Outgoing Grambling State University president takes time to reflect on his tenure in his “dream” job, leading an HBCU
President Pogue addresses the crowd and highlighs successes
in his final convocation address before retirement.
By JESSICA WRIGHT
Grambling State University Media Bureau
Grambling, LA – Frank G. Pogue delivered his last spring convocation address in T.H. Harris Auditorium, reminding an audience about the many accomplishments achieved during his tenure as Grambling State University’s president.
For about an hour, Pogue highlighted some of the institution’s more notable challenges as well as some lesser known issues, saying that those challenges were made opportunities for success.
“Grambling has always had challenges but even with those challenges GSU is doing fine,” said Pogue, as he stood alone at a podium at the center of the stage.
When Pogue signed on as a consultant, he had retired three times. After several weeks he agreed to sign up as interim president to help stabilize the university, getting a number of matters resolved and set up for the institution’s eighth president. In December 2009, Pogue became that president. On June 30 he retires.
Working with his administration leadership team, he identified 10 priorities and established strategic initiatives designed to successfully achieve the mission of the institution. Pogue used his last GSU convocation to share a list of actions and successes, some of which not only met but exceeded expectations.
“Alumni lost faith in our ability to manage resources and we turned it around… the financial audit completed in 2012 by the State Legislative Auditors was issued with zero findings,” said Pogue. During his time at Grambling he has encountered budget cuts twice a year in each of his years as president. Since missing or unallocated property was a major repeat finding Grambling brought on board an experienced legislative auditor as Comptroller. They have also implemented processes to align property to people and not just offices, making individuals accountable for university property and equipment.
Some other achievements noted by Pogue included stabilizing enrollment, keeping the total undergraduate and graduate student number around 5,000 students; increased retention rates and completion rates; increased fiscal accountability; met and exceeded LA GRAD Act performance targets; increased distance learning and online learning, including increasing the number of enrolled online students from 944 in 2009 to over 5,000 in fall 2012. Grambling State offers three degree programs fully online – a bachelor of arts in organizational leadership, a masters in criminal justice and a doctorate in developmental education.
The president said he has enjoyed his time at Grambling State, especially seeing some of his ideas become reality. For instance, he said, he wanted a more beautiful, better manicured and clean campus – and that happened. In fact, he said, students, faculty and staff are taking it upon themselves and participating in campus beautification. “I look out and I see students pick up trash and walk it to the trash can instead of walking pass it,” said Pogue, noting that he sees that regularly when he looks outside his first-floor Long-Jones Hall window.
Pogue also emphasized the importance of giving back. He said the number of individual alumni donations rose from 1.3% of all alumni when he arrived to 12%, a big leap for any historically black college or university. Pogue suggested issuing piggy banks to new freshmen as they enter the university to promote and encourage donations to the university, and he said he thinks that has helped.
“There are challenges at every institution but we have worked hard to turn those challenges into opportunities for Grambling,” said Pogue, reflecting on his time at the institution.
Pogue plans to continue as a consultant at a consulting firm, helping colleges and universities identify, recruit and hire presidents. Along his wife, Dorothy, he will move back to their permanent home in Delaware to be closer to their daughter and two grandsons after ending his tenure at GSU.
Students, faculty and administrators are in attendence for Spring 2014 Convocation as Dr. Pogue provides his final convocation address before his retirement.
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