk University

The state of Tennessee like other states in the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP) region was still faced with the question of how it was going to address the barriers to postsecondary education opportunity for its low-income, first-generation students, as mandated by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 which subsequently became a part of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

Tennessee, through Fisk University and Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee, received two of the seventeen pilot Upward Bound Programs in 1965. A decade later, Tennessee had 31 TRiO Programs at the following 21 colleges, universities and agencies:

  1. Austin Peay State University, SSS, Jean Lewis, Director
  2. Douglas Cherokee Economic Authority, Inc., EOC, Mazie Steadman, Asst. Dir.
  3. East Tennessee State University, SSS, Veterans UB, Jack Garland, Director
  4. Fisk University, UB, SSS, UB CETA, Sylvester Dunn, Director
  5. Girls Club of Memphis, Inc., ETS, William Matthew Jackson, Director
  6. Knoxville College, SSS, UB, Cassandra Ghosten, Director
  7. Lane College, UB, SSS, Clara D. Hewitt, Director
  8. Lee College, SSS, Lucille Walker, Director
  9. LeMoyne-Owen College, UB, SSS, Rita Teal, Director
  10. Lincoln Memorial University, UB, SSS, Bonnie Buckland, Director
  11. McKenzie College, SSS, Jay Menuskin, Director
  12. Nashville State Technical Institute, SSS, Beverly Collins, Director
  13. Shelby State Community College, SSS, Marsha Jenkins, Director
  14. Tennessee State University, UB, SSS, Mary Love, Director
  15. Tennessee Technology University, UB, Steve Coble, Director
  16. Tusculum College, UB, TS, Julia Tower, Director
  17. UT Chattanooga, UB, SSS, Paul Beasley, Director
  18. UT Knoxville, SSS, Educational Advancement Program, James Caraway, Dir.
  19. UT Knoxville, TS, Ernest Brewer, Director
  20. UT Space Institute, SSS, Firouz Shahrokhi, Director
  21. Walter State Community College, SSS, Frank Skinnell, Director

Other Early Non-elected Players in the Developmental History of TN TRiO: In Alphabetical Order

  • Hope Abergast
  • O'Leary Ankton
  • Bruce Batts
  • Paul Beasley
  • Ernest Brewer
  • Gail Burleson
  • Jim Caraway
  • Linda Carlton
  • Rudolph Christian
  • Arthur Davis
  • Carolyn Hague
  • Mae Harris
  • Richard Held
  • Anita Hodges
  • Dorothy Howard
  • Rosa Hudson
  • Shelia Kelly
  • Sherri Lanier
  • Nancy Ledet
  • James Lefler
  • Adrienne Long
  • Mary Love
  • Allison Martin
  • Gerald Mason
  • Veda Mays
  • Jay Menuskin
  • Ben Pugh
  • Julia Tower

Historical Highlights of TN TRiO

  1. The first constitution was adopted in 1973 with revisions in 1986, 1990, 1993 and 1996.
  2. The TN TRiO organization was incorporated by the state of Tennessee in 1986 and received tax-exempt status in 1996.
  3. The TN TRiO Office of treasurer has been bonded since 1980.
  4. In 1973, membership dues were set at $5.00 and the conference registration fee was $10.00
  5. TN TRiO publishes a directory, a quarterly newsletter and maintains the following web address: http://www.tn-tasp.org/
  6. The Tennessee Association has held joint conferences on alternate years with the state of Kentucky since 1990.
  7. TN TRiO members fully participate in the annual Fair Share drive which supports the Council for Opportunity in Education.
  8. Tennessee received the first DOE Training Grant for the SAEOPP Region in 1985 under the leadership of William Matthew Jackson.
  9. TN TRiO members hold their elections by mail.
  10. On December 11, 1984, Clara D. Hewitt presented the initial SAEOPP Archives Collection to the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Clark Atlanta University. Dr. Wanda Bigham was SAEOPP's President and Dr. Ben McCune was Vice-President.
  11. Michael Mercer, Lane College Upward Bound, 1997, Sharon Lynette Bush, Girls Club of Memphis, 1986, and Winston Oxendine, Tusculum College have been cited as SAEOPP and COE Achievers respectively.
  12. Clara Hewitt and Deborah Northcross received the "Honors of the Association" in 2002 and William Matthew and Jeanie Stokes received the "Honors of the Executive Committee". Hewitt also received the Walter O. Mason Award from COE in 1994 and had the SAEOPP Archives named in her honor in 2002.
  13. Dr. Ernest Brewer served as Editor of the SAEOPP Journal from 1990 to 2002
  14. The following Tennesseeans have held elective offices and/or served as committee chairs of the SAEOPP and COE organizations: Deborah Northcross, Jeannie Stokes, Clara Hewitt, Ronnie Gross, Vicky Johnson-Warren, Mae Harris, Booker Scruggs, William M. Jackson, Drew Ragan, and Ronald McFadden.
  15. In 1977, Clara Hewitt was one of three SAEOPPians (Irma Burks-Daily and Ben McCune) who attended the organizational meeting of the National Council for Educational Opportunity Associations in New Orleans, Louisiana under the leadership of Dr. Arnold Mitchem. NCEOA has been re-named the Council for Opportunity in Education. Hewitt is also a 1977 SAEOPP founder.
  16. Julia Tower, former Project Director at Tusculum College, Greenville, Tennessee is now Vice-President for Academic Affairs at the Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, DC.
  17. Richard Held, Tusculum College and Angela Neal, Austin Peay State University, (1994-95) have served as TRiO Desk students for the Council of Opportunity in Education National Office.
  18. TN TRiOProject Directors have continuously embraced National TRiO Day.
  19. Since its inception, Tennessee has always had representation at the Annual Policy Seminar. In 1997, Attorney Nathan Pride accompanied the Tennessee delegation to visit Tennessee's Congressmen as TRiO alumni.

Programs That Directly Involve Tennessee TRiO Students

  • Annual Statewide Scholars Bowl
  • Merit Awards for TRiO Students
  • TRiO Desk Students
  • McNair Scholars Conference
  • UB Talent Shows
  • TRiO Day
  • TRiO Student Exchange
  • UB Sports Classic
  • UB Science Fair
  • Summer Olympics
  • Representation at the Annual Policy Seminars

Past TN TRiO Officers and Meeting Dates


President: Clara D. Hewitt

Vice-President: William M. Jackson

Secretary Joy Rogers Stout

Treasurer Sylvester Dunn


President: William Matthew Jackson

Vice-President: Harry McKeldin

Secretary: Joy Rogers Stout

Treasurer: Sylvester Dunn


President: Harry McKeldin

Vice-President: Deborah Northcross

Secretary: Joy Rogers Stout

Treasurer: William Howard

TN TRiO1977-1978 Fall Meetings:

November 15, 1977 - Nashville, TN

October 23-24,1978 - Pickwick Landing State Park - Pickwick, TN

Theme: "Counseling, Instruction, Tutoring: Encounters of the Best Kind"


President: Deborah Northcross

Vice-President: Sharon Routson/Lonnie Cane

Secretary: Anna Morrison

Treasurer: William Howard


President: Margo Deschenes

Vice-President: William Howard

Secretary: Anna Morrison

Treasurer: Sylvester Dunn


President: William Howard

Vice-President: Steve Coble

Secretary: Anna Morrison

Treasurer: Sylvester Dunn

TN TRiO 1981-182 Fall Meetings

October 1-2, 1981 Holiday Inn -Briley Parkway - Nashville, TN

Theme: "Statewide Strategies For Continued Support of Special Programs"

October 1982-Clement Auditorium-Nashville State Tech. Institute-Nashville, TN


President: Jack Garland

Vice-President: Clara D. Hewitt

Secretary: Anna Morrison

Treasurer: Sylvester Dunn

TN TRiOFall Meeting

October 14, 1983 - Jubilee Hall - Fisk University - Nashville, TN


President: Clara D. Hewitt

Vice-President: Rita Jackson-Teal

Secretary: Anna Morrison

Treasurer: Bernice Giles

TN TRiO1984-1985 Fall Meeting

October 19, 1984 - Tennessee State University - Nashville, TN

October 18, 1985 - Nashville State Tech. Institute - Nashville, TN


President: Rita Jackson-Teal

Vice-President: James Lefler

Secretary: Anna Morrison

Treasurer: Bernice Giles

TN TRiO Fall Meeting

October 17, 1986 - Downtown Campus - Tennessee State University

Nashville, TN

Theme: "Equality and Excellence: Building a Tradition"


President: Paul Beasley

Vice-President: Allison Martin/Linda Carlton

Secretary: Anna Morrison

Treasurer: Bernice Giles

TN TRiO 1987-1988 Fall Meetings

October 23, 1987 - Learning Resource Center - Tennessee State University Nashville, TN

October 21, 1988 - Fisk University - Nashville, TN


President: Ronald McFadden

Vice-President: Veda Mays

Secretary: Helen McGinty

Treasurer: Allison Martin/Carol Childress

TN TRiO1990-1991 Fall Meetings

October 24-26, 1990 - Maxwell House Hotel - Nashville, TN

Theme: "TRiO Self Development Helping To Build The Community "

October 16-18, 1991 - Holiday Inn - Gatlinburg, TN

Theme: "Leadership For The Twenty-First Century"


President: Booker T. Scruggs

Vice-President: T. Drew Ragan

Secretary: Helen McGinty

Treasurer: Carol Childress

TN TRiO1992-1993 Fall Meetings

October 14-16, 1992 - Raddison Hotel - Memphis, TN

Theme: "REAUTHORIZATION: Where Do We Go From Here?"

October 27-29, 1993 Doubletree Hotel Nashville, TN

Theme: "A New Way, A New Day (TN TRiO Launch 2000)"


President: T. Drew Ragan

Vice-President: Mae Harris

Secretary: Johnnie Crawford

Treasurer: Ronnie Gross

TN TRiOFall Meeting

November 2-4, 1994 - Seelbach Hotel - Louisville, KY

Theme: " Building Bridges: TRiO Partnership for the 21st Century"


President: June Chinn-Jones/Jeanne Stokes

Vice-President: Jeanne Stokes

Secretary: Johnnie Crawford

Treasurer: Ronnie Gross

TN TRiO Fall Meeting

October 31-November 2, 1995 - Marriott Marquis Hotel - Chattanooga, TN

Theme: "Building Bridges: TRiO Partnerships for the 21st Century Part II"


President: Jeanne Stokes

Vice-President: Booker Scruggs

Secretary: Ruby Tucker

Treasurer: Ronnie Gross


President: Eddi Marlowe

Vice-President: Celeste Brooks

Secretary: Vicky Waldroupe

Treasurer: David Wilhoit

TN TRiO Fall Meeting

October 22-24, 1997 - Holiday Inn - Louisville, KY

November 4-6, 1998 - Hyatt Regency - Knoxville, TN

Theme: "Reaffirming TRiO's Mission In A Climate of Change"


President: Ronnie Gross

Vice-President: Vicky Waldroupe

Secretary: Norma Alexander

Treasurer: David Wilhoit

TN TRiO Fall Meeting

October 21-23, 1999 - Embassy Suites - Covington, KY


President: Vicky Johnson-Warren

Vice-President: David Wilhoit

Secretary: Susan Graves

Treasurer: Lamont Douglas


President: David Wilhoit

Vice-President: Susan Graves/Celeste Brooks

Secretary: Celeste Crowe

Treasurer: Terri Hall


President: Patricia Porter/Florence Hall

Vice-President: Florence Hall/Mary Love

Secretary: Michelle Hurley

Treasurer: Terri Hall


President: Florence Hall/Stephen Hendrix

Vice-President: Stephen Hendrix/Katie Duvall

Secretary: Dr. Ron McFadden

Treasurer: Rekeshiam Hudson