Lawrence Washington, a stand-out student-athlete for the
Tennessee State University tennis team, garnered many awards during his stint
as a Tiger. He completed his final season with a 7-4 record and an overall mark
of 20-18. . Following his senior campaign, Lawrence was named to the All-OVC
team and thus became the first TSU tennis player to receive the honor. Additionally, he was named the 2012 Tennis MVP
while boasting the team's highest GPA, 3.8. Academically, he was an ITA Scholar
Athlete for four consecutive years and received the 2012 Academic Excellence
Star Award. In May 2012, the Arthur Ashe Scholar, graduated Summa Cum Laude
with a bachelor's degree in Political Science.
TSUTigers sat down with Lawrence to talk about his TSU experience.
TSUTigers: Talk about your overall TSU experience.
L. Washington: My
overall experience at TSU has been life changing. Transferring in to TSU, I had
no idea what to expect. I come from a very diverse background so transferring
to an HBCU was something different. The most fascinating aspect about TSU was
the nurturing environment. Friends and Faculty treated you as if you were
family. Though some of us weren't on the same page as each other all the time,
they still pushed me to be the best that I could possibly be and that is very
TSUTigers: What do you love most about TSU?
L. Washington: TSU is
so diverse. What many people don't know about HBCU's is that although they are
predominantly black institutions, people still come from all walks of life and
have a different story to tell. From hearing these stories, it has given me a
new insight on life.
TSUTigers: What will you miss most about TSU?
L. Washington: The
thing I will miss most about TSU is the overall environment. When you step onto
TSU's campus, you know you are at TSU. It is a fun, electric, and moving
TSUTigers: What is your most memorable tennis moment at TSU?
L. Washington: There
were two memorable tennis moments that I will never forget. The first one was
when I beat Jacksonville State University in a three set match this past
season. It was one of my last matches as a senior and it was about a 2 ½ hour
match. On match point during a third set
tie-break, I was going for a drop shot and the ball clipped the net and fell
over on my opponent's side and I won the match. I know that isn't something to
gloat about but I tried that same exact shot in the identical situation against
Murray State and the ball fell back on my side and I ended up losing that match.
Another memorable moment for me at TSU was receiving all-conference honors for
tennis. That has not been done in school history for the sport of tennis. To
transfer in and put TSU tennis and TSU athletics on the map was a defining
moment for me.
TSUTigers: What is your most memorable non-tennis moment at TSU?
L. Washington: One of
the most memorable non-tennis moments at TSU was probably receiving the highest
G.P.A award in the political science department. I know that I am a great
student but many students in that department are so bright and intelligent. I
was so shocked when they called my name at the awards banquet. The second most
memorable non-tennis moment was being selected by Dr. Latham to attend the
Thurgood Marshall Leadership Institute in New York City. It was a life changing
TSUTigers: How did social networking this season play a part
in the season?
L. Washington: Social
networking played a great part in this past tennis season. Many people were
tweeting about the tennis matches and many people came out to watch. I know
personally, President Shields retweeted an article that came out about my all
conference recognition. That helped raise more awareness for our program. I
also saw other media outlets speak about our tennis program so it was a
positive thing for us.
TSUTigers: Do you have a favorite TSU fan/supporter?
L. Washington: My
parents are my favorite fans. They have been with me throughout my whole tennis
career. I cannot express how grateful I am to have to wonderful parent who are
willing to invest their time and efforts to make sure that I was successful on
the tennis court. They have been with me when times were rough and when times
were great and I love them with all my heart. Love you Mom and Dad!
TSUTigers: Talk about the transition of playing on the
L. Washington: Playing on the collegiate level from high
school was tough. You are playing with well-seasoned players who have a wealth
of experience. It was tough because I would be in a match wondering why my opponents
would show no fear in certain pressure situations. I was also shocked about the
difficulty to win a match. Since I had an overall 80-11 record in high school,
I was used to winning a lot and winning effortlessly. Well, let's just say, if
you want to win, you have to give a 1000 percent on court because your
opponent, like yourself, does not want to lose.
TSUTigers: What advice would you give to incoming freshman?
L. Washington: Incoming freshman need to prioritize. They
should first focus on school followed by their sport and then lastly, their
social life. If they follow this order (The three S'es), they will become a
great student athlete. Also, incoming freshman need to learn patience. Many
freshmen feel that since they were recruited, they are going to be the best out
there automatically. It takes time to develop into a great player so be patient
and listen to what people are telling you because they want you to become the
next great player.
TSUTigers: What was your most challenging class at TSU?
L. Washington: My most challenging and rewarding course at
TSU was the Venture Creation Class taught by Dr. Latham in the honors
department. We had to develop a case study for the Thurgood Marshall College
Fund and their Leadership Institute. The case study outlined their current
problems and proposals to help their Fund and Institute. We had to present this case study in from of
the CEO of Thurgood Marshall, Johnny C. Taylor and the Vice President of Talent
Acquisition and Campus Relations, Scott Lilly. Talk about nerve racking. Our
team presented very well and Mr. Taylor and Mr. Lilly were thoroughly impressed
and took many of our recommendations into consideration. Our class of about seven (7) students worked
very hard to make sure this case study and presentation was done very well.
TSUTigers: What organizations were you a part of besides
L. Washington: I was
a part of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity in which I served as President. I
was also a part of the University Honors Program.
TSUTigers: Who have been the most influential people to you
L. Washington: Dr. Latham, Dr. Holt, Dr. Paruchuri, Dr.
Russell, Dr. Scales, Dr. Schmeller, Coach Robinson, and Dr. Smith and Gabriel
in the Academic Success Center have all been influential to me at TSU. These
influential individuals all come from diverse backgrounds and bring something
unique to the table. They also do not get the recognition they deserve. They
each work so hard each and every single day to make sure that students are
growing and developing in and outside the class room. They have all inspired me
differently and I just hope that students at TSU meet these individuals. They
truly want you to succeed. These are TSU's finest. Thank you all!
TSUTigers: What's next for you?
L. Washington: I am
moving to Washington D.C. to attend Georgetown University. I am getting my
masters in Real Estate Finance and Development. It is one of the top programs
in the nation and I am excited to be a part of it.
TSUTigers: Once you are an alumnus, how will you stay
connected with TSU?
L. Washington: I will
always give back and come back to TSU to visit. TSU has changed my life
dramatically and I want them to continue on doing this for others as well. I
will make it a point to donate generously and come back to speak with all
students to make sure that they are growing in the classroom.
TSUTigers: What do you know now that you didn't know coming
in as a freshman?
L. Washington: Your
goal should not be to gain awards and accolades in sports. If you have fun
playing your sport and work hard each and every single day to improve your
game, then the awards and accolades will follow you.
TSUTigers: What have you learned at TSU that you will keep
with you for the rest of your life?
L. Washington: Always be open to listening and meeting
different people. Something they may say or someone you may meet might change
your life for the better.
TSUTigers: Is there anything else that you would like to say
to the TSU family?
L. Washington: One thing I would like to say to my TSU
family is that you are all great individuals and you will all accomplish great
things. Don't let anyone else tell you anything differently. TSU is a great
institution with some of the brightest students and faculty in this nation.
Keep God first and continue on thinking, working, and serving!
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