Scholarship donations still open for sold-out Apri...

Scholarship donations still open for sold-out April 18 ‘Equali-TEA’ fundraiser

Beverly Keel, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University, will give the keynote address at this year’s Equali-TEA high tea fundraising event on April 18 at the Andrew Woodfin Mill Sr. Education Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Graphic illustration courtesy of the Murfreesboro chapter of the American Association of University Women)

Beverly Keel, dean of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, will give the keynote address at this year’s annual “Equali-TEA” high tea event at the university’s Miller Education Center. 

Beverly Keel, dean, College of Media and Entertainment
Beverly Keel

This is such an important event to our community and a prestigious gathering of women leaders,” said Keel, adding she is “so honored” to be invited to speak at this year’s event. “I have been hearing about this event since last fall from women at MTSU whom I admire greatly.”

Taking place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 18, the Murfreesboro chapter of the American Association of University Women — a nonprofit that advances equity for women and girls — will host the “hats optional” event featuring a full-service tea provided by MT Dining Services, award presentations and Keel’s address. 

Though this year’s event is already fully booked, community members are welcome to make donations at, which are put toward scholarships and programming for the Middle Tennessee Fund for Women and Girls organization.  

AAUW Mboro logo web

The winners of this year’s $2,000 scholarships will be recognized at the tea. Gbemisola Akinteye landed the Butler-Fouts Memorial Graduate Scholarship given to a female MTSU graduate student from an underrepresented ethnic or racial group, and Priscilla Hammermeister landed the Ruth M. Houston Memorial Scholarship given to a female MTSU undergraduate student.

“Receiving the American Association of University Women (AAUW) scholarship has boosted my self-confidence and gotten me to believe more in my personal and career goals,” said Akinteye, a Lagos, Nigeria native in the Professional Science graduate program.  

“Receiving this scholarship as practical help provided by AAUW contributes to my security as a student and allows me to focus on school,” said Hammermeister, a supply chain management major from Bochum, Germany.

Dr. Carmelita L. Dotson, Department of Social Work, College of Behavioral and Health Sciences
Dr. Carmelita Dotson

Event organizers, including honorary co-chairs MTSU first lady Liz McPhee and Tara McDougall, Discovery Center CEO and president, will also honor Carmelita L. Dotson, MTSU assistant social work professor, with the Tempest Award for her over 30 years encouraging women to pursue higher education and leadership roles and taking action to address the systemic barriers to equity for women and girls. 

Keel said her address will outline her work to create a level playing field for everyone in the country music and Nashville music industry.

“The work of the women at Equali-TEA inspires me to work harder to bring about change,” she said. “It will be a special, day and I am thrilled to be a part of it!”

To learn more about the event, contact Barbara Turnage, AAUW Murfreesboro president, at

— Stephanie Wagner (