January 31, 2013

Grambling State University Selects King Honorees

Five professionals will be recognized for service to the community at a Tuesday lunch program

GRAMBLING, LA – Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue has named five Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Leadership awardees, including the mayor of Grambling, a civil rights activist, educational pioneers and successful medical doctors.

The award categories and the awardees are:

  • Dr. Charles Drew Science & Technology Award: Drs. Richard and Edith Rayford
  • Fannie Lou Hamer Community Service and Leadership Award: Valena Lane and Grambling Mayor Edward Jones
  • Dr. Kara Vaughn Jackson Education Award: Lamore J. Carter
  • Madame C. J. Walker Business Award: Calvin Wilkerson, posthumously

The second annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Leadership Awards Luncheon will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday (Feb. 5) in the Black and Gold Room in the university’s Favrot Student Union. Tickets are $10 in advance, and there will be no ticket sales at the door.

Richard RayfordDr. Richard Rayford is a graduate of Grambling State University as well as an accomplished clinician, researcher, author and educator. In 1998, he joined Jackson Cardiology where he is the radiation safety officer for the Jackson Cardiology Associates Nuclear Lab. Rayford is an active member of many local and national professional societies and organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, Association of Black Cardiologists, Mississippi Medical and Surgical Association and Jackson Medical Association.


Edith F Smith RayfordDr. Edith Rayford, the wife of Richard Rayford, is an obstetrician/gynecologist and director of the Central Mississippi Health Services’ Southwest Clinic in Jackson, Miss. She is a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Medical Association. She served a two-year term as president of the Mississippi Medical and Surgical Association and serves that organization as treasurer today. A Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Edith Rayford is also a member of The Links in Jackson and an associate member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. She graduated from Tougaloo College.


Valena LaneLane is a well-known educator in the Webster and Lincoln parish schools. She’s being acknowledged for her countless educational contributions for more than 20 years. Lane has led more than 40 educational trips for youth and elderly in Bienville, Claiborne, Lincoln and Union parishes. Lane, who has been recognized by the National Council of Negro Women for her leadership and service, is the executive director for the Community Council, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides enriching educational experiences for seniors.



Edward JonesJones, a Grambling State University graduate, is responsible for a number of businesses coming up in our area, specifically housing. Jones has led the building effort for a new housing development, “The Mansfield Estate,” which will pay homage to the late Rev. Andrew Julius Mansfield, a former mayor and former Grambling State University employee. The subdivision project will include six, two-bedroom homes; 21, three-bedroom homes and four, four-bedroom homes directly behind Grambling City Hall. Jones was elected mayor after serving on the Grambling City Council.


Lamore CarterCarter is being recognized for his passion to elevate the academic image of Grambling State University through his work ethic and a knack for research-based innovation. For more than 40 years, Carter dedicated himself to GSU, representing the university at international conferences in Mexico, India, China and Thailand to initiate foreign faculty and staff exchange agreements.
Carter held many positions during his time at Grambling State, including professor of psychology and education, associate dean for administration and research, provost and vice president for academic affairs and research and special advisor to the president. He is also a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, often referenced as “The Boule,” and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.


Calvin WilkersonWilkerson was known for being a social activist in the community. During the 1960s, Wilkerson established voter registration drives to raise money for local and NAACP cases defending the civil rights of those abused by authority figures. He took part in the historic Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., personally handing King $900 in contributions from Grambling citizens. Wilkerson served as a Lincoln Parish School Board member, a Board of Trustees member for the University of Louisiana System, and was a member of the Grambling Business League and Federal Credit Union Board.



Awardees are recognized for making visible and meaningful contributions to the advancement of race relations and/or human rights causes in one or more of the following areas: arts, business, education, justice, politics, religion, science and technology.

For Tickets, contact Shirley Clay or Rose Wright in the Office of Institutional Advancement, 100 Robinson Street, on the Grambling State University campus, across from the Army ROTC Building. Or call 318-274-2217 or email wrightr@gram.edu or clays@gram.edu.

NOTE: See awardee photographs attached.


Click here for PDF.

# # #

Media Contact:
Will Sutton



Powered by WordPress