By TIERRA SMITH
Grambling State University Media Bureau
The president of Central State University in Ohio told Grambling State University’s newest graduates that she shares a certain essence with them.
“That essence I speak of is powerful and mystical, and it develops you gradually but … so much you don’t know it’s happening, but you feel it,” said Hammond, who start at Grambling State when she was just 16 years old then graduated …
“This GSU essence sends steroids through your body. When you walk into a room for an interview your shoulders are really strong and feet planted firmly on the ground and you say, ‘I am…..the best candidate for this Fortune 500 company,’”
More than 555 students filled the floor of the Fredrick D. Hobdy Assembly Center Friday morning with great anticipation as they prepared to receive graduate and undergraduate degrees for their hard work and dedication. The university graduated 557 students, more than the 550 that graduated in May.
Monroe native Hammond may be president at Ohio’s only historically black university these days, but she’s a diehard Gramblinite. Her mom and dad went to Grambling State, and that’s where they met.Like her mother, Hammond met her future husband, James Eric Hammond, at Grambling State when he was a Tiger baseball player. Two of her three siblings went to Grambling.
Hammond urged the graduates to remember first arriving on the campus when they were eager, adventurous and uninformed freshman hoping to find new friends and build lasting relationships. She said like her, she knows they did – and the essence of being a Gramblinite includes such experience pillars.
Hammond became a member of the Alpha Theta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at Grambling State in 1969, and she’s a member of Links Inc., a national professional women’s service organization.
She gave the graduating class of Fall 2012 ten specific tips, things to do and not to do as they start their next stage in life. “Never choose fear over uncertainties,” she told them as one of the things to do. She shared some advice about how to respond on their first jobs when things don’t go their way. “Everything that comes into your head shouldn’t come out your mouth,” she said with a wry smile. “It’s okay to think it, but not always wise to speak it.”
Hammond said she’s always been a teacher, so she urged them to take notes. She told the graduates that she knows that Grambling provides a caring, nurturing environment, one where they were individuals and not just a number, a campus where professors knew them and were people with whom they could build lasting relationships.
Ulric Joseph, who earned a masters in public administration, agreed. “They are always there for you,” said Joseph, who hails from St. Lucia. “It’s harder for us to slip through cracks. It allows them to be more accessible.”
Amie James, Valedictorian for the Fall Commencement of 2012, graduated with overall grade point average of a 3.98 from All Saints, Antigua. She majored in Criminal Justice and plans on obtaining a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. She was also a member of Lambda Alpha Epsilon and American Criminal Justice Association.
The future alumni from the College of Professional Studies shocked the crowd full of supportive faculty, family and friends as they threw glitter into the air as walked forward to be presented with their degrees.
Valedictorian Amie James was honored for achieving a 3.98 GPA. The All Saints, Antigua, native majored .in criminal justice and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in criminal justice.
Joseph said he was encouraged by Hammond’s talk. “Life after graduation is a tad bit uncertain and it gives us courage to face our fears,” said Joseph, who plans to purse a doctorate degree and help underprivileged children in St. Lucia.
“GSU’s essence is about priding yourself on the values and traditions that we have embraced,” added Timothy King, of Chicago, who received a bachelors in music education. “The unique experience that we had here, it’s one of a kind.”
Hammond spent time visiting relatives in the area before the graduation and she didn’t want to participate without providing a couple of Central State students with a taste of her alma mater. That’s why she brought along the 2012-2013 Mr. and Miss Central State University, Teeya Skipper and Christopher Arrone. “It was important for them to come and see the warmth of Grambling State University,” said Hammond, a 1973 Grambling alum.
Click here to watch the graduation ceremony online.