Friday, September 11, 2009

From the Office of the President

Dear Tennessee State University Family:

Words cannot express the sadness I feel after the tragic loss of both friend and colleague,Nathaniel Adefope. I know how difficult this must be for you. My Tennessee State University family is in my thoughts and prayers as we all try to understand the demise of one so dear.

I encourage you to draw on your strength and the strength of your University family. As you know, we are sometimes shocked by the untimely demise of those we cherish, respect and love. Nathaniel was one of those individuals whom we loved, respected and cherished because he first loved us, his TSU family.

During his 27 years at TSU, three common threads were always evident, Nathaniel was passionate about his research, he absolutely enjoyed working with our students, and he loved being part of the TSU family of scholars. He contributed greatly to the growth and success of agricultural research conducted in the School of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences at TSU.

As I sit here trying to make sense of this heinous incident, trying to think of what a president says to his academic family after such a horrific act, I cannot help but to be saddened by the untimely death of this cheerful and gregarious individual. I sincerely feel most deeply for those students who no longer will share the expertise of this brilliant scholar. I am saddened for those colleagues who no longer will enjoy a brief conversation or hello with a beloved friend. This is truly a sad hour of bereavement. This loss is too severe to be expressed in words, but being human we have to accept a will that is bigger than all of us.

I know this may be difficult to ask, but I do so anyway. Please find the strength and courage to accept that ugliness has entered our world; however, remember Nathaniel was beautiful-in spirit and in deed. I know no comfort is quite enough to replace our loss, but if this burden of losing a member of our family becomes unbearable, please remember that we do have counselors on staff willing to assist you through this difficult time.

With my deepest sympathy to Nathaniel's family, friends and colleagues, let us light a candle tonight in remembrance.

With deepest sorrow,

Melvin N. Johnson


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