Earl Lester Cole Honors College

The Honors College was established in 1990 in response to a verbal directive from the third president of Grambling State University, Dr. Joseph B. Johnson. At that time, the then Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Lamore J. Carter, informed me that President Johnson had designated me, Helen Richards-Smith, to plan and implement the Earl Lester Cole Honors College, with my designated title as Associate Dean of Academic Administration and Director of the Honors College. The assignment was given, the Fall, 1989, the Inauguration was held the Fall, 1990 and the Charter Graduating Members of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College was Spring, 1994; (Appendix, 1994 Spring Graduating Class).

With support of a number of co-workers at GSU: Dr. Gerald Ellis, Dr. Thomas Odom, Dr. Dorothy L. Alexander, Drs. Andolyn and Mr. Julius Penn, Dr. Phillip Young, and Dr. Joe Copes, who provided travel to observe Honors Programs at universities in St. Louis, Atlanta, Texas and Louisiana. During the "data gathering period," the Director attended the meetings of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), held in New Orleans, October 1989. Sessions on "Beginning in Honors," meetings throughout the conference and individual discussions with Deans and Directors of established Honors programs, were very helpful.

Ideas for shaping a program for the Earl Lester Cole Honors College were discussed with the supporting co-workers. An undergirding guideline/principle, in program planning, emphasized throughout NCHC, in sessions and in discussions was that, "an Honors Program or college," is designed to meet the needs and achieve the goals of the respective college/university as envisioned by the chief administrative officer. This person is responsible for determining the support and directions desired for the college/university Honors initiatives and for setting the bases for goodwill and financial support.


Grambling State University endeavors to provide for maximum academic growth and development for all students regardless of their intellectual and culturally diverse backgrounds. Existing academic programs provide challenging educational experiences for all students, the prepared as well as the under prepared learners. The university-wide Honors College is designed to increase challenges for the academically talented students, those 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. The Honors College provides those "academic, personal and experimental extras" which serve as basic challenges for the intellectually talented.

To ensure Grambling’s belief that "Everybody is Somebody," the university endeavors to fulfill its responsibility to instill in every student an understanding that the "unique self," that of being somebody, must be developed. The goal of the Honors College is to enhance self-development by offering challenging Interdisciplinary Seminars on leadership, on cultural diversity, on current issues and a variety of related experiences that are implemented through the non-traditional mode of teaching and learning. The unique experiences serve as basic challenges to bright, talented youth whose awareness of their potential worth as contributing citizens must be increased for them to function effectively now and in the New Millennium.