6th president of TSU dead at the age of 74

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – – James A. Hefner, the sixth president of Tennessee State University, has died at the age of 76 following a long illness.

According to a news release from the university, Hefner died Thursday morning surrounded by family at his home in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Hefner was TSU’s president from 1991 to 2005. Under his leadership, the university saw marked physical, infrastructural and academic improvement, including the implementation of a $112 million capital improvement plan.

The improvement was part of the Geier agreement that attempted to end race-based disparity in higher education funding in Tennessee.

Current TSU President Glenda Glover called Hefner a “visionary and one of the best leaders to ever serve this great institution.”

A memorial service will be held at TSU at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2 in Poag Auditorium of the Davis Humanities Building on campus.