11/14/2018
ULS NEWS ARTICLES

Today's News

University of Louisiana System

12 2018-05-15
Ruston

PARHAM’S LONGEST RUN ENDS


GRAMBLING — Atlanta’s Andrea Parham received this year’s Mother’s Day gift two days early, after waiting nearly 41 years for it.

Her son, former Grambling State football standout and NFL running back Robert Parham, finally gave her the gift she wanted most as he walked across the stage Friday in the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center to pick up his degree in kinesiology from GSU president Rick Gallot.


12 2018-05-14
Monroe

Dubach Mom graduates college with her son


GRAMBLING, La, (KNOE) - Denise Mack walked across the stage again for the first time in 23 years, but this time, it was with her son, Virgil.

"I don't want to walk with you,” Denise said. “I wanted him to have his time. I wanted him to shine because I've already been through this."
On Friday, this mother-son duo both got their degrees from Grambling State University.

Denise received a Masters in Criminal Justice and Virgil got his bachelors in visual and performing arts.

"I was happy for this day to come for him to graduate," said Denise.

But this mother's day gift, really, wasn't supposed to happen. Virgil was actually supposed to graduate before his mom. But he changed his major pushing him back two years, allowing them to take the stage together.

"After it had happened, going through the process and everything, I kind of started getting excited about it. Okay yeah, this is kind of good thing coming out together and graduating with my son," said Denise.

"I was more happy for her than I really was for myself," said Virgil.
And they say it couldn't have happened at a better time.


"It's the perfect Mother's Day gift for my mom, to receive my degree because I did it on my own with her help her prayers," said Virgil.

Prayers, long nights, and a lot of support
"He kind of encouraged me to go back,” said Denise. “I always wanted to get my masters, but it didn't seem like the time was convenient. Like I said working two jobs trying to take care of home and take care of my family."

But now that she's graduated, Denise says her story can show other moms it's never too late to go back.

"I don't care how old you are you know you just have to start somewhere," said Denise.

And where she ended up, made it a mother's day to remember.

For their next journey, Denise says she plans to open her own mental health agency.

Virgil says he plans to travel to Las Vegas to put his degree to use.
12 2017-06-29
Monroe

Donte' Jackson announced as Grambling's Men's Basketball Coach


RAMBLING, La. (Press Release) - Grambling State University Director of Athletics Paul Bryant officially announced the hiring of, and signed, Donte’ Jackson as the next GSU head men’s basketball coach during a Wednesday morning news conference.

Jackson officially signed his contract in front of a small crowd of media members, athletics staff and his family in the office of GSU President Rick Gallot.

“We’re excited today to sign this contract,” Gallot said. “The future of Grambling and Grambling basketball is bright. And of course, whenever Willis Reed says that you have a great coach, then you have to be a great coach.”

Bryant welcomed Jackson to the department by giving him an official Grambling State pin and baseball cap. He said, “This is a great day for our athletics department and our men’s basketball program. We have a leader who will be an example for our young men in the classroom as well as on the playing surfaces and in the community.”

“I’m elated,” said Jackson when he addressed the crowd. “This is an opportunity I’ve always dreamed of…and I will give my all. I want to thank [President Gallot] for the opportunity to lead the program and for you entrusting the program into my hands. And I want to thank [Mr. Bryant] for just giving me the opportunity to be a part of the Grambling family.”

Prior to GSU, Jackson spent three seasons as the head men’s basketball coach at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. During his time there, he went 66-21 overall and won the 2016 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Tournament and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament, where they defeated West Georgia in the first round.

At the end of the 2015-16 season, he was named the SIAC Coach of the Year, as well as BOXTOROW National Coach of the Year. In his last year at Stillman, he also served as Stillman’s interim director of athletics, in addition to maintaining his role as head men’s basketball coach.

Prior to Stillman, Jackson led the men’s basketball program at Central State University (CSU) in Wilberforce, Ohio, for four seasons. He took over the program in 2010 after serving as an assistant coach at CSU for seven seasons.

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native graduated from CSU in 2003 with a bachelor’s of science in education, and in 2008, he earned a master’s of science in educational leadership. He was a three-year letter winner on the Marauder basketball team and earned all-conference and all-region honors during the 2001-02 season.

He led the Marauders to the NAIA Division I National Tournament and a Sweet Sixteen appearance with a 24-8 record during 1999-2000 season. Jackson capped his stellar career by being selected as the recipient of the John W. Garland President’s Award, presented annually to a student-athlete who embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship through academic and athletic achievements.
12 2017-06-29
Monroe

Grambling State declines student fee increase


GRAMBLING, La -- - For Rick Gallot, raising student fees may be the right move for other universities, but not Grambling State University.

"At this point we really are at a breaking point with the students that we serve," Gallot said.

He believes this is the wrong time.

"They just quite frankly cannot absorb yet another fee it just would be very difficult."

Some may disagree with the move but the students couldn't be more relieved.

"It was just more about the students and less about the money," graduate student, Preston Nelson, said.

"It shows that our president does actually care about the students," Sivram Jackson, another Grambling grad student, says.

"It's a lot off stress of my parents' back," freshman D.J. Rabb said.

Nia Pressley says Gallot gets her vote of confidence going into the future.

"I have a lot more confidence because i know that he's not just looking out for the institution but he's looking out for my pocket," she said.

Gallot is passing up on money, something that can go towards helping Grambling keep building it's strong momentum from the last school year.

"We'll continue to tighten our belt buckles like everyone else is and try to make sure that we're doing the absolute best that we can with the resources that we do have," Gallot said.

However, with a new fundraising campaign he's hoping alumni will rise to the occasion.

"I've heard from many of them and you know followed some of the traffic on some of the social media sites from our alums who you know are accepting the challenge,' Gallot said.

One thing is for sure he has the support of the people.

"It says it in the hash tags you see everywhere we are "GramFam" this is a family and that definitely speaks volumes to what a family is and what a family does," Pressley said.

"It sets the tone of we're only going up and we can't look back," Nelson said.


12 2017-05-30
Monroe

Budget keeps funds for black colleges


WASHINGTON — Months after meeting with President Trump, leaders of black colleges and universities welcomed support for year-round Pell Grants in his proposed budget, but many said they’re disappointed funding would not increase for their institutions.

“The ability to access Pell ... year round is certainly a win for us and all HBCUs – whether it’s us here in Louisiana or you name the school, no matter where, Mississippi Valley or Jackson (State University), private or public, Dillard or Xavier,” said Richard Gallot, president of Grambling State University in Louisiana. “The Pell piece is a good first step.”

But some presidents and members of Congress blasted other cuts in Trump’s proposed budget released Tuesday, saying they could hurt students at historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. They said the plan guts some key programs, including one that funds outreach and support services for low-income students.

“All of these proposed budget cuts decrease the funding to programs that are so very important to Alabama State University and to other HBCUs,” Leon Wilson, interim president at Alabama State University, said in a statement. “This troubles me since it negatively impacts the support programs that are vital to our schools, as well as to many of our students, whom are our treasure and the life’s-blood to our community’s future.”

The presidents had anxiously awaited the administration’s budget plan. Trump, who hosted nearly 80 presidents of black colleges and universities at the White House earlier this year, had vowed to make support for HBCUs “an absolute priority.” Trump also signed an executive order elevating a federal HBCU initiative to a White House project.

Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., co-chair of the bipartisan HBCU Caucus, said she’s particularly concerned about flat funding for black colleges when other programs would get a boost.

Trump’s budget plan would keep funding at $492 million for HBCUs and other higher education institutions that serve mostly minority students.

“It may sound good, but it’s not good,” Adams said after a recent press conference sponsored by the HBCU Collective. “We need more money. The other thing is that when you go in and you take away financial aid, when you do all the other things, you take away some of the programs that are pipeline programs for our students, that’s still not helpful. So you’re really hurting these institutions.”

Alabama Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne, also co-chair of the HBCU Caucus, said black colleges fared well considering proposed cuts to other programs.

“Given the difficult budgetary environment, I think it should be considered a win for HBCUs to receive level funding,” said Byrne, whose state has 12 black colleges and universities.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president of the president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, agreed. “From a HBCU perspective, we did all right,” he said. “It wasn’t great … Given where it could be, level funding is a win. Period.”

Byrne, other lawmakers and advocates for black colleges praised the budget plan for restoring year-round Pell Grants. The year-round option was eliminated in 2011.

Taylor said the year-round grants are particularly important to HBCU students, many whom go to college under prepared. “We need those summers to remediate a lot of them,’’ he said.

He said it also helps students who have to work and can’t attend school full-time. Some use the summer semester to stay on track to graduate in four years, he said.

Gallot said Pell Grants, which are used to pay tuition, are critical particularly for HBCUs in Louisiana where higher education has faced deep cuts.

Congress recently approved a federal spending bill that included year-round Pell Grants that would provide 1 million college students with an additional average award of $1,650 to help pay tuition. The grants are awarded to students based on financial need.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., applauded the change, saying year-round Pell Grants were a priority for black college presidents.

“We’ve got to think that their voices were heard,” said Scott, who co-hosted a daylong conference with Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., for HBCU presidents earlier this year. “Now there are more requests that we’ve got to continue to work on, but the fact of the matter is this is the first time in nine years we’ll have the possibility of seeing year-round Pell” grants.

Taylor also praised Trump’s budget plan for including more funding for charter schools, which he said are feeders to black colleges and a source of revenue. Eight HBCUs have charter schools, including Grambling.

Black colleges have faced a host of issues, including aging infrastructures and declining enrollments. In addition to year-round Pell Grants, the presidents have pushed for increased funding for Pell Grants, work study programs and federal contracts to black colleges. They also called for Trump to include $25 billion for black colleges in his proposed infrastructure plan.

Trump’s budget plan includes $20.1 million in new loan subsidies for the HBCU Capital Financing Program, which helps finance renovation and other capital improvement projects.

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said the caucus will defend against some of Trump’s proposed budget cuts, including TRIO.

Trump’s proposed budget would cut TRIO funding by $142 million, according to Adams’ office. The program funded by the Department of Education supports student services mostly for low-income students and students with disabilities.

Level funds for “HBCUs are in there, but then he goes and he cuts TRIO,” Richmond said.

Richmond said TRIO, which has proven to be successful, is “designed to help those vulnerable college students, the first-generation college students navigate the process.”

Trump’s plan would also cut the federal work study program by 50 percent or $500 million, according to the United Negro College Fund. More than 26,000 HBCU students could be impacted, UNCF said.

Administration officials said they want to reform the program.

Michael L. Lomax, the UNCF president, said the proposed budget “would cut federal financial aid lifelines that thousands of HBCU students depend on to attend college and earn their degrees.”

Lomax, Taylor and college presidents said they will turn to Congress to try to restore some funding.

“Now we sort of shift focus because ultimately Congress has to approve the bill,” said Gallot, the Grambling president. “The work is not over … This is really just the beginning.”
12 2017-05-05
Monroe

GSU's Robinson Stadium receiving multi-million dollar upgrades


GRAMBLING — Grambling's return to relevancy on the HBCU football scene came full circle in 2016 by winning its first black college national championship since 2008.

With gains made on playing field, it was time for Grambling to catch up with its facilities.

The long-awaited upgrades to Eddie Robinson Stadium are coming to Grambling's campus.

Grambling is moving forward with plans for $1.5 to $2 million upgrades that includes new field turf, a new scoreboard and new signage for sponsorship opportunities. Grambling also plans to add additional parking and tailgating areas for fans.

"It's a huge brand, and if you're a huge brand and a successful brand, your field and facilities should mirror image that," Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs told The New-Star. "Having a video board and having field turf facility here for us, basically is a perfect marriage met in heaven."

The face lift is needed for Robinson Stadium, which opened in 1983. The 19,600-seat stadium served Grambling well for the better part of the last four decades, but the scoreboard is outdated and the field is plagued with drainage issues.

More:Grambling hoops search down to 2 finalists

"The game day experience will be something we've never had at Grambling," Grambling athletic director Paul Bryant said.

"This is something we've needed and wanted for some time."

Austin, Texas-based Hellas Construction will handle the turf. Nevco will install the new 48 by 25 foot scoreboard. Hellas has installed turf at major venues like AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Grambling's new turf is called Matrix and features helix strands of synthetic material that plays more like real grass. Once completed, Grambling will join Alabama A&M and Alabama State as the only three Southwestern Athletic Conference teams to play home games on turf.

The upgrades are being made possible via a partnership with Origin Bank and Coca-Cola, and the project, which is estimated to run around $1.8 million, will be funded through Grambling's university foundation. Construction is expected to start next week with a completion date of August for the annual Eddie G. Robinson High School Football Classic Jamboree.

Grambling is cashing in on the momentum from an HBCU championship in 2016.

"We're champions, and champions deserve to play on a field as such," Fobbs said.


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Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs explains how new upgrades will help become a mirror image of success of football program. Sean Isabella/The News-Star

Plans for athletic upgrades were put in motion last summer when new president Rick Gallot took over and later hired Bryant as Grambling's first permanent athletic director since 2013. During a January introductory press conference, Bryant maintained one of his top priorities was to provide upgrades to the football stadium.

"This is going to transform the way we're looked at, the way our potential student-athletes look at Grambling State," Bryant said. "'Oh yeah, we're champions but our facilities aren't great.' Now, we have great facilities and we're going to give them a quality playing surface."

An indoor facility is next on the agenda. That must wait, but the new scoreboard, which includes a digital presence, will enhance the fan experience. A new turf field helps with less maintenance and the ability to have more home games.

Bryant said the plan is to keep the cement base on the existing scoreboard and turn it into club seating level in the end zone. The space, which is currently unfinished and used by support staff members to film games and practices, will be able to fit 20 people.

The practice field is considered Phase 2 of the upgrades, which will come at a later date. Earlier this year, Grambling installed new grass, fencing and netting in the baseball field, new grass at the softball field and a redesign of the soccer complex along with new fencing and drainage.


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Hellas Construction CEO Reed Seaton explains the type of turf that will be installed at Eddie Robinson Stadium for the 2017 season. Sean Isabella/The News-Star

Hellas CEO Reed Seaton said he hopes to break ground on the new turf by next week. The project begins by removing the current grass followed by regrading the existing sub-base, which Seaton referred to as a free-draining stone sub-grade. Construction will then turn to pouring concrete on the sides of the field and footing on the walls.

The base work is expected to take 30 days. By early July, Seaton hopes to begin laying turf.

In years past, Grambling was often forced to practice inside when it rained and turned the practice field into slop. New turf will allow Grambling to practice on its game field without worry of wear and tear for game day.

Drainage will improve, too. Walls on the side of the field are being added to catch the water as it comes down the hill. The turf has the ability to drain 10 inches per hour and can cool down by 40 degrees.

Pictured is a rendering of the new video board GramblingBuy Photo
Pictured is a rendering of the new video board Grambling will install for the 2017 season. (Photo: SEAN ISABELLA/The News-Star)
Pictured is the type of turf Grambling will installBuy Photo
Pictured is the type of turf Grambling will install for the 2017 season. The school announced Thursday plans for new turf and a new video board. (Photo: SEAN ISABELLA/The News-Star)
12 2017-05-05
New Orleans

Grambling announces major football stadium renovations


GRAMBLING, La. – Grambling State University Director of Athletics Paul Bryant announced the first major renovations and upgrades to the Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium in decades, including a total football field turf overhaul and a high-tech digital scoreboard.

The project, with an estimated cost of $1.5 million to $2 million, is scheduled to start as early as next week. The aggressive construction timeline calls for a mid-August completion, just before the first game against Tulane University in New Orleans on Sept. 2 and the first home game at Robinson Memorial Stadium on Sept. 9.

“I haven’t been here long, but I’ve heard loud and clear from our alumni, students and all kinds of GSU fans and stakeholders that this is long overdue,” said Bryant, who arrived in January. “There’s no time like the present, and it’s time to make this happen.”

In addition to the stadium upgrades, Bryant said the school is adding a fourth home game, something fans have discussed for years. Rather than play the Red River Classic in Shreveport this fall, the Texas Southern University football matchup will be played at home on Oct. 28. TSU has a big fan base, with a 2016 regular home attendance of 5,371 and away attendance averaging 8,665. Bryant said that game will now be the GSU homecoming game.

The 19,600-seat stadium opened in 1983, replacing the old Grambling Stadium, which was located not far from the university’s baseball field. The stadium replaced a huge peach orchard, and contractors dug a lot of dirt to make the sloping landscape accommodate the football field that head football coach Eddie Robinson wanted. Often called “The Hole” because the entrances sit high above the field with seats in between, Grambling State fans have enjoyed G-Man football home games at the stadium for decades. In recent years, fans have clamored for upgrades.

“In 1983 when the stadium opened it was the only one of it’s kind,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “Now, in 2017, it’s the only one of its kind – and our championship football team deserves a championship stadium.”

Gallot said Bryant and his athletics team brought the stadium upgrade ideas to him and he told the AD he would have to find a way to pay for the project. Bryant discussed options with Marc Newman, the school’s institutional advancement vice president, and David Aubrey, chairman of the Grambling University Foundation, and they hatched the idea to seek foundation support to finance the project. The board approved the concept just a few days ago.

“This wouldn’t be possible without the strong endorsement of Aubrey and the foundation board,” added Bryant. “We have a partnership and a vision that all Grambling State University sports are important, and this is a piece of pursuing championship-level athletics programs.”

Bryant noted that the school’s soccer and softball fields are also being renovated.

“President Gallot has the type of athletics vision that brought me here, and he’s allowing me to lead Grambling State to match the huge brand the school has internationally,” said Bryant. “Thanks to the board and the president, we are going to make these things happen.”

Head football coach Broderick Fobbs said he is excited about the stadium upgrades, and he’s especially happy for his coaches and players. “This is huge for this team. This team has been through some tough times and they have stayed focused and brought home a national championship last year,” he said. “This says a lot about how this administration views football and all of athletics, and we can’t wait to play on a state-of-the-art football field with a state-of-the-art scoreboard. Our guys are going to love it.”

Bryant said the company handling the turf overhaul and installation is Hellas Construction Inc., a nationally recognized leader in sports turf. Hellas has designed and installed turf for professional, college and high school sports groups, including the Dallas Cowboys, the Jacksonville Jaguars and several Texas high school teams. A new digital scoreboard will be installed by NEVCO of Greenville, Illinois, sign installment will be done by Shreveport Neon Signs and the new sound system will be handled by Gulf Coast Sound.

Aubrey said the foundation decided to support the upgrades with a significant investment because they believe in the leadership of Gallot and Bryant, and they see opportunities to seek additional support with field and scoreboard sponsorships as well as increased attendance. “This is a lot of money, but sometimes it takes spending money to bring the type of money you need to make a program successful,” said Aubrey. “Gallot says he’s supporting the athletics program with a holistic approach, and we believe that’s what it’s going to take to make the athletic program, and the school, successful.”

Newman said businesses and corporate sponsors can expect to hear about some tremendous sponsorship opportunities associated with the project in the coming weeks. “We’re looking for partners who want to invest in something great, and we’re doing great things at Grambling State University,” he said. “This whole thing has been moving quickly, and that’s really exciting. I like the speed with which we’ve been moving to make things happen. We want to be sure existing and new partners have a chance to join us as the construction gets underway.”
12 2017-04-28
Monroe

New GSU nursing program gets the Board of Regents support


Grambling State University’s effort to start a new undergraduate nursing program got a boost Wednesday when the Louisiana Board of Regents endorsed a letter of intent in support of a smaller, focused, more demanding academic curriculum, classroom training and support so students will be successful.

“We’re happy that the Board of Regents has supported our efforts today, and this is just the second of three key steps as we work toward getting this program in place,” GSU President Rick Gallot said shortly after the vote in the Claiborne Building. “Now it’s on to the state board of nursing. We’re hopeful because the nursing board sent the Regents a letter encouraging support because they like what they see.”

The Board of Regents vote in favor of the letter of intent was unanimous. If the process continues as planned, the first cohort of 30 students can start with the new GSU nursing program in fall 2018.

GSU started the program in 1984 and built a strong regional and national reputation. But the program fell on hard times as some students were not successfully passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) required state boards of nursing to be licensed to practice after graduation. The Louisiana board ordered GSU to pursue closing the program in June 2015, the Board of Regents closed the program in August 2015 and the program was officially closed December 31, 2015. Gallot decided to ramp up an effort to develop a new nursing program, making it one of his key first-year priorities.

Board member Robert W. Levy acknowledged that he was one of the chief critics of the university’s previous program, but he said though he has had lots of concerns and criticisms he supports the new program because it is well designed, well thought out and designed to better ensure student success. In addition, he said, he was not prepared “until he became president,” pointing at Gallot sitting at a table in front of the board.

According to a Regents staff summary provided to inform the board, “Recognizing a longstanding need for more BSN graduates as well as a parallel need for the nursing community to better represent the diversity of the population that it serves, Grambling has been working to reestablish a BSN on campus by reviewing and revising every element from core leadership in the School of Nursing, to faculty orientation and evaluation, course and curriculum design, and lab and support resources.”

Meg Brown, the school’s nursing head, said she was happy with the Board of Regents’ support and she and her team will work with GSU Provost Ellen Smiley and others to best prepare to anticipate and answer all state board of nursing questions. The university plans to appear before the state nursing board in early June.

“While we are pleased with what happened today, we have more work to do and we’re ready to get it done,” said Brown. “It’s important that we pay special attention to everything we’re doing to make sure that we start strong and stay strong.”
12 2017-04-27
Monroe

Grambling's undergraduate nursing program one step closer to opening its doors


MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - President Gallot is pitching a whole new nursing program to lawmakers Wednesday, and if they approve it, the program could re-open as early as next year.


Courtesy: KNOE 8 News

The program was forced to close its doors two years ago because it wasn't meeting standards.

in February, President Rick Gallot pitched a new program
to the Louisiana Board of Supervisors and they approved it. However, that was just the first step.

On Wednesday, the program is being reviewed by the Louisiana Board of Regents and if they approve it, it will go to the Louisiana Board of Nursing for final approval.

Officials say that's when the real work begins.

"We have to put a person in charge of getting the program back on board and start the process of getting faculty because we have to do those things before we can recruit, identify, and accept students," says Will Sutton, director of communications.

If everything goes as planned, the program will be up and running by Fall of 2018.
12 2017-04-27
Monroe

Grambling nursing program gets good news in Baton Rouge


GRAMBLING, La -- - The Betty E. Smith at Grambling State University building has history.

A long legacy of putting out some of the top professionals in the nursing field.

A building students say is now filled with untapped potential, not one nursing student in sight.

"Before i even came here you would always here about how great the nursing program is and when i got here i was kind of upset to hear that you know it's not here any more," GSU student, Robynn Hadley, said.

Jimitriv Roberson, Miss Grambling State University, says she remembers the reaction when the nursing program shut down.

"I feel as if people may have panicked being that it was one of the greatest programs that we have had," Jimitriv Roberson

The program has now been shut down for two years but Grambling President, Rick Gallot and Dean of Nursing Dr. Meg brown are fighting to get it back.

After meetings in the state capital, Grambling received some good news.

An approval by the Louisiana Board of Regents. Now he not only wants to bring the program back but make it better than it was before.

A moment special to him and his Grambling family.

"Well the fact that my wife was able to be with me today and to see the forward movement of the resurgence of this program that she's a product of is a double victory," Gallot said.

However, it's not over just yet.

They are still one step away, but now students who once had the dream of being a part of this great program have hope for the future..

"It's just good for them so they don't have to you know transfer anywhere else because Grambling is a great school and i feel like it's an even better school with the nursing program," Hadley said.

The last step is on June 8th.

That's when the Louisiana Board of Nursing meets to get the school over their last hurdle.

Then the real work begins.
12 2017-04-27
Monroe

Urban League president to deliver GSU spring commencement address


Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and former New Orleans mayor, will deliver the spring 2017 commencement address on May 12. The graduation is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

“Mayor Morial has an international reputation; he’s a focused leader and activist, said GSU President Rick Gallot. “We are excited that the head of the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy group is available to visit our campus and share his knowledge with our graduates.”

About 500 students are candidates for graduation next month, including about 200 master’s degree candidates and several doctorate candidates.

During his career, Morial has been an entrepreneur, attorney, professor, state legislator and mayor of his hometown. As president and CEO of the National Urban League since 2003, he has been the key catalyst and change agent for the 105-year old civil rights organization, refocusing the organization’s empowerment other communities of color, and rich and poor Americans.

During his National Urban League tenure, the league has had record financial success, raising over $280 million in five years. The league has been recognized as a leading national nonprofit, and is highly rated by Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest independent charity evaluator. As a result, the league is among the top 10 percent of all U.S. charities for adhering to good governance and other best practices, as well as executing its mission in a fiscally responsible way.

His creativity has led to initiatives such as the Urban Youth Empowerment Program to assist young adults in securing sustainable jobs and Entrepreneurship Centers in 10 cities to help the growth of small businesses. Morial helped create the Urban Empowerment Fund, a community development financial institution and small business loan fund.

As mayor of New Orleans, Morial was a popular chief executive with a broad multi-racial coalition who led New Orleans’ 1990’s renaissance and left office with a 70% approval rating.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics and African American Studies, he also holds a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., as well as numerous honorary degrees including Xavier University and Howard University.

Morial has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential Black Americans by Ebony Magazine, one of the Top 50 Nonprofit Executives by the Nonprofit Times, and one of the Top 100 Black Lawyers in America.
12 2017-04-20
Baton Rouge

Bold predictions from GSU players, coach at Governor's Mansion


BATON ROUGE — Talk about self-imposed pressure.

Grambling State University's star coach and players, fresh off of the school's 15th black college national football championship, predicted back-to-back titles as they were being honored here Wednesday by Gov. John Bel Edwards at the Governor's Mansion.

"I know you're looking for a repeat, right?" the governor asked Coach Broderick Fobbs.

"Absolutely," Fobbs said.

Wednesday's recognition came on a day all of the University of Louisiana System universities were featured at the Capitol. Fobbs and his team are also to be recognized in the House and Senate chambers.

"It's a chance for us to showcase our universities and the amazing contributions they provide on the field, in the classroom and in our research labs," said University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson said. "Of course, Grambling's achievement is one of our high-profile, on-the-field examples of excellence."

Grambling's players backed up their coach, going one step farther.

"Next year I'm predicting we go undefeated; an unblemished record," said senior running back Dre' Fusilier of New Iberia, also the hometown of House Speaker Taylor Barras.

The Tigers were 11-1 in the 2016 season, winning the Bayou Classic against arch-rival Southern University, the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship and the national championship with a 10-9 win against North Carolina Central in the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta.

Senior quarterback Devante Kincade: "Our ultimate goal is to go 13-0, and I'm confident we'll do it."

In the meantime, though, the coach, players and President Rick Gallot soaked up the glory of this national championship.

"On (University of Louisiana Day), it's amazing to be able to be at the forefront with the largest contingent here," Gallot said.

Fobbs said he "cherished the chance" to meet the governor and have his players' achievements celebrated.

"They deserve it," he said. "Of our we want to be here again and the work has already started to make that happen," he said.

"It's a blessing to be able to represent our school and our state on this stage," Kincade said.

"This is motivation for us to keep going and be here year after year," Fusilier said. "It's gratifying when your hard work is noticed."

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.

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12 2017-04-20
Baton Rouge

Grambling marching band uses music to lobby to save school from cuts


BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - At the capitol Wednesday, college students took matters into their own hands trying to save their schools from cuts.
The Grambling State marching band performed on the steps of the state capitol. Eight other universities joined Grambling to ask legislators to invest in their schools' futures rather than cut them.
Some student body presidents appeared before the House committee in charge of crafting the budget, asking them to fulfill what they called a “promise,” and fully fund TOPS next year.
TOPS is currently funded around 70 percent this year. Next year, with the state short on cash, the governor’s budget proposal has the scholarship program funded at 70 percent yet again.
Student leaders told lawmakers that without the fully funded scholarship, some have of their peers have been forced to get extra jobs.
“As funding is dissipating for TOPS, and it’s becoming a bleak reality that you have to take on more and more loans, why not go somewhere else,” asked John Pearce, student body president at Northwestern State University.
Full Story
12 2017-04-20
Baton Rouge

Grambling marching band uses music to lobby to save school from cuts


BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
At the capitol Wednesday, college students took matters into their own hands trying to save their schools from cuts.

The Grambling State marching band performed on the steps of the state capitol. Eight other universities joined Grambling to ask legislators to invest in their schools' futures rather than cut them.

Some student body presidents appeared before the House committee in charge of crafting the budget, asking them to fulfill what they called a “promise,” and fully fund TOPS next year.

TOPS is currently funded around 70 percent this year. Next year, with the state short on cash, the governor’s budget proposal has the scholarship program funded at 70 percent yet again.

Student leaders told lawmakers that without the fully funded scholarship, some have of their peers have been forced to get extra jobs.

“As funding is dissipating for TOPS, and it’s becoming a bleak reality that you have to take on more and more loans, why not go somewhere else,” asked John Pearce, student body president at Northwestern State University.

“When you continue this divestment, it may make receiving a degree in Louisiana much less attractive, because you may feel like, ‘Okay, maybe Louisiana is not valuing education. So maybe I should seek to be educated elsewhere.’ That's a popular sentiment I’ve heard from students,” said Erin Fernandez, student government president at Southeastern University.

Of course, it’s not just TOPS. Higher education has also fallen under the knife in recent years.

Over the last nine years, the state’s annual spending on colleges has dropped by about $700 million. Under Governor John Bel Edwards’ budget proposal, state schools could take another hit amounting to about $17 million next year.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.
12 2017-04-20
Lafayette

GSU national champions visit Governor's Mansion


VIDEO

Gov. John Bel Edwards, here with Grambling State University President Rick Gallot and head football Coach Broderick Fobbs, honored the school's national championship football team at the Governor's Mansion Wednesday. Greg Hilburn/USA Today Network
12 2017-04-19
Monroe

GSU police chief helps create book to fight campus crime


GRAMBLING, La -- - Howard Caviness has a special bond with the students at Grambling State University.

"He's like another dad to me," student, Ahmania Haney, said.

"I haven't really had a relationship with a police officer but this is my first one and i feel like there should be more people like him," GSU freshman,Andrenay Gorham, said.

This makes him the perfect person to deliver a very serious message.

He noticed a growing problem around the nation but especially in Louisiana. Crimes committed against women.

After talking with GSU associate professor, Dr. Frankie Raborn, they put their heads together to created a book called Developing Your Proactive Campus Safety Plan: Campus Safety and Self-Defense.

"Knowing some of the things we have in this book can keep you from becoming a victim and a lot of this is very common sense but it's like oh my god how did i not figure that out," Caviness said.

With Louisiana ranked second most dangerous for women Chief Caviness says it's more important than ever that young ladies are aware of their surroundings.

"At night walking this campus with two ear phones in you're a female you're putting yourself at greater odds of being attacked without hearing your attacker coming."

Caviness brings thirty years of self-defense experience to the table along with Raborn's expertise in family sciences.

Not to mention the trust he's built with the students.


"He always keeps me on my toes all the time about everything," Haney said.

"He's the easiest person to talk to i really recently just met him and he's helped me already so i mean why wouldn't i come to him," Gorham said.

His message for young ladies at Grambling and nation wide is simple.

"Stay alert so you can stay alive cause if a man attacks a woman chances are the woman's not going to live to tell," Caviness said.

12 2017-04-12
Monroe

GSU Athletic Director hires director for marketing and communications


GRAMBLING, La. (Press Release) - Grambling State University Athletic Director Paul Bryant is determined to improve an athletics program built on the school’s rich sports legacy, and he’s made an important hire to improve marketing.

Bryant has hired Karen M. Carty as the assistant athletics director for marketing and communications, effective Monday (April 10).

“This is an important hire for Grambling State and athletics,” said Bryant. “This school and this program deserve a first-class marketing professional, and I assure you that Karen is a first-class marketing professional. Our students, alums and others will see the difference she makes in short order.”

“I'm extremely excited to become a part of the Grambling State athletics family,” said Carty. “Grambling has a rich history and tradition of winning and I'm ready to do my best to promote the Grambling athletics brand. It will also be great working with Mr. Bryant again.”

Carty joins GSU from her position as director of marketing in the South Carolina State University athletics department, where she worked with Bryant from 2014-2017 when he was the athletics director at the Orangeburg, South Carolina, institution. At South Carolina, she handled all aspects of athletics marketing as well as media relations for volleyball, women’s soccer, women’s basketball and softball.


Carty has a reputation for using digital and social media marketing resources and tools. Leading into the 2015 football season, she used a digital marketing campaign to increase average attendance by 5,000 fans per game, helping S.C. State lead the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in average attendance (15,629) in 2015 and rank 10th in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

She helped enhance the overall fan experience at S.C. State athletic events by partnering closely with the game operations committee to ensure everything from the ticket-taking experience to the experiences at concession stands and during the game were enjoyable for the fans. For her efforts during the 2015-16 year, Carty was named the S.C. State Staff Employee of the Year, in addition to being the Staff Employee of the Year for the Division of Athletics.

Carty spent three and a half years as the sports information director at Baltimore City Community College in Maryland. She was responsible for handling media relations efforts for BCCC’s six sports, including media guide production, game-day statistics, record keeping and the athletics website. Prior to BCCC, Carty worked in the sports information office at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, from 2004-2010, including three years as assistant sports information director.

Carty graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in general business with an emphasis in marketing in 2004 from Norfolk State, where she was a member of the women's tennis team. A St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, native, she earned a master’s degree in sports management from the United State Academy in Daphne, Alabama, in 2009. She is a member of the National Association of College Marketing Administrators (NACMA).


12 2017-04-07
Monroe

GSU student awarded Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus Scholarship


The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus and the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus Foundation awarded Grambling State University’s Prentiss C. Smiley with the top scholarship during the 32nd Annual Jazz Scholarship Brunch. Smiley was one of more than 20 students from GSU and Southern University to compete for the $1,000 grand prize.

“I am honored to have been chosen as the top scholarship recipient. It is evident that the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus understands the necessity for students to have the appropriate educational resources, financial support, and moral support, as they pursue college degrees,” said Smiley. “The caucus could have easily raised funds for some other cause, but they put education first. This is symbolic of their investment in Louisiana and America’s future.”

Smiley is a double major in computer information systems and history 4 + 1 and has a 3.91 cumulative grade point average. When he graduates, he will earn two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s in history. Smiley has been involved in a number of community service projects, including Habitat for Humanity, the Fuller Center and working with people 50 years old and older to help them learn more about technology.

Students were judged for their academic excellence, community involvement and writing skills. The scholarship was awarded during the annual Bayou Classic weekend in New Orleans in November. The purpose of the brunch is to celebrate legends, legacies and leaders, and raise funds to help educate young people.

“We are grateful to the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus for establishing and awarding this scholarship. It serves as an extension of their commitment to educating our students,” said Ellen Smiley, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We are proud that Prentiss is the recipient of this distinguished scholarship.”

Prentiss Smiley, president of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College, is from Homer, Louisiana. He is a Baptist minister and serves as associate minister at Starlight Baptist Church in Swartz, Louisiana, where his father is the pastor. He is the son of Rory Bedford and Ellen Smiley.
12 2017-04-02
Shreveport

Grambling reschedules Migos concert for April 7


One of the nation’s most popular rap groups was unable to perform Thursday night at Grambling State University because of travel complications, so the university has rescheduled the Migos concert for April 7.

GSU students with valid student identification cards will be admitted with IDs and ticket holders will be admitted with ticket stubs from the scheduled Thursday (March 30) performance. No additional tickets will be sold.

Migos, a group of three young men from the Atlanta area, quickly became the reigning bad boys of rap in recent years with "Bad and Boujee" dominating music charts, appearances on Ellen, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Live With Jimmy Kimmel and ESPN’s Sports Center.

Quavo, Takeoff and Offset did not make it to Grambling when they could not leave the Atlanta area after a major highway explosion shut down traffic. David “Rusty” Ponton, GSU’s interim vice president for student affairs, said the group tried to find other ways to fulfill the commitment, even with a delayed show time, without success.
12 2017-03-31
Monroe

Migos concert thrills GSU students, attracts students from surrounding areas


Highly anticipated concert excites Grambling State, other students

After months of anticipation, Grambling State University students found out a few days ago one of the nation’s most popular singing rap groups would be performing at their school — and soon college students across the nation found out, too.

GSU students are excited that Migos is scheduled to perform Thursday at the Fredrick D. Hobdy Assembly Center, and it seems students from other parts of Louisiana – and other states — are planning to attend the 7 p.m. show.

Migos concert tickets can run $60 to $100 and more, so the $35 GSU ticket price is cheap, making a trip to Grambling worth the money and time. GSU annually has spring concerts with big name acts, but no recent performances have attracted this kind of attention.

Dillard University student Margeret Acuaye plans to be there, coming in from New Orleans. Melanie Graves is traveling to Louisiana from the University of Missouri.

“Migos is one of the hottest rap acts touring, and we expect a large crowd,” said David “Rusty” Ponton, interim vice president for student affairs. “However, the response has been unbelievable. We issued almost one thousand tickets the first day…. All of this commotion for Migos.”

Ponton and the Favrot Student Union Board worked hard to secure the Migos’ performance, delaying an announcement about Tiger Fest week events until late last week when the agreement with the group was official.

Migos
Migos (Photo: Grambling State University)
Migos, a group of three young men — Quavo, Offset and Takeoff – have an adoring, demanding audience of fans. The group has been mainstream since 2009, gaining popularity each year. One of the first songs that put them on the map was “Versace,” a 2013 song they did with Drake. More recently, they became more universally known with “Bad and Boujee,” they popularized the dab and just this week they recorded a television segment with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” They got a shout out from actor Donald Glover when he accepted a Golden Globe award.

Missouri’s Graves, 18, from Houston, Texas, is traveling Thursday to GSU solely because she wants to see Migos. “When my friend called me and told me that Migos was coming to perform at her school and that the tickets were so cheap, I knew right then and there that I would have to go,” she said.

Acuaye, 19, from Dallas, Texas, said she and a friend have tried to see Migos without success, until now. “My best friend and I have been dying to see Migos,” she said. “Each time we try and see Migos, it never works out, and now it has finally worked out.”

Expecting a larger than normal turnout, Ponton said the university has safety in mind, so additional police officers will be added to enhance security and GSU students are being asked to walk to Hobdy to alleviate parking and traffic congestion. “Parking will be handled just like a home football game, but there will not be pre-assigned parking spots,” said Ponton. “It will be first come, first served.”

Ponton, who has worked at Grambling State for nearly 30 years, said he has seen a lot of concerts. Comparing the response to previous GSU concerts, he said, “This could be one of the biggest.”

Tickets are being sold on the second floor of the Favrot Student Union on the GSU campus.
12 2017-03-29
Monroe

GSU President working to enter digital world


GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) - President Rick Gallot is working to build a library that's more digital friendly, but he'll need financial support from the state.


Courtesy: KNOE 8 News -

Gallot wants to build a library that's more technology driven and has less books.

Gallot is excited about this project and explained it's importance to the school's future.

Legislators nodded with approval, but with limited money for new construction, it's not certain Gallot will get the funding.

Governor Edwards himself says the state has limited funds
for construction, which could make the road of success
more difficult for Gallot.

Gallot says in spite of the odds, he is still optimistic
about the future.

"Our model is a model of growth right now, so that's what we plant to do with he school's new nursing program and with the library we're building, says Gallot. "It will be cutting edge and unlike any other around here."
12 2017-03-24
Monroe

Louisiana governor visits GSU, discusses higher education budget


During a flurry of northern Louisiana stops, Edwards includes stops at Grambling State for lunch, sharing his budget goals

Welcomed by the World Famed Tiger Marching Band for the third of three visits to Grambling State University since he’s been in office, Governor John Bel Edwards stopped in Grambling to discuss the budget status of GSU and higher education with GSU President Rick Gallot and a group of university leaders.

During a noon luncheon in the Doris Robinson Room of the Eddie Robinson Museum, Edwards said GSU continues to be an important institution in the state and he fully supports Gallot and the university, adding that he can only promise that he will fight to maintain existing state funding for higher education because he was left with such a budget mess. He said he has an emphasis on deferred maintenance and there is little room for new projects. However, he said if the university can get the support of the legislative delegation for the new library Gallot envisions he could get behind that.

Jon and Donna Edwards enjoy lunch at GSU.
Jon and Donna Edwards enjoy lunch at GSU. (Photo: Grambling State University)
Edwards said he is aware of the need for a new library, well aware of the existing building’s deficiencies since he visited the campus and the library even before he became governor. “The library was a building that really needed to be looked at,” said Edwards.

“It won’t be the library of yesterday,” added Gallot. “It will be the library of tomorrow.”

As the small group enjoyed a fresh salad and a chicken and beef combination lunch, Gallot thanked the governor and Mrs. Donna Edwards for visiting the campus and he talked about his excitement about building a smaller, 21st century, technology-driven library for students and faculty, a new nursing program targeted for fall 2018 and growing enrollment.

Gallot told the governor and his entourage that GSU’s student population is growing. is on the rise, with a lot of accomplishments. He said enrollment increased by seven percent in the fall, six percent in the spring and applications for fall 2017 are up by 20-25 percent.

Edwards said that’s good news because with limited state funding institutions must rely more on student enrollment and tuition and fees.

“It’s an exciting time to be affiliated with Grambling… I am committed to making sure we stabilize our support for higher education in terms of general fund support -- until such time that we can actually re-invest,” said Edwards.

Jon Bel Edwards and Rick Gallot.
Jon Bel Edwards and Rick Gallot. (Photo: Grambling State University)
Edwards said while the state was $2 billion short the budget is about $400 million short now. “I know that you need assistance on campus,” he said. Edwards said he is emphasizing deferred maintenance because he knows there are a lot of projects that need attention, and he is also looking at state highways and state-owned buildings.

It is a known fact that GSU holds the title for the HBCU National Champions in football but Governor Edwards also pointed out what that can ultimately do for enrollment at the university. “To have GSU as the current national champions that is huge for our state. There are alumni from Grambling all over the country. Those legacies would love to come back here and they are excited about doing it especially if we are doing well in athletics because it just adds to the overall experience that they can expect to have. And getting them back in Louisiana to going to the same university that their parents went to, at in-state tuition rates, is incredibly important,” noted Edwards.
12 2017-03-21
Monroe

GSU junior selected for prestigious ESPN fellowship


Shabazz, of Maryland, works with prize-winning New York Times columnist Rhoden and The Undefeated

Miniya Shabazz has been a Grambling State University student less than 24 months and she’s already an editor with the campus newspaper, a reporter with the university media bureau and she’s been published in area publications. Now she’s become a part of the ESPN family.

Shabazz, 20, has joined The Undefeated’s Rhoden Fellowship program. The sports journalism program focuses on identifying and training aspiring African American journalists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Shabazz, a native of Silver Spring, Maryland, is one of only six college journalists chosen for the prestigious opportunity. The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform initiative for sports, race and culture.

As a Rhoden Fellow, Miniya will report, write and record for The Undefeated. The program includes regular conference calls discussing story ideas, reporting, writing, producing podcasts and advising with William C. Rhoden. This award-winning sports columnist recently retired from The New York Times then joined The Undefeated as a columnist, editor-at-large and director of the fellowship program. The fellows were announced Wednesday, March 8.

Shabazz, raised in Laurel, Maryland, started her college journalism career as a freshman, contributing to the campus newspaper, The Gramblinite, then quickly became its news editor. She is a student member of the National Association of Black Journalists and an active member of the Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. When she learned she had been selected, she found it hard to believe.

“I was filled with excitement and disbelief to be selected…because of the well-known and reputable brand of ESPN,” said Shabazz. “I knew instantly that when I got this opportunity that it would be beneficial to my career because of the nuance of gaining experience with writing and reporting on a national level.”

Rhoden was encouraged to develop the initiative by ESPN president John Skipper and has worked closely with Kevin Merida, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of The Undefeated, to make the Fellows a reality. They approached several HBCUs to be fellowship partners and discussed specific students with journalism and media professors and professionals at those schools. Will Sutton, GSU’s director of communications, suggested Shabazz because “she is committed to her craft, dedicated to being one of the best and because she signs up to get assignments done rather than sign in to get credit.” He said she is an up-and-coming journalist who will blossom with the ESPN experience.

“I am very eager to learn as much as I can, to apply it to my own craft, from the award-winning Bill Rhoden and other affiliates because of their years of experience in the journalism business. Now that I have begun to work at The Undefeated I have already started to serve as a liaison from my university to The Undefeated through podcasting and writing stories. I am very thrilled to be working with other young journalists from various HBCU institutions and look forward to the great content I know we will produce together.”

In addition to Shabazz, other college journalists selected include Kyla Wright, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia; Paul A. Holston, Howard University, Washington, D.C.; C. Isaiah Smalls II, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia; Simone Benson, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, and Donovan Dooley, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, North Carolina.

With support from ESPN, the Rhoden Fellowship is a two-year program established as part of The Undefeated’s mission to develop new voices and serve as an incubator for future multicultural journalists. The fellowship is open to outstanding undergraduate students at HBCUs.

During the academic year, the fellows will report news stories from their respective universities and cover the varied facets of HBCU life, serving as on-campus correspondents for The Undefeated’s HBCU vertical. They will produce daily, weekly and monthly multimedia content, as well as serve as on-site beat writers covering sports teams – college or professional – in their respective markets. During the summer, students will work 40-hour weeks at ESPN for 10 weeks, gaining a first-hand education and experience in sports journalism.

The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture. The digital hub, TheUndefeated.com which launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.

In addition to its cutting-edge content, The Undefeated seeks to be a thought-leader on race, sports and culture in the country – convening insightful forums to discuss and debate topical issues affecting sports and race in America.
12 2017-03-10
Ruston

GSU ALUMNA SELECTED AS PROVOST, VP OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS


Submitted by Ruston Leader on Thu, 03/09/2017 - 12:20pm
in News
Greta Carter, GSU Media Bureau
smiley.jpg
A number of universities sought to recruit Ellen Smiley as an undergraduate student.

Her parents encouraged her to attend Grambling State University; both her parents and her sister are alumni.

Now she’s the institution’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

GSU President Rick Gallot quickly recognized Smiley’s attributes, contributions and deep love for Grambling State and chose her as his interim provost in August.

However, even after a national search that brought together a strong pool of finalists, Smiley was the unanimous choice of the search committee.

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12 2017-03-09
Monroe

Gallot taps Smiley as GSU Provost


Longtime Grambling State educator knows the university, faculty, staff

A number of universities sought to recruit Ellen Smiley as an undergraduate student. Her parents encouraged her to attend Grambling State University; both her parents and her sister are/were alumni. Now she’s the institution’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

GSU President Rick Gallot quickly recognized Smiley’s attributes, contributions and deep love for Grambling State, and he chose her as his interim provost in August. Still, that meant that she would have to compete for the permanent job. There was a national search, a strong pool of finalists and Smiley was the unanimous choice of the search committee. Gallot accepted the recommendation.

“I chose Smiley not only for her strong academic background, but because she has a GSU commitment and heart,” he said.

Smiley completed her undergraduate education at GSU, earning a bachelor’s degree in radio and television communication, now known as mass communication, and she earned a master’s in teaching social science, with a concentration in sociology at Grambling State. She earned her doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors recently (Feb. 23) confirmed Gallot’s selection at its February board meeting in Baton Rouge.

“I am confident that my longstanding history with Grambling State University, vast experience and extensive knowledge will permit me to make an immediate contribution to the overall operational and educational goals of the university, specifically within the Division of Academic Affairs,” said Smiley, a native of Homer, Louisiana. “The Grambling State University family impacts the world in a powerful way. To serve as the provost and vice president for academic affairs of this prominent institution is a humbling honor.

“I love being a part of President Gallot’s fast-paced, energized team. His leadership motivates us to pursue excellence in all that we do.”

Smiley was recruited to Grambling State University to assist with the development of the Honors College in 1990. During her career, Smiley has continued her work with the honors program in a number of positions and she has served in other academic and administrative capacities. She has served as the assistant dean of the Honors College, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and executive assistant to the president. She is a member of the president’s cabinet, the university’s budget and priorities committee and several other university committees. Smiley is quite accustomed to faculty desires and needs, too; she served as president of the Grambling State University Faculty Senate for several years.

Gallot said Smiley’s years of service are a symbol of her commitment and willingness to strive for sustainability and longevity at Grambling State University. “Dr. Smiley has been here and she has a better feel for talented people within a certain area because she is familiar with the employees,” said Gallot. “This advantage allows Smiley to quickly notice, suggest or make improvements because she has analyzed skill sets of faculty, staff and students and will be able to match people in the most beneficial areas to increase effectiveness and efficiency in departments where employees are being underutilized.”

Smiley said she is excited to continue her work at GSU, and to continue in the job she started in late summer, more permanently pursuing goals to improve academics at the school overall and helping faculty provide students with encouraging and substantive learning opportunities.

“Not only does it provide an opportunity to give back to my alma mater, but it is an honor to be a part of President Gallot’s team,” she added. “I plan to cultivate leading strategies to build, manage and recognize a high-functioning, performance-driven team of faculty and staff. I plan to inspire the faculty, staff and students in a manner that encourages them to release those energies and passion that boost academic excellence.”

Smiley said she plans to pursue new programs and new concentrations as Grambling State “continues to meet workforce demands, ensuring that our learners are prepared to work and serve.”

Smiley is married to Dr. Rory L. Bedford, director of GSU’s Service-Learning and Continuing Education programs and a professor of philosophy, sociology and psychology. They have three children: Joi Bedford-Williams, an alumnus of Alabama A&M University; Samantha Bedford, a senior at Alabama State University, and Prentiss Smiley, a senior at Grambling State University.
12 2017-03-08
Monroe

Gallot envisions a state-of-the-art library for GSU students, faculty


Grambling State University’s library was built in 1962 and an addition was added in 1986. With decades of use, and limited maintenance, the building is not what it used to be. GSU President Rick Gallot intends to change that – and as soon as possible.

A nationally known library design consultant met with Gallot; faculty, staff and student representatives and Louisiana Board of Regents and University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors members to start the process of replacing the A.C. Lewis Library with a 21st Century library with a much stronger focus on digital resources and technology services.

“I’ve told anyone who will listen that our students deserve better and more when it comes to a library,” said Gallot. “We can no longer accept that what we have is reasonable and good enough. Our students must have the best, and we can do this with reasonable financial costs if we do it right.”

Gallot is pursuing a library project that would downsize the size of the existing library while making it much more inviting and useful to students with more up-to-date resources and technology. The Lewis building is about 87,000 square feet. A significant upgrade with all of the current hardback, old periodicals and other content and databases might take as much as square footage in a new building with a traditional approach. But Gallot said he’s seen better used libraries with fewer books and periodicals housed on site and he’s convinced that today’s GSU students would more frequently use the right kind of library.

A group of more than 15 listened intently as Denelle C. Wrightson, a library planning and design consultant, shared the latest ideas among nationally recognized library facilities, including small libraries and mega libraries the size of a football field. During her 30 years of experience, Wrightson has assisted with the design of 1,000-square-foot library additions and new libraries of 160,000 square feet. She talked about the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University, often referenced as the “library of the future” because it includes cutting-edge tools, hands-on interactive stations and large-scale technology, including simulated submarines, destroyers and aircraft carriers.

As a part of a transition plan, Gallot said the library books, resources and staff will move to the second floor of Adams Hall to start the process of moving toward a new library. The existing library has had a series of environmental issues, and the president said it is better, and safer, to close the building rather than to continue to invest money in a building that no longer serves students well. He said the library will be relocated for an undetermined period of time as the university pursues the type of facility needed.

The library operates on a limited schedule, closing at 10 p.m. most weekdays, closing at 12:30 p.m. on Fridays and it is open for four hours on Saturdays and six hours on Sundays. Meeting participants said they want to see a 24-hour library, one that online students can use from home or work no matter the hour, and a library that students want to visit regularly. Gallot wants to fast-track the process, aiming to get the project on the April 20 ULS board agenda for consideration.

Such a major project would require support from the UL system board and the state’s board of regents. Board leaders participating in the meeting said they are encouraged, and they want to find a way to make this idea reality.

Shawn Murphy, a ULS board member, liked what he heard during the presentation and the meeting, adding that this type of project is the right thing for Grambling State. “I’m just glad to be a part of this effort, and I look forward to getting this done as soon as possible,” he said. “Kind of like the commercial that says, ‘Let’s get this one done.’”

Longtime ULS board member Winfred Sibille has supported higher education during the decades he has served on the system board, carefully balancing financial requests with justifiable needs. “This project has been a long time coming, and we need to make this a shining effort and an example for other universities that need library facilities.”

Gallot said though Monday’s meeting was successful, next steps include a follow up visit by Wrightson to include more campus stakeholders and a draft proposal with a suggested financial cost and timetable. “This is just the beginning,” he said, “but no really good idea gets anywhere without involving the key players, getting the best reactions and suggestions and moving the concept forward.”


12 2017-03-06
Ruston

NEW SIGNAGE UNVEILED IN GRAMBLING


Grambling State University head football coach Broderick Fobbs, left, and wife Kimbia Fobbs, right, unveil the new GSU champions sign that welcomes guests and residents to the city of Grambling on Friday. The sign is located at the corner of RWE Jones Drive and College Avenue.

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12 2017-03-03
Lafayette

Grambling President Rick Gallo on crumbling campus


Grambling State President Rick Gallo said the university must abandon its library because of issues created by deferred maintenance. Greg Hilburn/USA Today Network


VIDEO
12 2017-03-03
Monroe

Will Trump support HBCUs?


MONROE, La-- - People are anxious to know what came out of a meeting between president Donald Trump and HBCU leaders from around the country.

Grambling State University President, Rick Gallot, came back feeling optimistic.

"Just the fact that we were able to get an audience with the president, with the vice president, with the speaker of the house of representatives all of these congressional leaders is significant," Gallot said.

"I don't think that you can go and find a lot of groups who can say that they have that kind of access."

However, does this meeting really guarantee support from President Trump?

"Understanding the legislative process things don't happen overnight there has to be a beginning," Gallot said.

There's been good and bad reaction from the black college community.

After a Facebook picture in the oval office went viral, Grambling students and alumni are unsure if there's real progress in sight or if it's just a photo op.

Rickenzie Johnikin, a Grambling student, questions if Trump's intentions are genuine.

"He's using inviting HBCU presidents to the White House to make himself look good to the black community i feel like," she said.

Claudia Payne, a Grambling alum and graduate assistant in the criminal justice department, is uncertain the President gave his undivided attention to the HBCU leaders.

"I don't know how productive that meeting could've been if he's not willing to listen and if he's not willing to actually have action behind his promises."

Gallot wants to reassure Gramblinites on why he and the other HBCU presidents made it a point to meet with the new commander in chief.

"My focus is on Grambling State University and what relationship we can build with the president and congress," Gallot said.

No matter the reaction is-- 80 HBCU presidents getting invited to the white house is for sure enough to spark more conversation in President Trump's first 100 days in office.


12 2017-03-03
Monroe

GSU President Returns from Washington (VIDEO)


Rick Gallot, GSU's president, is back from Washington, D.C. He says meeting with POTUS is a step in the right direction for all HBCUs.

VIDEO
12 2017-03-02
Monroe

Grambling laying path for safer future


GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Grambling is preparing to build sidewalks
on West College Avenue, one of the busiest streets in the city.

Courtesy: KNOE 8 News

The street leads right into Grambling State University and many students travel the road each morning, either by foot or bicycle to get to school.

For six years, Mayor Edward Jones has been working to get the project off the ground and now that funding is in place, construction is slated to begin soon.

For Jones, this project is a labor of love, because without sidewalks, several people have either been injured....or killed as a result.

The city has a $300,000 grant for this project and the money will not just used for sidewalks, but also to educate students about road safety.


12 2017-03-02
New Orleans

State HBCU presidents pleased with Trump commitment


Grambling President Rick Gallot is back from his trip to Washington where he met with President Donald Trump on the administration's commitment to making historically black colleges and universities a priority.

Gallot says, from a funding standpoint, it makes a huge difference when the White House has promised to be involved.

"Versus three layers down at the Department of Ed," said Gallot. "Concerning an application that an HBCU may have for a grant, or research. We're encouraged."

HBCU Presidents are calling for $25 billion dollars for infrastructure, college readiness, financial aid and other priorities. Gallot says they're hoping Congress will will bolster Mr. Trump's action.

"Any amount that's appropriated in the next budget that's appropriated in the next budget for infrastructure and enhancements at our HBCUs would certainly be welcome," said Gallot.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is under fire for making a controversial statement that HBCUs are pioneers in school choice, when in fact many were established because they were the only option for black students. Gallot says he understands DeVos is committed to school choice, but perhaps her comments were misguided.

"The record is clear that HBCUs were created because there was no choice," said Gallot. "Blacks were not permitted to attend white schools."
12 2017-02-27
Monroe

21-year-old creates new app to help HBCU's


GRAMBLING, La-- - In Grambling, a young man's new app is catching fire at historically black colleges and universities all over the country.

Jonathan Swindell, a junior and business major at Grambling State University, created a new app called the HBCU Hub.

Swindell was inspired to create the app when he discovered that there was no easy access to information about HBCU's on the internet.

The app took first place in Grambling Sate's idea competition in April of 2016.

The project now has over two thousand downloads-- viewed in 42 states and 7 countries.

Swindell is proud people are embracing an idea and a mission that he believes in.

"it's a really humbling experience to work so hard on something and have people see the desire and the attention to detail and everything that you did it's real humbling to see people like your product."

Swindell says the app is not only making an impact on enrollment at Grambling State University. It's bridging the gap between high schoolers and 85 other HBCU's all over the nation.


12 2017-02-27
Ruston

GRAMBLING TO BEGIN SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL PROJECT



Submitted by Ruston Leader on Sat, 02/25/2017 - 9:39pm
in News
Derek J. Amaya
After six years, Grambling residents will begin seeing the first stages of the Safe Routes to School project.

The project was authorized by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to begin proceeding with non-infrastructure items on the list, said Mark Blake, director of Grambling Public Works.

The project’s purpose is to create safer passageways to Lincoln Preparatory School and Grambling State University’s campus throughout the city including on RWE Jones Drive and College Avenue.

New sidewalks will help local school children get to school safer.

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12 2017-02-27
Ruston

UL BOARD BACKS GSU NURSING PROGRAM


› home ›
UL BOARD BACKS GSU NURSING PROGRAM
Submitted by Ruston Leader on Fri, 02/24/2017 - 12:00pm
in News
Board of Regents next to review proposal
Derek J. Amaya
Gallot.jpg
Grambling State University’s nursing program is one step closer to reinstatement.

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Thursday to approve a Letter of Intent for the undergraduate degree program that was lost in 2015.

“We’re elated and grateful that the UL system decided to approve and endorse a new GSU undergraduate program,” said GSU president Rick Gallot. “The committee has asked good questions, and we respect their focused inquiries to make sure we’re on the right track.

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12 2017-02-24
Monroe

GSU takes step in getting nursing program back


Grambling State University cleared one hurdle in reinstating its undergraduate nursing program on Thursday.

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in favor of a letter of intent supporting the program's reopening.

More than 2,000 signed an online petition supporting the effort, and more than 400 of those included comments. GSU President Rick Gallot’s received more than 100 letters of support.

"Were elated and grateful that the UL system decided to approve and endorse a new GSU undergraduate program. The committee has asked good questions, and we respect their focused inquiries to make sure we're on the right track. That's as it should be. We don't expect anyone to rubber stamp anything. Dr. Brown and her team have worked hard to get us to this point, and now we have a couple more steps," Gallot said.

Next, the university will need the Louisiana Board of Regents to consider reinstating the program.

In June 2015, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (LSBN) withdrew its conditional approval of the program and GSU could not enroll undergraduate nursing students or offer nursing courses after the board determined that the institution was struggling to maintain passing grades for the state-required nursing exam since 2010. In August 2015, the ULS board approved a request for exigency through summer 2016, giving the university the opportunity to terminate existing nursing faculty since there were no undergraduate nursing courses being taught. In December 2015, the undergraduate program was closed.

Read more — From 2015: GSU nursing program to be rebuilt from scratch | From February: GSU attempts to re-establish nursing program by 2018

In August 2016 when Gallot assumed the presidency as the institution’s 10th president, he made returning the nursing program one of his highest priorities, targeting a fall 2018 opening of a totally new undergraduate nursing program.

Under the leadership of Meg Brown, interim associate dean and an associate professor of nursing, the university has resolved open financial exigency issues, evaluated the previous undergraduate nursing program’s strengths and barriers and assessed available nursing program data to establish the need to re-establish the program. In addition, the proposed undergraduate nursing curriculum was developed with the assistance of faculty in the School of Nursing and the College of Education, Professional and Graduate Studies as well as the university curriculum committees. Gallot and Brown worked in tandem to determine what was needed and required, discussing options with a host of university stakeholders as well as Louisiana stakeholders, developing a five-year budget plan and determining the available resources to start the new program.

"We have a rigorous new program targeted for fall 2018, and we are pleased to have the system's endorsement and support. This has been a journey, and the journey continues. We're not taking anything for granted. We will take what we heard today and keep moving this proposal forward. The ultimate goal is to do what's best for our students," Brown said.


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The undergraduate and graduate nursing programs have maintained national accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), and the school’s master’s in nursing is accredited through 2020. The accreditation includes the graduate Master of Science in Nursing programs and the Post Master’s Certificate program.
12 2017-02-24
Monroe

GSU alum, Jonesboro mayor raise funds for Gallot


When Rick Gallot was named the 10th president in July, James Bradford was there in the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors room as scores erupted in glee. Bradford was elated but he decided he had to do something, something big.

Initially, he thought he’d set a goal of raising $50,000 to help the new president take on the challenging job of running a historically black university with dwindling state funding and an enrollment lower than it was years ago. Then, as Bradford quietly talked with a few associates and friends, he decided even that wasn’t enough. On his own, he decided to increase the goal to $100,000.

After a quiet campaign including no advance publicity and lots of telephone calls, emails and letters, Bradford announced that he and a committee of supporters raised $140,000 during a private, special fundraising event in the World Famed Tiger Marching Band band room inside the Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center Saturday night. Bradford teased the scores of people who showed up to support the president as he asked presidential assistant Constance Nelson to add one number at a time on a large check with space for a total. Bradford teased the president, and the crowd, sometimes saying he wasn’t sure whether they would reach the $100,000 goal. But when the final number was revealed, the president and the crowd erupted in applause and with cheers, and Gallot stood and applauded in the direction of the crowd.

Gallot said he was thrilled, but not surprised.

“I know they were working hard….,” he said. “We had a lot of somebodies in here tonight who really love Grambling, so that part doesn’t surprise me. Given the chance to help the university, we rally around one another and this university, and I am very thankful.”

During an interview, Bradford, also Jonesboro’s mayor, said the group exceeded expectations with personal, one-on-one contacts and requests.

“We made personal contact. Everybody who contributed we called or we saw them somewhere, and we followed up on their commitments,” he said. “After a while people started hearing about it and they said, ‘I want to give,’ and they gave. We could not have done this with another president. …The key was who we have as president now. Rick is the key. They trust him. They support him.”

“The closer we got to it, the more the money kept coming in,” he added. “We were amazed, shocked when we got to $100,000, $105,000, $110,000, and it just kept coming.”

Bradford said raising that much money means “we have life at the university again, saying that Grambling is the Place Where Everybody is Somebody, …People just want to help, and they feel good about it.”

Bradford was clear that the money raised would go into a discretionary foundation account the president can use to get things done “as he sees fit.” Gallot said he will be responsible with the money, adding that “it will go to the betterment of the university and the students and the university will benefit directly.”

Marc Newman, GSU’s vice president for institutional advancement, said he appreciates the committee’s efforts and raising the money will help the university a great deal. Having someone like Bradford was key, he said.

“Having someone of Mr. Bradford’s caliber willing to provide his personal network on behalf of Grambling State University is a tremendous asset,” he added. He said Gallot is “really setting the tone” and the message he is sending to Grambling alums across the nation is ‘It’s time; it’s time to get on board, it’s time to support our institution,’ …and this could not have come at a better time.”
12 2017-02-21
Ruston

REPORTER TO VISIT GRAMBLING: Story about civil rights era murder on tap


Some 200 stories in the Concordia Sentinel about the 1964 death of African American Frank Morris in Ferriday earned Stanley Nelson a Pulitzer Prize finalist nomination in 2011 for Local Reporting.

Nelson’s 10-year obsession with this story began with a 2007 FBI news release on the agency’s reopening of unsolved murder cases during the civil rights era of the 1960s.

The details of his in-depth investigation into Morris’ and others’ deaths is told in his recently released book by the Louisiana State University Press, “Devils Walking: Klan Murders along the Mississippi in the 1960s.”

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12 2017-02-21
Shreveport

GSU President Rick Gallot talks about the future of the undergraduate nursing program


SHREVEPORT - The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors will discuss the future of the Grambling State University's undergraduate nursing program later this week.

The board is scheduled to meet this Thursday down in Baton Rouge.

GSU President Rick Gallot is hoping to re-establish the program by fall 2018.

In June 2015, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (LSBN) withdrew its conditional approval of the program and GSU could not enroll undergraduate nursing students or offer nursing courses after the board determined that the institution was struggling to maintain passing grades for the state-required nursing exam since 2010.

In August 2015, the ULS board approved a request for exigency through summer 2016, giving the university the opportunity to terminate existing nursing faculty since there were no undergraduate nursing courses being taught.

In December 2015, the undergraduate program was closed. In August 2016 when Gallot assumed the presidency as the institution’s 10th president, he made returning the nursing program one of his highest priorities, targeting a fall 2018 opening of a totally new undergraduate nursing program.

As a part of preparing for the board meeting, Gallot is asking Grambling State alumni, faculty, staff, students, supporters and stakeholders to provide letters and notes endorsing and supporting the return of the institution’s undergraduate program.

He asks that letters and notes be addressed to him and attached to emails sent to gsunursing@gram.edu no later than Tuesday (Feb. 21) so the university can compile a nursing support package in advance of the meeting. “If you care about the GSU undergraduate program, and if you think we should bring it back to our campus, we need you to say so, in writing, so we can have a clear indication of support for this effort,” said Gallot. “We cannot do this alone. We must have the support of the UL system and others.”

Gallot noted upon the UL board approving the request, the matter then goes to the Louisiana Board of Regents for consideration.

The president asks that GSU nursing program supporters use the #GSUNursing hashtag on social media through Feb. 21 as another way to express support and to provide evidence and reasons the program should be re-instated. In addition, please add your signature of support to our online petition found here:http://bit.ly/2knLAww.
12 2017-02-20
Ruston

GSU PROFESSOR’S ART ON DISPLAY


After more than five years, one local Grambling State University criminal justice assistant professor decides it was time to start creating again.

Herbert Simmons’ artwork is currently on display until Thursday at the Dunbar Art Gallery on GSU’s campu.

“The Work of Dr. Herbert Simmons Jr. & Selections from the Simmons Collection of African American Art” includes Simmons’ work and collected pieces by prominent artist William Tolliver, Simmons said.

Simmons, from Jonesboro, volunteered to share his work after visiting a Black History Month art exhibit.

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12 2017-02-15
Monroe

GSU rallies supporters to re-establish shuttered undergraduate nursing program


GRAMBLING, La. (GSU) - Grambling State University’s undergraduate nursing program has been placed on the February 23rd University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors meeting agenda. It is the first step of GSU President Rick Gallot’s effort to re-establish the program by fall 2018.

As a part of preparing for the board meeting, Gallot is asking Grambling State alumni, faculty, staff, students, supporters and stakeholders to provide letters and notes endorsing and supporting the return of the institution’s undergraduate program.

He asks that letters and notes be addressed to him and attached to emails sent to gsunursing@gram.edu no later than Tuesday (Feb. 21) so the university can compile a nursing support package in advance of the meeting.

“If you care about the GSU undergraduate program, and if you think we should bring it back to our campus, we need you to say so, in writing, so we can have a clear indication of support for this effort,” said Gallot. “We cannot do this alone. We must have the support of the UL system and others.”


Gallot noted upon the UL board approving the request, the matter then goes to the Louisiana Board of Regents for consideration. The president asks that GSU nursing program supporters use the #GSUNursing hashtag on social media through Feb. 21 as another way to express support and to provide evidence and reasons the program should be re-instated.

In addition, supporters are being asked to add their signatures to an online petition found at: http://bit.ly/2knLAww. There is also a link in the "Related Links" of this story.

In June 2015, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (LSBN) withdrew its conditional approval of the program and GSU could not enroll undergraduate nursing students or offer nursing courses after the board determined that the institution was struggling to maintain passing grades for the state-required nursing exam since 2010.

In August 2015, the ULS board approved a request for exigency through summer 2016, giving the university the opportunity to terminate existing nursing faculty since there were no undergraduate nursing courses being taught. In December 2015, the undergraduate program was closed.

In August 2016 when Gallot assumed the presidency as the institution’s 10th president, he made returning the nursing program one of his highest priorities, targeting a fall 2018 opening of a totally new undergraduate nursing program.

Under the leadership of Meg Brown, interim associate dean and an associate professor of nursing, the university has resolved open financial exigency issues, evaluated the previous undergraduate nursing program’s strengths and barriers and assessed available nursing program data to establish the need to re-establish the program.

In addition, the proposed undergraduate nursing curriculum was developed with the assistance of faculty in the School of Nursing and the College of Education, Professional and Graduate Studies as well as the university curriculum committees.

Gallot and Brown worked in tandem to determine what was needed and required, discussing options with a host of university stakeholders as well as Louisiana stakeholders, developing a five-year budget plan and determining the available resources to start the new program.

“This has been a challenging and difficult period for nursing, but we took it as an opportunity to make our program much better and we’re ready to proceed,” said Brown. “We are confident that what we have pulled together will produce academic scholars and nurse clinicians that we need in Lincoln Parish, northern Louisiana and across the United States.”

The undergraduate and graduate nursing programs have maintained national accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), and the school’s master’s in nursing is accredited through 2020. The accreditation includes the graduate Master of Science in Nursing programs and the Post Master’s Certificate program.

Those wanting to support the new nursing program are asked to address correspondence to:
Richard J. Gallot Jr., J.D.
President
Grambling State University
403 Main Street
Grambling, Louisiana 71245

Please attach letters and notes to emails and send them to gsunursing@gram.edu.


12 2017-02-15
Monroe

GSU artist events start Thursday


Grambling State University’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts continues an exhibition by artist and art collector Herbert Simmons Jr. with several events this month, including a gallery talk, an artist reception, a gallery talk and reception and a collectors’ round table.

The GSU exhibit includes work by Simmons, a longtime university faculty member, and eight works from his collection by artist William Tolliver. The exhibition, curated by Cheryl Sutton, is the second in a series of collector exhibitions and programs exploring the relationship between artists and collectors at Grambling State University’s Dunbar Gallery. It continues through Feb. 22 in the gallery inside Dunbar Hall on Hutchinson Street on the Grambling campus.

Simmons will host a gallery talk on Thursday (Feb. 16) at 1 p.m. A reception will follow later in the day from 4:30 p.m.- 6 p.m.

The Monroe-Grambling Chapter of The Links, Inc. will host Simmons for a gallery talk and reception Sunday (Feb. 19) at 3 p.m. The artist will participate in a collectors round table on Feb. 21 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Masur Museum of Art in Monroe.

Simmons, a native of Hodge, Louisiana, received his formal education at Grambling State University, Howard University School of Law and the University of the District of Columbia. He lived and worked in the nation’s capital for a long period of time and has traveled extensively throughout the United States and other parts of the world.

While having received no formal training in art, Simmons has been drawing and painting off and on since early adolescence. His works of art represent a confluence of abstract ideas, experiences, emotions, events and happenings. “These abstract expressions have afforded an opportunity for me to release the energy, vitality and versatility that exist within the human spirit which resides in all of us,” said Simmons.

GSU Dunbar Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m.-12 noon. Accommodations are available for large groups and special needs persons. For more information, call 318-274-2274 or 318-274- 3462.
12 2017-02-15
Monroe

GSU hoping to re-establish nursing program by 2018


GRAMBLING, La. - Grambling State University’s undergraduate nursing program has been placed on the Feb. 23 University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors meeting agenda, the first step of GSU President Rick Gallot’s effort to re-establish the program by fall 2018.

As a part of preparing for the board meeting, Gallot is asking Grambling State alumni, faculty, staff, students, supporters and stakeholders to provide letters and notes endorsing and supporting the return of the institution’s undergraduate program.

He asks that letters and notes be addressed to him and attached to emails sent to gsunursing@gram.edu no later than Tuesday (Feb. 21) so the university can compile a nursing support package in advance of the meeting. “If you care about the GSU undergraduate program, and if you think we should bring it back to our campus, we need you to say so, in writing, so we can have a clear indication of support for this effort,” said Gallot. “We cannot do this alone. We must have the support of the UL system and others.”

Gallot noted upon the UL board approving the request, the matter then goes to the Louisiana Board of Regents for consideration.

The president asks that GSU nursing program supporters use the #GSUNursing hashtag on social media through Feb. 21 as another way to express support and to provide evidence and reasons the program should be re-instated. In addition, please add your signature of support to our online petition found here: http://bit.ly/2knLAww.

In June 2015, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (LSBN) withdrew its conditional approval of the program and GSU could not enroll undergraduate nursing students or offer nursing courses after the board determined that the institution was struggling to maintain passing grades for the state-required nursing exam since 2010.

In August 2015, the ULS board approved a request for exigency through summer 2016, giving the university the opportunity to terminate existing nursing faculty since there were no undergraduate nursing courses being taught.

In December 2015, the undergraduate program was closed. In August 2016 when Gallot assumed the presidency as the institution’s 10th president, he made returning the nursing program one of his highest priorities, targeting a fall 2018 opening of a totally new undergraduate nursing program.

Under the leadership of Meg Brown, interim associate dean and an associate professor of nursing, the university has resolved open financial exigency issues, evaluated the previous undergraduate nursing program’s strengths and barriers and assessed available nursing program data to establish the need to re-establish the program.

In addition, the proposed undergraduate nursing curriculum was developed with the assistance of faculty in the School of Nursing and the College of Education, Professional and Graduate Studies as well as the university curriculum committees.

Gallot and Brown worked in tandem to determine what was needed and required, discussing options with a host of university stakeholders as well as Louisiana stakeholders, developing a fiveyear budget plan and determining the available resources to start the new program.

“This has been a challenging and difficult period for nursing, but we took it as an opportunity to make our program much better and we’re ready to proceed,” said Brown. “We are confident that what we have pulled together will produce academic scholars and nurse clinicians that we need in Lincoln Parish, northern Louisiana and across the United States.”

The undergraduate and graduate nursing programs have maintained national accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), and the school’s master’s in nursing is accredited through 2020.

The accreditation includes the graduate Master of Science in Nursing programs and the Post Master’s Certificate program.

Those wanting to support the new nursing program are asked to address correspondence to: Richard J. Gallot Jr., J.D. President Grambling State University 403 Main Street Grambling, Louisiana 71245 Please attach letters and notes to emails and send them to gsunursing@gram.edu.
12 2017-02-14
Monroe

Grambling to play at UL Lafayette in 2018


Grambling is continuing its recent trend of playing nonconference games against in-state opponents.

Grambling will open the 2018 season at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, according to a report by The Daily Advertiser and later announced by the school, in the latest addition of Louisiana schools to future schedules. The game, scheduled for Sept. 1, 2018, is the first ever meeting between the Tigers and the Cajuns.

The News-Star reported in October, in an interview with former interim athletic Obadiah Simmons, that Grambling had agreed to a home-and-home deal with Northwestern State starting in 2017 and a road date with UL Lafayette in 2018.

Within the past year, Grambling has scheduled games with Tulane to open the 2017 season, the home-and-home with Northwestern State and dates at Louisiana Tech and ULM in 2019. In total, Grambling will play six in-state teams during the next three seasons.

"I enjoy playing against teams in our area because it's almost like a family reunion of all the schools in the state of Louisiana," Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs said during a 2016 interview.

Monday's news coincides with the finalization of Grambling's 2017 schedule. Northwestern State is one of three home games for GSU in 2017.

It's unclear what type of game guarantee GSU will receive from UL Lafayette. Tech scheduled GSU for $300,000, and Simmons said in a previous interview ULM was paying GSU between $200,000 and $300,000.
12 2017-02-13
Monroe

Students speak out after GSU employees fired for mishandling money


GRAMBLING, La. - "There's so many things that we as the students are having to pay for-- more and more every year because we don't have funding for this, this, and this. And to know that we might have had funding but it was used for something else towards the betterment of the university, it's really insulting.", says Mionne Featherstone, a Grambling State University student.

Mionne Featherstone is talking about a large sum of mismanaged money--specifically, it's $118,000 spent by four Grambling State University employees, all for their own benefit.

An internal audit conducted in December revealed they bought food, goods, and services by abusing the school's "Tiger One" card system.

A "Tiger One" card is similar to a debit card-- letting students load money and spend it at the campus bookstore to Tiger Express food court.

Students say it's frustrating to know that members of the GSU staff would actually go so far as to cheat the system.

"There are students here that are coming out of pocket and really like struggling, the money could go to books and things like that for students.", says Jarvis Barker, a student at Grambling.

"University leaders say this type of action from its employees will not be tolerated and they are committed to making sure all school funds are used appropriately."

"No matter what area of university operations, we will dig and dig and get to the bottom of things and make sure that we're doing the best, most effective, most efficient things that we can do.", says Will Sutton, a representative with GSU.

The four employees have since been fired, and GSU's findings have been sent to the University of Louisiana system, District Attorney's Office, and the Legislative Auditor's Office.

They'll determine if the school is eligible to receive any of the lost money back.

One student says while it is discouraging, he's thankful university leaders are taking charge.

"You don't feel good, it doesn't make you necessarily look at your university in a positive light, but I do like that the university was proactive about it and they did get those employees out once they noticed that it was a problem.", says Jonathan Swindell, a student at GSU.

We reached out to the District Attorney's Office. They declined to comment on whether the four employees could face criminal charges.
12 2017-02-13
Ruston

STUDENTS, FACULTY ATTEND WORKSHOP AT GSU


Derrick Johnson, Jonathan Swindell and Larry D. Leonard Jr. attend the Technical Assistance Workshop held recently in the Favrot Student Union at Grambling State University.

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12 2017-02-13
Ruston

MISS GSU REALIZES EBONY DREAM


Who said dreams don’t come true?

Just ask Astra Watts, Miss Grambling State University, and now an EBONY Queen.

In fact, Watts, a New Orleans native, is only the third Miss GSU to be voted into the Top 10 and winning that competition.

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12 2017-02-10
Monroe

GSU: Employees fired for spending more than $100,000 in university funds


Four Grambling State University employees have been fired. It comes after a review shows around $118,000 was used to buy food, goods, and services for personal use.

According to a university release, it happened between May 2011 and about February 2015.

GSU President Rick Gallot says "we discovered policy violations related to the tiger one cards and immediate terminations were made upon the discovery of the policy violations."

Gallot also says more financial controls will be installed.

Official University Release:

GSU INTERNAL REVIEW FINDS VIOLATIONS
Four employees dismissed, additional internal controls being implemented

An internal program review at Grambling State University resulted in the discovery of financial policy violations involving approximately $118,000 used to purchase food, goods and services for personal use between May 2011 and about February 2015. Four employees were dismissed in January and additional financial controls will be implemented as a result of these findings.
Notification of the findings has been forwarded to the University of Louisiana System office, the Third Judicial District Attorney and the Louisiana legislative auditor.
“We discovered policy violations related to the Tiger One cards,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “Immediate terminations were made upon the discovery of the policy violations.”
12 2017-02-09
Shreveport

Mother & son give history of Grambling State University




Grambling, LA - Before 1901 there were few options in northeast Louisiana for educating African American children.

Dr. Mildred Gallot says, "Education in Louisiana was very, very narrow in terms of providing things for our kids."

Then came the establishment of Grambling State University. A letter was sent to Booker T. Washington. Charles P. Adams traveled from the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to Grambling. He served as president for 36 years.

"It was important to have a school, so the kids could go to school."

Dr. Gallot enrolled as a student in 1955.

"Now when people came to visit, all of the old graduates they say o my goodness, it's just so different. Yeah but we had to work hard to get this."

Gallot knows first hand about the hard work While pursuing a graduate degree at Louisiana State University she was encouraged to focus her dissertation on Grambling State University, because she was the only student who worked at a historically black college.

She says everyone wanted to know about Grambling State University, but she hit a roadblock. Gallot went to the LSU's library and there wasn't anything written about Grambling. She went back to GSU and started interviewing people about the school's history. Eventually her school assignment lead her to write a book.

Dr. Gallot says the school has experiences lots of changes. Changes that will require additional chapters in her book Including the addition of her son, Rick Gallot as the 10th president of GSU.

"There's no strangers to him, because he say that he's never lived any place else, but in Grambling. He's had the same zip code his whole life."

President Gallot is fully aware of the responsibilities that come with the job and the expectations. He knew all of the presidents of Grambling with the exception of the university's first leader.

He says, "All of the things that they did do during some pretty transformative years, certainly adds some pressure to do well and know they set a pretty high mark."

President Gallot's mother and father went to Grambling, along with his sisters, nephew and now his own son. Gallot says leading Grambling into its next chapter isn't a job but a labor of love.

"I just sort of jumped in and started working, I guess it really hadn't hit me that this is really a part of history."

12 2017-02-08
Monroe

Mother & son give history of Grambling State University


Grambling, LA - Before 1901 there were few options in northeast Louisiana for educating African American children.

Dr. Mildred Gallot says, "Education in Louisiana was very, very narrow in terms of providing things for our kids."

Then came the establishment of Grambling State University. A letter was sent to Booker T. Washington. Charles P. Adams traveled from the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to Grambling. He served as president for 36 years.

"It was important to have a school, so the kids could go to school."

Dr. Gallot enrolled as a student in 1955.

"Now when people came to visit, all of the old graduates they say o my goodness, it's just so different. Yeah but we had to work hard to get this."

Gallot knows first hand about the hard work While pursuing a graduate degree at Louisiana State University she was encouraged to focus her dissertation on Grambling State University, because she was the only student who worked at a historically black college.

She says everyone wanted to know about Grambling State University, but she hit a roadblock. Gallot went to the LSU's library and there wasn't anything written about Grambling. She went back to GSU and started interviewing people about the school's history. Eventually her school assignment lead her to write a book.

Dr. Gallot says the school has experiences lots of changes. Changes that will require additional chapters in her book Including the addition of her son, Rick Gallot as the 10th president of GSU.

"There's no strangers to him, because he say that he's never lived any place else, but in Grambling. He's had the same zip code his whole life."

President Gallot is fully aware of the responsibilities that come with the job and the expectations. He knew all of the presidents of Grambling with the exception of the university's first leader.

He says, "All of the things that they did do during some pretty transformative years, certainly adds some pressure to do well and know they set a pretty high mark."

President Gallot's mother and father went to Grambling, along with his sisters, nephew and now his own son. Gallot says leading Grambling into its next chapter isn't a job but a labor of love.

"I just sort of jumped in and started working, I guess it really hadn't hit me that this is really a part of history."

12 2017-02-06
Monroe

Grambling greats to be part of Super Bowl celebration


GRAMBLING — There's a wall in the corner of the Eddie Robinson Museum littered with almost 100 plaques that signify every player under Grambling's legendary head coach that made it to the NFL.

Four stick out.

Defensive linemen Willie Davis and Buck Buchanan, defensive back Willie Brown and wide receiver Charlie Joiner not only made it to the NFL, but they earned the league's most prized honor with their eventual induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A few feet away, former baseball coach and athletic director Wilbert Ellis recalled the days of when Robinson coached some of the best talent to ever come through Grambling.

"Coach Robinson used to tell coach (Fred) Hobdy and I about it. He said, 'Boy, if I could just keep those guys together, Hell, I'd coach forever. I'd go to heaven, come back and coach again, go back and coach again,'" Ellis joked Friday. "Just to see those type individuals perform and then you look at them on Sundays, that's a great thrill."

Those four, who are honored daily at the museum on Grambling's campus, are a part of a much bigger event for this weekend's Super Bowl in Houston, with the NFL honoring all former HBCU players who were inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The NFL will recognize Davis (Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1981), Brown (1984), Buchanan (1992) and Joiner (1996), and all other HBCU inductees, during a pregame ceremony before Sunday's game between New England and Atlanta. On Saturday, there is a brunch for the Hall of Famers and presidents of each HBCU institution.

Grambling, which has the most Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees in Louisiana, is tied with Morgan State for the HBCU lead.

"Ten percent of the HOF have come from HBCUs. That is very significant," said Grambling president Rick Gallot, who left Friday afternoon for Houston to join in on the celebration. "It does highlight the important of HBCUs and how we have played such a significant role in producing some of the greatest players to ever put on a helmet and shoulder pads."


CLOSE



Legendary Grambling baseball coach Wilbert Ellis reminisces about the four Grambling legends that will be honored at the Super Bowl Sean Isabella/The News-Star

The Pro Football Hall of Fame features 303 members with 29 hailing from HBCU programs. Grambling owns a 13 percent market share with its four inductees.

"Having the NFL honor HBCUs just shows they truly understand and they value the fabric of their existence, and HBCUs are a part of that fabric," Grambling athletic director Paul Bryant said.

Ellis was on hand to share stories with former longtime assistant coach Doug Porter about the four Grambling legends.

Porter, 87, viewed the Grambling greats from both sides. Porter coached against Buchanan while leading Mississippi Valley State, but he had the honor of coaching Joiner during the late 1960s. Porter also had a chance to recruit Brown out of high school.

Porter called Joiner one of the most dedicated and disciplined players he ever coached. He admired Brown's work ethic, noting how he's still employed by the Oakland Raiders' organization.

"Their longevity says a lot about what Grambling produces and what Grambling instills in their players during the opportunity they have to be here for four years," Porter said.

Davis played at Grambling when the program reached national acclaim with its first black college national championship in 1955. Then came Brown, who went on to play 16 years in the NFL.

However, Buchanan is perhaps the most decorated of them all. In 1963, he was selected with the first overall pick in the AFL draft to become the first black No. 1 pick in pro football.

Buchanan came to Grambling on a basketball scholarship thanks to his 6-foot-7 frame. Porter told a story how Buchanan first went through Hobdy's conditioning workout, drills that were so "severe" that Buchanan went to Robinson and inquired about football.


CLOSE



Grambling athletic director Paul Bryant says the NFL values fabric of existence by honoring HBCU Pro Football Hall of Fame members at the Super Bowl Sean Isabella/The News-Star

"Of course the rest is history," Porter said. "He became a tremendous football player for them."

That spawned another story from Ellis.

Just a few days ago, Ellis recalled a conversation with NBA legend Willis Reed, who told Ellis how Robinson tried to recruit him as a tight end out of high school.

Why? Robinson thought Reed and his lengthy frame would have been perfect for a two-sport athlete. That was until Reed saw Buchanan out on the field. Reed quickly told Hobdy, "I'll be in the gym at 6."

It's unclear how many of the four will be represented this weekend. Buchanan passed away in 1992 from lung cancer, although he'll be there in spirit.

"Four Hall of Famers at one place at one time," Ellis reminisced. "President (Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones) Jones would have said little ol' Grambling. But we've been all over the world. We've done such great things not only for football but humanity and education. All four of those guys received their degrees. All four of those guys were outstanding individuals who represented this university and their families. Most of all they could play the game of football well."


12 2017-02-03
Monroe

GSU sees big jump in spring enrollment


Spring 2017 enrollment goes up 5.7% with added excitement about leadership,

national championship football team

Grambling State University starts the spring 2017 semester with a big jump in enrollment, a whopping 4,596 students, a 5.7 percent increase over the spring 2016 enrollment of 4,349.

“We have a great institution, and a good story to tell, and more people are learning about what we have to offer and signing up,” said GSU President Rick Gallot, who started August 1. “We’re aiming to hit 6,000 again, and I know we can do it.”

The news comes as more than 600 middle and high school students visit the GSU campus as a part of a Future Business Leaders of America annual district conference, a prime opportunity to showcase the institution as a strong, viable college option.

“We’re happy to host so many bright, smart and talented students,” said Ellen Smiley, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “They are excited to see our campus, and we’re excited about having them visit. This incredible enrollment news comes at a wonderful time as we help them take care of their conference business and tell GSU’s story.” The conference includes opening and closing sessions open to the public at 7:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center on the GSU campus.

GSU’s spring enrollment includes 3,557 undergraduate students and 1039 graduate students. Wade said fall enrollment is usually more important because most new and transfer students enter the university system at that time of year, though spring enrollment is critical because the university works had to retain students and recruit and admit new and transfer students, especially because GSU has a winter commencement. GSU had 316 students graduate in December. Wade said he’s confident the school can come closer to 5,000 students by fall.

“We’ve increased our effort to market in Louisiana and in GSU stronghold states such as Texas, California and Illinois while also leveraging the national exposure that our HBCU national championship football team has experienced during its phenomenal run to the championship,” said Damon Wade, GSU vice president for institutional effectiveness and enrollment management. He noted that Grambling State has had two percent increases in spring enrollment each year since 2014.

Smiley added another reason: “People are excited about our new president.”

MORE NEWS: How Grambling's HBCU title impacted recruiting​


12 2017-02-02
Natchitoches

GSU's spring enrollment up 5.7% over what it was a year ago


GRAMBLING, LA (KSLA) -
Spring enrollment at Grambling State University is up 5.7 percent over what it was a year ago, school officials say.

This term began with 4,596 students on campus, up from a spring 2016 enrollment of 4,349.

The current headcount breaks down to 3,557 undergraduates and 1,039 graduate students.

And Grambling State President Rick Gallot said the historically black university is not stopping there.

He's aiming to again hit the 6,000 mark and says he knows the school can do it.

"We have a great institution and a good story to tell. And more people are learning about what we have to offer and signing up," said Gallot, who took office Aug. 1.

Spring enrollment is critical because the university works had to retain students and recruit and admit new and transfer students, especially because Grambling State has a winter commencement, said Damon Wade, the school's vice president for institutional effectiveness and enrollment management.

He also noted that Grambling State has had 2 percent increases in spring enrollment each year since 2014.

Fall enrollment usually is more important because most new and transfer students enter the university system at that time of year, Wade said.

He said he's confident Grambling State can come closer to 5,000 students by fall.

"We’ve increased our effort to market in Louisiana and in GSU stronghold states such as Texas, California and Illinois while also leveraging the national exposure that our HBCU national championship football team has experienced during its phenomenal run to the championship,” Wade said.

Copyright 2017 KSLA. All rights reserved.
12 2017-02-01
Monroe

Grambling State University Theatre to present Bus Stop


GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) Grambling State University Theatre to present Bus Stop, by William Inge, February 14-17, 2017 in the Recital Hall, located in the Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center.

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Grambling State University is pleased to announce the third show of its 2016-2017 season Bus Stop, by William Inge.

In the middle of a howling Midwestern blizzard, a bus pulls up to Gracie’s roadside diner. All the roads are blocked and the weary travelers are stranded overnight. Cherie, a flighty nightclub singer, belligerent cowboy Bo and his friend Virgil, and a drunken doctor are all joined by the sheriff, the bus driver, a young waitress, and Gracie herself. Waiting for the roads to be cleared, they devise entertainments while sharing hopes and dreams over coffee, donuts, and a little Shakespeare.

Bus Stop is a funny and heartwarming tale about growing up that is sure to please the crowd.

Directed by Paul Bolin, production staff includes Production Stage Manager, Quintara Johnson; Set and Light Designer, David Kaul; Sound Designer, Mionne Featherstone; Costumer Designer, Teshia Lincoln; and Prop Master, Mecca Muhammad.


The talented Grambling State cast includes, Rickenzie Johnikin as Elma Duckworth, Elizabeth Eddy as Grace Hoylard, Ricky Lewis as Will Masters, Petyon Warren as Cherie, Joshua Burley as Dr. Gerald Lyman, Artemio Schofield as Carl, Adarian Williams as Virgil Blessing and Ibraheem Farmer as Bo Decker.

Performances dates are February 14-17 and the show begins at 7pm. Tickets are $1 for children 12 years and younger, $3 for students 13 and older and $5 for general admission. Grambling State students get in free with their student ID (must obtain a ticket at the box office).

The box office will open forty-five minutes before performance time.

For more information or group reservations, please call Mary F. Crook at (318) 274-2892.


12 2017-01-31
Regional/National

Hidden History: Eddie Robinson


Grambling State University is a small college in north Louisiana. Despite the size, it's home to legendary figures in the sporting world.

None bigger than Eddie Robinson.

It's been almost ten years since Coach Eddie Robinson passed away, nearly 20 since he last coached a game.

But as the year's pass, his legend grows. It's because of how he lived.

"There's no question. It is alive and well" said former Grambling State University football player Lee Fobbs.

Jim Crow laws influenced whom Robinson recruited and what teams his squad could play.

During a time of institutionalized discrimination Robinson excelled.

"It's pretty amazing that someone could start with so little and make so much" said GSU President Rick Gallot.

Robinson was hired in 1941 by Ralph W.E. Jones, to coach players just a few years younger than he was.

"His charge to Coach Robinson was to make Grambling the black Notre Dame of college football" said Gallot.

But Robinson's role quickly changed from coach to father.

"He was a father for these kids. He dealt with single parents. Boys that didnt have fathers at home" said friend and former Grambling State University baseball coach Wilbert Ellis.

Robinson's role as coach was well defined. He wanted his players to be better on the field, but to also be better in life.

"You can be anything you want to be. But most of all you can be a good individual" said Ellis.

Over 200 hundred of Robinson's football players played professionally. But hundreds more became professionals in a different field, principals, lawyers, executives.

"Eddie Robinson was a man that believed in people. No matter what race, color or creed. And the words that he spoke meant so much to all of us. Eddy Robinson. Eddy Robinson" said Ellis.

Robinson's coaching career ended with 408 wins and a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.

To this day Eddie Robinson is one of only two college football coaches to have his own museum on the campus of the school he coached.

The other, Bear Bryant at Alabama.


12 2017-01-31
Ruston

GSU PROFESSOR SHARES ‘HIDDEN’ TALENT


Herbert Simmons Jr. loves creating colors of harmony on canvas. His art has been exhibited in art shows across the country, and it will be shared at Grambling State University this month and most of February.


12 2017-01-30
Monroe

Grambling caps off 3-year turnaround with championship parade


WATCH: Highlights and reaction from Grambling's championship football parade held Saturday on GSU's campus. Hear from coach Broderick Fobbs, QB DeVante Kincade and RB Martez Carter. Sean Isabella/The News-Star


12 2017-01-27
Regional/National

Hidden History: Influence of Grambling coach remains strong


GRAMBLING, LOUISIANA (WNCT) – Grambling State University is a small college in north Louisiana. Despite the size, it’s home to legendary figures in the sporting world.

None bigger than Eddie Robinson.
It’s been almost ten years since Coach Eddie Robinson passed away, nearly 20 since he last coached a game.
But as the year’s pass, his legend grows. It’s because of how he lived.
“There’s no question. It is alive and well” said former Grambling State University football player Lee Fobbs.
Jim Crow laws influenced whom Robinson recruited and what teams his squad could play.
During a time of institutionalized discrimination, Robinson excelled.
“It’s pretty amazing that someone could start with so little and make so much,” said GSU President Rick Gallot.
Robinson was hired in 1941 by Ralph W.E. Jones, to coach players just a few years younger than he was.
“His charge to Coach Robinson was to make Grambling the black Notre Dame of college football,” said Gallot.
But Robinson’s role quickly changed from coach to father.
“He was a father for these kids. He dealt with single parents. Boys that didn’t have fathers at home” said friend and former Grambling State University baseball coach Wilbert Ellis.
Robinson’s role as coach was well defined. He wanted his players to be better on the field, but to also be better in life.
“You can be anything you want to be. But most of all you can be a good individual” said Ellis.
Over 200 hundred of Robinson’s football players played professionally. But hundreds more became professionals in a different field, principals, lawyers, executives.
“Eddie Robinson was a man that believed in people. No matter what race, color or creed. And the words that he spoke meant so much to all of us. Eddy Robinson. Eddy Robinson” said Ellis.
Robinson’s coaching career ended with 408 wins and a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.
To this day Eddie Robinson is one of only two college football coaches to have his own museum on the campus of the school he coached.
The other, Bear Bryant at Alabama.

12 2017-01-26
New Orleans

Louisiana represents half of Ebony magazine's top 10 HBCU Campus Queens


When Ebony magazine fills its pages with the stories and photos of its top 10 HBCU Campus Queens later this year, Louisiana schools will see some familiar faces. In fact, the state represents half of the women selected for the honor in its 2016-2017 class.

Ebony notified the 10 winners of its Campus Queens contest with a list of all winners, according to HBCUbuzz.com. Although the magazine itself hasn't yet posted the list to its website, HBCUbuzz points to a Xavier University tweet that lists the winning schools as: Albany State University, Dillard University, Florida A&M College, Grambling State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, South Carolina State University, Southern University and A&M College, Southern University at New Orleans and Xavier University of Louisiana.

That means that Louisiana represents five of the top 10 winners, and New Orleans specifically is home to three of those.

A press release from Dillard University confirmed the five Louisiana winners.

The online competition allows users to vote for their favorite homecoming queens from 75 historically black colleges and universities. The top 10 earned a trip to New York for a photo shoot that will appear in Ebony magazine later this year, according to a press release from Dillard University.

Louisiana's winners include:

Chelsea Bosley, Dillard University, is from Plaquemine. Bosley is a senior English major with a minor in pre-law.
Corinne Vaughn, Southern University A&M College, is from Campti. Vaughn is a senior political science major.
Germika Stewart, Southern University at New Orleans, is from New Orleans. Stewart is a senior social work major.
Astra Watts, Grambling State University, is from New Orleans. Watts is a senior with a biology major and a minor in pre-med.
Jasmine Merlette, Xavier University of Louisiana, is from Alpharetta, Ga. Merlette is a psychology major with a minor in chemistry.
You can learn more about each woman in the videos below.


12 2017-01-25
Monroe

GSU holding HBCU National Championship parade


GRAMBLING, LA - Press Release - Grambling State University will celebrate its HBCU National Championship football team with a day full of fanfare and fun.

The HBCU National Championship Parade for G-Men will start at 1 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 28) on the GSU campus. Head football coach Broderick Fobbs will be the grand marshal, and the parade will feature GSU President Rick Gallot; Athletic Director Paul Bryant; the World Famed Tiger Marching Band; the GSU cheer squad; Miss Grambling State University, Astra Watts; Miss Cover Girl, Taylor Stewart; Student Government Association (SGA) President Michael Meadows and SGA representatives; Favrot Student Union Board (FSUB) President Jimmitriv Roberson and FSUB representatives and the Alma J. Brown Elementary School cheerleaders.

There will be a G-Men Fan Fest held between the parade and the GSU Lady Tigers basketball games, scheduled to start at 3 p.m. This will be an opportunity for fans to mingle with Coach Fobbs and his coaching staff as well as the national championship football team. Fans can bring their own merchandise to be autographed by their favorite coaches and players. Fans can take photographs with the national championship trophy, won at the December Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl in Atlanta.

The GSU Barnes and Noble bookstore will have national championship gear available, and will be open from 12 noon until 3 p. m. Saturday.

During halftime of the Lady Tigers basketball game there will be an introduction of the SWAC and HBCU National Champions where Gallot will introduce the G-Men and the coaching staff, and Bryant will present the trophy. Fans will hear from Gallot, Bryant and Fobbs as well as some key players.

The parade will begin at the Robinson Stadium Support building, travel down Blalock Street toward the Tiger Village Clubhouse, turn left onto R.W.E. Jones Street and make a right on to College Ave. It will make another right on Main Street to pass in front of McCall Dining Hall and Favrot Student Union. Once at the Central Ave the route will make a right and end at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center for the 3 p.m. Lady Tiger Basketball game against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Lady Lions. Tickets include both games. Individual and group tickets can be purchased by calling 318-274-2625.

12 2017-01-23
Regional/National

Grambling President Advises Connecting with Politicians


When Louisiana attorney Richard Gallot was elected to the state legislature, the then-rising young Democrat took office with a new rising Republican governor. It did not take long before the two realized they needed to work together to do their jobs and achieve their goals, among them staying afloat as high-profile political figures in the Bayou State.

“Regardless of who’s in charge, they (elected officials) have an obligation to represent our interests,” Gallot says, stressing the importance of responsibility over political objectives.

Today, as New York businessperson Donald Trump has risen to the presidency of the United States, Gallot, the new president of Grambling State University, has advice for his peers, offered as a seasoned politician turned higher education administrator: connect with your so-called adversaries early, earnestly and often.

“We are very polarized now,” says Galllot, who spent 15 years serving in the Louisiana State Legislature working with two Republican governors during his terms in the state House and Senate. “It’s going to take members of state legislatures and Congress to do their jobs,” he says, having worked with politicians whose personalities have run the gamut.

“It’s important to connect” beyond paperwork and memos with peers and adversaries at every level of influence, says Gallot. It is important, he says, to “develop something beyond your official relationship.”

Approaching his challenges from that point, Gallot says he has already sought to engage the member of Congress representing the district in which Grambling is located. Recently, during a visit to Washington, he contacted the Congressman, Rep. Ralph Abraham, regarding getting a tour of the White House for his wife who was accompanying him for an official visit. Abraham arranged for his wife to meet with Gallot’s, the president says. They toured the official mansion and lunched together, he says, making him more than just a name sending documents for help.

Related: Delaware State Mourns Loss of Students
Such gestures are necessary today, as university presidents encounter an entirely new crew of federal higher education officials under Trump, many of whom have little, if any, real-time experience in higher education policy and administration. Behind Trump’s crew are elected lawmakers of all political parties who are likely to serve as long, if not longer, in their respective offices than Trump, he says.

Politics is an exercise in pooling ideas at some point, Gallot says, noting that then-Gov. Murphy J. Foster asked him to support a measure in the state House. Gallot said that he would, if the governor could help get Grambling funds to finance several projects important to the university. The tradeoff worked, as Foster’s bill passed and Grambling got its $25 million for construction.

“You (lawmakers) have to be willing to assist them (government chief executives), when they need help,” says Gallot, noting lawmakers on Capitol Hill hold the federal purse strings.

Gallot adds it is important to cultivate the scores of career government employees who do the day-to-day work of keeping a government agency running. “I don’t have to go to Trump Tower,” he says of the “higher-ups and political appointees” who have visited Trump at his New York City offices since the November elections.

Career public servants at the local, state and federal levels are where the “real work is being done,” Gallot says. Those individuals are just as important as the ones who visit Trump Tower for news headlines and photo opportunities, he says.

Get to know them, he adds.

Related: University of Kansas Professor’s Lawsuit Alleges Anti-German Discrimination
Gallot, interviewed by phone last week at the end of a NCAA board meeting in Nashville, also offered a bit of wisdom given by NCAA Executive Vice President Bernard Franklin during the meeting.

‘If you’re not at the table, you’re going to be on the menu,” Gallot recalls Franklin saying, as he, Gallot, offered advice to peers sorting through the continued fallout over Trump’s persistent and offensive rhetorical outbursts.

Presidents need to step back from the rhetoric and help their students develop leadership skills at such times, Gallot says.

“If a student sees me sulking and kicking cans, what else should I expect from them?” he asked. “They need to see me engage with the government by example, no matter who is in power.”

A rookie president he is, Gallot acknowledges. Still, he knows a lot about the work a president needs to do to get the job done in the real world, he adds.


12 2017-01-17
Monroe

Led by new AD, GSU focused on improving smaller sports


GRAMBLING — A large portion of Paul Bryant's introductory press conference last week as Grambling's new athletic director unsurprisingly focused on the football program.

Grambling's new athletic leader laid out future plans for the football stadium and mentioned how he wanted to keep the momentum rolling following the Tigers' HBCU national championship in 2016.

While football is king at Grambling, Bryant is aware there are other sports to improve upon, most of which struggle to compete either regionally or in their own conferences. It's his job to create a culture for the entire department, not just football.

"I don't think we do a good enough job telling our own story. We have to make sure we tell our own story. I'm big on appearances. Our website will tell it. We will be more visible in the local media," Bryant said. "We can't make anyone print anything, however, we're going to constantly push those sports so they can get the same attention. It's critical for all of sports to be successful in order to get that type of recognition. When I talk about accountability, those are some of the things that I think about."

Ever since its inception, Grambling's football program has consistently won in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and used to pump out NFL players with regularity. There have been a few lulls, but the program is back where most feel it should be.

Sports like basketball and baseball once thrived on an annual basis. Baseball is coming off a 22-27 season and is generally competitive in conference play having made it to the SWAC championship game in 2015. However, the basketball program is amid tough times and hasn't recorded a winning season since 2006.

Women's basketball has held its own, especially with a 17-14 record and one of the better teams in the SWAC in 2016, and the track and field program is annually one of the best in the SWAC. Coach Betram Lovell recently led Grambling to a SWAC title in cross country, bringing his title count to 35 in 35 seasons across cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.

Bryant's vision at GSU includes indoor facility, stadium upgrades
But there are sports like women's soccer, volleyball and softball that aren't competitive. Volleyball holds a 25-111 mark since 2011, softball has a 67-193 record since 2010 and soccer is 18-88-2 since 2009. Then there's women's tennis, but records aren't even kept up to date on the program's website, which plays into Bryant's point.

So how does it change?

"Involve them in the process so they can take more ownership of it. Of course, our coaches are going to take care of their program," Bryant said. "But I want them to take ownership of not only their program but the entire athletics department. That's how you get them to buy in."

Bryant used the word accountable throughout his press conference. He feels it's a key to changing the culture.

''The president is holding me accountable, and I'm going to hold everyone accountable for their jobs," he said.

Accountability and marketing a program are key steps, but finances are one constant in athletics, and there's no debating how HBCU programs like Grambling struggle funding some of the lesser-known sports.

To help with finances, one area Bryant hopes to improve is alumni relations. In the past, tension between former legends and administration didn't allow for the most productive working relationships.

"I'm here to help bridge that gap. My goal is to go out and tell them my vision, tell them where we want to go and then I'm going to include them into our process," Bryant said. "I want to get them involved into what we do. That truly helps."


12 2017-01-17
Monroe

Miss GSU Astra Watts needs your vote


SHREVEPORT - Miss Grambling Astra Watts is in the running to become one of the Top 10 EBONY Campus Queens.

You can vote consecutively 3 times each day!

Voting ends on January 15th, 2017.

Click here to vote.

12 2017-01-12
Monroe

Bryant's vision at GSU includes indoor facility, stadium upgrades


GRAMBLING — New Grambling athletic director Paul Bryant felt something was missing as he perused the athletic department during the application process.

It centered around a philanthropic approach he felt was needed at Grambling to grow athletics. It was the missing link of sorts.

"Thank God that has been one of my strengths," Bryant said Tuesday at his introductory press conference.

For a university, along with an athletic department, often strapped for cash, Grambling's new leader in athletics has a lofty vision for improvements to be made in the future. They aren't limited to football, but Bryant, who was hired from South Carolina State, is keenly aware football is the crown jewel.

"Vision is to create a complex that will include an indoor facility, also include field turf for our field and also to include a Jumbotron," Bryant said of potential future upgrades. "When we talk about philanthropic thinking, having a Jumbotron is critical for our success and it's because we can sell sponsorship. People want to be a part of that.

"Now is the time. If you're into stock, Grambling is the stock to buy because now is the time. We're on the uprise. That's what you want to do."

READ MORE: New AD plans to change culture at Grambling

And when exactly could something like this happen by? That part is unclear.

It's going to take money, and lots of it. The first part is raising it.

"As soon as you can give me money," Bryant said laughing. "I'm not being facetious. My thing is we need to go out and raise money, and that's the bottom line. That's the president's push and that's my push."

In the fall, Grambling president Rick Gallot said one of his first projects once an athletic director is in place is to create a "major" capital campaign to upgrade athletic facilities across campus.

Grambling recently surpassed its 90th year as an athletic department, and Gallot wants to see improvements by the time the 100th anniversary rolls around.

It won't be easy for a school that ranked second-to-last among Louisiana public schools with an athletic budget around $5.3 million (including $2.8 million in subsidies) compared to the $7.4 million spent on expenses during 2014-15.

In Bryant's corner is a renewed relationship with alumni and donors, most notably Grambling's commitment to working with the national alumni association.

Facility upgrades have been talking points for years. In 2013, $30,000 was pumped in to revamp the weight room, an area of the football program that played in a role in the 2013 player boycott.

But Bryant came off as someone with an all-business mindset, which is needed at a place that recently hasn't been able to put plans into action.

New Grambling athletic director Paul Bryant, left,
New Grambling athletic director Paul Bryant, left, receives a $1,000 check from GSU alumnus Robert Clark, center, along side of president Rick Gallot at Tuesday's introductory press conference. (Photo: YA'LISHA GATEWOOD/GSU Media Bureau)
Two years ago, then-Grambling interim president Cynthia Warrick said she wanted to renovate Eddie Robinson Stadium with a new Jumbotron, new turf and a new drainage system.

It never happened.

Grambling has already looked into upgrading its practice field, a surface that routinely floods and forces the team to practice at the intramural facility. Turf field at Eddie Robinson Stadium would help with maintenance.

Bryant was asked about playing more home games instead of three or four a season. He mentioned how facilities sometimes preclude Grambling from doing so.

The Tigers will host Northwestern State, Jackson State, two SWAC teams and a non-Division I team in 2017.

"We have to go out and play some games away. We're not going to stifle our traditions. I do see us having more home games soon," Bryant said. "We are looking at that."

Bryant is also focused on playing surfaces for other sports.

It falls under his general improvements using a business approach. He stressed several times Grambling needs to think more philanthropically and can't "give things away," noting Grambling has a brand people need to pay for.

"We want to be champions in everything we do and we will focus on that," he said. "The only way that can be done is by establishing a culture of excellence and accountability. We have started the process of enhancing the soccer field, baseball field, softball field."


12 2017-01-11
Monroe

'A perfect fit:' New AD plans to change culture at Grambling


GRAMBLING — With the quick pull of a tag and a tug of the bill, Grambling president Rick Gallot handed over a hat to Paul Bryant, a customary tradition when administrators or coaches are introduced to the Tigers' program.

Bryant, Grambling's new athletic director who was introduced Tuesday morning at a press conference inside Eddie Robinson Museum, methodically pulled the cap over his bald head.

"I think that's a perfect fit," he said to a crowd of Grambling supporters.

In many ways, the hat is a symbol. To Gallot, Bryant is the perfect fit to run a Grambling athletic department that has been void of a permanent athletic leader since 2014. To the rest of the alumni and program supporters, they hope Bryant is the man to navigate the school through difficult financial times.

"My charge to the committee was simple — find me a superstar," Gallot said.

Gallot thinks they delivered.

Bryant, who spent the past two years as South Carolina State's athletic director, was hired in December to, as he described Tuesday, change the culture and use a business-like approach to grow the program. He agreed to a two-year contract that will pay $160,000 annually. Although this was his first major public appearance, Bryan'ts first day on the job was Jan. 1.

"This is the G. Being a part of that and this historic institution really got me interested," said Bryant, who previously served as the athletic director at Stillman College in Alabama and Eureka College in Illinois. "It's the leadership. I saw president Gallot on a national news outlet and he was talking about his vision. He talked about athletics as being an integral part of that. For me, that is something that I wanted."

READ MORE: Grambling lands new AD Bryant from South Carolina State

Bryant joked he did a flip when receiving the job offer from Gallot, while adding his wife told him to settle down.

But listening to Bryant, it's no joking matter what he has planned for athletics. He was careful with his words, noting how he wants to make Grambling "better" instead of using "great."

"Under my leadership, we will begin to pay more attention to the details of athletics and operate as a business," Bryant said. "Far too many times we get caught up in making emotional decisions and that can be our mantra as we move forward.

"I'm very open. I'm very transparent. The one thing I will say is I do speak my mind, good, bad or different."

Speaking to a crowd of supporters that included NBA great Willis Reed and coaching legend Wilbert Ellis, two members of Grambling's search committee, along with new University of Louisiana System president Jim Henderson, Bryant noted how Grambling needs to monetize "everything" since finances are a constant struggle.

GSU president: I will not stop until athletics turns a profit
Another point of emphasis was rebuilding the relationships with Grambling alumni, something past administration had difficulties with.

Reed, who was on a panel of 12 search committee members who recommended Bryant to Gallot, said Bryant has a persistent personality.

"I think he's got a lot of savvy and experience in handling people in a group. I think an athletic director needs that," Reed said. "He's gotta be that guy that can go out there and go at it. Even if a guy says no, he'll laugh and smile about it and call him back the next day and say let's have lunch again."

Bryant's first order of business is to hire a director of compliance and a director of academic enhancement.

In the meantime, he plans to capitalize on the success of the football team and its recent HBCU national championship while becoming the best athletic department in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Even Henderson, the former president at Northwestern State, alluded to Grambling's success this past year, noting how "everyone" at the Dec. 17 Shreveport-Bossier City Holiday Classic, a basketball tournament featuring Louisiana Tech, Grambling, ULM and Northwestern State, was following Grambling's championship game on their phones.

"That tells you about the power of athletics to build a brand and to carry that brand," Henderson said. "Grambling State University is such a vital part of the state of Louisiana. Really it's a vital part of our nation. Grambling State University must be vibrant, it must be strong, it must grow. Anytime you have a brand that's built around your athletics."


12 2017-01-03
Ruston

GSU SEES NEW PRESIDENT IN 2016


GRAMBLING

Legends Square

Grambling’s Legends Square finally came into fruition in 2016.

After five years of development, the 9.2-acre economic development project began breaking ground in the latter portion of the year.

The development will include a hotel, restaurant, grocery store and retail strip that will create more than 130 local jobs for the area, said Grambling Mayor Ed Jones.
The project began in 2011, when Jones first became mayor.

Currently, the retail market will host a Pizza Hut, Dollar Tree, Hibbett Sports and Cricket Cellular, with one space still up for grabs.


12 2016-12-30
Monroe

City proclaims GSU Tiger, Fobbs day


A sea of black and gold filled the council chambers at Monroe City Hall Thursday.

Grambling State University alumni from across the region as well as GSU staff and students traveled to Ouachita on Thursday to watch Mayor Jamie Mayo proclaim Coach Broderick Fobbs and Grambling State University Tigers Football Day.

The event was held to honor Fobbs, a Monroe native, and the 2016 football team for winning the SWAC Championship, Celebration Bowl and HBCU National Championship.

"I have known this young man a long time," Mayo said, "and there was no question he was going to be outstanding and a lot of the reason he would be was because of his upbringing. I want to commend his parents for that and the people around him in his family and also the community that helped get him to this point."

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Monroe mayor proclaims Coach Broderick Fobbs and GSU Tiger Day
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Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo presents Broderick Fobbs, Grambling
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Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo presents Broderick Fobbs, Grambling State University Football coach with a copy of a proclamation issued by the city of Monroe proclaiming Thursday as Coach Broderick Fobbs and Grambling State University Tigers Football Day. The proclamation was issued in honor of Monroe native Fobbs and his 2016 team winning the SWAC Championship, Celebration Bowl and HBCU National Championship. Ashley Mott/The News-Star
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Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo presents Broderick Fobbs, Grambling1 of 10
GSU football players and university officials attended
Ebony Watson applauds during the proclamation ceremony
The proclamation was issued in honor of Monroe native
GSU football players, university officials and alumni
GSU football players, university officials and alumni
The proclamation was issued in honor of Monroe native
GSU football players, university officials and alumni
GSU football players, university officials and alumni
Members of the Morehouse Grambling Alumni Chapter traveled
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Monroe mayor proclaims Coach Broderick Fobbs and GSU Tiger Day
He said Fobbs ability to motivate his football players beyond the field is powerful.

"While some may have doubted their ability to regain past glory, with the support of the school administration and alumni, Coach Fobbs, his talented staff and players committed themselves to a level of excellence befitting a team once led by the iconic Coach Eddie Robinson...," the proclamation read.

Fobbs said his career was a team effort from the start, stating that anyone in the room who called him childhood nicknames had a part in the joy of the day.

"It takes a village to raise a child," he said, "and I'm proof that if everyone binds together and pours into someone who wants to be great, these are the types of things you will see."

Grambling alumni present at the presentation said Fobbs has helped reinvigorate Grambling, and they are proud. Ora Evans, president of the Morehouse alumni chapter, said the championships are the greatest thing to happen to Grambling in years, and that it has brought the Grambling family together.

Ezzard Burton, President of the Monroe-Ouachita chapter said his group is looking forward to honoring Fobbs and all the coaches at an upcoming event.
12 2016-12-19
Monroe

Grambling Tigers back in town after winning HBCU National Championship GSU Tigers back in town


GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The GSU Tigers are back in town after winning the University's 15th HBCU National Championship. Fans lined the streets on Sunday night as the coaches and players made it back to campus.


Courtesy:KNOE

"It feels good man it feels good to have the support from the fans, alumni and everybody supporting us. We are SWAC Champs and black national champs man it feels good it feels great to be loved like this," says Martez Carter, offensive MVP.

With a 10-9 win over North Carolina Central quarterback Devante Kincade says a hit on the head lead to a wake up call during the game.

"I blacked out for a second and I was telling Martez and some of the running backs man I think you guys I need you guys to get the signal for me cause I can't see it was like for one or two plays but after that I was good," says Kincade.

Just three years ago they were 1-10, now they're 12-1 and Coach Broderick Fobbs says they've learned from past mistakes.

"it's one of those situations you know every program goes through those times but you know one thing about Grambling State University is the G stands for greatness and we will always rise above and back to the top so we are pleased to be in this position we are the number one team in the country and we are thankful for it," says Fobbs.


Truly a fairy tale ending for a team that's seen it all.

"it's a great feeling to end my senior year like this," says offensive lineman Justin Miller.

And for a school that is in it to win it, "our program is on the rise are kids are graduating there GPA's are going through the roof there's a lot of great things happening at Grambling State University," says Fobbs.


12 2016-12-19
Monroe

Grambling claims HBCU title with win


ATLANTA – The trophy case inside Grambling State’s athletic office is cluttered with hardware chronicling epic performances throughout the school’s history. Upon arriving back on campus, there’ll be a new piece featured on the shelves – a first-ever Celebration Bowl trophy.

Grambling State (11-1) captured this award after edging out North Carolina Central (9-3), 10-9 on Saturday. With the win, the Tigers also earned their 15th HBCU national championship.

“It is a pleasure being the national black college champions. It was a great opportunity for our program. It’s just one of those moments when we needed to bite down, play good defense, and run the ball,” Grambling State head coach Broderick Fobbs said. “That’s what makes us a very dominant football team. We were able this year to win in many ways.”

The Tigers’ stout defense and a key play on special teams was the difference in the ballgame.

Entering the contest, N.C. Central’s high-potent offense was lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 30.7 points per game. However, the Tigers nipped the opposition’s tendencies in the bud with a punishing attack and impenetrable defensive alignment.

N.C. Central posted the game’s opening score with a 23-yard field goal by Brandon McLaren midway through the first quarter. This mark would hold throughout the quarter and at the half.

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After a dormant output in the first half, Grambling State’s offense woke up in the third quarter. Despite being unable to push through earlier in the game, the Tigers stayed true to the plan of establishing a presence on the ground. This commitment paid off on the team’s opening series of the second half.

The offensive line wedged out a hole and Martez Carter busted free untouched for a 32-yard touchdown. Grambling State later added a field goal in the third quarter to go on top, 10-3.

“Jestin Kelly is a ground and pound type of guy. He wore those guys down. I’m just the home run hitter. When you put me in, what else are you going to do? I appreciate Jestin and the offensive line,” Carter said.

While the bulk of this affair lacked offensive fireworks, the waning minutes of the fourth quarter was seesaw of emotions of joy and despair on both sidelines.

Facing third-and 12 on the 39-yard line with 2:14 left on the clock, N.C. Central quarterback Malcolm Bell scrambled to his left and found a wide-open Quentin Atkinson in the back of the end zone.

However, in the excitement of the play, Atkinson took off his helmet and was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct foul. The penalty yardage was assessed on the extra point, pushing the attempt back to the 18-yard line. The Eagles were poised to draw even, but Joseph McWilliams crashed down off the edge and blocked McLaren’s extra point to seal the Eagles’ fate.

The storied legacy Grambling State football is full of championship banners and iconic players. However, this Celebration Bowl victory perhaps ranks near the top of all the team’s accomplishments.

In 2013, the program was in utter disarray following a player protest due to inadequate equipment and facilities along with unreasonable travel scheduling and rotating coaches.

Fast forward to 2016 and the Tigers sit atop the mountain as the black college champions with a national ranking (14) in the FCS poll.

“We were dealing with a fractured situation when we first got to Grambling State University,” Fobbs said. “It was tough. Our kids were broken. They didn’t trust anyone and who could blame them. They had three coaches in one year. They didn’t say this, but the look I got on their face was, ‘how long are you going to be here?’ I’m the type of person who believes in accepting challenges. We had to learn how to trust, love and get off the ground. We had to learn how to compete again. Lastly, what we did this we had to learn how to experience success, forget about it, and then do it again.”


12 2016-12-16
New Orleans

Grambling University team wins Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge


A team from Grambling University won the first Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge in New Orleans with a concept inspired by the floods that devastated south Louisiana this summer.
The team of three students and two faculty coaches pitched their business plan for Relief Front, an online marketplace for products made by companies impacted by natural disasters.
They won a $10,000 prize. A second place prize for $6,000 went to a team from Xavier University, while students from Southern University of New Orleans received $4,000 for third place.
The competition was held Nov. 25 in conjunction with its parent event, The Bayou Classic.
12 2016-12-13
Monroe

A-B-C it: GSU prepared for national stage of Celebration Bowl


GRAMBLING — Broderick Fobbs ended practice last week with an emphasis on a three-letter word — ABC.

A-B-C you, Grambling's coach called out in the huddle. As if his Grambling players needed a reminder, there was the Tigers' third-year man calling out the national television dial for Saturday's clash against North Carolina Central in the Celebration Bowl. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. on ABC at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Grambling has played on big stages before, like the Bayou Classic when a near sellout crowd watched Grambling roll to an undefeated regular season for the second consecutive season, and earlier this month in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game when the Tigers stormed back to upend Alcorn State.

This one has a little bit more meaning. It's to crown the black national college champion.

"We look at it as another game, another opportunity to showcase the world that we're trying to get Grambling back on top," safety Guy Stallworth said Monday.

Fobbs' message wasn't necessarily to remind players of the opportunity at hand, rather the stage and atmosphere that will overtake the Georgia Dome.

North Carolina Central has plans to derail the top-ranked HBCU team in the country. Grambling doesn't want to let that happen.

"I wanted them to paint the picture of what will happen Saturday," Fobbs said of his use of ABC. "I'm always trying to put them in the mindset of what's going to happen on that particular weekend. I always want them to practice with the mindset of being in the moment at that particular time.

"When we're on the practice field, I want them to visualize you're already in the Dome, you already have 50,000 people in the stands, the color of the opponent. Even though we're going against the scout team, you're visualizing them wearing a certain color."


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The thought process is just another way of explaining how important practice is to Fobbs.

Grambling practices like it's a game in order to be fully prepared by the time Saturday rolls around.

For this contest, preparation is even more key since Grambling doesn't have a typical travel schedule.

Grambling leaves for Atlanta on Tuesday, breaking the trip up into two days before arriving Wednesday. The Tigers will hold a walk through Thursday and a mock game tempo practice Friday.

Tuesday will serve as the last full practice of the week. Grambling did the bulk of the preparation last week with practices Wednesday through Saturday and again on Monday afternoon.

"We try to get all of our work done before we get there. I've taken it from some teams that have gone to the Super Bowl. There's so many things that can be a distraction for you," Fobbs said.
12 2016-12-05
Monroe

Three takeaways from Grambling's SWAC title win


Grambling captured its first Southwestern Athletic Conference championship Saturday with a 27-20 victory over Alcorn State.

The Tigers trailed 17-0 at halftime and used a 27-point second half to secure the program's 24th conference championship and seventh since the SWAC instituted a title game in 1999.

Here are three takeaways from Grambling's win

1. The transformation is complete

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Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs started his postgame press conference by noting how much difference a year makes. He sat at the same podium a year ago to address reporters following a loss to Alcorn State. Sure, a year makes quite a difference, but what about three? Three years as in how far the program has come since 2013 when Fobbs took over.

"We were knocked down three years ago," Fobbs said. The former running back for the Tigers inherited a program coming off a winless Division I season equipped with a player revolt that made national headlines. Few expected a turnaround this quick, winning seven games in his first year, nine in his second and 10 in his third. The word dynasty has been used the past two weeks. That's what Grambling wants to build under Fobbs. The wins were nice, but Grambling needed tangible hardware to complete the transformation. That came Saturday in the form of the SWAC championship.

2. Nothing fazes the G-Men

A few years ago, Grambling defensive coordinator Everett Todd was asked if the Tigers are simply unfazed at whatever teams throw their way. He wasn't willing to go that far, but he spoke of a unique confidence level the players have. It sure looked like nothing could faze Grambling on Saturday. Grambling lacked its usual pep in the step in the first half, limping to a 17-0 deficit at the break.

It felt like one of those games when Grambling would eventually wake up. Sure enough, that's exactly what happened. Martez Carter sparked it all with a 73-yard kickoff return to set up Verlan Hunter's touchdown on fourth-and-14. The same plays that didn't work in the first half were suddenly ailigning in the second half. Grambling went on to score 27 points in the second half, and it did so without star QB DeVante Kincade having one of his normal explosive games. Alcorn State took him out of the game with pressure, but the Tigers countered with a rushing attack led by Carter. The junior was the best player on the field with 344 all-purpose yards to earn the MVP trophy.

3. GSU still has one more notch on the belt

As good as Saturday felt — players, coaches and fans celebrated for almost 30 minutes on the field following the game — Grambling still feels it has business left to accomplish. Grambling heads to Atlanta in two weeks to play North Carolina Central in the Celebration Bowl, which amounts to the black college national championship, pitting the champions of the SWAC and the MEAC against each other.

Fobbs always talks about notches on the belt. A perfect regular season was one. The Bayou Classic was responsible for another. The last two were a SWAC title and a Celebration Bowl victory. Grambling can stake its claim as the team team in HBCU football by winning the Celebration Bowl. Until then, the Tigers likely won't be satisfied, or feel full as Fobbs likes to call it.
12 2016-12-02
Monroe

GSU's Dooley named assistant coach of the year


Grambling offensive coordinator Eric Dooley on Wednesday was named the American Football Coaches Association FCS Assistant Coach of the Year for the FCS level.

Dooley, who doubles as the Tigers' wide receivers coach, is one of the top coordinators in the country. The third-year assistant has led Grambling to the No. 4-ranked offense in the country in both total yards (505.1) and points per game (44.0).

Grambling's offense is one of the primary seasons the Tigers will play for the Southwestern Athletic Conference title this weekend for the second consecutive season.

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Dooley is a 22-year coaching veteran who spent time in the SWAC at Southern before joining Broderick Fobbs' staff at Grambling in 2013. Dooley serves on the AFCA's Registration Committee and has volunteered throughout his career, working with the Boy Scouts, Salvation Army and Girl Scouts, among others.

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Under Dooley's tutelage, former quarterback Johnathan Williams won the 2015 SWAC Player of the Year, and current quarterback DeVante Kincade is in the mix for the award this year.

Grambling is 9-1 this season and has won 18 consecutive league games dating back to 2014.
12 2016-12-01
Monroe

Grambling lands new AD Bryant from South Carolina State


Grambling State University has its first permanent athletic director in more than two years.

Grambling on Wednesday hired Paul Bryant of South Carolina State to serve as its new athletic director. The deal, which has been in the works for several weeks, was finalized Wednesday morning.

Bryant agreed to a two-year contract that will pay $160,000 annually — $130,000 from the university and $30,000 from Grambling's athletic foundation. His first day at Grambling is set for Jan. 1.

"It was very obvious he has the experience that gives him the ability on day one to know how to be an athletic director, in terms of his understanding and familiarity with everything from APR to complimentary ticket policies, being able to manage the other sports we have and also recognizing the national and international brand that is Grambling," Grambling president Rick Gallot told The News-Star on Wednesday.

Bryant spent the past two years as South Carolina State's athletic director. He previously served as the athletic director at Stillman College in Alabama and Eureka College in Illinois.

HBCUSports.com first reported the news Wednesday.

As someone with ties to Southwestern Athletic Conference programs and HBCUs in general, Gallot felt Bryant possessed the "whole tool kit" to take Grambling's athletic department to the next level.


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"The athletic department is very much responsible for our international brand and the band," Gallot said. "(It's important) to have someone who is able to appreciate the huge, far-reaching reputation of the university and have the skill set to move that program forward."

Bryant's hiring is up for approval by the University of Louisiana System at a Dec. 8 meeting.

Gallot made the hire based off a recommendation from a 12-member search committee established in October. The committee included names like Albert Dennis III, who is a former athletic director at Grambling, and Jim Oakes, the former athletic director at Louisiana Tech along with NBA legend Willis Reed and former Grambling baseball coach Wilbert Ellis.

Gallot mentioned how key the voices were from committee members like Oakes.

"Knowing the job, knowing what skill sets are required to handle that job, he certainly felt very strongly about Paul's qualifications and his ability to do the job," Gallot said.

Reed, who is considered by some as a Top 50 player in NBA history, gave his seal of approval, telling Gallot that Bryant was the type of person he could go out with and promote Grambling.

"If Willis Reed says he'd hook up with this guy and go out with him as an ambassador, I think that's a strong indication of the quality and caliber they saw in him throughout the multiple interviews," Gallot said.


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Bryant was one of 24 applicants for the job. The committee narrowed the field to six candidates, who then interviewed for the job via Skype. Three finalists were brought on campus to interview separately with Gallot and the committee before meeting with vice presidents of various on-campus departments.

​The two other finalists were Jason Cable, the assistant Vice President for Athletic Compliance and Academic Services at Alcorn State, and Darrol Woods, the senior associate athletic director for fiscal management at Jackson State.

Aaron James was Grambling's last permanent athletic director. Obadiah Simmons has served as the interim athletic director since May 2015. Grambling had two other interim athletic directors before Simmons.

Gallot thanked Simmons for his role in keeping the athletic department running for nearly the past two years. Simmons also serves as the head of the Department of Kinesiology, Sport and Leisure Studies.

"We certainly appreciate his service to the university in that role and are very grateful to him for serving in that dual capacity," Gallot said.


12 2016-11-29
Ruston

GSU STUDENTS SUPPORT THE BAYOU CLASSIC


NEW ORLEANS — Grambling State University students Robert Bailey Jr., Shelby Prout and Que Robinson weren’t on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome football field for a single play Saturday, but each had an impact on the Bayou Classic matchup between Grambling State University and Southern University.


12 2016-11-28
New Orleans

Grambling surges past Southern in the second half to win Bayou Classic 52-30, secure spot in SWAC championship game


Grambling left no room for doubt about who was the best team on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome turf for Saturday's 43rd Bayou Classic.

Grambling gashed Southern and its previously stingy defense for 571 yards. It forced a pair of critical early turnovers against a Jaguars unit that had taken great care of the ball all season and kept an explosive Southern offense largely at bay.

Most importantly, Grambling snapped Southern’s eight-game winning streak and extended its own to nine, punching its ticket to the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game and ending Southern’s season with a 52-30 win.

“What can you say?” said senior guard Anthony Mosley. “That’s a good football team. They beat us.”

All of this was despite a Herculean effort from Southern running back Lenard Tillery, whose college career ended on a day when he ran for nearly 200 yards in the first half. He finished with 230 yards on 25 carries and two total touchdowns.

“I really thought we could run the football,” Southern coach Dawson Odums said. “… We were able to do that, but at the end of the day we didn’t score enough points. You can get all the yards you want, but you’ve got to have one more point than they have.”

Thanks to Tillery’s heroics, it was only a four-point game at halftime. Then Grambling (9-1, 9-0 SWAC) stepped on the accelerator and breezed past Southern (8-3, 8-1) with a series of explosive plays.

Grambling quarterback Devante Kincade was effective through the air, throwing for 283 yards and a score, but it was his legs that lit the powder keg when he zoomed through the heart of the Jaguars defense for a 45-yard touchdown on the Tigers’ first drive of the second half.

“That was huge,” Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs said. “We always talk about momentum, and he who has the momentum normally wins the football game.”

Southern had a chance to respond, and for a second, it looked like they would.

They went 47 yards in 10 plays to bring the ball inside the Grambling 15-yard line, but that 10th play was a third down run by Tillery that ended up about 2 yards shy of the sticks. Odums decided to go for it on 4th-and-2 rather than kick a field goal that would have made it a 24-16 game.

“We were behind, trying to get some points on the board,” Odums said. “Field goals won’t beat the good football team we played tonight. You’ve got to get touchdowns. They made plays, and we didn’t.”

Tillery was stuffed short of the line to gain, and Grambling started running away with the game.

Three plays later, the Tigers were back in the end zone when Martez Carter zipped through a massive lane cleared by his offensive line and raced for a 66-yard touchdown.

Carter finished with 279 all purpose yards, a total that was boosted by an 88-yard kick return that went for one of his three total touchdowns.

“Those guys were trigger-happy,” Carter said. “They was trying to fill those lanes. My O-line did a good job of getting to that second level and making it easy for me to make guys miss.”

Needing a response, Southern went three-and-out, a recurring theme in the second half. After giving up 289 yards in the first half, Grambling forced three three-and-outs in the second half, and only two of Southern’s eight second half drives went more than 26 yards.

“When you’re running off the field after a three-and-out, after a fourth-and-1 that you didn’t get, you already know what it can result in,” Tillery said. “Whenever you’re playing a good team, they’re going to capitalize … and that’s what they did.”

With Southern’s offense spinning its tires in the mud, Grambling piled on. Freshman Lyndemian Brooks started a three-play, 62-yard touchdown drive with a 26-yard catch-and-run and capped it with a 34-yard touchdown carry. It was the third straight drive that ended with a touchdown run of 30 or more yards.

The 21 unanswered points out of halftime essentially put the game away; the teams traded scores the remainder of the way. And all of this was after Southern came out of the gates strong.

Southern opened with a seven-play, 60-yard touchdown drive, capped by an 18-yard scoring strike from Austin Howard to Willie Quinn. But things nearly spun out of control for Southern after that score.

Grambling responded with a scoring drive of its own, and then the Jaguars started making mistakes. The next two Southern drives ended in turnovers, including one that took away what would’ve been a sure score when Howard lunged for the end zone on a bootleg keeper but fumbled the ball through the end zone before crossing the goal line.

While Southern took points away from itself with one turnover, Grambling turned the other — a Howard interception that bounced off Quinn’s hands — into a touchdown.

All in all, Grambling answered Southern’s opening drive with 17 unanswered points. Southern went into an offensive coma after the Howard fumble, gaining just 31 yards on the next three drives.

It was Tillery who served as the defibrillator for the slumping Jaguars. The Superdome roared to life when he burst through the line and outran the Tigers defense for an 85-yard touchdown.

But just as quickly as Southern gained that momentum, it was gone when the Tigers opened the second half with a 75-yard touchdown drive.

“You can have the momentum one second, but all it takes is one play to lose that momentum, and we didn’t ride the momentum like we should have,” Tillery said.


12 2016-11-17
Ruston

GSU THEATRE TO RAISE CURTAIN ON ‘A LESSON BEFORE DYING’ TODAY


The Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Grambling State University will host their second show of the season, “A Lesson Before Dying,” by Romulus Linney, based on the novel by Ernest J. Gaines.
12 2016-11-14
Monroe

Grambling-groomed Gallot making his mark


In his first few months as president of Grambling State University, Rick Gallot has performed as gracefully as the GSU G-Men football team does on the field, according to state leaders, students and his pastor.

Gallot, a Grambling native, alumnus and the university’s 10th president, started his first day Aug. 1. Since then, he has involved himself on campus and off campus in ways that make him one of the more visible presidents.

Gallot marked his 100th day in office on Tuesday.

He participated in the school’s Welcome Week activities in August, including time spent helping students move into their dorms, sometimes shocking students and their parents as he lifted boxes and luggage.

He’s visited university departments, colleges and units, including some where they haven’t seen a president where they work, ever.

Gallot took a selfie on stage during high school day and struck a pose at the homecoming concert in the Fredrick Hobdy Assembly Center.

Grambling State University President Rick Gallot leads
Grambling State University President Rick Gallot leads a tour of the campus for representatives of the Board of Regents. (Photo: Glenn Lewis/GSU Media Bureau)
He quickly got involved with the negotiation of head football Broderick Fobbs’ contract, getting a two-year extension as the coach agreed to a no-increase agreement focused on salary pools to satisfy his assistants and staff.

The president pushed GSU in the national HBCU conversation as he appeared on Roland Martin’s TV One News show, and he’s been on social media regularly. He can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and from time to time he’s even on SnapChat.

The new president even got Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to visit Grambling State’s homecoming game on Oct. 29.

Gallot did not celebrate his 100th day in office Tuesday. It was another day of work, with an emphasis to find different ways to raise the school’s profile.

During an interview at the homecoming football game, Edwards said Gallot’s performance as the Tiger-in-Chief has been welcome.

“Based on everything I can gather, he’s doing the job we all expected him to do,” Edwards, who served in the Louisiana Legislature with Gallot and became his friend, said as he stood in the Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium. "He hasn’t been here long, but the family around Grambling is really tight. And when I say the family I don’t mean right here at the university or in the city of Grambling.

“The alumni around the state and around the country are going to support Rick, and I know he’s going to get support from the Louisiana System, he’s going the get support from my office and the legislature. I’m very optimistic about the future of this university under his leadership.”

GSU student Braxton Matthews, a senior computer information systems major, is thrilled with Gallot’s frequent appearances on campus.

As Grambling State University's president, Rick Gallot
As Grambling State University's president, Rick Gallot has been a visible presence on campus. (Photo: Will Sutton/GSU Media Bureau)
“I’ve been at Grambling since 2013 and I have met and shook President Gallot’s hand more times this semester than any other president in my four years here,” said Matthews, 22. “Every time Gallot and I shake hands it shows me he cares about the students and the university. He’s going to do great things for Grambling.”

It’s that tight Grambling family that helped groom Gallot to be the newest GSU president, and he appreciates and respects what has been done to help him become the top university leader.

One of Gallot’s first actions as president was honoring the late Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones, the university’s second president, by selecting his university email account as prez@gram.edu.

“That’s a tribute to Prez Jones,” said Gallot. “He was the kind of president who knew about you.”

When Jones retired in 1977, he built a house next door to Gallot’s family home. During Jones’ retirement Gallot often visited Jones at his home, programmed Jones’s television remotes and chatted about young Gallot’s personal life.

Gallot said he got to know Jones and famous GSU head football coach Eddie Robinson well as a kid growing up in Grambling. “I got to know them on a personal level,” he said. “They were genuinely good people who were concerned about you as a student, as an individual and what your future would be, and how they might help you to get where you were going … in life.”

Gallot grew up playing basketball at Kenny Patton’s house, right across the street from Robinson on Adams Avenue. Gallot respected Coach Rob as more than a football coach. Coach Rob asked him about his grades and his parents. He got to know Gallot. PrezRick, as he’s sometimes called and often referred to on social media, experienced what most of the world never saw: Robinson the man.

Gallot’s father, former Grambling Mayor Richard Gallot Sr., said his son’s relationship with Jones and Robinson was very good. “A lot of kids would come over, or he would go play and they would talk to the coach,” said the elder Gallot, who has been cutting hair at his Grambling barbershop for about 50 years.

State Rep. Patrick Jefferson, Gallot’s successor in the 11th district, which includes Bienville, Claiborne and Lincoln parishes, has visited Gallot a couple times since taking office. Jackson grew up knowing and competing against Gallot in basketball and band. As a kid in the neighboring community of Arcadia watching Gallot and playing against him, Jefferson said, “You knew then there was something special about him.”

“Mr. President is doing a stellar job; he has exceeded expectations and the thing that is so important is the energy and the enthusiasm he brings. It is unparalleled.

“Grambling is a very special place and has a very special person leading it at this unique time in our history. With me being a public servant I go across the state and interact with folk the primary question asked is what took us so long to name him,” added Jefferson.

Gallot attends New Living Word Ministries in Ruston, Louisiana, where Jerry Baldwin is the pastor. Baldwin was appointed by Gallot to the important GSU athletics director search committee based on his football coach career at Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University and as head football coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The pastor sees a great opportunity for Grambling State, and its students.

“He’s a tremendous asset. We know he’s stable. He’s been in the same Zip code all of his life,” added Baldwin, noting that 71245 is the Grambling Zip code that has been Gallot’s home address since he was born.

“I’ve seen him grow as a man of faith over the years through his regular attendance at church,” he said. “He’s been a great note taker and listener.”


12 2016-11-11
Shreveport

GSU Band prepares to rock the Red River State Fair Classic


GRAMBLING--

In her high school days, Yalisha Gatewood attended Airline High School where she gained a passion for playing in the band.

"I played cymbals and xylophone. I just built up the courage to play snare my senior year. I didn't think I was going to make it, but I made it," says Yalisha Gatewood, GSU Band Snare Drummer.

At Grambling State University, Gatewood is one of three women playing snare drum on the drum line.

A minority in a key section of the band.

"At first I started out by myself and to see that we have two new girls that are just doing amazingly well just really makes me happy, I hope to inspire a lot more girls. Maybe one day we will have an all female drum line," says Gatewood.

Coming home to play in the Red River State Fair cCassic is a childhood dream for Gatewood,

"It's funny to me because when I was in high school, a freshman in high school, I remember to a Grambling v. Tech game. I don't remember who was playing. I was like wow that's going to be me one day, not even knowing that is going to be me. Here I am about to play at the Independence Stadium. It's just surreal," says Gatewood.

Especially since she will be surrounded by loved ones.

"My parents are going to be there and it just makes me happy to come back home and play," says Gatewood.

GSU Band Director, Dr. Larry Pannell, says you can expect a blues show for the halftime performance.

With a tribute to the late Shreveport DJ, Cat Daddy.

"You can expect good music, a show of course, and just excitement from the fans. We do it for them," sys Gatewood.

And the tribute to Shreveport's own Cat Daddy is in part due to the friendship he and Dr. Panell shared through his lifetime.

Alabama State will not be bringing a band so Grambling will provide the full halftime show and music throughout the game.

12 2016-11-01
Monroe

Grambling alum writes best-selling novel, premieres star-studded movie on campus


Author and Grambling alum, Angela Smith, is debuting her movie Behind Closed Doors: Dana’s Story at the Grambling Alumni Share on November 2 in Favrot Student Union from noon to 2 p.m.

The film is an adaptation of Smith’s Amazon Best Selling novel, Behind Closed Doors: Dana’s Story. Based on a true story, the critically acclaimed novel is a depiction of one teen’s experience as a victim of domestic human trafficking.

The Alumni Share will include a panel discussion featuring Louisiana’s first female casting director Mae Chapman, and Shreveport actress Kaiya Perry who starred in Disney's A Girl Like Grace. Students will have the opportunity to get professional advice on what it takes to be successful in the film industry and meet the cast.

The cast for Dana’s Story include several veteran actors with big screen experience such as Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, best known for her performances in New Jack City, Jungle Fever, What’s Love Got to Do with It and Spike Lee’s Malcolm X.

Joseph Ademola Adeyemo recently co-starred in the new USA TV series Falling Water and the independent film, The Last Days of L’Overture in which he portrayed the legendary Toussaint L’Overture

Dother Sykes, a native of Alexandria Louisiana seen in The Butler and 12 Years a Slave is also in the film.

Students are also encouraged to bring their resume’ and headshot to be considered for future casting and production opportunities with Smith and Chapman.

“It feels great to share this career milestone with my Grambling family,” Smith said. “College is where I found my confidence. I don’t know if I would be bold enough to step out on faith and pursue my dreams if it were not for my Grambling experience.”

In January of this year, Smith was a guest on the Tom Joyner Morning Show discussing her book as it relates to human trafficking and colorism. She is determined to use her voice as a writer, producer, and independent filmmaker to raise awareness concerning human trafficking and other socioeconomic issues within the urban community.

For more information on Angela Smith go to www.alsmithbooks.com. You are welcome to attend the Alumni Share and can RSVP at cocodreamagency@gmail.com .


12 2016-10-31
Ruston

Gov. Edwards visits Grambling for homecoming game


GRAMBLING, La.

Governor John Bel Edwards stopped at Grambling State University Saturday afternoon to help celebrate the school's annual homecoming festivities, and to update north Louisianians on his latest plans and goals as the end of 2016 draws closer.

While on campus, Governor Edwards met with school leaders to discuss the future of higher education around Louisiana, and to show his support for the state's historically black colleges and universities.

During his visit, he also commented on the ongoing flood clean-up around the state-- citing Louisiana received $430 million in recovery aid from Congress before the break in session for elections.

He adds he's planning to work closely with the Obama administration and Congress during the upcoming lame duck session, and intends to ask for an additional $3 billion in funding for both north and south Louisiana.

"The people of Louisiana are very resilient and strong and decent people, who have taken care of one another. And I'm proud of the recovery effort we've made thus far, but we have got a long way to go.", says Edwards.

He adds, "We've disinvested in higher education over the previous 8 years, more than any other state in the nation, and raised tuition over that same time period more than any other state in the nation. I'm committed to higher public education in the state of Louisiana, including our HBCUs."

We asked the Governor about the lawsuit he filed against Attorney General Jeff Landry surrounding work place protection, but he declined to comment.

12 2016-10-27
Monroe

Fobbs goes to bat for Grambling assistants in new contract


GRAMBLING — Quarterbacks coach Kendrick Nord sent a text last week to congratulate Grambling head coach Broderick Fobbs on his new contract extension.

Fobbs had no interest in the praise. Instead, he dished it back to Nord and the rest of the Tigers' staff.

"He says, no, man. It's us. Everything is about us," Nord said. "No matter what you try to get him to do to give him that credit he's not gonna take it."

It was about the assistants, not Fobbs in the latest two-year contract extension he signed. Fobbs didn't receive a pay raise from his base salary of $195,000, but instead negotiated bonus incentives for he and his staff.

His contract, which runs through 2018, has a section of $95,000 'bonus pool' money the assistants are eligible for based on certain achievements, including a regular season record of .500 or better, a Black College National Championship, a Celebration Bowl Championship and a SWAC Championship.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
Grambling moves up in FCS Top 25 poll

"It just speaks to his character. In this profession you always want to work for good people and work with good people. So many times there's situations where coaches tend to look out for themselves," Grambling linebackers coach Terrence Graves said. "With coach Fobbs, he said that from day one that it's about us and not not about him. When you know you have a head coach that's gong to go to bat for you and fight for you, it just makes coming to work and makes you doing your job easier."

As Fobbs goes to bat for his assistants, the staff, like Nord, now feels obligated to go to bat for Fobbs.

Nord said Fobbs' commitment provides more focus and energy to arrive early on a daily basis to get the job done.

"He makes you just really want to work hard because that's the type of worker he is. He really makes me think about the way I'm coaching," Nord said. "There's some things he talks about and it's like, man, that's what I need to do. He's always going to let his coaches and coach, and it's up to you to blow it or do a good job."

Fobbs and Nord go back to their days as teenagers. They played together at Grambling in the 1990s when Nord served as the Tigers' running back and Fobbs was the running back.





Grambling QB coach Kendrick Nord speaks on head coach Broderick Fobbs' character after he negotiated bonuses for his assistants Sean Isabella/The News-Star

Nord called Fobbs a "really, really sharp guy" and someone he knew would do well in life.

"He's going to class doing what he's supposed to do as a young guy. Most kids that age are hanging out under the tree of knowledge going to get some beer. He's a guy that was totally focused," Nord said. "It's almost like this here was his destiny like this is what he's supposed to be doing like it was already planned for him to be the head coach of Grambling State University.

On Monday, Fobbs deflected the praise to his assistants and new president Rick Gallot.

The third-year coach reiterated how he'll always put his players and assistants first because they "make this thing work."

"I'm just the figure head with the vision. They're the guys that are the foot soldiers that go out and do the task, getting things lined up more so for them relieve me more than what it would do for me," Fobbs said. "I'm less of a guy or a coach or a man if I don't think about my coaches and my players."


12 2016-10-25
Monroe

GSU's partnership makes scholarship opportunities easier


Grambling State University has partnered with Scholly, an easy-to-use mobile application that helps students find and apply for college scholarships.

GSU students have free access to the Scholly app so they can receive professional guidance and support to seek scholarship opportunities. Designed to ease the scholarship search process, Scholly is a simple, comprehensive, and accurate scholarship search platform that helps undergraduates and graduate students match scholarships.

"Working with Grambling State University reflects the commitment that the university has to its students being able to reach higher academically by being supported financially. Scholly equips students with the appropriate tools to find, get matched with, and apply for scholarships to fund their education" said David Hunt, a Scholly impact executive.

“We are excited about this new partnership between Grambling and Scholly,” said Damon Wade, vice president for institutional effectiveness and enrollment management. “Higher education is an essential rung on the ladder towards financial security, and it’s a climb that many of our students are unable to maintain due to a lack of resources or awareness of the type of scholarship support that may be available to them. Grambling State is committed to helping our students afford college.”

Scholly turns the long months search for “free money” for college into minutes. Students interested in obtaining access to Scholly and scholarship opportunities should send an email to scholly@gram.edu.
12 2016-10-21
Monroe

GSU Coach Fobbs agrees to two-year extension


Grambling State University head football coach Broderick Fobbs is staying at GSU.


courtesy: GLENN LEWIS/GSU Media Bureau

Fobbs, Interim Athletic Director Obadiah Simmons and GSU President Rick Gallot signed an agreement in the president’s office on Thursday (Oct. 20). The coach’s current contract was scheduled to expire in December 2016, and the new agreement extends his services through December 31, 2018. Gallot, who started as president on Aug. 1, said retaining Fobbs was one of his highest priorities.

“As a lifelong Grambling State football fan and as an alum, I know what we have in Coach Fobbs and I was determined to keep him as our coach,” said Gallot.

Coach said he loves his job and he is determined to do all he can to make the football program, athletics and his alma mater successful. “We’ve got something special going on here,” said Fobbs, “and we’re in the early stages of building of another legacy upon the great traditions developed by Coach Eddie Robinson, Prez (RWE) Jones and others. We’ve got a big job to do, and I’m grateful that President Gallot recognizes what our coaches and staff bring to the table.”


The agreement guarantees Fobbs $195,000, the salary he has earned since 2013. Fobbs said he did not want to accept a salary increase since the university is facing significant financial challenges and his coaches cannot receive salary increases at this time. Instead, the agreement is heavy on incentives, guaranteeing Fobbs additional compensation of up to $87,500 for specific goals, including winning the SWAC western division championship, being recognized as SWAC coach of the year, winning the Bayou Classic, winning the SWAC championship, winning the Celebration Bowl matchup between the SWAC and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) football championship teams and if the G-Men are declared the Black College national champions. In addition, Fobbs has an additional incentive to do something he makes a priority already -- meeting or exceeding the NCAA benchmarks for Academic Progress Rate (APR). Student-athletes must attend classes, maintain specific grades and GPAs to remain eligible to participate.

In addition, the coach is provided with a salary bonus pool of $95,000 to be divided among his coaches based on specific incentives. For other coaches to be eligible to be considered for some of that money the team must win the SWAC western division, the SWAC championship and the Celebrity Bowl, widely seen as the national HBCU championship between the SWAC and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championship teams played in Atlanta on Dec. 17, 2016. It also includes incentives for the football team being recognized as the Black College National Champion, a regular season record above .500 and for meeting or exceeding the NCAA APR benchmarks.

Gallot and Fobbs agreed that the fall negotiations started soon after the president started and continued cordially as the football season got underway and continued. Fobbs said there was no doubt that he wanted things to work out, and that he was far more concerned about the impact on his coaches and staff than any specific amount for himself. “I have an amazing team of coaches and a wonderful staff and we wouldn’t be doing as well as we’re doing without their commitment and dedication to our student-athletes and this program,” said Fobbs. “We’re all in this together, and if I win, they win.”

The agreement with the football coach guarantees that Fobbs will stay at his alma mater through the 2018 season at the Southwestern Athletic Conference school, ensuring that the significantly rejuvenated football program continues its winning tradition on the gridiron, in the classroom and in the community.

Hired in December 2013, Fobbs was charged with strengthening the program under a three-year contract. Since he started, Fobbs has been named the SWAC coach of the year twice, in 2014 and 2015, and he has a 19-8 record overall and a 12-4 record since 2015. His G-Men started the season as a team to watch but were not picked to win the SWAC western division or the conference championship. After a strong 3-0 SWAC start and a 3-1 overall record this season, the team is widely seen as the favorite to win the division and the SWAC championship.

“Coach Fobbs has done an incredible job both on the field and off, and we have to acknowledge, appreciate and support that,” said Gallot.
“There’s no question that Fobbs and our winning football program have been a big part of attracting more attention and more applicants. With 70 percent more applications this year compared to last year this time, that’s phenomenal, and it shows that a winning program has a real impact on recruiting.”

"I'm thrilled that we've signed Coach Fobbs for another couple of years. He's a stellar leader and has done an amazing job with our football program in such a short period of time," added Simmons. “By all accounts, Coach Fobbs is ahead of schedule relative to program goals.”

Fobbs started his coaching career at a Texas high school before working as a graduate assistant at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with then head coach Jerry Baldwin, now pastor of New Living Word Ministries in Ruston and a member of the university’s athletics director search committee. He coached at Northwestern State from 2002-07 and went to Lake Charles to coach at McNeese State University. He spent a stint at Southern Miss as wide receivers coach before returning to McNeese to coach tight ends for the Cowboys.


12 2016-10-21
Monroe

Fobbs earns two-year contract extension from Grambling


Broderick Fobbs has Grambling back in the conversation as one of the best HBCU football programs in the country during his two-plus years as the Tigers' head coach.

He'll stick around for a few more years.

Grambling and Fobbs agreed to a two-year contract extension Thursday that will keep Fobbs at Grambling through 2018. Fobbs, whose initial three-year deal was set to expire Dec. 9, 2016, will receive the same base salary of $195,000, but he was able to negotiate higher incentives and a larger salary pool for his assistant coaches.

"When you look at the success of coach Fobbs, you absolutely have to include his name in the same sentence as Eddie Robinson. He means as much to Grambling now as coach Robinson did during his term," Grambling president Rick Gallot told The News-Star on Thursday. "I know that's a pretty bold statement to make, but again, his love for this university certainly far outweighs any interest of personal gain.

"That obviously says a lot about his character and the fact he would sign a contract extension knowing that his base didn't move at all."

Fobbs' various incentives, which include bonuses for APR, a Black College national championship, a SWAC championship, a Celebration Bowl championship, a Bayou Classic championship, SWAC Division championship and SWAC Coach of the Year, can add an additional $87,500 to his base salary. The assistant salary pool is up to $95,000 from a variety of bonuses that are similar to Fobbs' part of the deal.

The new deal was specifically done with Grambling' assistants in mind. Fobbs views his assistants as a family. The success he's had, in his mind, is attributed to his staff.

"It's not fair that the head coach gets a considerable raise and your assistant coaches don't get anything. We're all working hard and we're all working to accomplish the same goal," Fobbs said. "If one person gets a raise everyone should get a raise. I didn't want to get a raise if my coaches couldn't get a raise. That came in to my decision. They deserve it."


THENEWSSTAR.COM
For Grambling, the program's revival starts on the practice field

Fobbs is 19-8 at Grambling with a 12-4 mark since 2015. The Tigers are 3-1 this season and are the favorite to play for the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship for the second consecutive season.

"He's ahead of schedule. Typically, it takes coaches three to five years to kind of get their program up and rolling," Grambling interim athletic director Obadiah Simmons said. "Coach Fobbs has done such an outstanding job in such a short period of time."

Negotiations between Grambling and Fobbs began earlier in the year, but they slowed when Grambling went through another presidential change. Last week, Gallot indicated the two sides were "close" to a deal.

Gallot stressed there wasn't a hangup with Fobbs' side of the deal, rather he wanted to make sure the assistants received proper attention.

"He understands the current fiscal conditions of the university," Gallot said. "Rather than trying to make demands he knew he quite frankly we were not able to meet, he agreed to incentives that are based on them winning

Gallot didn't want to put pressure on Fobbs since Grambling is in the middle of the season. The two sides were able to hammer out a deal with Grambling amid a three-week layoff as part of two consecutive open dates.

The two-year extension may seem short, but Gallot said it was mutually beneficial.

"It was a realistic period for us both to be able to reassess where we are from a financial standpoint," he said. "It keeps us both very much motivated for the program to continue to be successful and for us to be able to revisit it depending on our fiscal condition in two years."

The former assistant at Southern Miss and McNeese State inherited a program in disarray three years ago when the Tigers finished 1-10. Players boycotted practice and forfeited a game that year, which included three different coaches at the helm.

From left, Grambling president Rick Gallot, football
From left, Grambling president Rick Gallot, football coach Broderick Fobbs and interim athletic director Obadiah Simmons pose for a photo after Fobbs signed a two-year extension to keep him at Grambling through 2018. (Photo: GLENN LEWIS/GSU Media Bureau)
Fobbs provided stability with a 7-5 record in 2014 to win SWAC Coach of the Year honors. He led the Tigers to a 9-0 regular season SWAC record in 2015 en route to another SWAC Coach of the Year honors. Grambling played for the conference title in Houston before falling to Alcorn State.

"As long as I'm here at Grambling State University, that's my goal is to get Grambling State University back to the spot that is was once in a long time ago in the '60s, the '70s and the '80s," Fobbs said.

Fobbs has been loyal to Grambling since arriving on campus. At the end of the 2015, Fobbs interviewed for the ULM vacancy only after ULM requested to meet with him. Fobbs deemed the meeting as something that wasn't "major."

"It's not just about personal gain," Gallot said. "It's about making a difference and recreating the magic that we all expect from Grambling, and he is absolutely the coach to re-create the magic of Grambling that Eddie Robinson created and that we all expect from our program."

Fobbs was flattered by Gallot's comments, but admitted he still has a long way to go since he's just in his third season. However, Fobbs, who is a spiritual man, believes anything is possible with God.

He still thinks Grambling has a national brand and will continue to grow under Gallot's leadership.

"I see the change in the university just in his short stint thus far," Fobbs said. "I'm a firm believe in president Gallot and he's on the cusp of doing great things at Grambling State University, which includes our athletic department and ultimately our football department."


12 2016-10-17
Monroe

Gallot brings vigor to GSU


New Grambling State University President Rick Gallot describes himself as a glass half-full kind of guy. He’s being modest.

Ask him to talk about his institution and you better stand back. Gallot is all in.

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors turned to Gallot to stop the revolving door of leadership at GSU.

The board picked a leader with a vested interest. He’s an alumnus and a lifelong resident of Grambling. The university always has been in Gallot’s backyard. He dearly wants the institution to succeed. He’s staked his future on that.

And he believes success starts with a mindset. It’s time to quit moping and start growing again.

"Past leadership has tried to shrink the school into a smaller budget rather than trying to grow their way out of it," Gallot said.

Gallot, for instance, understands a strong Grambling needs money, and his experience as a legislator tells him that those extra bucks are not going to come from the state. For Grambling to prosper, the campus needs more students.

"Because so much of our budget is now based on tuition, the way we grow out of this is increasing our enrollment," Gallot said. "...I think we can grow our way out of this budget situation, and I have every belief that we can and we will."

GSU has seen a 70 percent uptick in applications, a 7 percent increase in overall enrollment and a 35 percent increase in freshman enrollment this semester. Gallot acknowledges that he had little to do with that, being so new on the job. But he intends to build on it.

Adding a new recruiter position and tapping into the energy of the university's active alumni associations could also help revenue climb and decrease the effects of state budget cuts.

Fifty of the freshman the school added in 2016 have declared biology as a major in anticipation of the reopening of the nursing school at Grambling, which is on track, Gallot said.

The college is ready to submit a proposal to the University of Louisiana board for program approval. From there the plan would advance to the Board of Regents for approval and back to the Board of Nursing.

Since his Aug. 1 start date, Gallot said he has been traveling across campus and noting problems with buildings and facilities. Many of the issues are ongoing but were never mentioned in Gallot's visits to the campus as a state senator. He said it is important for leadership to let legislators know what is going on at the campus and areas that need attention.

He is also said the school would not rely solely on the state to fund capital improvements, again referencing the importance of networking with alumni and supporters of the institution.

There’s a can-do attitude and pride once again on display at Grambling State University. For much of that, the credit belongs to Gallot, president and chief cheerleader.


12 2016-10-17
Monroe

Three Local Universities Ranked Safest in Louisiana


LOUISIANA

Louisiana colleges have officially been ranked based on campus crime rates.

Coming in at #4 of the safest schools in the state lies in the city of Ruston, Louisiana Tech.

Down the list is another regional school coming in at #13, University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Students say that they feel safe on this campus, because of the 24 emergency call stations.

The call stations provide assistance from the university police department if a student feels like they could be in trouble.

"It gives you a little bit more confidence since you can walk throughout campus or you know, walk back to your dorm and feel safe you know, at least a little bit more than you would if they weren't there," says ULM student pastor, Cody Moore.

Grambling State finds them self at the bottom of the list at #20, but Will Sutton, Grambling's Director of Communications, disagrees.

"We have a safe campus, we have a dynamite cracker jack police department, they are all over some of everything 24/7, 365," says Sutton.

Sutton says staff continues to meet the need for increased safety by recently hiring five new police officers and two low mileage patrol cars from the city of Monroe.

"It would not be a good thing to say that there is zero crime or activity because that is not true, because one of the things that you do to keep a campus safe is to monitor activities and events and situations and give warnings and summons and make arrests," says Sutton.

12 2016-10-17
Monroe

GSU hires new VP of Advancement


GRAMBLING, La.

Grambling State University President Rick Gallot has hired Marc A. Newman, an experienced institutional
advancement executive, to lead the university’s development and fundraising efforts.

Newman, who is scheduled to start November 1, brings years of experience as a United Negro College
Fund and Saint Augustine’s University development leader. His appointment is subject to approval by the
University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.

Gallot said, “With the unanimous recommendation of the search committee combined with my interview
with him, I really knew we had found the right person for the job.”

Newman said, “I am thrilled to be joining President Gallot and his team. I have had the great fortune to
work with and learn from some of the best in the fields of development and higher education. I look
forward to utilizing my experiences to assist the president as he leads the vision to build on the rich history
and legacy that is Grambling State University.”

Newman has a track record for identifying critical development needs and executing successful strategies
to achieve specific, identifiable business and organizational goals. With UNCF he has been responsible for
development campaigns in North Carolina and Virginia, supervising staffs with fundraising, special events
and board development.

During his 2005-2014 tenure as vice president of institutional advancement at St. Aug, he was responsible
for leading a team that saw the institution through a period of significant growth to include increases in
alumni and annual giving campaigns, community development, grant acquisition and overseeing the
transition of Saint Augustine’s College to Saint Augustine’s University.

Chair of the Grambling University Foundation Helen Godfrey-Smith said, "We were impressed with Mr.
Newman, his background, his experiences and his vision for taking GSU to the next levels with
development and fundraising. We believe he will strengthen President Gallot’s administrative team and
improve the position of our university for fundraising success."

Newman graduated from Chicago State University and a master’s of business administration from the
University of Phoenix. He is a member of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, 100 Black Men
of America and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

Newman and his wife, Marjorie, are the parents of three children, Talia (23), Marc (16) and Miles (13).
Majorie Newman is a media and communications professor at St. Aug and a member of Delta Sigma Theta
Sorority Inc.

12 2016-10-14
Monroe

Grambling, Fobbs discussing new contract


GRAMBLING — Grambling's football program is experiencing a rejuvenation under Broderick Fobbs, and the university has every intention of keeping the Tigers' coach around.

Fobbs, who was hired in 2013, has a three-year contract that expires in December 2016, and the two sides are nearing an agreement, according to new Grambling president Rick Gallot.

"We are committed to coach Fobbs. Coach Fobbs has expressed his commitment to us," Gallot said Wednesday. "I can tell you we are incredibly close to having that done. Obviously, he's been busy with a winning season. I've not attempted to put any pressure on him. The talks have been on going. We're really, really close."

Fobbs is earning $190,000 annually as part of the three-year contract. It's unclear what Grambling will offer for his new deal.

In the past, Grambling had a tendency of allowing contracts to expire before a renewal. That happened a few months ago when the contract of basketball coach Shawn Walker wasn't renewed until it expired.

That shouldn't be the case with Fobbs, especially considering the impact he's had during his two-plus years on campus.

"Nobody is more committed and motivated to get this done than me," Gallot said.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
GSU president: I will not stop until athletics turns a profit

Fobbs is 19-8 at Grambling with a 12-4 mark since 2015. The Tigers are 3-1 this season and are the favorite to play for the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship for the second consecutive season.

"It doesn't hurt to have an incredibly good football season right now. I can't say enough about coach Fobbs," Gallot said.

Fobbs was named the SWAC Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2015. He helped put the program back on the map in 2015 with a 9-3 mark that featured a perfect 9-0 record in conference play.

Grambling is coming off three wins over Jackson State, Alcorn State and Prairie View A&M to open SWAC play in 2016. A close loss to Arizona in a game where Grambling led 21-3 at halftime is the only blemish this year.

"If we would have been able to end the game at halftime we would have won," Gallot joked.


12 2016-10-13
Monroe

Grambling president sees growth as budget solution


Growth is the way for Grambling State University to rise above budgetary woes according President Rick Gallot.

A 70 percent uptick in applications, a seven percent increase in overall enrollment and a 35 percent increase in freshman enrollment were highlighted by the new president at a Wednesday News-Star Editorial Board. Adding a new recruiter position and tapping into the energy of the university's active alumni associations could also help revenue climb and decrease the effects of state budget cuts.

READ MORE: GSU president: I will not stop until athletics turns a profit

"Because so much of our budget is now based on tuition, the way we grow out of this is increasing our enrollment," Gallot said. "...I think we can grow our way out of this budget situation, and I have every belief that we can and we will."

Enrollment increases at historically black colleges and universities have been reported nationwide, a trend he reflected on in light of Grambling's numbers.

"Societal influences I think are bringing students home to HBCUs. To be in an environment where they feel comfortable both educationally and socially I think is important," Gallot said.

Recruitment will be a major focus going forward, and the school will be leveraging social media and increased communications regarding positive changes to attract new students.

"Past leadership has tried to shrink the school into a smaller budget rather than trying to grow their way out of it," Gallot said.

Fifty of the freshman the school added in 2016 have declared biology as a major in anticipation of the reopening of the nursing school at Grambling, which is on track, Gallot said.

The college is ready to submit a proposal to the University of Louisiana board for program approval. From there the plan would advance to the Board of Regents for approval and back to the Board of Nursing.

At that point we would be authorized to hire a program director, Gallot said. Six months later the school would be authorized to hire faculty, and six months later it can start opening doors with an initial class size of 30 planned.

Facility improvements

Since his Aug. 1 start date, Gallot said he has been traveling across campus and noting problems with buildings and facilities. Many of the issues are ongoing but were never mentioned in Gallot's visits to the campus as a state senator. He said it is important for leadership to let legislators know what is going on at the campus and areas that need attention.

"We know how to get projects in the pipeline," Gallot said, "and that is absolutely what we are going to be working on."

He is also said the school would not rely solely on the state to fund capital improvements, again referencing the importance of networking with alumni and supporters of the institution.

"We know that there are supporters out there we simply have not tapped yet, so we will aggressively....we've got alums who have committed to helping us in a major way," Gallot said.


12 2016-10-13
Monroe

Grambling: University police make 'clown' arrest


A Grambling State University student is facing charges after disguising his identity in clown makeup and scaring others on campus.

According to an arrest affidavit for Eric Jackson, 20, Lake Providence, university police received a call late Tuesday regarding a person on campus dressed as a clown and frightening people. It was described as the latest sighting in a week-long investigation.

READ MORE: Woman accused of driving with drugs, one year old in car

After campus police traveled to the area where the reported sighting occurred, video surveillance was reviewed. Officers observed the individual, who was wearing clown makeup, moving from door to door on campus knocking and frightening students, the affidavit states.

Jackson was identified as the suspect after being tracked by the surveillance system. He is facing charges of masks or hoods, wearing in public places prohibited and disturbing the peace. He was also cited for a violation of the campus code of conduct.

GSU Police Chief Howard Caviness said the department is fully enforcing Louisiana laws prohibiting the wearing of masks or facial paint to conceal identity.

"We try to be proactive and let students know there are consequences for your actions," he said.

Four women were also cited for violations of the campus code of conduct for participating in the incident.


12 2016-10-13
Ruston

GSU PRESENTS FOLK COMEDY


Cast members from “Steal Away” by Ramona King rehearse for their production. The play opened at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but will continue at 7 p.m. today through Friday in Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center Recital Auditorium on the Grambling State University campus.


12 2016-10-13
Shreveport

GSU president vows to make athletics profitable


College athletics can be viewed as a cash-cow across the country, but the reality is few athletic departments turn a profit.

In Louisiana, LSU is the lone public institution that consistently generates a profit, and none of the nine schools in the University of Louisiana System are self sufficient.

New Grambling president Rick Gallot plans to change that.

“We definitely will do a better job going forward in the business of athletics,” Gallot said at Wednesday’s Monroe News-Star editorial board. “If you look at the UL system as a whole, not one school, not even (Louisiana) Tech, turns a profit in athletics. If there’s a school that can turn a profit in athletics, I think it’s Grambling.

“I will not stop until that happens. Period. Our brand is too big. We’re too well known not to run the kind of business I know we can, and we will.”

Those are strong words from someone at a school that ranked second-to-last among Louisiana public schools with an athletic budget around $5.3 million (including $2.8 million in subsidies) compared to the $7.4 million spent on expenses during 2014-15.

But Gallot, who describes himself as a glass half-full type of guy, has a vision to rejuvenate Grambling athletics.

According to a USA Today Sports database last year, Grambling ranked 228 out of 231 schools that reported finances.

Grambling has a ways to go, and Gallot, who took office in August, cautioned it’s not something that will happen overnight. What Gallot will commit to is optimism about the future of Grambling athletics.

“My view of athletics is that’s a program that has not received the support and the encouragement it’s needed,” Gallot said. “That’s why we re-posted and advertised the athletic director’s position. You have to have full-time, solid, dedicated leadership in that program in order for it to grow.”

Gallot spent most of his hour-long visit at The News-Star discussing how he will support Grambling and engage in all aspects of the university. Almost half of interview centered around athletics and how Grambling can build its brand.

The former politician and attorney mentioned how there is low-hanging fruit in the form of revenue like advertisement signs at Eddie Robinson Stadium or the assembly center where basketball games are played.

Gallot explained how those signs are old and outdated, meaning nobody followed up with the sign renewals. Gallot even mentioned how he provided Grambling with a check for a panel on the scoreboard at the assembly center, which ended up serving as a one-time payment instead of an annual revenue stream for the university.

“​Those are the things that have crippled our athletic department. Because of our brand, we’re very marketable but somebody has to be there to do it,” Gallot said. “That’s why I’m pushing that process so we can grow that program.”

Gallot addressed how Grambling can operate more fiscally responsible as it relates to generating revenue. HBCU programs like Grambling have struggled to financially stay afloat of late, which requires constant traveling across the country to rack up game guarantees in order to support the department.

That starts with a more regional approach, like scheduling games at Louisiana Tech in football where Grambling will receive an instant $300,000 revenue stream thanks to minimal travel costs. Grambling’s basketball team is scheduled to play Tech on Dec. 17 in a holiday tournament at the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City.

“A different approach and strategy in scheduling games that are financially beneficial don’t have to include us having 100 points put on us on the scoreboard,” said Gallot, referring to Grambling’s trip to California in 2015 that resulted in a 73-14 loss.

The first step is hiring a permanent athletic director, something the department hasn’t had since 2014.

Twenty four applicants applied before the Sept. 30 deadline, and Gallot hopes to have a decision by the end of calendar year.

One thing that will immediately change is the organizational chart in the athletic department. Prior athletic directors reported directly to the vice president of finance instead of the president. Gallot also plans to clean up the influx of interim tags that litter the department.

“I think that’s because of the financial struggles that have ensued and essentially my predecessors shifted it over to finance and said you deal with it. That’s not the way you encourage support and grow a program by essentially exiling them out,” he said.

“There are too many interims and it sends the wrong message that there’s no stability. As conversations began with the UL board one of the questions was, “Would you like to serve as an interim?’ I said the last thing Grambling needs is another interim president.”

Once an athletic director is in place, one of the first projects is creating a capital campaign to upgrade athletic facilities across campus.

Two years ago at a similar editorial board interview, then-Grambling interim president Cynthia Warrick said she wanted to renovate Eddie Robinson Stadium with a new Jumbotran, new turf and a new drainage system.

It never materialized.

All of the aforementioned are still in play, but Gallot said football upgrades are only the beginning, noting how programs like soccer are in need of facility help.

“Ultimately, there has to be a major campaign and what we’re looking at since we just hit our 90th year in athletics that over the next 10 years we will identify all of these things we intend to do so when we hit 100 we will have checked off everything on that list,” he said.


12 2016-10-12
Monroe

Search committee named to search for new GSU Athletic Director


GRAMBLING, La (GSU News Release) - Grambling State University President Rick Gallot has named a search committee to identify the institution’s next permanent athletic director. The thirteen members include alumni, community, faculty and student representatives.

The search ended Friday (Sept. 30), and 24 candidates submitted applications. The committee will meet soon to start the process of considering each applicant and to determine next steps. “I want the best candidate for the job, and I am confident that the committee will recommend a candidate who shares my bold vision for the future of athletics at Grambling State University,” said Gallot.

David Aubrey, a 1995 GSU graduate and state director of external affairs for AT&T Louisiana, is chair of the 13-person committee. The group includes GSU and NBA legend Willis Reed and GSU and NCAA legendary baseball coach Wilbert Ellis. Former GSU and NBA standout Aaron James and GSU and NFL standout Al Dennis will also serve.

Leon Sanders, vice president for finance and administration, joins Bobby Burkes, GSU faculty athletics representative, and GSU Student Government Association President Michael Meadows as campus representatives. Cathy Conwright, a 1981 graduate and vice president of the Dallas Alumni Chapter of the Grambling University National Alumni Association (GUNAA), will also assist with the search.


Community representatives include Jerry Baldwin, pastor of New Living Word Ministries and a former football coach at Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL); Ray Higgins, editor of gogrambling.com and a local entrepreneur; Jim Oakes, former athletic director at Louisiana Tech, and Lanie Dornier, chair of the kinesiology department at Louisiana Tech.

“We have a strong committee who have great experience and backgrounds in athletics,” said Gallot. “I am confident that the diversity and individual strengths of the members will provide the appropriate vetting of candidates in this process.”

GSU Athletic Director Search Committe:

+ David Aubrey, Committee chair, state director of external affairs, AT&T Louisiana

+ Lanie Dornier, Chair, Kinesiology Department, Louisiana Tech University

+ Willis Reed, Grambling State University alumnus, retired New York Knicks player and NBA executive

+ Wilbert Ellis, Grambling State University alumnus

+ Ray Higgins, Editor, gogrambling.com and Grambling entrepreneur

+ Jim Oakes, Former athletic director, Louisiana Tech University

+ Jerry Baldwin, Pastor, New Living Word Ministries, Ruston

+ Leon Sanders, Grambling State University vice president for finance and administration

+ Cathy Conwright, Vice president, Grambling University National Alumni Association Dallas Chapter

+ Aaron James, Former athletic director, Grambling State University

+ Michael Meadows, President, Grambling State University Student Government Association

+ Bobby Burkes, Faculty athletic representative, Grambling State University

+ Albert Dennis, Former athletic director, Grambling State University
12 2016-10-12
Monroe

Grambling State University warns students wearing masks


GRAMBLING--

This letter is circulating around Grambling State University.

"It states that you are not supposed to be in public with any type of mask or disguise over your face. Exceptions are small children during Halloween or attending a private party, such as a masquerade party," says Chief Howard Caviness, Grambling State University Police Dept.

It comes after students complained of men wearing masks.

"One at 12:13 a.M. And another at 3 something in the morning telling me there were individuals in and around campus with hockey masks to portray Jason from Friday the 13th, which is a horror movie," says Chief Caviness.

Raven LeDay says knowing these masked men are lurking makes her and her friends weary about their safety.

"With some of my friends that have talked about it, they have said if he does come then it won't end pretty at all. I don't think it will be hands/physical. I think a weapon will be involved," says Raven LeDay, Grambling Student.

Which chief Caviness says he and his department are trying to avoid.

"To keep the public from taking matters into their own hands. You never know where one may have a handgun and pull it out and shoot this person with a mask on, and the person with the mask means no harm," says Chief Caviness.

If caught wearing any type of mask, you will face jail time as well as administrative sanctions.

"It's not worth it. The minimum you are going to get on it is six months. The maximum is three years," says Chief Caviness.

12 2016-10-11
Ruston

GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY THEATRE TO PRESENT ‘STEAL AWAY’


The Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Grambling State University has announced its season opener, “Steal Away” by Ramona King.

The production will open at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the PAC Recital Hall.

Set in 1930s Chicago, the five matriarch members of the Negro Women’s Organization for Youth are “running out of dough” and need to find other ways to help support young African American females receive a college education, said Mary Fran Cook, assistant professor of Department of Visual and Performing Arts.


12 2016-10-11
Shreveport

La. Tech, Grambling to meet in Ruston in 2019


Louisiana Tech produced the second-largest crowd in Joe Aillet Stadium history in 2015 by bringing in Southern, an in-state program with a traveling fan base, for the home opener.

Now, Tech is tapping into Southern's rival, and the program had to travel just a few miles down the interstate to find a future nonconference home game that will likely feature another large crowd.

HBCUsports.com reported over the weekend Tech and Grambling will play Sept. 7, 2019 in Ruston, which marks just the second time the two will meet in program history. The previous meeting came in 2010 at Independence Stadium in Shreveport.

"That's a big thing. We're kind of two minutes from each other so it's very beneficial for both programs, for the economy and for the area," Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs said Monday on the Southwestern Athletic Conference teleconference. "It will definitely be a boom to this economy. It's big for the city of Grambling and for the city of Ruston and all other cities around close by. It's big for us. It's also big for them and it's one of those situations where it benefits both programs. It's a good deal."

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SHREVEPORTTIMES.COM
Balanced Grambling team finding different ways to win

Talks between Tech and Grambling date back to last year. Since Fobbs took over the job in 2013, he's indicated a willingness and interest to play area teams like Tech. Earlier this summer, Fobbs said he was interested to play Grambling since, at the time, Tech had FCS openings in 2018 and 2019.

Tech will pay Grambling a $300,000 game guarantee, which is around what Tech has paid FCS teams and HBCUs to come to Ruston in the past. Tech paid Southern $350,000 in 2015, South Carolina State $325,000 this past September and is paying Northwestern State $275,000 for a 2017 game.

The 2015 game against Southern drew 27,905 fans to Joe Aillet Stadium.

Tech opens 2019 at Texas and plays at Bowling Green. Tech's fourth nonconference game is a home date with UMass as part of the home-and-home agreement from 2014. Tech plays at UMass this weekend.

"I hadn't been informed of that, but it's great. I said this before, I look at playing Southern, Lafayette, and I know Monroe's right down the road and Grambling is right here," Tech coach Skip Holtz said Monday. "I think those are great games for our players. I think they're great games for our fan base. I think they're great games for our state. I think it's awesome. I'd be excited to play that game."


SHREVEPORTTIMES.COM
La. Tech wins wild one over Western Kentucky

The 2019 date with Grambling will mark Tech's fifth home opener against an in-state FCS school since 2014.

Grambling is playing a similar game in 2017 when it opens the season at Tulane.

The proximity between Tech and Grambling makes the game attractive due to minimal travel expenses and the ability for Grambling fans to fill up Joe AIllet Stadium.

But one of the bigger reasons the game was agreed upon is Fobbs' relationship with Tech athletic director Tommy McCelland that dates back to their time at McNeese State.

"The relationship with the athletic director had everything to do with it. He's always someone I spent a lot of time with," Fobbs said. "If we're not eating dinner together at his house or whatever the case may be, we spent a lot of time with each other. It's definitely one of those situations where, of course, he's trying to help our program and we're trying to help them. It's a good deal for both of us."

When asked if Tech and Grambling will continue the relationship in the future, Fobbs said, "We'll see how it goes."

"Anytime you get those types of deals with what's being offered, you have to jump at them," he said. "Hopefully in the future it continues to be a good relationship, a good situation for both programs and not just both programs but all other programs in the immediate area."


12 2016-10-10
Ruston

GRAMBLING MOURNS DEATH OF GSU ‘LEGEND’


Grambling State University is mourning the loss of one of its basketball greats following the Tuesday death of Howard Willis at the age of 79.

Willis, better known around campus as “Jim Dandy,” was a former assistant coach for the Tigers basketball team and served as director of GSU’s Intramural Center and taught in the Department of Kinesiology, Sport and Leisure Studies.


12 2016-10-03
Regional/National

Exclusive: Grambling President Rick Gallot Talks Sports with HBCU Sports – (Audio)


Grambling State University President Rick Gallot met with HBCU Sports Thursday to discuss a number of topics related to the university’s athletic department.

Gallot, named the university’s 10th president on Aug. 1, discussed the status of his current search for a new athletic director and the overall state of GSU athletics.

Topics discussed included:

The quality of applicants applying for the AD position.
APR scores and the impact on Grambling/HBCUs.
The hope to play Jackson State at Grambling in 2017.
Confirmation of a future football game to be played at Louisiana Tech.
HBCUs and the impact of “money games” against FBS opponents.
Gallot also addressed the future of Grambling football coach Broderick Fobbs who is in the third and final year of his contract.

Below is audio of the entire interview.


12 2016-09-30
Monroe

GSU band honors legendary Southern University director


Lawrence Jackson led the creative and powerful sound of the Southern University Human Jukebox for 38 years as director of bands. Cranking the Human Jukebox volume up during the 2013 Super Bowl and the 2015 introduction of boxer Floyd Mayweather in the MGM Grand Arena of Las Vegas for "The Fight of The Century,” Jackson established a pattern of discipline and commitment that made the SU band what it has become today.

An unusual thing happened last week as the Grambling State University World Famed Tiger Marching Band welcomed Jackson as an honorary band director.

At Saturday night’s (Sept. 24) against Alcorn State University, another institution with a legendary band history, Larry Pannell, Grambling State University’s director of bands, honored and inducted Jackson, his longtime friend, band and music rival, into the World Famed Band as an honorary band director.

The Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band
The Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band performs before the start of the Bayou Classic in 2006. (Photo: Gannett photo)
Grambling State Marching Band
Grambling State Marching Band (Photo: Gannett photo)
After the pre-game recognition, Jackson, a Crowley native, sat with the Grambling State band during pregame, halftime show and a special “fifth quarter” performance as if he’d always been a part of the World Famed. Jackson, who retired in 2014, played tuba in SU’s band from 1971-75.

“This is classy,” Jackson said moments after leaving the football field induction ceremony. “This is one classy institution.”

Jackson’s brother, Leron Jackson, a 1971-75 World Famed member, presented the retired SU band director his honorary black and gold GSU band jacket. He also received a Grambling blanket, hat and a ring. An 8x10 photo of Jackson will be placed in the Conrad Hutchison Performing Arts Center museum along with a summary about Jackson’s historic tenure at Southern.

The two band directors may have battled during football games and the annual Battle of the Bands the night before the Bayou Classic in the Superdome each November, but, off the field, they have been friends for more than two decades.

“I felt truly blessed to have had the legendary World Famed Grambling State Tiger Marching Band see fit somebody from the Human Jukebox marching band as an honorary band director,” Jackson said in an interview. “After all, the World Famed had a lot of firsts. They were first to be chosen to do a halftime show at the first Super Bowl ever, first HBCU band I know to play on live television with the great Dr. Conrad Hutchinson, because the Grambling Tigers were hard at work in the sixties. So I was truly honored to be recognized.”

Leron Jackson, who lives in Dallas, Texas, said he would not have missed his brother’s special moment.

“My brother is a remarkable person because he went to Grambling, played with the Tiger band, traveled the world,” said the former Southern band director. “He was so glad I was able to come to his university … For him to put the Tiger jacket on me I think was more special to him than anything else. I was honored but he had joy and excitement in his eyes. He was so enthused that his brother would put on the same jacket he wore for years.”

Jackson and Pannell first met in 1990 at the Bayou Classic in New Orleans when both were assistant band directors at their respective schools. Throughout the years the frenemies discussed much more than music: students, academic success, preventing undercover initiations as they handled hazing and students lacking finances.

Pannell and Jackson, worked together to discuss how to put on a great Battle of the Bands show and great halftime performances that were nationally televised. The two would call each other and pray on for a good show. They would pray that they would please their fan bases the most since it can be hard enough to please their own fans, praying that Southern fans would enjoy the Southern Band and that Grambling fans would enjoy Grambling’s band.

Pannell knows he was doing something different, something special for someone from a historic enemy school, but he said friendships, relationships and professionalism much top what’s done on the field and in the streets. “It was a great honor to honor Jackson,” Pannell said. “A lot of the time when we do your work, at the end of your career you’re forgotten.

“What we try to do is honor those who have done a lot for music education, and for students who leave the band and not just to be musicians but to be successful citizens for our country – and Lawrence Jackson meets those qualities.”


12 2016-09-30
Ruston

GSU WELCOMES STUDENTS, TEACHERS TO 38TH ANNUAL HIGH SCHOOL DAY


Adriana Bradley, of Coushatta, attended Grambling State University’s high school day wondering how she might make the difficult decision about where to go to college.

Bradley arrived with her church, Freedom Worship Center, after Pastor Rashad Cole had been told about the event by Grambling alumnus Stanley Guice.

Grambling State is one of Bradley’s top choices, so this visit was about business and fun, she said
12 2016-09-29
Monroe

Grambling turns 115 years old


MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 (CONVOCATION SCHEDULE)

Faculty Symposium – “The Zika Virus: What you need to Know”
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ~ School of Nursing Auditorium
Panelists: Dr. Martin Ayim, Professor of Health Promotion and author of the book entitled, “Communicable Diseases for School and Community Health Promotion”; Dr. Meg Brown, Interim Associate Dean for the School of Nursing; and Dr. Melvenia Martin, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
Lunch, Learn and Appreciate
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Black and Gold Room
Speaker: LA State Representative Katrina R. Jackson
Sponsored by: The Office of Service Learning

Cotton Bowl Game in Dallas
Grambling v. Prairie View on Saturday, Oct. 1.
12 2016-09-27
Ruston

GSU KICKS OFF FOUNDER’S WEEK CELEBRATIONS


Grambling State University kicked off its annual Founder’s Week celebration today. The 115-year old institution will mark its history with convocations, campus tours, exhibits, a book signing by former GSU Acting President Neari F. Warner and an address by state Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe.

Most of the week’s activities are free and open to the public.


12 2016-09-23
Shreveport

Grambling State welcomes new president


Grambling State University has a new man in charge.

Richard Gallot was welcomed today by the Shreveport alumni chapter as the new president of the university. Mayor Ollie Tyler, a Grambling State graduate herself, was also at the ceremony.

Gallot expressed his excitement for the future of the university, and shared some plans he has for his tenure.

He stated his pride in being a Grambling alum himself and says he can't wait to continue to help the university succeed.

"As a new president that's coming to Grambling State, I think he offers us history, and he knows the ins and outs of Grambling. And also as an attorney, there's some legal issues that Grambling has to deal with that he may be able to solve without going into litigation," said Douglas Mosley, the president of the Grambling State Shreveport alumni chapter.

Gallot served on the Louisiana senate for the past four years.

He is the tenth president the university has had and the third in the the past two years.


12 2016-09-22
Gannett

‘Fiscal watch’ schools submit corrective action plans


BATON ROUGE — University system leaders were optimistic Wednesday about the future of four schools placed on “fiscal watch” by a committee of the Louisiana Board of Regents last month.

Four state colleges scoring less than 1.75 on a financial health scale of zero to five were put on watch Aug. 24, and leaders were required to submit corrective action plans during Regents budget hearings Wednesday. The full board will consider the plans at a meeting Thursday.

On this scale, the four lowest-scoring schools were:

0: Southern University at New Orleans.
1: Louisiana State University Health Sciences-Shreveport.
1.3: Grambling State University.
1.4: Southern University at Shreveport.
System leaders pointed to “efficiencies” they can find to climb out of “fiscal watch” status — like sharing services among campuses within the same system — as well as more innovative recruiting efforts via social media, adding private partners and simply refining how the financial health score is calculated.

For example, Southern-Shreveport’s audit also included debt that actually belongs to the state now. It’s being counted twice and brought the system’s score down. Grambling State will see some relief next year as Regents will remove its bond indebtedness from the calculation.

Louisiana Board of Regents Chairman Richard LipseyBuy Photo
Louisiana Board of Regents Chairman Richard Lipsey (back, center) asks university system leaders Wednesday about their plans to move schools out of "fiscal watch" status. (Photo: Leigh Guidry/The Advertiser)
Southern University System

Southern University System President-Chancellor Ray Belton said separating that would move the Shreveport school’s score from 1.4 to 1.7, which is still below the 1.75 threshold Regents set within its financial warning system.

Terrence Ginn, deputy commissioner for finance and administration for the board, said there does not seem to be a consistent manner of reporting. Some systems report the state debt at the campus level, the state level or not at all.

Going forward Ginn and his staff will work with all the systems to make sure consistency in how it’s being reported for the audits, which Regents staff then analyze to determine schools’ financial health score.

“Universities have no responsibility for this debt,” Ginn said. “The state does. … We’re going to leave it at the state (level) and take it out at the system and university levels.”

Besides the debt, Southern in Shreveport has not been able to increase tuition — the main source of revenue for Louisiana colleges today — in years because it has not met GRAD Act requirements.

The act that required state schools to increase their admission standards also has negatively affected enrollment at Southern’s schools, making it harder for SU to compete against some other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the country with lower admission standards, he said.

But Belton is optimistic about efforts to implement a revenue model, advance marketing strategies, increase and improve certificate and technical programs and increase enrollment and dual enrollment.

“Indications are that 2016-17 statements will be an improvement from this,” he said. “… We believe next year our composite score will greatly exceed 1.75.”

But, “we have a greater challenge at Southern New Orleans,” Belton told the board’s Finance Committee.

Grambling State President Rick Gallot (seated, left)Buy Photo
Grambling State President Rick Gallot (seated, left) addresses the Finance Committee of the Louisiana Board of Regents Wednesday. Grambling was placed on "fiscal watch" last month. (Photo: Leigh Guidry/The Advertiser)
He pointed to several factors that combined to create a unique situation at SUNO, and some of it stems back to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Some buildings damaged in the storm are still under construction, using federal funds, state appropriations and reserves. That’s money being spent on deferred maintenance instead of classroom needs.

“The reserves have been all but compromised,” Belton said. “… We are trying to find some solutions to bring more deferred maintenance dollars at Southern New Orleans.”

That would free up money for classroom needs rather than deferred maintenance that was exacerbated by the 2005 hurricane.

“Dollars that should go to instruction in the classroom are disproportionately — we all have maintenance issues, but disproportionately (because of Katrina) — dollars are going to deferred maintenance,” Belton said.

That affects enrollment and student retainment. Broken down buildings aren’t attracting or keeping students there.

Katrina also created a housing situation on the New Orleans campus. Housing was built in reaction to the hurricane to allow residents, not only students, to return to New Orleans, Belton said.

But it has operated at a loss since its inception because of low occupancy, averaging around 40 percent occupancy, Belton said.

To combat that the campus is reaching out to nearby institutions and making housing available to students at Dillard University, Delgado Community College and other institutions.

But Belton admits other decisions will have to be made and it will take a team effort to move the school forward and change the reality, like budget cuts and the inability to offer salary increases that have hurt Southern’s chances of attracting and keeping senior faculty.

“We do understand we’re going to have to look at and examine personnel, we have to look at and examine programs, but we’re going to need the help — this issue is a large one — but we’re going to need the help of the Board of Regents, we’re going to need the help of the Legislature, to stabilize Southern University of New Orleans going forward,” he said.

He also asked board members to embrace the “unique mission of HBCUs in the state of Louisiana.”

“The state looks at Grambling (State University) and Southern as regional institutions with a demographic that happens to be black,” rather than embracing the uniqueness they can provide “when they are healthy,” Belton said.

“Southern, Grambling and other HBCUs are fueling the black middle class,” he said.

LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport

LSU System President F. King Alexander also talked of the challenge to compete for students and faculty when tuition is high and salaries aren’t being raised due to budget constraints.

“We can compete but our ability to compete is challenged,” he said.

Despite challenges, enrollment is “back to where we think we can be on the offensive,” Alexander said.

During his presentation he spent little time on the medical school in Shreveport except to mention the recent addition of six new hospital partners — DeSoto Regional Health System, North Caddo Medical System, Springhill Medical Services Inc., Rapides Healthcare System LLC, Willis-Knighton Medical System and Christus Health Northern Louisiana and Central Louisiana.

He expects that to put to rest rumors of moving the school from Shreveport.

“We’re going to work with multiple partners to stabilize the medical school and get it back on the right footing,” Alexander said.

These six groups join Biomedical Research Foundation in its partnership with LSU, which is where Alexander put the blame for the medical school’s financial woes in August. He contrasted the Shreveport situation to the LSU medical school in New Orleans, which has several partners and a much higher financial health score.

Grambling State University

University of Louisiana System President Dan Reneau pointed to new leadership as the ticket out of financial trouble for some of its struggling schools.

He tapped recently appointed Grambling State President Rick Gallot to speak to his school’s plan out of fiscal watch.

Much of it is simple and already taking place, like a nearly 7 percent increase in enrollment over last year. Gallot wants to build on that by putting the right people in the right positions — from building a communications team to completing current searches for athletic director and a vice president of advancement.

It will take some branding — not necessarily re-branding but building back the school’s formerly strong brand, he said.

Grambling, too, will see a difference in next year’s scores due to a change in what’s counted in the calculation. Regents will remove from the calculation bond indebtedness the school took on in 2006-07. It was roughly $150 million for new student housing, a student union and other improvements.

The university also is renegotiating those bonds from a 5 percent interest rate to less than 2 percent through a U.S. Department of Education HBCU loan program. Gallot projects this will save the school about $2 million a year.

“I think the Grambling brand is as strong as it’s ever been,” he said. “… We know our brand is strong. We just have missed opportunities to promote our brand. I’m the promotion guy.”

He’s started with social media, a tool he and his communication team plan to utilize to connect with alumni and current students.

He conducted a Facebook Live chat that attracted 800 viewers and more than 1,400 comments during the one-hour session. Then it was shared 13,000 times, he said.

“Thirteen thousand viewed it and it was free,” Gallot said. “By utilizing social media we will reach our alumni.”

The four system's corrective action plans can be found online here.


12 2016-09-15
Monroe

Grambling State sees significant enrollment increase


Grambling State University has some good student enrollment news. The school’s enrollment has hit a year-over-year, overall student increase of seven percent, mostly attributed to a large freshmen class.

The total fall 2016 registration is 4,863 students, including a 36 percent increase in freshmen enrollment with 866 first-year students. The undergraduate enrollment hit 3,883 and the graduate student enrollment is 980.

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“This shows that Grambling State is a destination university for a lot of students and their parents, and it proves that we are doing the work necessary to increase our enrollment,” said GSU President Rick Gallot, who has a goal of bringing the institution’s enrollment to 6,000 students. “Our dedicated team of admissions, recruitment, financial aid and registrar’s office staff members are committed to the continual increase of our enrollment.”

“Our growth in enrollment suggests that increasingly high school graduates in Louisiana, students from 29 other states and international students from 28 different countries are selecting GSU for the academic programs and student life we have to offer,” added Damon Wade, vice president for institutional effectiveness and enrollment management.

Wade said GSU’s applicant pool increased by more than 76 percent over last year, making the acceptance rate much better. He said aggressive recruiting at high school fairs in Shreveport, New Orleans and elsewhere in and out of state; a large turnout at an October 2015 high school day event on campus, good conversations with some undecided students at a spring 2016 high school event contributed to the success. But he said there was one big difference this year: a significantly more enhanced online recruiting effort with enrollment management staff members engaging prospective students in online chat sessions, answering questions, providing admission and financial aid information.

In addition, Wade gave some credit to the recruiting success to Obadiah Simmons, interim athletic director, and the university’s student-athletes, especially the football players. “Our student-athletes are ambassadors for the university, and when they are successful on the field or court it provides us with yet another selling point as we market the achievements of all of our students,” he said. Wade noted that the football team won the Western Division of the Southwestern Athletic Conference with an undefeated regular season.


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Wade said the university’s alumni have been a big help with identifying and recruiting students, especially in situations when his staff and other university officials cannot be some places he would like to see GSU represented. “GSU alums all across the country actively support our recruitment efforts,” he said. “They attend college fairs and high school events in support of our recruiters, and often time act as surrogate recruiters when we have scheduling conflicts and can’t attend certain events.”


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Representing the Grambling University National Alumni Association, Stavinoha Bradley said GSU alums are intimately involved with lots of recruiting, identifying and recruiting students and introducing them to the school they love.


12 2016-09-14
Shreveport

Enrollment Spikes at Grambling State University


Students and faculty at Grambling State University have something else to be proud about.

Administrators say enrollment for this semester has increased to seven percent.

"A couple of years ago we were down a combined 15-percent. Last year we stabilized enrollment, and were pretty much flat with a 1-percent increase. That provided a platform for this growth," says Damon Wade, GSU VP of Enrollment Management.

Administrators say this growth is a combined effort with alumni....

"They dedicate their time particularly in the evenings to go out and participate in these recruitment fairs, high school fairs, and talk about what's going on at Grambling and why prospective students should choose Grambling from an alum's perspective," says Wade.

And a new online recruitment system.

"An online recruitment platform that has about 2-million students in the database and students throughout the year will set up or schedule events where we can chat with them online and answer any questions they may have about enrollment or financial aid," says Wade.

The majority of the students enrolled at GSU are from Louisiana but this spike has students now coming from 29-other states.

"As far west as the Pacific Northwest, Washington state and Oregon and as far East as Connecticut," says Wade.

Admission recruiters say this seven percent increase is definitely a start to get them to their ultimate goal of students enrolled.

"This is where we want to be as we continue to grow toward our ultimate goal which is about 6-thousand," says Wade.

And administrators would like to remind everyone that high school day will be September 24'th, which is another avenue to reach and recruit potential Gramblinites.



12 2016-09-13
Regional/National

UA paid $575K to Grambling State for Saturday game


TUCSON -
Last weekend, a lot of big universities paid small schools to come to their stadium and play their football team, including the University of Arizona. In some cases, it cost quite a bit.

Each year, the amount of money big schools pay for the small schools to come play them goes up.

The largest amount paid was by Oklahoma, who gave Louisiana-Monroe $1.2 million to play the Sooners.

Ohio State was the other school topping a million. They gave Tulsa $1.03 million to play the Buckeyes at the Horseshoe

The Arizona Wildcats paid $575,000 to Grambling State for Saturday's night game. That deal included having the world famous Grambling State band perform at halftime.

Staying with the Pac 12, Colorado gave Idaho State 500,000 for their win.

One small school paid a bigger one to fill their schedule. Florida International paid Maryland, from the Big Ten, $500,000 to come in to their place and beat them 41-14

Oklahoma State paid Central Michigan $250,000 to play, only for the Chippewas to come in and beat the Cowboys on their home turf on a last second Hail Mary.

This money goes a long way in supporting athletics at these smaller schools.


12 2016-09-12
Gannett

Southern, Grambling respond to financial health concerns


A committee of the Louisiana Board of Regents has placed four schools on “fiscal watch” based on low scores on a 0-to-5 scale for fiscal health. One school scored a zero.

Regents staff examined the most recent state audits for 36 public institutions in Louisiana’s four higher education systems. The scores range from 0 or “poor financial health” to 5, which is “excellent financial health.”

The four lowest-scoring schools were:

0: Southern University at New Orleans.
1: Louisiana State University Health Sciences-Shreveport.
1.3: Grambling State University.
1.4: Southern University at Shreveport.
Answers as to why the schools fared so poorly are expected to come Sept. 21 during Board of Regents budget hearings. Leaders at the four schools are required to submit written corrective action plans to the board during those hearings.

Matt Adams, a policy analyst with the Board of Regents, said the corrective action plans are to include causes for financial stress and details about how leaders plans to operate within that stress and eventually come out of it.

Likely contributing factors are declining state funding, a 26-percent increase in mandated costs to the state since 2008 and drops in full-time enrollment at some institutions. Since 2008 SUNO has seen a 13-percent drop in enrollment; Grambling has seen a loss of 19 percent, Adams said.

“Obviously enrollment is not the only reason an institution would be in fiscal stress,” Adams said. “As we know right now, it’s a combination of things.”

To better understand, the board will look to the corrective actions plans, he said.

“We’re going to find a little more insight (into the schools’ situations),” Adams said. “Right now it’s based on mathematical financial ratios.”

The board’s Planning, Research and Performance Committee placed the schools on “fiscal watch” Aug. 24 according to an “accountability model” used by the Ohio Department of Education since 2000, regents staff said. The 0-to-5 (poor-to-excellent) scoring system is part of a financial health analysis of Elevate Louisiana: The New Reality for Higher Education.

Adams added that schools can come back from such low scores. The opportunity for recovery is one reason an early warning system for school’s financial health was put into place.

Adams said one reason the LCTCS fared better was that many of its institutions do not have plant debt, which boosts its viability ratio in the formula.

The Elevate Louisiana initiative was adopted by the Board of Regents in December to “serve as the foundation for the future direction of Louisiana higher education,” according to the board. It called for the development and adoption of a policy on financial early warning systems and financial stress.

"No one is more aware of our fiscal challenges than we are at Grambling State University,” Leon Sanders, vice president of finance and administration, said. “We have had to deal with significant state funding cuts in just the last few years. In 2008, we had $30 million in state funding, and this year we have just over $14 million in state funding. That's an important part of our reality, and we are dealing with the cards we've been dealt.”

The financial health scores are based on year-end audited financial statements for each higher education system. Staff used the most recent audits available against a set of standards created to measure and monitor the financial health of campuses, using Ohio’s model as framework.

It takes in such data as expendable net assets, total long-term debt, total revenue, operating and non-operating expenses and changes in total net assets. Staff use this data to create three ratios — viability, primary reserve and net income ratio — from which four scores are generated for each campus.

They’re weighted differently and are used to come up with a final composite score ranging from 0 (poor health) to 5 (excellent health). In Ohio, a score of 1.75 or lower for two consecutive years results in an institution being placed on fiscal watch, which the staff recommended to the regents. But committee members chose to act immediately on the four lowest-scoring schools rather than wait two years.

"We're doing two major things to course correct this situation since there are things that we cannot control based on state and legislative budget and policy factors,” Sanders said. “First, we are about to wrap up our enrollment, and if things go the way we think they will go, we expect an enrollment increase of at least 3 percent, and maybe as much as 5 percent. Second, we're pursuing refinancing of our $98 million in debt. We've got a 5 percent rate, and we can get a much better rate, maybe something in the ballpark of a 3 percent rate. Those two things will improve our status, and we'll continue to do all we can to stay on point fiscally."

A closer look

Southern President-Chancellor Ray Belton told a committee of the Board of Regents that recurring cuts from the state, drops in enrollment from higher admissions standards from the GRAD Act and higher tuition have “wreaked havoc” on Southern institutions. SUNO has experienced all that while “still being in a state of recovery” from Katrina, he said Aug. 24.

The system’s 2014-15 state audit also notes such factors, such as $7.1 million in continuing construction projects for buildings damaged by Katrina.

The audit showed total revenue decreased $19 million (8.1 percent), while total expenses decreased only $3.9 million (1.6 percent).

Operating revenue decreased by $1.6 million or 1.3 percent, primarily from decreases in net tuition and fees, federal grants and contract revenues, and other sources of operating revenue.

Non-operating revenue was down, too — $17.4 million or 15.4 percent — primarily because of a 20-percent decrease in state appropriations and 3-percent decrease in federal funds, according to the audit.

The LSU System did not have the same problem as Southern when it came to revenue and expenses. It did lose a lot of revenue — a decrease of $114.6 million — but operating expenses declined by more, $195.2 million. And while Southern’s schools saw a decline in enrollment from fall 2013 to 2014, the state’s flagship system saw its student population grow.

The main decrease in operating revenue at LSU schools occurred at the Health Care Service Division and the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, which received a financial health score of 1, due to the continued transitioning of the management of the hospitals to public/private partnership models, according to the state audit.

The decrease in revenue for those two entities was about $175.5 million, but it was offset by operating revenue increases at different campuses from raising tuition and fees or seeing increased grants, contracts, sales and services.

The UL System saw a 39-percent decrease from June 2014 to June 2015, according to its state audit. Total expenses exceeded revenue by $22.9 million.

The system continues to cut costs and increase revenue through tuition and fees to reduce the impact of ongoing state budget cuts. Operating revenue increased by more than $811,000 (7.3 percent), while operating expenses dropped 1 percent.

Ashley Mott of The News Star contributed to this report.
12 2016-09-09
Monroe

Grambling placed on 'fiscal watch' by Board of Regents


Four Louisiana schools, including Grambling State University, must submit a corrective action plan to the Louisiana Board of Regents after being placed on “fiscal watch.”

The Aug. 24 decision by the Planning, Research and Performance Committee was based on an “accountability model” used by the Ohio Department of Education since 2000.

READ MORE: Grambling TV Center victim of floods, fire

Scores ranged from 0 or “poor financial health” to 5, which is “excellent financial health.” Grambling scored a 1.3, third from the bottom. Scores for other schools placed on fiscal watch were:

0: Southern University at New Orleans

1: Louisiana State University Health Sciences-Shreveport

1.4: Southern University at Shreveport

The most recent state audits for higher education institutions for 36 public institutions in Louisiana’s four higher education systems were reviewed as part of the financial analysis.

A December 2015 Louisiana Legislative Auditor Financial Audit Services report said expenses at Grambling consistently exceeded revenues over a five-year period and that state funding reductions have significantly impacted the university’s budget.

"No one is more aware of our fiscal challenges than we are at Grambling State University,” Leon Sanders, vice president of finance and administration, said. “We have had to deal with significant state funding cuts in just the last few years. In 2008, we had $30 million in state funding, and this year we have just over $14 million in state funding. That's an important part of our reality, and we are dealing with the cards we've been dealt.”

The audit report highlighted an increase in tuition and fees partially offset a decline in state appropriations, but more stringent admission standards and not admitting new students to the Bachelor of Science Nursing program led to a significant decrease in enrollment in fiscal year 2015.

Sanders said the school has lost more than 700 students since 2012, which translates to a $5 million loss of revenue annually in tuition and fees and the loss of an additional $2 million in housing and auxiliary units – a total of $7 million each year.

"We're doing two major things to course correct this situation since there are things that we cannot control based on state and legislative budget and policy factors,” Sanders said. “First, we are about to wrap up our enrollment, and if things go the way we think they will go, we expect an enrollment increase of at least 3 percent, and maybe as much as 5 percent. Second, we're pursuing refinancing of our $98 million in debt. We've got a 5 percent rate, and we can get a much better rate, maybe something in the ballpark of a 3 percent rate. Those two things will improve our status, and we'll continue to do all we can to stay on point fiscally."

Leadership at the four schools are required to submit written corrective action plans to the board at a Sept. 21 hearing date.

Matt Adams, a policy analyst with the Board of Regents, said the corrective action plans are to include causes for financial stress and details about how leadership plans to operate within that stress and eventually come out of it.

"We're going to find a little more insight (into the schools' situations)," Adams said. "Right now it's based on mathematical financial ratios."


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Looking statewide

Not all Louisiana schools are in bad fiscal shape. The Louisiana Community and Technical College System is in the best financial health and boasts schools with the highest scores. The only two in the state to receive a score of 5 were South Louisiana Community College and Sowela Technical Community College.

The system averages ranked as follows:

1.8: Southern University System
2.9: LSU System
3.01: University of Louisiana System
3.96: Louisiana Community and Technical College System

The 0-to-5 (poor-to-excellent) scoring system is part of a financial health analysis of Elevate Louisiana:The New Reality for Higher Education.

Elevate Louisiana was adopted by the Board of Regents in December to “serve as the foundation for the future direction of Louisiana higher education,” according to the board. It called for the development and adoption of a policy on financial early warning systems and financial stress.

The financial health scores are based on year-end audited financial statements for each higher education system. Staff used the most recent audits available against a set of standards created to measure and monitor the financial health of campuses, using Ohio's model as framework.

It takes in such data as expendable net assets, total long-term debt, total revenue, operating and non-operating expenses and changes in total net assets. Staff use this data to create three ratios — viability, primary reserve and net income ratio — from which four scores are generated for each campus.

In Ohio, a score of 1.75 or lower for two consecutive years results in an institution being placed on fiscal watch, which the staff recommended to the regents. But committee members chose to act immediately on the four lowest-scoring schools rather than wait two years.

Town Talk reporter Leigh Guidry contributed to this report.


12 2016-09-08
Monroe

onroe Police Department Donates Patrol Cars to Grambling State University Police


The Monroe police department donated two police cars this afternoon to Grambling State University Police department.
Grambling State University (GSU) President Richard Gallot, called Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo expressing the needs for patrol units for his GSU police officers.
Mayor Mayo and Monroe police Chief Quentin Holmes got together and made it happen. Two units that were in very good condition, well maintained, and with low mileage were selected from a fleet of several MPD units.
"We are more than happy to donate these police units to our fellow police officers at Grambling University." stated Chief Holmes. " We will help them in any way we can; whether it is with patrol cars, training, or anything else they need."
Several Monroe City and Grambling City leaders were on hand including; Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, Monroe City Executive officer "Coach" Mike Vining, Monroe Police Chief Quentin Holmes, and Monroe City Councilwoman Dist 3 Juanita Woods.
Grambling Mayor Edward R. Jones, GSU President Richard Gallot, Gramblin City Chief of police Tommy Clark, Grambling State University Chief of police Howard Caviness.

12 2016-08-26
Monroe

Grambling State University provost names two deans


Grambling State University Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen D. Smiley has named new deans at two of the university's colleges.

Smiley said the moves are aimed at strengthening the institution's academic offerings while seeking creative approaches to help the colleges, and the university, grow.


Danny Hubbard has been appointed interim dean of the GSU College of Arts and Sciences and Donald White has been appointed interim dean of the College of Business. Both appointments are effective September 1.



Danny Hubbard
Danny Hubbard (Photo: Submitted GSU)
Hubbard had led the chemistry program and served as associate dean of his college. He has been actively engaged with recruiting and training high school students for careers in the sciences.

"Dr. Hubbard has great rapport with the students and is an excellent professor and researcher," said Smiley. "He is a problem solver. His focus on new programs and concentrations will increase the university's ability to attract majors in the STEM areas and liberal arts."

White worked at Grambling State, left for Wiley College, where he was director of organizational management, then returned to GSU a few years later. He has led GSU's management and marketing program since 2012, and he will continue to serve in that role. White earned a doctorate in business administration from Louisiana Tech University.

"I have watched Dr. White over the years. His love for the students and commitment to the university is admirable," added Smiley. "He has a distinct vision for the College of Business that will take us to the next level. Dr. White's connections and influence with business, industry, and alumni make him the ideal choice."

Hubbard replaces King David Godwin. White replaces Erick Valentine. Both return to the faculty to teach.

Donald White
Donald White (Photo: Submitted GSU)
Smiley announced several department head appointments, also effective September 1. Dagne Hill has been named interim head of the Department of Biological Sciences; Stacey Duhon is the interim coordinator for the Department of Sociology and Psychology; Karl Norman has been named interim coordinator for the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and Andolyn Harrison is the interim head of the Department of Educational Leadership.


12 2016-08-26
Regional/National

VIDEO: Grambling State University President Rick Gallot Discusses The state of affairs at GSU


VIDEO
12 2016-08-24
Monroe

GSU woes latest for higher ed


Need another sign of the plight of higher education in Louisiana? Look no further than Grambling State University.

Imagine the distress those studying broadcast journalism must feel when they start their semester with no equipment.

That’s the situation after two floods and a fire in one year took their toll.

The Woodson Hall Television Center first flooded in 2015 when heavy rains left two inches of water in the building. Equipment was dried out and operations resumed until this March, when 12 to 14 inches of water entered the building from above and below during the northern Louisiana floods.

Once again, equipment that was dried out and undamaged materials were salvaged. A reduced version of the Television Center relocated to the Washington-Johnson complex where the remaining equipment was later wiped out by a fire.

Students can still record video footage using their smartphones and DSLR cameras, But that’s a far cry from the equipment professionals use on a regular basis in the field, training Grambling’s students won’t get. Their ability to secure jobs is on the line.

For students and recent alumni who toured the damage this week, all were concerned about the challenges students in the program will face if the university is not able to procure used equipment to use for hands-on training until new equipment can be purchased.

And, with the state’s financial woes and challenges posed by the size of the disaster facing the state in the wake of southern Louisiana flooding, there’s no telling when that new equipment will be purchased.

There are no contingency funds. On campuses throughout the state, buildings deteriorate. Stubbs Hall at the University of Louisiana at Monroe has suffered from a leaking roof for several years.

In an age when competition for high-paying jobs grows increasingly intense, campuses struggle to keep up to date with technology that seems to fall out of date at much faster rates.

In the last legislative session, higher education escaped doomsday scenarios and were saved further budget cuts. But that doesn’t begin to dig the campuses out of the deep hold dug over the years

Universities in Louisiana try to stay competitive, but when television students can’t even train with proper cameras, the state provides its youth no good service for their tuition.

It will be a long haul. The problems are years in the making. But it’s time for the state to get serious about funding education or our best and brightest will face a dim future.


12 2016-08-24
Monroe

Grambling TV Center victim of floods, fire


Memories were on parade as students and recent alumni of Grambling State University walked through the Woodson Hall Television Center Monday, surveying the damage wrought by two floods in less than one year.

All were concerned about the challenges students in the program will face if the university is not able to procure used equipment to utilize for hands-on training until new equipment can be purchased.

Lanita Hughes, a senior from Los Angeles majoring in broadcast journalism, said the television center was her home away from home at Grambling and provided her with a variety of opportunities, including a summer internship at a South Carolina television station.

"I can't even express my emotions...going into the offices and seeing it," Hughes said. "This is where I got my first break before I started interning at some of the places I am now, so I just feel like anyone that can help, that would be wonderful. We lost everything. We are literally down to one camera."

Alan Blakeney, Television Center director, said the center was first impacted by a March 2015 flood that left two inches of water in the building. Equipment was dried out and business resumed until March 2016, when 12 to 14 inches of water entered the building from above and below during the north Louisiana floods.

"We also had issues at that time because the building has a flat roof, and the amount of water overwhelmed the scuppers," Blakeney said. "We had down flooding as well as upflooding...that time we had a lot more damage."

Once again, equipment that could be dried out was and undamaged materials were salvaged. A reduced version of the Television Center relocated to the Washington-Johnson complex where the remaining equipment was later wiped out by a fire.

Monday was the first day of classes for many students, and the return to the stripped down television center was an eye opener. While students can still record video footage using their smartphones and DSLR cameras, the concern is a possible lack of training on the equipment necessary to secure jobs.

"(The instruction) is not going to be hands-on," Hughes said. "I feel like every student needs that hands-on opportunity. Some people are visual learners like me. I need to physically operate something to understand it."

Blakeney said acquiring cameras and control room equipment are a number one priority, and that waiting for funds through a budgetary process or insurance reimbursement could leave a portion of students without the opportunity to embrace their potential.

"It's a longer process than these kids have, that's our problem," Blakeney said. "If we were just to make the statement 'Will you ever recover?' Certainly, we will recover, but these students are going to graduate. We want to get them the experience and the materials and the machinery in their hands so they can go out and get a job next fall, and we don't have this equipment. It's going to be incredibly difficult to do. They are spending their time. They showed up to learn, and we don't have the materials to teach with. That's our problem, and that's why we are asking why anyone who has any equipment, send us your stuff. Let us work with it...let us get it in these kids hands...They want to get out and go to work, but we've got to equip them for that task. It's up to us to teach them."

Lanita Hughes, Brandon Evans and Travis Matthews surveyBuy Photo
Lanita Hughes, Brandon Evans and Travis Matthews survey damage in the television center. Evans is a junior and a criminal justice major. He said the television center provided him with the opportunity to train on various types of equipment, and he was heartbroken when the second flood occurred, both for the center itself and for "Mr. B," who he said helps everybody be the best they can be. (Photo: Ashley Mott/The News-Star)

Stephanie Lindsey received both an undergraduate and graduate degree in mass communications from Grambling. She was out of the country when the flooding occurred filming a documentary. When she returned, she said she was taken aback by the damage and unsure how to process her feelings.

"I feel bad for the students coming up," Lindsey said, "because I got to get as much out of the program as it had to offer...to find out everything is gone, I feel that it's a huge disadvantage for them."

Travis Williams, a May mass communications graduate, has a job lined up as a technical director for an event center and credits the diverse opportunities he received at the Television Center as a proving ground.

"During my time I was able to learn the trade, learn how to operate on set, the chain of command, the lingo of how to talk with people while I'm on set, and the simple things from rolling cable to running camera," Williams said. "...I've been able to learn all of these things outside of the classroom. Me going through everything here, what it did show me was that learning all of these things can help me do what I really want to do. I ultimately want to be on camera."

Williams said shooting smartphone video and DSLR footage would work well for people working on their own projects but would not help those pursuing employment with other entities. He explained that without learning how to use the equipment a future employer would have in a studio, students could go forward without basic studio camera skills, such as knowing how to pan and zoom.

The school has released a priority list of equipment needed. At the top of the list are nine field camera packages, editing computers and control studio equipment. Also needed are location lighting equipment, a drone, a crane and a vehicle.

Grambling State University Television Center replacement equipment needs

Nine field camera packages

Camera
Tripod and case
Wireless microphone kit
P-2 or SD cards
Camera bag
Editing computers

iMacs with Final Cut Pro 10
Control studio equipment

Studio cameras
Switcher/Tri-Caster
Teleprompter
Intercom
Ifb
Camera support
News desk
Curtains
Cabling
Fiber link to outside
Wire service
Location Lighting equipment

Drone

Crane

Vehicle


12 2016-08-24
Ruston

GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY BEGINS CLASSES


Top row, from left, Tarah Cox, a Grambling State University senior criminal justice major, Keiontay Jones, a senior kinesiology major, Ebony Rushing, a senior psychology major, and, bottom row, from left, Kendrea Jones, a senior biology major, and Jhazzman Martin, a social work grad student, check their schedule for the first day of classes at GSU Monday.


12 2016-08-23
Monroe

Grambling media students start school year without equipment


GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Grambling State's TV Center was more than just a place where students gathered.

"It was my home away from home," senior Lanita Hughes said.

But now, on her first day of senior year, Lanita Hughes, and other students who use the studio, are homeless.

"When I walked through, i felt like a Katrina victim, because I lost my home, or what was like my home," Hughes said.

The building flooded back in March, forcing them into the Home Economics Center. Then, in June, that building caught fire, torching their equipment.

"Instantly, a tear dropped," senior Donald Carral said.

Brought to tears, because there's nothing left. Monday, the Director "Mr. B" as he's called, broke the news to his students. He walked them through this gutted studio for the first time.

"These are the kids this is going to hurt. They want to learn," Alan Blakeney said. "They want to go out and get a job. They want to graduate and go to work, and I can't do what I need to do without that equipment. I can't help them as much as I'd like to."


As they walked through, reality set in. Without cameras, it's hard to hone your craft.

"Right now, we have nothing," graduate Travis Matthews said. "In the television industry more than any other, you need practice, rather than the class work. So, the practice is more important than, 'I got an A.'"

But Mr. B says, he's trying to make due.

"I'm always a glass is half full kind of guy. So, i never say never," Blakeney said.

And, if the school hopes to keep this program, never isn't an option.


12 2016-08-23
Ruston

GSU STUDENT STARTS NEW CHAPTER AFTER HER HOME FLOODED


Essence Brown planned for her first week at Grambling State University to be a dream come true.

But after the freshman criminal justice major was awakened by her mother at 5 a.m. Aug. 13 to knee-deep water in her Albany home, Brown knew her dream would be tarnished.
“It was unbelievable,” she said. “The water was everywhere. I didn’t expect my freshman year of college would be coming out of a flood.”

Brown went to sleep on Aug. 12 thinking what any freshman might be thinking of — decorating her first dorm room.


12 2016-08-22
Monroe

Grambling re-opening search for new athletic director


For the third time in the last year, Grambling is restarting its search for a permanent athletic director.

New Grambling president Rick Gallot, who started his new post Aug. 1, announced Friday that Grambling was re-opening its search to find a new athletic director. Gallot said finding a permanent athletic director is one of his main objectives since "the athletic department is the crown jewel of Grambling."

Obadiah Simmons is Grambling's interim athletic director, a position he's held since May 2015. Grambling has been without a permanent athletic director since Aaron James was fired in July 2014.

"This is absolutely critical, and we're going to find the right fit for Grambling to move us forward," Gallot said.

Grambling started the search last year before cancelling it in February due to the state budget crisis and restarting it a few weeks later. Grambling appeared to have a new athletic director in place in the spring, and even called a press conference to introduce the new hire, but school officials called it off at the last minute.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
Grambling reinstates athletic director search

This search will differ from the previous searches since Gallot is setting an application date deadline for Sept. 30. He hopes to have a hire made by the end of 2016. The next step is putting together a search committee to comb through candidates.

"I would certainly like to have someone hired before the end of the year. It will certainly depend on the candidate pool," he said. "That's one of the reasons we wanted to go ahead and set a closing date on getting the applications in. That's the first indication that this will be a different process that before."

Searching for a new athletic director in August is never ideal. The academic year is only a month old and football season is around the corner.

However, Gallot still hopes to attract quality candidates.

"The Grambling legacy and the Grambling brand is such that we do expect to attract top-notch, highly-qualified, highly-motivated candidates to possess the Grambling spiritwe have come to expect from our athletic director and our athletic department," he said.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
State audit finds weaknesses that GSU begins to address

Gallot declined to entertain the fact that Grambling's athletic department has dealt with extreme turmoil and instability within the last two years.

Since James was fired in 2014, Grambling is on its third interim athletic director and the department has been without a full-time sports information director since 2015. A recent independent audit report of the athletic department from 2014 also turned up several minor issues.

Instead, Gallot said he views Grambling the way it was in the past when stars like Eddie Robinson, Wilbert Ellis and Wills Reed were at the school.

"I see it for what it truly is and what put on on the map. That we are a sports powerhouse," Gallot said.

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12 2016-08-22
Monroe

Grambling State University Supports 11-Year Old Local Patient


LifeShare Blood Centers and Grambling State University’s Student Government Association are working together to raise awareness of the need for Black and African-American donors, by hosting a blood donation and marrow registry drive. The two-day event will take place at Grambling State University’s Student Union Building, Wednesday, August 24 and Thursday, August 25, from 11am to 4pm.

The drive is being held in support of local aplastic anemia patient, 11-year old Micah Johnson. When Grambling’s SGA President, Michael Meadows learned of Micah’s situation, he felt compelled to help. “Micah’s story speaks volumes. I understand the importance of life and healing. So if we can do anything, we have to encourage others to help somebody else.”

Micah is African American and in need of a marrow transplant. Typically, a patient’s match and donation comes from someone of the same race and ethnic background, making it more likely that his life-saving donor will also be African American. Due to lack of registered donors from that ethnic group, African-American patients have a more difficult time finding a matching donor than any other race. This event is focused on raising awareness of the need to create a more ethnically diverse donor registry.

For more information about LifeShare’s Marrow Donor Program, contact coordinator Brian Allison at 318.673.1534 or contact brian.allison@lifeshare.org.
12 2016-08-19
Monroe

Grambling student escapes south Louisiana flooding, makes it to campus for move-in day


GRAMBLING, LA. (KNOE 8 News) - Essence Brown already walks around Grambling's campus like she's a senior.


Courtesy: KNOE 8 News

"I feel like I was destined to come here," she said.

But she's only a freshman, one who hasn't even started class yet. And one who didn't know if she'd make it to campus.

"It was pretty bad," she said.

On move-in weekend, Brown's mother woke her up in their Albany home, because it was taking on water.

"I went in my room, and water was coming from under my closet," she said, "That's when we gathered all of our valuables, and proceeded to walk out the back door. And water just came, kept coming in. The water outside was about knee deep."

Knee deep in water, they walked out, with just enough belongings to make it to school. Hours later, they loaded up their U-Haul and headed out.

"We were just scurrying around, trying to get things that we'd need," she said.

They arrived at Grambling that afternoon. But, her mom couldn't stay. She had to go back home. After all, their home was still flooded.

"It was kind of hard; it was kind of hard," she said. "I just wanted to make sure my mother and sister were okay."


So other students, total strangers, helped out instead.

"It means a lot," she said. "It really means a lot. It made me feel like 'gram fam.'"

Starting her new life, with a new family, in a home away from home.
12 2016-08-19
Ruston

UNIVERSITIES HELP STUDENTS AFFECTED BY FLOODING


Grambling State University and Louisiana Tech University have begun the necessary preparations for incoming and out going students in the wake of recent south Louisiana flooding.

GSU is preparing for students coming to campus to begin school Monday, while Tech held summer commencement at 10 a.m. today.

GSU President Rick Gallot said registration prior to the first day of class continues through Friday, but the university will extend registration into next week to accommodate students and their families affected by the flooding.


12 2016-08-18
Monroe

Grambling Goes 'Live' To Reach Students and Alumni


GRAMBLING, La

It's a new era for Grambling State University. The Tigers, helmed by newly appointed president, Rick Gallot are changing the way they do things.

"Grambling is the place where everybody is somebody, so it's important that the president not live in a bubble, or operate in a bubble. It's important for me to be out in the community, now, via Facebook to be able to connect with our alums and others," says Gallot.

Tuesday night, Gallot used Facebook Live to speak directly with alumni, offering them the opportunity to ask questions about the university. At it's peak, the live broadcast had 700 real-time viewer, nearly 13,000 views and was shared nearly 300 times. Gallot calls the night a success.

"Just the feedback that we got and as I saw the alumni members from around the country who are actually logging in and sending us comments and messages while it was going on, I mean, I think, absolutely, it was a great success."

It's the first time the university has used the new technology to reach out to students and alum. Will Sutton, Director of Communications for GSU, says this is only the beginning.

"There are different ages and stages of life and technology changes and we got to reach people where they are."

Sutton, along with the communications team, is working to fully utilize all avenues of social media to engage students and alumni, and it seems to be working.

Stavinoha Bradley, a 2015 Grambling graduate and National Office Manager for the National Office of the Alumni Association, says "my phone went off the hook with other collegues and other young alum who were excited that the president was reaching out to them from Boston and all over the country and they felt like someone was knocking on their door right where they were at."

Dr. David C. Ponton, Jr., an alum of GSU's graduate program says, "I thought it was phenomenal, I got chills. I mean, it's the first time I've seen the president go on Facebook and just have a live conversation like that. I think our students are going to really appreciate it."

Current students, Steven Alexander and Cecil Holt also enjoyed the live broadcast.

"It showed that our president is a very innovative leader and has a lot of ideas and is ready to take GSU to new heights," says Holt.

Sutton says Grambling will explore opportunities with Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Periscope.

President Gallot will participate in an interview with Channel One's Roland Martin. That interview is set for Friday, August 19th at 6:00 a.m. CST.


12 2016-08-18
Monroe

Grambling to play at Tulane in 2017


GRAMBLING — Grambling plays one football game a year in New Orleans for the annual Bayou Classic against Southern.

The Tigers will add another trip to the Big Easy on the 2017 schedule when they travel to Tulane for the 2017 season opener. The Advocate first reported the news Tuesday, and Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs confirmed the schedule addition after Wednesday's practice.

"It's big. It's important to play the other teams in the state of Louisiana because we're all family. We're all helping each other," Fobbs said. "When we go down to New Orleans it's going to be a booming place and it will be packed and that's good for Tulane but it's also good for us, too, because we recruiting that area also. I enjoy playing against teams in our area because it's almost like a family reunion of all the schools in the state of Louisiana."

Grambling has several players on the roster from the Baton Rouge and New Orleans area. The program recently added two Tulane transfer in linebacker Edward Williams and cornerback Dedrick Shy.

Grambling, at least of late, generally opens the season on the road. Fobbs' first year saw Grambling travel to Lamar in 2014 followed by a trip to California in 2015.

The Tigers open 2016 with a home game against NAIA Virginia University Lynchburg. The marquee road and money game is Arizona during the second week of the season.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
Grambling to play at Tulane in 2017

Grambling still has a few more dates to finalize as part of the 2017 non-conference schedule. One of the remaining spots will likely be an additional FBS team.

Starting in 2017, the SWAC is transitioning to a seven-game schedule instead of the current nine-game slate. Fewer league games means the 10-member schools need to find an additional two non-conference games.

Grambling still has open dates in 2018, which brought up questions of a possible game with Louisiana Tech. The two schools ended a long drought in 2010 when they met in Shreveport to open the season.

"Anytime we have an opportunity to compete, I think that's huge. They have done a lot for us over the years and we've done a lot as well," Fobbs said about possibly playing Tech in 2018. "You're talking about two really quality programs, and both of us are in the same area. It's something we'll definitely look in to, and that's something that has us excited for the future."

Tech recently moved a 2018 contest against Bowling Green to 2021, which freed up an additional home game. Tech athletic director Tommy McClelland indicated the opening will be filled with an FCS team.

Fobbs and McClelland have a personal relationship that dates to their time at McNeese State when McClelland was athletic director and Fobbs was an assistant coach.

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12 2016-08-17
Monroe

Grambling State University Accomodating Students Affected By Floods


Grambling, La.--

The fall semester starts next week for thousands of Grambling State University students, but GSU President Rick Gallot said the floods have made it impossible for some to return to school.

"We're aware of some others who haven't been able to make it from the Baton Rouge area, some from the Hammond area, who are ready to come they just simply can't get here yet," Gallot said.

Gallot said he wants students to know the university is behind them and their safety is his first priority.

"We wanted to send them a clear, concise message that their registration and their housing would be secure," Gallot added. "We didn't want anyone to risk life or limb trying to come here through hazardous conditions."

He said students affected by the floods will be excused from classes and their work will be held by teachers until they return.

Other GSU leaders said they want students to focus on recovering from the flood.

"They've got a lot of things they gotta worry about," Interim Vice President of Student Affairs David Ponton Jr. said. "Especially with the storm and homes and cars and that kinda thing-- so this way they don't have to worry about the school aspect."

Gallot said our state will get through this if we work together as a whole.

"Louisianians are resilient people," Gallot said. "We have been through natural disasters before, so when things like this happen we come to the aid of our neighbors."


12 2016-08-17
Ruston

GSU PRESIDENT HELPS STUDENT MOVE IN


Grambling State University First Lady Christy Gallot and GSU President Rick Gallot, center, talk with Janiecia Banks, 19, of Doraville, Georgia, center right, a freshman business marketing and management major, her sister, Naja Williams, far right, and her mother Carolyn Williams, far left, before helping Banks move her stuff into the dormitories at Grambling State University.


12 2016-08-16
Monroe

GSU move-in day brings satisfaction, surprise


Grambling State University President Rick Gallot helped haul a trunk and more for new freshmen Angel Parker and Dejanay Reed up the stairs to the third floor of the Sojourner Truth dormitory during Sunday’s move in day.

He and first lady Christy Gallot roamed the campus from the campus residential life center to dorms checking on some of the more than 500 students who moved into dorms on campus from as close as Ruston and Baton Rouge and from as far away as Wisconsin, New York and California.

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David “Rusty” Ponton, GSU’s interim vice president of student affairs, said even more new students are expected to arrive this week, especially from southern Louisiana areas where heavy rains and flooding have caused extensive evacuations and relocations.

The president said he has been through GSU move in days for years as a lifelong Grambling resident, a Grambling student and graduate, but this time was different. “As president it is very special because all the parents and students I spoke with said the transitioning process has been seamless,” he said.

One parent, Barnessa Reed of Oak Hill, California, said she researched Gallot before flying to Louisiana and she was surprised with an “unexpected…blessing” when she met the president as her two daughters moved in.

“We were walking out to help my daughters move in and there he was…I was like, oh my God, there’s the president,” she said, standing a few feet away from Gallot. “How awesome that he’s out here to greet us.”

The Gallots teamed up with Student Government Association leaders toting boxes, suitcases and bags into dorms as the president asked the new students whether they needed assistance, where they are from and what majors they plan to pursue.

Ruston High School grad Ali Williams, 18, said it was great that the president helped students move in because “he is showing us that he is one of us and that he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.”

Gallot said his presidential style is simple: “Part of being president is being accessible and being visible.”


12 2016-08-16
Monroe

Grambling President urging students/families to avoid driving through flooded areas


GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Grambling State University President Rick Gallot Jr. is urging students and their families not to travel through flooded areas in South Louisiana.

President Rick Gallot Jr. issued the following statement regarding move-in on campus:

"At Grambling State University, safety is a priority. While move-in starts Sunday and registration starts Monday, we strongly encourage students not to travel in hazardous flooding and weather conditions. Your housing and registration will be secure."


12 2016-08-12
Regional/National

Grambling University Names a Native Son 10th President in 25 Years


Grambling State University, an HBCU in Louisiana, has named a new president following the controversial ouster of Dr. Willie Larkin, former chief of staff to the president of Baltimore’s Morgan State University, after less than a year at the helm.


Richard J. Gallot Jr.
This time, the University of Louisiana System (ULS) Board of Supervisors went with a native son, former Louisiana state senator and state representative Richard J. Gallot Jr. The Board also interviewed former Tuskegee University President Dr. Gilbert Rochon.

“My lifelong roots in the Grambling community, combined with my record of serving this university and community as an attorney, City Councilman, State Representative, and State Senator provide the type of leadership needed at this critical time,” Gallot said in a statement. He added, “Higher education in Louisiana faces challenges unlike any time in our past. The relationships I’ve built over the past 15 years with the Governor, legislature, congressional leaders and corporate sector will serve Grambling State University well.”

Gallot’s returning to Grambling is like coming full circle. He graduated from the university in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in art and history. Additionally, he is the son former Grambling mayor Richard Gallot Sr., and Mildred Gauthier Gallot, former head of GSU’s History Department.

Current Grambling Mayor Edward Jones, who grew up on the same block with the newly named university president, praised his parents for raising a good son by example at a recent church service held to celebrate Gallot’s new assignment.

“The Gallots are community grounded and Rick was groomed as a child for this position,” the mayor said as cited by the GSU News Bureau. “They may not have known it, but this was the role made for him. They have been an infinite part of Grambling, the university and the community.”

Gallot is Grambling’s 10th president in 25 years, a retention rate that was a point of deep concern to the ULS Board of Supervisors and others.

Larkin, the ninth president, resigned June 23 after a vote of no confidence by the Faculty Senate in February. At the time, the faculty said Larkin was not doing enough to address the barrage of troubles facing the school, including declining enrollment, decimated programs and a budgetary crisis, and had not sufficiently engaged them in finding solutions.

At least one Larkin supporter said detractors may have been too hard and too hasty in their judgment of the previous administrator.

“I am quite disappointed that he was not given a fair chance nor enough time,” GSU alumnus Fredrick Pinkney, a member of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ transition team for Higher Education, said in a statement. “The constant change is disheartening.
12 2016-08-04
Monroe

GSU President Rick Gallot names Dr. Ellen Smiley Interim Provost/VP Academic Affairs


GRAMBLING, La (GSU News Release) - Grambling State University President Rick Gallot has appointed Ellen Smiley as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, effective immediately.

In his first major administrative restructuring move, the president said he chose Smiley because she has a strong academic background and she has a GSU commitment and heart.

“Dr. Smiley brings a wealth of talent to academic affairs and she has been involved with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation process and almost every area that involves academic affairs,” said Gallot. “She has served as faculty, president of the GSU Faculty-Senate and continues to enjoy relationships with faculty leadership and faculty representatives, which is critical to the university.”

Smiley, dean of the institution’s Earl Lester Cole Honors College, lead the college’s development to become a more robust program. Gallot said she will continue in that role as a part of a concerted effort to maximize the university’s resources.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs,” said Smiley. “Not only does it provide an opportunity to give back to my alma mater, but it is an honor to be a part of President Gallot’s team.”


Gallot said Smiley’s years of service as a symbol of her commitment and willingness to strive for sustainability and longevity at Grambling State University. “ Dr. Smiley has been here and she has a better feel for talented people within a certain area because she is familiar with the employees' skills,” said Gallot. “This advantage allows Smiley to quickly notice, suggest or make improvements because she has analyzed skill sets of faculty, staff and students and will be able to match people in the most beneficial areas to increase effectiveness and efficiency in departments where employees are being underutilized.”

Smiley said she was thrilled to hear Gallot had been appointed president, and she’s even happier she will work closely with him as provost.

“I have listened to President Gallot’s plans for Grambling State University and truly believe that he is the best leader for our university at this time in history,” she said. “The combination of a dedicated faculty, precocious students, devoted staff and an energized president is the perfect recipe for success."

Smiley graduated from Grambling with a bachelor’s degree in arts in radio and television communication, now a department known as mass communication. She earned a master’s in teaching social science at GSU and went on to earn a doctorate in higher education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her dissertation was titled “An Empirical Investigation of the Perceived Stress Factors of Female Administrators at Selected Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

She started working at GSU in 1991 as an assistant program coordinator with the honors college and rose to become the director and then the dean. She has been an active academician, organizing a number of conferences and workshops, leading or participating with several personnel searches. She has served as executive assistant to the president and as assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Smiley is married to Dr. Rory L. Bedford, director of GSU’s service-learning program and teaches philosophy, sociology, and psychology. They have three children: Joi Bedford-Williams, an alumnus of Alabama A&M University; Samantha Bedford, a student at Alabama State University, and Prentiss Smiley, a senior at Grambling State University.

Smiley succeeds Janet Guyden, who has returned to the classroom.


12 2016-08-04
Monroe

GSU: “2016 Fan Appreciation Day"


GRAMBLING, La (GSU News Release) - The Grambling State University Department of Athletics extends an invitation to faculty, alumni, and others to the “2016 Fan Appreciation Day" ‪on Saturday, August 20, 2016.

Supporters of Grambling State University Athletics will have an opportunity to meet, speak and take pictures with coaches and players from the 2016-2017 fall athletic programs. The event will also give a first-hand look at the Grambling State University football team, also known as the "G-Men", who ended their season last year with an impressive 9-3 record overall. Led by head coach Broderick Fobbs, the G-Men will scrimmage ‪from 9:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m. on the practice field of the Robinson Stadium Support Building.

Some players and coaches will be available to greet the fans and sign autographs.

Led by Head Coach Broderick Fobbs, the 2016 GSU football season officially ‪begins on Saturday, September 3rd in Grambling’s Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium ‪at 6 p.m. against Virginia University of Lynchburg.
12 2016-08-02
Monroe

http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/08/01/rick-gallot-get-work-gsu/87917282/


Editor’s note: Rick Gallot was appointed by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors as the 10th president of Grambling State University on July 26. Gallot is a graduate of GSU and Southern University’s law school and attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Gallot is a former Grambling city council member, state representative and state senator. He lives in Grambling and plans to start as president Monday.

Grambling State University is The Place Where Everybody is Somebody, and I am grateful to GSU for preparing me for a time such as this.

I had offers to attend other universities, including Dartmouth, an Ivy League school. However, knew I wanted to go to law school and fulfill a childhood dream of being a member of the Grambling State University World Famed Tiger Marching Band. GSU was my choice.

As the incoming GSU president, I am humbled and I am grateful to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors and Interim ULS President Dan Reneau for the trust they have put in me. I was not thinking about being a politician or a college president when I walked the campus as a student.

A lot has happened since I was a student Tiger. I’ve known – and supported – each GSU president since I met and got to know President Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones as a kid. Jones was our much beloved second president, serving after founder Charles Adams. We all knew him as “Prez,” and he was our president from 1936 until 1977.

Like Prez, I want to be a long-serving Grambling State University Tiger-in-Chief.

First and foremost, Grambling State University is an academic institution. Without a strong academic foundation at GSU, I would not have become as successful as I have been as an attorney or as a legislator. That academic foundation will help me be successful as president.

My lifelong roots in the Grambling community, combined with my record of serving our university and community give me a head start in my new job. As an attorney based in Ruston, a Grambling city councilman, state representative and state senator, I have the community, government and leadership the institution needs at this critical time.

The core GSU brand remains strong. People know and respect Grambling State University, largely because of our football legacy with the internationally famous Eddie G. Robinson and our fabulous marching band. We are not going to run away from something that makes us strong, and better. We will build on that foundation, emphasis our academic strengths and shore up areas where we are weak.

Higher education in Louisiana faces challenges unlike any time in our past. The relationships I’ve built over the past 15 years with the Gov. John Bel Edwards, the legislature, congressional leaders and the corporate sector will serve Grambling State University well.

What might be most in my favor, and to the university’s benefit, is that I know the Grambling community and the community knows me.

My wife, Christy, joined me when I interviewed for the job with the ULS board in Baton Rouge on Tuesday. Like me, Christy is a Grambling State University graduate. Both my parents are Grambling graduates. The four of us are life members of the Grambling University National Alumni Association.

Throughout my years of public service, I have developed a skill set and reputation for being a consensus and coalition builder. I will engage all of our various stakeholders to harness our energy, ideas, love and commitment to our university. Our focus on recruitment, retention and graduation must be unlike any other time in our history. Our students must know that they are our number one priority.

My record of service to our university has been visible. During my years of service in the legislature, capital improvements totaled more than $100 million. The Eddie Robinson Museum, Fred Hobdy Assembly Center, Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center, campus wide student housing replacement, and Tiger Express, the campus food court, are a few of the state budget, capital outlay and third-party financing projects I have been directly or indirectly involved with seeing through to fruition.

I got my academic foundation at Grambling State, and we will strengthen our academic offerings and standing. My school, our school, needs a leader, a smart, savvy, down-to-earth, roll-up-his-sleeves and get-to-work-on-the-first-day leader.

I am that leader, and I’m ready to get to work to make the place Where Everybody is Somebody even better. Let’s get to work.

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12 2016-08-01
Baton Rouge

Rick Gallot: Relationships will make Grambling great


GRAMBLING — I spent 15 years of my career and life traveling from northern Louisiana to Baton Rouge as a legislator, first as a state representative and then as a state senator.

I dedicated my life to serving people, as a politician and as an attorney, and much of the state’s business gets discussed, debated and determined in Baton Rouge. Now when I travel to Baton Rouge, I will be representing Louisianans and others with children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren attending Grambling State University.

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As the incoming president of Grambling, I am humbled and I am grateful to the University of Louisiana System Board Chairman Jimmie "Beau" Martin and the ULS Board of Supervisors and Interim ULS President Dan Reneau for this opportunity and the trust they have put in me. I was not thinking about being my university’s president when I walked the GSU campus as a student. Grambling State prepared me, and Southern University’s law school gave me additional grounding to make me battle-ready.

A lot has happened since I was a GSU student Tiger and a Southern Jaguar.

Higher education in Louisiana faces challenges unlike any time in our past. The relationships I’ve built over the past 15 years will serve Grambling State University well.

Governor Edwards and I served in the House together and worked closely together after I was elected to the Senate. I was in the House when Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne was in the Senate. Jay and I worked together when he was secretary of state to make the Eddie Robinson Museum a reality on the Grambling State campus.

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Senate President John Alario and I served in the House and Senate together. Senate Finance Chairman Eric LaFleur and I served in the House and Senate together — we were roommates in the Pentagon Apartments, right across from the capitol grounds. Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Chairman J.P. Morrell and I served in the House and Senate together and served on the revenue committee.

I served in the House with Speaker Taylor Barras, Appropriations Chair Cameron Henry and Ways and Means Chairman Neil Abramson. Speaker Barras and Chairman Henry served on House and Governmental Affairs with me when I was chairman.

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy and House Majority whip Congressman Steve Scalise and I served in the House together. I have a close relationship with my congressman, Dr. Ralph Abraham. Congressman Cedric Richmond and I served in the House and roomed together while in Baton Rouge for a time — and he was a groomsman in my wedding.

These are some of the most powerful people in the state. I know our severe budget constraints and their desire to adequately fund higher education.

I will be counting on these leaders, and others, to secure Land Grant status for GSU, a must for our future success. I will be talking about appropriate funding. We will show that we can make difficult decisions and work with the ULS board and the Louisiana Board of Regents to partner to make Grambling State successful.

We will make bold, smart moves. We will bring back GSU’s undergraduate nursing program. We will get more grants and research money. Our faculty is very committed to providing top-quality instruction, and we will find ways to improve and expand course offerings and rigor. Athletics will have its rightful place in my administration. I have a great deal of respect for my other school, Southern, and we will seek to partner with the Jaguar Nation on more than our annual Bayou Classic.

I’m ready to get to work with Louisiana’s leaders to make the place where everybody is somebody even better.

Gallot was appointed as the 10th president of Grambling State University on Tuesday, July 26.


12 2016-08-01
Monroe

Editorial: Gallot has skill set GSU needs


A tall task awaits Rick Gallot.

Selected last week to be Grambling State University president, Gallot must confront restive alumni, troubled finances and recruiting challenges.

It won’t be easy. Gallot is the 11th president at GSU in the past 25 years. By comparison, Louisiana Tech University has had three presidents since 1962 and the University of Louisiana at Monroe has had four since 1976.

Gallot’s first mission is to overcome the sense that he was the anointed one. The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors voted to suspend its rules and put the search on a fast track. Applications were taken for one month, and the board chose not to hire a search firm, the practice in the past.

That suggests that the board members already had a candidate in mind. More than the choice of Gallot himself, some of the biggest complaints from students and alumni concerned the process.

In choosing Gallot, board members turned their backs for a second time on the other finalist, former Tuskegee University President Gilbert Rochon, a finalist last year when the board selected Willie Larkin to be GSU president.

In selecting Gallot over Rochon, the board chose political skills over academic prowess. That, too, has brought some complaints. But after a series of failed – or at least short – tenures, perhaps those skills fit best into Grambling’s needs, which are significant.

An attorney and former state senator, Gallot understands how the system works. In Gallot, alumni have something they’ve been wanting a long time, a family member. Gallot is a 1987 GSU graduate.

Gallot lives in Grambling, has been a town council member and understands the fabric of that community, the interrelation of university and town. He has a vested interest in GSU’s success.

He will need his skills as a politician to build constituencies with a faculty that has voted twice in recent years no confidence in the presidents, students, alumni and state officials. As a sign of good faith and a statement of expectation, he donated $20,000 to GSU’s fundraising arm immediately after being selected.

He understands the need to build Grambling’s brand. The university has had a history of being insular, not sharing its story to the community at large. Calls from reporters have gone unanswered. GSU’s successes have gone unpublicized. Gallot, we believe, will change that culture.

The university faces the daunting task of finding revitalized relevance at a time when Historically Black Colleges and Universities are struggling. HBCUs played a major role in the 20th century of developing African-American scholars and professionals when they were shut out by mainstream universities because of their race. But in the 21st century, HBCUs have to redefine their missions as doors have opened for people of all races. There has to be some value added to attract and retain students.

For an alumnus like Gallot, one approach that could work is to build a network toward building that new mission, one of an educational family – a small state university where graduates send their children to study, where people are individuals, where students can be promised personalized attention.

His friendships in the Legislature can open doors to much-needed money for infrastructure improvements.

And as a young leader, Gallot, with success, promises stability, and end to the revolving door. That’s something everyone wants.

It’s fair to question the process that led to Gallot, the abandonment of the rules by the board, the seeming rush to a selection.

But in choosing Gallot, the board has found a leader who has the skill set to lead Grambling out of its turbulence.
12 2016-08-01
Ruston

NEW GSU PRESIDENT SPEAKS ON ISSUES


Editor’s Note: Rick Gallot was appointed by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors as the 10th president of Grambling State University on July 26. A GSU graduate, he also graduated from Southern University’s law school and he attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is a former Grambling city council member, state representative and state senator. He lives in Grambling and plans to start as president Monday. The following is an open letter from Gallot to the community.


12 2016-07-29
Baton Rouge

Former State Senator To Head Grambling State University


The University of Louisiana System Board of Regents met this week to name a new president for Grambling State University. According to acting University of Louisiana System President Dan Reneau, political awareness is a prerequisite for the job.

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“You better know some politics, better know the back rooms and the front rooms of the Legislature,” he says to applause from the crowd, made up mostly of Grambling alumni.

Former state Senator Rick Gallot qualifies, as Grambling alumnus Dr. Janet Duncan Barnes explained.

“You have to live in Louisiana to understand Louisiana politics. You have to understand Louisiana politics to get what we need. We are at an advantage of having Rick, who is not only an alumnus, but his whole family is an alumnus,” she says.

The UL System Board agreed, selecting Gallot as Grambling’s 10th president.

Gallot spent twelve years in the Louisiana House of Representatives, followed by four years in the Senate.

But he faces no easy task.

“Grambling is in serious trouble,” warned Reneau.

UL Lafayette President Joe Savoie, a former Louisiana Higher Education Commissioner, says while politics is a big part of the job, these days a university president also has to master the ins-and-outs of limited revenue.

“We’re just trying real hard to make sure we’re being prudent," he says, "we’re being conservative. We’ve assessed some additional fees. We’re taking those fees and putting them aside to see if we can use them as a bridge of some sort come the Spring semester.”

For Grambling in particular, eight years of state funding cuts to higher education have left the HBCU in fairly desperate straits. Still, Savoie says, the situation for Gallot could be worse.

“Coming out of the Legislative session, we were pleased that funding for higher education was essentially flat--almost flat--which is a tremendous improvement from the previous eight or nine years. At least there’s some stability,” he says.


12 2016-07-28
Gannett

What the 'Gram fam' thinks about short search for new president


BATON ROUGE — Ruston attorney and former state Senator Rick Gallot was named the next president of Grambling State University on Tuesday in front of a full room of Grambling alumni and supporters, also known as the "Gram fam." And some were there to "protest the process."

That's why Marva Nichols Griffin, a former Miss Grambling State University, said she flew with her husband and sister from Chicago to Baton Rouge for the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors meeting.

The board unanimously voted to suspend its policy for filling vacancies to name a president after only four weeks of receiving nominations and applications rather than a long-term national search. Board members stressed urgency for Grambling as a reason behind this quick turnaround rather than the type of search used in naming previous GSU leaders like Willie Larkin, who resigned June 23 after less than a year in the job.

RELATED: Rick Gallot named new Grambling president

Griffin also was there to hold the board accountable, saying it has appointed “mascot” presidents of late.

"We've had enough of that," she said. "... The board has not been pro-Grambling. (Their picks) have been mascot presidents. They've been figure heads."

She and others in the audience said it was the board’s “mistake” not appointing Gilbert Rochon over Larkin last year — Rochon also was a finalist for the position Tuesday — and that board members ought to accept some of the responsibility for “failures” at Grambling over recent years.

One woman asked the board about why the GSU president's office has had a "revolving door" and if board members had benchmarks and other set standards to evaluate presidential candidates.

"What are you doing on your part?" she asked board members.

Tyrone Davis, student class president at the school in 1975, had similar questions.

Read more: UL System takes hard hit from budget cuts | Take a look at how university funding is decided

"How much responsibility is this board willing to accept for what has happened to Grambling over the last 25 years?" Davis said. "To do this in four weeks in unacceptable. This board should take 75 percent credit for failures at Grambling."

UL System member Gerald Hebert argued that the Board of Supervisors is not to blame, but that the GRAD Act passed in 2010 by the Louisiana Legislature has caused "huge demise at some institutions, namely at Grambling and UNO (University of New Orleans)," due to effects on enrollment and finances.

Hebert expressed passion in restoring Grambling.

"We know Grambling must succeed," Hebert said. "It will fail, as long as I'm in this board, over my dead body."

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There were some in the audience, like ​Thomas Jones with Grambling's National Alumni Association, who said the school needed a new leader in place sooner rather than later.

"We understand what you're doing is not an easy thing, and the process may be different than last time, but it's a different time," Jones said. "We understand the urgency."


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Others joined Jones, saying "time is running out" for Grambling.

"I support your process, support your board and thank you for moving on this," one man said.

Comments later shifted from the process to the person Grambling needs.

One woman said the new president must understand uniqueness of Louisiana, of Grambling and of politics in this state. She specifically asked for an alum to be the leader, which pointed to Gallot.

Read more: La. students say 'We can make changes' | UL does research for a reason

Someone else said the president must be the "best educational leader, someone who knows about education," which seemed to point to Rochon.

Current students also voiced their opinion. Earlier in the process Meadows and other student leaders had provided the board with a list of criteria they wanted to see in a new president for their school. But they attended the meeting Tuesday to continue to be part of the process.

"As student leaders we want our voice to be strong, not just on paper," current Student Government Association President Michael Meadows said. "... On behalf of the student body when (the board) decides on selecting a president that student body, faculty and alumni have to work with them 100 percent. There can't be any type of division."

That was one thing everyone seemed to agree on.

"We are Grambling," Meadows said. "We have to stand as one."
12 2016-07-28
Monroe

New GSU president shares his goals for the university


GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) - From moving boxes to making phone calls, Grambling State University's new President Rick Gallot is getting ready to take over.

"I'm real excited that I now can use number one the education that I received at Grambling as well as my legal training and my service in the house and senate," says Gallot.

He is a former state senator and has a law office in Ruston.

"I think that's what I bring to the table to be the spokesman for Grambling to be able to promote the positive things that we are doing at the university," says Gallot.

One item on his list is bringing back Grambling's under-graduate nursing program.

"We're going to have to build it from scratch, we will put every available resource to work to get that done and we've already gotten commitments from private sector partners through our foundation to fund the upstart," says Gallot.

He says he plans to be more transparent and wants to build better relationships with alumni, staff, and students.

"There's a lot misinformation and misunderstanding about what our current status is we have allowed others to tell our story and frame the conversation about Grambling well that changes now," says Gallot.


His biggest goal is to shake off the negative perceptions that sometimes cloud the university.

"We want everybody to be excited about the future of Grambling because we are still the place where everybody is somebody," says Gallot.

Monday will be Gallot's first official day as president of Grambling, and he says he ready to hit the ground running.


12 2016-07-28
Monroe

Grambling's New President Ready to Lead


The newly appointed president of Grambling State University says he's ready to get to work.

"I am all in as the president of Grambling, so in the next few months, we'll be in a transitional phase of phasing out my law practice."

Attorney Rick Gallot, Jr., a Grambling alumnus, was unanimously appointed as the university's president by the University of Louisiana System board of supervisors.

Gallot believes his community roots will contribute to the success of his leadership.

"I'm from Grambling, I live in Grambling; I have a lot vested in the future viability of the university... having the relationships on the campus and having practically grown up on the campus, I mean, it is different, it is something that's very special..."

The university has seen three different presidents in as many years-Gallot is the fourth. He says his leadership style will set him apart from past presidents.

"It's going to be bold, it's going to be broad and it will be visionary. It will be thinking outside of the box, it will be doing things the Grambling way and that is in a big way," says Gallot.

And Grambling's president has already put his money where his mouth is with a $20,000.00 donation to the university. He believes that as the president of Grambling, he sets the tone for how things will progress.

"It's the principle of leadership by example and I can't go out and ask our alumni and others to contribute when I haven't opened a checkbook and done it as well," says Gallot.

The last few years for the university have been tough, but Gallot says the university is stronger than ever.

"All of our academic programs are fully accredited. Unlike many years past, our audits have been clean. So the problem has been we've not had a leader who could articulate just how strong Grambling still is."

Gallot is facing this issue head-on by taking a hands-on approach when it comes to the university's communication practices.

"The media will get their phone calls returned. You will have access to me, just as students and others will have access to me as well. I'll be visible, I will be the messenger and the goodwill ambassador that the university has needed," says Gallot.

For now, Gallot is just happy to helm the university that he loves.

"I'm excited to now be in this new role and able to help my university going forward in a brand new way."




12 2016-07-28
Regional/National

The Son of Grambling vs. Grambling State University


Weeks after the 2014 appointment of Cynthia Warrick as Grambling State University interim president, Grambling alumnus and prominent legislator Rick Gallot presented Warrick with an inaugural corporate gift from AT&T in support of the university hosting a ‘Hack-A-Thon’ event to bolster black STEM participation.

The presentation was five months after Gallot, a long-serving member of the Louisiana legislature in both its House and Senate, announced that he was dropping out of the state’s 3rd District Court judge elections, citing a need to spend more time with family.
Six months later, Willie Larkin began his tenure as the ninth president of Grambling State University. Among his first official acts was receiving a $50,000 check from AT&T, aimed at providing scholarships for 23 students in the university’s science and technical programs.
Gallot was among the list of distinguished speakers for the event.
“Supporting STEM education in Louisiana is of the utmost importance if we are going to continue to move forward as a global leader in innovation,” said Gallot. “These students are our future, and we must continue to invest in their education and development if we want to continue to see growth.”

One month after Larkin’s appointment as Grambling’s third president in three years, Gallot surprised Louisiana’s statewide electorate by announcing he would not run for a second senate term, again citing a desire to spend more time with family and to be closer to home.
A year later, Gallot is the unanimous choice of a 26-day presidential application process to lead one of the nation’s most recognizable, yet politically vulnerable HBCU brands. Seemingly groomed for him over two presidencies, two election cycles, and against mounting issues with accreditation, enrollment and shrinking confidence among alumni and faculty, some stakeholders believe the Grambling presidency is no longer a showcase of the University of Louisiana System’s disdain for its sole historically black member institution.
For them, the school’s highest office is now the symbol of a grand plan to marginalize its appeal, utility and sustainability, disguised perfectly in the form of a native son, draped in black and gold.
Grambling is a classic war epic, rapidly approaching its gory, emotional apex. It is an institution fighting battles against its athletic and faculty traditions, its own geography, and the political culture which wants to seize its land and resources; all in the midst of the industrial crisis that is 21st century higher education.
There are distinct realities about Grambling which no one wants to face, but everyone should know to be extraordinary obstacles to the university’s survival. Its credentialed and well-intentioned faculty nurtures students from whatever conditions in which they arrive to the campus, but who ravage its leadership with seemingly annual votes of no-confidence.
Maybe those votes are for the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. But GSU faculty have never been on the record with requests for Louisiana’s governor to have ULS board members removed; only requesting the ULS board to remove Grambling presidents.
Nursing has collapsed. The university’s top programs do not generate windfalls in federal grants to help the programs or the university gain financial traction. With the exception of criminal justice, most of these same degree offering are illegally duplicated by nearby Louisiana Tech, which beyond being constitutionally unlawful, helps in siphoning students away from Grambling on a dramatic, annual basis.
These are realities of which Grambling insiders are fully aware, but put aside in the public square to grapple with the ULS Board about who occupies the presidential seat and how they got there. Many of the Gramblinites who live in driving distance of the campus prioritize the competitiveness of Tiger football over the solvency of the school’s leadership.
Alumni who populate cities like Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Houston simply aren’t close enough to afford the travel to oppose ideas like the UL System appointing a ‘Person in Charge’ to replace the president it hired who referred to himself as ‘Grambling’s healer,’ and who got himself fired by lying about the nature of a trip to Cuba.
Louisiana is a national standard for how to destroy public investment in the higher education industry. Gallot, with his lengthy history in legislature, has a limited record of advocacy for new buildings or stabilized appropriations for Grambling.
In fact, the only major gift on record from Gallot to his alma mater? The $20,000 check he wrote yesterday, after being named president.
But even with the questionable search, fractured alumni base, institutional struggles and devastating state politics, there is some room for optimism around Gallot — partly because there is no other alternative. Gallot is the preferred candidate of the UL board, Grambling’s wealthy alumni, Louisiana’s black lawmakers, and its corporate community.
Short of completely losing accreditation, blowing through the university’s paltry endowment or a complete meltdown in admissions and recruitment which forces the university to suspend operations, there are few man-made forces or scenarios that can remove Gallot from the post.
He will be the long-term solution for Grambling. For better or for worse.
Some stakeholders believe his political connections to be the perfect remedy for a campus and a community which has suffered from a lack of clout in Baton Rouge.
Gallot represents exactly what most alumni were searching for — a native son with a self-made brand who could be a rainmaker for the university with corporations and private donors alike.
Perhaps he will become a president who can be more than a leader charged with learning Grambling culture, because he helped to build it through his example of success achieved away from campus, while maintaining strong roots within it.
Maybe Grambling alumni and faculty, who for years have blamed the board for the school’s presidential failures, will now learn that four presidential transitions in four years makes the position expendable, and malleable to the will of its advocates.
And because of that, maybe they take a new approach to philanthropy and engagement that means something beyond the search for personal favors and third-party nepotism.
Maybe the homecoming for one of Grambling’s favorite sons will force a new vision for GSU as an invaluable resource in the southeast and to the nation — a university which helps to be among America’s top producers of charter school entrepreneurs, police chiefs, journalists, scientists, and sports executives. A school that replaces economic stagnation in its surrounding community with job development, research and political action.
Maybe Rick Gallot can do it.
Maybe there’s something new ahead that we’ve not seen or imagined for Grambling. Maybe Gramblinites have not been forced to choose between supporting a fellow graduate and supporting alma mater.
But given who he is, and how he got back home, it is hard to imagine anything but the status quo inevitably leading to a regrettable end for a national treasure.
12 2016-07-28
Ruston

GALLOT NAMED GSU PRESIDENT


Former state legislator Rick Gallot, of Gramblng, is the new president of Grambling State University.

Gallot, 50, was unanimously selected as the school’s 10th president Tuesday during a special meeting of the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors in Baton Rouge. The former state senator, representative and GSU alumnus was one of the two finalists for the job.

Gallot’s selection comes 26 days after former GSU President Willie Larkin resigned after one year on the job.

“We have a lot of work to do and I am looking forward to getting that work done,” Gallot said. “At Grambling State’s core, we are strong. We just need some fine tuning, but I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Dan Reneau, UL System interim president, said during Tuesday’s meeting GSU has had 10 presidents in 25 years, which is not stability.

“It’s been a revolving door,” he said. “They needed a leader right now to handle their personnel, budget and faculty challenges. They need a leader. Rick has all the characteristics to bring the university back to stability.”

In order to find Larkin’s successor as quickly as possible, the UL board voted to suspend the policy and procedures memorandum that generally guides it in conducting nationwide searches for university presidents.

Reneau said the board’s decision to suspend its rules is not uncommon.

Gallot said his connections with state lawmakers will benefit the university.

“We will have access to state law decision makers,” said Gallot, who served 12 years in the state House of Representatives and four years in the state Senate. “We will be able to build relationships with the right staff persons to benefit the university.”

Gallot said he will quickly move to a number of projects such as reopening the undergraduate nursing program that was shut down in 2015 and improving the communications department to connect more with the media and spread the GSU brand.

Gallot also said he wants to engage with the alumni associations and student organizations to receive their input on moving forward.

“I want to get moving fast,” he said.

Gallot said his plans to increase student enrollment includes finding the right conversations as it relates to GSU where good things come out of the university and also start an aggressive social media campaign.

“We want to show perspective students the positive image of the university and make sure we engage with them on a daily basis,” he said.

Herbert Simmons, GSU Faculty Senate president, said the faculty is excited about working with Gallot and pledge to work along side him.

“(The faculty) plans on meeting with Gallot to voice our concerns about issues in the university,” Simmons said. “We’re concerned about enrollment. We’re concerned about athletics. We feel confident working with him to ensure success.”

Simmons said he is praying Gallot is the right person for the job and said it will take teamwork to get the university back on track.

“We’ve been knocked down, but we can get back up,” he said.

Liz White, Ruston chapter president of the GSU alumni association, said she is filled with pride after Gallot’s selection.

“For the first time in history, that I know of, we have a president from the start that knows Grambling,” she said. “He knows its personality, he knows the people.”

White also said she is praying for Gallot and hopes that the alumni and all the university’s stakeholders will throw their support to bring GSU back to great levels.

“Grambling is unique,” she said.

“What makes it unique is its culture. Gallot is familiar with this culture and will build relationships within the university’s community. I just feel he will be right for Grambling and look forward to the longevity he will bring.”

Michael Meadows, GSU student government association president said the student body is excited at the prospect of working with Gallot.

“With the student body and the new president, Grambling State University will advance to the next level that it needs,” he said.

Gallot’s salary and start date have yet to be negotiated.


12 2016-07-27
Associated Press

Grambling State gets new president


BATON ROUGE — Former state lawmaker Rick Gallot was chosen Tuesday as the new president of Grambling State University.
Gallot, who served in the state House and the state Senate, is a Grambling alumnus and an attorney who practices in Ruston. He was selected by the University of Louisiana System board.
The Advocate reports ( http://bit.ly/2abU6VN  ) that many alumni at the meeting complained that the decision was made too quickly — 26 days after former president Willie Larkin resigned.

12 2016-07-27
Baton Rouge

26 days after last president resigns, board selects new Grambling State president Rick Gallot


Ruston attorney and former Louisiana legislator Rick Gallot was chosen Tuesday as the newest president of Grambling State University, a mere 26 days after the former president resigned.

The quick turn around was met with mixed reviews by a crowded room of Grambling State alumni, some who traveled from out of state and as far away as Chicago to attend the University of Louisiana System Board meeting, where the decision was made.

“Throughout my years of public service, I have developed a skill set and reputation for being a consensus and coalition builder," Gallot said in the interview. "One of my first goals is to engage our various stakeholders to harness our energy, ideas, love and commitment to our university.”

While a few alumni said they were supportive of efforts by the board to quickly fill the leadership position, many others were frustrated that the board would seemingly put so little time and energy into selecting the president for Louisiana's second largest public historically black university, particularly because the institution has had a revolving door of presidents in the past two decades.

Tyrone Davis, the 1975 Grambling State class president, told the board of supervisors that they bore responsibility for the instability at the university for failing to select a leader who can endure. He called it "unacceptable" that the board would rush the selection of a new president and abandon regular protocols that typically call for a national search.

"There's not another university in the country where you can show me an example of where this has happened," Davis said. "This board should take 75 percent credit for the failures of this university."

Just recently, the UL System Board filled the position of Peter Fos, former president of the University of New Orleans. Fos announced his plans for retirement at the end of last August, and officially retired in January. His successor, John Nicklow was selected in late March.

Former president Willie Larkins stepped down June 30 after a scheduled job performance review with the Board of Supervisors. He spent less than one year at the helm of the school.

Marva Nichols Griffin, a Grambling alum who flew in from Chicago to attend the meeting, said her daughter is currently a senior at the university.

"Every year she's been at Grambling, she's had a new president. How did we get to this point?" she said. "How did we get to the point where we're in this much desperation?"

Interim UL System President Dan Reneau said there have been 10 Grambling presidents in the past 25 years, which includes some interim presidents. He acknowledged the turnover has caused instability at the university, which is located outside of Ruston.

Reneau suggested that the reason for the quick turn around in selecting a new president was because of an urgency to provide leadership for the university, which has suffered from loss of dollars and dwindling enrollment. He said the last national search was conducted a year ago, and the board opted to use findings from the previous search, while opening up the position to new candidates in the last month.

"Grambling is in serious trouble," Reneau said. "It's had leadership problems, there have been 10 presidents in 25 years. That's not stability ... To me, a long drawn out process of a national search firm over the past years has not worked."

Gallot did not apply a year ago and was not vetted by the search firm. But the other finalist considered on Tuesday, Gilbert Rochon, a former president of Tuskegee University, was a finalist last year.

Rochon presented himself as the more traditional academic leader. Tuskegee is also a historically black college, and when Rochon was there he increased both enrollment and the university's endowment. He also was a faculty for more than 18 years at Dillard University.

In total the board received 18 applications, and entertained 11 nominations.

“What Grambling State University needs now, more than anything, is stability. I know the Grambling community, and the community knows me,” Gallot said.

Gallot is an alum of Grambling. His current law practice is located in Ruston and he told the board he has many ties to the school and the community. His mother, Mildred, once was a member of the Grambling State University and University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.

He served 12 years in the Louisiana state House of Representatives, where he was floor manager for Gov. Bobby Jindal's ethics bills, and four years as a state senator. He touted his political connections and relationships, and his ability to navigate the politics of higher education funding and policy as one of his strengths.

Gallot received unanimous approval from the Board of Supervisors.

“The Gallot family has a long history with GSU and we think Rick is the strongest choice to be its next leader,” Board Chair Beau Martin said in a statement. “He is passionate about the university and we hope the students, faculty, staff and alumni rallies behind him with support as he takes the helm.”

Gallot's start date, salary and length of contract have yet to be negotiated.


12 2016-07-27
Baton Rouge

26 days after last president resigns, board selects new Grambling State president Rick Gallot


Ruston attorney and former Louisiana legislator Rick Gallot was chosen Tuesday as the newest president of Grambling State University, a mere 26 days after the former president resigned.

The quick turn around was met with mixed reviews by a crowded room of Grambling State alumni, some who traveled from out of state and as far away as Chicago to attend the University of Louisiana System Board meeting, where the decision was made.

“Throughout my years of public service, I have developed a skill set and reputation for being a consensus and coalition builder," Gallot said in the interview. "One of my first goals is to engage our various stakeholders to harness our energy, ideas, love and commitment to our university.”

While a few alumni said they were supportive of efforts by the board to quickly fill the leadership position, many others were frustrated that the board would seemingly put so little time and energy into selecting the president for Louisiana's second largest public historically black university, particularly because the institution has had a revolving door of presidents in the past two decades.

Tyrone Davis, the 1975 Grambling State class president, told the board of supervisors that they bore responsibility for the instability at the university for failing to select a leader who can endure. He called it "unacceptable" that the board would rush the selection of a new president and abandon regular protocols that typically call for a national search.

"There's not another university in the country where you can show me an example of where this has happened," Davis said. "This board should take 75 percent credit for the failures of this university."

Just recently, the UL System Board filled the position of Peter Fos, former president of the University of New Orleans. Fos announced his plans for retirement at the end of last August, and officially retired in January. His successor, John Nicklow was selected in late March.

Former president Willie Larkins stepped down June 30 after a scheduled job performance review with the Board of Supervisors. He spent less than one year at the helm of the school.

Marva Nichols Griffin, a Grambling alum who flew in from Chicago to attend the meeting, said her daughter is currently a senior at the university.

"Every year she's been at Grambling, she's had a new president. How did we get to this point?" she said. "How did we get to the point where we're in this much desperation?"

Interim UL System President Dan Reneau said there have been 10 Grambling presidents in the past 25 years, which includes some interim presidents. He acknowledged the turnover has caused instability at the university, which is located outside of Ruston.

Reneau suggested that the reason for the quick turn around in selecting a new president was because of an urgency to provide leadership for the university, which has suffered from loss of dollars and dwindling enrollment. He said the last national search was conducted a year ago, and the board opted to use findings from the previous search, while opening up the position to new candidates in the last month.

"Grambling is in serious trouble," Reneau said. "It's had leadership problems, there have been 10 presidents in 25 years. That's not stability ... To me, a long drawn out process of a national search firm over the past years has not worked."

Gallot did not apply a year ago and was not vetted by the search firm. But the other finalist considered on Tuesday, Gilbert Rochon, a former president of Tuskegee University, was a finalist last year.

Rochon presented himself as the more traditional academic leader. Tuskegee is also a historically black college, and when Rochon was there he increased both enrollment and the university's endowment. He also was a faculty for more than 18 years at Dillard University.

In total the board received 18 applications, and entertained 11 nominations.

“What Grambling State University needs now, more than anything, is stability. I know the Grambling community, and the community knows me,” Gallot said.

Gallot is an alum of Grambling. His current law practice is located in Ruston and he told the board he has many ties to the school and the community. His mother, Mildred, once was a member of the Grambling State University and University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.

He served 12 years in the Louisiana state House of Representatives, where he was floor manager for Gov. Bobby Jindal's ethics bills, and four years as a state senator. He touted his political connections and relationships, and his ability to navigate the politics of higher education funding and policy as one of his strengths.

Gallot received unanimous approval from the Board of Supervisors.

“The Gallot family has a long history with GSU and we think Rick is the strongest choice to be its next leader,” Board Chair Beau Martin said in a statement. “He is passionate about the university and we hope the students, faculty, staff and alumni rallies behind him with support as he takes the helm.”

Gallot's start date, salary and length of contract have yet to be negotiated.


12 2016-07-26
Baton Rouge

Letters: Help Grambling University succeed, not fail


A prized possession of mine is a letter from my dad as I headed to Grambling College in September 1964. I was there during its halcyon days. My experiences on that remarkable campus are priceless, in the classroom, and particularly on the debate team. Grambling prepared its graduates well for successful careers in every field of human endeavor.

My college years paralleled the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. Graduation in May 1968 was sandwiched between the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in April and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in June. Students focused on degree completion fully aware that Grambling and Louisiana Tech, five miles away, in reality, were a world apart.

Much has changed. Grambling no longer has a monopoly on black students; nationally, 90 percent attend majority schools. Many enroll at Louisiana Tech, the University of Louisiana at Monroe and others. Now Grambling struggles with enrollment and finances. Candidly, some of its wounds are self-inflicted. My father, a wise man who was not college-educated, stressed “making the necessary preparations.” In short, plan ahead. Clouds gathering over Grambling for decades should have been anticipated.

Culpability is not Grambling’s exclusively, however. Its governing board bears huge responsibility. Why? Because the single most important decision a board makes is the selection of a President. Grambling’s leadership has been churning for thirty years. One wonders what the University of Louisiana System board has learned from its missteps.

Some alumni and citizens believe Grambling’s days are intentionally numbered. The ULS board has not dispelled this perception. The Grambling brand remains strong, maybe shaped too much by athletics. The university and the board bear responsibility here. And while we are on this subject, how is it that the longest running black college sports event in the world — the Bayou Classic — has not made Grambling and Southern University independently wealthy?

A presidential search at Grambling is underway. Organizations require certain types of leadership at certain stages of their development. Lee Iacocca was the right leader for Chrysler when it was on the verge of bankruptcy. Scott Cowen was the right President for Tulane University following Hurricane Katrina. Alumni and citizens are watching the ULS board to see if they can get it right this time. Grambling is too precious an asset to the state and the nation to abandon its mission — and the promise it holds for future generations.

Alvin J. Schexnider

GSU 1968

Senior fellow, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges

Chesapeake, Va.
12 2016-07-26
Ruston

GSU SELECTED FOR PROGRAM


The Delta Regional Authority recently selected Grambling State University as one of six Historically Black Universities to be a part of their HBCU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Initiative.

Otto Meyers, interim vice president of advancement, said interested HBCUs submitted an application to the Delta Regional Authority for competitive review.

The application process required each university to address previous work in developing and supporting entrepreneurs, a vision for expanding these efforts and the identification of community partners.

Otto Meyers, assembled a team to develop the application.

The writing team consisted of advancement staff, science, technology, engineering and mathematics and business faculty.

Members of the writing team included Meyers, Talmon Butler, Erick Valentine, John Nwoha, Donald White, Ben Nwokolo and Danny Hubbard.

Connie Walton, interim director of sponsored programs led the writing efforts.

Meyers said the ultimate goal of this initiative is to improve the job opportunities available in the Delta Region. This region of the United States has approximately 10 million residents and consists of parishes and counties in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

The GSU vision for expanding its entrepreneurial focus includes providing training that targets all students.

Additionally, specific training will be provided for those aspiring entrepreneurs that have technology-related business ideas.

These ideas may include the development of Apps.

“We are excited that Grambling State University was selected to be a part of this initiative,” said Leon Sanders, interim chief of operations and vice president for finance.

GSU has partnered with agencies to equip students with skills that will impact communities in a positive manner since 1901.

This program supports the expansion of the University’s entrepreneurial footprint and expansion of the training provided to students.”

GSU will receive funds to host a two-day technical assistance, rapid acceleration workshop during year one.

This workshop will focus on areas that are vital to establishing and maintaining a successful business, Sanders said.


12 2016-07-26
Shreveport

14 candidates for GSU Presidency


GRAMBLING

14 candidates have applied to become Grambling State University's next President.


Paul A. Bryant (Ed.D. - Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Associate Provost, Enrollment Management, Albany State University

Carlos R. Clark (Ph.D. - University of Mississippi, University, MS)
Special Assistant to the President for Accreditation, Arkansas Baptist College

Audrey M. Freeman (Ed.D. - Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Principal/Executive Director, Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy, Middle-High School

Richard J. Gallot, Jr. (J.D. - Southern University School of Law, Baton Rouge, LA)
Attorney, Gallot Law Office

Kenneth R. Gay (Ed.D. - University of Houston, Houston, TX)
Principal, John Tyler High School

Chance M. Glenn, Sr. (Ph.D. - The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD)
Dean, College of Enginering, Technology, and Physical Sciences, Alabama A&M University

Eleridge Moses James (Ph.D. - Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI)
Science/Special Education Teacher, New Orleans Public Schools

Burnett Joiner (Ph.D. - University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC)
Dean of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education, Benedict College

Angelia Young Jones (Ph.D. - University of Missouri, Columbia, MO)
Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Brailsford College of Arts and Sciences, Prairie View A&M University

Samuel T. Nichols, Jr. (M.S. - Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS)
Information Technology/Management Analyst, Veterans Administration

Donnovon L. Outten (Ed.D. - Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Webster University

Gerald C. Peoples (Ph.D. - Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS)
Professor, Alcorn State University

Gilbert L. Rochon, III (Ph.D. - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA)
Former President and University Professor, Tuskegee University

Dessie Mae Sanders (M.A. - Grambling State University, Grambling, LA)
Faculty 9th grade English and Literature, Uplift Education, Summit International Preparatory High School


The University of Louisiana System Board is meeting on July 26 and it's expected they'll name Grambling's next President.

The post became open when Dr. Willie Larkin resigned in June. Larkin was Grambling's third president in three years.

Leon Sanders, GSU's vice president of finance and administration, is leading the university in the interim.

Click here for more.

12 2016-07-25
Monroe

Eddie Robinson Museum: Hail to the coach


Whether a football fan or general sports enthusiast, the Eddie G. Robinson Museum on the campus of Grambling State University provides a rich history of the contributions from one of the most influential coaches in NCAA history.

Robinson became a celebrity during his time at Grambling during his 55-year career when he won 408 games. The museum opened in 2010, three years after Robinson died in 2007, to honor Robinson and all he did for the school, community and the game.

In 1999, the Louisiana Legislature created a bill to honor the long-time coach. Exhibits routinely change on a rotating basis, but the nuts and bolts of Robinson's career remain the same.

There is a “Tigers in the pros” section, which honors former Tigers who went on to play in the NFL. A timeline of Robinson's career takes up one room, and a locker room with benches is also featured.

The museum at 126 Jones St. in Grambling is free and open to the public Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
12 2016-07-21
Monroe

GSU selected to participate in entrepreneurial development program


GRAMBLING, La (GSU News Release) - On Monday, July 18, 2016, the Delta Regional Authority selected Grambling State University as one of six Historically Black Universities to be a part of their HBCU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Initiative. Grambling State University is one of the six schools. Interested HBCU’s submitted an application to the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) for competitive review. The application process required each university to address previous work in developing and supporting entrepreneurs, a vision for expanding these efforts and the identification of community partners. Interim Vice President of Advancement, Mr. Otto Meyers, assembled a team to develop the application. The writing team consisted of Advancement staff, STEM and Business faculty. Members of the writing team included Mr. Otto Meyers, Mr. Talmon Butler, Dr. Erick Valentine, Dr. John Nwoha, Dr. Donald White, Dr. Ben Nwokolo, and Dr. Danny Hubbard. The Interim Director of Sponsored Programs, Dr. Connie Walton, led the writing efforts.

According to Meyers, the ultimate goal of this initiative is to improve the job opportunities available in the Delta Region. This region of the United States has approximately 10 million residents and consists of parishes and counties in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.


The GSU vision for expanding its entrepreneurial focus includes providing training that targets all students. Additionally, specific training will be provided for those aspiring entrepreneurs that have technology-related business ideas. These ideas may include the development of Apps.

Mr. Leon Sanders, Interim Chief of Operations and Vice President for Finance and Administration stated, “We are excited that Grambling State University was selected to be a part of this initiative. Since 1901, Grambling State University has partnered with agencies to equip students with skills that will impact communities in a positive manner. This program supports the expansion of the University's entrepreneurial footprint and expansion of the training provided to students."

Grambling State University will receive funds to host a two-day technical assistance, rapid acceleration workshop during year one. This workshop will focus on areas that are vital to establishing and maintaining a successful business.


12 2016-07-20
Shreveport

Negative race relations spark HBCU enrollment increase


After years of decline, brought on by tougher admission standards and stringent requirements for student loans, enrollment at most historically black colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Louisiana, has risen modestly.

Last year, Grambling State University's fall enrollment totaled 4,553 — an increase of 49 students from the previous fall, said Damon Wade, vice president of institutional effectiveness and enrollment management at the university.

Similarly, Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, saw a fall enrollment increase of 322 students in 2015, according to data reported by the Louisiana Board of Regents. And overall enrollment within the Southern University System increased by 628 students for that same year.

Grambling State University in Louisiana.
Grambling State University in Louisiana. (Photo: Segann March/The Times)
Higher education experts say the increase could be due in part to a rise in the number of non-black students attending HBCUs, as well as recent racial conflicts at predominantly white institutions.

But for some black colleges and universities, the enrollment trend is still down.

Dillard University's enrollment has fluctuated over the past four years with enrollment dipping by 15 students last fall.

Southern University Law Center has experienced a recurring decline in enrollment since 2013. Last fall, enrollment was down by 15 students.

The number of non-traditional black students is growing at campuses because of lower tuition, higher academic programs and more students wanting to attend a safer college environment, said Marybeth Gasman, a higher education professor at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions.

"We're seeing an influx of Latino students and also Asian students at HBCUs, but that's happening at all kinds of institutions," Gasman said. "For a long time it wasn't happening at HBCUs, and just in the past five years, it's been happening a lot more. A lot of schools will see more white students if they have an MBA program, law school or programs that aren't at other institutions, but there's still some prejudice and racism that stops white students from going to HBCUs."

File photo
File photo (Photo: Val Horvath/The Times)
Gasman also attributes negative media coverage on predominantly white institutions to sparking an increase in attendance.

"I think that all the national protests and shooting of black men and women has played a part," she said. "I have interviewed quite a few students who have told me that HBCUs are a safe place, a sanctuary."

Grambling State University projects an enrollment of 4,800 students this upcoming school year, up by 247 students from last year. Though an increase, it would be well below 2011 fall enrollment.

"Overall the numbers at HBCUs are up, depending on the institution," Gasman said.

Wade said GSU has recruited international students over the last decade.

"About 10 years ago, we had different pipelines in the Caribbean," he said. "It's maintained steady growth and in some of the other ethnic categories — we're trying. This would be a very comfortable environment for students other than our traditional African American student."

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Dillard University President Walter Kimbrough said all HBCUs should see an increase this upcoming school year because of the negative media surrounding race relations at predominately white institutions.

Though enrollment at Dillard has been down for several years, the liberal-arts institution projects a fall 2016 enrollment of 1,300 students — which would be an increase of 115 students.

"I expect to see an increase in HBCU enrollment throughout the nation," he said. "People are looking at HBCUs differently now. Do I want to go to school at a place where I might be in a hostile environment? University of Missouri had a national story about race relations.

"It's going to be harder for places to diversify their student body because of the negative things that have happened, and HBCUs have benefited from that."

Kelly Stevens, left, and Kinzara Sam talk outside the
Kelly Stevens, left, and Kinzara Sam talk outside the student center at Grambling State University in Louisiana. (Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times)
The lower cost of attending an HBCU has also sparked an interest, Gasman said.

"Another reason is low tuition, there has been a lot of national attention about tuition costs and HBCUs boast tuition that is 50 percent less than majority institutions," she said.

Southern University System officials said targeted recruitment campaigns, an innovative alumni enrollment initiative and creative recruitment strategies have helped boost enrollment at all SU campuses.

SUSLA Connect, a program created by the SU system in 2013, allows students who are unable to meet admission requirements at the Baton Rouge or New Orleans campus to be admitted to Southern University Shreveport.

"Nearly 90 percent of students who don't meet the SU Baton Rouge or SU New Orleans admissions standards are invited to participate in the program," said SU System spokesman Henry Tillman.

How we got here

Within the last few years, historically black colleges and universities in Louisiana experienced a decline or fluctuating numbers when it came to student enrollment each fall.

Professors and chancellors say the enrollment decline stemmed from the lack of available funding and resources, limited access to Parent Plus loans and more students wanting to diversify their education.

"With the push for integration of historically white institutions during the Civil Rights Movement, enrollment dropped at HBCUs and their role of educating the near entirety of the black middle class shifted," Gasman's "The Changing Face of Historically Black Colleges and Universities" 2013 report stated.

In 1950, black students made up 100 percent of the enrollment at HBCUs.

By 1980, that number dropped to 80 percent as more Hispanic, Asian, and Caucasian students began attending HBCUs, which were specifically created to educate black citizens decades after the Civil War, according to Gasman's report.

Kimbrough said enrollment numbers for HBCUs declined when the U.S. Department of Education changed the borrowing rules and credit standards associated with Parent Plus Loans for undergraduate students in 2011.

Before the changes were implemented, Kimbrough said parents were able to obtain a Parent Plus loan if they didn't have a bad credit history involving more than 90-day delinquencies, foreclosures and bankruptcies.

In 2011, charge-off accounts, or accounts in collections that weren't being repaid within five years, hindered many families from being approved.

In 2012-13, enrollment numbers for black students decreased more than other race because of the Parent Plus Loan situation, according to a report issued by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

In Louisiana, that translated to an enrollment drop of 124 students at Dillard University.

"A lot of students were able to get parent plus loans and then all of sudden they weren't," Kimbrough said. “It wasn’t just HBCUs; it impacted any sector that has a significant portion of low-income students.”

The Parent Plus loan situation also caused problems for Xavier University, a private HBCU in New Orleans.

Richard Tucker, director of communications and media relations, said the institution lost more than 200 students after the rules changed.

In 2011, the university enrolled 3,399 students and in fall 2012, only 3,178 students enrolled.

"It caused similar problems at colleges across the nation," he said." The U.S. Department of Education has since reinstated the previous rules, but damage was done.

Is there value in an HBCU education

HBCUs were created to educate black students, especially when Jim Crow laws and segregation took a toll on the black community.

Xavier University became a four-year college in 1925. It still holds the recognition as the only historically black Catholic university in the U.S.

In 1901, Grambling State University was founded. Cheyney University in Pennsylvania was founded in 1837 as the Institute for Colored Youth and is known as the earliest founding date of any HBCU, according to African American Registry.

Higher education professors and chancellors say black college and universities, both private and public, are vital to the success of all students and needed to ensure historical values are up-kept.

Incoming GSU freshman Sarah Walker always knew she wanted to attend an HBCU.

"Grambling State University was one of the first HBCUs to reach out to me," said the Ohio resident. "I'm the only one out of my graduation class that went to an HBCU. I don't think a lot of them wanted to leave home yet and I really wanted a new experience."

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Some students saw more value in attending non-HBCUs.

Students walk on campus at Grambling State University
Students walk on campus at Grambling State University in Louisiana. (Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times)
Parkway High School graduate and incoming LSU freshman, Andrianna Williams, said she wants to have a diverse college experience and have more minority privileges, such as scholarships.

"In this day and age, college is expensive and with the TOPS program on the line, I can't afford it," she said. "The only offers I had for HBCU schools were lower in education standards than LSU, which is crucial for me since I'm going for pre-med."

In order to retain students and continue increasing enrollment numbers, HBCUs need to make sure students understand the value of attending, Gasman said.

"You need to communicate why the institution is a good place for an African American and what it can offer," she said. "Majority institutions are constantly talking about the outcomes and why it's a special place. You can't just assume because someone is black that they're going to come to an HBCU."

By the numbers ; total enrollment 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Xavier University 3,399 3,178 3,121 2,976 2,969

Southern University and A&M College 6,904 6,611 6,730 6,188 6,510

Southern University in Shreveport 2,820 2,931 3,016 2,936 3,222

Southern University in New Orleans 3,245 3,046 2,989 2,674 2,709

Southern University Law Center 707 755 682 635 620

Dillard University 1,249 1,307 1,183 1,200 1,185

Grambling State University 5,207 5,277 5,071 4, 504 4,553

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12 2016-07-19
Shreveport

Audit finds weaknesses that GSU addresses


An independent state audit for Grambling's athletic department shows several weaknesses in the way the school reports expenses and revenues.

Grambling was unable to reconcile ticket sales, account for complimentary tickets issued and had financial discrepancies for student student aid receipts and salaries and benefits for coaches and support staff/administrative personnel, according to a report released Monday by the legislative auditor.

The report, which was sent to the NCAA, was based on a review of Grambling records for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which ended June 30. The report resulted from an annual set of agreed-upon procedures used to examine the financial reporting of the athletic department to determine whether it is compliant with NCAA rules and to help the university evaluate its internal controls.

Grambling conducts its own audit, but an independent auditor uses an engagement agreement with the school to review certain expenses and revenues as it relates to the athletic department.

While the main issues in the report couldn't be adjusted or accounted for, Grambling made the necessary adjustments to correct errors, mainly mathematical, identified by the independent audit. Grambling said the errors resulted "mainly from a complete turnover in athletic business personnel" in charge of that information along with a change in Grambling's account code structure.


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The state auditor used ticket sale reconciliations generated by Ticketmaster and found exceptions regarding ticket sales revenues and complimentary tickets issued. The schedule provided reflected one total for each basketball and baseball ticket sales instead of individual games.

For the 2014 Alabama State football game, ticket sale proceeds were $50 greater than the amount reported and 574 complimentary tickets were issued without supporting signatures of holders.
For the 2015 men's Southern basketball game, 202 complimentary tickets were issued without supporting signatures of holders.
For the 2015 Louisiana Tech baseball game, 15 complimentary tickets were issued without supporting signatures of holders.
Additionally, the report randomly selected 21 student-athletes and tested for student aid recipients, obtained individual student-account detail for each selection and compared total aid allocated from the related aid award letter to the account.

For one of the students, the NCAA's Compliance Assistant software shows more $800 more financial aid than the amount indicated in the signed aid award letter. Another student-athlete showed $1,000 less financial aid than indicated in the student's account, and the aid award letter wasn't signed as authorization.

Grambling reported $53,747 more student aid than in the NCAA's Compliance Assistant software. Grambling said $29,232 of the $53,747 served as summer school aid and the $24,515 difference is unknown.

Grambling reported $14,361 more for salaries and benefits for coaches and $5,659 more for support staff/administrative personnel than amounts originally supported by the school. The report notes Grambling didn't adjust for either amount.

In both cases, the numbers couldn't be adjusted due to a lack of support with the findings.

The report said Grambling didn't provide a breakdown of outside expenses into specific categories from contributions from the Grambling University Foundation, Inc. and the Grambling University Athletic Foundation. The two foundations contributed a combined $102,198 for 2015.

Instead of breaking them down into categories, Grambling listed the numbers as "other operating expenses."

According to the report, financial statements from the Grambling University Foundation, Inc. and the Grambling University Athletic Foundation were independently audited in 2015.


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However, the athletic foundation's audit included a repeat finding involving "inadequate segregation of duties" where one person handles all of the duties. The foundation's response said it would be "impractical" to hire more employees or redistribute duties due to lack of funds.

The state auditor obtained Grambling's internal audit reports for 2014-15 in order to address any weaknesses noted.

In the internal control section of the state audit, five random cash receipt batch sheets of ticket sales came back without issue after they were followed through Grambling's cash control system. The five largest athletic department cash disbursement transactions also adhered to policies and procedures.

Grambling issued an investigative report March 19, 2015 disclosing $157 of missing foundation funds from the equipment purchase made by the former associate vice president for advance and economic development, untimely accountability of the equipment, lack of safeguarding of the equipment and the unauthorized use of off-campus storage facilities. Grambling agreed with the findings and outlined a plan of corrective action.

In 2015, Grambling reported a net loss of $2 million after totaling $7.3 million in expenses to just $5.3 million in revenue.
12 2016-07-15
Associated Press

Board to discuss search for next Grambling State president


GRAMBLING, La. (AP) — The search continues for a new president at Grambling State University.
News outlets report the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors will meet July 26 in Baton Rouge to discuss the next step in the selection process, among other matters.
The board is looking to replace former Grambling State University President Willie Larkin, who resigned last month.
Media report that seven applicants are currently in the bidding to succeed Larkin as the university's 13th president.

12 2016-07-15
Ruston

GSU ADDS NEW PRESIDENTIAL APPLICANTS, LOSES TWO OTHERS


Four more people applied for the Grambling State University president position Wednesday while two of the previous five applicants dropped out.

The newest applicants include: Carlos Clark, special assistant to the president for accreditation at Arkansas Baptist College; Audrey Freeman, principal/executive director at Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy middle and high school, in Baltimore, Maryland; Angelia Young Jones, adjunct professor of political science in the Brailsford College of Arts and Sciences at Prairie View A&M University, in Prairie View, Texas; and Dessie Mae Sanders, ninth grade English and literature Uplift Education at Summit International Prepatory High School, in Arlington, Texas.

Sanders is also a GSU alum.

Ivory Nelson, president emeritus of Lincoln University, in Jefferson City, Missouri, and Jerald Woolfork, vice president of student affairs at State University of New York at Osweghad, dropped out of consideration, according to a University of Louisiana System press release.

Paul Bryant, associate provost, enrollment management at Albany State University; Rick Gallot, a Rutson attorney, former state lawmaker and GSU alum; and Donnovon Outten, associate vice president for academic affairs in Webster University in Webster Groves, Missouri; are also in the running for the presidency.

The UL system board will meet to discuss the selection of the next GSU president July 26 in Baton Rouge.
12 2016-07-14
Monroe

Four more apply for Grambling post; two drop out


Four more have applied for the top job at Grambling State University, while two of the previous five applicants have dropped out.

The University of Louisiana System Board hopes to name a new president at its July 26 meeting in Baton Rouge despite criticism from some alumni and academicians who say the process is too hasty and a national search should be conducted.

University of Louisiana System President Dan Reneau cited an "urgent need" for leadership in resisting an extended search.

Former President Willie Larkin was forced to resign last month after less than a year on the job. He was the 10th president at the university in the last 25 years.

The latest applicants include: Carlos Clark, special assistant to the president for accreditation at Arkansas Baptist College and previously executive vice president at Wilberforce University in Ohio; Audrey Freeman, principal and executive director at Bluford Drew Jamison STEM Academy, Middle School, Baltimore; Angelia Young Jones, adjunct professor of political science at Prairie View A&M University; and Dessie Mae Sanders, faculty, English and Literature Uplift Education, Summit International Preparatory High School, Arlington, Texas.

Previous applicants include: Paul Bryant, associate provost, enrollment management, Albany State University (nominated by former GSU President Frank Pogue); Rick Gallot of Grambling, attorney, member of the Cleco Corp. board of directors and former state lawmaker; and Donnovon Outten, associate vice president for academic affairs, Webster University.

Ivory A. Nelson, president emeritus of Lincoln University, and Jerald Woolfork, vice president for student affairs at State University of New York at Oswegohad, have withdrawn from consideration.

Reneau dismissed rumors that the system has already chosen Gallot for the job, saying the ULS board is "independent."

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1
12 2016-07-13
Monroe

Grambling State University Passes GRAD Act with a 100 Percent Score


GRAMBLING, La (GSU News Release) - Grambling State University (GSU) passed the Louisiana Granting Resources and Autonomy for Resources for Diplomas (GRAD) Act a second time with a score of 100 percent in all four standards for FY 2014/2015 (Year 5) and FY 2015/2016 (Year 6).

Grambling State University is monitored annually by the Board of Regents in regards to our progress in meeting the performance objectives of the Louisiana Granting Resources and Autonomy for Resources for Diplomas Act (LA Grad Act) for Year 6. “We are proud that our institution was able to achieve successful attainment of the student success objective to retain tuition authority and performance funding”, said Patricia J. Hutcherson, Executive Director of Enrollment Management/University Registrar.

Hutcherson explains that the GRAD Act became law in 2010. It gives higher education institutions increased autonomy and tuition flexibility in exchange for their commitment to statewide performance goals. The four standards are Student Success, Articulation and Transfer, Workforce and Economic Development, and Institutional Efficiency and Accountability. Passage of a performance objective requires a minimum overall score of 80%. Year 6 marks the final year of the GRAD Act performance accountability process and related legislative data audits.


In 2010, the Louisiana Legislature enacted the GRAD Act, which provides for six-year performance agreements between the Louisiana Board of Regents and Louisiana public postsecondary education systems and institutions with the goal of increasing accountability and performance among the participating institutions in exchange for increased tuition authority and operational autonomies.

The GRAD Act requires the Louisiana Board of Regents to annually review, monitor and report to the legislature and the governor each participating institution’s progress in meeting the four performance objectives of the GRAD Act.

Dr. Janet A. Guyden, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs explains that the 100 percent pass rate lays a strong foundation of information that documents outcomes in key areas such as admissions, cohort baseline data, retention from first to second year and beyond, progression to upper division areas, and graduation rates. The LA GRAD Act information captures best practices for higher education institutions, like Grambling State, that speak to their viability and documents outcomes that support institutional goals and objectives. The LA GRAD Act has ended but the template of information is valuable and can be used as a baseline into our future.
12 2016-07-11
Monroe

Local stars Manning, Eave inducted into GSU Hall of Fame


GRAMBLING — Billy Manning stopped for a brief moment from shaking hands and looked around a room of more than 200 people.

The West Monroe native couldn't help but notice the legendary ensemble and cast of characters Saturday at Grambling's assembly center that had strong enough credentials to start their own NFL, MLB or NBA team.

The group, eloquently known as the Grambling Legends, looked on as Manning and 10 others were inducted as part of the 2016 Grambling Hall of Fame class.

"Got some legends in this room, some great legends — Willis Reed, Shack Harris, Doug Williams. I'm just happy to be a part of it," said Manning, who played football and later coached football at Grambling. "I ain't getting no younger so coming back is a good time."

Manning was one of two local stars honored at the eighth annual event on Grambling's campus, joining Bastrop's Gary Eave, who excelled for Grambling's baseball team in the 1980s.

Eave, who was a first-team Southwestern Athletic Conference selection in 1984 and 1985, was one of the first honored during the near three-hour ceremony.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
Grambling Legends return to help induct 2016 class

"It's a wonderful opportunity to be back and to be honored," Eave said. "Anytime somebody appreciates the body of work that you put in and recognizes it as being done well enough to give you this type of prestigious honor is very humbling. I'm gracious for all the people from Bastrop that supported me through Little League, high school and allowed me to be formed into the athlete I became at Grambling."

Eave called the honor "almost surreal" to be a part of. Grambling stars like Williams, who won a Super Bowl with the Redskins, Harris and Reed, a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame were joined by the likes of Willie Brown, an NFL Hall of Famer who played with the Raiders, and former MLB star Ralph Garr.

"It's almost as though I'm not deserving to be here amongst those people because, in my opinion, they are iconic and heroic people that came through Grambling," Eave said. "I fell as though they're the ones that set the bar."

Eave said he thought back on his career at Grambling, which led to a 12th-round draft selection by the Braves in 1985, earlier this week while he cut his lawn. He then told a story of how he initially committed to Alcorn State before coming to Grambling after former coach Wilbert Ellis lured him to campus.

Reed, Williams and Harris all introduced members of the induction class. Reed was on stage to give former basketball player Rufus Calhoun his hall of fame ring.

Calhoun, who got choked up several times during his 10-minute long speech, touched on a variety of subjects including on this week's events around the country that produced shootings in Baton Rouge, Dallas and Minnesota. He noted how there is a Black Lives Matter movement now, but he said life was difficult at Grambling back in the 1960s.

Sports memorabilia for a silent auction lines a wallBuy Photo
Sports memorabilia for a silent auction lines a wall of Grambling's assembly center during the Grambling Legends Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. (Photo: SEAN ISABELLA/The News-Star)
At the time, segregation was legal.

"It was a difficult adjustment. There were black fountains and white fountains," said Calhoun, while noting how African-Americans were treated when they would drive over to Ruston. "We would sit in the back at the movies."

Before Manning was inducted, he, too, spoke about integration as it related to athletics.

During the 1960s, schools like Grambing and other SWAC schools competed at a high level. Manning earned All-America honors in 1969 and later coached under Eddie Robinson from 1979 to 1994.

"After integration, everybody is all over the country now. Back then, we were all in one little world. I was lucky to play," he said. "I didn't realize how good I was. This is a great reward."

Earlier in the night, Brown and his outgoing personality strolled the room as part of a live auction. He mentioned how the proceeds from the auction serve as one of the biggest fundraisers for the Grambling Legends, which boasts 110 former players, coaches and contributors.

"They put me in charge because I know how to get money out of ya," Brown said.

Items auctioned off included a game-worn jersey from his days with the Raiders, a sport jacket worn by legendary coach Eddie Robinson in 1976 at the Pioneer Bowl in Japan, the first college football game played outside the western hemisphere, and a pair of tickets to the Saints-Rams game in New Orleans the weekend of the Bayou Classic. Saints coach Sean Payton donated the tickets to Doug Williams.

From left, Grambling mayor Edward Jones and GramblingBuy Photo
From left, Grambling mayor Edward Jones and Grambling legends Howard Davis, Doug Williams and Shack Harris pose for a photo Saturday at the 2016 Grambling Legends Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. (Photo: SEAN ISABELLA/The News-Star)
2016 Grambling Legends Hall of Fame Class

Football

Henry Davis
Billy Manning
Clifton McNeil
Virgil Robinson Jr.
Robert Smith

Baseball

Gary Eave
Lenny Webster

Track and Field

Debra Armstrong
Jack Phillips

Basketball

Rufus Calhoun


12 2016-07-11
Ruston

UL SYSTEM NAMES GSU PRESIDENT APPLICANTS


Five individuals have submitted their resume’ for consideration for the position of Grambling State University President.

The applicants are:

• Rick Gallot, attorney, former state lawmaker;

• Paul Bryant, associate provost, enrollment management at Albany State University;

• Audrey Freeman, principal/executive director of Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy, Middle-High School

• Donnovon Outten, associate vice president of academic affairs at Webster University;

• Jerald Woolfolk, vice president for student affairs, enrollment management at State University of New York at Oswego.

Former president Willie Larkin resigned last month after a little less than a year at his position.
There have been 10 president in the last 25 years.

Leon Sanders, vice president of finance and administration, was named person in charge of handling operations.


12 2016-07-08
Monroe

Five Candidates Running for GSU's Next President


GRAMBLING, La. --

Five candidates have submitted their names in hopes of becoming Grambling State University's next president.

Here are the applicants:

Paul A. Bryant (Ed.D. - Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Associate Provost, Enrollment Management, Albany State University



Audrey M. Freeman (Ed.D. - Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Principal/Executive Director, Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy, Middle-High School



Richard J. Gallot, Jr. (J.D. - Southern University School of Law, Baton Rouge, LA)

Attorney, Gallot Law Office



Donnovon L. Outten (Ed.D. - Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Webster University



Jerald Jones Woolfolk (Ph.D. - Jackson State University, Jackson, MS)

Vice President for Student Affairs, Enrollment Management, State University of New York at Oswego



The post became open when Dr. Willie Larkin resigned last month. Larkin was Grambling's third president in three years.

The University of Louisiana System Board is meeting on July 26 and it's expected they'll name Grambling's next President.

Leon Sanders, GSU's vice president of finance and administration, is leading the university in the interim.

Click here for more.


12 2016-07-07
Monroe

Grambling timeline secure for now; see who's applied


University of Louisiana System President Dan Reneau, citing the "urgent need" for leadership, said the board plans to stick with its plan to hire a new president for Grambling State University July 26 despite criticism from some alumni and higher education leaders who believe the timeline is rushed.

Five candidates have applied or been nominated as of Wednesday, including: Paul Bryant, associate provost, enrollment management, Albany State University (nominated by former GSU President Frank Pogue); Rick Gallot of Grambling, attorney, member of the Cleco Corp. board of directors and former state lawmaker; Ivory A. Nelson, president emeritus, Lincoln University (1999-2012); Donnovon Outten, associate vice president for academic affairs, Webster University; and Jerald Woolfork, vice president for student affairs, State University of New York at Oswego.

Grambling has been led by 10 presidents during the past 25 years. The last, former President Willie Larkin, was forced to resign last month after less than a year on the job.

"There's been a carousel of presidents that has to stop," Reneau said. "There is an urgent need for leadership at the institution. In the past there have been six-month to year-long searches. We just went through that (in hiring Larkin) and it hasn't worked out for Grambling."

But there has been pushback.

Grambling alumnus Frederick Pinkney, a member of Gov. John Bel Edwards' Higher Education Transition Committee, sent an open letter to the ULS board.

"The recent forced resignation of Grambling State University’s president by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors is another example of the flagrant display of the board’s lack of support of and minimal interest in GSU’s growth, stability and strong legacy of excellence," he wrote. "Once again, the board has negated its policies by attempting to fill the presidency in one month."

Pinkney's letter also advanced the widespread rumor that Gallot is the "presumptive nominee."

Alumnus J.K. Osiri has posted an online petition asking the ULS board to appoint an interim president while consultants conduct an assessment of Grambling and its needs before hiring a permanent leader. It also requests the board hire a firm to to conduct a national search and require the new president to complete a leadership training program. The petition had 211 supporters as of Wednesday morning.

Dillard University President Walter Kimbrough has also been publicly critical of the search process and the ULS board, calling the search timeline and rumored pre-section of Gallot a "declaration of war."

"Everybody who cares about Grambling has a right to provide their input; I think it's healthy," Reneau said. "But I can assure everyone that this board, as well as myself, are directing our full attention and energy to finding the best person to lead this great, historic institution."

Reneau dismissed the notion that the fix is in for Gallot, although Reneau said he considers Gallot a well qualified applicant "who has a long history with the university and community." Gallot, 50, a GSU alumnus, has lived in the town his entire life.

"Our board is independent," Reneau said.

Some of Gallot's former colleagues in the Legislature threw their support behind him as soon as Larkin resigned. "He would be a person I would embrace as the new Grambling president," said Rep. Patrick Jefferson, D-Homer, who described Gallot as his mentor. "He would be an excellent choice."

Shawn Murphy of Jonesboro, a member of the ULS board, said he and his fellow directors have the best interests of Grambling at heart."

"I'm as concerned as anybody about the future of Grambling; I have a deep love for the institution," said Murphy, who was a member during the search that found Larkin. "This board desperately wants to make the right decision for Grambling. I don't think at this point it would serve Grambling well to repeat a year-long search. In my opinion this is a critical time in the university's history and the faster we can fill the void the better."

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1


12 2016-07-07
Regional/National

Alton Sterling Makes Southern, Grambling Next Up to Make the Case for True Justice


Alton Sterling is the latest, but won’t be the last black man killed by questionable police violence caught on film. And again, the killing fields are within protest shouting distance of a flagship historically black college – this time, Southern University.

History teaches us that boots on the ground and voices in bullhorns will always be an unlimited asset for HBCUs in the fight against racial injustice, real or perceived. Black colleges will always be a hub for protest power, but over the last 40 years, HBCUs have been ignored as the institutional hubs to specifically address the roots of injustice; poverty, broken education systems, and underrepresentation in law and public governance.

In the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting, Harris-Stowe State University President Dwaun Warmack built a platform for ongoing community conversation around social justice. In Baltimore, Morgan State University President David Wilson launched a committee to study and recommend changes in the city’s political, social and economic structures after the death of Freddie Gray and resulting unrest in Baltimore City.

Prairie View A&M University George Wright became a national voice on the pain associated with police violence following the death of alumna Sandra Bland, a voice that also translated into student and civic action in a community dramatically defined by generational racism and division.


And now, the focus is on Louisiana, where HBCU stakeholders should again expect leadership to stand at the forefront of people fed up with uneven arrest and detention tactics, ambiguous rules about engaging active crime, and another black man shot dead on the streets.

It’s now time for Southern President Ray Belton, Grambling State Person in Charge Leon Sanders, and a coalition of HBCU advocates to go to those weary places far too many presidents, chancellors and students have recently traveled too often, to plead the case on behalf of the voiceless, hopeless, and senselessly departed.

It is their turn now to pledge the full force of their academic missions behind the cause of improving social justice outcomes for vulnerable and neglected communities throughout Louisiana and the southeast.

Even if SU’s Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy never earns the funding it needs to shift the scholarly discourse on disparate arrest rates of black men in Louisiana, or to bolster the number of qualified mental health counselors in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the demand must be made.



Even if Grambling cannot convince its own system board to hire a president with the vision to advance the school’s standing as a resource for the training of black police officers, educators and journalists who can reverse the impact of racism and poverty in the state, they must stand in and demand for it to be so.

Even if white lawmakers, rich black folks and everyone in between doesn’t quite understand understand that HBCUs throughout the country do more in a single year to address black disparities than any other institution or organization in the country does in a decade, the case must be made plain.

Because when the case is left unmade, and the bodies are buried and the prayers are sent up to Heaven, black colleges are left the only places where people know exactly how to prevent the next shooting from happening.

They know that it doesn’t start with black respectability politics, or police training, or new laws to prosecute overzealous cops working in neighborhoods they fear and resent; HBCUs know that the saving of lives begins with helping people to visualize life beyond selling CD’s in a convenience store parking lot.

It begins with building communities where police aren’t around just for crime response and arrest, but for collaborative peacekeeping and engagement with neighbors.

HBCU leaders know how to stop the madness, better than anyone.

They also know how that their cities and states, and even their own alumni, aren’t truly invested in seeing these solutions actualized through investment and accountability.

So they don’t demand change they know will never come.

But this time, they have to – because people’s lives actually depend upon it.
12 2016-07-06
Monroe

Search begins to fill one tough job


Presidents at Grambling State University don’t last long in the job.

The most recent, Willie Larkin, whose resignation became official at the end of June, lasted one year. He was the 10th president at GSU in the past 25 years. By comparison, Louisiana Tech University has had three presidents since 1962 and the University of Louisiana at Monroe has had four since 1976.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities played a major role in the 20th century of developing African-American scholars and professionals when they were shut out by mainstream universities because of their race.

But in the 21st century, HBCUs have to redefine their missions as doors have opened for people of all races. There has to be some value added to attract and retain students.

Larkin never really had a chance to define that mission. He was too busy putting out fires left for him and created for him. It’s been left to his successor, if the next president lasts long enough to leave a mark. Unfortunately, the search window set up by the University of Louisiana System is less than reassuring.

In recent history, GSU presidents have been besieged. The Faculty Senate has voted no confidence in the past two leaders. The faculty asked for the dismissal of interim President Cynthia Warrick as well as Larkin, feeling they were left out of the tough, and often unpopular, decisions.

Pressure on the president came from supporters and alumni, also. When Larkin announced his resignation, he strongly urged, for instance, that James Bradford, a Grambling alumnus and longtime supporter, leave GSU alone.

The faculty and supporters don’t seem to realize that GSU’s presidents, in making the tough decisions they’ve faced, were dealing with the realities of not only shrinking state support for higher education but also shrinking interest in HBCUs.

Financial support from the state has dropped 56 percent in seven years. That puts pressure on raising tuition, something no president wants to do, because higher tuition can lead to decreased enrollment. Still, Grambling saw a slight increase of 49 students to 4,553 last year, a turnaround from years of decline.

When Larkin took GSU’s helm, a history of budget deficits and declining enrollment almost pushed the university into financial exingency. And, the university had lost its undergraduate student nursing program.

It’s been a tough road. Larkin, in a letter addressed to faculty, students, alumni, friends and allies, said the university was fighting for her life. To ignore it would have brought ruin to GSU.

"When I took office as Grambling's ninth permanent President on July 1; the financial woes at the university were as follows: the structural deficit for the operating budget was $5,158,109. And, the athletics department's budget had a whopping deficit of $5,746,321. So, this administration began its presidency having to dig out of a huge hole," he said.

The problems remain. The solutions will still be unpopular. That doesn’t seem to resonate in those who attended Grambling at better times.

As Grambling alumnus Frederic Pinkley asked the University of Louisiana System board, "When does the revolving door stop? How do expect to grow and maintain with this change?" Pinkley pointed to the board's responsibility for its hires and said stability needs to come to the Grambling community.

In response, the ULS board has called for a search of one month and will proceed without the help of a search firm. Larkin’s hire came after a year’s search with the help of such a firm.

At a time when so much rides on the next selection, looking for a magic combination of academician, politician and consensus builder, one month seems insufficient unless the board already has a potential hire in mind.

Many tough and unpopular decisions remain if Grambling is going to become the viable institution it once was. A new president must be given the authority and support to do the job without the distraction of interference from internal and external forces.

It’s an almost impossible job, and not one you’ll see applicants flocking to the door to take. But if those who love Grambling want her to rise from the ashes, they will have to allow the ULS board to hire a new president and then pledge support to that person.


12 2016-07-06
Monroe

KNOE ON THE GO: HIGH ABILITY PROGRAM


High school students earn college credit at Grambling State University during its High Ability Program this summer.

12 2016-07-05
Monroe

Is Grambling under siege?


Recently, Dr. Willie Larkin resigned as president of Grambling State University right before his first anniversary at the helm. In the book “Presidencies Derailed,” any presidency that does not lead to a second contract for the leader is viewed as a failure. This is not to disparage Dr. Larkin, but it was quickly apparent that he and Grambling State were not a good fit.

The real problem is that over the course of the past 25 years it seems like no president has been a good fit for Grambling. This means that Grambling State University, an HBCU with national name brand recognition, has been unable to attract talent equal to its reputation, or that there is something problematic in the culture of the institution that repeats this pattern of failure. In reality, it is probably a combination of the two plus other factors.

The culture is a problem, but the problem is also continuing to follow the same failed script to find a leader for Grambling. Louisiana is blessed to have tremendous HBCUs that have and continue to play an essential role in providing leadership to the state and the nation. So when Grambling is weakened, it should concern all Louisianans, regardless of race.

LANDMARK -Buy Photo
Long-Jones Hall on the campus of Grambling State University in Grambling. (Photo: The News-Star/File photo)
In this period of crisis the University of Louisiana System has just made it worse. The board announced they are accepting applications for the presidency now with hopes of naming a new president by July 26, as in one month away. Either the board already has someone lined up, which in that case they should dispense with the charade and announce today, or they are brazenly showing a lack of concern for Grambling, reinforcing a commonly held belief that it is the stepchild of the system. No other school has had a one month search, but somehow that is good enough for Grambling.

But it is not too late. If this is an authentic search, I am pleading for the board to take these steps.

1. Watch the board meeting where Dr. Larkin resigned. In about a 10 minute span, the problem is made painfully plain. Dr. Larkin offers his comments, and concludes with mentioning the former past national alumni president, suggesting he leave Grambling alone. This same former president has been mentioned in previous articles about conflict between Grambling presidents and alumni.

But the charge was given to the board by alumnus Dr. Fredrick Pinkney. In an impassioned, well documented address to the board, he challenged the board to provide the care and attention to Grambling as it does with the other system institutions, as Pinkney noted far fewer transitions at neighboring institutions. In fact, a deeper conversation with Pinkney and a few key alumni, faculty, staff and students would be helpful for the board.

The tiger statue on the campus of Grambling State University.Buy Photo
The tiger statue on the campus of Grambling State University. (Photo: The News-Star/File photo)
2. Spend six months doing a deep dive into the culture of Grambling. The system should designate financial resources to hire several teams of consultants, experts, and HBCU leaders to conduct a 360 degree analysis of Grambling. Every aspect of the institution needs to be explored and then presented to the board and system leaders so that they understand Grambling. This needs to begin immediately and can conclude by the end of the year.

3. Hire an aggressive search firm. I knew the last search was a failure when the list of eight semifinalists was released. Grambling is an extremely tough job in a state facing a higher education budget crisis, and there was no one with a significant record of handling that kind of job. This isn’t the kind of job where you simply post the job announcement and wait for rock stars to apply. The history of the university chewing up and spitting out presidents rightfully gives great candidates pause about moving their family to rural Louisiana only to be out in less than 5 years and a stain on their reputation.

So the firm is going to have to make a compelling argument to get the kind of talent needed to lead Grambling. They are going to have to develop a list of candidates, and then go after them. The firm selected needs to be able to show the capacity to bring a star to Grambling because at this point nothing else is acceptable.

By recruiting and hiring a great leader, not only will the culture have a chance to change, but the system can send the message that they believe in Grambling and will do whatever it takes to ensure success. Anything less than this continues to fuel speculation of plans to close the university. The announcement that the board plans to do this search without committing resources to fully assess the culture of Grambling before introducing a new leader is foolish at best, if not an outright show of disrespect.

So if there is already a chosen leader for Grambling, announce now and let’s move on. But even that move without really taking time to understand why there is this vicious cycle of failure does not provide hope to the Grambling nation.

In fact, it is a declaration of war.

Dr. Walter Kimbrough is president of Dillard University in New Orleans.


12 2016-07-05
Regional/National

It’s Time For Grambling Alumni to Select The Next President


Grambling State University graduates have mastered the space and discussion on GSU’s struggles, but have not turned the talk into advocacy. From Chicago to Dallas, from Los Angeles to Washington D.C., there is no more time or room for Internet advocacy.

Grambling’s supporters must transition, en masse, from over-excited observers to active stakeholders.

A lack of action over the next two weeks, or reaction playing out in the form of showing out at the next UL board meeting, may result in the last president Grambling will ever see, because another term of failed leadership will authorize the state’s power structure to pull the plug on autonomy, and to merge the school with another University of Louisiana System School in the next few years.

After all, the system has spent a lot of time and money illegally duplicating most of Grambling’s most attractive programs in business, kinesiology, and secondary education at nearby Louisiana Tech, all to prepare for the exact moment of seamless, race-baiting, tradition-erasing, cost-saving efficiency.


And no one seemed to notice, because the school changed presidential identities often enough so that the distraction of leadership transition would be enough to divert attention away from the separate-but-equal setup between the two schools, and its long-term effects.

Grambling State alumni must force the issue on the naming of its next president, and outside of Facebook, message boards, group chats and email exchanges, must begin to immerse themselves in details about the condition of GSU, not just the conspiracy theories which revolve around all HBCUs, and Louisiana’s public black colleges in particular.

They have to know what the endowment is, which programs are graduating large numbers of students, how much money has been appropriated to Grambling over the last five years and how the money was spent. They need to know which alumni chapters are giving the most money, what areas of the state and country send the largest number of undergraduate students to campus, and which corporations in Louisiana have worked with Grambling in the last 20 years.

These are just a handful of the dozens of questions which can help in shaping the ideal profile for a presidential search, and in building the profile for who GSU grads should demand the state to consider for the presidential vacancy. If alumni decide that building enrollment is the top priority, then they should consider a candidate with extensive experience in student affairs, and preferably with existing ties to Louisiana.



If the top priority is reestablishing the nursing school and building program capacity and faculty resources, then alumni should consider an academician with proven success in accreditation approval and monitoring, specifically with previous experience in areas of social science, education, business or health sciences.

If the most important thing is building connections with legislators, alumni and donors, then alumni should consider someone who brings in a cadre of active donor prospects, legislative victories and media savvy. But that person must be surrounded by a presidential mentor to help in identifying strong candidates for provost and student affairs, to account for the amount of time that will be necessary for them to spend off campus raising money.

But if Gramblinites decide that all three aspects are equal in importance, then they must identify a sitting executive with years of experience as a faculty member and with substantial brand power to leverage attention and insulation from the UL Board and legislators, at least for the first two years while they recover from the alumni coup.

All of this requires research, intellect and constant communication. And according to the UL Board, there’s less than two weeks before a new president could be named. In the reality of media cycles, that gives alumni a short week following a holiday weekend to review the HBCU landscape and talent-spot people who would be willing to live in rural Louisiana, to deal with an antagonistic board, to deal with a small faction of prominent alumni who want to make money off of the campus and its struggles, to deal with faculty who are likely to vote no confidence at the first sign of perceived wavering, and to deal with legislators who could pull the plug on the school with one audit request.

And despite all of that, there are several candidates around the country and in Louisiana who are interested in the job. All alumni have to do is find them, and tell the UL board that anyone less than the caliber of people assembled on their list is an outright declaration of harmful intention against the school, and grounds for legal action.

Good luck, Tigers. It is your time, but you don’t have much of it left.


12 2016-07-05
Regional/National

Grambling Alumnus Open Letter Cites Scandal, Suffering at Hands of UL System Board


Grambling State University graduate Frederick Pinkney has submitted an open letter to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, charging the board with willful negligence in its presidential appointing power and governance practices.

Dr. Pinkney, a member of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’ Higher Education Transition Committee, chronicles the historic and current disparities in Grambling’s performance under changing leadership, in comparison to other UL System institutions.

The recent forced resignation of Grambling State University’s (GSU) president by the University of Louisiana System (ULS) Board of Supervisors (BOS) is another example of the vagrant display of the board’s lack of support of and minimal interest in GSU’s growth, stability, and strong legacy of excellence. Once again, the board has negated its policies by attempting to fill the presidency in one month. This is an action that sends the clear message that it (the board) does not represent the university’s best interests. Further, the ULS-BOS continues to exploit and oppress GSU through its governance of instability and political order. Unfortunately, this discriminatory relationship between the ULS-BOS and GSU is nothing new.

From 1901 to 1991, GSU had three presidents who served over the 90-year span. The institution grew from a small agricultural school to an internationally acclaimed university offering 108 degree programs and boasting top rankings in the areas of CIS, criminal justice, education, nursing, and athletics.


From 1992 to 2016, the ULS-BOS under the leadership of various system presidents, hired nine Presidents at GSU – six permanent and three interim. Five of six presidents were forced to resign, and two interim presidents were not permitted to apply for the permanent position. This designed instability has resulted in the loss of 55 degree programs, a decline from 9,000 to 4,500 in student enrollment, a substantial decrease in grant funding and corporate sponsorships, the non-renewal of the consent decree, the loss of the bachelor’s degree program in nursing, doctoral degree in K-12 Administration and Supervision, and the removal of the three laboratory schools.

Resultantly, the ULS-BOS, in conjunction with state legislators, has systemically compromised efforts to offer a quality education that is affordable and accessible. In contrast, none of the other eight institutions – La. Tech, ULM, Northwestern, McNeese, Nicholls State, ULL, Southeastern and UNO – have experienced this kind of turnover in leadership and loss. As the only historically black college and university (HBCU) in the ULS, one is forced to conclude that Grambling State University is neither a priority to nor worthy of capable leadership by the ULS-BOS. This, despite the fact that GSU is an essential economic driver to the state and the community it serves with a total annual spending impact of 264 million dollars. As part of the ULS, the impact of each dollar invested in GSU is multiplied by eight as it cycles through the Louisiana economy.

Additionally, this “revolving door of leadership” has exposed a system of protection for incompetent senior leadership at GSU by the ULS-BOS during the tenures of Sally Clausen and Sandra Woodley, who served as system president from 2001-2010 and 2013-2015 respectively. Interestingly, the board seems to have an “inexplicable affinity” for and the unwarranted protection of GSU’s vice president for finance, particularly the last two. Seemingly, they have been given the privilege of usurping the university president’s authority and reporting directly to the ULS-BOS. No president has been able to fire or reassign them. They tend to have received more support from ULS-BOS than any president under which they served, and they and other high-ranking, incompetent administrators out serve the presidents.

This kind of political chicanery dates back to the Judson Administration when the Black and Gold Foundation was formed. Billy Owens, then-vice president for finance, submitted contracts and agreements prepared by then-State Representative Rick Gallot on behalf of Grambling State University to continue negotiations with Black and Gold Facilities, Inc., (a subsidiary of the Black and Gold Foundation) to build campus housing complexes. The ULS-BOS, of which Dr. Mildred Gallot, Rick’s mother, was a member, approved the request during its June 23, 2006, meeting. This one act, guided by Billy Owens, single-handedly compromised the affordability of Grambling for the students it serves and was a key factor in the loss of revenue and the deficit that the university currently faces. When a group of university employees uncovered and reported the malfeasance of Billy Owens to the ULS-BOS, they were fired and Billy Owens was allowed to remain until he “resigned,” citing a family emergency. Ironically, his resignation after malfeasance had been proven.



This is why it was not surprising to see Sally Clausen, who serves in no position on the ULS-BOS, at the last board meeting during which it was decided that Leon Sanders, current vice president for finance, was selected as “the person in charge of campus operations,” pending the naming of a president. Leon Sanders was hired at GSU by Billy Owens as director of facilities. Clearly, this is the culture created and sanctioned by the ULS-BOS. Because GSU is an academic institution, it is no stretch of the imagination to assume that the board would select an academician as “the person in charge.” After all, there are professors who, in addition to being tenured, are also capable of handling the day-to-day operations at the university. Both, Dr. Dan Reneau and Dr. Les Guice, Louisiana Tech’s former and current presidents respectively, served in the academic arena prior to their presidential tenures.

The board’s recent departure from its hiring policy to fast-track a president without a search committee and established criteria further promulgates the wide-spread rumor and reference made in diverseeducation.com that Attorney Richard “Rick” Gallot, Jr, is the presumptive nominee and will be appointed president of GSU on August 1. Attorney Gallot, a Grambling alumnus, former state representative and state senator who chaired the House and Governmental Affairs Committee under Governor Jindal, was the recipient of seven conflict-of-interest charges involving his legal representation of a company in business dealings with GSU and the board during Sally Clausen’s term as system president. Due to statute of limitations expiration, he was later cleared of these charges. Additionally, according to an article that ran in the May 8, 2014, edition of The Times Picayune newspaper, Attorney Gallot used $3,189 in campaign funds for a trade mission trip to Panama in 2012. The Senate reimbursed the expenses, but his campaign reports included no evidence that he repaid his campaign. Gallot dropped out of the 3rd District Judge race the next month.

Despite this, Gallot has a well-established name and reputation in the Grambling community; and he could well serve GSU in several other positions, such as Vice-President for Governmental Affairs or Vice-President of Institutional Advancement.

Moreover, just as other ULS schools, Grambling State University needs a seasoned-academician and higher education administrator at its helm.

I dare say that most of the members of the Grambling State University family are not pleased with the persistent degradation of our beloved institution and our strong legacy of excellence. We see what is happening, and we neither approve nor trust the decisions being made by the ULS-BOS. We DEMAND that the ULS-BOS take a reasonable amount of time to conduct a national search to identify a leader who possesses the leadership necessary to ensure that Grambling State University remains a comprehensive four-year institution. We DEMAND the same attention and professionalism given to other ULS schools. We will not sit idly by to allow these shenanigans to continue. We must and we will refute the argument that the only power white folks give to black folks is the power to destroy themselves.

We will not be destroyed by back room decisions by a few which affect the whole and stifle our ability to become who we are. WE ARE GRAMBLING! It is our hope that Governor John Bel Edwards, for whom many of us voted, will not allow this to happen under his watch.
12 2016-07-01
Associated Press

Students from other races help boost enrollment at black colleges


After years of decline, brought on by tougher admission standards and stringent requirements for student loans, enrollment at most historically black colleges and universities in Louisiana has risen modestly.

Southern University saw a fall enrollment increase of 322 students in 2015.

Last year, Grambling State University’s fall enrollment totaled 4,553 — an increase of 49 students from the previous fall.

Higher education experts say the increase could be due, in part, to a rise in the number of nonblack students attending historically black schools, as well as recent racial conflicts at predominantly white institutions.

But for some black colleges and universities, the enrollment trend is still down.

Dillard University’s enrollment has fluctuated over the past four years, with enrollment dipping by 15 students last fall.

Southern University Law Center has experienced a recurring decline in enrollment since 2013. Last fall, enrollment was down by 15 students.

The number of nontraditional black students is growing at campuses because of lower tuition, higher academic programs and more students wanting to attend a safer college environment, said Marybeth Gasman, a higher education professor at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions.

“We’re seeing an influx of Latino students and also Asian students at HBCUs, but that’s happening at all kinds of institutions,” Gasman said. “For a long time, it wasn’t happening at HBCUs, and just in the past five years, it’s been happening a lot more. A lot of schools will see more white students if they have an MBA program, law school or programs that aren’t at other institutions, but there’s still some prejudice and racism that stops white students from going to HBCUs.”

Gasman also attributes negative media coverage on predominantly white institutions to sparking an increase in attendance.


12 2016-06-30
Associated Press

Applications open for Grambling State president


GRAMBLING — The University of Louisiana System has appointed Leon Sanders, vice president of finance and administration at Grambling State University, will act as the person in charge at the university following the resignation of President Willie Larkin.

The UL system made the announcement Tuesday.

The News-Star reports the system is accepting applications and nominations to fill the president's seat at Grambling State University.

Grambling president resigns, newspaper says
Grambling president resigns, newspaper says
Willie Larkin held the job for less than a year.

Larkin's resignation is effective June 30, and Sanders begins handling operations July 1. As the person in charge, Sanders will coordinate with the system on all personnel, academic and financial decisions.

The UL System Board of Supervisors will discuss the selection of Grambling's next president at a July 26 meeting in Baton Rouge. The special meeting was called to interview UL System president finalists and will now also provide an opportunity to review applications for the president's position.

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Cami Geisman, assistant vice president for communications at UL System, said a new GSU president may be chosen at the meeting.

"We are currently accepting applications as well as nominations," Geisman said. "Depending on the quality of candidates, we hope to do interviews at the July 26 meeting in Baton Rouge with the intention to fill the position of president that day."

When Larkin was selected as GSU president in June 2015 after a multimonth search, the Hollins Group, a search firm, recommended candidates who were then interviewed by a search committee.

Geisman said the UL System is acting quickly in the hopes of having someone in place as close to the start of the fall semester as possible. Since the system is not engaging a third-party firm, Geisman said candidates can be reviewed as applications arrive.


12 2016-06-30
Shreveport

Louisiana's historically black colleges see enrollment increase


After years of decline, brought on by tougher admission standards and stringent requirements for student loans, enrollment at most historically black colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Louisiana, has risen modestly.

Last year, Grambling State University's fall enrollment totaled 4,553 — an increase of 49 students from the previous fall, said Damon Wade, vice president of institutional effectiveness and enrollment management at the university.

Similarly, Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, saw a fall enrollment increase of 322 students in 2015, according to data reported by the Louisiana Board of Regents. And overall enrollment within the Southern University System increased by 628 students for that same year.

Grambling State University in Louisiana.
Grambling State University in Louisiana. (Photo: Segann March/The Times)
Higher education experts say the increase could be due in part to a rise in the number of non-black students attending HBCUs, as well as recent racial conflicts at predominantly white institutions.

But for some black colleges and universities, the enrollment trend is still down.

Dillard University's enrollment has fluctuated over the past four years with enrollment dipping by 15 students last fall.

Southern University Law Center has experienced a recurring decline in enrollment since 2013. Last fall, enrollment was down by 15 students.

The number of non-traditional black students is growing at campuses because of lower tuition, higher academic programs and more students wanting to attend a safer college environment, said Marybeth Gasman, a higher education professor at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions.

"We're seeing an influx of Latino students and also Asian students at HBCUs, but that's happening at all kinds of institutions," Gasman said. "For a long time it wasn't happening at HBCUs, and just in the past five years, it's been happening a lot more. A lot of schools will see more white students if they have an MBA program, law school or programs that aren't at other institutions, but there's still some prejudice and racism that stops white students from going to HBCUs."

File photo
File photo (Photo: Val Horvath/The Times)
Gasman also attributes negative media coverage on predominantly white institutions to sparking an increase in attendance.

"I think that all the national protests and shooting of black men and women has played a part," she said. "I have interviewed quite a few students who have told me that HBCUs are a safe place, a sanctuary."

Grambling State University projects an enrollment of 4,800 students this upcoming school year, up by 247 students from last year. Though an increase, it would be well below 2011 fall enrollment.

"Overall the numbers at HBCUs are up, depending on the institution," Gasman said.

Wade said GSU has recruited international students over the last decade.

"About 10 years ago, we had different pipelines in the Caribbean," he said. "It's maintained steady growth and in some of the other ethnic categories — we're trying. This would be a very comfortable environment for students other than our traditional African American student."

MUST READ: GSU President Larkin exploring opportunities in Cuba

Dillard University President Walter Kimbrough said all HBCUs should see an increase this upcoming school year because of the negative media surrounding race relations at predominately white institutions.

Though enrollment at Dillard has been down for several years, the liberal-arts institution projects a fall 2016 enrollment of 1,300 students — which would be an increase of 115 students.

"I expect to see an increase in HBCU enrollment throughout the nation," he said. "People are looking at HBCUs differently now. Do I want to go to school at a place where I might be in a hostile environment? University of Missouri had a national story about race relations.

"It's going to be harder for places to diversify their student body because of the negative things that have happened, and HBCUs have benefited from that."

Kelly Stevens, left, and Kinzara Sam talk outside the
Kelly Stevens, left, and Kinzara Sam talk outside the student center at Grambling State University in Louisiana. (Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times)
The lower cost of attending an HBCU has also sparked an interest, Gasman said.

"Another reason is low tuition, there has been a lot of national attention about tuition costs and HBCUs boast tuition that is 50 percent less than majority institutions," she said.

Southern University System officials said targeted recruitment campaigns, an innovative alumni enrollment initiative and creative recruitment strategies have helped boost enrollment at all SU campuses.

SUSLA Connect, a program created by the SU system in 2013, allows students who are unable to meet admission requirements at the Baton Rouge or New Orleans campus to be admitted to Southern University Shreveport.

"Nearly 90 percent of students who don't meet the SU Baton Rouge or SU New Orleans admissions standards are invited to participate in the program," said SU System spokesman Henry Tillman.

How we got here

Within the last few years, historically black colleges and universities in Louisiana experienced a decline or fluctuating numbers when it came to student enrollment each fall.

Professors and chancellors say the enrollment decline stemmed from the lack of available funding and resources, limited access to Parent Plus loans and more students wanting to diversify their education.

"With the push for integration of historically white institutions during the Civil Rights Movement, enrollment dropped at HBCUs and their role of educating the near entirety of the black middle class shifted," Gasman's "The Changing Face of Historically Black Colleges and Universities" 2013 report stated.

In 1950, black students made up 100 percent of the enrollment at HBCUs.

By 1980, that number dropped to 80 percent as more Hispanic, Asian, and Caucasian students began attending HBCUs, which were specifically created to educate black citizens decades after the Civil War, according to Gasman's report.

Kimbrough said enrollment numbers for HBCUs declined when the U.S. Department of Education changed the borrowing rules and credit standards associated with Parent Plus Loans for undergraduate students in 2011.

Before the changes were implemented, Kimbrough said parents were able to obtain a Parent Plus loan if they didn't have a bad credit history involving more than 90-day delinquencies, foreclosures and bankruptcies.

In 2011, charge-off accounts, or accounts in collections that weren't being repaid within five years, hindered many families from being approved.

In 2012-13, enrollment numbers for black students decreased more than other race because of the Parent Plus Loan situation, according to a report issued by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

In Louisiana, that translated to an enrollment drop of 124 students at Dillard University.

"A lot of students were able to get parent plus loans and then all of sudden they weren't," Kimbrough said. “It wasn’t just HBCUs; it impacted any sector that has a significant portion of low-income students.”

The Parent Plus loan situation also caused problems for Xavier University, a private HBCU in New Orleans.

Richard Tucker, director of communications and media relations, said the institution lost more than 200 students after the rules changed.

In 2011, the university enrolled 3,399 students and in fall 2012, only 3,178 students enrolled.

"It caused similar problems at colleges across the nation," he said." The U.S. Department of Education has since reinstated the previous rules, but damage was done.

Is there value in an HBCU education

HBCUs were created to educate black students, especially when Jim Crow laws and segregation took a toll on the black community.

Xavier University became a four-year college in 1925. It still holds the recognition as the only historically black Catholic university in the U.S.

In 1901, Grambling State University was founded. Cheyney University in Pennsylvania was founded in 1837 as the Institute for Colored Youth and is known as the earliest founding date of any HBCU, according to African American Registry.

Higher education professors and chancellors say black college and universities, both private and public, are vital to the success of all students and needed to ensure historical values are up-kept.

Incoming GSU freshman Sarah Walker always knew she wanted to attend an HBCU.

"Grambling State University was one of the first HBCUs to reach out to me," said the Ohio resident. "I'm the only one out of my graduation class that went to an HBCU. I don't think a lot of them wanted to leave home yet and I really wanted a new experience."

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Some students saw more value in attending non-HBCUs.

Students walk on campus at Grambling State University
Students walk on campus at Grambling State University in Louisiana. (Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times)
Parkway High School graduate and incoming LSU freshman, Andrianna Williams, said she wants to have a diverse college experience and have more minority privileges, such as scholarships.

"In this day and age, college is expensive and with the TOPS program on the line, I can't afford it," she said. "The only offers I had for HBCU schools were lower in education standards than LSU, which is crucial for me since I'm going for pre-med."

In order to retain students and continue increasing enrollment numbers, HBCUs need to make sure students understand the value of attending, Gasman said.

"You need to communicate why the institution is a good place for an African American and what it can offer," she said. "Majority institutions are constantly talking about the outcomes and why it's a special place. You can't just assume because someone is black that they're going to come to an HBCU."

By the numbers ; total enrollment 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Xavier University 3,399 3,178 3,121 2,976 2,969

Southern University and A&M College 6,904 6,611 6,730 6,188 6,510

Southern University in Shreveport 2,820 2,931 3,016 2,936 3,222

Southern University in New Orleans 3,245 3,046 2,989 2,674 2,709

Southern University Law Center 707 755 682 635 620

Dillard University 1,249 1,307 1,183 1,200 1,185

Grambling State University 5,207 5,277 5,071 4, 504 4,553


12 2016-06-29
Monroe

Applications open for Grambling president


Leon Sanders, vice president of finance and administration at Grambling State University, will act as the person in charge at the university following the resignation of President Willie Larkin.

The University of Louisiana System made the announcement Tuesday. The system is accepting applications and nominations to fill the president's seat at Grambling State University.

READ MORE: Grambling President Larkin resigns

Larkin's resignation is effective June 30, and Sanders begins handling operations July 1. As the person in charge, Sanders will coordinate with the system on all personnel, academic and financial decisions.

The UL System Board of Supervisors will discuss the selection of Grambling's next president at a July 26 meeting in Baton Rouge. The special meeting was called to interview UL System president finalists and will now also provide an opportunity to review applications for the president's position.

Cami Geisman, assistant vice president for communications at UL System, said a new GSU president may be chosen at the meeting.

"We are currently accepting applications as well as nominations," Geisman said. "Depending on the quality of candidates, we hope to do interviews at the July 26 meeting in Baton Rouge with the intention to fill the position of president that day."

When Larkin was selected as GSU president in June 2015 after a multimonth search, the Hollins Group, a search firm, recommended candidates who were then interviewed by a search committee.

Geisman said the UL System is acting quickly in the hopes of having someone in place as close to the start of the fall semester as possible. Since the system is not engaging a third-party firm, Geisman said candidates can be reviewed as applications arrive.

"Grambling State University has experienced an unusual number of leadership changes the past 25 years and the system office, in coordination with the board, is working with urgency to secure the right leader for this exceptional institution," Interim UL System President Dan Reneau said in a statement.

Sanders said the search for a new president is coming at a time when Grambling is facing not only budgetary cuts but affordability issues.

"We have a problem in terms of affordability because we are to a point now where, if we raise our tuition and fees, it would drastically hurt our students' ability to attend Grambling or any institution," Sanders said. "We have 90 percent on financial aid, and you have to be very, very cognizant of the fact that any increase in fees severely hampers their ability to go to school."

Sanders said as the president search moves forward he knows that the Grambling faculty will band together to do what is best for the university.

"I think this is just one of many things we have had to deal with, and we will deal with this transition," Sanders said.

On Tuesday, Larkin issued a farewell statement encouraging the Tiger family to continue to persevere in unity.

"As long as you can focus and believe that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel, the darkness will not overtake you and Grambling State University will continue to stand strong on the shoulders of the faculty, staff, students, alumni and others who hold it so dear," Larkin's farewell message stated.


12 2016-06-28
Monroe

UL System Announces Transition for Grambling Leadership


GRAMBLING, La. (Press Release) --

Following the resignation of Grambling State University’s president, the University of Louisiana System has named GSU’s vice president of finance and administration, Leon Sanders, as the person in charge of handling operations beginning July 1. Mr. Sanders will coordinate with the System on all personnel, academic and financial decisions.

The Board, already scheduled to hold a special meeting in Baton Rouge on July 26 to interview UL System president finalists, will also discuss the selection of Grambling’s next president.

“Grambling State University has experienced an unusual number of leadership changes the past 25 years and the System office, in coordination with the Board, is working with urgency to secure the right leader for this exceptional institution,” Interim UL System President Dan Reneau said.

12 2016-06-27
Monroe

An open letter from Nadine Domond to Grambling fans


Dear Grambling,

Louisiana is a special place to me. It marks a place of beginnings. I played my first AAU tournament in this great state and I began my collegiate coaching career here as the Head Coach, of Grambling State University.

In my time here, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and celebrated; but most importantly, I’ve shared in the rich legacy of Grambling. I’ve reveled in its history and its pride. I’ve been humbled to walk the same grounds of greats like: Patricia Cage-Bibbs, Doug Williams, Willis Reed, Shaq Harris, The Great Eddie Robinson and so many others.

These last 2 years have been amazing and I want to thank all of the families, friends, and others with whom I’ve built relationships for allowing me to be apart of your lives. Thank you for embracing me and my vision to start the Rebirth of a Legacy. It has been an honor and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed serving as your Head Coach.

I’m saddened to leave behind great individuals, amazing young ladies, and an excellent coaching staff in which I consider my family. It is certainly bittersweet to share with you that I will be joining the staff at Rutgers University to work with Hall of Famer, Coach C. Vivian Stringer; a trailblazer, an icon of our time, my mentor and former coach.

I have complete confidence in the abilities of Freddie Murry, David Pierre, and Izarya Diaz to be successful. To each of you, thank you for being dedicated and committed to the vision and for your contributions to the team.

Thank you again for reinforcing a simple yet powerful truth that GramFam is forever and that GSU is the place where Everybody is Somebody! God bless you all.

— Nadine Domond


12 2016-06-24
Monroe

SWAC Coach of the Year Domond resigns as GSU women's hoops coach


The 2016 Southwestern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year won't be on the sidelines for Grambling in 2017.

Nadine Domond has resigned from her post as Grambling women's basketball coach after just two seasons and is expected to join the staff at Rutgers as an assistant coach.

Domond submitted her resignation letter June 17, according to HBCU Sports, which came about six weeks before her contract was set to expire. Domond and men's coach Shawn Walker both agreed to one-year, $120,000 deals last year that run through July 29, 2016. Grambling, which is without a permanent athletic director, had yet to approach Domond or Walker about new contracts.

HBCU Sports first reported the news Thursday.

For a coach who always mentioned changing the culture at Grambling and starting a rebirth of the Lady Tigers' program, Domond leaves on a high note after orchestrating a noteworthy turnaround in 2016. Domond gets a chance to reunite with her mentor at Rutgers in Vivian Stringer, who coached Domond at Iowa in the 1990s.

At Grambling, Domond accrued a 27-34 record during her two seasons with a 20-16 record in conference play.

The former WNBA player took over for Patricia Cage-Bibbs in 2014 and was tasked with an uphill rebuilding effort. The Lady Tigers went 10-20 (7-11) in her first year before Domond overhauled the roster and finished near the top of the SWAC standings. Grambling went 13-5 in league play, as Domond took home coach of the year honors.

Grambling's 17-14 record was the best mark in six-plus years


THENEWSSTAR.COM
GSU's Domond named SWAC Coach of the Year

"The kids bought in early. They took it upon themselves with a lot of pride. It's not me. I have a great staff. I have a great supporting staff," Domond said in March. "Those kids made it up in their mind that they wanted to be special. No matter what, you can be a great coach but the kids gotta be able to buy in. When they started buying in and believing and preparing for this, it just kind of helps."

Domond leaves behind a strong returning nucleus including SWAC Freshman of the Year Jazmine Boyd and fellow freshman Shakyla Hill. The Lady Tigers graduated just one played and were expected to compete for the league crown.

Grambling was Domond's first Division I head coaching job. She previously served as the head coach for Northrop Grumman Apprentice School from 2005 to 2007.

Domond, who was a well-known basketball trainer across the country, played in the WNBA for the Sacramento Monarchs in 1998 after a four-year career at Iowa. She also played overseas in France, Poland and Israel before starting her coaching career in 2002 as a graduate assistant at Hampton.

Although Domond's fate at Grambling was decided last week, the news spread Thursday on the same day as GSU president Willie Larkin resigned.

Grambling hasn't had a permanent athletic director in two years. Larkin suspended the search earlier this year due to budget cuts to only reinstate it a few days later.

Obodiah Simmons is the acting athletic director for the department. He didn't immediately return calls to his office Thursday.

Like Domond, Walker's contract will expire at the end of the July. Grambling has yet to discuss a new contract with Walker, who went 7-24 during his second year with the men's program.


12 2016-06-24
Shreveport

Larkin resigns as president of Grambling State University


RUSTON, LA (KSLA) -
Grambling State University President Willie Larkin has resigned after than less than a year on the job.

Mobile users click here for video.

Larkin turned his resignation in Thursday at the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors meeting on the Louisiana Tech University campus in Ruston.

"If I were a newspaper reporter, I'd probably start the lead of the article off like this, 'Dr. Willie D. Larkin, President Grambling State University is not a quitter,' Dr. Larkin told the board. "But, there comes a time and place where decisions have to be made. I have 4 wonderful grandsons in Minnesota, and they need their grandpa to come and spend some time with them."

"I have enjoyed the opportunity to lead this venerable university. Grambling State University will succeed, and it will survive." I will always be a cheerleader for this institution. I came here by choice, and I had an opportunity to lead. I think the university is headed in the right place."

Larkin went on to thank the board for allowing him to serve, offered encouraging words to students and faculty and thanked loyal members of his administration, adding, "I want to say to those individuals that maybe had some other ideas for the direction of the university, support your leader. Support the person that comes here as president. Here's my last statement: Mr. James Bradford, please leave Grambling State University alone."

That final comment was apparently in reference to former Grambling University National Alumni Association and current Jackson Parish Chapter President James Bradford.

Interim President Dr. Daniel D. Reneau Jr. along with the board accepted Larkin's resignation, according to Cami Geisman, Assistant V.P. of Communications for University of La. Systems. Bradford and the alumni association was among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in 2006 against GSU, ULS and others over disagreements with the university's direction at the time.

Larkin will work through the end of June.

Geisman said she cannot comment further on Larkin's resignation because it is a personnel issue.

Copyright 2016 KSLA. All rights reserved.


12 2016-06-13
Ruston

LOCAL CHAPTER DONATES $20,000 TOWARD SCHOLARSHIP


The Ruston chapter of the Grambling University National Alumni Association has donated $20,000 to the school’s endowed scholarship fund.

The chapter’s efforts were recognized earlier this month during the group’s annual scholarship gala. All of the funds raised through the gala go toward scholarships, chapter President Lizzie White, of Ruston, said.

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12 2016-06-09
Regional/National

Grambling President Joins Morgan State Delegation During Cuba Visit, Releases Strategic Plan


Grambling State University President Willie Larkin joined a group of Morgan State University Choir supporters during a tour of Cuba, and released his first institutional strategic plan during his international trip.

Dr. Larkin’s tour of the country, which he described as a visit to build relationships with Cuban universities and to discover potential cultural connections with Grambling, coincided with Morgan’s goodwill tour and an HBCU presidential junket to the country spearheaded by the Tom Joyner Foundation, which Dr. Larkin did not formally join.

“It is important that all of our supporters know that I am constantly mining for unique advantages for our students, faculty and staff. I am looking for golden prospects, as they relate to higher education. Cuba is a goldmine just waiting to happen,” Dr. Larkin said in a statement.

His trip to Cuba overlapped with Grambling’s release of its five-year strategic plan, which emphasizes strategies for cultivating resources, increasing student diversity, and improving external relations for philanthropic and workforce development partnerships.

DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE STRATEGIC PLAN HERE

The plan, the first issued under Dr. Larkin’s administration and completed after months of public discussion, reveals Grambling’s self-identified opportunities for, and challenges impeding, its growth.

According to the plan, stakeholders believe Grambling’s its academic and athletic brands and family environment among the school’s best cultural assets, while public funding, customer service and shortages in staff and campus infrastructure among its top threats and weaknesses.
12 2016-06-07
Monroe

GSU's Pruitt selected to lead SWAC committee


Grambling State University’s Marlon Pruitt, a marketing major from West Bloomfield, Michigan has been chosen to lead the Southwestern Athletic Conference Student Athletic Advisory Committee as their president.

“I’m really honored. It’s a surreal feeling to not only represent my school but the conference as well,” said Pruitt.

A member of the Grambling baseball team led by head coach James Cooper, Pruitt will begin his senior year on the team in August.

“I believe that any time a person is placed in a situation where someone can win over his peers, it speaks volumes. If people are afraid of change, they should be afraid of Marlon Pruitt because he is going to do just that- bring change in a good way. I think he will represent Grambling State University, the Southwestern Athletic Conference and his family well,” said Cooper.

GSU related:President Willie Larkin explores opportunities in Cuba

In addition to serving as President, Pruitt will also aid as the SAAC representative on the SWAC Sports Administrators Committee. The Southwestern Athletic Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is composed of two (one male and one female) student-athlete representatives from each SWAC member schools. Selection of the committee comes from consultation of each conference school office liaison.

The purpose of the SAAC is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by protecting student athlete welfare, promoting opportunity and fostering a positive student-athlete image. The committee aims to encourage sound academic practices for student-athletes, to represent SWAC student-athletes on the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, to actively participate in the governance of the SWAC, to provide leadership and a voice in the development of public attitudes toward intercollegiate athletics generally, to promote student-athlete participation in the legislative process, to address the future needs of the SWAC in a spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit of the member institutions, to stimulate good sportsmanship and to garner the support of athletics administrators, coaches and staff on initiatives important to student-athletes.

12 2016-06-06
Ruston

GSU ADMINISTRATOR RECEIVES SCHOLARSHIP


Adriel A. Hilton, Grambling State University chief of staff and executive assistant to the president, has been accepted into the Higher Education Leadership Foundation Gamma Cohort.

Additionally, Hilton received one of five scholarships to the third H.E.L.F. Leadership Institute on the campus of Miles College in Birmingham, Alabama. The conference ends Sunday.
H.E.L.F. selected 25 of the 78 applicants to fill its Gamma Cohort.
12 2016-06-02
Monroe

Grambling's President visits Cuba to explore educational advantage


GRAMBLING, La (GSU News Release) - Grambling State University’s President Dr. Willie D. Larkin is looking to expand both educational borders and the GSU brand in Cuba. As Auburn University’s College of Agriculture and California State University, Fullerton currently have agreements in place with the University of Havana, the possibility for Grambling State to develop such collaborative programs with universities in Cuba is taking shape.

In 2014, President Obama announced that the United States would be restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. The announcement sparked interest and presented opportunities for entrepreneurs, corporations and for institutions of higher learning to expand their borders.

For the higher education community in particular, the benefits are numerous. According to a 2015 article in The Wall Street Journal, Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business are eager to enroll students from Cuba as soon as possible. “The Cuban market is attractive in part, because the country’s higher-education system has a reputation for developing students who are strong in math and the sciences,” according to Dr. Derrick Bolton, director at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Grambling State University’s president, Dr. Willie D. Larkin, sees many possible prospects, as well. “One of my goals is to expand Grambling's international footprint over the next 5 years.” Dr. Larkin is currently visiting Cuba to become more acquainted with the country’s culture and educational systems. It is important that all of our supporters know that I am constantly mining for unique advantages for our students, faculty and staff. I am looking for golden prospects, as they relate to higher education. Cuba is a goldmine just waiting to happen.”

The Tom Joyner Foundation is also currently on an educational 4-day exploratory trip in Cuba. A spokesperson for the Foundation noted, “We want to provide an opportunity for HBCU presidents to begin to figure out how Cuba may play a role in providing exciting opportunities for their students and research for their faculty.”

Dr. Larkin continued, “Grambling must get in on the ground floor as the educational prospects open up in Cuba. We cannot be left behind. Other universities are racing to get there, fast and in a hurry! The next major step in the process is to assemble a select group of faculty, administrators and student leadership at Grambling to visit the country and engage in detailed discussions about specific programs and options for a partnership with the university.”

Grambling State University’s Dean of the College of Graduate, Educational and Graduate Studies, Dr. Larnell Flannagan, is in agreement and added, “There are opportunities to partner with the Cuban higher education system to develop faculty and student semester or academic year exchange programs, collaborate with Cuban scholars on research projects, and with the Cuban higher educational system to expand our degree programs in business, teacher education, nursing, social work, criminal justice and STEM fields.”

“Study abroad and student exchange programs, both visiting and hosting, are components of the collaboration incentive of The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), our College of Business accrediting body; these efforts are greatly encouraged”, according to Grambling’s College of Business Interim Dean, Dr. Erick Valentine.

“Art, music, and theatre provide the gateway of opportunity to explore the history of all people, because they serve as the window into the souls of mankind. Collaborations with Cuban artists, professors and their students would be valuable assets to the growth and expansion of our intellectual properties as a university. Creating new paradigms of intellectual and artistic discovery could be viable and worthy entities and would prove to be great vehicles for establishing an exchange program of study for students and faculty alike. The concept of study abroad is the wave of the 21st century; GSU should welcome the opportunity to partnership with Cuba’s academy of scholars who are artists”, according to Dr. King David Godwin, Dean of Grambling’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Larkin noted, “As we have just finalized our Strategic Plan for 2016 - 2021, part of our mission for the University is to seek to reflect in all of its programs the diversity of the world. My visits to Havana, Cienfuegos, Santa Clara and Matanzas have begun the process of educating ourselves on Cuba’s rich culture and strong educational system. Opportunities are before us; we are looking forward to building relationships with this beautiful country.”
12 2016-06-01
Monroe

Grambling State University’s Hilton honored with NASPA Award


GRAMBLING, La (GSU News Release) - Adriel A. Hilton, Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the President at Grambling State University, was presented the “Men and Masculinities Knowledge Community – Newly Published Research Award” from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) at the organization’s annual conference earlier this year in Indianapolis.

The core of NASPA’s mission is to provide professional development for student affairs educators and administrators who share the responsibility for a campus wide focus on the student experience. The NASPA Annual Conference is a four-day gathering of student affairs professionals who come together to learn, grow, be inspired, and return to their campuses with the tools needed to navigate the constantly changing landscape of student affairs.

Dr. Hilton received the award because of his scholarly research and publication of “Black Men in Colleges and Universities: Examining the Effect of Non-cognitive Variables on Student Success.” The purpose of the Men and Masculinities Knowledge Community (MMKC) is to provide a venue for discussion, research, and the distribution of information about men’s gender identity development, in the context of college campuses.

In addition to this award, he has received numerous awards for research and service. Among those are the 2015 Melvene Draheim Hardee Award by the Southern Association for College Student Affairs; the 2015 Sadie M. Yancey Professional Service Award by the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals; the 2015 Outstanding Professional Contribution & Distinguished Scholar Award by the North Carolina College Personnel Association; the 2013 Michael A. Powell, Esq. Service Award by the National Black Graduate Student Association; the 2013 Joseph H. Silver, Sr., Leadership and Mentoring Initiative Alumni Award by the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education; Florida A&M University’s 2012 Outstanding Alumni of the Quasquicentennial Award; the 2010 Dr. Carlos J. Vallejo Memorial Award for Exemplary Scholarship by the American Educational Research Association Multicultural/Multiethnic Special Interest Group; the 2009 Outstanding Research Award by the American College Personnel Association Standing Committee for Men; the Ebony magazine 2009 Top Young Leaders Under 30 Award; and, the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education 2009 Outstanding Doctoral Student award for his doctoral dissertation.

Dr. Hilton a Miami, Florida native is proving to be an asset to Grambling State University as he serves as the President’s liaison with University administration, faculty, staff and students, in addition to external stakeholders.
12 2016-05-24
Ruston

GRAMBLING MAINTAINS BUSINESS ACCREDITATION


Grambling State University’s College of Business maintained its business accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools.

Erick Valentine, interim dean of the College of Business, said the AACSB accreditation differentiates business and accounting programs across the globe based on terms of quality, rigor and relevance.

AACSB accredits less than five percent of businesses schools worldwide.

GSU extended their accreditation based on the AACSB educations standards, which includes diversity, quality of staff and progress.

“This achievement builds on the rich history of GSU's College of Business, and underscores our commitment to excellence and quality business preparation education received by our students and successful graduates,” he said.

Valentine said Louisiana’s economic and political climate requires the College of Business to become more innovative with the curriculum and delivery, engaged with stakeholders and provide greater impact with the community.

“These objectives fall directly in line with the directives of the AACSB,” he said.

Valentine said the College of Business will continue to improve output and performance.

“The College of Business’s faculty and staff add a tremendous amount of value to the talented students who choose Grambling,” he said. “We have produced industry leaders worldwide. That is our legacy, that is our future.”

Robert Reid, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB International said business schools must not only meet specific standards of excellence, but deans, faculty and professional staff must make a commitment to ongoing continuous improvement to ensure the institution will continue to deliver the highest quality of education to students.

Achieving accreditation is a process of rigorous internal review, engagement with an AACSB assigned mentor and peer review.

Schools must focus on developing and implementing a plan to align with AACSB’s Accreditation standards.

Standards require excellence in areas relating to strategic management and innovation; student, faculty and staff as active participants; learning and teaching; and academic and professional engagement.

“It takes a great deal of commitment and determination to earn and maintain AACSB accreditation, he said.
12 2016-05-24
Shreveport

GSU names new Police Chief


After an intense search, Grambling State University announced today that Interim Police Chief Howard Caviness is the university’s permanent Police Chief.

Chief Caviness has over 28 years of extensive and specialized law enforcement experience, which spans over several different agencies and departments of law enforcement.

Caviness began his career in law enforcement with the LaSalle Parish Sheriff's Department in January 1988. He received his Police Officer Standardized Test certificate from the state of Louisiana in 1990.

During his tenure in law enforcement, Caviness has received hundreds of hours in advance training in narcotics, SWAT, and administrative duties.

Caviness worked for the state of Louisiana at the Alcohol Tobacco Control Division. He was the supervisory agent over 24 central and northeast Louisiana parishes.

In addition, Caviness obtained top secret clearances from the U. S. Government which enabled him to work cases for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and assist in the
arrest of wanted fugitives from the U. S. Marshal's Service.

Caviness also serves as an expert witness in local, state, and federal courts. Chief Caviness is a former member and served as the team commander of the Ouachita Parish SWAT Team in Monroe, La. He is also a past instructor of the police academy in Monroe, La.

Caviness is no stranger to GSU, legendary Coach Eddie Robinson attempted to recruit Caviness on a
football scholarship in the 1980s. He did not come to Grambling then but he returned nearly 32 years
later and accepted the position of Investigator with GSUPD.

Caviness was promoted to the Interim Chief approximately 6 months after his employment date with GSUPD. Under Caviness’ administration several grants where drafted and secured, which have afforded the GSUPD to purchase much needed equipment for the department.

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Body cameras for officers, a cellular telephone for domestic violence victims, and police cars are just some of the items Caviness secured during his current time at GSUPD.

With his 28 years of experience in law enforcement, Caviness looks forward to continuing the advancement of GSU as one of the safest campuses in the United States.

Caviness resides in West Monroe, La with his two sons, Logan and Hunter Caviness.
12 2016-05-23
Monroe

GSU's Hilton leads national conference


Adriel Hilton, Executive Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, served as the Program Chair for the 62nd Annual conference of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators held in Houston, Texas. Under the Conference theme, “Transforming Student Success: Recruitment, Retention and Graduation,” participants came from across the country for four days to share important concepts and practices relevant to their research and institutions.

Hilton not only had the responsibility of coordinating all presentations during the conference, but also, along with a colleague, presented: Success Factors that Influence Retention and Graduation for African American Females at a Selected HBCU. Adriel Hilton has maintained membership in NASAP over a period of time and based on his involvement in the organization he is a past recipient of NASAP’s highest award, the Sadie M. Yancey Professional Service Award. Hilton maintains an active membership in the Association.

Now a part of the Grambling State University family, Hilton has the responsibility of assisting the President in the day-to-day operations of the President’s Office. He serves as the President’s liaison with University administration, faculty, staff and students, in addition to external stakeholders. A graduate of Morehouse College with the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration; Florida A&M University with a Masters of Applied Social Science; he holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration from Morgan State University. Hilton has had additional educational opportunities at Johns Hopkins University, Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard Business School, Clark Atlanta University, and Georgia State University.

Hilton enhanced his proficiency in Higher Education Administration and teaching in one of his previous positions, at Upper Iowa University (UIU), where he served as Executive Assistant to the President and Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees in addition to the first ever Chief Diversity Officer at the University. He was also an adjunct faculty member at both UIU and the University of Northern Iowa.

12 2016-05-18
Shreveport

Grambling star receiver arrested


Grambling star wide receiver Chad Williams was arrested over the weekend in his hometown of Baton Rouge.

Williams, 21, was one of three men arrested for simple possession of marijuana and possession of a firearm according to reports. LSU police arrested Williams and two others after a strong odor of marijuana came from a parked SUV in an empty lot on LSU's campus.

Williams was booked at East Baton Rouge Parish on Sunday at 8:07 a.m.for possession of marijuana, possession of firearm with drugs, fugitive from justice and an outstanding bench warrant.

Williams was released Monday on $5,000 bond according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office.

Louisiana State Police is listed as the arresting agency. Williams was booked on the fugitive of justice charge, bonded on the marijuana and firearm charges and given time served for the bench warrant, according to documents.


SHREVEPORTTIMES.COM
Grambling using spring football as teaching tool

WBRZ in Baton Rouge first reported the news Monday.

Grambling football coach Broderick Fobbs said Tuesday he was aware of the arrest and wants to make sure he collects all the facts before making a decision on any sort of punishment. Fobbs and Williams are expected to meet Tuesday in Grambling.

"I don't want to jump the gun on anything. I want to make sure I get all the facts from everything that happened so I can make a clear decision on the things that need to be done in order to help my student-athletes understand to do things the right way," Fobbs said. "I want to make sure he's taken care of and he knows we care about him and we're going to do what's best for him and for our program."

The affidavit of probable cause stated an LSU Police officer observed a tan colored SUV parked in the Hart lot of LSU around 3:39 a.m. Sunday. There were few cares in the area, the report said, which caused the officer to investigate further.

The officer noticed a "strong odor of burnt marijuana" from the SUV and approached the vehicle. The three men were detainted at gunpoint as backup units were requested.

As the officer was removing the subjects from the vehicle, a glass jar that contained marijuana fell to the ground and shattered on the pavement.

Following the arrests, officers located a loaded 9 mm pistol, a loaded Desert Eagle handgun and an unloaded AK-47 assault rifle. There was a 20-round magazine located in the SUV.


SHREVEPORTTIMES.COM
Grambling football aims to finish race in 2016

The 6-foot-2 Williams led Grambling with 62 catches for 1,012 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015. The rising senior was statistically the best receiver in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, finishing first in catches, yards, receptions per game, receiving yards per game and second in touchdowns.

One of Williams' best games came in the 2014 Bayou Classic as a sophomore when he hauled in 10 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown.


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Williams played basketball and football at Madison Prep in Baton Rouge. One of the two men arrested Sunday was Demetrius Blanton, a high school teammate of Williams at Madison.
12 2016-05-16
Monroe

More than 500 graduate at GSU


Brianna Phillips was counting down the days, looking forward to Friday's Grambling State University commencement when she was surprised to learn last week that she was the spring 2016 class valedictorian.

"I am completely shocked," Phillips said, noting that her parents, Charles and Desiree Phillips, were as excited s she was when they heard the news. "My father was overwhelmed, my mother started crying and, of course, my mom posted it on Facebook."

Phillips, 21, a kinesiology major from Fairfield, California, graduated Friday with a 3.98 GPA. She plans to return to California to pursue a law degree, concentrating on business law or entertainment. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, she urged her sorority sisters and classmates to remember, "There's a time and place for everything. Make sure you stay focused on what you learned in class and use it for the future."

Phillips was one of more than 500 candidates marching across the stage at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly at GSU as family, friends, faculty and alumni cheered with excitement and joy.

"It's a big weight lifted off of my shoulders," said Michael R. Bradley Jr., 22, a saxophone-playing drum major with the World Famed Tiger Marching Band for the last three years. A music performance major, he graduated with a 3.7 GPA, in part keeping in mind his favorite Bible scripture from Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

Bradley performed with the band one last time at a Thursday evening performance. He sat with his class Friday.

It was GSU President Willie D. Larkin's first spring commencement.

""It means just as much to their families as much as it means to them because family members invest and put in so much time, energy and resources into the students going to school and seeing when they walk across the stage it becomes an exciting family affair," Larkin said.

The commencement address was given by Grambling alumnus Thomas Morehead, a businessman who owns car dealerships and hotels became the first African-American to own a Rolls Royce dealership in the nation in 2014, making him one of only 35 Rolls-Royce dealers in the U.S. The Monroe native earned a business degree at GSU and now owns several dealerships and hotels. He and and his wife founded the Joyce and Thomas Morehead Foundation to help young people.

Morehead encouraged the graduates to use what they learned in college, to understand that life does not have semesters with summers off and that professors with tenure have not been as tough as bosses who want more will be.

"The world is becoming so competitive, so we truly have to achieve," said Morehead after the commencement. "We have to make sure that we are doing all of the things that allow us to be employed, and not just employed at the lower level positions but employed at a level that allows us to truly achieve."
12 2016-05-11
Monroe

GSU Maintains AACSB Business Accreditation


GRAMBLING, La (GSU Release) - The College of Business at Grambling State University has maintained its business accreditation by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master, and doctoral degrees in business and accounting.

AACSB Accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education, and has been earned by less than five percent of the world's business programs. Today, there are 761 business schools in 52 countries and territories that maintain AACSB Accreditation.

“It takes a great deal of commitment and determination to earn and maintain AACSB Accreditation,” said Robert D. Reid, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB International. “Business schools must not only meet specific standards of excellence, but their deans, faculty, and professional staff must make a commitment to ongoing continuous improvement to ensure that the institution will continue to deliver the highest quality of education to students.”

Erick Valentine, PhD, interim dean college of business states, “AACSB accreditation differentiates business and accounting programs from those at other institutions in terms of quality, rigor, and relevance. AACSB International accredits less than five percent of business schools worldwide. This achievement builds on the rich history of GSU’s College of Business, and underscores our commitment to excellence and quality business preparation education received by our students and successful graduates.”

“The economic and political climate in the State of Louisiana requires that the COB become more innovative with our curriculum and delivery, engaged with stakeholders, and provides a greater impact with our community, these objectives fall directly in line with the directives of AACSB. We have met this challenge in the past and will continue to improve our output and performance. The College of Business’s faculty and staff add a tremendous amount of value to the talented students who choose Grambling. We have produced industry leaders worldwide. That is our legacy, that is our future,” explains Dr. Valentine.

12 2016-05-11
Monroe

GSU Maintains AACSB Business Accreditation


GRAMBLING, La (GSU Release) - The College of Business at Grambling State University has maintained its business accreditation by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master, and doctoral degrees in business and accounting.

AACSB Accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education, and has been earned by less than five percent of the world's business programs. Today, there are 761 business schools in 52 countries and territories that maintain AACSB Accreditation.

“It takes a great deal of commitment and determination to earn and maintain AACSB Accreditation,” said Robert D. Reid, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB International. “Business schools must not only meet specific standards of excellence, but their deans, faculty, and professional staff must make a commitment to ongoing continuous improvement to ensure that the institution will continue to deliver the highest quality of education to students.”

Erick Valentine, PhD, interim dean college of business states, “AACSB accreditation differentiates business and accounting programs from those at other institutions in terms of quality, rigor, and relevance. AACSB International accredits less than five percent of business schools worldwide. This achievement builds on the rich history of GSU’s College of Business, and underscores our commitment to excellence and quality business preparation education received by our students and successful graduates.”

“The economic and political climate in the State of Louisiana requires that the COB become more innovative with our curriculum and delivery, engaged with stakeholders, and provides a greater impact with our community, these objectives fall directly in line with the directives of AACSB. We have met this challenge in the past and will continue to improve our output and performance. The College of Business’s faculty and staff add a tremendous amount of value to the talented students who choose Grambling. We have produced industry leaders worldwide. That is our legacy, that is our future,” explains Dr. Valentine.

12 2016-05-11
Monroe

GSU Maintains AACSB Business Accreditation


GRAMBLING, La (GSU Release) - The College of Business at Grambling State University has maintained its business accreditation by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master, and doctoral degrees in business and accounting.

AACSB Accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education, and has been earned by less than five percent of the world's business programs. Today, there are 761 business schools in 52 countries and territories that maintain AACSB Accreditation.

“It takes a great deal of commitment and determination to earn and maintain AACSB Accreditation,” said Robert D. Reid, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB International. “Business schools must not only meet specific standards of excellence, but their deans, faculty, and professional staff must make a commitment to ongoing continuous improvement to ensure that the institution will continue to deliver the highest quality of education to students.”

Erick Valentine, PhD, interim dean college of business states, “AACSB accreditation differentiates business and accounting programs from those at other institutions in terms of quality, rigor, and relevance. AACSB International accredits less than five percent of business schools worldwide. This achievement builds on the rich history of GSU’s College of Business, and underscores our commitment to excellence and quality business preparation education received by our students and successful graduates.”

“The economic and political climate in the State of Louisiana requires that the COB become more innovative with our curriculum and delivery, engaged with stakeholders, and provides a greater impact with our community, these objectives fall directly in line with the directives of AACSB. We have met this challenge in the past and will continue to improve our output and performance. The College of Business’s faculty and staff add a tremendous amount of value to the talented students who choose Grambling. We have produced industry leaders worldwide. That is our legacy, that is our future,” explains Dr. Valentine.

12 2016-05-09
Monroe

Moorehead to be GSU Commencement speaker


GRAMBLING -- Thomas A. Moorehead, president and CEO of Sterling Premier Group and Moorehead Properties, Inc., will deliver Grambling State University’s 2016 Spring Commencement speech. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, May 13 in the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

"Mr. Moorehead is a winner, not only in the corporate world, but in life. He cares about people, as is demonstrated in the way he interacts with the people that work for him, or as he puts it "works with him." Thomas is a generous philanthropist and believes in giving back to the community. We are proud of
the mark he's made on the world and of the success he's earned. It is our honor to welcome him back home and have him share his testimony of how Grambling State University contributed to his mammoth success. He is indeed a visionary leader who has become a wonderful role model for others to
follow. I am proud to call him a friend,” explains GSU President Dr. Willie D. Larkin.

MORE ON GRAMBLING: Grambling embarks on updated strategic plan

Moorehead is a graduate of Grambling State University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1966. In 1971, he earned a master of social work degree from the University of Michigan, where he is six credits short of completing a doctoral degree program.

His diverse career path has taken him from corporate America to higher education to entrepreneurship. In December 2013, Moorehead became the first African American awarded a Rolls- Royce franchise. Rolls- Royce Motor Cars Sterling is the only full-service dealership between New Jersey and North
Carolina. A year later, he purchased Harley- Davidson of Washington, D.C. In 2004, Moorehead and his wife, Joyce Anne, formed a charitable foundation to support underserved communities in the Washington metropolitan area. The Foundation has provided more than $400,000 in scholarships for college- bound high school seniors and emergency grants to matriculating college students, as well as assistance to working families and non-profit organizations in the region.

Always driven, Moorehead took on yet another business challenge: the hospitality industry. In 2007, Moorhead was the only local minority investor/ owner in the Marriott Residence Inn at the National Harbor Resort and Convention Center, making him the first African American with ownership in a hotel at National Harbor of Price George’s County, Maryland. Since 2007, his portfolio has grown to more than 40 properties.

READ MORE: GSU is fighting for her life

Throughout Moorehead’s careers, he has served as a chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NAMAD) from 2013 to 2015. He also served on the VA Dealers Board. Currently, Moorehead is an active member of the Black & Gold Foundation Board for Grambling State University.
Among Moorehead’s numerous achievements are being named Washington metropolitan area Top 100 Business Award by Washington Business Journal; Best of the Best Black Business Award by Black Enterprise; National Association of Automobile Dealers nominee for Time magazine Dealer of Year award; Top 25 Minority Business Leaders by Washington Business Journal, and the Black Enterprise Dealer of the Year 2007. In 2014, Moorehead was honored to be a recipient of The 2014 Morehouse College Candle in the Dark Business Award, joining a list of esteemed honorees. Moorehead was also a member of the 10th District Federal Reserve Board.
12 2016-05-05
Shreveport

Fox 33 Special Report: Future of north Louisiana HBCUs


Grambling, LA

Financial setbacks, leadership instability and a lack of trust are just some of the things troubling Historically Black Colleges and Universities in our area. We talk to school leaders to see what's next for what some call a dying institution.

Grambling State University's main source of income is student tuition. In the Fall of 2006, 5,065 students were enrolled at GSU. That number is now down to 4,553.

Dr. Willie Larkin says, "We have to have students in order to survive."

He hasn't been on the job as President for a full year, but he's working on what he calls an aggressive recruitment initiative.

"We're trying to up our game, to make sure the students we bring in here are college ready and that we upgrade the quality of our faculty."

He wants all professors to be master teachers, students to spend more time with advisors to help keep them in school and add more online programs.

Larkin is also working on an academic program review to see what the university should be offering.

"No matter if you're a predominately white institution or an HBCU, you've got to be competitive in terms of the quality of your program."

An hour and seven minutes away, Southern University Shreveport is dealing with similar challenges.

SUSLA's Chancellor, Dr. Rodney Ellis took over in February and he wants to focus on existing programs that they have a competitive edge on. That includes the school's aero space program, which is the only one of its kind in the region. Ellis also wants the college to have a bigger presence in the community.

"So that they can see college as a dream, as an opportunity and something they can achieve and strive for."

SUSLA has consistently had record enrollment and just counted more than 3,200 students this spring, but the institution is still feeling state cuts to higher education and looking at new ways to find revenue from private and public partnerships.

"We all need to come together to figure out how we can supply the graduates, so we can remain competitive and Shreveport and Bossier can continue to grow."

Even though there are nine community colleges and universities in north Louisiana both leaders say all of them are needed.

Larkin says Louisiana ranks 48th in the country for the number of people with a higher education, so there's a lot of room for all of them.

"You ask those other universities, they would love to take 10% of our top students and bring them to their universities, but the rest of those students would not have the opportunity to go to college."

Larkin has a message for lawmakers who make the final decision when it comes to funding.

"We are a credible institution. We have a rich tradition, but we're not just living on that . We're creating a future for ourselves.

He also wants to assure Grambling's alumni that he's working to ensure the school's future.

"Trust that the university can still do the things it did in the past, in a different way."

Grambling's strategic planning process will be completed May 31st. Dr. Larkin says in 50 years he hopes the school will have 8,000 students enrolled.

SUSLA's registration starts May 31st for summer classes.
12 2016-04-28
Shreveport

Dance His High Praise returns with gospel flare


Extensions of Excellence Performing Arts, Inc. will present Dance His High Praise 9 featuring the Orchesis Dance Company from Grambling State University on April 30 at The Strand Theatre.

Dance His High Praise 9 is a full-length modern ballet dance with a spiritual and gospel flare that will feature the Orchesis Dance Company from Grambling State University under the direction of Diane Maroney-Grigsby. The Christian Dance Center under the direction of Terry Jackson and the Louisiana Dance Theatre under the direction of Carol Anglin will also lend their talents to the performance.

IMG_Dance_his_High_Prais_1_1_ECD8VAON.jpg_20160128.jpg
Dance His High Praise is a collaborative program presented by several regional dance troupes, including Extensions of Excellence. (Photo: Courtesy of Extensions of Excellence)
The performance will be at 7 p.m. April 30 at The Strand Theatre. Admission is $20. Tickets can be reserved by calling the Strand Theater box office at 318-226-8555.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Extensions of Excellence Performing Arts Vincent Williams said because of their versatile style, the dance companies start preparation for Dance His High Praise as early as January. “In this recital, you will see the different genres of dance such as modern, ballet, liturgical, tap, jazz, etc. Therefore, this takes a lot of work in preparation. These three companies practice as much as seven days a week.”

Orchesis Dance Company Director and choreographer Diane Maroney-Grigsby says picking the right music for the recital is vital. “It has to be something that sends a message, something that’s inspiring, uplifting and makes you think. I have to emotionally feel the music from my heart,” she said. “The choice of music for Dance His High Praise 9 will touch everyone. Someone will be able to relate to a number or two. It’s like when you go to church, and you think the preacher is preaching to you – music can do the same thing. I really like giving [that experience] to the audience.”

Dance His High Praise III
Dance His High Praise 9 is a full-length modern ballet dance with a spiritual and gospel flare. (Photo: Times file photo)
Since 2008, the Orchesis Dance Company has been putting on the recital featuring a different theme.

Doris Robinson, the late wife of Coach Eddie Robinson, will be the focus of this year’s Dance His High Praise 9. Williams recalls Robinson as a classy individual who was always loving and giving. “When she passed away last year, we thought it would be befitting that we pay tribute to her,” said Williams. “During this recital, the Orchesis Dance Company will pay tribute to her in a spiritual medley entitled “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” and “Ride up in the Chariot” by soprano Kathleen Battle. Extensions of Excellence will also honor a young lady on the night of the recital by giving out the Doris Robinson Cosmopolitan Award that will be presented by her grandson, Eddie Robinson III.”

Robinson thinks his grandmother would have been thrilled an award is being given in her name.

Dance His High Praise III
Dance His High Praise, an annual event, takes hours and hours of rehearsal. (Photo: Times file photo)
“Anytime a family member is being honored or remembered it’s a tremendous honor,” said Eddie Robinson III. “My grandmother lived a life where she touched a lot of individuals. She loved the arts … had she still been living, she would probably be attending the recital.”

Also, Extensions of Excellence Performing Arts will award the Helen Horton Education and Performing Arts scholarship to Asheville High School’s Rachel Moten. The scholarship is a monetary award given out to a high school student who must attend Grambling State University and minor in dance.

If you go

What: Dance His High Praise 9.

When: Saturday, April 30 at 7 p.m.

Where: The Strand Theatre, 619 Louisiana Ave., Shreveport.

Admission: $20.

Info:extensionsofexcellence.org
12 2016-04-26
Regional/National

Institutional Effectiveness Professionals: The Special Ops of Higher Education


An excerpt from the opening monologue from the hit television show, The A-Team, asserted that “If you have a problem, if no one else can help and if you can find them....maybe you can hire...The A-Team.” Leaders across the higher education landscape, specifically Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are under more pressure than ever to do more with less. On balance, student expectations and needs are growing, as are external expectations for the performance of higher education institutions. It is, therefore, with great respect and admiration for the brave men and woman of the United States Military that we make this comparison; a comparison with which practitioners and observers of higher education leadership may agree. Figuratively speaking, Institutional Effectiveness Professionals (IEP’s) are the special operators or “A-Team” of higher education. It is their knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that allow them to carry out their assigned missions to develop strategy, analysis, policy, and procedures that work together to affect change at the nation’s HBCUs.

Bowen (1974) suggests that “The idea of accountability is simple. It means that colleges and universities are responsible for conducting their affairs so that the outcomes are worth the cost.” This submits that positive performance outcomes of institutions should be directly aligned with their mission, vision, and goals. Evidence of achievement of these performance outcomes should be collected in a systematic fashion and their results reported to all campus stakeholders. The need for HBCUs to present positive performance outcomes has presented a chance to more strategically organize and implement monitoring of institutional effectiveness, leveraging data, analytics, and applications to support the institution in continuous quality improvement and internal assessment. The Institutional Effectiveness (IE) area has a strategic leadership role in implementing data-informed decision modeling, strategic planning, and resource allocation to support and enhance the success of students and achieve the mission of the university.

Subsequently, with increasing accountability for performance outcomes, leaders at HBCUs must recognize the need for practitioners with distinctive skills. When the battle for scarce resources is being fought, and proof of performance is demanded, IEPs must be activated. Why? Because the actions of IEPs are focused on achieving operational objectives; they develop systematic, explicit, and results driven processes that measure performance against the mission in all aspects of an institution. Furthermore, IEPs are generally charged with evaluating the university’s progress toward meeting its performance objectives and seeking ways to improve services and processes that provide value for students. They are typically people immersed in problem solving, making sure that analysis and facts needed for assessing inputs and out¬comes are available for decision-making.

Much like IEPs focus on mission driven objectives, Special Operations Forces (SOFs) encompass the use of actions focused on strategic or operational objectives. The systems that these individuals work through require personnel trained in specialized areas, and must possess the capacity that exceeds the routine capabilities of conventional forces. SOFs are characterized by certain attributes that collectively distinguish them from conventional operations. These operations are politically complex assignments where only the best equipped and most proficient forces must be deployed. Similarly, SOFs can be used for many general undertakings and trained for specific types of missions. Special Operations members function as intelligence gatherers, completing objectives, and salvaging what is often times viewed as unsalvageable. Their missions require detailed planning and precise execution, and they are valued for their fearlessness, out-of-the-box thinking, imagination, and initiative.

There is a hitch! The depth of operation of IEPs and their activities are influenced by opinions regarding their importance within the institution, “Will someone get me the A-Team....our accreditation report is due next week.” In other words, an IEP’s knowledge, skills, and abilities may go underutilized or they are often called on at the last minute to handle a situation that, as Liam Neeson’s character in the movie Taken explains, requires “a very particular set of skills.” Some faculty and administrators alike who invest minimal effort in the ideal of continuous improvement are likely to attribute lower levels of importance for IEPs. Perceptions of the importance of institutional effectiveness can be affected to the extent to which institutional effectiveness principles have been integrated into the overall framework of the campus.

In order to improve results, broad institutional planning must take place with IEPs playing a significant role in the process. This will allow better response to external demands for accountability; more precisely, define an institution’s strategic position, and sharpen its focus on outcomes-based performance designed around its educational mission. Similar to SOFs, an IEP’s talents are not a cure-all or a replacement for conventional staff capabilities. If IEPs are utilized correctly target goals will be achieved; if used poorly, their capabilities are sorely wasted. IEPs must be a key part of any strategy that helps to demonstrate an institution’s value-proposition.
12 2016-04-22
Shreveport

Positions to be filled soon at Grambling State University


GRAMBLING, LA

Two interim positions may soon become permanent at Grambling State University.

University officials say interviews are over for their athletic director search.

GSU is currently in negotiations with the candidate they feel is best for the department.

An announcement should be made soon if the candidate accepts the position.

Grambling will also soon have a permanent police chief.

Candidate Interviews concluded earlier this week.

Among those that applied is the current interim Police Chief Howard Caviness.

The search committee plans to meet early next week to discuss who they want to bring before GSU President Dr. Willie Larkin.

No timeline has been set to how long that process will take.
12 2016-04-21
Monroe

Tech, Grambling avoid penalties in latest APR scores


Academic Progress Rate scores are out for the 2014-15 academic year and historically black colleges and universities are once again near the bottom with several sports receiving postseason bans next season.

Several of those schools are from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, like Alabama State, Alcorn State and Southern, but Grambling avoided any APR penalties while enjoying several multi-year increases across various sports.

Louisiana Tech, too, avoided any APR penalties after indoor track received a postseason ban last winter.

However, even though neither school was hit with penalties, their averages among three of the major collegiate sports — football, men's and women's basketball — all fell below the national averages.

The NCAA football average was a 959 — GSU was at 938 and Tech's was at 934 — men’s basketball average was a 964 — Tech was at 946, GSU was at 928 — and the women's average was a 978 — Tech was at 930 and GSU was at 908.

Tech's women's basketball program did, however, record a 1,000 single-year APR score as did the men's cross country.

Despite a single-year score of 1,000, Tech's multi-year APR in women's basketball is still low due to a woeful single-year mark of 860 from 2012-13 that is still hanging around as part of the four-year average.

Last year, the NCAA announced the Grambling women's basketball program was among 13 teams hit with Level One APR penalties, which is described as losing "four hours and one day of practice time per week in season."

Grambling's men's program was banned from the postseason in 2013-14 due to APR woes and can't recruit or sign any transfers for this year's signing class as part of the penalties, but both the men's and women's programs improved on their numbers enough to remove themselves from danger.

In fact, Grambling men's basketball enjoyed the largest jump from 906 to 923. Women's tennis and women's cross country went up 15 points to 987 and 986, respectively, football increased nine points to 939 and women's soccer improve by seven points to 931. Baseball and softball both decreased by one point.


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How Tech juggles APR scores, competitive balance

APR scores are based out of 1,000 per team and are calculated based off two variables — each semester, scholarship student-athletes earn a point for staying eligible and a point for staying in school or graduating.

At Tech, men's cross country increased 12 points to 984 and men's basketball jumped six points to 946, while every other program saw its multi-year APR decrease. Women's track (965) and men's track (947) aren't included in programs who decreased since the NCAA now combines outdoor and indoor track for APR where they were previously separate.

Sofball's decrease was minimal (987 to 983), while baseball dropped 10 points to 944 and football fell seven points to 934.

Tech had the lowest Conference USA multi-year APR in football, women's basketball and volleyball and the second lowest in baseball. Men's golf and softball ranked seventh highest in the league.

Of all the sports in C-USA, football and women's basketball made up two of the three lowest numbers.

Multi-year scores are a rolling average of the last four years of APR numbers. Numbers tend to increase or decrease if a perfect score of 1,000 rolls off or if a historically low single-year number happened within the last four years.

In the case of Tech's men's indoor track, it was banned from the postseason in 2015 after spending three years digging itself out of a mess that stemmed from a 2010 single-year APR rate of 846. The number caused Tech's multi-year APR to plummet to 916 in 2012 and 923 in 2013 when the Bulldogs were banned.

Grambling's women's APR had been going strong with recent marks of 956 in 2012-13, 977 in 2011-12 and 972 in 2010-11, but that number dipped to 918 in 2013-14. Teams are subject to penalty with anything below 930.

No team in the NCAA was hit harder than Southern, which is banned from postseason play in eight sports, including baseball, football and women's basketball.

According to the NCAA, "HBCU and limited-resource teams have historically been able to avoid penalties by meeting a separate standard that includes improvement and a graduation rate that exceeds that of the student body at the school."

Louisiana Tech multi-year APR scores for 2014-15

Men's golf — 988
Men's cross country — 984
Softball — 983
Women's bowling — 975
Women's soccer — 967
Women's track — 965
Women's cross country — 962
Women's tennis — 960
Women's volleyball — 956
Men's track — 947
Men's basketball — 946
Baseball — 944
Football — 934
Women's basketball — 930

Grambling multi-year APR scores for 2014-15

Women's bowling — 989
Women's tennis — 987
Women's cross country — 986
Women's volleyball — 959
Men's track — 947
Men's cross country — 940
Softball — 938
Football — 938
Baseball — 935
Women's track — 931
Women's soccer — 931
Men's basketball — 928
Women's basketball — 909
12 2016-04-14
Monroe

Reception Thursday for GSU senior artist Joiya Smith


Through April 27, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Grambling State University is hosting an exhibition by Joiya Smith, entitled “Her Story,” in Dunbar Gallery.

The public is invited to meet Smith at a reception from 4:30-6 p.m. Thursday.

Smith, a senior from Bogalusa, is pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in visual and performing arts with a concentration in digital art.

Smith’s work explores the history of African American women. Smith believes that the black woman is the backbone of African American culture.

“I would like to remind young African American women of their worth and the legacy we have to fulfill,” she said.

Smith’s work includes digitally manipulated images that create a time line of the accomplishments of African American women. Smith said she hopes to inspire young women to take charge because she believes the spirit and strengths of these historical black women lie within the character of all young black women. She would also like for black women to get the recognition that they deserve for the positive contributions they have made to American history.

Dunbar Gallery is located on Hutchinson Street, Grambling State University. Hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8:30 a.m.-noon Friday. Accommodations are available for large groups and special needs persons. For more information contact Donna McGee, 274-2274, mcgeed@gram.edu or Rodrecas Davis, 274- 3462 davisro@gram.edu. The artist may be contacted at joiyats@gmail.com.
12 2016-04-11
Monroe

Grambling embarks on updated strategic plan


Less than a year into leading Grambling State University, President Willie Larkin is focused on updating the university's strategic plan for the future.

Larkin welcomed faculty, staff, students and other stakeholder groups Friday in a strategic plan open meeting at the Hobdy Assembly Center. "We want to be fresh, we want to be new, we want to be relevant. We want to make sure that we are addressing the things we need to promote to be a competitive university," he said.


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The prospective five-year plan encompasses eight issues and goals that were developed from comments and feedback from five focus groups earlier this year. Those issues include: enhancing recruitment efforts; strengthening fundraising strategies; maintaining accreditations; campus safety and community policing; renovating or rebuilding the library; developing a deferred maintenance plan; creating a financial stabilization and accountability system; and create partnerships and collaborations with business and workforce development.

"We must compete against ourselves and external challenges," Larkin said. One of most immediate challenges is that of finances, especially given the state's dwindling dollars toward higher education.

The responses showed that the focus groups realize the reality of the financial challenge for Grambling. A SWOT (strength/weakness/opportunity/threat) analysis placed funding as the biggest consideration under the categories of weaknesses and threats. Weaknesses were noted in alumni giving and scholarships, while state funding and budget cuts threaten future monies.

"We have to put our money where our money is," said Maurice Taylor, vice president for university operations at Morgan State University, as he presented the steering committee's findings. Taylor described how student recruitment and retention are important factors in the strategic plan.

In 2014-15, Grambling's retention rate of first to second year students was at 68 percent. The annual loss of revenue was $848,250. Over a five-year period, that would equal a projected loss of more than $4.2 million.

Dr. Eddie Jones responds to question from Dr. MauriceBuy Photo
Dr. Eddie Jones responds to question from Dr. Maurice Taylor (standing at right) during GSU strategic plan meeting. (Photo: Bob Lenox / The News-Star)
Another recruitment effort developed in the plan seeks more diversification in the student body. Undergraduate numbers have declined, while graduate student numbers are up at GSU. Taylor said there are more people coming back to school to further their education that the university could attract.

"What is very clear to me is how student-centered Grambling is," he said. Academic programs outranked the school's brand as the biggest strength mentioned by focus groups.

One audience member believed academic excellence should be promoted in Grambling's vision for the future. The university has seen difficulties in recent years with the loss of its nursing program and concerns over accreditation of some others.


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While stakeholders see the greatest opportunity for the school is to grow in program development, a faculty shortage was listed as an issue that needed to be addressed.

Faculty Senate President Herbert Simmons questioned how effective a strategic plan would be in achieving goals. "This must be more than an exercise. In the end, how do these change the institution?".

"Isn't it on the Grambling community to continually inquire into evaluating the plan? It should be, irrespective of people or place," Taylor said.

Larkin, who in February received a no-confidence vote from the Faculty Senate, encouraged the audience to be engaged during the process of the strategic plan. He said communication has to be a top priority coming from the entire university. "Grambling people have been pleading for us to be transparent. We've got to deliver on that."

The university expects to develop a completed plan that will be finalized by the end of May.
12 2016-04-05
Ruston

GRAMBLING STATE TO HOST ARTS CONFERENCE


In 1936, the National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts was established by Shepherd Randolph Edmonds to create a closer relationship between educators, students and practitioners of the communicative and performing arts.

Grambling State University will host the 80th anniversary of the conference April 6-9 on their campus.
12 2016-03-24
Shreveport

Grambling State’s Athletic Director search continues


GRAMBLING, La. -
Grambling State thought they were ready to reveal their new Athletic Director Wednesday, even calling a news conference to announce it. But thirty minutes before the announcement, GSU called it off.

KTBS 3 Sports spoke to the university's communications department who sent out both announcements. They said no decision has been made yet, but they're close. A search committee reviewed over 40 applicants and chose four finalists.

And while Grambling believed they were ready to make an announcement Wednesday, they pushed it back to allow more vetting of potential candidates. They hope to make a decision next week.

The new Athletic Director will replace Obadiah Simmons, who's been serving as interim A.D. since May 2015. It's been a rocky hiring process for Grambling, which at one time had suspended the search due to budget constraints. The Tigers have not had a permanent, full-time Athletic Director since 2014.
12 2016-03-17
Shreveport

Grambling State University facing costly flood cleanup


GRAMBLING, La

At Grambling State University the worry of midterm exams has been replaced by the whirl of ventilation fans. Last week flash flooding swallowed the campus leading to classes being canceled for 3 days.

"Of course we definitely watched the weather forecasts but had no idea that it would so quickly get as bad as it did," says GSU spokesperson, Mitzi LaSalle.

Lincoln Parish and surrounding areas were hit with over a foot of rain which caused overnight flooding of faculty offices, classrooms and more.


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"We had students in dorms that had to be relocated, so for us, yes absolutely a state of emergency for our University, and our President (Dr. Willie D. Larkin) declared that for our University," says LaSalle.

10 buildings on campus were overtaken by floodwater causing an initial assessment of $2 million dollars worth of damage. Insurance is covering the initial cost of cleanup, which involves crews packing up faculty offices, and placing ventilation fans and ducts through flooded buildings.

Kip Franklin, Lincoln Parish Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness toured the damage Wednesday.

"I'm sure Lincoln Parish will be added to the Presidential (disaster) declaration that's in place along with the other 23 parishes," says Franklin. If that happens the University will likely see some kind of reimbursement.

Until the, Grambling is hoping alumni and friends can help. The University is already tasked with slashing an additional $2 million from its operating budget due to state higher education cuts.

"This is the time that those who love dear old Grambling can come in, actually come to the campus, pull up their sleeves and assist us with some of this rebuild," says LaSalle.


12 2016-03-15
Monroe

Grambling keeps head above water amid flooding crisis


GRAMBLING — The sound of warm air being blown through Charles P. Adams Hall on Grambling State's campus Monday resonated all the way out to the parking lot where several bright green 18 wheelers were parked with the label "Disaster Response Unit."

Inside, cleanup crews were hard at work trying to restore some sort of normalcy to the education building that took on about three feet of water just a few days earlier as part of the disastrous floods that hit north Louisiana last week.

Grambling president Willie Larkin was among those inside as he walked the halls yet again to explain the damage to Adams Hall, which was the hardest hit building on campus and one of nearly 10 structures affected by the flooding.

Larkin called the situation dire and one that is piling on Grambling in a way in light of recent budget cut issues that hit the entire state last month.

"What's next? Is what people are saying. What I say is that you have to play the hand that you're dealt," Larkin told The News-Star on Monday. "We have a situation out of our control, but we can control what we do about it and how quickly we do it. We can also control how we respond from being orderly and not turning on each other."


Grambling State president Willie Larkin calls campus flooding a dire situation

Larkin, who recently declared a State of Emergency at Grambling, said there is no timetable for repairs and renovations, but simply noted as soon as possible. It's unclear how much it will cost to restore the buildings back to normal.

"We have state and federal government that has to kick in. We have risk management insurance that has to come in and evaluate," he said. "A lot of our timeline depends on the response and timing. We don't have enough money in the bank to initiate on our own. We're at the mercy of other individuals making decisions."

Grambling sustained flooding at Adams Hall, Woodson Hall, Carver Hall, the stadium support building, T.H. Harris Auditorium, the men's memorial gymnasium, Eddie G. Robinson Museum, student union and the bookstore. Woodson Hall sustained flood damage last year and will once again go through the restoration process.


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At Adams Hall, the building flooded due to a drainage system in the back that needs repairs. Larking said it needs to be fixed so that part of campus can take on more water.

Larkin said 31 faculty members at Adams Hall, which is the home to college of education, service learning, sociology and honors college, among others, have been moved. One room on the first floor is full of boxes and computers that had to be removed from the floodwaters.

A ventilation system runs throughout the day to keep the building dry. The same setup is at Woodson Hall next door to ensure mold and mildew aren't issues in the future.

Cleanup crews have been on campus since Thursday. Grambling closed last week for several days and finally reopened Monday. Larkin and his administration team greeted students on campus. Grambling provided drinks and food for students and had counseling available for those in need.

Fans circulate air at Adams Hall to keep walls dryBuy Photo
Fans circulate air at Adams Hall to keep walls dry after they were saturated with water from flooding. (Photo: SEAN ISABELLA/The News-Star)
Members of the football and basketball teams were present earlier Monday, and Larkin told them he needed them during this crisis.

"People follow athletes and people follow people who are in fraternities or sororities. I encouraged all of our groups on campus to take that leadership role," he said.

Larkin was in Houston last Thursday for the Southwestern Athletic Conference basketball championships and drove back to Grambling to asses the damage.

"We walked the campus and went through buildings and it was just really amazing the devastation that had taken place," he said. "That's when we started assessing the situation and making next steps going forward. We didn't have a lot of time to be debating or arguing or what can we do or how we do it."

Grambling has spring break next week and will try to further assess buildings and expedite the cleanup process with no students or faculty on campus.
12 2016-03-14
Shreveport

State of Emergency declared for GSU


GRAMBLING - (Press Release)

As the Grambling State University Lady Tigers and G-Men were in Houston, TX competing in the SWAC Basketball Tournament with President Willie D. Larkin cheering them on, Mother Nature decided to get a little feisty. The heavens opened up and poured out more rain than the campus could handle. Several buildings were flooded. As a result, the campus was closed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week.

President Willie D. Larkin shortened his trip to the SWAC Tournament to return to Grambling in the midst of the major storms, hazardous conditions, and severe flooding. He stated, "I can't enjoy the basketball games while areas of Grambling's campus are underwater and our students are in need. I'm returning to campus early to examine the situation and make sure our students are safe.”

President Larkin went on to explain, "As a university community, we will band together to OVERCOME this temporary inconvenience just as we have done in the past. Our students do not need another disruption. Many of them recently traveled to the state capital to support funding for higher education in Louisiana. I want to make sure we can return to a sense of normalcy and comfort for them ASAP”.

The President held emergency meetings with the university's Emergency Response Team, which consists of all of the vice presidents and several leaders at the university to discuss the next steps in the Emergency Relief Process.

President Larkin went on to declare a "State of Emergency."

“We are in the assessment, documentation and cleanup modes right now, trying to get everything back online and functioning for our students, faculty and loyal staff. Many of our employees have been working day and night to prepare for the upcoming week of mid-semester exams.”

“I will be asking local, state and federal agencies to provide the necessary assistance to prevent flooding, repair our damaged facilities and repair leaky roofs. Because these kinds of repairs and maintenance have been deferred in order to save money, we are suffering each time there are storms and heavy rains.”

“The education of our students is our main priority; we cannot successfully accomplish our mission in unsafe conditions. With that, understand that Grambling State University is truly in need of State and Federal assistance to get back to the Business of Educating our students.”
12 2016-03-04
New Orleans

By Kelsey Davis Grambling State University president speaks to Jefferson Parish students


Grambling State University's president spent some time with Jefferson Parish students on Thursday at a special assembly.

Larkin spoke of his journey from being a sharecropper's son to a university administrator. He said the message to take away from this assembly: Don't let your current situation define you!

Larkin told the group if they learn to work hard now, there is no limit to how successful they can be.

He says this advice could be useful to state lawmakers, too.

“If we don't address the issue of higher education, we're going to put ourselves in a predicament that we're not going to rebound from,” said Larkin. “We're trying to convince the legislature to look favorably on education, because that's the thing that's really going to improve the state. You cannot cut your way to prosperity. So we're encouraging our legislators to look at the future of the state and invest in education.”

Larkin says right now, Grambling, just like the rest of the public colleges and universities in the state, are facing some serious financial challenges.

To survive the nearly $3 million in cuts from the state, he says they have a team considering several scenarios to ensure they're prepared to keep functioning, regardless of what happens in the legislature.
12 2016-02-25
Monroe

GSU President & Students Rally in Baton Rouge for Higher Education Day


The hot topic in Baton Rouge Wednesday--Higher Education Day.

Alongside other institutions, Grambling State University President Dr. Willie Larkin and members of GSU's Student Government Association rallied on the capital's steps.

Dr. Larkin says it's important to call on state legislators to recognize the fundamental programs and jobs that could face the chopping block if more funding is eliminated.

"All of the higher education institutions are rallying here in Baton Rouge to make sure that the legislators understand the difficulty that we're placed in.", explains Dr. Larkin.

Larkin composed an open letter to faculty, students, and alumni. He posted it to his Facebook page Monday.

Click here to see a link to the letter.

In it, he addresses the dire strain Grambling faces, and highlights an estimated $2.5 Million in cuts the school could face.

As he expressed in a Town Hall Meeting, these possible short-falls are being assessed by GSU leaders to determine the best plan of action financially.

Dr. Larkin says, "The last thing that we want to do is to lay faculty off or have to furlough faculty, but we've got to look at all of the options. And at the end of the day, saving the university is the most paramount thing that we're about."

Larkin adds while several faculty members voted "No Confidence" in him as a leader earlier this month, he plans to continue fighting for Grambling.

"I have been open, transparent, engaging, communicative, and just basically, a different kind of president.", says Dr. Larkin.

He also explains that education is one of the most critical resources throughout Louisiana.

"You cannot legislate yourself out of a budget situation. Education is the most powerful tool you can use to help the state, and so that's the emphasis that we're placing on it.", explains Dr. Larkin.

While in Baton Rouge, Dr. Larkin plans to meet with high schoolers and alumni associations to reassure them he will do whatever it takes to maintain Grambling's high standards of excellence.

Dr. Larkin asks all GSU supporters to "get on board" by contacting the state legislature to voice their concerns.
12 2016-02-24
Baton Rouge

Grambling State University president discusses potential cuts


Dr. Willie Larkin, president of Grambling State University, gives insight on the university with recent talk of budget cuts and his role as president.
12 2016-02-24
Regional/National

Watch: Grambling President Discusses Why School Declined Contract With Adidas


While addressing questions from students during a meeting last week regarding proposed budget cuts at Grambling State to the tune of $2.5 million, Dr. Willie Larkin, the school’s president addressed one question in particular about the school’s decision not to sign an apparel deal with sportswear manufacturer, Adidas.

“All of the SWAC schools are in a contract with Russell [Athletics] through 2018,” Larkin said to the audience. “Now, if we walk away from that contract, we will wind up being fined $2,500 for the first offense. Second offense, $10,000. The third offense, per sport, $25,000. And that’s just from Russell, not to include the fines that would be levied by the SWAC commissioner [Duer Sharp].”

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Larkin provided examples of what could be considered offenses to the existing contracts the school has with Russell Athletic and Nike in conjunction with the SWAC and other member schools.

“If Russell decides to exercise levy and fines against us, we could wind up paying several million dollars,” Larkin added in addressing the financial impact the fines could have on the school during the existing contract.

Larkin told the students he’s aware of how “sexy” it is to want to change apparel companies, but reminded them of the “brand hit” the school suffered when the football team refused to play Jackson State during the 2013 season.

“We can’t go around as a university and just decide we’re going to break contracts anytime we want to,” Larkin said.

In an email sent to HBCU Sports in January, GSU interim AD Obadiah Simmons confirmed that an athletic apparel proposal from Adidas was presented to the school, but no decision had been made at the time.

Watch below via YouTube
12 2016-02-23
Monroe

Larkin: GSU is fighting for her life


Grambling State University President Willie Larkin, in a letter addressed to faculty, students, alumni, friends and allies, said the university is fighting for her life.

He encouraged unity and pleaded with all to attend Higher Education Day at the Louisiana Legislature on Wednesday. He said concerned parties should organize, make social media posts, write letters and make calls to the legislators who will determine the cuts to higher education.

"As I think of Grambling State University, I have witnessed, firsthand, how ‘she’ has given birth to thousands of beautiful minds, rising stars, and intellectual explorers," Larkin said. "She, Grambling State University, has also birthed all who walk her halls, enjoy her splendor, teach in her classrooms, eat in her dining halls, work in her offices, and marvel at her majesty, no matter one’s views."


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He used a medical theme throughout the letter, referencing the university's many past and fresh wounds and the need to excise "cancers" that must be removed.

"My fight is to battle all those who inflicted pains on her infrastructure while she opened her arms for the past 115 years," Larkin said. "My fight is to battle all those systems that want to do her harm. And my fight is to battle all those who might want to stay the course that could become a cancer to her."

Larkin said the university stands to lose $2,509,045 from mid-year budget cuts, following eight previous large budget cuts.

"Just as a point of clarification, when I took office as Grambling’s ninth permanent President on July 1; the financial woes at the university were as follows: the structural deficit for the operating budget was $5,158,109. And, the athletics department’s budget had a whopping deficit of $5,746,321. So, this administration began its presidency having to dig out of a huge hole," he said.

Larkin said the university is working to come up to develop short- and long-term solutions that cuts costs while allowing programs to boost enrollment and retention numbers.


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Grambling Faculty Senate votes 'no confidence' in Larkin

He said the task set before him would have been impossible to accomplish in the seven months he's been at the university.

He thanked the more than 200 Faculty Senate members who "understand the delicacy of our plight."

Larkin asked those who voted no confidence in him to have a chance to develop a long-term solution for the university's problems. Ten members of the 18-member voting body cast ballots of no confidence.
12 2016-02-22
Monroe

GSU theater presents ‘The Mountaintop’


In honor of Black History Month, Grambling State University Theatre presents “The Mountaintop” by Katori Hall Tuesday-Friday at the Floyd L. Sandle Theatre, located in the Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center.

The story is about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., frequent visitor to Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. King is visited by the new housekeeper (Camae), who not only serves him fresh coffee, but his “papers” to eternal life. Hall’s mystical envisions are mixed with truths of the night before King’s infamous assignation.


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Camae states, “You in a relay race, albeit the fastest runner we done ever seen’t. But you ’bout to burn out, superstar. You gone need to pass off that baton.”

Cast members include: Adarian Williams from Grambling as Dr. King and Klervaé Stinson from New Orleans as Camae.

Directed by Karl V. Norman, the production staff consists of David Kaul as set and light designer, Teisha Lincoln as costume supervisor and Ja’Keem Smith as costume designer, Cam Conerly as sound designer, Dawn Clements and Ibraheem Farmer as prop masters and Quintara Johnson as production stage manager.

Performances begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for general admission. The box office is open 1-5 pm. Monday through Thursday and 30 minutes before performance time. For more information, 274-2892.

Want to Go?

What: “The Mountaintop”

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday

Where: Floyd L. Sandle Theatre at GSU

Cost: $3 for students and $5 for general admission

Info: 274-2892
12 2016-02-22
Regional/National

Grambling’s AD Search Was On, Then Off, Now On Again


Grambling State’s athletic department has been without a permanent athletic director since the school fired Aaron James in July 2014.

Shortly after being named the school’s president in June 2015, Willie Larkin began the search for a new permanent AD.

But in a letter dated Friday, Feb. 12, Larkin announced the university was suspending its search for a new AD due the crippling budget crisis facing the State of Louisiana.

“I cannot in good conscience proceed with the search process,” Larkin wrote. “Because of the critical nature of the financial crisis in the State of Louisiana, we will delay our process until we can see a clear way forward.”

In less than a week, it now appears that clear way forward can be seen once again.

Larkin, in a letter published on the university website early Friday, announced the search for a permanent AD is on again.

February 18, 2016

RE: Search for Athletics Director at Grambling State University

I have heard your resounding sentiments and enthusiasm regarding the search for the permanent Athletics Director for our university.

Acknowledging Grambling State University’s legacy of excellence in athletics and the significance of our athletic programs to the survival of our great institution, I stand in agreement with you that we are much better served if we indeed continue the search for a permanent director of athletics.

Again, our core value of shared governance empowers us to partner, and collaboratively guarantee that the vitality of our institution remains intact.

As a result, we will move forward with high expectations of hiring the best candidate to lead and advance our athletic programs.

With Great Enthusiasm and a Steadfast Commitment to Excellence,

Willie D. Larkin, Ph.D.
President
12 2016-02-19
Monroe

Grambling reinstates athletic director search


Grambling's search for a new athletic director is back on.

Less than a week after suspending the search due to budgets issues at the school, Grambling president Willie Larkin has decided to resume the search for the university's first permanent athletic director since 2014.

In a letter obtained by The News-Star dated Thursday, Feb. 18, Larkin wrote to the Grambling family that he has heard the "resounding sentiments and enthusiasm" regarding the search.

"I stand in agreement with you that we are much better served if we indeed continue the search for a permanent director of athletics," Larkin wrote.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
Grambling suspends AD search amid budget uncertainty

Larkin added Grambling will move forward with "high expectations of hiring the best candidate to lead and advance our athletic program."

The news comes after Larkin announced in a letter last weekend that Grambling would suspend its search due to the "uncertainty around the University’s budget."

"I cannot in good conscience proceed with the search process," Larkin wrote Feb. 12. "Because of the critical nature of the financial crisis in the State of Louisiana, we will delay our process until we can see a clear way forward."

Obadiah Simmons is Grambling's interim athletic director, a position he's held since May 2015. Simmons, a long-time Grambling employee, also serves as the interim head and director of the Department of Kinesiology, Sport and Leisure Studies, a role he has filled since 2008.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
Grambling Faculty Senate votes 'no confidence' in Larkin

Grambling has been without a permanent athletic director since Aaron James was fired in July 2014.

The decision to suspend the search came after the state decided to suspend payments from the TOPS free college tuition program last week. The news started a whirlwind of events across the state and uncertainty lingers as legislatures decide to figure out how to solve Louisiana's budget woes.

Grambling reinstates AD search

12 2016-02-19
Monroe

Larkin, administrators answer students


Grambling State University President Willie Larkin and his cabinet answered students questions, the tones of which ranged from sincere to belligerent. The questions were asked by a moderator and presented anonymously.

Louisiana higher education is facing potentially $131 million in budget cuts. Of that, $38 million would come from the University of Louisiana System, and $2.51 million would come from Grambling.

Several students asked about the financial future of the institution in light of deep budget cuts at the state level.

Larkin and the administration said the primary way to raise revenue will be to increase enrollment, so that's where available funds have been directed.

One student asked Larkin what he had done for Grambling since his arrival.

Larkin said he spends a lot of time talking to legislators.

"About what?" came a catcall.

"Money," Larkin deadpanned.

He said a great deal of fundraising, particularly with alumni, is a matter of networking at events.

Another student asked how much money the administration had misappropriated "for friends and family" during football season. All answered zero.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
Grambling reinstates athletic director search

A third student asked if the University would pass an audit. Sanders said that good management from the business department ensures that the university passes an in-depth audit each year.

Most of the questions were related to future recruitment, fundraising and maintenance of the physical plant.

The administration were asked if they would be willing to take a pay cut for the university. Larkin said he'd donate up to $50,000 for a scholarship but would not take a cut. Leon Sanders, vice president for finance and administration, said the current plan include furlough, so many employees would be taking some level of cut, based on their income level.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
GSU head outlines potential budget woes

Multiple student queried why the organization waits so long to make necessary improvements to the property, and the root of the answer each time was a paucity of available funds. Administration cited either deferred maintenance plans or a lack of capital outlay funds from the state.

The timing of the cuts in this year, Sanders said, are twofold because the university can only cut what has not already been paid out. He said financial exigency is still an option, though a last resort. Options to cancel summer school and spring sports, he said, are not viable.
12 2016-02-19
Monroe

A bow, a toast, applause for those who make a difference


Caddo Dist. Atty. James Stewart Sr. and Grambling State University Prez Willie D. Larkin were among 10 honored Jan. 13 for making a difference in their communities.

SHr 0221scenernierman MUST RUN

12 2016-02-17
Monroe

Grambling Faculty Senate votes 'no confidence' in Larkin


The Grambling State University Faculty Senate has voted 'no confidence' in President Willie Larkin.

The 18-member senate voted with ten in favor of 'no confidence', seven against, and one abstention in the vote taken Tuesday.

The action comes after a resolution was introduced last November by the senate over concerns about the leadership of the university.

"Over the last few months, the senate has reached out to President Larkin regarding budget, enrollment and things that affect the entirety of the university," GSU Faculty Senate President Herbert Simmons told The News-Star. Simmons said while Larkin met with the faculty group three or four times over the past few months, he did not address their concerns.

The resolution centered around what the senate deemed as past failed leadership and sustained instability throughout the university. It noted the loss of the School of Nursing program and the need to maintain accreditation in the College of Business. The document asked Larkin to evaluate members of the current administration and called for support for all degree programs and resources.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
GSU nursing program to be rebuilt from scratch

In a response letter from Larkin dated Dec. 2, the president expressed his administrative duties in personnel matters. He also stated that he would monitor concerns and, if change was warranted, would make them through the process of due diligence, investigation and fairness.

The faculty senate conducted a straw poll about two weeks ago and formalized the vote in the meeting Tuesday.

"If history is any indication, the faculty has grown accustomed to the status of the operating budget, enrollment issues and the athletic department's deficit," Simmons said, adding that Larkin has yet to introduce a recruiting plan.

"The challenge we have at Grambling, we can't lay total blame with Dr. Larkin. There are aspects at the state level that continue to work and play a role in getting enrollment up," Simmons said.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
GSU head outlines potential budget woes

He added that the senate will continue to base its decisions based upon what they observe at Grambling. "We do this as a faculty senate member, not as a student or alumni," he said.

GSU Interim Director of Communications Mitzi LaSalle said the school's administration had not received official notification of the no confidence vote. She said President Larkin was out of town attending meetings with state legislators about the state's budget.
12 2016-02-17
Regional/National

Grambling Faculty Senate Votes ‘No Confidence’ in President Willie Larkin


Members of Grambling State University’s Faculty Senate have voted no-confidence in president Willie Larkin, the latest headline in a growing narrative of strapped finances and few answers amid Louisiana’s looming budget crisis.

According to documents obtained by the HBCU Digest, 10 senate members voted non-confidence in Larkin, who was appointed last June. Seven faculty members voted against the no-confidence vote, and one member abstained.

The vote caps what senate members described as months of non-response and ineffective leadership from Larkin, who declared financial exigency of the school’s nursing program in August, the suspension of its national search for an athletic director this week, and a community town hall meeting during which a student questioned his allegiance to the university.

In a five-page letter to faculty, Senate President Herbert Simmons Jr. offers details and insight into the lack of engagement with professors, and the perceived peril for the university’s future under Larkin’s leadership.

“Grambling’s current administration appears to be groping in the dark and tinkering with small expedients. With deep regrets and to this date we have yet to receive any clear indication or any decisive plans of action informing us as to where the administration is taking the university and how it intends to solve or address the looming financial dilemmas. We have informed the administration of our concerns for developing plans for addressing many of the university’s unmet needs, especially in the areas of supporting campus programs, faculty and non-teaching staff.”

“We have yet to receive any plausible information regarding resource development, physical plant upgrades, and an overall visionary approach and plan of action for the university. We have received no response concerning plans to provide a scholarly approach to examining and developing new and needed academic program offerings, efforts to address the deficiency in student financial aid, a genuine discussion of shared governance, the need for specialized programs to enhance the effectiveness of training and the quality of learning; commercial ventures and activities that could transform Grambling into a more effective, less stressed and financially burdened public service agency.”
12 2016-02-16
Baton Rouge

Report: Grambling State University suspends athletic director search due to state budget crisis


Grambling State University stopped its search for a new athletic director over the weekend amid looming budget cuts to higher education, The News Star reports.

Grambling president Willie Larkin said in a letter that the search for a new athletic directoris on hold until there is less uncertainity about Grambling's budget.

Grambling's interim Athletic Director Obadiah Simmons will continue in the post he's held since May 2015, according to The News Star. Simmons has also served as the interim Department of Kinesiology, Sport and Leisure Studies director since 2008.

Still, Grambling has not had a permanent athletic director since July 2014 when Aaron James was fired, acorrding to The News Star.

Last week the state suspended TOPS payments given a lack of funding from the previous year. Hours later, the state paid 80 percent of TOPS bills for this semester, forcing universities and colleges to absorb the leftover costs.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said in his televised address last Thursday that if the budget shortfall is not made up many universities and colleges will be forced to close by April 30.

Click here to read the full News Star story.
12 2016-02-16
Monroe

Suspension of the search for athletic director at Grambling State University


Grambling State University temporarily suspends search for a new athletic director due to the University's uncertain budget. Below is a letter from Willie D. Larkin, Ph.D.:

Dear Grambling Family:

RE: Suspension of the Search for Athletics Director at Grambling State University

After carefully considering all of my options, I have decided to temporarily suspend the search for a new Athletics Director. With all of the uncertainty around the University’s budget, I cannot in good conscience proceed with the search process. Because of the critical nature of the financial crisis in the State of Louisiana, we will delay our process until we can see a clear way forward.

As university leaders and supporters, we must make decisions that are in the best interest of the University as a whole. To that end, I offer my sincerest of apologies to the Search and Screen Committee, the Search Firm and most of all, the candidates who placed their names in the pool of applicants for this coveted position. I also want to express my disappointment to the faculty, students, staff and alumni who were anticipating that we would be able to conclude with a successful search. However, I am confident that all parties involved will come to the same conclusion that I did; the timing is just not right.

Please stay tuned, we will be monitoring changes in the economy, and when appropriate, we will revisit this matter as soon as possible. Again, thanks for your support with this difficult decision.

With Great Enthusiasm,

Willie D. Larkin, Ph.D.
President
Grambling State University

>>> http://www.gram.edu/president/corner/?p=306
12 2016-02-15
Shreveport

Grambling State University President talks TOPS and budget worries


As the state of Louisiana faces a $940 million dollar budget shortfall, colleges and universities and preparing for even more cuts.

"Well I think everyday different cuts are coming our way, but we were surprised about TOPS," says Grambling State University (GSU) President, Dr. William Larkin.

The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) is facing a $28 million dollar shortfall for the remainder of the semester, and is only 25% funded for the next school year. Students will not lose their financial aid through TOPS this semester, but schools will have to fund the remaining 20% for each student.

GSU is already facing a $2.5 million in cuts. It will affect fewer than 150 students, but if a solution isn't found by the fall semester 'TOPS' could go away for many next year.

"The other thing about any cut is that it affects the morale of the University, and we're trying to keep people positive," says Dr. Larkin.

The University has formed a committee to explore ways to stretch the budget.

"They've been looking at all kinds of options to explore ways to streamline their budget and maximize the money they do have," says Larkin.

GSU will hold a meeting with students to address budget concerns Thursday, February 18th. Larkin, who met with Gov. John Bel Edwards last week, plans to attend the upcoming special budget session in Baton Rouge.

"He has to make some very tough decisions, we're trying to present a case that we're important, we're significant, we're an anchor institution in this part of the state, says Dr. Larkin."

For more information on the TOPS situation you can read a FAQ page from the Governor's office here.
12 2016-02-12
Monroe

GSU head outlines potential budget woes


Grambling State University President Willie Larkin and Leon Sanders, vice president for finance and administration, outlined the dire straits the institution is facing if proposed budgets cut come to pass at a town hall meeting on Wednesday.

The Legislative Fiscal Office's chief economist, Greg Albrecht, said the state's budget has a $750 million midyear hole that will grow to $870 million. Next year's projected $1.9 billion hole will top $2 billion.


Louisiana higher education is facing potentially $131 million in budget cuts. Of that, $38 million would come from the University of Louisiana System, and $2.51 million would come from Grambling. See the Board of Regents plan at regents.la.gov.

Larkin and Sanders outlined how the university administration has cut costs and plans to do so in the future.

Larkin said since he became president about seven months ago, the university has saved $735,000 through attrition and retirement.

Sanders said the administration has been working hard to come up with a short-term and a long-term plan to cut costs while maintaining as many programs and retaining as many staff members as possible.

Administrators, students and faculty of Grambling met for a town hall meeting to discuss potential cuts to the budget. Hannah Baldwin, Hannah Baldwin/News-Star
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Leon Sanders, the Vice President for Finance and Administration Travis Gray asks a question during a town hall meeting Grambling State University President Willie Larkin Administrators, students and faculty of Grambling met Grambling professor of math and physics Mackram Himaya Grambling sophomore Faron Rush was among faculty, students Grambling President Willie Larkin answers questions
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As a last measure, he said, the university might have to declare financial exigency to be able to restructure itself into a more sustainable organization.

Larkin said the university needs to grow revenue by recruiting and retaining more students. He said the faculty at Grambling is uniquely qualified and works hard with their students. Sanders said a problem is that because of the GRAD Act and other factors, the university's tuition costs have increased, so GSU is pricing itself out of the range of its target audience.

At the end of the presentation, students and faculty members asked a variety of questions, man of which were about how to best retain students and recruit new ones.

Head baseball coach James Cooper asked what could be done to help the university's struggling athletic staff. He said the department, which serves 300 student athletes, is understaffed. Larkin said he's aware of the issue, but the university lacks funds to bolster the department.

Travis Gray asked what the university is doing to reinstitute its undergraduate nursing program, which filed for exigency in August. She said she doesn't think Larkin bleeds black and gold, questioning his dedication to the university.

Larkin said it would take at least $500,000 to get the program back on its feet, and the university can't apply to get the program reinstated until July. He said the university board had made its decision about the program before he came, but reinstating it would be a feather in his cap.
12 2016-02-12
Monroe

GSU Faces Multi-Million Dollar Budget Cuts


GRAMBLING, LA (KNOE 8 NEWS) Grambling State University President Dr. Willie Larkin hosted a town hall meeting Thursday. He addressed some of the concerns at the university...mainly related to proposed cuts to higher education. This meeting came just hours before the State announced the suspension of TOPS.

President Larkin said the University of Louisiana System proposed a $2.5 million budget cut, which will create some big challenges for Grambling.

"We're trying to create additional revenue streams in addition to tuition that we get," said President Larkin.

It normally takes about $3 million fund a university according to Leon Sanders, Vice President for Finance at GSU. Sanders said that Grambling is working with less than $800,000. That number could be even less with the suspension of TOPS financial aid payments. TOPS -- the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, is a Louisiana college scholarship program that generally covers tuition for in-state students.

President Larkin said increasing tuition would push students away...the university has already lost about 700 students. Grambling instead will look into reorganizing the university by increasing recruitment strategies, addressing furloughs, hiring freezes and even moving to a 4-day work week to save energy and electric costs..

The crowd was full of questions. One woman asked when would the nursing program come back to the university. President Larkin’s response was that the nursing program closed three days before he arrived to the university, but he did say the university has until July 1, 2016 to file for reinstatement.

Others were concerned why the public has not been given specifics about budget cuts, but President Larkin said the university is not trying to hide any specifics...they're just waiting until they know exactly what the budget cuts will be, and that answer will likely be in March.

Additionally, Grambling has to submit a plan to the University of Louisiana System by Friday on how it will approach the multi-million dollar budget cut.

12 2016-02-11
Shreveport

African American Achievement Awards to go to 10 from area


Caddo District Attorney James Stewart Sr. is one of 10 recipients of the 2016 Outstanding African American Achievement Awards.

The awards are given by the Shreveport-Bossier-DeSoto African American Scholarship Awards Committee.

The 10 will be honored at the Shreveport-Bossier- DeSoto African American Scholarship Awards Banquet. It is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Sunrise Family Life Center, 3220 Lakeshore Dr., Shreveport.

Willie D. Larkin, president of Grambling State University is the keynote speaker and one of the award recipients. Grambling football coach Broderick Fobbs also is an honoree.

Others:

•David Aubrey, Louisiana director of external affairs for AT&T.

•Larry Hall, assistant principal at North Desoto Elementary School.

•Verni Howard, new executive director of Providence House.

•Jessica Latin, 2015 Mrs. Shreveport/professional counselor.

•Isaac Palmer, CEO Christus Health Shreveport-Bossier.

■Sandra Ratliff, of Caddo Parish schools, and founder of Springboard 2 Universal Success, Inc.

•Mary Trammell, president of Caddo Parish School Board.

All proceeds go for scholarships to students in north Louisiana, said official Ken Latin. His mother, Katie Latin, is event founder.

Banquet committee members: Eaver Boykin, Mary Rhone, Mary Smith, Brenda Richardson.

Admission: $25, individual, and $180, table of eight.

Information: Ken Latin, 422-0876.
12 2016-02-10
Alexandria

Grambling State to hold town hall meeting on budget


Grambling State University administrators plan to hold a town hall meeting Thursday to address potential steep midyear budget cuts to higher education institutions.


Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are encouraged to attend the meeting to ask questions about Grambling State’s budgetary status.

The proposed reduction of state funding would gut $2.5 million from Grambling’s budget with less than five months left in the fiscal year.

President Willie Larkin will host the meeting. Last month, he established a budget and priorities committee to develop criteria for budget slashing decisions.

The event will be held in the Betty E. Smith School of Nursing Auditorium, Thursday, Feb. 11 at 11 a.m.

The town hall meeting is open to the public.

Questions may be emailed to Mitzi LaSalle at lasallem@gram.edu.

The meeting will be posted to YouTube on Feb. 15.
12 2016-02-10
Monroe

GSU performed at first Super Bowl January 15, 1967


GRAMBLING, La (KNOE 8 News) - Grambling State University's band is gaining lots of attention because if it's role in the very first Super Bowl game. Dr. Willie Hill was the first drum major for Super Bowl 1. In a recent interview Hill said that he doesn't remember the experience like it was yesterday, but he said the experience is most definitely one for the books.

Hill said in a statement, "When we got there, we saw individuals in the stands with suit and ties, they were dressed to the max. It was a big deal to the people who were there."

Beside the Super Bowl, Grambling band has played at presidential inaugurations and many other major events domestic and abroad.
12 2016-02-10
New Orleans

Super Bowl I historic halftime show featured Louisiana's Al Hirt and Grambling State band


Ask any Who Dat if they can tell you the year of New Orleans' first Super Bowl, and without missing a beat they'll probably say it was 2009 -- the year quarterback Drew Brees led the team to its first-ever championship. A more astute observer might respond that it was 1970, which is when the Crescent City hosted its first Super Bowl.

In neither case would they be entirely wrong. But they wouldn't be entirely right, either.

In fact, New Orleans' ties to the mother of all sporting events goes back to the very beginning -- to Super Bowl I in 1967.

For the record, that game was played in the Los Angeles Coliseum, and it pitted the Kansas City Chiefs against the ultimately triumphant Green Bay Packers. But Louisiana was definitely present and accounted for during the game -- or, more precisely, during that historic first halftime show, which featured a decidedly local flavor.

This was the year, remember, in which the New Orleans Saints would play their very first game. But that would come in the fall. In January, they didn't even have any players yet, as the NFL had awarded the franchise to the city only a few months earlier, on Nov. 1, 1966.

Fittingly, the day the franchise was awarded to the city was also All Saints' Day, but the then-unnamed squad wasn't even known as the Saints until a week before the first Super Bowl, when the team's stockholders voted to adopt the moniker on Jan. 9, 1967.

"We want the people to know that the name was taken from the jazz number -- 'When the Saints Go Marching In' -- and has nothing to do with religion," local trumpet legend and part Saints owner Al Hirt was quoted as saying in The Times-Picayune on the Tuesday before that very first Super Bowl Sunday.

He was apparently so excited, both about both the team and the name, he added that he would "blow his horn for the Saints all over the country."

Groundhog Day in New Orleans: The tale of the 'Cajun Groundhog'
Groundhog Day in New Orleans: The tale of the 'Cajun Groundhog'
New Orleans has been observing Groundhog Day for well over a century, but only lately has it taken on a local flavor.

Which is exactly what he did five days later during that Super Bowl halftime show.

"Didja know that one of the New Orleans Saints will play in Sunday's Super Bowl?" longtime Times-Picayune sports editor Bob Roesler wrote on the morning of the big game. "Go on, of course I know that (Saints owner) John Mecom hasn't signed any football talent yet. I'm talking about that swingin' Saint Al Hirt.

"The man with the golden trumpet is going to toot New Orleans' horn during halftime ceremonies at Los Angeles."

What's more, Hirt told Roesler that he took the gig under one key condition: "When Tommy Walker called me and asked me to play with the University of Arizona band at halftime," Hirt is quoted as saying, "I jumped at it. When he started talking about money I told him, 'Tommy, you can burn my check if you'll just make part of the show about the New Orleans Saints.'"

They had a deal. And so Hirt was the headliner for the halftime show of Super Bowl I along with the Arizona State University marching band. Also performing was another Louisiana act: the Grambling State University marching band, as CBS News reported recently in a story about Super Bowl halftimes -- and in which they reunited several of those former Tiger bandmates.

Now, this was in the day before the Super Bowl halftime show was a big deal -- before wardrobe malfunctions or Left Sharks, before solo Beatles, Kings of Pop or Rolling Stones would take the NFL stage. Consequently, outside of a shaky, nosebleed-section video shot by the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts, footage and images from that historic performance are scarce.


But here's what you (probably) missed: The ASU band got things started with an extended on-field performance. Hirt then joined them at the 50-yard line for a medley of three numbers. First came "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," as the band formed the shape of a riverboat behind the hard-blowing Hirt. Then came "When the Saints Go Marching In" followed by "Bugler's Holiday," as the band took the shape of a trumpet.

Later, after Hirt made his exit, the Grambling band would join the ASU band to perform "This Is My Country" while forming an outline of the continental United States.

And just like that, Louisiana's storied musical tradition made NFL history.

It wouldn't be the last Super Bowl performance for either Hirt or Grambling.

The Tigers marching band holds the distinction of performing in six halftime shows over the years, a record that stands to this day. In addition to Super Bowl I, they performed in Super Bowl II in Miami, Super Bowl IX in New Orleans, Super Bowls XIV and XXI in Pasadena, Calif., and Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego.

(For the record, the Southern University marching band can also claim multiple Super Bowl appearances, playing at the halftime shows for Super Bowl IV at Tulane Stadium, and Super Bowls XV and XXIV in the Superdome.)

Hirt would also again do the duties with Ella Fitzgerald and Carol Channing at Super Bowl VI in Tulane Stadium -- which doubled as a tribute to the then-recently-deceased Louis Armstrong. Six years later, he would do it once more, with legendary licorice stick-ist Pete Fountain, at Super Bowl XII in the Superdome.

On Sunday, British rockers Coldplay will be the headline performer at Super Bowl 50, with a guest appearance by Beyonce and, reportedly, Bruno Mars. One can expect their show to be bigger than those earlier performances. It will certainly be seen by more eyeballs.

But when it comes to making history, don't count on them outplaying Al Hirt and Grambling State University.
12 2016-02-10
Regional/National

How one band marched into Super Bowl halftime history


How one band marched into Super Bowl halftime history
Comment 4.6K Shares Tweet Stumble Email
When we think halftime show, we think fireworks, helicopters and over-the-top antics, but it hasn't always been that way.

Coldplay will take the stage Sunday at the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show. With about 100 million people expected to tune in, Coldplay and all the special guests, including Beyonce, will take their place in history alongside some of America's most famous performers.

But it was a performance by college bandmates in 1967 that would change history and set the precedent for the big stage, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.

band-2.png
CBS NEWS
"You had to bring your dedication each time. You practice like you perform and you perform like you practice," said band member Freddie Colston, who played the percussion.

That year, the commissioner of the National Football League invited Grambling State's marching band to play in the very first Super Bowl - 129 men from a small Louisiana College marched alongside University of Arizona's band for millions of viewers.



33 PHOTOS
A look back at Super Bowl halftime shows
"There was a lot of weight on our shoulders. And a lot of times, we didn't pay particular attention to the weight," said alto saxophone player Travis E. Critton. "If we went out on the field and did a show and it pleased the public, then we felt that we had done our job."

For the next 23 years, marching bands were a Super Bowl mainstay.

Then in 1991, Disney produced the halftime party, choosing the commercially successful boy band, New Kids on the Block.

Two years later, "King of Pop" Michael Jackson moonwalked for 100 million viewers. More people watched his 12-minute performance than the game itself, and the era of A-list performers was born.

"It's pop culture's national holiday," Yale University Professor Daphne A. Brooks called it. "It's become the place where you see not only the highest level of competition, but also the place where pop icons are affirmed, they are anointed. It's a gathering place in which to think about American capitalism and there's a real sense of anything might happen."



Play VIDEO
Coldplay prepares to hit the Super Bowl stage
And anything did happen.

In 1996, Diana Ross reaffirmed her diva status with a performance featuring a chorus, fireworks and a high-flying exit.

Stages set for super stars soon featured rising stars too. Halftime show producer MTV took a chance during Super Bowl 35, pairing aging rockers Aerosmith with a baby-faced Britney Spears.

"It's kind of a point of possibility for performers who are very much on the verge, as well as those who are cemented in our cultural imaginary," Brooks said.

There's another moment cemented in America's imagination - Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's"wardrobe malfunction" in 2004, which set a new course for the halftime show.

"I think it's a complicated moment in Super Bowl history," Brooks explained. "It certainly changed the lineup of halftime performers for several years afterwards."



Play VIDEO
What to look forward to in Super Bowl 50
Super Bowl 39 hosted a Beatle and in 2009, it was The Boss. Four years later, Beyonce was on full display, then rising star Bruno Mars brought in the show's highest ratings yet.

But none of these halftime high steps or dramatic antics could have been possible without a group of teenagers from Louisiana.

"Do you think that the super Bowl performances helped to raise the level of awareness that people had about this university and its band?" Miller asked Larry Pannell, the band's director.

"I don't think. I know so," he answered.

Super Bowl I launched the Grambling marching band's legacy. They later starred in commercials, played the Super Bowl four more times and even inspired the 2002 film, "Drumline."

"My motto is, you don't know what you're in until you're out of it," Pannell said.

The Grambling marching band of today is made possible by a trailblazing band from the past.

"We'd leave a lasting impression on the individual to say, 'I've never seen a thing like that before. And I know I never will see it again,'" said Colston.

None of the halftime show performers get paid to perform. But they do get reimbursed for the cost of production that can run into millions of dollars.
12 2016-02-03
Shreveport

GSU President invites you to attend Town Hall Meeting


GRAMBLING, La.

President of Grambling State University Willie D. Larkin and senior administrative leaders welcomes you to attend a special Town Hall Meeting next week.

The meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 11 at the Betty E. Smith School of Nursing Auditorium on the GSU campus.

Larkin and others will answer questions; address concerns and listen to comments related to the proposed mid-year budget cuts at Grambling State University.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors of GSU are all invited to the meeting.

If you are unable to attend the President’s Town Hall Meeting, but would still like to participate, you can submit questions via email to Mitzi LaSalle at lasallem@gram.edu.

The meeting will be available to watch at https://www.youtube.com/user/GramblingStateUniv on Feb. 15.

For more information, please contact the Office of the President at Grambling State University at
(318) 274-6124.
12 2016-02-02
Ruston

GSU FACES $2.5M STATE BUDGET CUT


Grambling State University stands to lose $2.5 million if Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proposed mid-year budget cuts go through.

Edwards recently announced a reduction of $262 million to all state agencies.
Higher education’s portion of that reduction is $131 million.

Although GSU remains in a stable condition financially, this latest spending cut will be burdensome because it must be implemented for the remaining six months of the fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2016, GSU President Willie Larkin said.
12 2016-01-29
Monroe

GSU Bracing for $2.5 Million in Cuts


The President of Grambling State University is bracing for cuts to higher education and what it might mean for his school.

Dr. Willie Larkin sent out a letter today to students and staff....saying of the $131 million in possible cuts to higher education, Grambling University is looking at $2.5 million in cuts.

Dr. Willie Larkin says he's created a Budget and Priorities Committee to develop a plan if cuts need to be made.

Larkin says the possible cuts will be burdensome because they'll need to be implemented for the remaining six months of the fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2016.
12 2016-01-25
Ruston

STUDENTS PRESENTED SCHOLARSHIPS


Two Grambling State University students, Jimmitriv Roberson and LaTerra Smith, have been awarded a $5,000 scholarship in recognition of their community leadership and academic excellence from the Lexus Verses and Flow Scholarship.
12 2016-01-20
Ruston

GSU HOSTS MLK DAY EVENT


A Grambling city councilwoman spoke to more than 100 people Monday at Grambling State University about the message of Martin Luther King Jr.

Councilwoman G. Denise Dupree said King dreamed and civil rights leader Malcolm X fought for rights by any means necessary.

“We should aim to be like this,” she said. “Dream big and achieve by any means necessary.”

Dupree said she also challenges everyone to stay active in politics locally, not just nationally.
12 2016-01-19
Monroe

Grambling lab schools merging into K-12


The Louisiana Department of Education has granted the three Grambling Laboratory Schools permission to merge into one K-12 Type 2 charter school.

Alma J. Brown Elementary, Grambling Middle Magnet School and Grambling High School will merge under one charter system, said Gordan Ford, president and executive director of the Grambling High Foundation. The changes will take effect for students starting in the 2016-17 school year.

"Everything will be different," Ford said.

Ken Pastorick, media information director for the Louisiana Department of Education, said the department approved the change this week and sent a letter to notify the foundation.

Effectively, he explained, the school will be starting over. If calculations are correct, they should be able to support a larger staff. Ford said administrators have identified some key leaders but plan to have an open hiring process in which current staff and new applicants can take part in. He said they'll pick the best options for the charter school going forward.

Currently, enrollment for all three school, including virtual programs, is about 450. He said discussions with the DOE are underway to determine whether the charter will be able to keep the virtual option. Ford said the school is considering renewing transportation for students outside Lincoln Parish.

One of the most notable changes, Ford said, will be to funding. Laboratory schools are not fully funded under the state's Minimum Foundation Program formula. Charters are, and Ford said the difference could be up to $5,000 per student. As a result, students no longer will pay tuition.

Ford said the schools up to this point have been a major partnership among the town of Grambling, Grambling State University, the school board and the foundation.

GSU had supplemented the schools for many years with higher education funding, but deep cuts to higher ed had endangered public school options in Grambling. The schools were in danger of closing.

"If we had not gotten approval this year," Ford said, "likely we would not have continued next year."

He said this move stabilizes the public school environment in Grambling and ensures it can continue.
12 2016-01-19
Ruston

Gov. Edwards appoints Lurie Thomason Jr.


A Grambling State University professor is getting a chance to make his mark on Louisiana education.

Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed Lurie Thomason Jr., an assistant professor in GSU’s Department of Criminal Justice, to Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Thomason was sworn in as a member of BESE on Jan. 12.
12 2016-01-19
Ruston

GSU DESIGNATED MILITARY FRIENDLY CAMPUS


Grambling State University has been recognized for creating a supportive environment for veteran and military students.

The campus was designated a Governor’s Military and Veteran Friendly Campus to assist veterans in selecting which Louisiana higher education institution best fits their needs.
“Grambling State University is proud to be named a Military and Veteran Friendly Campus,” President Willie Larkin said.
12 2016-01-19
Ruston

EXIT 84 REPRESENTS TECH


The exit 84 sign on Interstate 20, which leads to Louisiana Tech University, was recently changed to reflect the local university.
12 2016-01-15
Monroe

GSU professor joins Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education


GRAMBLING — A Grambling State University professor is getting a chance to make his mark on Louisiana education. Governor John Bel Edwards appointed Lurie Thomason, Jr., an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, to Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). Thomason was sworn in as a member of BESE on Jan. 12.

“I always wanted to be a secondary or elementary school teacher, and I guess this is just affirmation from God that I need to work in that area,” Thomason said. “I have been in higher education, but my heart has always been with the secondary and elementary school teachers.”

BESE is an 11-member panel that sets policies for about 720,000 public school students in Louisiana, including academic standards, teacher evaluations and grades. Thomason is excited to explore issues to help the students in Louisiana.

“We want to look at educating historically disadvantaged students better in the public schools, look at finding more scholarships for needy students, programs that can get parents more involved in secondary and elementary education in a positive manner, creating some tutorial programs that can supplement what students are learning in school and help them do their homework, and looking at the curriculum and making sure that it is tailored to the needs of the 21st century,” he said.

As a veteran educator with 25 years of experience in higher education, Thomason is also dedicated to ensuring that Louisiana’s students are prepared for higher education.

“The board sets the curriculum to evaluate student readiness for college,” he said. “From the standpoint of being able to contribute to make sure students are ready for college, I am very enthralled to be on the board, because we want to make sure students are prepared to come to Grambling and other colleges and universities.”

Thomason joined Grambling State University in 1995. Over the years, he has taught and advised students, provided services to the university and established student development programs. He has served as the acting director of Judicial Affairs, where he presided over hearings related to student misconduct, revised policy and procedures and developed appropriate sanctions for student code violations.
12 2016-01-15
Monroe

Two GSU students named Lexus Verses and Flow Scholarship Winners


GRAMBLING, La.

Two Grambling State University students, Jimmitriv Roberson and LaTerra Smith, have been awarded a $5,000 scholarship in recognition of their community leadership and academic excellence from the Lexus Verses and Flow Scholarship.

The winners were Jimmitriv Roberson of Arcadia and LaTerra Smith of Omaha, Nebraska.

Roberson said, “I honestly cannot explain how I felt about winning the scholarship, but to best describe my feelings, I was overjoyed and pleasingly surprised.”

Roberson added, “I never thought that I would be chosen to receive such an esteemed award. I am so thankful and grateful to be a recipient of the Lexus Verses and Flow Scholarship, to represent GSU, and to help me to continue to further my education.”

Roberson is a junior majoring in biological sciences. She is the daughter of Jimmy and Triveria Roberson. She is currently vice president of the sophomore class and chair of the Hospitality committee on the Favrot Student Union Board.

After graduating from Grambling, Roberson plans to attend medical school and become a family doctor.

Smith, a sophomore chemistry major, is the daughter of June Smith and Wilbur Jackson. She is a member of the Center for Mathematical Achievement in Science and Technology, Favrot Student Union Board, Chemistry Club, Midwest Association Club and Fresh Company Club.


After graduation, Smith plans to become a doctor and surgeon.

Smith said, "I was up against the best of the best in the science, technology, engineering and math departments at Grambling State University.”

Smith added, “To be chosen is not only a humbling experience but a monumental moment in my life. None of it would have been possible without God. I feel like all the good I do is being acknowledged through organizations' and companies' willingness to support my post-secondary education endeavors.”

The scholarship program is presented in partnership with select Historically Black Colleges and Universities and is an expansion of the groundbreaking “Verses and Flow” program, featuring poetry, spoken word and music.

Since its inception in 2014, the scholarship program has awarded $180,000 to ambitious students.

Lexus vice president of marketing Brian Smith said, "These Lexus Verses and Flow Scholarship recipients are accomplished in school and in their communities."

Smith added, "These young adults are highly motivated and we're excited to reward them for their efforts. We wish them all the best and know they'll positively shape and enhance the lives they touch."

To be considered for the scholarship, students completed an application and submitted a written or video essay detailing how they are community leaders, the importance of community and the benefits of attending an HBCU.

For more information about the Lexus Verses and Flow Scholarship and a list of the participating
HBCUs, please visit http://luxuryawaits.com.

12 2016-01-15
Ruston

GSU WINS ALLSTATE DONATION


For the third year in a row, Grambling State University has won a $50,000 scholarship donation from the Allstate Quotes for Education fan vote for school pride competition.

GSU President Willie Larkin said this is a major victory for the university.

“An education opens the door to greater social and economic mobility,” Larkin said. “Allstate is leading the way to make sure that this door is open to the students who need it the most.
We are grateful for their support in advancing the greatest equalizer of opportunity in our nation, a college degree.
12 2016-01-15
Ruston

GSU WINS ALLSTATE DONATION


For the third year in a row, Grambling State University has won a $50,000 scholarship donation from the Allstate Quotes for Education fan vote for school pride competition.

GSU President Willie Larkin said this is a major victory for the university.

“An education opens the door to greater social and economic mobility,” Larkin said. “Allstate is leading the way to make sure that this door is open to the students who need it the most.
We are grateful for their support in advancing the greatest equalizer of opportunity in our nation, a college degree.
12 2016-01-13
Monroe

GSU wins $50,000 scholarship donation


GRAMBLING, La (Press Release) - For the third year in a row, Grambling State University has won a $50,000 scholarship donation from the Allstate Quotes for Education fan vote for school pride competition.

“An education opens the door to greater social and economic mobility,” said GSU President Willie Larkin. “Allstate is leading the way to make sure that this door is open to the students who need it the most. We are grateful for their support in advancing the greatest equalizer of opportunity in our nation, a college degree. We hope their leadership in providing these opportunities will inspire other organizations and individuals to make similar commitments to student access and success.”

Allstate and the Tom Joyner Foundation have partnered together to raise scholarship funds for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). For each insurance quote, Allstate donated $10 to the Tom Joyner Foundation in support of HBCU students, up to $200,000.

As a part of the program, people could vote for the HBCU of their choice to receive a $50,000 donation for student scholarships. Grambling supporters employed social media tools, as well as word-of-mouth networking, to successfully engage alumni, students, faculty and staff in the fan vote campaign. Grambling received 33.72 percent of the vote to win the competition for the third year in a row.

“This is truly an honor and much appreciated opportunity for Grambling to win the Allstate Quotes for Education challenge for three consecutive years,” said Otto Meyers, III, interim vice president of advancement, research and economic development. “This three-peat is one of many examples of accomplishments achieved by the Grambling Family through unified efforts by alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends. My thanks goes to Allstate and to the Grambling Family. Grambling looks forward to using the Allstate award to further the mission of the university and continue to provide exceptional academic experiences for our students.”
12 2016-01-13
Monroe

GSU wins $50,000 scholarship donation for third straight year


GRAMBLING For the third year in a row, Grambling State University has won a $50,000 scholarship donation from the Allstate Quotes for Education fan vote for school pride competition.

“An education opens the door to greater social and economic mobility,” said GSU President Willie Larkin. “Allstate is leading the way to make sure that this door is open to the students who need it the most. We are grateful for their support in advancing the greatest equalizer of opportunity in our nation, a college degree. We hope their leadership in providing these opportunities will inspire other organizations and individuals to make similar commitments to student access and success.”

Allstate and the Tom Joyner Foundation have partnered together to raise scholarship funds for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). For each insurance quote, Allstate donated $10 to the Tom Joyner Foundation in support of HBCU students, up to $200,000.

As a part of the program, people could vote for the HBCU of their choice to receive a $50,000 donation for student scholarships. Grambling supporters employed social media tools, as well as word-of-mouth networking, to successfully engage alumni, students, faculty and staff in the fan vote campaign. Grambling received 33.72 percent of the vote to win the competition for the third year in a row.

“This is truly an honor and much appreciated opportunity for Grambling to win the Allstate Quotes for Education challenge for three consecutive years,” said Otto Meyers, III, interim vice president of advancement, research and economic development. “This three-peat is one of many examples of accomplishments achieved by the Grambling Family through unified efforts by alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends. My thanks goes to Allstate and to the Grambling Family. Grambling looks forward to using the Allstate award to further the mission of the university and continue to provide exceptional academic experiences for our students.”
12 2016-01-12
Ruston

GRAMBLING CHARTER SCHOOL APPROVED


The Louisiana Department of Education has accepted a recommendation to approve the conversion of the Grambling Lab Schools into a single charter school system.

Grambling High Foundation President Gordan Ford said the decision come after a review from SchoolWorks, an educational consulting group, was sent to the department.

Ford said the departments within the lab schools are no longer in danger of closing, more funds will be available for the operations of the new school and the school is now truly a community school.
12 2016-01-04
Monroe

Year in review: Top 10 Tech, GSU stories from 2015


The last 12 months at Louisiana Tech and Grambling alone have provided enough notable stories to make for a thrilling 2015 year.

There were coaching changes, positive success stories of trials and tribulations, record-breaking performances on the field and a fair share of not-so-happy endings.

Here's a list of the Top 10 stories from 2015 at Tech and Grambling.

1. Grambling wins SWAC West title

Two years removed from a one-win season and a player boycott, Grambling almost completed a remarkable turnaround by making it all the way to the Southwestern Athletic Conference title game in December before falling to Alcorn State.

The Tigers went undefeated in the league for the first time since 2008 and won nine straight games en route to a win over Southern in the Bayou Classic that wrapped up the SWAC West championship. The top slot was hard to narrow down, but this is arguably the biggest success story of the year.

2. Dixon breaks NCAA TD record

Finally playing at close to full health, Tech running back Kenneth Dixon put a pretty bow on his career as a Bulldogs by totaling four touchdowns and setting the NCAA career overall touchdown record in a New Orleans Bowl victory over Arkansas State.

Dixon's record lasted just nine days as Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds recaptured the mark with his 88th career score in the Military Bowl, but Dixon enjoyed the spotlight in primetime television on ESPN. It was a symbolic way of ending his career.

3. Mike White leaves for Florida

As each year passed and the wins piled up, Tech basketball fans wondered how long Mike White would stay as the Bulldogs' coach. After several teams sniffed around, including when Tennessee made a run at White in 2014, the perfect storm finally arrived.

Former Florida coach Billy Donovan left for the NBA, and the Gators came to Ruston to lure White back to Gainesville. White ended his four-year tenure at Tech with 101 wins. His departure paved the way for Miami assistant Eric Konkol to take over, and the Bulldogs have quickly re-tooled with an 11-2 record heading into Conference USA play.

4. Matriarch of Grambling football dies

Doris Robinson, the wife of the late Eddie Robinson — one of the most respected football coaches in college football history — was laid to rest in September, which signaled the end of an era and the beginning of a new start for the patriarch and matriarch of Grambling athletics.

Grambling held a service for Doris Robinson when several notable G-Men showed up to pay their respects like Willis Reed, Doug Williams and Shaq Harris.

5. Tech football records second consecutive 9-win season

The Bulldogs' football team fell short of their lofty goals of winning a C-USA title but they became the first team in program history to win back-to-back bowl games and became the first time since the 1970s to win consecutive nine-win seasons.

Led by seniors Kenneth Dixon, Jeff Driskel and various other impact players, Tech set the bar high for the future as the program continues to move forward in Skip Holtz's third season.

6. Driskel transfers to Tech

Tech had so much luck with graduate transfer Cody Sokol in 2014 that the Bulldogs decided to do it over again in 2015 with Jeff Driskel. The former No. 1 high school quarterback prospect never panned out for the Gators for various reasons and asked for his release last year.

Tech got in the mix due to a mutual family friend, and the rest is history. Driskel announced his plans to transfer to Tech in January 2015, enrolled at Tech in March and won the starting job by July. Driskel set career highs across the board and won C-USA Newcomer of the Year. It was a win-win for both parties.

7. Grambling ethics charges

Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs and his father, Lee Fobbs, who serves as Grambling's running backs coach, were accused of nepotism in October. The Louisiana Board of Ethics contended Broderick Fobbs and Lee Fobbs violated state laws that says "members of the immediate family of an agency head may not be employed in the agency.

The board also accused Lee Fobbs of an additional violation in regards to the annual salary of $65,000, paid by Grambling University Foundation Inc. The board considered said a public employee can't receive "a thing of economic value" from anyone other than the governmental employer. Lee Fobbs' lawyer responded to the accusations and said they would vigorously defend the nepotism charges.

8. Tech javelin thrower dies in car accident

Noah Riché, a javelin thrower at Tech, died in a tragic car accident in August.

Riché, a Madisonville native who was entering his fifth year with the Bulldogs program, was headed back to Ruston from Camp Ozark, a Christian Children's camp, in Arkansas when he struck a vehicle. Riché was close with several Bulldog football members, and the entire Tech community mourned his loss during the summer.

9. Seniors go out as winningest class

Four years ago, three unheralded players — Speedy Smith, Raheem Appleby and Michale Kyser — came to Tech with a plan to change the program around. It sounded good at the time, but few thought they'd "shock the world" as Kyser called it.

The trio served as the foundation for Tech's rise to the top of Conference USA and one of the top mid majors in the country as they strung together 101 wins, three regular season conference titles and three trips to the NIT. Smith and Appleby ended up playing overseas and Kyser had a stint with the Raptors' summer league team.



10. Tech upgrades facilities

Tech opened its new $22 million end zone facility in September with rave reviews from players, coaches and recruits. The final result was several years in the making as it was the first part of updating Joe Aillet Stadium.

Later in the year, Tech pumped in more than $1 million to tear up the baseball and softball fields and replace them with FieldTurf.

The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs players celebrate their
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs players celebrate their win in the 2015 New Orleans Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Louisiana Tech beat the Arkansas State Red Wolves, 47-28. Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports
Fullscreen
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs players celebrate their Louisiana Tech Bulldogs head coach Skip Holtz looks Louisiana Tech Bulldogs running back Kenneth Dixon Arkansas State Red Wolves defensive lineman Waylon A Louisiana Tech Bulldogs fan cheers in the second Arkansas State Red Wolves wide receiver Tres Houston Louisiana Tech Bulldogs quarterback Jeff Driskel (6) Louisiana Tech Bulldogs quarterback Jeff Driskel (6) Louisiana Tech Bulldogs wide receiver Trent Taylor Louisiana Tech Bulldogs head coach Skip Holtz yells Louisiana Tech Bulldogs wide receiver Carlos Henderson Louisiana Tech Bulldogs quarterback Jeff Driskel (6) Louisiana Tech Bulldogs head coach Skip Holtz winks A general view of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs running back Kenneth Dixon
Next Slide
JUST MISSED THE CUT

Tech restricts Stapleton from transferring

Transfers happen all the time, but the one over the summer with Xavian Stapleton got messy in a hurry. Tech restricted Stapleton from more than 50 schools at first before trimming it when he transferred to Mississippi State.

National media picked up on the story, which lasted almost a month. Neither party was innocent, and it served as a blueprint on how to handle a situation and how to not handle a situation in the future.

IK Enemkpali makes headlines for punch at Jets practice

The former Tech defensive end made his biggest splash, or biggest swing to some, in August when he broke Jets quarterback Geno Smith's jaw during a locker room altercation. Enemkpali was suspended four games for the incident, although he was picked up by the Buffalo Bills and former Jets coach Rex Ryan.

Enemkpali, who is a massive player at more than 260 pounds of muscle, earned national media attention from the scuffle. However, Jets fans will probably argue it was a blessing in disguise. Smith's absence from the broken jaw allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to run away with the job and lead the Jets to a possible playoff berth.

Top 5 stories written in 2015

These are my personal collection of stories from the past year. Sense a theme? Four of the five stories were of the long-form variety to give an in-depth look on particular topics or particular people of interest.

A profile on Kenneth Dixon's journey to stardom — Everyone knew Dixon as a player at Tech but didn't know where he came from or of his humble beginnings. This gives a look into his past in Strong, Arkansas.

Martez Carter's rise from the streets of Monroe to a star RB at Grambling — Another human interest story here about a former basketball player who battled through a challenging upbringing to walk-on at Grambling.

An inside look at Louisiana Tech's national signing day — Last February, The News-Star spent the entire morning with Tech's staff as part of national signing day. Here are the best of the sights and sounds.

A look at Tech's basketball march toward an NCAA tournament berth — After wrapping up its first outright league title since 1999, the News-Star spent two days with the Bulldogs' basketball team as they prepared for the C-USA Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama.

Holtz says Driskel was the scapegoat in a toxic situation at Florida — This one is different from the previous four in that it came from something incredibly simplistic yet made its way to national blogs. During Skip Holtz's weekly radio show in September, Tech's coach commented voluntarily about how QB Jeff Driskel was in a toxic situation at Florida. These were the first statements of this kind from anyone at Tech. The interesting part is that week's particular show wasn't even broadcast on the radio due to technical difficulties.
12 2015-12-26
Monroe

Grambling Students Celebrate Graduation


Tassels turned the opposite direction and voices ring as students show their excitement about graduating.

Among them, Grambling State University's highest ranking graduate, Bello Ahmadou Ahidjo.

A native of Cameroon, Ahidjo says he wanted to come to the states to get an education.

He states Grambling was his top choice.

"The school was really great and it's a good close community. Everyone basically looked after each other," says Bello Ahmadou Ahidjo, Grambling State University Graduate.

He says he had to get use to American culture.

"The food is a little bit different but i kind of got acclimated quite easily because I've traveled a little bit," says Ahidjo.

Ahidjo says the countless hours of studying have finally paid off.

"A lot of late nights. a lot of supportive friends because we try to have study sessions together. It really was a team effort," says Ahidjo.

He hopes to further his education.

"I'm going to continue my masters here and after that I plan on getting a Ph.D. I'm thinking maybe in the Midwest at a good research university," says Ahidjo.

And eventually make his way back to Cameroon and give back.

"I'm trying to go back home and open a clinic for autistic kids. That's the plan," says Ahidjo.

For those out there that aren't from America and want to purse a college education, Ahidjo says it's possible.

Just don't give up.

"Life is what you make of it, it really is. Just keep pushing yourself and do as much as you can and you can definitely make it," says Ahidjo.

12 2015-12-18
Monroe

Bello Ahmadou Ahidjo Named Grambling State University's 2015 Fall Valedictorian


Grambling State University is proud to announce Bello Ahmadou Ahidjo, a senior psychology major with a minor in sociology, as the valedictorian of the Fall Class of 2015. He will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average at 10 a.m. Friday at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

“It is incredibly humbling and incredibly exciting at the same time,” Ahmadou Ahidjo said. “I don’t think I have had time to process all the emotions, but I am very happy, and I will do all I can to live up to the expectations of my department and Grambling.”

Ahmadou Ahidjo, of Yaounde, Cameroon, is the son of Denise Ahidjo and Ahmadou Ahidjo Sali. He attended Grambling on the advice of a family friend, John Gwan, who told him about Grambling’s small, close-knit community and caring faculty.

“Grambling has been wonderful,” he said. “I got to meet a lot of new people and lifelong friends. I got to find a new family, because Residential Life has been very welcoming and very supporting, and they have been my second family away from home.”

Ahmadou Ahidjo has been very active during his time at Grambling. He works as a resident assistant with the Department of Residential Life and Housing. He is also a member of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College, the National Society for Leadership and Success, the President’s List, the Psychology and Sociology Club, the Grambling Quiz Bowl Team, the Student Government Association and the National Black United Front.

Ahmadou Ahidjo would like to thank his supervisor, Rudolph Ellis, assistant director of residential life, and his advisor, Stacey Duhon, an assistant professor of sociology and psychology, for helping him make it at Grambling. He would also like to thank his mother for inspiring him to graduate.

“I am very thankful to my mom. She really pushed me and was there for me. I am incredibly thankful to her for everything she has done for me, and I will do everything to show her that her efforts were worth it,” he said.

After graduation, Ahmadou Ahidjo will pursue a master’s degree in psychology at Grambling State University and later a doctorate in clinical psychology. Eventually, he would like to return to African to open a therapy center for children with development challenges and learning disabilities such as autism.

“Autism is one of those issues that people often overlook,” he said. “There is not a lot of information, especially back home in Africa where we have a low understanding of these things. I want to raise as much awareness as possible.”
12 2015-12-15
Monroe

GSU nursing program to be rebuilt from scratch


Grambling State University's undergraduate nursing program will have to be rebuilt from scratch, Janet Guyden, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said.

"For the last year, it's been such an integral part of Grambling State University's ethos, and it's been such an important part of who we are as an institution ... for those of us who work here every day, it's probably one of the hardest blows we've ever taken," Guyden said.

"We've got alum of that program working at the very highest levels of health care all over the world — military nurses, nurse practitioners, Ph.D.s in nursing, faculty in other schools. Our product is out there in ways that people locally don't even realize, and for them this has been a hard hit because it's the program that birthed them, and when you lose something like that, it takes a piece of your soul. It takes away a piece of your professional soul."

In August, the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors approved a state of exigency for GSU’s defunct undergraduate nursing program through summer 2016. University President Willie Larkin made the request for a state of exigency, which gives the university the authority to terminate members of the nursing faculty who are no longer required without classes to teach.

Guyden said the state of exigency puts the program in stasis — no students are being enrolled and no plans area actively being worked on. The exigency, she said, must be resolved by the ULS Board before Grambling can start planning the new program.

The board should review the program at the end of this fiscal year, which terminates June 30. If all goes well, she said, the 2016-17 academic year could be used to plan the nursing program and 2017-18 would be the soonest that students could be enrolled.

"The blueprint and the architecture of that process is very detailed and very complex, and it has to be very well articulated and planned such that its success is pretty much right on. It's not for the faint of heart," Guyden said.

"This is about commitment to doing what Grambling has done in the past — put together well-articulated programs that meet the needs of the Louisiana marketplace, the marketplace of the workforce in the region, that will provide graduates that meet those needs. Grambling's been around for 114 years, and they've done a good job of that over time, and our commitment is to put together a cutting-edge, well-done program that produces graduates that meet that need."

The planning, she said, will have to look at the underlying philosophy of health care and define what the knowledge and skills needed will be, including critical thinking skills. The process also will offer an opportunity for the university to engage discussion with stakeholders, alumni and employers to really put together a cutting-edge program.

In June, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing withdrew conditional approval of Grambling’s undergraduate degree in nursing, which essentially closed the bachelor’s program, prohibiting Grambling from offering nursing classes or enrolling undergraduate students. The nursing program had struggled with maintaining exam pass rates since 2010.

Grambling’s master’s program in nursing was not affected by this decision. The nursing board also directed Grambling to create a transition plan for students to complete their studies at other institutions or transfer to another program at Grambling.

The nursing program worked with students since the nursing board’s decision in June to help them transfer to other programs so they can complete their studies. Thirty-five students graduated from Grambling over the summer after participating in a summer nursing course at Northwestern State University.


THENEWSSTAR.COM
GSU nursing students plan to walk during graduation

In January, The News-Star reported the university’s undergraduate nursing program faced possible closure after three years being on the Board of Nursing’s “conditional approval” list for not maintaining an 80 percent passing rate by students taking the National Council Licensure Examination for the first time. The exam is required to get a nursing license, and students who passed on their second attempts taking test did not affect the program's statistics.

"A lot of those students have become effective practitioners," Guyden said.

In April, the the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing accredited GSU's School of Nursing through 2020.

This accreditation included both the undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the graduate Master of Science in Nursing programs, including the Post Master’s Certificate.

Guyden said the ACEN accreditation took a holistic approach and looked at the whole School of Nursing while the Board of Nursing's decision was based on the undergraduate program's pass-fail rates on the NCLEX.

The program's staff, Guyden said, worked hard, but the program suffered from a high turnover rate at several leadership levels and lagged in realigning its curriculum to the NCLEX blueprint, which changes every three years.

The need to reinstate the program, Guyden said, is of particular importance because many first-generation college students are drawn to "helping" professional fields such as nursing or teaching, and the health care field "desperately needs" a diversity of providers.

"And as a university, we have to find a way to make the university whole again," Guyden said. "It's not just about nursing. It's about the university as a whole. ... It's one thing that makes people realize in very real ways that you can't take any program for granted. You can't just assume because we had it great and we did it right here that it's going to stay right. You've got to work at it every single day. ... The lessons we've learned from this have been hard."

Follow Bonnie Bolden on Twitter @Bonnie_Bolden_.
12 2015-12-14
Monroe

Grambling State University's 10 for $10 Challenge Raises $55K


The Grambling State University community closed its first I’m a G 10 for $10 Challenge with a successful donation of $55,000 to the university, breaking the campaign’s goal of raising $50,000.

More than 600 alumni donated to the campaign, and nearly 50 percent were first-time donors to the university.

"By all measures, Grambling's 10 for $10 Challenge Campaign is an excellent example of how small dollars from some, coupled with big dollars from others, can come together and create big results at the end of the day,” President Willie Larkin said. “I feel encouraged by the uptick in Grambling State University alumni giving. Let's keep it going, GramFam."

The idea of the 10 for $10 Challenge is simple. A donor gives $10 or more to Grambling State University, challenges 10 other people to match their gift, and then challenges those 10 people to repeat the process. The campaign began in April as a way to encourage members of the Grambling community to take up the challenge to build a strong and sustainable future for the university.

“The 10 for $10 Challenge Campaign has made major strides in continuing to enhance a culture of giving to Grambling State University,” said Otto Meyers, III, interim vice president of advancement, research and economic development. “One of the appealing components of the campaign is that it still allowed donors to target their donations to a preferred university area or tag their donation as unrestricted, which provides the president the greatest degree of flexibility in targeting the funds to areas of immediate need. My congratulations go to the team of dedicated alumni that drove this campaign to success. Through the lessons learned from the team’s first 10 for $10 Challenge, we are looking forward to even greater success with the next 10 for $10 Challenge Campaign.”

The idea to use a small donation amount of $10 encouraged people, especially alumni who have never donated to the university before, to realize that any donation, no matter how large or small, can make a difference to the university.

One of the donors is Lebanon Creek Leadership and Management, whose employees donated $2,000 to the Grambling softball team.

“We wanted to donate to a sports program that may not get as much attention as some of the other programs at the university,” said George Rhyne, Jr., a managing partner at Lebanon Creek Leadership and Management. “We chose to donate to the women's softball program, because we noticed team members diligently selling game-day programs at every home game to help supplement some of their needs due to budget shortfalls. In addition the coach has been very responsive, appreciative and keeps us updated on his team. It is our pleasure to provide support to a worthy cause.”
12 2015-12-14
Monroe

Audit Finds Reporting Mistake at Grambling State University


Many students rely on federal financial aid to attend college, including Marquis Livingston, a student at Grambling State University.

He says, "There are some situations where you are struggling and don't have much money. You have to rely on financial aid to pay for your books, whatever and help with school funding."

Financial aid money is tied to a student's class attendance. If a student does not go to class on a regular basis, financial aid won't pay for the course.

Grambling State University give students who do poorly in a class an "F" grade and give students who sign up for the class and don't show up an "F/N" grade.

Administrators double check these grades with professors before sending in a report to financial aid.

Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs at Grambling Jan Guyden says, "We have to run that report and get all those changes made on a deadline. Being late on that deadline is what got us in trouble."

Grambling officials say they are working to make sure it never happens again by making communication between professors and administration stronger. They've also done more training with professors on properly putting information into the school's computer system.

"What we have done is put some processes in place in terms of making sure the faculty have the information they need to insure they can distinguish between when to use the "F/N" grade and when to use the "F" grade," says Guyden.

Livingston says he is happy the issue is being corrected because he would have a difficult time paying school without help.

He says, "If I lost that money that would be a big damage to my life because I would have to find some jobs that would pay me a decent amount to cover all that stuff."

This time, none of the students or faculty at Grambling are being punished for the audit findings.
12 2015-12-10
Monroe

Apple VP Denise Young-Smith Named Grambling State University's 2015 Fall Commencement Speaker


Denise Young-Smith, vice president of worldwide human resources at Apple, will deliver Grambling State University’s 2015 Fall Commencement speech. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18 in the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

"Ms. Denise Young-Smith is a superb example of excellence,” Grambling President Willie Larkin said. “Since graduating from Grambling State University, she has made her mark as a stellar corporate executive. Her work at Apple has set the standard for graduates from Grambling and our sister HBCUs. She is a terrific role model for all of our students graduating on December 18, and we are extremely proud of her many outstanding accomplishments."

Young-Smith is a graduate of Grambling State University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1978 and later a master’s degree in organizational management, when she returned to her home state of Colorado.

While at Grambling, she was a member of the Orchesis Dance Company and a photography student with Grambling’s photographer, Glenn Lewis, who remembers her as a hard-working, dedicated and talented student.

“She was a very good student and an even better person,” Lewis said. “She was great in English and photography. Denise was a very well-rounded student who was big in extracurricular activities and very dedicated to her academic studies.”

Her connection to Grambling is a family affair, as several aunts, cousins and relatives have worked at and graduated from Grambling State University. Her father’s family and siblings were reared in West Monroe, Louisiana.

As vice president of worldwide human resources, Young-Smith is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent at Apple. She reports to CEO Tim Cook. Since joining Apple in 1997, Denise has served in several key human resources roles. For more than 10 years, she sat on the leadership team that built Apple’s retail organization, which now welcomes more than one million people every day.

Before retail, Young-Smith ran human resources for Apple’s Worldwide Operations and Corporate Employee Relations teams. Prior to Apple, she offered talent, human resources and management consulting expertise to early-stage businesses, including Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers portfolio companies.

Young-Smith is also an accomplished performer and soprano singer, having performed twice at Carnegie Hall and various European venues. She is currently completing work on a recording of classics songs, featuring jazz standards, arias and spirituals.

Most recently, Young-Smith has been instrumental in orchestrating Apple’s $40-million, multi-year commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the largest and most comprehensive corporate investment ever given exclusively for students and faculty of four-year HBCUs.
12 2015-12-09
Monroe

Apple VP Denise Young-Smith Named Grambling State University's 2015 Fall Commencement Speaker


Denise Young-Smith, vice president of worldwide human resources at Apple, will deliver Grambling State University’s 2015 Fall Commencement speech. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18 in the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

"Ms. Denise Young-Smith is a superb example of excellence,” Grambling President Willie Larkin said. “Since graduating from Grambling State University, she has made her mark as a stellar corporate executive. Her work at Apple has set the standard for graduates from Grambling and our sister HBCUs. She is a terrific role model for all of our students graduating on December 18, and we are extremely proud of her many outstanding accomplishments."

Young-Smith is a graduate of Grambling State University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1978 and later a master’s degree in organizational management, when she returned to her home state of Colorado.

While at Grambling, she was a member of the Orchesis Dance Company and a photography student with Grambling’s photographer, Glenn Lewis, who remembers her as a hard-working, dedicated and talented student.

“She was a very good student and an even better person,” Lewis said. “She was great in English and photography. Denise was a very well-rounded student who was big in extracurricular activities and very dedicated to her academic studies.”

Her connection to Grambling is a family affair, as several aunts, cousins and relatives have worked at and graduated from Grambling State University. Her father’s family and siblings were reared in West Monroe, Louisiana.

As vice president of worldwide human resources, Young-Smith is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent at Apple. She reports to CEO Tim Cook. Since joining Apple in 1997, Denise has served in several key human resources roles. For more than 10 years, she sat on the leadership team that built Apple’s retail organization, which now welcomes more than one million people every day.

Before retail, Young-Smith ran human resources for Apple’s Worldwide Operations and Corporate Employee Relations teams. Prior to Apple, she offered talent, human resources and management consulting expertise to early-stage businesses, including Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers portfolio companies.

Young-Smith is also an accomplished performer and soprano singer, having performed twice at Carnegie Hall and various European venues. She is currently completing work on a recording of classics songs, featuring jazz standards, arias and spirituals.

Most recently, Young-Smith has been instrumental in orchestrating Apple’s $40-million, multi-year commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the largest and most comprehensive corporate investment ever given exclusively for students and faculty of four-year HBCUs.
12 2015-12-08
Monroe

HBCU Book Challenge collects 4,500 books for prison libraries


GRAMBLING, La (Press Release) - The HBCU Book Challenge began as an effort by Grambling State University’s Psychology and Sociology Club members to bring more reading materials to inmates in Louisiana. After seeing a small prison library with a shortage of books, club members were inspired to organize a book drive last spring that collected 225 books for the inmates at Richwood Correctional Center in Monroe.

“This adventure got started when we were trying to look for more ideas inside the club,” Psychology and Sociology Club President Jack Chandler said. “A lot of the guys said let’s go to a prison. When we were at the prison at Richwood, Dr. (Matt) Sheptoski noticed the lack of materials, and said we’ve got our next project.”

Fueled by the success of their first book drive, the Psychology and Sociology Club members were inspired to hold a second book drive, while simultaneously challenging other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) around the country to do the same.

The second book drive raised nearly 10 times the amount of the first drive, a total of 2,167 books collected from the students, employees and communitymembers at Grambling, along with a generous donation from Lincoln Parish Library in Ruston.

Three other HBCUs took the challenge: Alabama State University, Alcorn State University and Savannah State University. Altogether, the four universities collected more than 4,500 books for prison libraries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

GSU club members delivered the first of the donated books to Caddo Correctional Center in Shreveport on Dec. 1.

“Some of these inmates are very smart, and bringing in books is good for them,” said Sgt. Robert Montoya, who has worked at Caddo Correctional Center for 17 years.

The students also toured the correctional facility, which gave them the opportunity to see the library where the softcover books can be checked out by inmates, as well as the program facility where instructors and tutors will use the donated textbooks to teach inmates.

“Seeing the books properly placed inside the prison library among other books was very rewarding. Seeing the accomplishment of the club and the different community leaders come to life felt rewarding, because we have people inside the prison who are going to tutor other prisoners. You never know what reading level someone is at, so I am glad we have a variety of books where people can grow their reading skills,” Chandler said.

For Matt Sheptoski, the faculty advisor of the Psychology and Sociology Club, the most rewarding part of the day was being thanked by an inmate in the prison library.

“There was actually an inmate working in the prison library, and he said to us that the books that we donated will specifically be useful in what he does. He teaches social studies, so it was nice to hear from an actual inmate who said this is meaningful, this is helpful, and he just wanted to thank us,” said Sheptoski, who wanted to thank everyone who participated in the HBCU Book Challenge.

“The GSU Psychology and Sociology Club would like to extend a sincere thank you to all community members from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia who helped make the HBCU Challenge a monumental success,” he said.

“We enthusiastically acknowledge the efforts of those at our sister schools who accepted our challenge to a friendly competition, so thank you Alabama State University, Alcorn State University and Savannah State University students, faculty, alumni and stakeholders. Billed as a friendly competition, HBCU Challenge participants collected over 4,500 books, a collective victory which all who participated in can be proud of. The true victors, we hope and pray, however, will be the inmates whose perspectives are broadened and whose lives may be touched by the books you have donated.”
12 2015-12-08
Monroe

Grambling State University's HBCU Book Challenge Collects 4,500 Books for Prison Libraries


The HBCU Book Challenge began as an effort by Grambling State University’s Psychology and Sociology Club members to bring more reading materials to inmates in Louisiana.

After seeing a small prison library with a shortage of books, club members were inspired to organize a book drive last spring that collected 225 books for the inmates at Richwood Correctional Center in Monroe.

“This adventure got started when we were trying to look for more ideas inside the club,” Psychology and Sociology Club President Jack Chandler said. “A lot of the guys said let’s go to a prison. When we were at the prison at Richwood, Dr. (Matt) Sheptoski noticed the lack of materials, and said we’ve got our next project.”

Fueled by the success of their first book drive, the Psychology and Sociology Club members were inspired to hold a second book drive, while simultaneously challenging other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) around the country to do the same.

The second book drive raised nearly 10 times the amount of the first drive, a total of 2,167 books collected from the students, employees and community members at Grambling, along with a generous donation from Lincoln Parish Library in Ruston.

Three other HBCUs took the challenge: Alabama State University, Alcorn State University and Savannah State University. Altogether, the four universities collected more than 4,500 books for prison libraries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

GSU club members delivered the first of the donated books to Caddo Correctional Center in Shreveport on Dec. 1.

“Some of these inmates are very smart, and bringing in books is good for them,” said Sgt. Robert Montoya, who has worked at Caddo Correctional Center for 17 years.

The students also toured the correctional facility, which gave them the opportunity to see the library where the softcover books can be checked out by inmates, as well as the program facility where instructors and tutors will use the donated textbooks to teach inmates.

“Seeing the books properly placed inside the prison library among other books was very rewarding. Seeing the accomplishment of the club and the different community leaders come to life felt rewarding, because we have people inside the prison who are going to tutor other prisoners. You never know what reading level someone is at, so I am glad we have a variety of books where people can grow their reading skills,” Chandler said.

For Matt Sheptoski, the faculty advisor of the Psychology and Sociology Club, the most rewarding part of the day was being thanked by an inmate in the prison library.

“There was actually an inmate working in the prison library, and he said to us that the books that we donated will specifically be useful in what he does. He teaches social studies, so it was nice to hear from an actual inmate who said this is meaningful, this is helpful, and he just wanted to thank us,” said Sheptoski, who wanted to thank everyone who participated in the HBCU Book Challenge.

“The GSU Psychology and Sociology Club would like to extend a sincere thank you to all community members from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia who helped make the HBCU Challenge a monumental success,” he said.

“We enthusiastically acknowledge the efforts of those at our sister schools who accepted our challenge to a friendly competition, so thank you Alabama State University, Alcorn State University and Savannah State University students, faculty, alumni and stakeholders. Billed as a friendly competition, HBCU Challenge participants collected over 4,500 books, a collective victory which all who participated in can be proud of. The true victors, we hope and pray, however, will be the inmates whose perspectives are broadened and whose lives may be touched by the books you have donated.”

For more information, please contact Chandler at 318-572-8478 or jackchandler88@gmail.com.
12 2015-12-08
Regional/National

Grambling State University’s HBCU book challenge collects 4,500 books for prison libraries


The HBCU Book Challenge began as an effort by Grambling State University’s Psychology and Sociology Club members to bring more reading materials to inmates in Louisiana. After seeing a small prison library with a shortage of books, club members were inspired to organize a book drive last spring that collected 225 books for the inmates at Richwood Correctional Center in Monroe.

“This adventure got started when we were trying to look for more ideas inside the club,” Psychology and Sociology Club President Jack Chandler said. “A lot of the guys said let’s go to a prison. When we were at the prison at Richwood, Dr. (Matt) Sheptoski noticed the lack of materials, and said we’ve got our next project.”

Fueled by the success of their first book drive, the Psychology and Sociology Club members were inspired to hold a second book drive, while simultaneously challenging other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) around the country to do the same.

The second book drive raised nearly 10 times the amount of the first drive, a total of 2,167 books collected from the students, employees and community members at Grambling, along with a generous donation from Lincoln Parish Library in Ruston.

Three other HBCUs took the challenge: Alabama State University, Alcorn State University and Savannah State University. Altogether, the four universities collected more than 4,500 books for prison libraries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

GSU club members delivered the first of the donated books to Caddo Correctional Center in Shreveport on Dec. 1.

“Some of these inmates are very smart, and bringing in books is good for them,” said Sgt. Robert Montoya, who has worked at Caddo Correctional Center for 17 years.

The students also toured the correctional facility, which gave them the opportunity to see the library where the softcover books can be checked out by inmates, as well as the program facility where instructors and tutors will use the donated textbooks to teach inmates.

“Seeing the books properly placed inside the prison library among other books was very rewarding. Seeing the accomplishment of the club and the different community leaders come to life felt rewarding, because we have people inside the prison who are going to tutor other prisoners. You never know what reading level someone is at, so I am glad we have a variety of books where people can grow their reading skills,” Chandler said.

For Matt Sheptoski, the faculty advisor of the Psychology and Sociology Club, the most rewarding part of the day was being thanked by an inmate in the prison library.

“There was actually an inmate working in the prison library, and he said to us that the books that we donated will specifically be useful in what he does. He teaches social studies, so it was nice to hear from an actual inmate who said this is meaningful, this is helpful, and he just wanted to thank us,” said Sheptoski, who wanted to thank everyone who participated in the HBCU Book Challenge.

“The GSU Psychology and Sociology Club would like to extend a sincere thank you to all community members from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia who helped make the HBCU Challenge a monumental success,” he said.

“We enthusiastically acknowledge the efforts of those at our sister schools who accepted our challenge to a friendly competition, so thank you Alabama State University, Alcorn State University and Savannah State University students, faculty, alumni and stakeholders. Billed as a friendly competition, HBCU Challenge participants collected over 4,500 books, a collective victory which all who participated in can be proud of. The true victors, we hope and pray, however, will be the inmates whose perspectives are broadened and whose lives may be touched by the books you have donated.”
12 2015-12-07
Monroe

GSU professors present at SACSCOC annual meeting


GRAMBLING — Professors Catherine Bonner and Connie Walton will be facilitating a group discussion about a development English pilot program implemented at Grambling State University in an effort to increase the academic success of freshman students who are underprepared for college-level English during the annual Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) meeting that will be held in Houston, Texas, Saturday-Dec. 8.

The presentation, entitled “Utilization of a ‘Speak Student’ Approach for Teaching English Composition to Underprepared Freshman Students,” will be held on Saturday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in Room 332C, Level 3, in the George R. Brown Convention Center at 1001 Avenida De Las Americas in Houston.

The discussion will highlight the successes of a developmental education pilot program implemented at Grambling State University during the fall 2013 and spring 2014 semesters, which was sponsored by the Louisiana Board of Regents.

The professors will provide an overview of how the Developmental English Pilot Program was designed to include both its challenges and successes. The audience will learn how contextualized and strategic instruction were used to facilitate student learning as demonstrated by student performance in the pilot, as well as their performance in the second sequence English course during the following semester.

The group discussion will also focus on how the Developmental English Pilot Program was modified during the spring 2014 semester. Students were placed into groups by gender. The instructor met with each group on different days to address freshman-level English Composition content. A surprisingly significant result of that modification was that the male group took ownership of their class.

This is the fourth consecutive year that GSU faculty members will be presenting at a SACSCOC annual meeting, specifically highlighting the innovative work being done by faculty at Grambling State University.
12 2015-12-07
Monroe

http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/news/education/2015/12/05/gsu-inducts-freshmen-into-new-leadership-initiative/76868778/


GRAMBLING — Nearly 50 of Grambling State University’s best and brightest freshmen were initiated into the Student Leadership Initiative on Nov. 19 in the Betty E. Smith Nursing Building.

Beverly Hill-Hercules, executive director of Title III programs, and Vivian Larkin, first lady of Grambling State, created the Student Leadership Initiative for incoming freshmen with natural leadership qualities.

“We really wanted to focus on building great leaders for the world of tomorrow,” Larkin said. “Initially, we were interested in establishing a black-male initiative, but we quickly realized there was a larger need to work with the incoming freshmen. We wanted to make sure those students know about Grambling’s resources, can persist, deal with challenges, rise to the occasion and graduate in four years. We realize that this organization fits with one of the missions of the university to increase enrollment, student retention and four-year graduation rates.”

The organization promotes leadership, professional behavior and academic excellence. The Student Leadership Initiative will host events, workshops, service-learning opportunities and guest speakers who will inspire these students to becomes active and successful leaders in the community.

“We also recognize that it is important to prepare these students for the world of work, graduate school or wherever they may find themselves on their future paths to excellence,” Larkin said. “We want to help the students learn professional and soft skills that will help them to be competitive in the global society. We want them to understand what it takes to be an effective individual, to deal with challenges and what it means to be a leader. These are the students we are encouraging to learn leadership skills, because we want them to serve as student leaders at Grambling.”

The student members are currently designing the group’s new logo, and the winner will receive a $50 gift certificate for books. They will be provided with tablets to help complete school assignments and maintain the required GPA of 2.5 and higher and jackets to promote professionalism.

“Being in this organization means a lot to me,” said Taylor Bolden, a freshman psychology major. “This will impact my life at Grambling State University, because it will help me make more executive decisions that will affect me now and later in life. The things I learn will help me with the job I get and when I continue my career in the workforce.”

The participating students include: Ebony Jamila Aiken, Winston Allen, Steven Alexander, Joel Anderson, Zaphany Banks, Jordan Bailey, Taylor Bolden, Christian Capers, Briauna Chambers, JaMariea' Davis-Miller, Kendricks Valdez Doucet, Travante Shemar Edwards, Asia Faulk, Abyssinia Noelle Flores, Cheray Gilkes, La'Princia Harris, CorDaezia Hunter, Ceasar Jeanbrice, Charity Jones, Montana King, Amber Lathen, Vincent Rasheed Latigue, Maurice Landrum, Lamiya Samone Mark, Taryn Moreno, Roderick Mouton, Jr., Kyla Nelson, Joy Ngula, LaCombrea O’Neal, Mercedes Osborne, Marvis Ewella Phillip, Marquise Pointer, Tyler Jordan Potter, Jericha Richards, Breyana Robinson, Cadrin Reed, Miniya Shabazz, Anthony Grayson Shillingford, Cierra Simmons, U'briyuana Small, Desire Smith, Kacey Tatum, Ireonna Tillery, Malik Walker, Remington Webb, Darrell Woolen and Charles Deandre Wright.
12 2015-12-07
Ruston

Grambling adds nearly 50 freshmen to Student Leadership Initiative


GRAMBLING, La. – Nearly 50 of Grambling State University’s best and brightest freshmen have been initiated into the Student Leadership Initiative on Nov. 19 in the Betty E. Smith Nursing Building.

Beverly Hill-Hercules, executive director of Title III programs, and Vivian Larkin, first lady of Grambling State, created the Student Leadership Initiative for incoming freshmen with natural leadership qualities.

“We really wanted to focus on building great leaders for the world of tomorrow,” Larkin said. “Initially, we were interested in establishing a Black-male initiative, but we quickly realized there was a larger need to work with the incoming freshmen. We wanted to make sure those students know about Grambling’s resources, can persist, deal with challenges, rise to the occasion and graduate in four years. We realize that this organization fits with one of the missions of the university to increase enrollment, student retention and four-year graduation rates.”

The organization promotes leadership, professional behavior and academic excellence. The Student Leadership Initiative will host events, workshops, service-learning opportunities and guest speakers who will inspire these students to becomes active and successful leaders in the community.
“We also recognize that it is important to prepare these students for the world of work, graduate school or wherever they may find themselves on their future paths to excellence,” Larkin said. “We want to help the students learn professional and soft skills that will help them to be competitive in the global society. We want them to understand what it takes to be an effective individual, to deal with challenges and what it means to be a leader. These are the students we are encouraging to learn leadership skills, because we want them to serve as student leaders at Grambling.”

The student members are currently designing the group’s new logo, and the winner will receive a $50 gift certificate for books. They will be provided with tablets to help complete school assignments and maintain the required GPA of 2.5 and higher and jackets to promote professionalism.

“Being in this organization means a lot to me,” Taylor Bolden, a freshman psychology major, told The Gramblinite. “This will impact my life at Grambling State University, because it will help me make more executive decisions that will affect me now and later in life. The things I learn will help me with the job I get and when I continue my career in the workforce.”

The participating students include: Ebony Jamila Aiken, Winston Allen, Steven Alexander, Joel Anderson, Zaphany Banks, Jordan Bailey, Taylor Bolden, Christian Capers, Briauna Chambers, JaMariea’ Davis-Miller, Kendricks Valdez Doucet, Travante Shemar Edwards, Asia Faulk, Abyssinia Noelle Flores, Cheray Gilkes, La’Princia Harris, CorDaezia Hunter, Ceasar Jeanbrice, Charity Jones, Montana King, Amber Lathen, Vincent Rasheed Latigue, Maurice Landrum, Lamiya Samone Mark, Taryn Moreno, Roderick Mouton, Jr., Kyla Nelson, Joy Ngula, LaCombrea O’Neal, Mercedes Osborne, Marvis Ewella Phillip, Marquise Pointer, Tyler Jordan Potter, Jericha Richards, Breyana Robinson, Cadrin Reed, Miniya Shabazz, Anthony Grayson Shillingford, Cierra Simmons, U’briyuana Small, Desire Smith, Kacey Tatum, Ireonna Tillery, Malik Walker, Remington Webb, Darrell Woolen and Charles Deandre Wright.
12 2015-12-03
Alexandria

Why no coverage?


Why no coverage?

On Saturday, two powerhouse African-American Universities — Grambling State and Southern — played in front of a crowd of more than 6,000 in the annual Bayou Classic in New Orleans. Grambling has a record of 9-0, however there was a small one liner print only showing the score of the game. There was no headliner similar to LSU and Texas A&M. I am appalled there is such a noticeable discrepancy in reporting of one of the largest events in the United States. I’m very disappointed in the newspaper. I believe you owe Grambling and Southern an apology for the lack of respect for the talent your company has refused to showcase through this venue.

Wanda Prescott-Johnson

Missouri City, Texas
12 2015-12-03
Ruston

The Bayou Classic: A Sight for Sore Eyes!


Wow, what a week at the Bayou Classic in New Orleans! This was my first Bayou Classic, and I must admit that I have never seen such tradition and pageantry. From the time I arrived to my return on Monday, my schedule was non-stop, but well worth the effort. The contacts, connections, and the commitments made by so many people to support Grambling show me that there is great promise for our university.

There are so many adventurous encounters that I could describe. However, I don’t have enough space in this article to account for all of the wonderful experiences. I knew that the colors of Black and Gold stood out, but there is nothing like seeing thousands upon thousands of people wearing the Grambling Black and Gold on the streets and hotels in the Big Easy.

During the many events and activities, I was able to meet with many legislators, corporate executives, Grambling alumni and students. All in all, it was a great chance for us to connect with lots of people who may be able to help us acquire resources in support of the institution. I collected lots of business cards and gave all of mine out as well. I was able to spark an interest with administrators at Southern University about some collaborative academic programs that may prove to be mutually beneficial. I’ve already begun working with our provost to determine the feasibility of such programs.

With the election of Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards, I believe Grambling and Southern University have a new friend as we advance higher education in Louisiana. The key is to work diligently with him and make the best run we can to position our HBCUs to become great again. Even members of the Black Caucus have expressed a renewed sense of hope for Grambling’s future. All in all, we are poised for great things in the very near future.

I want to take a quick second to mention our stellar faculty at Grambling. We had a meeting earlier this week, and we had a frank conversation about our future together. We both agreed that we would be open and honest with each other, tackle the challenges ahead of us, and look for opportunities of advancement together. After the meeting, I felt very good about the chance for us to work together in a concerted effort to grow Grambling State University and make it the best that it can be. One faculty member spoke about respect for one another, and I agree that, above everything else, we would be respectful of the importance of each of our jobs. I believe that the faculty and the university administration are all on the same page.

Now to close, I want to give my congratulations to Grambling’s fabulous football team. Our coaching staff and student athletes are wonderful. They have accomplished an amazing feat—what a season this year! Not only have they proven to be excellent athletes, they are growing into good people. During one of the press conferences, I said that Grambling was all about winning: winning on the field/court, winning in the classroom and winning in life. The game of football teaches some valuable life lessons.

I’m happy that Coach Broderick Fobbs is a coach, teacher, mentor, father figure, role model and good example of leadership and character. The success of our football team has spilled over to the entire campus with high-octane energy and expectation. The administration is excited, the faculty and staff are elated, and our students are just beside themselves. This level of excitement is permeating throughout the university and the city of Grambling.

We’re just overjoyed with the excitement that has invaded our university during my first five months as the ninth president of Grambling. I have received major support, encouragement, and prayers from many corners of the university. Most of all, there is a shared vision coming into focus as we embrace my official theme: “ONE GRAMBLING: Remembering History, Honoring Promises and Fulfilling Dreams.”

We will survive and win!

With great enthusiasm,

Willie D. Larkin President,
Grambling State University
12 2015-12-02
Shreveport

Grambling State University’s Town Hall Meeting Postponed until January 2016


GRAMBLING, La., -- The President's Town Hall Meeting with President Willie Larkin and the senior administrative team at Grambling State University, originally scheduled to be held at 7 p.m., Dec. 1 in the Betty E. Smith Nursing Building Auditorium, has been postponed until January 2016.

President Larkin remains committed to providing an open forum for communication between members of the GSU community and its leadership.

The President's Town Hall Meeting will be rescheduled for a future date in January 2016.

A new date and time will be announced after the holidays.
12 2015-12-02
Shreveport

GSU Mourns the loss of Amanda Lee


GRAMBLING, La., (Dec. 1, 2015) Grambling State University is offering condolences to the family and friends of Amanda Lee, a 2013 graduate of GSU and an incoming graduate student, who passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 27.

“I know how very difficult it is to face the death of someone like Amanda, a bright, vivacious college student with her whole life ahead of her, especially during the holidays,” President Willie Larkin said. “I offer my heartfelt condolences to Amanda’s family and friends, and I ask the Grambling community to be strong during this time of loss. I ask that you remember and celebrate Amanda’s life and offer prayers and support for her friends, family and loved ones left behind.”

Lee traveled to Grambling from Riviere Cyrique, Dominica, in January 2010 to study accounting. She graduated from GSU in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. She was set to return to Grambling in the spring 2016 semester to pursue a graduate degree. Lee was a member of St. Benedict Catholic Church and a member of the choir.

Amanda is survived by her brother, Alleyne Polydore, of New York, and her sister, Jodi-Anne Lee, a medical student in Cuba. A candlelight vigil is being held in memory of Lee at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Eddie the Tiger Statue in front of Long-Jones Hall.

GSU’s Student Counseling Services is offering counseling and support to the students at Grambling. Any student who is in need of someone to talk to or additional support can contact Student Counseling Services in Foster-Johnson Health Center at 318-274-3277.
12 2015-12-01
Regional/National

Bayou Classic Attendance Breaks Post-Katrina Record


he most important number from the Bayou Classic may not be the 34 points Grambling State scored to defeat rival Southern 34-23 Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

That number just might be 62,907 — the largest Bayou Classic crowd on hand since the game returned to New Orleans in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina forced the game to move to Houston in 2005.

The previous post-Katrina high mark was 59,874 at the 2008 classic.

Saturday’s attendance number was 5,055 more than last year’s game attendance of 57,852. This year’s game marked the fourth-straight year of increased attendance for the game.

The attendance was also 22,192 more than the 2011 low-water mark of 40,715.

2015 attendance: 62,907
2014 attendance: 57,852
2013 attendance: 47,385
2012 attendance: 45,980
2011 attendance: 40,715
2010 attendance: 43,494
2009 attendance: 53,618
2008 attendance: 59,874
2007 attendance: 53,297
2006 attendance: 47,136 (1st game back in Superdome)
2005 attendance: 53,214 (Hurricane Katrina: Reliant/NRG Stadium, Houston)
12 2015-11-30
Monroe

Grambling State University Student Wins National HBCU Title III Administrators Scholarship


A Grambling State University student has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Title III Administrators, Inc.

Prentiss Smiley, of Homer, is a senior double majoring in computer information systems and history. He is the president of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College and host of the campus radio talk show “Good Morning Grambling.”

“It is an honor to receive the National Association of Historically Black Colleges and Universities Title III Administrators, Inc. Scholarship. I am extremely thankful to Mrs. Beverly Hill-Hercules for encouraging students from Grambling State University to compete against numerous students from other HBCUs across the country,” Smiley said.

The National Association of HBCU Title III Administrators awarded a total of six $1,000 scholarships and four $500 scholarships to students at six HBCUs. A total of 98 colleges and universities participated in the application process.

In order to apply for the scholarships, students must have a grade point average of 2.5 and above, submit two letters of recommendation and write an essay which demonstrates civic and community involvement, campus leadership activities, educational goals and explains the student’s decision to attend an HBCU.

Beverly Hill-Hercules, executive director of Title III programs, said that the committee members who viewed Smiley’s application were impressed with his credentials and essay.

“Everyone who reviewed Prentiss’ essay was impressed,” she said. “Prentiss was very thorough. He talked about his responsibilities being a leader in student organizations at Grambling, and he talked about how he plans to give back to the university after he graduates.”

Smiley plans to use the scholarship money to pay for tuition and books for next semester and to serve as a source of motivation.

“It will also serve as a source of motivation to continue to earn good grades and give back to the community through service learning,” he said. “To be recognized nationally is a testament to the quality of our professors and the rigor of our academic programs,” he said. “I love Grambling State University and the educational opportunities that are available. Grambling State University is truly the university that brings out the best in students, if you take advantage of its many resources.”
12 2015-11-30
Monroe

GSU’s Williams recognized as academic leader


NEW ORLEANS – Johnathan Williams, Grambling State University’s quarterback, received one of two U.S. Marine Corps Excellence in Leadership Awards during a special Bayou Classic lunch Friday.

Audry Thompson, a Southern University defensive lineman, received the other.

Before the big battle on the field Saturday, the Grambling State and Southern football teams, administrators and supporters gathered for the 42nd Annual Bayou Classic Coaches’ Luncheon. The leadership awards recognize players that display some of the same qualities of the Marine Corps: integrity, decisiveness and dependability.

“Coach [Broderick] Fobbs and his staff stress that graduation is just important as playing the game, because there is life after football,” said Williams, 23, of Tampa, Florida.

Williams, a graduate student with a 4.0 GPA, is pursuing a master’s in civil engineering and criminal justice. He graduated with a bachelor’s in engineering technology in May.

“[Williams] exemplifies everything you would want in a student-athlete,” said Obadiah Simmons, GSU’s interim athletic director. Not only is Williams a model student, he said, he plays “beyond expectation.”

“Not only is he great on the field, he shows that same enthusiasm in the classroom,” added Wanda Sykies, director of academic enhancement for athletics at GSU. He is active in his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, and he is committed to community service.

Stephen Dennis, a Grambling State alumnus, and Pastor Danny Donaldson Sr., a Southern alumnus, received the alumni honors at the luncheon.

The Hyatt Hotel banquet room was divided into two. Whenever someone from one of the universities spoke, cheering and chatting erupted from the respective side.

Yet, it wasn’t all trash talk.

“We are in this thing together,” said Simmons. “We do work together. This is not the end but a continuation.”

The universities congratulated each other for their season’s success. Grambling State (8-2; 8-0 SWAC) is undefeated in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and secured a seat to the conference championship in Houston on Dec. 5, playing Alcorn State University. Southern (SWAC 6-4) is on a two-game winning streak.

Grambling’s football coach Broderick Fobbs said that GSU’s eight-game winning streak is “good and all” but there is a “bigger purpose.”

“Coaches are failing these young people,” said Fobbs. “They win football games. But, they go out into life and have no clue of what to do. They have no foundation.”

Fobbs said his goal is to create players who will be productive citizens. The team’s average GPA has improved from a 2.2 to 2.7 overall in two years, boosting its academic progress rate from 888 in 2011 to 970 this season.

“It’s a bigger purpose (at Grambling),” said Fobbs.
12 2015-11-30
New Orleans

Bayou Classic traditions enrich New Orleans: Editorial


The Bayou Classic is as much a part of Thanksgiving weekend in New Orleans as turkey gumbo and holiday sales. The longtime rivalry between the Grambling State University Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars was first played here at Tulane Stadium in 1974. Grambling won that year, but the Classic has been closely matched. With its win last year, Southern took a one-game edge.

Grambling, which is 8-2 and undefeated in Southwestern Athletic Conference games this season, could well tie the Classic series back up Saturday (Nov. 28).

But with a rivalry game, it's always hard to predict. Southern has had a strong year as well, with six conference wins. No matter which team prevails this weekend, New Orleans will be a winner.

The game is only one piece of the Classic experience, which draws an estimated 250,000 visitors to New Orleans every fall. Only 72,000 of them can fit into the Superdome, so clearly a lot of people come to catch up with friends and just enjoy the city.

The economic impact for our community is an estimated $50 million annually. That is an important infusion of revenue and is a strong kick off to the holiday season, which doesn't wrap up until the Sugar Bowl in January.

The Bayou Classic gives visitors a little bit of everything.

The annual Battle of the Bands Friday night at the Superdome is as popular as the game Saturday afternoon. The bands' nicknames say it all. Southern' s band bills itself as the "Human Jukebox," and Grambling brags of "The Best Band in the Land."

If you've never seen them, get down to the Superdome.

In addition to the faceoff of the bands, there is a career and college fair and a fanfest at Champions Square.

Grambling Coach Broderick Fobbs summed up this year's contest: "They are a heck of a program. We're a really good program, too. We're just looking forward to playing a quality football game ..."

This one could be a quarterback duel. Grambling quarterback Johnathan Williams has thrown for 2,638 yards and 33 touchdowns this season. But Southern's Austin Howard has impressive stats as well with 2,056 yards passing and 14 touchdowns.

This year's winner will take home a brand new trophy. The beautiful Waterford crystal trophy that was traded back and forth for decades was retired in 2014 and donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

"The Bayou Classic has become the pre-eminent sporting event" for historically black institutions, Smithsonian sports curator Damion Thomas said last summer. "It's an honor to have this iconic trophy be a part of the museum's collection."

The trophy will be part of the initial exhibition when the museum opens in 2016 on the National Mall in Washington.

That is fitting. The crystal trophy symbolizes a wealth of history and accomplishment. Grambling's legendary coach Eddie Robinson retired after the 1997 Bayou Classic with 408 victories, which was the most in Division I at the time.

It was his vision to play this rivalry game in New Orleans to get more attention for the programs. Grambling and Southern have sent dozens of players to the NFL, 111 of whom played for Coach Robinson during his 46-year tenure with the Tigers.

John Rosenthall, Southern's vice president of research, advancement and economic development, said it was an honor to send the trophy off to the Smithsonian.

The Bayou Classic "puts together two of the most productive teams that have sent many players to the NFL. It was a very moving experience for me to be a part of this iconic trophy that is now going to be housed at the Smithsonian," he said earlier this year.

It is an honor for our city to host this game. Neither team is based in New Orleans. But they've been a part of our lives for so long, it seems like they are at home here.
12 2015-11-30
Ruston

GSU IN THE RUNNING FOR $50K


Lincoln Parish residents have the opportunity to vote online for Grambling State University to win $50,000 scholarships as part of Allstate Insurance’s Quotes for Education program.
According to Allstate’s website, those interested in voting for GSU can vote at allstate.com/hbcu until Monday. GSU is looking to take home the fan vote for the third year in a row.

Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Janet Guyden said the opportunities presented with the scholarship are endless, including helping students and national publicity.
12 2015-11-25
Monroe

GSU student named Apple HBCU Scholar


GRAMBLING - A Grambling State University student has been awarded a one-year college scholarship and a summer internship at Apple’s headquarters in California as part of a new initiative by Apple to invest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Darnel Williams is one of 30 students who are members of the first cohort of the Apple HBCU Scholars Program. Apple made a $40-million, multi-year commitment, the largest and most comprehensive corporate investment ever given exclusively for students and faculty of four-year HBCUs.

“I don’t know how to relate how I feel,” Williams said. “I am very excited because it is Apple. This is a company where they have a lot of great minds, and I hope to bring my knowledge to what they are doing and to learn a lot from the people who already work there.”

The scholarship includes up to $25,000 for the student’s senior year of college; a summer internship in Cupertino, California; participation in a year-round program to prepare for post-graduation careers; pairing with an Apple mentor during their senior year; the opportunity to serve as ambassadors on their campuses to build awareness about the Apple and TMCF Diversity Initiative; an invitation to attend TMCF’s Annual Leadership Institute; and participation in the Apple HBCU Immersion Experience in Cupertino.

Denise Young-Smith, vice president for worldwide human resources at Apple and a graduate of Grambling State University, announced the winners at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 14-15.

“This program is about exposing gifted students from HBCUs to a career in technology. We’re big believers that innovation will be strongest when talented people from diverse backgrounds are part of the creative process,” said Young-Smith. “That’s why we’re so proud to be partnering with TMCF to help us find the next generation of innovators.”

Williams is a junior from La Plaine, Dominica, who is pursuing a double major in electronic engineering technology and mathematics and physics with a concentration in material science. He is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

This summer, Williams will be interning with a special projects research group at Apple. After he graduates in May 2017, Williams plans to earn an advanced degree in electrical engineering, where he can study how to improve and develop power generation techniques using renewable sources of energy.

Williams credits GSU with providing him with opportunities, such as working as a research assistant and a resident assistant, which made him an appealing candidate for the Apple HBCU Scholars Program.

“I have professors that really pushed me in electronic engineering and gave me the foundation that I needed to apply myself. Professors that challenged me to go above and beyond were Dr. Lee, Dr. Sharma, Dr. Seetala and Dr. Derosa,” Williams said. “In the physics department, I am doing research, and it provided me with an opportunity to learn many things that I would not learn in the classroom. Being a resident assistant really helped me build my leadership characteristics and helped me achieve the qualities that a company like Apple is looking for, which is someone who can be a leader.”

The Apple HBCU Scholars Program is the first of several programs under the new Apple and TMCF Diversity Initiative. In March, Apple and TMCF announced a partnership to identify, develop and harness talent from the nation's community of HBCUs.
12 2015-11-25
Monroe

GSU President Holding Town Hall Meeting Next Tuesday


RAMBLING

Grambling State University President Dr. Willie Larkin will hold a town hall meeting next week.

The town hall will be on Tuesday, December 1 at 7 p.m. at the Betty E. Smith School of Nursing Auditorium.

Dr. Larkin and other senior administrative leaders at GSU will answer questions, address concerns and listen to comments related to Grambling State University.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors of GSU are encouraged to attend and ask questions that will start an open dialogue with the leaders at Grambling State University.

Those who are unable to attend the President’s Town Hall Meeting, but would still like to participate, may submit questions via email to Angie Faller at fallera@gram.edu.

The meeting will be available to watch at https://www.youtube.com/user/GramblingStateUniv on Dec. 2.

For more information, please contact the Office of the President at Grambling State University at (318) 274-6124.
12 2015-11-25
Monroe

Grambling's Dr. Willie Larkin's First Five Months


Dr. Willie Larkin has been at the helm of Grambling State University since June and the school's newest president says his first days on campus were busy ones.

"My initial objective was to get to know the campus, and I think that I've done that. But, most importantly, I wanted to get to know the faculty because they are key to what we do here, but the students are the number one priority," says Larkin.

The past five months have had Larkin working to re-engage the schools alumni participation, which he says is one of the most important aspects of a university's success.

"When I go and visit corporations and I'm talking to them about giving, the first thing they want to know is 'what is your alumni doing', and so if we have an alumni base that's giving a lot, it makes it easier for me to sale the university and our value proposition," says Larkin.

One of Larkin's biggest goals for the university is increasing enrollment. Larkin says the university's history is a driving factor when people decide where they're going to attend college.

"The brand for GSU is tremendous, you can go almost anywhere and say 'GSU' or 'Eddie G. Robinson', or you can talk about any number of the luminaries and people get really excited," says Larkin.

Larkin has set a goal of 5500 students; the university currently has just over 4500 enrolled. Larkin says Grambling must work harder to get more students to the university.

"That's one of the reasons we have to fix things within the university, the way we approach things, our customer service, our professionalism, we have to beautify the campus-we have to do a number of things to make this an inviting place to come learn," says Larkin.

Larkin is also focusing on improving academic performance; the university has a strategic planning committee that is combing through and evaluating the school's programs.

"We see where the strong programs are, the ones that need to be eliminated, the ones that need to be merged and then those high-demand items that need to be added to our menu," says Larkin.

Larkin says the university must challenge both the faculty and the students to perform at a much higher level.

The Grambling Tigers football team also has pull when it comes to luring both students and supporters to the university.

"I think sheer winning gets peoples' attention and right now we are 8-0 in the conference, we're leading and we've already qualified to play in the SWAC Championship later this year in Houston, so there's a big buzz...," says Larkin.

And there's also big buzz about this weekend's Bayou Classic where the Tigers will take on Southern University in a battle Royale.

"People talk about the Bayou Classic all year long and we just have to take advantage of it and I think we will," says Larkin.

Larkin says the Bayou Classic is an opportunity for the university to shine.

"I think that our brand is extended and expanded when we win and that's what's happening right now and so we just have to parle that and we have to work that magic to make sure we get a lot of mileage out of it," says Larkin.

Meantime, Larkin says he is doing everything he can to make the university a success and create future Tigers.

"We're going all out to get students here and I'm kind of a hands on person, ya' know, I'll do anything to attract attention and get students to realize that this is the place to be," says Larkin.
12 2015-11-24
Monroe

Grambling State University Student Darnel Williams Named Apple HBCU Scholar


A Grambling State University student has been awarded a one-year college scholarship and a summer internship at Apple’s headquarters in California as part of a new initiative by Apple to invest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Darnel Williams is one of 30 students who are members of the first cohort of the Apple HBCU Scholars Program. Apple made a $40-million, multi-year commitment, the largest and most comprehensive corporate investment ever given exclusively for students and faculty of four-year HBCUs.

“I don’t know how to relate how I feel,” Williams said. “I am very excited because it is Apple. This is a company where they have a lot of great minds, and I hope to bring my knowledge to what they are doing and to learn a lot from the people who already work there.”

The scholarship includes up to $25,000 for the student’s senior year of college; a summer internship in Cupertino, California; participation in a year-round program to prepare for post-graduation careers; pairing with an Apple mentor during their senior year; the opportunity to serve as ambassadors on their campuses to build awareness about the Apple and TMCF Diversity Initiative; an invitation to attend TMCF’s Annual Leadership Institute; and participation in the Apple HBCU Immersion Experience in Cupertino.

Denise Young-Smith, vice president for worldwide human resources at Apple and a graduate of Grambling State University, announced the winners at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 14-15.

“This program is about exposing gifted students from HBCUs to a career in technology. We’re big believers that innovation will be strongest when talented people from diverse backgrounds are part of the creative process,” said Young-Smith. “That’s why we’re so proud to be partnering with TMCF to help us find the next generation of innovators.”

Williams is a junior from La Plaine, Dominica, who is pursuing a double major in electronic engineering technology and mathematics and physics with a concentration in material science. He is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

This summer, Williams will be interning with a special projects research group at Apple. After he graduates in May 2017, Williams plans to earn an advanced degree in electrical engineering, where he can study how to improve and develop power generation techniques using renewable sources of energy.

Williams credits GSU with providing him with opportunities, such as working as a research assistant and a resident assistant, which made him an appealing candidate for the Apple HBCU Scholars Program.

“I have professors that really pushed me in electronic engineering and gave me the foundation that I needed to apply myself. Professors that challenged me to go above and beyond were Dr. Lee, Dr. Sharma, Dr. Seetala and Dr. Derosa,” Williams said. “In the physics department, I am doing research, and it provided me with an opportunity to learn many things that I would not learn in the classroom. Being a resident assistant really helped me build my leadership characteristics and helped me achieve the qualities that a company like Apple is looking for, which is someone who can be a leader.”

The Apple HBCU Scholars Program is the first of several programs under the new Apple and TMCF Diversity Initiative. In March, Apple and TMCF announced a partnership to identify, develop and harness talent from the nation's community of HBCUs.

12 2015-11-24
Monroe

"One Text or Call Could Wreck It All" Campaign


In an effort to make our roads safer, the Grambling State University Police Department (GSUPD) and Student Government Association (SGA) have joined the “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All” campaign to stop distracted driving.

We have pledged our support to help spread the message that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but everyone else on the road.

“We all know that talking on our cell phones while driving is distracting, but that doesn’t stop most people from continuing to do it,” said Lari Talbert, executive assistant to the chief of police. “This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use and other distractions while driving. We hope that once people see the statistics and realize the danger involved, they will change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families and others on the road.”

In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. That same year, 11 percent of fatal crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes.

While anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, there is heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving, because it combines all three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive.

The national distracted driving effort focuses on ways to change the behavior of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education – the same activities that have curbed drunk driving and increased seat belt use.

GSUPD and SGA will send out a variety of emails consisting of flyers, videos, statistics, general information and a “Take The Pledge Card.” The SGA will be distributing the information throughout Grambling’s dormitories, as well as airing information on the student’s information television station.

“Every driver in Grambling has a role in this effort,” Talbert said. “However, we especially want to reach out to our student drivers, because we know that, statistically, the under-20 age group has the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.”

GSUPD and SGA’s goal with this campaign is simple – save lives by getting drivers to remember that “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.” For more information about distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov, view the video at https://youtu.be/S_-6EoNhitg, or contact Talbert at talbertl@gram.edu.

12 2015-11-24
Monroe

Grambling University Police Officers Bridge Gap On Campus By Becoming Students


Members of the Grambling University police department are furthering their education.

"It's a great opportunity for us as adults. Those of us that have only finished a bachelor's degree can pursue a master's degree. You can never get enough education," says Chief Howard Caviness, Grambling University Police Department.

They are doing this by way of online or in the classroom.

"It's never too late to obtain a degree, or continue your education and obtain a higher degree," says Caviness.

But besides expanding their educational horizons, GSU PD officers are taking classes for another reason.

"It takes us out of uniform. It makes us more humanlike. It takes us out of that authority figure and it puts us into the classroom with the students," says Caviness.

They believe its important that students feel they can relate to them.

"It's more of a one-on-one situation. If I'm sitting beside a student in class, I'm a student in class also. Although when I walk out of that class I may put a uniform on, I'm still the same personality that I was when i was sitting beside that student," says Caviness.

Grambling Police Chief, Howard Caviness, says the presence of officers in the classroom can also offer a level of comfort for students.

"It's refreshing i think for the students. It gives them a sense of confidence and approach to come and talk with one of the officers that are attending classes with them," says Caviness.

Hopefully, decreasing the chance of criminal activity on the campus..

"Hopefully it would deter an active shooter. Fortunately, we haven't had anything like that happen here," says Caviness.

Chief Caviness and his force believe by being present in the classroom they are bridging the gap between law enforcement and students.

In return, adding a level of trust for the officers that is hard to gain.

"Continuing to be proactive and making ourselves visible," says Caviness.

12 2015-11-23
Monroe

Philanthropists donate $10,000 scholarship for inspiring entrepreneurs at GSU Special to The Times 11:18 a.m. CST November 20, 2015


GRAMBLING An entrepreneurial husband and wife team have donated $10,000 to inspire Grambling State University students to pursue their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs and developing innovative ideas to inspire the next generation.

During the Red River Classic Gala in Shreveport on Nov. 6., Belden and Pamela Daniels of Boston donated $10,000 for scholarships for students who are participating in Grambling’s new Entrepreneurial and Innovation Institute. The Institute will feature workshops designed to help student entrepreneurs take their ideas from conception to commercialization, including idea generation and development, pitch training and commercialization.

“The university thanks Belden and Pamela Daniels for their thoughtfulness and support of President Willie Larkin’s vision to nurture the entrepreneurial and innovative culture throughout the Grambling community,” said Otto Meyers, III, interim vice president of advancement, research and economic development. “This donation will provide scholarships for students who are participating in the entrepreneurial and innovation incubator programs and other related programs.”

The donation was inspired by Daniels’ long history of economic development work in Louisiana. He first worked in Louisiana for New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu in 1970. He was working in South Louisiana in 1984 when Mayor John Hussey asked him to come to Shreveport to help address the economic and social problems created by the collapse of the energy market in the early 1980s.

“When Helen Godfrey-Smith (chair of the Grambling University Foundation Board of Directors) proposed this, I said that what I really wanted to do was to encourage entrepreneurship,” Belden Daniels said. “Everything that I have been doing in Northwest Louisiana has been trying to narrow that gap, and the best way to address that gap is to create education, jobs, wealth and skills in the African American community. The scholarship is absolutely focused in doing that. Grambling is a very important focus in Northwest Louisiana, in the Ark-La-Tex region. It is a very good place to make a difference.”

Belden Daniels is internationally known as a pioneer in creating the $3-trillion global social impact industry that invests private capital to create jobs and wealth in low-income communities around the world. He has helped to build more than $183 billion of private capital in 108 social impact funds in 46 North American states and provinces and 21 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Pamela Daniels, his wife of 56 years, is a developmental psychologist, author and former class dean of Wellesley College.

“Our focus in Northwest Louisiana is trying to create more job and wealth opportunities and much more entrepreneurship,” he said. “What we are trying to do with this scholarship is to change the world. We want to create a group of people to help mentor and support the students at Grambling State University.”
12 2015-11-20
Monroe

Philanthropists Donate $10,000 Scholarship for Inspiring Entrepreneurs at Grambling State University


GRAMBLING, La. (Press Release) --


An entrepreneurial husband and wife team have donated $10,000 to inspire Grambling State University students to pursue their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs and developing innovative ideas to inspire the next generation.

During the Red River Classic Gala in Shreveport on Nov. 6., Belden and Pamela Daniels of Boston donated $10,000 for scholarships for students who are participating in Grambling’s new Entrepreneurial and Innovation Institute. The Institute will feature workshops designed to help student entrepreneurs take their ideas from conception to commercialization, including idea generation and development, pitch training and commercialization.

“The university thanks Belden and Pamela Daniels for their thoughtfulness and support of President Willie Larkin’s vision to nurture the entrepreneurial and innovative culture throughout the Grambling community,” said Otto Meyers, III, interim vice president of advancement, research and economic development. “This donation will provide scholarships for students who are participating in the entrepreneurial and innovation incubator programs and other related programs.”

The donation was inspired by Daniels’ long history of economic development work in Louisiana. He first worked in Louisiana for New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu in 1970. He was working in South Louisiana in 1984 when Mayor John Hussey asked him to come to Shreveport to help address the economic and social problems created by the collapse of the energy market in the early 1980s.

“When Helen Godfrey-Smith (chair of the Grambling University Foundation Board of Directors) proposed this, I said that what I really wanted to do was to encourage entrepreneurship,” Belden Daniels said. “Everything that I have been doing in Northwest Louisiana has been trying to narrow that gap, and the best way to address that gap is to create education, jobs, wealth and skills in the African American community. The scholarship is absolutely focused in doing that. Grambling is a very important focus in Northwest Louisiana, in the Ark-La-Tex region. It is a very good place to make a difference.”

Belden Daniels is internationally known as a pioneer in creating the $3-trillion global social impact industry that invests private capital to create jobs and wealth in low-income communities around the world. He has helped to build more than $183 billion of private capital in 108 social impact funds in 46 North American states and provinces and 21 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Pamela Daniels, his wife of 56 years, is a developmental psychologist, author and former class dean of Wellesley College.

“Our focus in Northwest Louisiana is trying to create more job and wealth opportunities and much more entrepreneurship,” he said. “What we are trying to do with this scholarship is to change the world. We want to create a group of people to help mentor and support the students at Grambling State University.”

12 2015-11-20
Regional/National

Apple Awards 30 HBCU Students Scholarships in $40 Million Diversity Effort


Apple awarded 30 HBCU students a one-year college scholarship and a summer internship program at Apple’s headquarters at the Leadership Institute in Washington D.C., last weekend.

Hosted by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) the students were chosen from across 47 HBCUs. The 30 Apple scholars were announced by Denise Young-Smith, vice president for worldwide human resources, Apple. Young-Smith is herself a graduate of an HBCU; Grambling State University.

“The people at Apple don’t just create products—they create the kind of wonder that’s revolutionized entire industries,” remarked Young-Smith at the ceremony. “And it’s the diversity of those people and their ideas that inspires the innovation that runs through everything we do, from amazing technology to industry-leading environmental efforts,” she said.

The Apple HBCU Scholars Program is part of the new Apple and TMCF Diversity Initiative between Cupertino and TMCF. As part of the partnership, Apple made a $40 million dollar multi-year commitment, the largest and most comprehensive corporate investment ever given exclusively for students and faculty of four-year HBCUs.

“There are ‘scholarships’ and then there are ‘scholarship programs,’” said TMCF President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. “Apple has made an historic investment in a scholarship program that will transform the lives of HBCU star students by not only removing the financial barriers to college attendance, but by providing them additional non-financial program elements like Apple mentors and summer internships. These Apple HBCU Scholars will be the future tech industry leaders.”

The scholarship includes up to $25,000 for their senior year; a summer internship in Cupertino, California; participation in a year-round program to prepare for post-graduation careers; pairing with an Apple mentor during their senior year; the opportunity to serve as Ambassadors on their campuses to build awareness about the Apple and TMCF Diversity Initiative; an invitation to attend TMCF’s Annual Leadership Institute; and participation in the Apple HBCU Immersion Experience in Cupertino.

“This program is about exposing gifted students from HBCUs to a career in technology. We’re big believers that innovation will be strongest when talented people from diverse backgrounds are part of the creative process,” said Young-Smith. “That’s why we’re so proud to be partnering with TMCF to help us find the next generation of innovators.”

One of the Apple HBCU scholars, Lauren Patterson, previously interned at Apple. She introduced Young-Smith at the event.

“I learned a lot at Apple last summer. It was a great experience working with people from all backgrounds,” said Patterson. “I love to code,” she said. Patterson wants to do anything “code-related” for a career, including being a software engineer.

Here is the full list of the Apple HBCU Scholars and their schools:

Angelica Willis, North Carolina A&T
Bethlehem Zergaw, Alabama A&M
Bushra-Sultan Yagboyaju, Fisk
Chukwuemelie Onwubuya, Allen University
Dakari Franklin, Morehouse
Darnel Williams, Grambling State University
David Nesbeth, Howard University
Deshaun Crawford, Delaware State University
Ebenezer Nkrumah, Fisk University
Grant Pope, Morehouse
Khaliq Satchell, Elizabeth City State University
Lauren Patterson, Hampton University
Malik Jones, Hampton
Maurita Ament, Spelman
Mya Havard, Spelman
Nathaniel Spindler, Fayetteville State University
Naya Coard, Spelman
Nhan Mai, Alabama A&M
Nia Farmer, Howard University
Paris Griffin, Chicago State
Richard Igbiriki, Lincoln U (PA)
Ropafadzo Ropa Denga, Spelman
Sakshyam Dahal, Claflin
Taha Merghani, Jackson State University
Tatyana Matthews, Elizabeth City State University
Timothy Baba, Huston-Tillotson/Prairie View A& M (3-2)
Todd Boone II, Prairie View A & M
Xavier Crutcher, Alabama A&M
Zanetta Tyler, North Carolina A & T
Gaston Seneza, Philander Smith
Paul Hammond, North Carolina A&T

12 2015-11-18
Monroe

Grambling Students Take Back University


"You can no longer run to Grambling to get away from the law," says Chief Howard Caviness, Grambling State University Police Chief.

Grambling State University students are no longer staying quiet to theft crimes occurring on their campus.

"The students are tired of this type of behavior going on. they are beginning to come forward and step forward and take back their university," says Caviness.

Just recently, a Grambling student robbed another in a residence hall.

"An individual knocked on his dorm room door. He looks out the door, doesn't see anyone. When he opens the door, an individual rushes in, and forces him into a closet," says Caviness.

The victim told police while in the closet, he heard others enter his room.

"He said he heard numerous feet stomping through his dorm room, heard dresser drawers opening and shutting, and after 3-4 minutes, he heard them exit the apartment," says Caviness.

One suspect, identified as 19-year old Roderick Nadie, has been caught.

He is charged with unauthorized entry to an inhabited dwelling.

"The subject that has been arrested is a student at Grambling State University. He made a poor choice and will pay the consequences for it," says Caviness.

Grambling University Police Chief, Howard Caviness, says since Nadie's arrest, more students are starting to speak up.

"Numerous students came forward because they are tired of criminal activity taking place on this campus," says Caviness.

Resulting in arrests that will occur in the coming weeks.

"We have got them identified and we are seeking warrants for their arrests," says Caviness.

Chief Caviness says he appreciates GSU students working alongside law enforcement to keep a safe, learning environment.

"If you see something, do something. that's our motto, and students are doing that," says Caviness.

12 2015-11-17
Ruston

TECH, GSU PREPARED FOR THE UNEXPECTE


With the growing threat of a campus shootings, two local university police chiefs said they continue to prepare their forces for what they hope doesn’t happen.

Grambling State University Interim Police Chief Howard Caviness and Louisiana Tech University Police Chief Randal Hermes said their police forces have been preparing for a possible incident.
12 2015-11-16
Ruston

Grambling State University receives $100K donation


Grambling University Foundation presents President Willie Larkin with a donation of $100,000 for scholarships and university programs at Grambling State University during the Red River Classic Gala on Nov. 6. Pictured from left to right are: Helen Godfrey-Smith, Sarah Dennis, President Willie Larkin, Vivian Larkin, Otto Meyers, III, Janet Barnes, Richard Rayford and David Aubrey.
“I would like to thank the members of Grambling University Foundation for this generous donation,” said President Willie Larkin. “I am truly grateful to the Foundation and all the members of the Grambling family for giving back to this great and venerable institution. It is my vision to see Grambling restored to its former glory, and this money will help support student scholarships and fund new programs as our students fulfill their dreams of a college education.”
Grambling University Foundation is dedicated to raising even more money for Grambling State University in the upcoming year.
“Our goal this year was to raise enough funds to give back to the university $100,000, and we were successful in meeting that goal. We will start to plan in early January for next year’s campaign, and we are hoping to exceed that amount next year,” said Helen Godfrey-Smith, chair of Grambling University Foundation Board and president of Shreveport Federal Credit Union.
“The university is so in need of funds for scholarships in order to attract the best students in sports and academics, and we are taking it very seriously. We want the university to have the resources it needs in order to attract the best and the brightest,” Godfrey-Smith said. “We also want President Larkin to have the resources at hand to develop his vision for the university.”
About Grambling State University
Grambling State University, located in Grambling, Louisiana, is a historically black university founded in 1901. The University has been accredited by 13 accrediting associations and holds accreditations in all programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The 590-acre campus offers 43 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Grambling State University is a member of the University of Louisiana System.
12 2015-11-13
Shreveport

GSU receives $100,000 donation from Grambling University Foundation


GRAMBLING, La., (Nov. 12, 2015) Grambling State University has received a $100,000 donation for student scholarships and university programs from Grambling University Foundation at the Red River Classic Gala on Nov. 6 in Shreveport.

“I would like to thank the members of Grambling University Foundation for this generous donation,” said President Willie Larkin. “I am truly grateful to the Foundation and all the members of the Grambling family for giving back to this great and venerable institution. It is my vision to see Grambling restored to its former glory, and this money will help support student scholarships and fund new programs as our students fulfill their dreams of a college education.”

Grambling University Foundation is dedicated to raising even more money for Grambling State University in the upcoming year.

“Our goal this year was to raise enough funds to give back to the university $100,000, and we were successful in meeting that goal. We will start to plan in early January for next year’s campaign, and we are hoping to exceed that amount next year,” said Helen Godfrey-Smith, chair of Grambling University Foundation Board and president of Shreveport Federal Credit Union.

“The university is so in need of funds for scholarships in order to attract the best students in sports and academics, and we are taking it very seriously. We want the university to have the resources it needs in order to attract the best and the brightest,” Godfrey-Smith said. “We also want President Larkin to have the resources at hand to develop his vision for the university.”m.

12 2015-11-12
Baton Rouge

Grambling State University Honors 2015 Beacon Award Winners


GRAMBLING, La. (Press Release) --



Grambling University Foundation honored nine extraordinary individuals with awards at the Red River Classic Gala in Shreveport on Oct. 6. Mildred Gallot, professor and head emerita of history at Grambling State University, received the 2015 Outstanding Alumnus Award.

The Beacon Award winners include Pam Atchison, arts and culture; Lamore Carter, education; Theodis Goree, education; Robert Clark, community service; Jerry Jones, community service; James Davison, business and industry; Mayor Jamie Mayo, public service; and Bonnie Moore, public service.

“There is a quote that says: we are truly greatest when we seek to serve others. Tonight’s winners of the Beacon Awards clearly exemplify the essence of that quote,” said Otto Meyers, III, interim vice president of advancement, research and economic development at Grambling State University.

The Beacon Awards recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding commitment to leadership, excellence and philanthropy in the categories of arts and culture, education, community service, business and industry, public service and community development.

A new award, the Outstanding Alumnus Award, was created this year to recognize a graduate of Grambling State University who has achieved personal success, as well as excellence in his or her chosen profession to reach the pinnacle of their career, and has been involved in civic, cultural and/or charitable activities in addition to making meaningful contributions to Grambling State University through outstanding service and commitment to the best interests of their alma mater.

“All of the awards were so well deserved, in particular Dr. Mildred Gallot, who was our outstanding alumnus,” said Helen Godfrey-Smith, chair of Grambling University Foundation Board and president of Shreveport Federal Credit Union. “She is a 50-year plus graduate of Grambling and served locally in the university and at the state level in education. She has always represented Grambling in such a fantastic way, so we are happy to recognize and honor people who are so deserving of that recognition.”

Gallot is a professor and head emerita of history at Grambling State University and a former member of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System. As the author of “A History of Grambling State University,” Gallot is probably best recognized as Grambling’s “historian.”

The city of Monroe is experiencing incredible economic development under the leadership of Mayor Mayo, who received the Beacon Award for public service. The city has seen an official fiscal year budget surplus for eight of the past nine years. Mayor Mayo is also a six-time winner of the Louisiana Municipal Association Community Achievement Award.

"I truly thank the Grambling State University Foundation for this honor,” Mayor Mayo said. “I am proud to be a supporter of Grambling. As a public servant, my first priority is to help improve the quality of life for the people of our city, parish and region. I could not achieve anything without the support of an outstanding team. Even though my name is on this award, I humbly accept it on behalf of the men and women who work at the City of Monroe."

Lamore Carter, who received the Beacon Award for education, is provost and vice president emeritus for Academic Affairs at Grambling State University. After a long and distinguished career at Grambling, Carter also served as president of Wiley College. Carter also served as the SACSCOC Research Fellow, dean of faculty at Texas Southern University and an American Council Fellow at Louisiana State University. As a World War II veteran, Carter was knighted by the French consul general in 2014 upon receiving the French Legion of Honor medal.

The other 2015 Beacon Award winners include:

- Pam Atchison, executive director of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC), has more than 30 years of experience overseeing highly accessible arts programs, including Arts in Education. SRAC’s newest partnership centers on the development of Shreveport Common, a downtown cultural community spanning nine blocks and built on the precepts of creative place making.

- Theodis Goree serves as the superintendent of Caddo Parish Public Schools, where he serves over 40,000 students in 62 schools. He is a veteran educator who strongly believes that education is the key to lifelong success. He has also worked as area superintendent with Mansfield Independent School District in Dallas and as an assistant principal in Fort Worth, Texas.

- Robert Clark is the president and owner of the Clark Company, Inc. and Blue Collar Enterprises. He is a founding member of First Tee of Monroe, a group that helps shape the lives of young people by teaching important values through the game of golf. Clark is a distinguished alumni of Grambling, who has also been honored with the GSU Charles P. Adams Outstanding Community Service Award, the MLK, Jr. Humanitarian Award and the A.D. Smith Award for Business.

- Jerry Jones is a graduate of Northeast Louisiana University and Tulane Law School, who has been a practicing trial attorney for the past 37 years. He currently serves at the district attorney for Morehouse and Ouachita Parishes, a position he has held since 1991. Jones serves on a long list of community organizations, including the Louisiana District Attorney’s Association Board, the Legislative Committee, the Drug Asset Recovery Team and the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Board. In addition, he was presented the National Football League Alumni Association’s “Difference Maker Award for the Legends and Kids Program.”

- James Davison owns and developed Squire Creek Country Club and Development, LLC, a planned area of 1,100 acres of rolling hills, lush landscapes and beautiful homes. He took over his father’s trucking company and grew Davison Transport, which he sold to Genesis Energy, LP in 2004, from two trucks to a fleet of over 300 trucks and 700 trailers. Davison was awarded an honorary doctorate from Louisiana Tech University in 2000 and an honorary doctorate from Grambling State University in 2008. He also serves as a Friends of the Eddie G. Robinson Museum Board Member.

- Bonnie Moore serves as the director of the Department of Community Development for the city of Shreveport. She has a wealth of experience in social services, revitalization planning and affordable housing development. Moore is an alumni of Grambling State University, who serves on a number of boards, including the United Way, the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, HOPE for the Homeless, Northwest Louisiana Community Development Corporation, the Downtown Development Authority Advisory Board and National Community Development Association.

Grambling State University and Grambling University Foundation would like to thank the many donors and the members of the Red River Classic Planning Committee for making the Red River Classic Gala and Beacon Awards Ceremony possible.

12 2015-11-06
Monroe

Grambling State inducts 39 Students into Honors College


Grambling State University celebrated the 25th anniversary of Earl Lester Cole Honors College with the induction of 39 outstanding students into the 26th cohort of the Honors College on Oct. 29.

The Honors College was named after Earl Lester Cole, who began his tenure at Grambling in 1936 as a science teacher and was appointed vice president in 1969. He was affectionately called “Dean Cole,” even after he assumed the vice presidency.

He is remembered for his active involvement in implementing curriculum, which is considered to be the cornerstone to courses still being offered at Grambling. Even after his retirement in 1977, Cole remained active at GSU and continued to advise members of the faculty and administrators. He passed away at the age of 89.

“The Earl Lester Cole Honors College was established at Grambling State University in 1990 to increase challenges for academically talented students, who desire additional intellectual and unique educational experiences, and who show readiness to take greater individual responsibility for extending their academic, personal and social development while completing requirements in their chosen degree,” said Ellen Smiley, dean of the Honors College. “We are extremely proud of our current students and graduates for their accomplishments over the past 25 years.”

The inductees names, majors, grades and hometowns are: Alickson Alexander, computer science, sophomore, Grand Bay, Dominica; Alexis Ashley, elementary education, sophomore, Shreveport; Noelle Barnes, elementary education, sophomore, San Bernardino, California; Shareika Benjamin, accounting, senior, Portsmouth, Dominica; Asha Bronson, history, junior, Los Angeles; Debrielle Browder, criminal justice, senior, Compton, California; Riki Burroughs, criminal justice, sophomore, Las Vegas; Lainey Clayton, management, junior, Old Hickory, Tennessee; Eddie Crane, biology, sophomore, Edgewood, Texas; Yolonda Decker-Williams, biology, sophomore, Pearland, Texas; Agnita Degallerie-Peters, physics, sophomore, Roseau, Dominica; Ryan Dillard, mass communication, sophomore, Simsboro; Katerra Dooley, biology, sophomore, New Orleans; Tiffany Doss, biology, sophomore, New Orleans; Rayshun Hawkins, social work, sophomore, West Monroe; Malikah Jackson, accounting/CIS, sophomore, McKinney, Texas; Ke’Yon Jones, biology, sophomore, Lisbon; and Kiana Jones, biology, sophomore, Natchez, Mississippi.

More inductees include Imani Kimble, biology, sophomore, Las Vegas; Arianna Kossie, music education, junior, Lancaster, Texas; Allen Mays, mass communication, junior, Little Rock, Arkansas; Kisha McCoy, social work, junior, Roseau, Dominica; Sheniqua Moss, social work, junior, Ruston; Mecca Muhammad, math and physics, junior, Ruston; Yunique’ Murphy, mass communication, sophomore, Norman, Ohio; Destinee Perkins, management/marketing, sophomore, Las Vegas; La’Terious Pouncy, accounting, junior, Bossier City; Kenneth Rhodes, engineering technology, senior, Bienville; Bryana Robinson, management, freshman, Grambling; Faron Rush, management, sophomore, Iowa City, Iowa; Jasmine Starks, kinesiology/health promotion, junior, Winnfield; Karlisa Travers, theatre, junior, Shreveport; Ariel Webb, accounting, sophomore, Homer; Alexis White, biology, sophomore, Arcadia; Emily Williams, accounting, senior, Portsmouth, Dominica; Jaime Williams, biology, sophomore, Ruston; Mercedes Williams, biology, sophomore, Roseville, California; and Brittney Woods, special education, sophomore, Ruston.

In order to become a member of the Honors College, freshman students must have an ACT score of 23 or above and a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher. Upperclassman with a GPA of 3.5 and higher can apply to become a member of the Honors College with three letters of recommendation.

“We are asking persons to support the Honors College with a donation to our fundraising campaign,” said Prentiss Smiley, president of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College Student Organization. “Funds will be used to award scholarships, provide technology enhancement and educational resources, ensure conference travel for students and faculty, support research, service and other scholarly activities, to purchase honors college memorabilia for recruitment purposes, and to support the graduating seniors’ medallion luncheon.”

Donations can be sent via check or money order to: Earl Lester Cole Honors College, Grambling State University, GSU Box 4208, Grambling, LA 71245.

12 2015-11-06
Ruston

GSU club collects books for inmates


Grambling State University’s Psychology and Sociology Club collected 1,967 books that the group will donate to various state prison libraries.

Club President Jack Chandler said the GSU group, along with organizations from four other universities, created the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Challenge for collecting books for inmates after touring a prison and noticing an absence of books.


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12 2015-11-04
Monroe

Attorney for Lee Fobbs: We will vigorously defend nepotism charges


The attorney representing Grambling running backs coach Lee Fobbs, who along with his son, head coach Broderick Fobbs, was recently charged with nepotism by the Louisiana Board of Ethics, is confident they'll be cleared of any wrongdoing.

State Sen. Rick Gallot, the Ruston-based attorney who is handling Lee Fobbs' case, told The News-Star on Monday that Fobbs, nor his son, didn't "violate any provision of the code of governmental ethics."

"We will vigorously defend these charges and we feel like, at the end of the day, we'll be successful," Gallot said.

"We feel very comfortable and confident that at the end of the day we'll be cleared of these charges. It's just a heck of a distraction and inconvenience especially with the program doing so well after everything that went on before coach Fobbs got here. He's doing such a tremendous job. To have this distraction is very unfortunate."

Last Friday, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported that the father-son duo violated state laws that say "members of the immediate family of an agency head may not be employed in the agency."

Also in question is Lee Fobbs' source of income, which the Louisiana Board of Ethics also considered a violation. Lee Fobbs earns $65,000 from the Grambling University Foundation, Inc. The board said a public employee can't receive "a thing of economic value" from anyone other than the governmental employer.







THENEWSSTAR.COM

Report: Broderick Fobbs, father accused of nepotism


Appearing on the Southwestern Athletic Conference teleconference Monday morning, Broderick Fobbs said he isn't worried about the latest news becoming a team distraction. The Tigers are amid a SWAC title run with a 6-0 record and just three games left to play.

"Well, that's something I really can't discuss at this time. It's a legal issue. All I can really say is everything was done the way it should be," Broderick Fobbs said. "As far as the timing, that's something I'm really not concerned about."

The reason Gallot is so confident the charges, which were filed Oct. 15, won't stand goes back to the contention that Lee Fobbs is a volunteer worker who reports to the athletic director. The charges from the board state Fobbs is a public employee while serving as the running backs coach.

"Whether he's employed by the foundation or unemployed and just a volunteer for the team, it's all the same," Gallot said. "He's not a public employee because he's not employed by the university."

There seems to be a gray area with the state laws.

In January 2015, Peabody Magnet High School in Alexandria requested the opinion of the Louisiana Board of Ethics in regards to a similar coaching matter. The debate was whether Spencer Ross and Kedric Smith could coach under Peabody athletic director and basketball coach Charles Smith.

Under the nepotism law, that normally wouldn't fly since Kedric Smith is Charles Smith's son and Ross is Charles Smith's son-in-law. However, the board said it wouldn't be a violation if they volunteered their time. "Volunteering time as assistant coaches under the direction of an immediate family member is considered a donation of services," according to the opinion dated Jan. 23, 2015.

Up until Monday, there was confusion as to what Lee Fobbs' role has been with Grambling, and more directly, the football program.

According to a December 2013 news release by Grambling, Lee Fobbs was among several staff hires by Broderick Fobbs with Lee Fobbs receiving an official title of director of football operations and recruiting coordinator. The release said the hiring was pending approval by the University of Louisiana System.

On Monday, The News-Star attempted the obtain a copy of Lee Fobbs' contract from 2013, but the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System on Monday said they have "not received a request nor approved a contract for Lee Fobbs with Grambling State University."

Gallot said Lee Fobbs never served in the football operations position and was given the title of "athletics operations" in January 2014. He served as a Grambling State employee until August. Gallot said Lee Fobbs' duties included preparing fields and other athletic venues. He directly reported to Aaron James, who served as Grambling's athletic director at the time before he was fired in July 2014.

In September 2014, Lee Fobbs moved into a role with Grambling's foundation, which primarily included fundraising, Gallot said.

"After his employment ended with the university and he began working for the foundation, any time he spent coaching was done on his own time on a volunteer basis," Gallot said. "There is certainly nothing improper about that situation."

Now that formal charges have been filed, the case will be turned over to a panel of three administrative law judges, who will hear the case. There is no timetable for the public hearing and the length of the cases can vary from weeks to months. The cases for Lee Fobbs and Broderick Fobbs will be heard separately.

As for the timing of the charges, which come almost two years after Broderick Fobbs was hired, Gallot said "that's an excellent question."

"I'm not sure whose ax they're trying to grind here but there's nothing to it," he said.

Gallot also hinted that the board had been sniffing around for sometime in regards to the ethics violation.

"We really thought they had made the right decision and realized there was nothing there," he said.



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12 2015-11-02
Monroe

Report: Broderick Fobbs, father accused of nepotism


Grambling head football coach Broderick Fobbs and his father, Lee Fobbs, who serves as Grambling's running backs coach, are being accused of nepotism, according to a report Friday by the Baton Rouge Advocate.

The report states The Louisiana Board of Ethics contends Broderick Fobbs and Lee Fobbs violated state laws that says "members of the immediate family of an agency head may not be employed in the agency," according to the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics.

Broderick Fobbs was hired as Grambling's head coach in December 2013. Lee Fobbs later joined staff as the Tigers' director of operations and recruiting coordinator, according to a January 2014 release, although he is now listed as a running backs coach on the team's website.

The report said Lee Fobbs earned an annual salary of $65,000, paid by Grambling University Foundation Inc., which the board considered an additional violation because a public employee can't receive "a thing of economic value" from anyone other than the governmental employer.

State Sen. Rick Gallot, who represents Lee Fobbs, told The Advocate that Fobbs was employed by Grambling's foundation, is considered a volunteer coach and reports directly to the athletic director, and not his son.

“Obviously, we are of the opinion they have not violated any provision of the code of governmental ethics and that everything that has been done is proper and appropriate,” Gallot said, according to the report.

On Friday afternoon, Grambling interim athletic director Obadiah Simmons told The News-Star he wasn't aware of the charges that have been filed.

"I was aware both Fobbs' were working in the athletic department," Simmons said. "Lee Fobbs receives his funding from the Grambling University Foundation."

The arrangements were made before Simmons' tenure. He became Grambling's interim athletic director May 1. At the time of Broderick Fobbs' hiring, Aaron James served as Grambling's athletic director. He was fired and replaced in July 2014 by former women's basketball coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs.

"We're just concerned everything we do is done according to guidelines and rules established and we abide by them, but when I first learned both Fobbs were indeed employed, it was at that time it was made known to me Lee Fobbs was paid out of the foundation and not out of the university's operating budget."

Simmons said he plans to further discuss the matter internally and "take the appropriate course of action."

The charges were handed down during an Oct. 15 meeting, according to the report.

The News-Star will continue to update this story as new information develops

12 2015-10-30
Ruston

Grambling program ranks in affordability



Oldest department at university breaks top 50



Leader News Service

Grambling State University has been recognized for having one of the most affordable online master’s programs in curriculum and instruction.

Top Education Degrees ranked GSU’s Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction program 22nd on the website’s 2015 list of the 50 Most Affordable Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Online.


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12 2015-10-16
Monroe

Grambling Laboratory Middle School Receives $500k Grant from Louisiana Department of Education


GRAMBLING, La. (Press Release) --



The Grambling Laboratory Middle School has received a one-year, $500,000 school improvement grant from the Louisiana Department of Education.

The grant was awarded to Lincoln Parish on behalf of the middle school at a Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting on Oct. 13 in Baton Rouge. Since 2010, the Louisiana Department of Education has provided local education agencies with the opportunity to apply for school improvement grants through the Believe and Succeed program.

The money will be used to fill a number of faculty and staff positions at the middle school that have gone un-filled for the past two years because of budget constraints.

“The biggest part of the operating cost of the laboratory schools is salaries,” said Gordan Ford, executive director of Grambling Laboratory Schools. “We are adding an assistant principal in the middle school, as well as three or four teachers. Because we didn’t have the operating funds, we have had to cut some positions over the years. This grant will allow us to add a building supervisor in addition to putting more teachers in the classroom, which will help our students have better outcomes in the classroom with smaller class sizes.”

The Grambling High Foundation entered into an operating agreement with Grambling State University to fund and operate the laboratory schools for the 2015-2016 school year, with plans to open as Grambling Laboratory Charter School in August 2016. The Foundation needed to raise $762,000 to operate the schools for the 2015-2016 school year.

The Foundation has now raised over $100,000 in private donations and will add over $200,000 from the 111 students who have enrolled as students at Grambling Laboratory Virtual School.

“With this $500,000 grant, we will have raised $800,000 and counting for this year. We still plan to raise over a million dollars to do some of the additional upgrades and use that to help us transition into the charter school,” Ford said.

For more information, visit www.gramblinghighalumni.org.

12 2015-10-15
Ruston

GSU hosts annual faculty exhibition


Grambling State University’s Dunbar Gallery is hosting the Annual Faculty Art Exhibition, FourTold through Oct. 29. Artists exhibiting are Donna McGee, Rodrecas “Drék” Davis, Larry Holston and Terence Williams, II. This exhibition offers insight into the diverse interests of the artists, according to the GSU website.

McGee, a professor of art, holds a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Mississippi State University, a Master in counseling from Mississippi State University and a Master of Fine Arts in studio, painting and drawing from Louisiana Tech University.


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12 2015-10-06
Shreveport

Grambling State University issues HBCU challenge to collect books for prison libraries


GRAMBLING, LOUISIANA (Oct. 1, 2015) Seeing a small prison library with a shortage of books during a tour of a correctional facility last year inspired Grambling State University’s Psychology and Sociology Club members to organize a book drive last spring that raised 225 books for the inmates at Richwood Correctional Center in Monroe.

“We are trying to provide prisoners with books to enhance their reading skills, because you never know whose life you can change through a book,” said Jack Chandler, president of the Psychology and Sociology Club. “We believe reading is fundamental and empowering. Being confined to prison walls everyday is not really living, so a book can help you escape your reality, even if it is momentary.”

Now the Psychology and Sociology Club is beginning a second book drive to collect books for another prison library, either Caddo Correctional Center in Shreveport or Louisiana State Penitentiary, and challenging other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to do the same.

“We are now calling it the HBCU Challenge and expanding it to a number of other HBCUs,” said Matt Sheptoski, assistant professor of sociology and club adviser. “We ask that other schools adopt a prison and that clubs, primarily psychology and/or sociology clubs, collect books, and we will count them up and see who wins the friendly competition.”

Sheptoski is hoping at least five other HBCUs will participate in the book drive that runs Oct. 1-31. A donation box will be located in the Psychology Department in Woodson Hall 104. Other donation boxes will be located throughout campus. If you have a large amount of books to donate, you may contact the Psychology and Sociology Club to pick them up. For more information, please contact Chandler at 318-820-0655 or jackchandler88@gmail.com.

12 2015-10-06
Shreveport

GSU building closes for asbestos removal


Woodson Hall at Grambling State University will close for at least two weeks while repairs are made, including asbestos removal.

Flooding that occurred earlier this year caused damage to parts of the building. Tracy Wright, director of university communications, said Monday that the school hired a company called PAC to conduct air quality tests on the building, and the results show no hazards.

PAC will make repairs including removing tile, mastic and carpeting. Wright said when the work is complete, the university plans another air quality test to ensure everything is within state and federal guidelines.

Wright said Leon Sanders, vice president for finance and administration, and King Godwin, dean of the College of Science and Technology, are working together to relocate classes and staff offices and keep students up to date.

"We won't move everybody back until everything is up to code," she said

12 2015-10-05
Ruston

Grambling Professors Show the Importance of Giving Back to the Community


Three Grambling State University professors were honored for their service learning work during the 2014-2015 school year at the Lunch, Learn and Appreciate event on Sept. 24. Mary Ghongkedze, an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, Matt Sheptoski, an assistant professor of sociology, and Catherine Bonner, a lecturer of English, were selected from more than 80 projects to receive the Banner Recognition for Outstanding Service Learning Projects.

“They were chosen for having outstanding, good projects. We look at all the projects and see which ones have great impact. We have a lot of outstanding projects, so it is hard to narrow them down,” said Rory Bedford, director of the Office of Service Learning.

After touring Richwood Correctional Center in Monroe last year, Grambling’s Psychology and Sociology club members asked their adviser, Sheptoski, if they could organize a book drive to collect more reading materials for Richwood’s small library. Sheptoski, along with club President Jack Chandler, delivered more than 225 books for the inmates at Richwood.

“Last fall we organized a trip to the Richwood Correctional Facility in Monroe. As soon as we were taken into the prison library, we saw that there was a real lack of materials,” Sheptoski said. “Being open to the moment and opportunity, we took it upon ourselves to speak to the warden, who was very open to the idea of us collecting and donating books. It was a real success, so we are doing it again this year beginning Oct. 1.”

Ghongkedze was honored for a project during her Human Growth and Development class to assist an elderly couple in need. To better understand health and wellness issues for the elderly, the class assisted the grandparents of a classmate by unloading potted plants, sifting through soil and cleaning garden ornaments.

“I think having service learning is a real plus for the students and faculty members. It really does make a difference in our lives. If we reach out to those in the community, they know who we are and we can all work as a team,” Ghongkedze said.

Bonner was honored for transforming her English 101: Freshman Composition 1 classes into a service-learning experience. Bonner and her students have helped hundreds of people with in-class projects that include documenting the stories of senior citizens, helping elementary children write their own books, judging school essay contests, helping people with disabilities write letters, organizing letter-writing campaigns and creating adult-literacy projects.

Guest Speaker Eric Rowles, president and CEO of Leading to Change, emphasized the importance of service learning to address the real needs of people in Grambling community.

“Today was a day of celebration of heroes that are raising up our campus, raising up our community, and raising up our students to a level of service that GSU is known for,” Rowles said. “Every single person has an impact on our students, and today was a day of honoring those that have put their time in knowing that you set the legacy for the people who come behind you.”

12 2015-10-05
Ruston

“HIGHER EDUCATION AND THE WATERS OF UNCERTAINTY”


Our venerable institution is alive, strong and doing well, and we will continue to grow stronger in the days to come. Ignore those who speak ill of Grambling State University. Ignore those who say ours is “just another HBCU” on its way to extinction. HBCUs and GSU are neither dead nor dying. We will not move over. We will not step aside. We will not give up. We will make progress. We will survive. We will thrive. Grambling State’s best years are ahead.

Higher education is central to individual and community success, and we must continue to see it as a central element for our young people and those seeking to get ahead. Education must be at the core for those pursuing achievement. But consider higher education a sinking ship for a moment. History has taught us that as a ship begins to take on water, the least valuable resources get thrown overboard. Let me not mince words, without more, stronger support, higher education is taking on water and the ship is starting to sink. Those unfamiliar with HBCUs and some who do not know our phenomenal institution might wish to see us as a resource not worth saving. Some of them suggest merger, or even closing, as a means to save the higher education ship. The problem is not with HBCUs and GSU. The problem is that we lack significant support. We are culturally and intellectually rich resources.

Year after year, it is reported that many Americans are becoming less committed to and less confident about the relevance and importance of colleges and universities. There is a decreasing knowledge and understanding of the worth of HBCUs. Some of this is our fault as academics, educators. Too many of us sit in ivory towers removed from the root causes of decreasing support for higher education, especially federal and states support and also including faculty, staff and alumni support. As state funding of public HBCU continues to be shaky or decreases, we are allowing elected officials to escape with little pain as our students and their families absorb rising tuition, fees and other costs. Students and their families feel the pain as those who should be responsible for supporting this public good shrink from their responsibilities.

Nationally, there has been a shift in higher education. States are spending 28 percent less per student on higher education. Even in our own beautiful state of Louisiana, proposals have been made for the 2016 budget to be cut by $141 million, an amount that will likely devastate the state economy and certainly hurt higher education. None of our state universities can afford additional funding cuts.

There is a clear difference between the “public good versus private good.” Higher education helps individuals improve their stations in life and helps families build on previous generations’ socio-economic status. This is true across the board for people of all ethnicities, races and cultural backgrounds, but it is especially true for African American families and communities.

HBCUs like Grambling State rely on wit, ingenuity, creativity and generosity to thrive, prosper and stay afloat. As government funding shrinks, it is important that we make the most of the resources we have as we do our best on campus and show others off campus that we can make a convincing and compelling case about our value, importance, and raison d’être, our reason for existence.

HBCUs like GSU know how to help the under-resourced in our communities, students with K-12 educations that may not have best prepared them for higher education and those with challenging family situations. No institution knows better how to sow a seed in dry soil to cultivate the planting and bring forth a rich life. Historically, HBCUs have been a vital, essential part of the American agricultural landscape.

For resourceful HBCUs like GSU, working hard to weather financial storms is part of what we do, so we make difficult decisions, and we call on our alumni, faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders to continue to work on our behalf by triggering a resurgence of federal and state support based, in large part, on a value-added proposition that we offer to Louisiana and the United States.

Grambling State University has a strong legacy, a rich heritage and wonderful traditions. However, it is the intellectual strength that will ensure our future. Grambling State University is well poised in Louisiana to be uniquely positioned to establish a stronghold as a leading land-grant institution with a value-added specialization focusing on agricultural training from the perspective of the African diaspora. This unique niche would allow us to be a regional and state partner in the world food industry. No land-grant institution in the U.S. has a core mission to help teach the world about agriculture from an African diaspora perspective, but Grambling does.

Meanwhile, as president of this iconic jewel, I promise you that we will not go gently into the night, we will not become a statistic, and we will not let our future generations down. We will do the job that needs to be done. We will prove that, like many HBCUs, we deserve to survive and thrive.

12 2015-09-28
Monroe

Doris Robinson, matriarch of Grambling, laid to rest


GRAMBLING — The casket of Doris Robinson perched atop a 4-foot stage, looked out to the 1,000 or so people at T.H. Harris Auditorium on Grambling State’s campus.

Between the casket was a pair of photos of Robinson staring out into the crowd, which served as a reminder that she was still watching out for all the lives she touched during the last 96 years.

Robinson, the wife of the late Eddie Robinson — one of the most respected football coaches in college football history — was laid to rest Thursday, signaling the end of an era and the beginning of a new start for the patriarch and matriarch of Grambling athletics.

“The impact that she had not out on the football field but what she had on this whole town and how she handled herself with class and grace,” said former Grambling quarterback and coach Doug Williams. “I think that’s the bottom line.”

Doris passed away last Wednesday at the age of 96, and family, friends and Grambling supporters celebrated her life Thursday during a two-hour long service. More than 10 individuals spoke at length about Doris and her impact on Grambling as former players like Williams, former quarterback Shaq Harris and basketball star Willis Reed soaked in all of her memories.

“She was that right hand. She was the person standing behind (Eddie Robinson) and always encouraging him,” said Reed, a former Grambling standout who went on to star in the NBA with the Knicks.

“I’m sure he went home some nights and had bad nights but he would let us see that, and I think she was the reason for that. She had that thing about her being so positive always that you never saw her down. I never heard her say anything negative about anything or anyone in public.”







THENEWSSTAR.COM

Wife of legendary GSU coach Eddie Robinson passes away


Last week, Doris’ granddaughter Cherie Kirkland said Grambling, and Eddie Robinson for that matter, wouldn’t have had nearly the success it died without Doris’ footprint on things. Eddie Robinson went on to win 408 career games with Doris right there by his side.

Whether it was a game in Chicago, New York or Japan, Doris was always there.

“We went all across the country. There was not a time where we went when Mrs. Robinson wasn’t there,” Williams said. “We felt like we weren’t Grambling if she wasn’t traveling with us.”

Every speaker Thursday echoed Kirkland’s comments, with phrases used like “The First Lady of football,” “the glue to the program” and a “national icon.”

“She was a Louisiana treasure,” said Rep. Patrick O. Jefferson. “The world was made better when she came this way.”

Most of the moments were filled with laughs with only a few tears shed. It was a celebration, not a time of mourning.

The stories ranged from Doris’ role on Grambling football to her image.








NBA legend Willis Reed remembers the life of Doris Robinson

“Her manners and the way she dressed was an image we all respected,” Harris said. “It made us a better team and made us better citizens once we left Grambling.”

Most of Thursday’s audience knew Doris, but those who didn’t had numerous anecdotes to digest.

Pauline Lee, a Robinson family friend, called Doris the First Lady of fashion, not just football.

“Doris knew when she looked good,” Lee said to a chorus of laughter from the crowd.

Lee also remembered her as a proud mother, grandmother and eventual great grandmother. And if Doris’ love for her family wasn’t obvious, she’d let people know by showing picture after picture of her family.

Doris grew up in Baton Rouge and met Eddie in elementary school. The two stayed together through college and moved to Grambling when Eddie Robinson took over the program in 1941. They spent the next 66 years together until Eddie died in 2007.

“The pair of them was as fine as pair you could have at a school,” Harris said. “We’re lucky to have the opportunity to come to Grambling and let them be a part of our lives.”

In 66 years, the Robinsons helped put Grambling on the national map, sending players to the NFL and helping everyone else in the community succeed.

Doris taught social studies, public speaking and English for Lincoln Parish Schools. She always had a smile on her face, her family and friends said, but she wasn’t afraid to keep everyone in place.

Former Grambling baseball coach Wilbert Ellis remembered when he and some of his classmates, which he referred to as trouble, realized the type of no-nonsense woman she was.

“If you don’t behave I’ll tell my husband, Eddie,” Ellis recalled. “We knew she meant business.”


Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson and his wife,
Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson and his wife, Doris, hug after wining his 400th game in 1995. (Photo: Tim Loehrke, Copyright 1995 The Times Shreveport)


Keeping everyone in order at school carried over to life at home.

Jimmy Nicholson, who called her Aunt Doris, used the word “disciplinary extraordinaire” to describe her.

“She always won,” Nicholson said.

But her most redeeming quality, at least to Grambling players, was her role as a second mother.

When Harris made it to the NFL, he would often dial Eddie up to talk on almost a nightly basis. Sometimes Doris would answer the phone when Eddie had his own work to do for Grambling.

“Many nights I felt bad waking her up but she was always alert and always welcome and made me feel comfortable,” Harris said. “I was always encouraged by that.”

Once the laughs were let out, pastor Jerry Baldwin, who also doubles as a basketball coach at Living Word, repeatedly used the words “tear stained eyes and heavy hearts heal” while acknowledging the matriarch of Grambling was ready to go.

“Everybody will remember her along with coach Rob,” Reed said. “She actually enhanced the legacy of Eddie Robinson and Grambling.”

12 2015-09-25
Monroe

Founder's Week Commemorates 114 Years at Grambling State University




GRAMBLING (Press Release)



Grambling State University will commemorate the 114th anniversary of its founding with a celebration of events beginning Sept. 28.



The theme for the 2015 Founder’s Week celebration is “ONE GRAMBLING: Honoring History, Keeping Promises and Fulfilling Dreams.”



“Please join us as we celebrate Founder’s Week at Grambling State University from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2,” President Willie Larkin said. “We have set aside this time to reflect on the humble beginnings of this great university over 114 years ago, which stands today as an internationally known HBCU. I encourage each of you – students, faculty, staff and alumni – to continue to build on the solid foundation of our past and strive to make Grambling State University the life-giving, preeminent university its founder, Charles P. Adams, envisioned.”



The official opening of Founder’s Week will begin with a short ceremony at 7:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 28 at the bust of Grambling’s founder, Charles P. Adams, which is located on the east side of Lee Hall. The opening ceremony will be followed by the annual Founder’s Week Community Fellowship Breakfast from 8-10 a.m. in the Black & Gold Room in Favrot Student Union.



The breakfast will begin with a prayer led by Campus Minister, Rev. C. DeWayne Hollins, at 7:55 a.m. President Larkin will also give remarks during the breakfast.



Tickets for the breakfast can be purchased for $10 each at the Grambling State University Advancement Office. Contact Rose Wright at 318-274-2217 or wrightr@gram.edu to purchase tickets.



The Founder’s Day Convocation will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 29 in T.H. Harris Auditorium. Eddie Martin, senior vice president at Bank of America and a 1985 Honor Graduate of GSU, has been named the keynote speaker for the convocation celebration.



“The founding fathers laid a foundation for all students that lasts to this very day,” Martin said. “Without the founding fathers having that vision in their beliefs to set up an institution, regardless of the obstacles that were in front of them, they believed that it would make a significant difference to future students.”



Other events will include special Founder’s Week tours of Grambling State University and departmental and organizational exhibits throughout the week. For more information about Founder’s Week, please call 318-274-6124.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

12 2015-09-25
Monroe

GSU announces 2015 Founder’s Day Convocation Speaker


GRAMBLING Eddie Martin, senior vice president at Bank of America, has been named the keynote speaker for Grambling State University’s 2015 Founder’s Day Convocation, which will be held at 11 a.m., Sept. 29 in T.H. Harris Auditorium.

Grambling State University will celebrate the 114th anniversary of its founding with a week-long celebration. The official opening of Founder’s Week will begin with a short ceremony at the bust of Grambling’s founder, Charles P. Adams, at 7:30 a.m., Sept. 28., followed by the annual Founder’s Week Community Fellowship Breakfast from 8-10 a.m. in the Black & Gold Room in Favrot Student Union. Martin’s speech is entitled, “When Faith and Preparation Collide with Opportunity.”

“The founding fathers laid a foundation for all students that lasts to this very day,” Martin said. “Without the founding fathers having that vision in their beliefs to set up an institution, regardless of the obstacles that were in front of them, they believed that it would make a significant difference to future students. The folks that are living today in 2015 are really benefitting from the work that they did back in the day.”

Martin, who grew up near Saline, followed his older sister to college at Grambling State University in 1981. While attending Grambling, Martin was a member of the Accounting Club and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and became senior class president. He is a 1985 honor graduate of Grambling State University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He credits Grambling for laying the foundation for his successful career.

“Grambling really laid the foundation for me,” Martin said. “As a young person, Grambling provided me with a lot of tools and direction that molded me to really be prepared for what was next, my future. On a daily basis, I go back into my Grambling toolbox and pull out the things I learned at school, like how to deal with conflict, how to prioritize your day-to-day activities and how to dream.”

After leaving Grambling, Martin worked as an internal auditor for Pizza Hut, Inc. and JCPenney, Inc. He also worked as a manager for INROADS, where he created personal development programs for high school and college students.

Martin has maintained a very successful financial career at Bank of America. He started off performing financial reviews and preparing financial statements as a commercial credit analyst and has worked his way up to his current position of senior vice president on the Global Risks Fair Lending Team as a senior enterprise compliance manager.

Throughout his time at Bank of America, Martin has worked in many roles, including a commercial credit review officer who managed a $1-billion portfolio, director of Private Lending Training and Development and a change consultant on Business and Private Lending. He has served as a senior vice president in seven divisions, including Consumer Real Estate, Information Security Business Continuity, Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Global Risk Initiative and Portfolio Management and Mortgage Services and Operations.

Martin is an award-winning public speaker, a former member of the Chamber of Commerce and an avid golfer. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife, Rhonda, and two children, Camille and Julian.

12 2015-09-25
Regional/National

Doris Robinson: Not just the coach's wife



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Early in the summer of 2014, Cherie Kirkland paid a visit to her grandmother in Grambling, Louisiana, with the specific goal of shopping for a dress. Her grandmother, Doris Robinson, was 95 years old, a widow who had outlived both of her children. Yet there was a significant event coming up on her calendar, and her lifelong sense of style was undimmed by the decades.

So Kirkland and Robinson drove to Monroe, the largest city within 50 miles, and they chose a royal-blue dress, lightly sequined to catch the light, with a matching jacket. Best of all, the color was the same one associated with Sigma Gamma Rho, the African-American sorority Robinson had joined as a college student in the late 1930s.

"Very few things excite me now," Robinson told a local television reporter a few days later. "But I'm excited about that." She was referring to her induction on July 12, 2014, into the Grambling Legends Hall of Fame. Most of its members were the athletic stars who made the small black college in the piney woods of northern Louisiana into a national brand: football players Willie Davis and Charlie Joiner, basketball center Willis Reed, baseball batting champion Ralph Garr.


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Robinson was being inducted in another role, as the lifelong partner of Grambling's legendary football coach, Eddie Robinson. To say she was being honored as the coach's wife, though, would be to drastically understate her importance to the Grambling program, one that was less about producing elite athletes than dignified, educated young men, each one living proof of the case for black equality during an era of rampant segregation.

Now, Doris Robinson's royal-blue dress will serve a different purpose. She died on Sept. 16 at the age of 96. Her funeral service -- a "homegoing," in the parlance of black Christianity -- will be held on the Grambling campus Sept. 24. She will be buried in the same outfit she had worn for enshrinement as a Grambling Legend.

Eddie Robinson is best-known, of course, for the multitude of players he sent on to the NFL and for his lifetime record of 408-165-15, which was best among major-college coaches at the time he retired. Yet Robinson also used football, with its nearly religious power in the South, as a means of overturning segregation. Among the young men he produced were the first black player in the modern NFL (Tank Younger), the first black quarterback to regularly start (James Harris), and the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl (Doug Williams).

Doris Robinson was her husband's companion and collaborator in all of these efforts. The coach often said his motto was "one job, one wife." As Williams told the Monroe television station KTVE last year: "Coach Robinson boasts not about his record, not about the number of years he coached, but the number of years he was married. That meant more to him than anything."

The relationship between Eddie Robinson and Doris Mott, as she was then known, preceded marriage by 10 years or more. They grew up together in the black neighborhood of South Baton Rouge, and both attended its McKinley High School. Courting Doris Mott, in fact, was one of the first acts of Eddie Robinson's lifelong quest for self-improvement. He was the son of a sharecropper and a maid, the child of a broken home, taking all manner of menial jobs to help support his mother. Doris Mott was a child of the black middle class, with a father who worked for the Illinois Central railroad and a number of female relatives who were educators, which she also would become.

Eddie and Doris eloped as Leland College classmates, and soon she was pregnant. Call it serendipity or call it providence, but Doris Robinson was also responsible for Eddie Robinson getting the chance to coach at Grambling in 1941. She was attending a teacher-training program at Grambling -- or, as it was then officially called, the Negro Normal and Industrial Institute -- when she learned the school was looking for a head football coach. She sent word of the opening through her mother, who had one of the only home phones in South Baton Rouge, and she carried the message to the feed mill, where Eddie Robinson was working for 25 cents an hour.

Together, the Robinsons moved the 200 miles from Baton Rouge to Grambling, a distance measured in more than mere miles. By the standards of the Jim Crow South, Baton Rouge's racism was muted by the large Creole and Roman Catholic populations and by Gov. Huey Long's economic populism. A pinprick of a black settlement, the town of Grambling was surrounded by counties that had some of the highest rates of lynching in the entire nation. But that hostile place was where the opportunity to coach awaited.

Robinson signed on with Grambling for $63.25 a month and moved with his wife into a rooming house. City people until then, he and Doris got sick from bugs in the well water and fell asleep to the foraging sounds of possums and raccoons. "It was just nowhere," she said years later of Grambling circa 1941.



12 2015-09-24
Monroe

GSU announces 2015 Founder’s Day Convocation Speaker


GRAMBLING Eddie Martin, senior vice president at Bank of America, has been named the keynote speaker for Grambling State University’s 2015 Founder’s Day Convocation, which will be held at 11 a.m., Sept. 29 in T.H. Harris Auditorium.

Grambling State University will celebrate the 114th anniversary of its founding with a week-long celebration. The official opening of Founder’s Week will begin with a short ceremony at the bust of Grambling’s founder, Charles P. Adams, at 7:30 a.m., Sept. 28., followed by the annual Founder’s Week Community Fellowship Breakfast from 8-10 a.m. in the Black & Gold Room in Favrot Student Union. Martin’s speech is entitled, “When Faith and Preparation Collide with Opportunity.”

“The founding fathers laid a foundation for all students that lasts to this very day,” Martin said. “Without the founding fathers having that vision in their beliefs to set up an institution, regardless of the obstacles that were in front of them, they believed that it would make a significant difference to future students. The folks that are living today in 2015 are really benefitting from the work that they did back in the day.”

Martin, who grew up near Saline, followed his older sister to college at Grambling State University in 1981. While attending Grambling, Martin was a member of the Accounting Club and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and became senior class president. He is a 1985 honor graduate of Grambling State University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He credits Grambling for laying the foundation for his successful career.

“Grambling really laid the foundation for me,” Martin said. “As a young person, Grambling provided me with a lot of tools and direction that molded me to really be prepared for what was next, my future. On a daily basis, I go back into my Grambling toolbox and pull out the things I learned at school, like how to deal with conflict, how to prioritize your day-to-day activities and how to dream.”

After leaving Grambling, Martin worked as an internal auditor for Pizza Hut, Inc. and JCPenney, Inc. He also worked as a manager for INROADS, where he created personal development programs for high school and college students.

Martin has maintained a very successful financial career at Bank of America. He started off performing financial reviews and preparing financial statements as a commercial credit analyst and has worked his way up to his current position of senior vice president on the Global Risks Fair Lending Team as a senior enterprise compliance manager.

Throughout his time at Bank of America, Martin has worked in many roles, including a commercial credit review officer who managed a $1-billion portfolio, director of Private Lending Training and Development and a change consultant on Business and Private Lending. He has served as a senior vice president in seven divisions, including Consumer Real Estate, Information Security Business Continuity, Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Global Risk Initiative and Portfolio Management and Mortgage Services and Operations.

Martin is an award-winning public speaker, a former member of the Chamber of Commerce and an avid golfer. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife, Rhonda, and two children, Camille and Julian.
12 2015-09-21
Ruston

GSU enrollment increases



Freshman class 57 percent higher than last year



Derek J. Amaya

Grambling State University posted an increase in enrollment for entering freshmen, transfer students and total enrollment for the Fall 2015 semester.

According to GSU, freshman enrollment is up 57 percent from last year with 638 first-year students attending classes, while transfer student enrollment was up by 36 percent with 311 students enrolled.

Combined graduate and undergraduate enrollment stands at 4,553.

Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Enrollment Management Damon Wade said the numbers show that GSU has a bright future ahead.


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12 2015-09-21
Shreveport

Celebration of Life Services Announced for Doris Robinson


GRAMBLING, LOUISIANA (Sept. 18, 2015) A Celebration of Life for Doris (Mott) Robinson, the wife of the late Legendary Coach Eddie G. Robinson, Sr., will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, at Grambling State University’s T.H. Harris Auditorium. A repast service will be held at Eddie G. Robinson Museum following the burial service.

Additional Celebration of Life services will include a public viewing at Miller Funeral Home, 2932 Renwick St., in Monroe, Louisiana, from 1-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, and a public viewing at New Rocky Valley Baptist Church, 2155 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., in Grambling, Louisiana, from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24.

Mrs. Robinson, 96, passed away peacefully at 8 a.m. on Sept. 16 after a brief illness at Northern Louisiana Medical Center in Ruston.

Doris Mott was born on May 2, 1919, to John and Lillian Mott in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Upon graduating from McKinley High School in Baton Rouge, she attended Southern University from 1936 to 1938 and later graduated from Leland College in 1941. She met the love of her life, Eddie G. Robinson, in eighth grade, and they were married on June 24, 1941.

Mrs. Robinson began her teaching career working in the school system of Lincoln Parish at Fellowship Elementary School and Lincoln Elementary School. She later taught at Lincoln High School, Dubach High School and Ruston High School. She taught English and social studies, coached students in speech for the Louisiana State Literary Competition and prepared her students for basic public speaking activities.

Mrs. Robinson eventually retired after many years of teaching to travel with her husband, Coach Eddie Robinson, and the Grambling State University Tiger football team. Mrs. Robinson will forever be remembered as a loving wife, mother and grandmother, great friend and the “Matriarch of Grambling Athletics.”

Coach Robinson and Mrs. Robinson had two children, Lillian Rose and Eddie Jr., five grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great great-grandchild.

Blessed with a beautiful soprano voice, Mrs. Robinson sang professionally for many years and is known for her ability to create a moving, artistic conception of a musical composition. She has also been involved in numerous civic and social organizations and is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., the National Education Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and New Rocky Valley Baptist Church.

In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Robinson’s family requests that memorial donations be made to the Friends of the Eddie Robinson Museum, P.O. Box 550, Grambling, LA 71245 or the Eddie Robinson Legacy Fund, P.O. Box 818, Grambling, LA 71245.

12 2015-09-17
Monroe

Grambling State University Mourns the Loss of Doris Robinson


The Grambling State University family is mourning the loss of Doris (Mott) Robinson, the spouse of the late Legendary Coach Eddie G. Robinson, Sr.

Family members report that Mrs. Robinson passed away peacefully at 8 a.m. this morning after a brief illness at Northern Louisiana Medical Center in Ruston. The Grambling family is offering its sincerest condolences to Mrs. Robinson’s family and loved ones.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Robinson family. The entire GSU family mourns their loss,” Grambling State University President Willie Larkin said.

Mrs. Robinson, 96, was an especially beloved figure within the Grambling State University Athletics Department. She was widely known for her attendance at GSU athletic events and will be fondly remembered as the “Matriarch of Grambling Athletics.”

“Mrs. Robinson was truly an iconic figure and fixture among those affiliated with GSU Athletics,” said Interim Athletic Director Obadiah Simmons. “In addition to attending all of the G-Men’s football games, Mrs. Robinson’s presence at ‘all’ athletic events involving GSU was anticipated, expected and counted upon by the Grambling Family. Mrs. Robinson had a certain aura about her that was accentuated by a very charming personality that she exhibited throughout her lifetime.”

Doris and Eddie Robinson both graduated as English majors from Leland College in 1941. They married the same year and moved to Grambling when Eddie Robinson became the head football coach at what was then Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial Institute. Mrs. Robinson worked as a teacher at Lincoln High School and a counselor at Ruston High School. She was a member of New Rocky Valley Baptist Church in Grambling and The Links, an international, professional service organization for women of color. She was honored in 2014 as a contributor to the Grambling Legends Hall of Fame.

12 2015-09-17
Regional/National

Wife of legendary Grambling coach Eddie Robinson dies at 96


Doris Robinson, the wife of legendary Grambling State football coach Eddie Robinson, died Wednesday morning at a hospital in Rushton, Louisiana. She was 96.

Her late husband was the second-winningest coach in NCAA Division I history with 408 victories. He retired in 1987 and died at the age of 88 in 1997.

The Eddie G. Robinson Museum, located on the Grambling State campus, announced Doris Robinson's passing, noting she attended a reception there last week. Her health, though, had been declining in recent years.

Grambling State head coach Broderick Fobbs, who played under Eddie Robinson, told the Louisiana Radio Network, "She actually gave her husband what he needed to get back out there and fight every day for Grambling State University. So she's just as important as Coach Robinson has been for Grambling State University."

Doris Mott Robinson, a former school teacher who was referred to as the "Eternal First Lady of GSU Football," was Eddie's college sweetheart. She stood by his side throughout a career at Grambling that spanned 55 seasons from 1941-42 and 1945-97.

He posted a 408-165-15 career record and sent more than 200 of his players on to NFL careers, including Hall of Famers Buck Buchanan, Charlie Joiner, Willie Brown and Willie Davis.

Penn State's Joe Paterno (409 wins) surpassed Robinson in 2011 for the most Division I football coaching victories. John Gagliardi holds the mark for the most college wins overall (489), mostly at the Division III level with St. John's (Minn.).

Eddie and Doris Robinson's two children passed away previous to their mother's death - Eddie Jr. in 2013 and Lillian last year.

12 2015-09-16
Monroe

Grambling State University enrollment increases


GRAMBLING, La. (AP) - Grambling State University posted an increase in enrollment for entering freshmen, transfer students and total enrollment for the Fall 2015 semester.

The News-Star reports (http://tnsne.ws/1Kk4VQ2) freshman enrollment is up 57 percent over last year with 638 first-year students attending classes, while transfer student enrollment was up by 36 percent with 311 students enrolled.

Combined graduate and undergraduate enrollment stands at 4,553.

Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness & Enrollment Management Damon Wade says GSU's enrollment increase provides a baseline for future growth and is especially significant in light of the changes regarding out-of-state tuition and ACT test requirements.



Information from: The News-Star, http://www.thenewsstar.com

12 2015-09-16
Monroe

Grambling State University Professor Receives $54K Grant to Research Cancer Prevention


GRAMBLING, La. (Press Release) --



An endowed professor at Grambling State University has received a $54,000 grant to research cancer prevention.

Waneene Dorsey, the Ernest Everett Just Endowed Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, received the grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents to fund cancer research on toxicogenomics.

This field of science combines toxicology and genomics to understand the collection, interpretation and storage of information about gene and protein activity within a particular cell or tissue of an organism in response to toxic substances.

Since cancer is the uncontrolled multiplication of DNA-damaged cells, identifying what molecules activate cancer gene proteins could lead to the discovery of ways to prevent the onset of cancer.

“I am identifying molecules that turn on cancer gene proteins in mouse liver cells, which allow the uncontrolled behavior of cells,” Dorsey said. “Once the biomolecules have been identified, they can be blocked by various chemicals. These chemicals have the potential to provide a medicinal tool to help prevent the onset of cancer.”

Dorsey’s research proposal was submitted to cancer research specialists in other states for review by the Louisiana Board of Regents. Her proposal ranked number 18 out of 36 funded proposals and received high marks for institutional capabilities, commitment and support.

Dorsey is a globally known cancer researcher who performs most of her experiments in the Molecular Toxicology Research Laboratory in Carver Hall at GSU. Over the years, she has trained many biology students through internships, while her research activities have provided a strong platform for toxicogenomics at GSU.

12 2015-09-15
Monroe

GSU enrollment increases





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Fobbs: Bethune-Cookman ‘stole one from us’

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GSU enrollment increases


Bonnie Bolden, bbolden@thenewsstar.com 6:58 a.m. CDT September 15, 2015







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Grambling State University posted an increase in enrollment for entering freshmen, transfer students and total enrollment for the Fall 2015 semester. Freshman enrollment is up 57 percent over last year with 638 first-year students attending classes, while transfer student enrollment was up by 36 percent with 311 students enrolled. Combined graduate and undergraduate enrollment stands at 4,553.

“We are pleased to announce that our preliminary numbers are ahead of last year’s numbers,” Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness & Enrollment Management Damon Wade said. “GSU’s enrollment increase provides a baseline for future growth and is especially significant in light of the changes in Board of Regents policy regarding out-of-state tuition and ACT test requirements. We expect significant gains in freshman and transfer student enrollment for Fall 2016. Our new freshman and transfer student enrollment increases also demonstrates that Grambling is strong, and that students believe that this is the perfect environment for their academic and social growth.”

President Willie Larkin thanked GSU’s dedicated recruiters, admissions officers and alumni for the hard work that has led to this increase in enrollment.

“I am beyond excited to learn that our enrollment numbers are trending upward in 2015,” Larkin said. “This is a clear indication that our message around Grambling’s ‘Value Proposition’ is finally beginning to resonate with everyone. I can’t thank our recruiters, admissions officers and alumni around the country enough for their steadfast assistance in steering students to the university. Now that we see it can be done, I am urging everyone to continue to support the direction we’re going and help Grambling reach its ultimate goal of 8,000 students. I am confident that we can make this happen with tenacity, hard work and intentionality. Again, we are thrilled beyond expression at this great news.”

Other colleges, universities

Louisiana Delta Community College is not releasing 14-day enrollment numbers. Chancellor Barbara Hanson said the totals “really don’t have much meaning anymore.” She said they used to be tied to funding, but now the college offers a variety or programs with different start times, so now they look at end-of-term enrollment numbers.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe officials plan to announce enrollment numbers later in the week.

Louisiana Tech University uses a quarterly system, as opposed to a fall/spring semester plan. Officials will release enrollment numbers on Sept. 23.











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Fobbs: Bethune-Cookman ‘stole one from us’

ULM soccer blanks Grambling, 6-0

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GSU enrollment increases


Bonnie Bolden, bbolden@thenewsstar.com 6:58 a.m. CDT September 15, 2015







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Grambling State University posted an increase in enrollment for entering freshmen, transfer students and total enrollment for the Fall 2015 semester. Freshman enrollment is up 57 percent over last year with 638 first-year students attending classes, while transfer student enrollment was up by 36 percent with 311 students enrolled. Combined graduate and undergraduate enrollment stands at 4,553.

“We are pleased to announce that our preliminary numbers are ahead of last year’s numbers,” Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness & Enrollment Management Damon Wade said. “GSU’s enrollment increase provides a baseline for future growth and is especially significant in light of the changes in Board of Regents policy regarding out-of-state tuition and ACT test requirements. We expect significant gains in freshman and transfer student enrollment for Fall 2016. Our new freshman and transfer student enrollment increases also demonstrates that Grambling is strong, and that students believe that this is the perfect environment for their academic and social growth.”

President Willie Larkin thanked GSU’s dedicated recruiters, admissions officers and alumni for the hard work that has led to this increase in enrollment.

“I am beyond excited to learn that our enrollment numbers are trending upward in 2015,” Larkin said. “This is a clear indication that our message around Grambling’s ‘Value Proposition’ is finally beginning to resonate with everyone. I can’t thank our recruiters, admissions officers and alumni around the country enough for their steadfast assistance in steering students to the university. Now that we see it can be done, I am urging everyone to continue to support the direction we’re going and help Grambling reach its ultimate goal of 8,000 students. I am confident that we can make this happen with tenacity, hard work and intentionality. Again, we are thrilled beyond expression at this great news.”

Other colleges, universities

Louisiana Delta Community College is not releasing 14-day enrollment numbers. Chancellor Barbara Hanson said the totals “really don’t have much meaning anymore.” She said they used to be tied to funding, but now the college offers a variety or programs with different start times, so now they look at end-of-term enrollment numbers.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe officials plan to announce enrollment numbers later in the week.

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Grambling State University posted an increase in enrollment for entering freshmen, transfer students and total enrollment for the Fall 2015 semester. Freshman enrollment is up 57 percent over last year with 638 first-year students attending classes, while transfer student enrollment was up by 36 percent with 311 students enrolled. Combined graduate and undergraduate enrollment stands at 4,553.

“We are pleased to announce that our preliminary numbers are ahead of last year’s numbers,” Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness & Enrollment Management Damon Wade said. “GSU’s enrollment increase provides a baseline for future growth and is especially significant in light of the changes in Board of Regents policy regarding out-of-state tuition and ACT test requirements. We expect significant gains in freshman and transfer student enrollment for Fall 2016. Our new freshman and transfer student enrollment increases also demonstrates that Grambling is strong, and that students believe that this is the perfect environment for their academic and social growth.”

President Willie Larkin thanked GSU’s dedicated recruiters, admissions officers and alumni for the hard work that has led to this increase in enrollment.

“I am beyond excited to learn that our enrollment numbers are trending upward in 2015,” Larkin said. “This is a clear indication that our message around Grambling’s ‘Value Proposition’ is finally beginning to resonate with everyone. I can’t thank our recruiters, admissions officers and alumni around the country enough for their steadfast assistance in steering students to the university. Now that we see it can be done, I am urging everyone to continue to support the direction we’re going and help Grambling reach its ultimate goal of 8,000 students. I am confident that we can make this happen with tenacity, hard work and intentionality. Again, we are thrilled beyond expression at this great news.”

Other colleges, universities

Louisiana Delta Community College is not releasing 14-day enrollment numbers. Chancellor Barbara Hanson said the totals “really don’t have much meaning anymore.” She said they used to be tied to funding, but now the college offers a variety or programs with different start times, so now they look at end-of-term enrollment numbers.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe officials plan to announce enrollment numbers later in the week.

Louisiana Tech University uses a quarterly system, as opposed to a fall/spring semester plan. Officials will release enrollment numbers on Sept. 23.

















































12 2015-09-15
Shreveport

Fall 2015 enrollment increases at Grambling State University


GRAMBLING, LOUISIANA (Sept. 14, 2015) Grambling State University posted an increase in enrollment for entering freshmen, transfer students and total enrollment for the Fall 2015 semester. Freshman enrollment is up 57% over last year with 638 first-year students attending classes, while transfer student enrollment was up by 36% with 311 students enrolled. Combined graduate and undergraduate enrollment stands at 4,553.

“We are pleased to announce that our preliminary numbers are ahead of last year’s numbers,” Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness & Enrollment Management Damon Wade said. “GSU’s enrollment increase provides a baseline for future growth and is especially significant in light of the changes in Board of Regents policy regarding out-of-state tuition and ACT test requirements. We expect significant gains in freshman and transfer student enrollment for Fall 2016. Our new freshman and transfer student enrollment increases also demonstrates that Grambling is strong, and that students believe that this is the perfect environment for their academic and social growth.”

President Willie Larkin thanked GSU’s dedicated recruiters, Admissions officers and alumni for the hard work that has led to this increase in enrollment.

“I am beyond excited to learn that our enrollment numbers are trending upward in 2015,” Larkin said. “This is a clear indication that our message around Grambling’s ‘Value Proposition’ is finally beginning to resonate with everyone. I can’t thank our recruiters, Admissions officers and alumni around the country enough for their steadfast assistance in steering students to the university. Now that we see it can be done, I am urging everyone to continue to support the direction we’re going and help Grambling reach its ultimate goal of 8,000 students. I am confident that we can make this happen with tenacity, hard work and intentionality. Again, we are thrilled beyond expression at this great news.”

####

About Grambling State University

Grambling State University, located in Grambling, Louisiana, is a historically black university founded in 1901. The University has been accredited by 13 accrediting associations and holds accreditations in all programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The 590-acre campus offers 47 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Grambling State University is a member of the University of Louisiana System.

12 2015-09-14
Monroe

"ALL IN" University Giving Campaign


The Campaign

The “ALL IN” 2015- 2016 University Giving Campaign is the annual fundraising effort that offers GSU employees the opportunity to show their financial support of the University and its future. A contribution to the University Giving Campaign is one of the most important ways to support the University. The funds raised provide a crucial bridge between tuition revenue and actual cost of running the University, offering relief to the operating budget.

When you invest in Grambling State University’s “ALL IN” University Giving Campaign, your donation has an immediate impact. These funds can be utilized to meet immediate needs, including:
•Student Scholarships
•Student Assistance
•Faculty Support
•Research Assistance
•Purchase of Equipment/Technology Enhancement
•Infrastructure

Giving Levels & Incentives

University Supporter $25- $99 University All-Star $500- $999
GSU “ALL IN” Keychain GSU “ALL IN” Duffel Bag
University Team Player $100- $249 University Champion $1,000- $1,999
GSU “ALL IN” Steel Tumbler GSU “ALL IN” Blanket/Throw
University Team Captain $250- $499 University MVP $2,000- $4,999
GSU “ALL IN” Polo Shirt GSU “ALL

12 2015-09-09
Ruston

GSU Police awarded $99K grant for new technology


The Grambling State University Police Department is getting a technology update at no cost to its students. The police department has been awarded a $99,000 grant for technology enhancement from the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant will be used to purchase new computers, body cameras, Tasers and a program that allows parking tickets to be issued electronically instead of written by hand.

GSU Police Chief Howard Caviness said the grant, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2016, will provide equipment to help the officers better ensure campus safety.


Full text of this article is available to subscribers only. Login if you are already a subscriber. If you are not a subscriber, you can subscribe to the online version here.

12 2015-09-04
Monroe

Grambling State University Featured on KTBS Morning News


Many Gramblinites had an early morning on Aug. 27 as they gathered in the Yard to represent Grambling State University on KTBS 3 morning news from 4:30-7 a.m. KTBS has been traveling around the Ark-La-Tex to promote local colleges and universities.

“It’s a new idea to promote the spirit of college life around the Ark-La-Tex and showcasing each student body and who they are as a college,” KTBS Meteorologist Brian Fowler said. “Grambling is an outstanding college with an amazing history, and we are grateful to be a part of their history this morning.”

Fowler was joined by the GSU cheerleaders, the Orchesis Dance Company, the Student Government Association (SGA), Miss Grambling State University Joiya Smith and her Royal Court, the World Famed Tiger Marching Band, Transfer Recruiter and Enrollment Specialist Latari Flemming, Interim Athletic Director Obadiah Simmons and Head Football Coach Broderick Fobbs.

“This was a great event,” Simmons said. “The students and everyone who participated were enthusiastic and enjoyed the opportunity to put Grambling in a positive light.”

Coach Fobbs had a chance to preview Grambling’s first football game of the season against the University of California Berkeley on Sept. 5.

“You’ll see a team that is excited and ready to play,” Fobbs said. “Our focus is to be as mistake-free as possible, so we are hoping to show a team that is focused and ready to perform. Cal is a worthy opponent for us. It’s exciting and it’s going to be a good test for us early on.”

SGA President Jonathan Wallace had a chance to welcome students back to Grambling for the new school year and highlight the Eddie Robinson High School Football Classic on Aug. 29 and the upcoming SGA elections Sept. 9-12.

“It caught us off guard, but when you are called on to represent Grambling State University, it’s always exciting. You don’t get opportunities like this all the time,” Wallace said.

12 2015-09-04
Monroe

Miss GSU Named Among Top 10 EBONY Campus Queen Winners


Miss Grambling State University 2014-2015 Ginia Smith beat out dozens of beauty queens from Historically Black Colleges and Universities around the country to reign as one of EBONY magazine’s Top 10 Campus Queens who will grace the pages of the September issue of EBONY.

Since Smith was one of the top 10 beauty queens who received the most online votes, she traveled to Howard University in Washington, D.C. in June for a 12-hour photo shoot with hair and makeup stylists and lots of wardrobe changes.

“I want to give a really huge thank you to the people at Grambling for all the support and voting,” Smith said. “It probably got frustrating because they pushed back the end of the contest, but I want to thank everyone for sticking with me. I am especially appreciative of the alumni, because they really voted for me a lot, and they are good at supporting the students. At the end of the day, I was lucky because I got to represent my school.”

During her tenure as Miss Grambling State, she founded a community service organization called Heart of a Tiger, created Grambling’s Next Top Model scholarship competition and began an empowerment program for women on campus called G-Talk. Smith graduated from Grambling with a degree in biology in May. She is now attending dental school at Howard University, and she hopes that Gramblng’s queens will continue to win this contest in the future.

“Before I went to the photo shoot, I had only been in D.C. once when I was 10. I never thought that I would be living there, but I am still GramFam. I am always going to be black and gold. I feel like this is a tradition that Grambling should continue. This year marks the second year that Grambling has been in EBONY magazine, and it would be awesome if we could get it every year,” Smith said.

12 2015-09-03
Monroe

Miss GSU one of EBONY’s HBCU Campus Queens



GRAMBLING – Miss Grambling State University 2014-2015 Ginia Smith beat out dozens of beauty queens from Historically Black Colleges and Universities around the country to reign as one of EBONY magazine’s Top 10 HBCU Campus Queens in the September issue.

Since Smith was one of the top 10 HBCU beauty queens who received the most online votes, she traveled to Howard University in Washington in June for a 12-hour photo shoot for the magazine spread.

“I want to give a really huge thank you to the people at Grambling for all the support and voting,” Smith said. “It probably got frustrating because they pushed back the end of the contest, but I want to thank everyone for sticking with me. I am especially appreciative of the alumni, because they really voted for me a lot, and they are good at supporting the students. At the end of the day, I was lucky because I got to represent my school.”

During her tenure as Miss Grambling State, Smith founded a community service organization called Heart of a Tiger, created Grambling’s Next Top Model scholarship competition and began an empowerment program for women on campus called G-Talk. Smith graduated from Grambling with a degree in biology in May. She is attending dental school at Howard University.

“Before I went to the photo shoot, I had only been in D.C. once when I was 10,” Smith said. “I never thought that I would be living there, but I am still GramFam. I am always going to bleed black and gold. I feel like this is a tradition that Grambling should continue. This year marks the second year that Grambling has been in EBONY magazine, and it would be awesome if we could get it every year.”











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12 2015-09-03
Regional/National

WCCUSD excited about Grambling State marching band’s planned practice at Kennedy High Thursday


A statement by the West Contra Costa Unified School District:

Kennedy High will host the Grambling State University World Famed Tiger Marching Band on Thursday afternoon as the renowned group prepares for their performance during halftime of its school’s football game against Cal this weekend.

Practice is scheduled to run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the Kennedy High football field, with band members, faculty and staff taking time to interact with students who might be interested in attending Grambling State University (GSU), a historically black university located in northwest Louisiana.

WCCUSD and local non-profit For Richmond are sponsoring the band’s practice at Kennedy High School.




Performing at three Super Bowls, three presidential inaugurations in the United States and one in Liberia, and two Rose Bowl parades and appearing in several movies, television shows and commercials, the Tiger Marching Band is one of the most decorated college music groups in history. The high-stepping band is known for its high-energy routines that regularly keep the stands filled at halftime.

The band got its start in 1926 with 17 instruments from Sears and Roebuck. It now boasts nearly 200 musicians, dancers, and color guard.


Related posts:
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3.Kennedy High woodshop teacher gets students on career track, extends projects beyond classroom
4.Kennedy High’s award-winning custodial team praised

12 2015-09-02
Ruston

Audit reveals findings


Lack of proper accounting for funds from the Lifetime Membership Account and a donation that was never deposited were among the four findings reported for the Grambling University National Alumni Association’s 2013 fiscal year audit, made public Monday by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera.

CPA Rosie D. Harper’s report also said the association had no documentation to classify deposits totaling $21,586. Association management agreed with the auditor’s recommendation to create procedures to correct this condition.


Full text of this article is available to subscribers only. Login if you are already a subscriber. If you are not a subscriber, you can subscribe to the online version here.

12 2015-09-01
Monroe

GSU Alumni Association audit details missing funds


Lack of proper accounting for funds from the Lifetime Membership Account and a donation that was never deposited were among the four findings reported for the Grambling University National Alumni Association’s 2013 fiscal year audit, made public Monday by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera.

CPA Rosie D. Harper’s report also said the association had no documentation to classify deposits totaling $21,586. Association management agreed with the auditor’s recommendation to create procedures to correct this condition.

Dues paid into the Lifetime Membership Account are permanently restricted, according to the report released by the state auditor.

“However, the interest earned on the Lifetime Membership account is unrestricted and can be transferred to the general fund,” the audit said. “During 2013, $7,459 of permanently-restricted funds, respectively, were either expended or not deposited to the Lifetime Membership Account.”

Management said in response to the finding that, moving forward, the office staff person will complete and provide timely bank reconciliations for all of the association’s accounts. Additionally, the designated financial officer will review and sign off on the reconciliations in a timely manner.

In the other finding that mentions missing funds, a $5,400 donation was made to the association but never deposited into the bank. The auditor recommended that the association improve its internal control policies and procedures to ensure that all funds received are deposited in a timely manner. The association agreed with the recommendation.

12 2015-09-01
Monroe

GSU Police Department awarded $99K grant to enhance technology


GRAMBLING, LOUISIANA (August 31, 2015) The Grambling State University Police Department is getting a technology update at no cost to its students. The police department has been awarded a $99,000 grant for technology enhancement from the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant will be used to purchase new computers, body cameras, Tasers and a program that allows parking tickets to be issued electronically instead of written by hand.

GSU Police Chief Howard Caviness said the grant, which runs from Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016, will provide equipment to help the officers better ensure campus safety.

Putting computers in police cars will allow officers to spend more time patrolling, since they will no longer have to return to the police department in order to file a report.

“The computers will keep the officers out of the office and in the public’s eye more. The visibility of police officers alone can serve as a deterrent to crime,” Caviness said.

In addition, the new body cameras have wider lenses that will show observers a wider range of vision when viewing recordings.

“It shows that procedures have been properly followed or if violations have occurred,” Caviness said. “It protects the citizen and the police officer and the department he or she works for in different ways.”

Cardinal Ticket Track will not only allow officers to write and print tickets for parking violations electronically, but it will also take pictures of the vehicle and the surrounding location that can be used as evidence in appeals of traffic citations.

The grant has been awarded under the Student Aid & Fiscal Responsibility Act, Part F of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program grant. Chief Caviness is also applying for an extension of the grant through 2020.

12 2015-08-31
Monroe

GSU gets state of exigency for nursing; lawsuit filed


The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors approved a state of exigency for Grambling State University’s defunct undergraduate nursing program through summer 2016, but a lawsuit has been filed in federal court against the Louisiana State Board of Nursing by a current nursing student.

Grambling State University President Willie Larkin made the request for a state of exigency last month. It gives the university the authority to terminate members of the nursing faculty.

Exigency is the mechanism that allows for the termination of faculty no longer required without classes to teach.

Marshall, Texas, attorney William Hughey, a Grambling alumnus, filed the suit on behalf of Kourtney Rodgers, who enetered the GSU School of Nursing in August 2012. She has completed three of the five levels necessary for completing the program and is projected to graduate in May 2016.

Hughey attended Thursday’s UL System Board of Supervisors meeting in Baton Rouge Thursday where he requested the board to delay action until the legal process has run its course.

“I was pleased they gave me the opportunity to address them and pleased with the fact they did go into executive session to consider it. I was obligated to my client to present the request to the board. We wanted to pursue all avenues before requesting the court to grant some form of relief. I think we have explored all those options, so we will make a decision what our next step will be in this process,” Hughey said.

In June, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing withdrew conditional approval of Grambling’s undergraduate degree in nursing, which essentially closed the bachelor’s program, prohibiting Grambling from offering nursing classes or enrolling undergraduate students.

Grambling’s master’s program in nursing was not affected by this decision. The nursing board also directed Grambling to create a transition plan for students to complete their studies at other institutions or transfer to another program at Grambling.

The nursing program has been struggling with maintaining exam pass rates since 2010.

In February, The News-Star reported the university’s undergraduate nursing program faced possible closure after three years being on the Board of Nursing’s “conditional approval” list for not maintaining an 80 percent passing rate by students taking the National Council Licensure Examination. The exam is required to get a nursing license.

The lawsuit against the state board of nursing alleges the reliance upon the 80 percent passing rate to terminate GSU’s program creates a “restraint on interstate trade and commerce with respect to the areas of baccalaureate and professional nursing education in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act and Section 15 of the Clayton Act.”

The lawsuit alleges the nursing board’s decision to terminate GSU’s program has directly and adversely impacted Rodgers and others in GSU’s school of nursing.

“The plaintiff asserts the defendant’s singular reliance upon the 80 percent NCLEX-RN to terminate Grambling’s BSN program is both highly arbitrary and capricious, as it is universally understood that the baccalaureate and graduate level accreditation process for nursing programs in the state of Louisiana is multidimensional,” according to the lawsuit.

The class action lawsuit may include all students enrolled in GSU’s baccalaureate science of nursing program impacted by the June 15, 2015, order of involuntary termination.

Plaintiffs seek the same relief: the opportunity to complete their baccalaureate educational program at GSU and permanently prevent the state nursing board from terminating the program.

The nursing program has worked with students since the nursing board’s decision in June to help them transfer to other programs so they can complete their studies, Larkin said.

Thirty-five students graduated from Grambling this summer after participating in a summer nursing course at Northwestern State University.

Larkin said the nursing program is vital to the future of the university, and he has been encouraged by the nursing board’s willingness to work with Grambling as it develops a proposal for a new nursing program.

12 2015-08-31
Monroe

GSU president granted exigency request


GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) The newly appointed president of Grambling State University is getting a green light to eliminate unnecessary positions.

Earlier this month, President Willie Larkin requested a state of exigency for the university's now defunct undergraduate nursing program. Thursday the University of Louisiana System approved the request, which will allow Larkin to layoff the program's faculty.

GSU's masters nursing program remains intact.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit has been filed in federal court, on behalf of a current student, against the Louisiana State Board of Nursing whose decision led to the closing of the undergraduate program.

The state system also approved demolition of the natatorium as part of an intramural center expansion project at GSU.

12 2015-08-31
Shreveport

GSU gets state of exigency for nursing; lawsuit filed


The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors approved a state of exigency for Grambling State University’s defunct undergraduate nursing program through summer 2016, but a lawsuit has been filed in federal court against the Louisiana State Board of Nursing by a current nursing student.

Grambling State University President Willie Larkin made the request for a state of exigency last month. It gives the university the authority to terminate members of the nursing faculty.

Exigency is the mechanism that allows for the termination of faculty no longer required without classes to teach.

Marshall, Texas, attorney William Hughey, a Grambling alumnus, filed the suit on behalf of Kourtney Rodgers, who entered the GSU School of Nursing in August 2012. She has completed three of the five levels necessary for completing the program and is projected to graduate in May 2016.

Hughey attended Thursday’s UL System Board of Supervisors meeting in Baton Rouge Thursday where he requested the board to delay action until the legal process has run its course.

“I was pleased they gave me the opportunity to address them and pleased with the fact they did go into executive session to consider it. I was obligated to my client to present the request to the board. We wanted to pursue all avenues before requesting the court to grant some form of relief. I think we have explored all those options, so we will make a decision what our next step will be in this process,” Hughey said.

In June, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing withdrew conditional approval of Grambling’s undergraduate degree in nursing, which essentially closed the bachelor’s program, prohibiting Grambling from offering nursing classes or enrolling undergraduate students.

Grambling’s master’s program in nursing was not affected by this decision. The nursing board also directed Grambling to create a transition plan for students to complete their studies at other institutions or transfer to another program at Grambling.

The nursing program has been struggling with maintaining exam pass rates since 2010.

In February, The News-Star reported the university’s undergraduate nursing program faced possible closure after three years being on the Board of Nursing’s “conditional approval” list for not maintaining an 80 percent passing rate by students taking the National Council Licensure Examination. The exam is required to get a nursing license.

The lawsuit against the state board of nursing alleges the reliance upon the 80 percent passing rate to terminate GSU’s program creates a “restraint on interstate trade and commerce with respect to the areas of baccalaureate and professional nursing education in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act and Section 15 of the Clayton Act.”

The lawsuit alleges the nursing board’s decision to terminate GSU’s program has directly and adversely impacted Rodgers and others in GSU’s school of nursing.

“The plaintiff asserts the defendant’s singular reliance upon the 80 percent NCLEX-RN to terminate Grambling’s BSN program is both highly arbitrary and capricious, as it is universally understood that the baccalaureate and graduate level accreditation process for nursing programs in the state of Louisiana is multidimensional,” according to the lawsuit.

The class action lawsuit may include all students enrolled in GSU’s baccalaureate science of nursing program impacted by the June 15, 2015, order of involuntary termination.

Plaintiffs seek the same relief: the opportunity to complete their baccalaureate educational program at GSU and permanently prevent the state nursing board from terminating the program.

The nursing program has worked with students since the nursing board’s decision in June to help them transfer to other programs so they can complete their studies, Larkin said.

Thirty-five students graduated from Grambling this summer after participating in a summer nursing course at Northwestern State University.

Larkin said the nursing program is vital to the future of the university, and he has been encouraged by the nursing board’s willingness to work with Grambling as it develops a proposal for a new nursing program.

Follow Scott Rogers on Twitter @lscottrogers.

12 2015-08-28
Ruston

Grambling State students gear up


Porchia Henderson, left, a sophomore mass communications major, and Tre’Jon Sherffield, a freshman sports management major, are pictured in front of the Grambling State University’s student center as school opened up for the 2015-16 school year. This school year will be the first school year for GSU President Willie Larkin.


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12 2015-08-21
Shreveport

GSU continues 10 for $10 fund raising through Bayou Classic Weekend



GRAMBLING, La. -- Grambling State University and alumni continue to raise money for the university through the I’m a G 10 for $10 Challenge, which has been extended through the Bayou Classic weekend. GSU Foundation officials and alumni will present GSU with the funds raised from the campaign during the Bayou Classic weekend.

The Grambling Foundation and the 10 for $10 Challenge Committee are inviting alumni, students, staff, faculty, parents and friends to take up the challenge to build a strong and sustainable future for the university.

Grambling, like other bistorically Black colleges and universities, has seen a sharp decline in state funds to support college education.

“I have been moved and touched by the actions of a small group of Grambling alumni who began a unique fundraising campaign, called the 10 for $10 Challenge,” GSU President Willie Larkin said. “This is a timely strategy, an impassioned plea to all to help dreams come alive. The financial sustainability of Grambling State University depends largely on the generosity, kindness and visionary leadership of alumni, friends, businesses, vendors and foundation giving programs, strategies, techniques and ideas to supplement the declining state government support.”

The 10 for $10 Challenge is a way for Gramblinites worldwide to financially support Grambling State University by donating $10 per month to Grambling State University Foundation and then challenging 10 more Gramblinites, family, friends and supporters of GSU to do the same. This simple idea has increased alumni giving by 48 percent in just over three months. Future fundraising activities for the campaign will include events at Grambling’s home football games and a fun day of giving during Homecoming 2015.

Donations may be made using the Grambling Mobile App, by texting tenforten to #50155 and visiting www.gram.edu/giving or https://www.facebook.com/GSU10for10. Checks can be mailed to Grambling University Foundation, Office of Research, Advancement and Economic Development, GSU Box 4236, Grambling, LA 71245. For more information about the I’m a G 10 for $10 Challenge, email gsu10for10challenge@gmail.com.











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12 2015-08-20
Monroe

Larkin sets stage to rebuild GSU nursing


New Grambling State University President Willie Larkin understood challenges awaited him.

One of the most visible was the plight of the university’s nursing program.

In June, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing withdrew conditional approval of Grambling’s undergraduate degree in nursing, which essentially closed the bachelor’s program. Grambling is prohibited from offering nursing classes or enrolling undergraduate students.

The program in which GSU once took great pride had gone horribly wrong, and Larkin promised he would make that a top priority. He promised he would act and eventually rebuild the program.

He knew he would have to start from the ground up. And so he has begun.

Larkin has requested a state of exigency for the university’s defunct undergraduate nursing program through summer 2016 and the authority to terminate members of the nursing faculty.

Exigency is the mechanism that allows for the termination of faculty no longer required. Since there are no classes to teach, there is no need for the faculty members.

“It breaks my heart to have to make this decision, but, unfortunately, layoffs in the nursing program are unavoidable. There was no other viable solution,” Larkin said.

Larkin was put in an unenviable position, certainly. This week, he reiterated his belief that the nursing program is vital to the future of the university. He has been encouraged by the nursing board’s willingness to work with Grambling as it develops a proposal for a new nursing program.

But Larkin certainly must understand that the faculty in place played a significant role in the predicament the program found itself. The reason the Board of Nursing withdrew its approval was tied directly to the program’s failure to maintain an 80 percent passing rate by students taking the National Council Licensure Examination. The exam is required to get a nursing license.

If students about to graduate a nursing program fail when taking the exam needed to get their licenses at such a large rate, something must have been awry in the classroom.

Larkin’s request for the state of exingency, which will likely be approved by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors at its meeting on Aug. 27 in Baton Rouge, makes sense on multiple levels. There’s no point in taxpayers paying faculty members who have nothing to do.

Even more important, in a specialty career with more openings than qualified employees available, a viable nursing program at GSU is just as essential for northeastern Louisiana at it is for GSU.

The state of exingency gives Larkin a clean slate. From the ruins, he has the chance to develop a world-class nursing program.

The editorials in this column represent the opinions of The News-Star’s editorial board, composed of General Manager and Executive Editor Kathy Spurlock, Engagement and Community Content Editor Hope Young, Watchdog and Content Coach Mark Henderson and Business and Politics Reporter Greg Hilburn.

12 2015-08-20
Ruston

GSU family may lose nursing faculty



Declaration of exigency is the ‘next logical step’



Leader News Service


Larkin.jpg

Grambling State University President Willie Larkin has requested a narrowly targeted state of exigency for the university’s undergraduate nursing program through summer 2016 and the authority to terminate members of the nursing faculty. The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors will consider the request at its next meeting on Aug. 27 in Baton Rouge.


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12 2015-08-18
Monroe

Grambling Requests State of Exigency through Summer 2016 for Undergraduate Nursing Program


GRAMBLING (Press Release)



Grambling State University President Willie Larkin has requested a narrowly targeted state of exigency for the university’s undergraduate nursing program through summer 2016 and the authority to terminate members of the nursing faculty. The University of Louisiana (UL) System Board of Supervisors will consider the request at its next meeting on Aug. 27 in Baton Rouge.



In June, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing withdrew conditional approval of Grambling’s undergraduate degree in nursing, which essentially closed the bachelor’s program, prohibiting Grambling from offering nursing classes or enrolling undergraduate students. Grambling’s master’s program in nursing was not affected by this decision. The nursing board also directed Grambling to create a transition plan for students to complete their studies at other institutions or transfer to another program at Grambling.



“I’ve been left with a difficult decision,” said Larkin, who assumed Grambling’s presidency on July 1. “It breaks my heart to have to make this decision, but, unfortunately, layoffs in the nursing program are unavoidable. There was no other viable solution.”



Larkin called the request for a declaration of exigency the “next logical step” resulting from the nursing board’s decision. Exigency is the mechanism that allows for the termination of faculty no longer required without classes to teach. Larkin met with nursing faculty earlier today to inform members of the likelihood of terminations and to answer questions.



“In my short time at Grambling, it has become apparent that this is a university that operates as a family. Situations like this are devastating for everyone, but especially those most directly impacted. All we can do is pledge our complete support. We know this will be difficult for those affected, and we plan to work with the faculty to provide transition resources and assistance,” Larkin said.



The nursing program has worked with students since the nursing board’s decision in June to help them transfer to other programs so they can complete their studies. Thirty-five students graduated from Grambling this summer after participating in a summer nursing course at Northwestern State University.



“We’re extremely grateful to Northwestern for assisting our students. They are still Grambling Tigers and always will be, but the help these students received will keep them on course for graduation and a career in nursing, and we greatly appreciate it,” Larkin said.



Larkin said the nursing program is vital to the future of the university, and that he has been encouraged by the nursing board’s willingness to work with Grambling as it develops a proposal for a new nursing program.



“We begin every day with the same purpose in mind: to build a strong future for our students. We know that the future begins here on this campus with the opportunities we create and the standards we set for ourselves. We’re committed to collaborating with others in the state and nation to better position ourselves and do what it takes to help Grambling students achieve, whether that’s in nursing or other academic pursuits,” Larkin said.



UL System President Sandra Woodley has pledged her support and the full assistance of system staff as the university movies forward. The UL System Board will take up Grambling’s request at its Aug. 27 board meeting in the Louisiana Purchase Room in the Claiborne Building at 1201 N. Third St. in Baton Rouge. The public is invited to attend.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast

12 2015-08-18
Monroe

GSU requests authority to terminate members of the nursing facility


GRAMBLING, La (KNOE 8 News) - Grambling State University President Willie Larkin has requested a narrowly targeted state of exigency for the university’s undergraduate nursing program through summer 2016 and the authority to terminate members of the nursing faculty. The University of Louisiana (UL) System Board of Supervisors will consider the request at its next meeting on August 27, 2015 in Baton Rouge.

In June, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing withdrew conditional approval of Grambling’s undergraduate degree in nursing, which essentially closed the bachelor’s program, prohibiting Grambling from offering nursing classes or enrolling undergraduate students. Grambling’s master’s program in nursing was not affected by this decision. The nursing board also directed Grambling to create a transition plan for students to complete their studies at other institutions or transfer to another program at Grambling.

“I’ve been left with a difficult decision,” said Larkin, who assumed Grambling’s presidency on July 1. “It breaks my heart to have to make this decision, but, unfortunately, layoffs in the nursing program are unavoidable. There was no other viable solution.”

Larkin called the request for a declaration of exigency the “next logical step” resulting from the nursing board’s decision. Exigency is the mechanism that allows for the termination of faculty no longer required without classes to teach. Larkin met with nursing faculty earlier today to inform members of the likelihood of terminations and to answer questions.

“In my short time at Grambling, it has become apparent that this is a university that operates as a family. Situations like this are devastating for everyone, but especially those most directly impacted. All we can do is pledge our complete support. We know this will be difficult for those affected, and we plan to work with the faculty to provide transition resources and assistance,” Larkin said.

The nursing program has worked with students since the nursing board’s decision in June to help them transfer to other programs so they can complete their studies. Thirty-five students graduated from Grambling this summer after participating in a summer nursing course at Northwestern State University.

“We’re extremely grateful to Northwestern for assisting our students. They are still Grambling Tigers and always will be, but the help these students received will keep them on course for graduation and a career in nursing, and we greatly appreciate it,” Larkin said.

Larkin said the nursing program is vital to the future of the university, and that he has been encouraged by the nursing board’s willingness to work with Grambling as it develops a proposal for a new nursing program.

“We begin every day with the same purpose in mind: to build a strong future for our students. We know that the future begins here on this campus with the opportunities we create and the standards we set for ourselves. We’re committed to collaborating with others in the state and nation to better position ourselves and do what it takes to help Grambling students achieve, whether that’s in nursing or other academic pursuits,” Larkin said.

UL System President Sandra Woodley has pledged her support and the full assistance of system staff as the university movies forward. The UL System Board will take up Grambling’s request at its Aug. 27 board meeting in the Louisiana Purchase Room in the Claiborne Building at 1201 N. Third St. in Baton Rouge. The public is invited to attend.

12 2015-08-18
Monroe

GSU wants state of exigency for undergraduate nursing


Grambling State University President Willie Larkin has requested a state of exigency for the university’s defunct undergraduate nursing program through summer 2016 and the authority to terminate members of the nursing faculty.

Exigency is the mechanism that allows for the termination of faculty no longer required without classes to teach. Larkin has met with nursing faculty to inform members of the likelihood of terminations and to answer questions.

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors will consider the request at its next meeting on Aug. 27 in Baton Rouge.

UL System spokeswoman Catherine Heitman said UL System President Sandra Woodley expects the board to approve the request next week.

“This is the logical next step and what has to happen in order for Grambling to move forward. There is no program right now. It was essentially closed and there are no students — they can’t enroll students and they can’t teach courses. So all that is left are the faculty members,” Heitman said.

GSU spokeswoman Tracy Wright said Grambling would not provide any additional comments .

12 2015-08-14
Ruston

From lab to charter



Grambling schools to make the change in 2016



Derek J. Amaya

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved the conversion of three Grambling Laboratory Schools into a charter school Wednesday.

Grambling High Alumni Association President Gordan Ford said the kindergarten-through-12th-grade school will be funded by the state and open in August 2016 as the Grambling Laboratory Charter School.


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12 2015-08-13
Monroe

Former Gramblinite editor takes top honor


MINNEAPOLIS – All former Grambling State University student Tierra Smith’s hard work paid off recently when she was honored with the National Association of Black Journalists’ Student Journalist of the Year award.

Smith, 22, was recognized for her aggressive and focused reporting while a GSU student and editor-in-chief of The Gramblinite. She graduated with honors in May and ends a Dow Jones News Fund business reporting internship at The Denver Post this week.

“I just remember all of the times I stayed up late working on a story and people kind of laughed at me saying I was doing too much,” Smith said. “It’s good to know that somebody appreciated my work.”

One of Smith’s GSU and NABJ mentors, Will Sutton, was up front at the awards ceremony to support her.

“What I like about Tierra is that she thought she knew what she wanted,” said Sutton. “She thought she knew how to go after it and she quickly changed gears to pursue what really needed to be done after listening and making the right moves to make it happen.”

An NABJ committee recommended Smith to the board of directors from several nominees finalists.

“Tierra’s work was excellent,” said former NABJ President Bob Butler. “We thought she was the most deserving to get this award.”

Smith said she set a goal of being recognized as NABJ’s student journalist of the year, and she knew she had to do more than show up for class and write a story or two for the school newspaper.

“It’s okay to have goals,” said Smith, “even if it seems far-fetched and not possible.”

Smith’s initial goal was to become a sports journalist.

Sutton introduced her to the Sports Journalism Institute, a University of Missouri boot camp for college students interested in sports journalism followed by a summer internship. She applied, didn’t get it then applied the next year and made it.

There, she met another great mentor, Greg Lee. Lee is a past president of NABJ, a board member of SJI and the top editor of NBA.com.

“I think the sky is the limit for her and she’s going to do a lot of great things,” Lee said.

Grambling State’s new department head Sandra Lee said Smith is a perfectionist.

“I think it sets the pace for students to aspire to become better than what they’ve been doing at Grambling,” said Lee. “She’s an inspiration for the students to excel. When they see what she has done, they know that they can achieve it also.”

Smith soon will begin graduate studies at Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication and work as assistant to the director of LSU student media.

“I know that will help my own personal growth as I try to be a better journalist,” she said.

12 2015-08-12
New Orleans

BESE asked to OK three charters, revoke Destrehan teaching certificate


When the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets in committee Tuesday (Aug. 11), it is poised to OK a maximum of three charter schools -- far fewer than in previous years.

However, some Education Department recommendations are still pending, spokesman Ken Pastorick said, including more than 15 appeals to the state to grant charters local systems turned down.

The most notable question is whether to grant a charter to the three Grambling Laboratory Schools, which are scheduled to close next summer. Education Superintendent John White said last year the historically black state university could no longer afford to run the schools, which get less tax money than district or charter schools.

National reviewers said Grambling's application fell short: It wasn't clear enough about how it would improve academic performance or evaluate teachers. But White's team is recommending conditional approval, saying the town has no other public K-12 options.

The Education Department also is recommending that two New Orleans charter networks be allowed to expand by two schools each. Choice Foundation runs three schools in Mid-City, Hollygrove and Tremé-Lafitte. FirstLine runs five state charters and was recently approved to open a new school under Orleans Parish oversight. These schools would all have to be takeovers of failed schools, so it's unclear when or whether they will actually open.

Several charter applicants withdrew from the process. Among them was a second bid for a Monroe school by Charter Schools USA, a national for-profit that already runs several schools in Louisiana.

The board is also considering a $237 million budget for the Recovery School District, and whether to permanently revoke the teaching certificate of former Destrehan High teacher Shelley Dufresne. She voluntarily surrendered the certificate as part of a plea deal after she admitted having sex with a 16-year-old student.

The committee and Wednesday board meetings take place in Baton Rouge. Read the agendas or watch online.

12 2015-08-10
Monroe

Grambling Laboratory Schools One Step Closer to Becoming a Charter School


Grambling, LA - The Louisiana Department of Education has recommended to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to conditionally approve the conversion of the three Grambling Laboratory Schools into a Type 2 charter school.

The recommendation paves the way for Grambling Laboratory Schools to open in August 2016 as the Grambling Laboratory Charter School for K-12 students. The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote on the charter school application at a meeting on August 11-12.

“Becoming a charter school secures the long-term future of the schools and ensures the continuance of primary and secondary education in the Grambling community,” said Gordan Ford, the president of the Grambling High Alumni Association and the Grambling High Foundation. “We could not have made it to this point without the efforts of these and many other friends and supporters.”

The Grambling High Foundation has entered into an operating agreement with Grambling State University to fund and operate the laboratory schools for the 2015-2016 school year, but the Foundation is still working to raise the $700,000 needed to operate the schools for the fast approaching school year.

The Foundation has already raised more than $100,000, but is asking alumni for continued support to fund the

Grambling Laboratory Schools. If you would like to donate, visit www.gramblinghighalumni.org for more information.

The Foundation would like to thank the Grambling High Alumni Association, Grambling State University, the University of Louisiana System, the Lincoln Parish School Board, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Paul Millsap Foundation and the faculty and staff of the Grambling Laboratory Schools for their continued support for the Grambling Laboratory Schools.

12 2015-08-05
Ruston

Student embodies what GSU stands for


One Grambling State University student said he wears many hats — including a helmet — with a passion for his faith, family and university.

Jonathan Wallace, born in Jackson, Mississippi, said through his faith in God, he is able to achieve all that he has done in his two years at Grambling.

Wallace, who grew up in Rayville, currently starts for the GSU football team as a punter and kicker, is the Grambling Student Government Association president and is an avid piano player as well.


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12 2015-08-03
Monroe

Leading By Example: A close-up look at the life of Dr. Willie Larkin


GRAMBLING, La (KNOE 8 News) - Grambling State University's new president, Dr. Willie Larkin neared the end of his first thirty days tackling such issues as low student enrollment, the loss of the undergraduate nursing program, and a near 4 million dollar deficit.
In a special report, KNOE’s Nicole Cross uncovered how the son of uneducated, sharecropper parents defied the odds to achieve success. Dr. Larkin also revealed why he believes he can help GSU students to do the same.
12 2015-07-31
Monroe

Bouquets and recognition


Bouquets are bestowed upon some of the people and organizations in northeastern Louisiana who deserve special recognition for good things they are doing.

A bouquet to the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Louisiana for hosting the Triple Play Mobile Tour. The program has been around for 10 years and encourages youth to stay active and healthy during the summer. Triple Play’s goal is to connect with 10 million club members. While Triple Play was at the club in West Monroe the young people played games and learned about nutrition. Bouquets go to the sponsors, Coca-Cola and Amerigroup Foundation.

Josh Warner of West Monroe deserves far more than a bouquet for saving the life of a young girl drowning in the Ouachita River. Warner and his father were fishing about 100 yards from where four children were swimming near a sandbar at Lazarre Park in West Monroe. Warner said he heard sirens and realized something had happened to the swimmers. He jumped in the water, swam to the girl and put a life jacket on her. He and emergency personnel brought the child to the bank. Tragically, a child did drown. Thanks to Warner’s quick action one of them was saved.

A bouquet to the American Red Cross for placing a disaster program specialist in the Monroe office. Lana Haire was put to work right away helping a family in Claiborne Parish whose home was destroyed by fire. In addition to taking action in emergencies, Haire will build the volunteer base in northeast Louisiana and work with Homeland Security.

Kimberly Monroe, a recent graduate of Grambling State University, gets a bouquet for writing the children’s book “Homecoming in Tigerland.” Monroe said she wanted to share some of GSU’s traditions with children so they will know about the university and hopefully one day become students there. Monroe will sell the books at GSU home football games and at campus events. She plans to create two scholarships with the proceeds.

Bouquets to everyone who organized and attended the 52nd Annual Louisiana Watermelon Festival in Farmerville. The project is run by the Jaycees, but it takes many, many volunteers to put together a big weekend event. Thousands came out for the parade, the festival on the courthouse grounds, sporting events, beauty pageants and watermelon seed spitting contests. It’s good to see old fashioned summer festivals are still a tradition in northeastern Louisiana.

The editorials in this column represent the opinions of The News-Star’s editorial board, composed of General Manager and Executive Editor Kathy Spurlock, Engagement and Community Content Editor Hope Young, Watchdog and Storytelling Coach Mark Henderson and Business and Politics Reporter Greg Hilburn.

12 2015-07-31
Shreveport

GSU’s Broderick Fobbs to receive Eddie Robinson Award


NEW ORLEANS – The Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame will honor Grambling State football coach Broderick Fobbs at its annual awards banquet on Saturday, Aug. 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Fobbs will be recognized at the event as the 2014-15 recipient of the Eddie Robinson Award. The award is presented annually to an athlete, coach, team or athletic administrator in Louisiana who demonstrates the qualities most associated with Grambling legend Eddie Robinson: outstanding achievement in athletics, academics, sportsmanship and citizenship by maximizing the use of limited resources.

Fobbs is being honored after taking over the reins of the award’s namesake’s program and lifting it up from depths to which it had never fallen in history – a combined record of 2-21 during the 2012-2013 seasons. Things sunk so low that the 2013 season was most memorable due to a player revolt related to dissatisfaction with athletic facilities and travel accommodations. The week-long boycott forced cancellation of a road game against Jackson State.

One of the most recognized brands in college football was getting recognition for all the wrong reasons.







SHREVEPORTTIMES.COM

Grambling, TSU could make Fobbs a winner


Enter Fobbs, a Grambling alum who was one of the few coaches to jump at the vacant head coaching position. All he did was lead the G-Men to seven wins – one win away from playing for the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship.

“Just the name Eddie Robinson, that says it all for me. It’s just a tremendous honor to receive an award with his name on it,” beamed the man who captained two editions of Grambling teams coached by Robinson.

The 2014 Grambling Tigers lost the first three games of the season before putting together a seven-game winning streak.

The victory-string was snapped by Alabama State, however the Tigers entered the Bayou Classic against arch-rival Southern needing a win for a spot in the conference title game. Grambling fell short in a 52-45 thriller, completing the year with a 7-5 record and one of the most remarkable turnarounds in recent college football history.

Fobbs says he relied on one of many lessons he learned from the man whose name graces this award.

“Just the importance of discipline and getting up every day and dusting yourself off and continuing to work and do your job.”

The 2014 SWAC Coach of the Year heard the wisdom of Eddie Robinson his entire life. Before getting those life lessons from the man himself as a Grambling student-athlete, it was drilled into his psyche by his father Lee Fobbs, an outstanding running back at Grambling under Coach Robinson in the late sixties and currently a member of Broderick’s coaching staff.







SHREVEPORTTIMES.COM

Fobbs wants to win SWAC in second year at Grambling


“He had a Plan A going in but he did not have a Plan B because he really believed in Plan A. He didn’t believe it would fail,” says the proud father.

“He’s done a great job with his staff and with the kids in terms of where he wants them to go academically. I just think it’s fitting that he would win this award.”

12 2015-07-30
Monroe

Grambling State University Seeks Suggestions to Improve University


GRAMBLING, LA – Do you have a good idea to help make Grambling State University even better? We want to hear it! Grambling has launched an electronic suggestion box to encourage students, faculty, staff, alumni and anyone interested in helping Grambling State University to send in their suggestions for the university. President Willie Larkin and top university leaders will review the suggestions.

“We want to know what people are thinking and feeling about the university and sincerely welcome suggestions on how to improve GSU through the services we offer,” President Larkin said. “The purpose of the box is to allow anyone to go online and make suggestions about how to improve GSU. Your suggestion matters!”

Suggestions or ideas could be about recruiting students, fundraising, curriculum recommendations, what time football games begin, attracting corporate supporters, working with the alumni, campus beautification, constructing buildings, safety issues/concerns, strategies on building up school spirit, or any other topic that can help improve Grambling.

Visit www.gram.edu/suggestion to make a suggestion today!

12 2015-07-30
Monroe

Bouquets and recognition


Bouquets are bestowed upon some of the people and organizations in northeastern Louisiana who deserve special recognition for good things they are doing.

A bouquet to the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Louisiana for hosting the Triple Play Mobile Tour. The program has been around for 10 years and encourages youth to stay active and healthy during the summer. Triple Play’s goal is to connect with 10 million club members. While Triple Play was at the club in West Monroe the young people played games and learned about nutrition. Bouquets go to the sponsors, Coca-Cola and Amerigroup Foundation.

Josh Warner of West Monroe deserves far more than a bouquet for saving the life of a young girl drowning in the Ouachita River. Warner and his father were fishing about 100 yards from where four children were swimming near a sandbar at Lazarre Park in West Monroe. Warner said he heard sirens and realized something had happened to the swimmers. He jumped in the water, swam to the girl and put a life jacket on her. He and emergency personnel brought the child to the bank. Tragically, a child did drown. Thanks to Warner’s quick action one of them was saved.

A bouquet to the American Red Cross for placing a disaster program specialist in the Monroe office. Lana Haire was put to work right away helping a family in Claiborne Parish whose home was destroyed by fire. In addition to taking action in emergencies, Haire will build the volunteer base in northeast Louisiana and work with Homeland Security.

Kimberly Monroe, a recent graduate of Grambling State University, gets a bouquet for writing the children’s book “Homecoming in Tigerland.” Monroe said she wanted to share some of GSU’s traditions with children so they will know about the university and hopefully one day become students there. Monroe will sell the books at GSU home football games and at campus events. She plans to create two scholarships with the proceeds.

Bouquets to everyone who organized and attended the 52nd Annual Louisiana Watermelon Festival in Farmerville. The project is run by the Jaycees, but it takes many, many volunteers to put together a big weekend event. Thousands came out for the parade, the festival on the courthouse grounds, sporting events, beauty pageants and watermelon seed spitting contests. It’s good to see old fashioned summer festivals are still a tradition in northeastern Louisiana.

The editorials in this column represent the opinions of The News-Star’s editorial board, composed of General Manager and Executive Editor Kathy Spurlock, Engagement and Community Content Editor Hope Young, Watchdog and Storytelling Coach Mark Henderson and Business and Politics Reporter Greg Hilburn.

12 2015-07-27
Monroe

Grad pens children’s book about homecoming at GSU


Kimberly Monroe has written her first book, entitled “Homecoming in Tiger Land,” to give back to her alma mater and highlight the importance of reading as a child.

“It’s a work in progress, but I have stayed persistent and positive,” Monroe said.” I’ve always wanted to write a book but I didn’t know my first one would be for children.”

The 2015 graduate of Grambling State University and the former editor-in-chief of the Gramblinite newspaper has always had a passion for writing and storytelling. She felt as an alumnae that creating the children’s book was the most creative way she could give back to an institution that has taught her so much.

The purpose of the book is to expose and encourage children to learn more about college at a young age. The Lake Charles native also wanted to share the amazing history of GSU, in the hopes children will choose the university when it is time to choose a college.

“There are many facets of our university that will never change and homecoming is one of them,” she said.” We have so much history that it often gets overlooked and I wanted to combine the past and the present so that all Gramblinites can get a better appreciation for GSU.”

The writer said that her ideas originated from being mindful of what GSU alumni hold dear to their hearts.

The children’s book is about a little boy named “Charlie P.” who is attending his first Grambling homecoming with his parents. He and his family journey around Grambling’s campus before the big game, and he learns about the rich history of the university.

It also mentions some of GSU’s homecoming favorites, including the homecoming parade, Miss Grambling and her royal court, the Eddie G. Robinson Museum, the G-Men football team, tailgating, the World Famed Tiger Marching Band and the beautiful cheerleaders and Orchesis dancers.

“I was inspired to write this book by Desmond Delk the author of ‘I Love My SSU,’ a children’s book about Savannah State,” Monroe said. I also learned that there are two others about Morehouse College and Howard University, I then decided that Grambling deserved one as well.”

One of Monroe’s biggest challenges has been trying to complete the illustrations so that the book will be printed in time for homecoming 2015. It only took her a month to get the book’s storyline together, but it has taken up to six months to include illustrations.

The book is being published by Mascot Books. Monroe decided to go with this publishing company because they have published several other HBCU children’s books.

“We're thrilled to be working with Kimberly on ‘Homecoming in Tiger Land’, and we are happy to have her join the growing family of Mascot Books Authors,” said Laura Carroll, senior project manager.

Laura Carroll and Meghan Reynolds helped to edit the book’s script and served as production managers. They’ll also help with finalizing the book’s manuscript.

“The writing process was fairly easy,” Monroe said. “I knew the direction I wanted to go. I knew there were things like the “Alma Mater,” fight song and GSU chant that the book couldn’t be complete without.”

She is thoroughly excited about the children’s book because she loved reading as a child herself. She explained that she is still an avid reader and wants to encourage the younger generation and stress the importance of literacy.

“My mother read to my siblings and me all the time growing up, so it has always been in my heart,” she said.

According to www.readingisfundumental.org, less than half of families read to their kindergarten-age children on a daily basis. The Department of Education also reported that since 2009 literacy rates for more than 50 percent of African American children in the fourth grade nationwide were below the basic skills level and far below average.

“People should purchase the book because it is bringing education back into the homes, classrooms, promotes college to children at a critical age and spreads the name of Grambling State University,” Monroe said.

The new author of “Homecoming in Tiger Land” wants the Grambling family to get on board with her to not only give back to the university but to give back to the community and most importantly our children.

Follow Charlie P. and his family as they make their way to the Eddie G. Robinson Stadium for the big football game. With historical fun facts and eye-catching illustrations about GSU, this book is perfect for fans of all ages that love “Dear Old Grambling.”

To donate funds for the publishing of “Homecoming in Tiger Land” go to: www.gofundme.com/HCinTigerLand or email hcintigerland@gmail.com and call 337-377-7168.

Monroe will be selling the books personally during open events on campus and during the home football games. She is in talks with the campus bookstore and Barnes & Noble. Monroe plans to use the proceeds from the book sales for book scholarships for two students at Grambling State University.



Want to know more

12 2015-07-27
Monroe

GSU's New President Starts Planning for the Future


GRAMBLING--Grambling State University has a new president, Willie Larkin.



President Larkin arrived a few weeks ago with a warm welcome from students and faculty and says he isn't wasting any time getting down to business.


"The people are good, the university is a great university with a lot of rich history and tradition and now all of the Hoobla is sort of dying down and it's time to get to work," says Larkin.




Larkin's two biggest challenges are student enrollment and funding.


He plans on teaming up with organizations and thinking outside of the box when it comes to getting more money for the school.





"In order to service our students well we have to have resources and funds. The corporate world is going to be very helpful and very beneficial to us, we've gotten a number of early gifts," says Larkin.




But, in order to tackle these main issues, Larkin says first it's important he gains a certain trust.


"The strategy that I'm using is to help them get to know me, to believe in my vision, and to trust me," says Larkin.




His plans include being very hands on and present.


"The students will see me on the campus often, the faculty will see me sitting in the back of their classrooms, I think that I've really got to be engaged with the university if I'm going to make a difference," says Larkin.




Larkin also plans to revamp and re-brand the university not only locally, but maybe even on the international level.

"You know it would be great if Grambling State could have a presence in Cuba. I know that those relationships haven't been what they should be for a very long time but that's opening up," says Larkin.
12 2015-07-17
Monroe

Grambling Graduate Dreams of Eliminating Disparities in Healthcare for African Americans


Daniel Nwachokor has dreamed of becoming a physician his entire life. His parents remember him being an inquisitive child that was fascinated with science and health. He was routinely the first student to submit a project at the school science fair.

As Nwachokor prepared to enter high school, his passion for medicine grew, and he was ultimately selected to attend the L.V. Hightower High School Medical Science Academy in Missouri City, Texas. This accelerated program prepares students who want to enter the medical field with specialized classes and internships in the healthcare industry.

When Nwachokor entered Grambling State University in 2005, he immediately had an advisor meeting with his future mentors, Danny Hubbard, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Felix Ifeanyi, head of the Department of Biological Sciences, who asked him what he wanted to do with his life.

“I said I want to be a physician. They said, with hard work and dedication, we can help you get there,” Nwachokor said. “I knew I wanted a university that had a great premedical curriculum and a supportive faculty that could ultimately help me capture my lifelong career goals.”

All of this made Nwachokor’s transition to GSU successful. He was involved in several extracurricular activities while at GSU. Most notably he was president of the Grambling chapter of the Minority Association of Premedical Students and a summer scholar at the Meharry Medical College Bachelor of Science/Doctor of Medicine program in Nashville, Tennessee.

After he graduated from Grambling with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences in 2009, Nwachokor entered the University of Kansas School of Medicine. In May 2015, he graduated with a dual degree of medical doctor (M.D.) and master of public health.

While in medical school, Nwachokor conducted research on healthcare disparities in the African American community. He and other researchers analyzed how ethnicity, education and socioeconomic factors influence healthcare perceptions. His career interests center around preventative medicine and minority health.

For his master’s capstone project, he designed and created a community health initiative to increase the number of African Americans who get screened for colorectal cancer. His work is now being used at many African American churches in the Kansas City area.

Nwachokor has recently moved to Houston, Texas, to begin a three-year family medicine residency at the Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program. After Nwachokor completes his residency in 2018, he plans to practice full-spectrum family medicine and eventually open his own group practice. He also plans to continue researching healthcare disparities with an ultimate goal of “improving healthcare outcomes for minorities.”

12 2015-07-17
Monroe

Grant Awarded to Grambling State University Police Department


GRAMBLING-- Grambling State University police say communication is key to a safe campus.

With that in mind, Chief Howard Caviness, applied for a grant to strengthen the communication of the police department.




"It's a federal grant through Title-3, throough the University. I had to draft a proposal or the grant, submit it to Washington, D.C., they reviewed the needs of our department, and that's when we were approved," says Chief Howard Caviness, GSU Police Chief


The award amount of that grant, 100-thousand dollars.




"It's the first grant that I know we've been approved of, for that amount of money," says Caviness.


The grant money is going towards fixing up the communications room at the University police department.




"We did a reconstruction of our radio room. Before, our radio room was something around the size not much larger than a broom closet. We had two people working in there," says Caviness.


Chief Caviness says that room needed a makeover to better serve the needs of the University.




"Now as you will see, it's a lot larger. It's a lot more spacious. It's a lot more accommodating for our employees, as well as the public that comes in to file complaints," says Caviness.


The communications room handles emergency calls on campus.




"Emergency calls, calls for information, we also use it to dispatch officers to and from needed locations," says Caviness.


Chief Caviness says now he is working on getting another grant to improve the department.




"It's all to upgrade and to keep the faculty, staff, students, and visitors here safe. It doesn't cost the students a penny," says Caviness.


Chief Caviness says he looks forward to continuing to upgrade the GSU police department, along with working alongside President Larkin.
12 2015-07-17
Monroe

New Grambling State University Dr. Willie Larkin Visits 'Louisiana Living'


WEST MONROE -- New Grambling State University President Dr. Willie Larkin was a guest on 'Louisiana Living' on Thursday.

Dr. Larkin took over as GSU President on July 1.

Dr. Larkin says he's held meetings with students and faculy since taking over. He says he didn't want to come in with a 'laid out vision, but to hear from others before forming an opinion and setting a direction for the university.

Dr. Larkin says a plan will be eventually put in place to bring back the nursing program, but no timetable was set.

Click on the video box to watch the interview.
12 2015-07-16
Houma/Thibodaux

Grambling quarterback gets chance to help others



Grambling State quarterback Johnathan Williams understands the thrill of being a camper at the Manning Passing Academy.



As a high school sophomore, Williams was among the 1,000-plus Manning Passing Academy attendees, absorbing lessons from college and NFL quarterbacks.

"It was great. My coach was Sam Bradford," Williams said. "I learned a lot while I was here, and I applied it to my game once I got back to my school."

Last week at Nicholls State University, Williams was on the other side of table. He served a counselor for more than 1,200 Manning Passing Academy campers. He imparted upon the young athletes that consistent hard work is the only way to reach their full potential.

"It's just amazing to see the kids come out and want to work, want to learn, and how much they look up to you," Williams said. "It's humbling realizing that you were once in their same shoes. It's cool just being able to teach them and coach them up so they can become better than you were."

A native of Tampa, Fla., Williams's career as a Grambling quarterback has been a study of preparation and perseverance. He began the 2013 and 2014 seasons third on the depth chart until injuries thrusted him into the starter's job during the seasons.

Last year, the 5-foot, 11-inch 185 pounder started nine games, winning seven consecutive, after Stephen Johnson and D.J. Williams went down with injuries. He completed 58.5 percent of his passes for 2,454 yards with 18 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. He also rushed 118 times for 484 yards and eight TDs.

12 2015-07-10
Monroe

Local legends Dean, Williams headline Grambling HOF


Walter Dean received a phone call several months ago that he assumed was a prank call.

On the other line was a representative from the Grambling Legends to inform Dean he was one of 11 members for the 2015 Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame induction class.

"Because it kind of caught me off guard," Dean recalled. "Once he started telling me it actually started to sink in that this is actually real and it's happening."

Enshrinement into the Grambling Legends is an honor for a former player that had a successful career, but Dean is hardly just an ordinary guy — he's regarded as one of the best running backs during his time since Walter Payton.

Still, this weekend will end up being one of the most memorable of his entire career.

"After we hung up I came back to the office and it kind of hit me at that moment," said Dean, who grew up in Grambling and now lives in Opelousas. "At that moment is when the flashbacks of everything started to come back. I almost started going year-by-year, game-by-game and actually remembering some of the things. It was a huge, huge shock."

Dean, who played for Grambling and legendary coach Eddie Robinson in the late 1980s and early 1990s, will be inducted Saturday along with fellow local products Benjamin Williams (Ruston), Goldie Sellers (originally from Monroe) and Bunny Hudson (Minden) and Willie Armstrong, Howard Davis, Clarence Harris and Dr. Alice Jackson. Charlie Anderson, JD Garrett and Albany Jones will be inducted posthumously

The weekend kicks off Friday with a meet and greet at the Robinson Museum and continues with Saturday's induction ceremony at 6 p.m. inside the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center. Friday's event is free and open to the public. The induction ceremony costs $75.

For Williams, his weekend began Thursday as the Grambling National Alumni Association began in Grambling. Williams, who played baseball for the Tigers from 1964-68, serves as the alumni association's treasure.







THENEWSSTAR.COM

Fobbs wants to win SWAC in second year at Grambling


Williams played with Hudson as a freshman for one season in 1964 in what ended up being a highly successful collegiate career. The Tigers lost just 11 games in four years, including a 33-1 record in 1967.

"I came to Grambling in 1964 as a 16-year-old and signed an athletic scholarship with Eddie Robinson and to play ball for Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones," Williams recalled. "I didn't really know just how special that was at the time. I've learned to really appreciate that opportunity that I was given."

Williams viewed Robinson as a father figure. He grew up in Grambling and was friends with Robinson's son, Eddie Jr. The two played football together before Williams had his eyes set on baseball in college.

To this day, Williams still reminisces about Robinson and the impact he had.

"The way he carried himself, it didn't matter if it was the sport he was coaching or not. He was there," Williams said.

Williams was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 21st round of the 1968 MLB Draft, joining several of his teammates in the professional ranks like Robert Adkins, Frank Patterson, Matt Alexander and Jim Jackson.

Williams returned to Grambling to coach with Wilbert Ellis from 1983-85 when the Tigers won three straight Southwestern Athletic Conference Championships. Williams has fond memories of those years when he coached the likes of Gerald Williams and Lenny Webster, who each player in the MLB for 10-plus years.


Former running back Walter Dean won the 1990 Walter
Former running back Walter Dean won the 1990 Walter Payton Award, which is the Division I-AA equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. (Photo: Courtesy Walter Dean)

As for Dean, at 47, he's one of the younger inductees, which has put things in even more perspective.

"My mom is always like, "You're being too humble. This is your light, go ahead and let it shine,"' he said. "It's a great honor but I've never been that type of boisterous type of person. This honor actually goes to all the players that I played with and the coaching staff back to my junior high, my high school coach up to coach Eddie Robinson and all the guys I played with from that point on."

Dean racked up 3,328 yards and 41 touchdowns during his career at Grambling. He later went on to win the Walter Payton Award, which is the Division I-AA equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.

Dean went on to play just one season in the NFL after the Green Bay Packers selected him in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. He later moved Opelousas in 1995, and he currently serves as the North American operations offshore manager for Expro. Returning back to Grambling always brings back one feeling.

"It's always home," Dean said.

Dean will now join several other former professional players turned Grambling Legends. Fellow 2015 inductee Goldie Sellers played four years in the AFL and won a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1969.

All of the inductees are prepared to share laughs and stories this weekend, but for Williams, it serves as another reminder of how appreciative he is after witnessing several of his friends and former teammates earn posthumously enshrinement.

'I feel grateful for myself that it didn't wait until I was dead and gone before I had this recognition," he said.



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12 2015-07-10
Monroe

4 Officers from GSU Police Department Graduate from Police Academy


GRAMBLING, LA (Press Release) -- Grambling State University’s campus has just gotten safer. Four members of the GSU Police Department have attended and graduated from the North Delta Regional Law Enforcement Academy in the past seven months.

Officers Miranda Dees of Ruston and Thomas Harmon of Arcadia, a five-year veteran of the GSU Police Department, began the 14-week academy in April and graduated at the end of June, while officers Rodney Williams of Shreveport, also a five-year veteran, and Brian Gardner of Monroe started in January and graduated at the end of April.

“This is a priority for the university to have certified police officers to better protect the students, faculty and staff,” GSU Interim Police Chief Howard Caviness said. “This is a huge accomplishment for the Grambling State University Police Department and the university as a whole.

Although our law enforcement personnel hasn't increased, training our current staff has and this will greatly benefit our students, faculty, and staff.” Caviness said that high turnover in law enforcement has created a demand for more law enforcement officers.

Cadets spend 40 hours a week for 14 weeks to complete training in firearms safety and usage, criminal law and ethics, driving courses, defensive tactics, active shooter situations, investigative tactics, drug recognition, sensitivity training and other topics.

One of the graduates, Dees, is the first Caucasian female to become a certified police officer while working at the GSU Police Department. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in history from Louisiana Tech. In the future, Dees plans to pursue a career as a federal law enforcement officer with the FBI or the U.S. Marshals Service.

“I spent my undergraduate years working with the police station, so I knew I would be good at police work,” she said. “It was a good experience at the academy. There were some tough moments where it’s important to remember not to give up, but we had great instructors who made sure we got through it.”

12 2015-07-09
Monroe

Larkin: We must give students reason to stay in state


Willie Larkin, newly named president of Grambling State University, said he is listening to the Grambling faithful and he hears them saying one thing: "We want our university to be great again."

Larkin said the united message is directed at all areas — academics, athletics and community relationships.

"We need to have balance," he told The News-Star Editorial Board on Wednesday. "If we have balance, we will be able to advance the mission and goals of the university."

For the university to be successful, Larkin said he has to convince people to believe in Grambling again.

"I have to win people over. I have to help build or regain the confidence of the Grambling faithful," he said. "I want to convince the state, including the Legislature, that Grambling State University can be a player in economic development."

Larkin also addressed the Louisiana State Board of Nursing's decision to revoke the approval of the school's undergraduate nursing program, saying, "We can't be embarrassed like that again."

"Any time you lose an anchor program, you take a big hit," he said. "We have to face that reality. We have to give it some time. I still think that Grambling State ... needs to have a nursing program. We can be good again at that. And at the appropriate time, I will marshal the resources and work with the right people to get that program reinstated at the university."

Larkin also announced a significant opportunity for the GSU Tiger Marching Band.

When the football team opens its upcoming season at the University of California at Berkeley, the band will have the opportunity to play at Apple's corporate headquarters.

"As they perform, that is a showpiece for us," he said. "These young people are much more than musicians and performers. We're going to leverage and parlay those skills into some dollars coming into the university. We're already setting up some meetings with corporations out there."

The state has to be a champion of higher education, he said.

"If you have border states that are doing more for their universities, they're beating you," he said. "We can't give (students) a reason to leave. We have to give them a reason to stay."

Larkin said providing a high quality education is critical in retaining Louisiana students.

"We're going to produce academically-prepared students, but we're also going to produce good citizens," he said.

But that focus can't just be on currently enrolled students.

"I think we could have many more students," he said. "I think we have some targeted areas that we shoot for. But I want to reassess that and basically put a full-court press on to go in places that will yield more students coming.

"I think we need to expand the student enrollment. We need to have more international students here. We need to have more white students at the university. We need to have more Hispanic students."

Larkin, who was the chief of staff at Morgan State University before being named Grambling president, said that increase is already starting to show.

"According to the registrar, she's given me some preliminary figures saying that it looks like we may have a 3 or 4 percent increase in our enrollment this fall. If that is the case, we are trending upward. I think we can build on that."

12 2015-07-07
Ruston

Positive start for the Larkin era


It’s a new era for Grambling State University as Willie Larkin officially took office as the school’s president last week.

One of the biggest issues GSU has faced in recent years is declining enrollment, but moves made by the state Legislature last month could help make the start of the Larkin era at GSU even brighter.

House Bills 129, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Jefferson and 171, sponsored by Rick Gallot, are aimed at helping increase enrollment at historically black colleges and universities in Louisiana by recruiting out-of-state students and students taking remedial courses.


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12 2015-07-06
Monroe

AT&T gives $50,000 to GSU to fund scholarships


Grambling, LA



AT&T announced today a $50,000 contribution to the Grambling University Foundation Inc., for scholarships in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to be awarded to 23 students for one year. One student will receive a $5,000 scholarship, two will receive $2,500 awards, and 20 students will be awarded $2,000 scholarships.



“Supporting STEM education in Louisiana is of utmost importance if we are going to continue to move forward as a global leader in innovation,” said state Senator Rick Gallot. “These students are our future, and we must continue to invest in their education and development if we want to continue to see growth.”



“Grambling recognizes the importance of investing in STEM education, and we are proud to have Senator Gallot who supports and mirrors our drive for excellence,” said Helen Godfrey Smith, Chairwoman of the Grambling University Foundation Board of Directors. “Research has shown that students who receive financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships have improved rates of success, and we are thrilled to be able to give this chance to 23 deserving students.”



Grambling State University is a comprehensive, historically black, public institution with a community of learners who strive for excellence in their pursuit of knowledge. AT&T’s scholarship contribution to the Grambling University Foundation Inc. will help with the university’s goal to increase the retention of STEM students. The minimum grade point average to qualify as an AT&T scholar and maintain a scholarship is 3.0. Scholars will be selected based on their application, essay, faculty recommendation, involvement in STEM-related extracurricular activities, and unmet financial need.




“It is vital that we prepare tomorrow’s workforce today. Our country will need thousands of new employees to fill science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related jobs to meet the demands of the billions of dollars in new projects already in development,” said AT&T Louisiana President Sonia Perez. “It’s estimated that within the next year, Louisiana will have more than two million non-farm employees for the first time in its history. SupportingGrambling students through scholarships goes a long way toward preparing our future workforce, across our state and the entire country.”



About Grambling State University

Grambling State University (GSU) is a comprehensive, historically-black public institution that offers a broad spectrum of undergraduate and graduate programs of study. Through its undergraduate major courses of study, and through it graduate school, the University embraces its founding principle of educational opportunity. With a commitment to the education of minorities in American society, the University seeks to reflect in all of its program the diversity present in the world. GSU is a community of learners who strive for excellence in their pursuit of knowledge and who seek to contribute to their respective major academic disciplines. The University prepares its graduates to compete and succeed in careers and to lead productive lives as informed citizens in a democratic society.



12 2015-07-06
Monroe

A new Tiger on the scene


There's a new Tiger in town, one who goes by the name of Dynamite.

That nickname may be fortuitous, because the challenges facing Willie Larkin may require blowing up old formulas in the face of today's issues at Grambling State University.

Last week, Larkin started his work as GSU's new president after a yearlong search by the University of Louisiana System, and his resume would indicate he's up to the the job facing him. Grambling is at a crossroads, in need of an inspiring leader ready to settle in for a length of time sufficient to turn the ship around.

Larkin comes to Grambling after serving as chief of staff for the office of the president of Morgan State University. He handled internal auditing, the operations of the president's office and serves as the president's senior adviser.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have a special place in Larkin's heart. He started his academic journey at Tuskegee, where Charles Adams left to establish Grambling State University.

The former Kellogg Fellow earned his doctorate in agricultural education extension from Ohio State University, where he specialized in 4-H and Youth Development. He earned both a bachelor's and master's degree from Tuskegee University.

He comes in with a plan. He said increasing enrollment and generating new streams of revenue are top priorities for Grambling. His first 100 days on campus will be spent establishing a senior leadership team to evaluate strengths, weaknesses and needs throughout all departments.

He says he will devise a 10-year strategic plan the university can follow, saying the institution has a good plan, but he's looking for a great plan. Larkin knows he is stepping into a world of challenges at GSU, where years of state budget cuts and declining enrollment have resulted in a $3.7 million fiscal year deficit.

But his first act as president was to listen. On his first day, Larkin met with students and faculty. He was there to listen and discuss concerns they have about their university and the direction they hope to see it follow.

"They had concerns they wanted me to take a look at and they laid those things on the table and and we're going to take everything under advisement and consideration," Larkin said.

Students talked about the infrastructure, maintenance and beautification needs. But a lot of those concerns require finding revenue sources, which Larkin said would be a top focus. He said he arrived on campus with ideas but no formulated plan because that would mean people were left out of that plan.

That's encouraging. For the past year, the Faculty Senate has felt left out of the tough, and often unpopular, decisions made by interim President Cynthia Warrick. The Senate even voted no confidence in Warrick.

Larkin seems to understand the need to build coalitions, and that should endear him to the Grambling community. "Part of leadership is taking challenges and overcoming them, but I can't do it by myself. I will have to depend on the Grambling nation and I think the Grambling family can deliver on those," Larkin said.

Larkin takes the helm at a time when the Tiger suffers from injured pride: a forfeited football game after players walked out over inadequate facilities, a nursing program that lost its undergraduate standing because of poor performance on a graduate test to name two.

We welcome Larkin, whose oratorical skills as a motivational speaker earned him his "Dynamite" nickname, to northeastern Louisiana. We believe he understands the challenges ahead and look forward to his leadership in polishing up Grambling's national image.

The editorials in this column represent the opinions of The News-Star's editorial board, composed of General Manager and Executive Editor Kathy Spurlock, Engagement and Community Content Editor Hope Young, Watchdog and Storytelling Coach Mark Henderson and Business and Politics Reporter Greg Hilburn.

12 2015-07-06
Monroe

New state laws should help Grambling recruit


The 2015 Louisiana Legislature did something that can help Grambling State University, which has been struggling with declining enrollment.

Two new laws, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Jefferson and Sen. Rick Gallot Jr., are aimed at helping increase enrollment at historically black colleges and universities in Louisiana by reducing out-of-state tuition and allowing students to take remedial courses.

“We did a lot of things during this first rendition of the legislative session, none more significant than the possibility of enabling more students to attend Grambling State University, which is awe inspiring,” Jefferson said. “The hope is it will help us to compete with our peer institutions, and it will allow Grambling to do what it has done since the beginning, which is to educate our students.”

HB 129, which goes into effect Aug. 1, will reduce undergraduate tuition and fees for out-of-state students who want to attend Louisiana’s HBCUs, making it easier for these students to afford a four-year university outside of their home state.

HB 171 gives students who would normally have to attend a community college for remedial courses the option to attend an HBCU like Grambling. The legislation exempts Louisiana’s three HBCUs from GRAD Act requirements to eliminate remedial courses and developmental study programs. The Louisiana Board of Regents has voted to test this policy for two years before they vote on whether to make it permanent.

As Grambling recruits new students, these laws provide significant flexibility for the university to reach out to its alums scattered across the country and recruit their family members. Many Grambling students have no connection to Louisiana before they arrive in Lincoln Parish to start school. They come to the institution as part of a family legacy – a parent or other relative attended college there.

It also allows Grambling to continue its tradition of providing a sheltering family atmosphere for students who need some extra help or encouragement.

We look forward to seeing some successful recruiting at Grambling that these new laws will enable.

The editorials in this column represent the opinions of The News-Star’s editorial board, composed of General Manager and Executive Editor Kathy Spurlock, Engagement and Community Content Editor Hope Young, Watchdog and Storytelling Coach Mark Henderson and Business and Politics Reporter Greg Hilburn.

12 2015-07-06
Ruston

South Carolina remembered


An ecumenical service was held at New Rocky Valley Baptist Church on Wednesday in remembrance of the nine who were killed at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Grambling State University President Willie Larkin read Psalms 133:1. The event also featured various hymns, other readings and prayers.


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12 2015-07-02
Monroe

New Grambling State University President Welcomed at Monroe Regional Airport


MONROE -- A new era begins tomorrow for Grambling State University.

Dr. Willie Larkin will tak over as President at GSU.

A crowd was on hand to welcome Dr. Larkin as he arrived this morning at Monroe Regional Airport.

Larkin says he has meetings planned with students and faculty members on his first day.

"We'll this is my second time being in the community so I've got to get to the office, I've got to talk to some people and I've gfot to analyze the situation. But I anticipate a lot of support for Grambling, this is a great, great university with a lot of history."

Dr. Larkin was recently the chief of staff to the President at Morgan State University.

Dr. Larkin, who was named President at Grambling earlier this month, takes over for Dr. Cynthia Warrick.

Dr. Larkin added " My being here with the enthusiasm everybody is showing I think we can go far".
12 2015-07-02
Monroe

Larkin spends much of first day at GSU listening


The first order of business Wednesday for Grambling State University President Willie Larkin on his first day at campus was a meeting with students and faculty.

He was there to listen and discuss concerns they have about their university and the direction they hope to see it follow.

He said he arrived on campus with ideas but no formulated plan because that would mean people were left out of that plan.

The plan must include everyone who has an interest in the future of Grambling, Larkin said.

Next week he will talk with alumni.

Chosen: Larkin picked to lead GSU

Interview: Time GSU stepped up its game

Then it will be on his shoulders to go out and sell the plan.

Another order of business was a special service at New Rocky Valley Baptist Church where he joined in the congregation's service of "healing, mourning and prayer" for South Carolina's Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

He also called on the congregation to pray for Grambling and him as he leads the university.

Another highlight of Larkin's first day was the presentation by AT&T of a $50,000 check to fund STEM scholarships for students.

Larkin comes to Grambling after serving as chief of staff for the office of the president of Morgan State University.

He handled internal auditing, the operations of the president's office and served as the president's senior adviser.

He said increasing enrollment and generating new streams of revenue are top priorities for Grambling.

His first 100 days on campus will be spent establishing a senior leadership team to evaluate strengths, weaknesses and needs throughout all departments.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have a special place in Larkin's heart. He started his academic journey at Tuskegee, where Charles Adams left to establish Grambling State University.

Larkin believes he has come full circle with his selection Thursday as GSU's ninth president. He said he is prepared to offer seven years to Grambling, where he'll help devise a long-term plan, polish and shine the 'G' so Grambling can continue in greatness.

Larkin was among five candidates who interviewed publicly on the Grambling campus early June. A search committee, appointed by the University of Louisiana System board, consisted of board members, students, alumni, faculty and community representatives. After interviewing semifinalists, the board selected Larkin and Gilbert Rochon for final interviews.

The former Kellogg Fellow earned his doctorate in agricultural education extension from Ohio State University, where he specialized in 4-H and Youth Development. He earned both a bachelor's and master's degree from Tuskegee University.

12 2015-07-02
Monroe

Larkin spends much of first day at GSU listening


The first order of business Wednesday for Grambling State University President Willie Larkin on his first day at campus was a meeting with students and faculty.

He was there to listen and discuss concerns they have about their university and the direction they hope to see it follow.





Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State

Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State University president on Wednesday. On his first day he takes a break from his duties to attend a remembrance service at New Rocky Valley Baptist Church for the shooting victims at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. (Photo: MARGARET CROFT/THE NEWS-STAR, MARGARET CROFT/THE NEWS-STAR)

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Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State







Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State

















Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State
Willie Larkin officially takes over as Grambling State













Next Slide

"They had concerns they wanted me to take a look at and they laid those things on the table and and we're going to take everything under advisement and consideration," Larkin said.

Students talked about the infrastructure, maintenance and beautification needs. But a lot of those concerns require finding revenue sources, which Larkin said would be a top focus.

He said he arrived on campus with ideas but no formulated plan because that would mean people were left out of that plan.

The plan must include everyone who has an interest in the future of Grambling, Larkin said.

Next week he will talk with alumni.

Chosen: Larkin picked to lead GSU

Interview: Time GSU stepped up its game

Then it will be on his shoulders to formulate a plan and go out and sell it.

"I don't have a plan, yet, because if I had a plan right now that means I would have left people out and that's not what I want. I am not the savior. I am not coming in here trying to tell people it has to be a certain way. I want to engage everyone in conversation so they can give me the things I need to create a winning formula for the university."

Another order of business was a special service at New Rocky Valley Baptist Church where he joined in the congregation's service of "healing, mourning and prayer" for South Carolina's Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

He also called on the congregation to pray for Grambling and him as he leads the university.

Another highlight of Larkin's first day was the presentation by AT&T of a $50,000 check to fund STEM scholarships for students.

"I made a declaration that our students are our No. 1 priority because without them none of us have jobs or purpose. I met with the students first and then the faculty and we laid out a lot of things on the table. One of the things we agreed upon was that we would be honest with each other and we wouldn't hide anything from each other. We will communicate regularly and practice transparency," Larkin said.

Larkin comes to Grambling after serving as chief of staff for the office of the president of Morgan State University.

He handled internal auditing, the operations of the president's office and served as the president's senior adviser.

He said increasing enrollment and generating new streams of revenue are top priorities for Grambling.

His first 100 days on campus will be spent establishing a senior leadership team to evaluate strengths, weaknesses and needs throughout all departments.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have a special place in Larkin's heart. He started his academic journey at Tuskegee, where Charles Adams left to establish Grambling State University.

The former Kellogg Fellow earned his doctorate in agricultural education extension from Ohio State University, where he specialized in 4-H and Youth Development. He earned both a bachelor's and master's degree from Tuskegee University.

12 2015-07-02
Ruston

Greeting From Grambling’s New President


Greetings Grambling Family!

I am extremely honored to have been selected as the 9th President of Grambling State University! As you ALL know, Grambling is an exceptional, innovative, creative, and outstanding university. I know our university will only get better and better!

I call upon each of you to work with me as a team and embrace and confront the challenges and expand and create new and innovative opportunities to return our beloved institution to the highest level of greatness. As my wife and I drove onto campus, a breath of fresh air welcomed us as we surveyed our new citadel of greatness–Grambling!

As I reflected on the selection and recruitment process, I knew, in every ounce of my being, that Grambling needed me as much as I needed Grambling. I have come home; but my stay will be marked by how much we ALL can do together to restore Grambling to that once great roar!

Grambling State is hallowed grounds and many iconic legends have walked across our campus and many more will in the future. You and I have a great opportunity before us to build on past successes. Although it will not always be easy, I am asking all Gramblinites to embrace a new tomorrow; a new day has come to our beloved institution–THE Grambling State University Tigers!

To achieve our ends, our duty, our goal is simple: to embrace and grow the university and establish a robust resource acquisition strategy. We will ask Grambling men and women, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni to give as they have never given before!

And rest assured that every penny will be accounted for and every resource will be for the healing of dear ole’ Grambling. My administration will be transparent and transformative as we re-brand Grambling as a phoenix Tiger rising again in the higher education arena. We will expand the university’s reach and continue to attract a broader array of talented, motivated, and achievement-oriented students.

In addition to elevating the academic standards on campus, we will rebuild our athletic prowess, and claw our way to greatness as we place competitive gamesmanship and fear into the hearts and minds of our opponents as they serve as our honored competitors. We will be both scholars and fierce competitors to all those we encounter.

The ultimate goal is to become one of the top universities in the country. Remember, we are “ONE GRAMBLING: Honoring History, Keeping Promises, and Fulfilling Dreams.”

Come join me as we begin the process of rebuilding a dynasty of excellence–in all that we do! In order for us to accomplish our shared vision, we must all push and pull in the same direction. We are family and we must work together.

Stay tuned, as you will hear more from me in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Again, thank you for welcoming me to the Grambling State University Family and allowing me to become a “G.”

With Great Enthusiasm,



Willie D. Larkin, Ph.D.
President
Gambling State University

12 2015-07-01
Ruston

Legislation allows more students


More students will now have the opportunity to attend Grambling State University thanks to two pieces of legislation recently passed by the Louisiana Legislature.

HB 129 and HB 171, sponsored by state Rep. Patrick Jefferson and state Sen. Rick Gallot Jr., are aimed at helping increase enrollment at historically black colleges and universities in Louisiana by recruiting out-of-state students and students taking remedial courses.


Full text of this article is available to subscribers only. Login if you are already a subscriber. If you are not a subscriber, you can subscribe to the online version here.

12 2015-06-30
Monroe

New Legislation Allow More Students to Attend Grambling State University


GRAMBLING, LA (Press Release) -- More students will now have the opportunity to attend Grambling State University thanks to two pieces of legislation recently passed by the Louisiana State Legislature.

HB 129 and HB 171, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Jefferson and Sen. Rick Gallot, Jr., are aimed at helping increase enrollment at historically black colleges and universities in Louisiana by recruiting out-of-state students and students taking remedial courses.

“We did a lot of things during this first rendition of the legislative session, none more significant than the possibility of enabling more students to attend Grambling State University, which is awe inspiring,” Rep. Jefferson said. “The hope is it will help us to compete with our peer institutions, and it will allow Grambling to do what it has done since the beginning, which is to educate our students.”

HB 129, which will go into effect on Aug. 1, will reduce undergraduate tuition and fees for out-of-state students who want to attend Louisiana’s HBCUs, making it easier for these students to afford a four-year university outside of their home state.

HB 171, which was signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal on June 19, gives students who would normally have to attend a community college first the option to attend an HBCU like Grambling. The legislation exempts Louisiana’s three HBCUs from GRAD Act requirements to eliminate remedial courses and developmental study programs.

Jefferson believes this option gives four-year students a better chance of success, because four-year institutions have higher graduation rates than community colleges.

“We believe that allowing the students to do the remedial courses on a four-year college campus is significant,” Rep. Jefferson said. “This gives them the best pathway to success. At the end of the day, that is what it is all about, helping successful students to graduate.”

Students, who previously would have had to enroll at a community college to complete their remedial courses before attending a four-year university, can now enroll at Grambling, Southern University and A&M College or Southern University at New Orleans instead. The Louisiana Board of Regents has voted to test this policy for two years before they vote on whether to make it permanent.

“These policy changes allow us to provide access to a four-year degree for many more students that want to attend Grambling State University,” said Damon Wade, vice president of institutional effectiveness and enrollment management. “The policy change also affords us the opportunity to maintain our mission of affording each student the opportunity to pursue any program of study provided that the student makes reasonable progress and demonstrates that progress in standard ways.” Wade went on to state that this new legislation could increase fall 2015 enrollment by an additional 300 students.

12 2015-06-29
Monroe

New Legislation Allow More Students to Attend Grambling State University


GRAMBLING, LA (Press Release) -- More students will now have the opportunity to attend Grambling State University thanks to two pieces of legislation recently passed by the Louisiana State Legislature.

HB 129 and HB 171, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Jefferson and Sen. Rick Gallot, Jr., are aimed at helping increase enrollment at historically black colleges and universities in Louisiana by recruiting out-of-state students and students taking remedial courses.

“We did a lot of things during this first rendition of the legislative session, none more significant than the possibility of enabling more students to attend Grambling State University, which is awe inspiring,” Rep. Jefferson said. “The hope is it will help us to compete with our peer institutions, and it will allow Grambling to do what it has done since the beginning, which is to educate our students.”

HB 129, which will go into effect on Aug. 1, will reduce undergraduate tuition and fees for out-of-state students who want to attend Louisiana’s HBCUs, making it easier for these students to afford a four-year university outside of their home state.

HB 171, which was signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal on June 19, gives students who would normally have to attend a community college first the option to attend an HBCU like Grambling. The legislation exempts Louisiana’s three HBCUs from GRAD Act requirements to eliminate remedial courses and developmental study programs.

Jefferson believes this option gives four-year students a better chance of success, because four-year institutions have higher graduation rates than community colleges.

“We believe that allowing the students to do the remedial courses on a four-year college campus is significant,” Rep. Jefferson said. “This gives them the best pathway to success. At the end of the day, that is what it is all about, helping successful students to graduate.”

Students, who previously would have had to enroll at a community college to complete their remedial courses before attending a four-year university, can now enroll at Grambling, Southern University and A&M College or Southern University at New Orleans instead. The Louisiana Board of Regents has voted to test this policy for two years before they vote on whether to make it permanent.

“These policy changes allow us to provide access to a four-year degree for many more students that want to attend Grambling State University,” said Damon Wade, vice president of institutional effectiveness and enrollment management. “The policy change also affords us the opportunity to maintain our mission of affording each student the opportunity to pursue any program of study provided that the student makes reasonable progress and demonstrates that progress in standard ways.” Wade went on to state that this new legislation could increase fall 2015 enrollment by an additional 300 students.

12 2015-06-23
Shreveport

GSU Ruston alumni chapter donates $10,000 to scholarship endowment; Awards two scholarships


GRAMBLING, LOUISIANA -- The Grambling University National Alumni Association-Ruston Chapter has donated $10,000 to a scholarship endowment fund for Grambling students at the chapter's fourth annual scholarship gala held Saturday night in the Black and Gold Room in Favrot Student Union.

Ruston Alumni Chapter President Liz White said it is important to encourage giving in light of budget cuts to higher education.

“The gala is another opportunity, and for some, perhaps the only opportunity to give,” White said. “People will give if you ask them. We want to create a culture of giving to our state-funded educational institutions. We want to start looking beyond state funding.”

The Ruston chapter also honored eight Grambling State alumni that made contributions of $1,000 or more to make the donation possible, including Greg Ludley, a police sergeant at Louisiana State University Health Science Center; Ethel Drayton, an elementary teacher in the Jackson Parish School System; Michelle Wright, executive director of the Lincoln Council on Aging; Patricia Hutcherson, university registrar and executive director of enrollment management at GSU; Mary Richard, a retired elementary teacher with the Lincoln Parish School System; Liz White, a retired English professor at Louisiana Tech University; and Rhonda Pruitt, the owner of True Care Dental in Grambling.

The scholarship is named the Ruston Alumni Chapter's The Family of Coach James Wicks Duncan Sr. Endowed Scholarship in memory of Duncan, a prominent Lincoln Parish coach and educator, after his daughter, Janet Duncan Barnes, a member of the Grambling University Foundation Board of Directors, donated $25,000 to the endowment last year.

“Grambling is grateful for the Ruston Chapter's consistent support of GSU students and programs,” GSU Interim President Cynthia Warrick said. “Their unselfish gifts and hard work are responsible for our success in recruitment, retention and graduation.”

The chapter also presented two $500 book scholarships to incoming freshmen who are both Ruston natives. The first scholarship winner is Psnefra Wills, the daughter of Yvette Moss and Paul Wills of Ruston. She is a 2015 graduate of Grambling High School with a 3.6 GPA who is an active member of Mr. Harmony Missionary Baptist Church in Ruston. After graduation, she plans to become a physical therapist and track and field coach.

“I want to come to Grambling because I feel like I would get more opportunities here and get a chance to meet people. I felt privileged and honored to get a scholarship, because I really needed it in order to afford my books,” Wills said.

The second scholarship recipient is Trace Payne, the son of Renwick and Sandra Payne of Ruston. He is a 2015 graduate of Grambling High School with a 3.7 GPA and a member of Gumspring Missionary Baptist Church in Farmerville. After graduation, he plans to attend medical school and become a doctor of internal medicine.

“I went to Grambling lab schools, and I just want to continue my education at Grambling. I had a $500 book scholarship, and it was an experience, because it helped me to better prepare myself for my future,” Payne said.

The chapter also presented a $500 donation to the Grambling University Athletic Foundation in honor of Head Football Coach Broderick Fobbs, who served as the night's keynote speaker.

12 2015-06-22
Monroe

High School Students Complete Robotics Workshop at Grambling State University


GRAMBLING, La (Press Release) -- Nine high school students completed the Summer 2015 Workshop on Robotic and Cyber Security at Grambling State University on June 18.

The students include Mercedes Swift, a junior at Grambling High School; Jhori Leonard, a senior at Jonesboro-Hodge High School; JhaVinie Barnes, a junior at Waxahachie Global High School; Daizsha Hackney, a student at Grambling Middle School; Nicholas Douzart, a junior at Grambling High School; Kiran Seetala, a student at Ruston High School; Chris Burks, a student at Caddo Magnet High School; Aeneas Bell, a senior at Jonesboro-Hodge High School; and Evelyn Todd, a student at West Monroe High School.

The workshop, which began in 2006 and is sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory Collaboration Program, is a two-week summer program for high school students and teachers to learn how to build and program robots with the goal of preparing the participants to compete in robotics competitions.

“These students have complete training for programming and everything,” said Yenumula Reddy, a professor of computer science who runs the robotics workshop. “They can easily go for a competition, but teachers have to take the next step. Teachers learn and then become instructors for the students to take them into competition.”

Melanie Colvin, an English teacher at Grambling High School who has been working with the program for five years, said this camp exposes her students to valuable lessons in computer science, engineering and computer programming that they would not normally receive in high school.

“It actually exposes them to things that they probably wouldn't get in the high school classrooms. A senior I had this year, he worked with the program last year and his major is going to be computer programming because he was exposed to this program,” Colvin said.

During the first week, students build robots and program them to complete various functions, such as moving objects and climbing up stairs.

In the second week, the addition of various sensors add a wide range of capabilities to the robots’ functionality. The use of an ultrasonic range finder sensor allows robots to avoid obstacles in its path. The sensor emits a sound wave, which bounces off a reflective surface and then returns to the sensor, allowing the robot to determine the distance from the object and when it needs to turn in order to avoid the object in its path. Other sensors allow the robots to track lines and detect light, adding multiple ways to control the way the robots move.

JhaVinie Barnes, a junior at Waxahachie Global High School, joined the program after her cousin participated.

“This is my third year doing it. Originally, my cousin did it, and I said that's cool, building robots and stuff,” Barnes said. “I like all the experience and skills it gives you. You learn as you go. There are people who help you if you need help, but it's more like if there is a problem, you figure out how to solve it.”

12 2015-06-22
Monroe

Grambling nursing student frustrated




Shannon Williams was just two semesters away from getting her nursing degree at Grambling State University when the school shut the program down.
KNOE





GRAMBLING, La (KNOE 8 News) - Grambling State's undergraduate nursing program is shutting its doors and leaving some students in a tough situation.

Switch majors or switch schools are the options for 16 nursing students who will not be able to get their nursing degree at Grambling.

Many nursing students will have to go back at least one level in curriculum if they decide to switch schools, and extending the amount of time in the classroom adds to the already lofty price tag of college.

Much of the financial aid these students had at Grambling is now exhausted and there is no way of getting it back, leaving them no choice but to take out more loans to complete a degree that was halted on them at no fault of their own.

"You know, I wish they would think about if their kid was in this situation, or if you were in this situation," said nursing student Shannon Williams.

Grambling hopes to be able to re-open the nursing program as soon as possible, but unfortunately for students already enrolled in the program - not soon enough

12 2015-06-19
Monroe

GSU Hosts Farewell Celebration for Warrick


Grambling, LA - An emotional Interim President says farewell to her role at GSU.

"It's just wonderful to have so many folks come out and support and show their appreciation for my service at Grambling," says Dr. Cynthia Warrick/ Former Interim President.

Dr. Cynthia Warrick spent the last year leading Grambling State helping the University overcome many challenges.

"Lots of issues that we had to address and I think we've been able to accomplish a lot in a short period of time," says Dr. Cynthia Warrick/ Former Interim President.

Faculty and friends gathered Thursday afternoon to celebrate her work.

Dr. Warrick says it's a bitter sweet time but she's ready to face her next challenge possibly overseas.

"I just had a visit at United Arab Emirates and visited some Universities there and I'm looking forward to doing some International work," says Dr. Cynthia Warrick/ Former Interim President.

Taking her place is Dr. Willie Larkin. He will be the ninth GSU President and is expected to take over July 1st.

Dr. Warrick says she believes he'll continue to lead the tigers forward.

"I also think that he has the energy and the excitement and the enthusiasm and he's ready to come in here. He's never been a president and so he has a lot of great ideas and a lot of great energy that I think is going to fare well for Grambling," says Dr. Cynthia Warrick/ Former Interim President.
12 2015-06-18
Lafayette

When danger threatened, these two stood up



12 2015-06-18
Monroe

GSU Ruston Alumni Chapter donates to scholarship endowment



12 2015-06-15
Monroe

Grambling State University Police Department Updates Equipment



12 2015-06-15
Monroe

UPDATE: Grambling Loses Approval for Undergraduate Nursing Program



12 2015-06-12
Monroe

Grambling loses undergraduate nursing program



12 2015-06-12
Monroe

GSU undergraduate nursing program loses approval



12 2015-06-12
Monroe

Grambling Loses Approval for Undergraduate Nursing Program



12 2015-06-10
Monroe

A leader to reignite GSU


Look out, world. Willie D. “Dynamite” Larkin and is ready to bring a spark to Grambling State University when he assumes the presidency on July 1.

It’ll take that kind of motivation and energy to restore the institution to its rightful place as a successful historically black university.

Operational funding to keep programs running and recruiting students will be crucial challenges. According to University of Louisiana System President Sandra Woodley, another challenge is the difficulty students at Grambling have affording higher education because of an 80 percent increase in tuition over the past few years because of state budget cuts.

“We have to diversify funding and get the enrollment up so we can have more students graduate from this university and fill those jobs that are needed in this economy,” Woodley said. “Grambling is a powerhouse in filling those jobs and meeting diversity requirements at the corporations.”

She said Larkin has a wealth of experience from a number of different universities, including historically black colleges, as well as experience in connecting with constituents and fundraising.

Larkin knows all eyes will be on him in the Grambling community and the Grambling State family across the world.

“I don’t plan to come in and change everything. We are going to keep the good things and those things that are causing problems for us, we’ll work on it, revamp those and rebrand the university so we’ll be great again,” Larkin said.

Larkin, the son of a sharecropper, is a former Kellogg Fellow. He earned his doctorate in agricultural education extension from Ohio State University, where he specialized in 4-H and Youth Development. He earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Tuskegee University.

After nine years serving as the top assistant to the president of Morgan State University, Larkin said he’s overcome with emotion to hold a top spot at an iconic institution.

“Immediately when I was told I’ve been dubbed the new president, I started thinking about those legendary icons, and I got emotional. I graduated from Tuskegee University where Dr. (Charles) Adams came from to start Grambling, so it’s almost like I’ve come full circle,” Larkin said.

The challenges are many and they won’t be easily overcome. But overcoming adversity is something Larkin has been doing all his life.

We join the Grambling family in welcoming him, and wish him great success.

The editorials in this column represent the opinions of The News-Star’s editorial board, composed of General Manager and Executive Editor Kathy Spurlock, Engagement and Community Content Editor Hope Young, Watchdog and Content Coach Mark Henderson and Business and Politics Reporter Greg Hilburn.
12 2015-06-08
Monroe

Sharecropper's son feels at home at iconic university



12 2015-06-08
New Orleans

Grambling State University selects Willie Larkin as its new president



12 2015-06-08
Regional/National

Grambling State University Names Willie Larkin as President



12 2015-06-05
Baton Rouge

Willie D. Larkin chosen as new president of Grambling State University



12 2015-06-05
Monroe

Willie Larkin selected as new GSU president



12 2015-06-05
Monroe

UPDATE: Dr. Willie Larkin Selected as GSU President



12 2015-06-05
Monroe

http://www.knoe.com/home/headlines/Legislature-approves-Grambling-as-land-grant-institution-306175941.html



12 2015-06-05
Regional/National

Larkin chosen as new president of Grambling State University



12 2015-06-05
Shreveport

Grambling Picks New President



12 2015-06-05
Shreveport

Top tiger: GSU selects Larkin to become next university president



12 2015-06-04
Monroe

Legislature approves land-grant status for GSU



12 2015-06-04
Monroe

Larkin: Time to step up the game at Grambling



12 2015-06-04
Monroe

Carter looks to better her former university



12 2015-06-04
Monroe

Grambling State University's president search drawing to a close



12 2015-06-04
Ruston

GSU presidential search continues



12 2015-06-03
Monroe

Calhoun: Grambling brand is iconic



12 2015-06-03
Monroe

Rochon would commit 10 years to Grambling



12 2015-06-03
Monroe

Rochon would commit 10 years to Grambling



12 2015-06-03
Monroe

Brumfield says GSU student enrollment top concern



12 2015-06-03
Regional/National

Candidates for GSU President Talk Brand, Funding and Enrollment During Interviews



12 2015-06-03
Ruston

GSU presidential interviews begin



12 2015-06-02
Associated Press

Brumfield Among Grambling President Finalists



12 2015-06-02
Monroe

Analysis: GSU president will be asked to right the ship



12 2015-06-02
Regional/National