June 25, 2013

Grambling State University Announces Third Annual Beacon Awards Gala

Event will be held at Monroe Convention Center; nominations are being accepted until August 2

Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue, left, and Helen Godfrey-Smith, right.
Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue, left, and
president and CEO of the Shreveport Federal Credit Union and gala chair Helen Godfrey-Smith, right.

Grambling, LA – Grambling State University will host its annual Beacon Awards Gala in early September, honoring individuals and organizations committed to strong character, high ethical standards and the community or university. Nominations are being accepted.

The selected honorees will be recognized at the third annual Grambling University Awards Gala on September 6 in the Convention Hall Ballroom at the Monroe Convention Center at 7:00 p.m. The Beacon Awards also recognize those dedicated to philanthropy, humanitarianism and substantial contributions to society in specific categories. The gala, formerly known as the Port City Gala when held in Shreveport, is expected to attract new audiences as well as longtime friends of the university.

“Our university continues to reach out to area businesses, organizations and individuals to further the educational mission of the university,” said Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue. “We’re reaching out across northern Louisiana, but this year we have a focus on Monroe and West Monroe as well as other Ouachita and Lincoln parish communities as we celebrate all that Grambling State has done for this area – and all that the university is going to do.”

“Our Grambling State University family is thrilled that we’ll be bringing the annual Beacon Awards gala to the Twin Cities of Monroe and West Monroe this year,” said Helen Godfrey-Smith, chair of the annual event, chair of the Grambling University Foundation and president and CEO of the Shreveport Federal Credit Union. “The gala is quickly becoming a must-attend event, and we look forward to seeing people from across northern Louisiana coming out to have a good time and to support the university.”

Leon Sanders, interim vice president of Institutional Advancement, said the university has been impressed with the quality of Beacon Award winners the last two years and is expecting an equally strong group of honorees. Anyone can nominate candidates, as long as those nominated meet the 2013 Beacon Awards criteria. All nominations must follow the guidelines provided with the nomination form, and the official form must be used. All nominees must be of good character and committed to high ethical standards; committed to philanthropy and humanitarism and must have made substantial contributions to society and/or Grambling State University in the category in which s/he is nominated. Nominations of individuals can be made in arts and culture; athletics; business and industry; community development and civil rights; community service; education and public service. In addition, a business with more than 10 employees may be nominated if the business has served as a trendsetter for other businesses.

Nominations are due by August 2 and can be submitted electronically by emailing advancement@gram.edu or mailing to: Office of Institutional Advancement, c/o Rose Wright, P.O. Box 4236, Grambling, La., 71245. To purchase tickets, get more information about the Sept. 6 gala event or to find out more about the Beacon Award nominations, visit www.gram.edu or contact Wright at 318-274-2217.

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Additional Information:

Media Contact:
Will Sutton
318-533-5337
mediarelations@gram.edu

 

 

June 20, 2013

Two Grambling State Students Win Scholarships in National Competition

Mass Communication majors each receive $2,500 from UNCF and News Corporation

Grambling, LA – Two Grambling State University students have been awarded News Corporation-United Negro College Fund scholarships as a part of a nationwide competition.

Senior Colin Bryan Jno-Finn and recent graduate Erina L. Love will each receive a $2,500 scholarship for education expenses. Both have been Department of Mass Communication majors and applied for the scholarship as a part of the Grambling State University Media Bureau.

"This means hope, hope that I will be able to further my education without having as many financial problems as I did in undergrad," said Love, 23, a native of Ecorse, Mich., outside of Detroit. "I Hope that people believe in me and my future. I am very honored and humbled to be selected as a recipient."

"I am delighted to have been selected for this prestigious scholarship," said Jno-Finn, a native of St. John’s, Antigua, W.I., a mass communication major with a focus on public relations. "I am both honored and grateful for this award and believe that the award is a reflection of my desire to shoot for the sky by always seeking the two ‘P’s — professionalism and perfection."

Since this was the program’s first year, News Corporation and UNCF officials expect even more applications next year as the program is refined and more HBCUs and students learn about the opportunity. "News Corporation is constantly creating opportunities to help students balance education and professional endeavors in our rapidly changing environment," said DaMar Smith, News Corporation’s director of diversity.

In partnership with United Negro College Fund, News Corporation developed the scholarship competition for college students attending Grambling State University, Hampton University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T State University, Morehouse College and Spelman College for students majoring in journalism, communications, business, engineering (software), technology or math (statistics, design, graphic communication) or digital media. Applicants were required to be a college junior or senior, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and to have demonstrated leadership and financial need. In addition, the applicants had to write an essay and provide a resume, a college transcript, journalism/writing samples and letters of recommendation.

Other UNCF-News Corp winners include students from North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC; North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC; Spelman College, Atlanta, Ga.; Hampton University, Hampton, Va. and Morehouse College , Atlanta, Ga.

News Corporation is a diversified global media company with operations in six industry segments: cable network programming, filmed entertainment, television, direct broadcast satellite television, publishing, and digital.  News Corporation values diversity and recognizes it as an important component to sustaining and enhancing the company’s success.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton
318-533-5337
mediarelations@gram.edu

 

 

Interim Professional Studies Dean Retires

Rama Tunuguntla retires from university after more than 30 years

Dr. Rama Tunuguntla, Interim Professional Studies DeanGrambling, LA – After more than 30 years on the Grambling State University faculty, College of Professional Studies Interim Dean Rama Tunuguntla is retiring, effective June 30.

“We affectionately call him Dean T and Dr. T, and many of our students are saddened as they hear that such a gentleman and scholar is leaving our campus,” said President Frank G. Pogue. “Though he’s leaving his day-to-day work with us soon, he’ll always be a part of our Gramblinite family.”

“It has been a sheer joy working with students, colleagues and the University administration over the years,” said Tunuguntla, reflecting on his retirement. He thanked everyone, especially fellow faculty members and the administration for helping and assisting him in fulfilling his obligations in teaching, research and academic administration as department head and interim dean.

Tunuguntla has been acting dean since January 2009. The College of Professional Studies includes the Department of Mass Communication, the School of Nursing, the School of Social Work and the Department of Criminal Justice. Prior to the last several years as a dean, he was the head of the Department of Mass Communication for 17 years, starting in 1988.

“Dr. T has left his mark on the university,” said Connie Walton, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the university. “He played a lead role in establishing the mass communication program and has touched the lives of many students. I wish him the best as he starts a new chapter in his life.”

Tunuguntla was instrumental in developing the Department of Mass Communication in 1988 with a mass communication B.A. degree and a master’s degree in mass communication in 1997. The undergraduate program has maintained continuous national accreditation with the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) since 1993.

As interim dean, he guided the School of Nursing for full accreditation of its BSN, MSN and PMC programs by the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), full accreditation of the BSW and MSW programs of the School of Social Work by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). Also, under his leadership, Grambling State University’s Master in Nursing (MSN) graduates have continued the tradition of 100% pass rate on the national certification exams, and the criminal justice master’s program, the largest on the campus, has been approved for offering the program 100% online, and the next step is to seek approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

A native of India, he turned to teaching after years of professional experience as a journalist. He earned his Master’s and Ph. D. degrees in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Joining as an assistant professor in 1980 in the then Department of English and Journalism, he moved up the ranks as member of the faculty and in academic administration. He continued to pursue his research interests in the areas of international and intercultural communications by presenting papers at various national and international conferences.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton
318-533-5337
mediarelations@gram.edu

 

 

June 17, 2013

Retiree Association Forms to Aid Grambling State University

The new group allows retired GSU faculty, staff to continue to contribute to university success; first meeting Wednesday

Grambling State University, Dr. Frank G PogueGrambling, LA – As the employer of most African Americans in much of northeastern Louisiana, Grambling State University produces not just undergraduate and graduate students but also a large group of retirees.

Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue identified this ready-made pool of highly-qualified and skilled professionals and workers and recently established the Grambling State University Association for Retired Faculty and Staff.

“We held our annual President’s Retiree Dinner last month and we didn’t want to convey the message that this was a farewell,” said Pogue. “We decided to say ‘welcome’ to a core group helping us launch a new, exciting and continued relationship with the institution.” The president said the new association will provide former employees who have served the university an organized way to continue to help in a variety of ways.

Pogue, who has a Ph.D. degree in sociology, said there are lots of reasons that the city of Grambling is nearly all black and that there are several black communities easily identifiable in nearby cities and towns.  He said those reasons include the remnants of slavery, segregation, Jim Crowism, racism and the fear of white-dominated violence.  Grambling’s city population is 99% African American and there are several African American neighborhoods in Ruston, West Monroe, Monroe, Shreveport and other municipalities.

“In one way or the other, the vast majority of African American residents and property owners were somehow associated with the region’s largest employer of African Americans, Grambling State University,” said Pogue. “The overwhelming number of black retirees in the Grambling/Lincoln Parish area are former GSU employees or the spouse of a former GSU employee, and others in northern Louisiana may have worked at Grambling State or are otherwise affiliated with the university.“

The institution is the sole professional and emotional identifier for black employees, and when they retire, it is often more important than ever to have ways to continue to be associated throughout the retirement years,” said Pogue. “This may explain the reason that retirees often, are so eager to receive and accept invitations to virtually every event on campus.

“The university remains ‘the watering hole’ for black education and cultural identity.  Retirees remain an untapped resource for the university, and this group will bind these individuals together and continue to keep them associated with the university.”

"Educating the vast majority of black college attendees in the region, GSU has and continues to be, the mecca for black social, cultural and athletic activities and events," added Connie Walton, provost and vice president of academic affairs and a 1983 university graduate who returned to work at her alma mater in 1991. "Buttressed by traditional black churches, fraternities and sororities, and traditional black community organizations, Grambling is the frame of reference for surrounding communities, particularly for Grambling retirees."

Pauline Lee, retired Dean of Library ServicesDuring a May 23 special dinner honoring recent retirees, Pogue launched the new, freestanding association, asking for a small group of retired volunteers to become charter members who will work with other area university retirees to select officers and to develop some foundational structures. He said the university would provide some meeting space and clerical assistance as the group forms, working closely with the university’s Office of Institutional Advancement and Debra Johnson, the director of alumni affairs.

Many university retirees are also university graduates. Just last month, about 30 university faculty and staff members were recognized at a festive evening dinner, and the new association was enthusiastically received. Several recent retirees volunteered to help jump-start the effort. Pauline Lee, who worked at the university for 43 years, retiring officially in 2001 as dean of library services, agreed to serve as the convener of the first association-organizing luncheon meeting on Wednesday (June 19).

Interested Grambling State University retired faculty and staff can contact Janis Bluford in the President’s Office at blufordjp@gram.edu or 318-274-6124.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton
318-533-5337
mediarelations@gram.edu

 

 

June 12, 2013

Grambling State Wins $1.7 Million STEM Grant

GSU professors will mentor 12 rising junior honors students, giving them special access to mentoring by doctors, scientists, medical school and Ph.D. degree opportunities

Dr. Mack Himaya, Director of the MARC ProgramGrambling, LA – Grambling State University has been awarded a $1.7 million, five-year grant by the National Institutes of Health to provide graduate degree opportunities to under-represented honors students.

“Cutting across race and ethnicity is low or poor socioeconomic status, both of which influence career choices and opportunities,” said Bossier City resident Mack Himaya, a professor in the university’s Department of Mathematics and Physics and the director of the university’s MARC program at GSU. “While efforts continue to be made to recruit individuals to the biological and biomedical sciences, challenges of access, motivation, retention, academic and social support persists.”

Dr. Connie Walton, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs “This program provides an abundance of opportunities for not only those students who are a part of the MARC program but others as well,” added Connie Walton, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “Activities promoted by MARC support student success. The program has been responsible for sponsoring specific activities that have included tutorial sessions, GRE reviews and summer internship fairs."

The Minority Access to Research Careers program, commonly called MARC, was first funded in 1998. To date, the federal government’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (NIGMS/NIH) has funded the MARC Scholars program at Grambling state with a cumulative award of $5,746,454.

The MARC grant provides training for racial and ethnic minorities who account for more than 25% of the nation’s population but fewer than 8% of scientists nationally. MARC better ensures success as strong students work toward the completion of undergraduate degrees then admission to and the completion of Ph.D. degree programs in biomedical sciences. Grambling State emphasizes the importance of the country’s economic growth depending largely on the availability of scientists, mathematics, and engineers and inventions and ideas related to the Internet, smart phones and healthcare technology.

Since the program was launched at Grambling State, there have been 69 MARC Scholars. Himaya said a more diverse melting pot of scientists is essential, and this NIH grant is an important seed for identifying and engaging committed honors students who can help develop a culture that more closely mirrors the U.S. population.

In each of the past five years, the university has had 12 slots for special students. Seven MARC graduates completed the Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences and additional 10 graduates are still in the pipeline. MARC participants spend summer months for summer research internship at research-intensive institutions throughout the country. Students present their research efforts at national research conferences.

Some of Grambling State’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) MARC participants are now working for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, the Social Security Administration and at major universities across the nation. They attended and graduated with a medical degree or a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Vanderbilt University, the Morehouse School of Medicine, Carnegie Mellon at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois – Chicago, among others.

Himaya said current Grambling State University and non-Grambling State students can apply for one of the prestigious positions in the program, which has a 100% graduation rate compared to a 44% success rate for African American students at state-supported, flagship universities. Applicants must have a major in biology, chemistry, math, physics or computer science.

To qualify to become a MARC scholar, a student must be a first-semester junior with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Students must carry a full-time course load of 12 credit hours or more and commit to pursuing a Ph.D. degree, medical degree or an M.D./Ph.D. degree in biomedical sciences. Applicants are required to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. Successful in-state student applicants receive a two-year fellowship of up to $36,718. Successful out-state applicants can receive up to $47,718.

Students interested in the MARC Scholars program can call the MARC office at 318-274-4464 or send an email to himaya@gram.edu.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton
318-533-5337
mediarelations@gram.edu

 

 

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