Local, state, regional and national professionals will be recognized at August 31 event
GRAMBLING, La. – Grambling State University today announced an impressive list of Beacon Award honorees, including an internationally known pastor, a couple of famous former National Basketball Association players, a couple of prominent business leaders, an educator and a popular singer.
Bishop T.D. Jakes is being recognized in the community development/civil rights category. In 1998, Jakes started the Metroplex Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), which works to remedy social and economic disparities in historically underserved communities.
Shreveport’s Joseph Carter, a prominent educator who served in Monroe public schools, Wiley College in Marshall, TX., and elsewhere, is being recognized for his education contributions. A Grambling State University Hall of Fame member, he has been active in the Boy Scouts of America, Grambling University National Alumni Association and other professional organizations.
Willis Reed was selected to represent Athletics/Sports and Karl Malone of Karl Malone Properties was chosen in the individual business and industry field. Reed played basketball at West Side High School in Lillie, LA, and attended Grambling State University, where he scored 2,280 career points, averaging 26.6 points and 21.3 rebounds during his senior year. He led Grambling State to three Southwestern Athletic Conference championships. Malone, nicknamed “The Mailman” during his 18 seasons with the Utah Jazz then a season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has proven to be a savvy businessman, operating commercial development, restaurants and timber operations, all under Malone Properties.
Selected for the small business and large business categories are Metropolitan Circles, LLC and Entergy Louisiana LLC. James Thrower Jr. is president of Metropolitan Circles. Thrower’s Metropolitan Circles is responsible for progressive intervention for youth and elderly in the Shreveport area. It is one of the fastest growing social services agencies in the state. William M. Mohl is president and CEO of Entergy and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C., which together serve more than a million electric customers in the state. He is responsible for the companies’ electric transmission and distribution systems, customer service, regulatory and governmental relations, economic development programs and charitable contributions, as well as the companies’ financial performance.
Stephanie A. Finley was chosen in the public service category. Honorable Finley is a Grambling State University graduate who is the United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. She serves as the criminal bar examiner for the Louisiana Bar and is a frequent local and state youth conference lecturer, sharing with young adults and students the perils of drug involvement.
Community Service is represented this year by Bishop L. Lawrence Brandon, senior pastor and CEO of several, fast-growing church congregations in the Shreveport/Bossier City area. He is the founder and CEO of Praise Temple Ministries and L. L. Brandon Ministries, Inc.
Grambling State University graduate Erykah Badu was chosen to represent the arts and culture category. As a world renowned artist, Badu founded a non-profit group, B.L.I.N.D. (Beautiful Love Incorporated Non-Profit Development), which is geared toward creating social change through economic, artistic, and cultural development. She also transformed the legendary Forest Theater in South Dallas into a headquarters for live shows and charity benefits.
The honorees will be recognized on August 31 at 7 p.m. at the Port City Gala on August 31 at the Shreveport Convention Center. The Beacon Award is the university’s highest non-academic award. It is presented to organizations and people committed to good character, high ethical standards, humanitarian efforts and philanthropy.
“The Grambling State University family is excited about this group of honorees as we take over Shreveport with our Port City Classic Weekend,” said Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue. “The Port City Classic has become an important Grambling State tradition and recognizing an outstanding group such as these companies and individuals shows how much we care about performance on the field as well as performance in academics and in life.”
“We had a number of nominations and we’re really pleased with the group of Beacon Awardees selected by the committee,” said Ken Eke, interim vice president of Institutional Advancement. “We look forward to honoring these special institutions and people at the Port City Gala.”
In addition to honoring our Beacon awardees, the Gala will feature Grambling State University’s Show Band and special performances. VIP tickets for the gala are $125 per person. General tickets are $75 per person. Sponsorships are available. For more information about the Port City Gala, the Port City Golf Tournament or the Port City Classic Weekend, contact Mrs. Rose Wright at 318-274-2217.
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