September 27, 2013

Junior Business Major Wins $1,500 Tom Joyner Scholarship

Delhi student with 3.7 GPA credits family, grandparents for his drive to succeed

Grambling State University Media Bureau

Grambling State University junior business management major DeVante Jackson, winner of the Tom Joyner Foundation Hercules Scholarship.
Grambling State University junior business
management major DeVante Jackson, winner of the
Tom Joyner Foundation Hercules Scholarship.

GRAMBLING, LA -Grambling State University junior business management major DeVante Jackson was excited to get news that the Tom Joyner Foundation awarded him a Hercules Scholarship Thursday (September 26).

“The scholarship is a blessing to me and a token of appreciation from God,” exclaimed Jackson, 20, of Delhi, La. “This means hard work really does pay off.”

Jackson, who has a 3.74 GPA, is a member of a local chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success and a member of the university’s Management Club. He said his motivation stems from his family. He lost his mother when he was two years old, and he was raised by his grandparents.

“I try my best to make everyone proud, especially my grandparents. They’re the reason I am where I am today,” said Jackson. “My mother didn’t have a chance to accomplish the things she wanted to do to make them happy.”

Grambling State is the foundation’s September school of the month. Jackson is the fourth of four GSU students to be awarded a $1,500 scholarship this month. The foundation has raised more than $60 million to help historically black college and university (HBCU) students access more scholarships and stay in school. Scholarship recipients must be males attending an HBCU of the month, have strong community and leadership skills and have a minimum GPA of 3.5.

Earlier this month the foundation awarded scholarships to sophomore Pierre L. Moore, 19; junior Lionel Kilolonyuy-Sandjong, 22, and senior Kelly Hall, 21. Founded in 1998, the foundation is helping Grambling State University’s September scholarship efforts asking friends and supporters to contribute at

Click here for PDF.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



September 25, 2013

Seven Students Stay in School With Scholarship Help

Students tear up, thank scholarship namesake Warner

Grambling State University Media Bureau

Grambling, LA – Tears filled the eyes of senior Alexus King as she talked about how she may not have been able to finish school this semester, but for a special gift.

“I would not have been able to stay in school,” said King, biology major from Los Angeles. “This means so much because it has been hard for my mother to afford my education. This is a blessing.”

King is one of seven Grambling State University students to receive the first Dr. Neari F. Warner Scholarships, named in honor of Warner, who served as the university’s acting president for three years, from 2001 until 2004. She is the first, and only, woman president — and she helped Grambling State keep accreditation and stay open during her tenure. Today, Warner is a visiting professor with the Executive Ph.D. program in urban higher education at Jackson State University.

The $1 million scholarship fund provides undergraduate GSU students that have completed at least one semester at Grambling State and those who have a demonstrated financial need to be considered. This is the first year the Warner scholarships have been awarded. Warner, like many others, faced financial trials during her years as a Grambling student. She is pleased to know that the funds are going to students who need it the most.

“It’s an honor to have a scholarship in my name,” said Warner, who was the university’s convocation speaker at a morning program at the T.H. Harris Auditorium. “We started this in 2003 when the students decided to tax themselves. Over the years the money has accumulated and I am happy to be here to see the first recipients. I came to Grambling on a scholarship and I knew that if I lost it I wouldn’t be able to continue my studies.”

Grambling State students were so impressed with Warner’s efforts at the time that they decided to raise money for scholarships by making individual contributions with a scholarship fee. That money was later matched with money from the state. Then it was named in Warner’s honor.

Each student was granted $2,000. It is up to the recipient’s discretion whether they want to use it for one semester or two semesters. Some seniors had no choice if they wanted to graduate this semester.

“These students were chosen based on need,” expressed Gloria George, interim associate vice president for enrollment management, who coordinated the scholarship applications and advised interested students. “These students were persistent and diligent in applying for the scholarship, and we are pleased to have helped them.”

Ian Wagner, a senior from New Orleans, gave a spiritual testimony on his struggles. The 27-year-old made it known that he couldn’t have come this far without God. “I am truly blessed to have received this,” said Wagner. “I have been in school since 2005 and I am thankful for this scholarship and the opportunity to pursue my career as a medical physician.”

“This scholarship allows me to graduate in May so that I can pursue a basketball career overseas,” said Ruport Rose, a former Tiger basketball player from Baltimore. “I am happy and I am ready to represent Grambling wherever I go.”

Some international students don’t always have funds to finish school, including St. Lucia native Kishan Butcher. “Being awarded with this scholarship has allowed me to complete my final semester at Grambling,” said Butcher, a senior engineering technology major from Catries.

Douglas Riley, a junior engineering technology major from West Palm Beach, Florida, said he is happy and plans to find ways to give back. “This represents my good standing I continuously obtained while attending Grambling,” he said. “My friends and I have started a group called Innovative Idea Club, and we plan on making major changes for the future of Grambling.”

Phares Wabo, a senior accounting major from Cameroon, and Xavier Bennett, a sophomore mass communication major from Fayetteville, Ga., were not present at the special luncheon in the president’s dining hall after the convocation program but they, too, are Warner scholars, each receiving $2,000 scholarships.

"These are some of our most deserving students, and it was heart warming and emotional to hear their stories," said Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue. "Dr. Warner meant a lot and means a lot to this university, and now she’s having a meaningful and lasting impact on these Warner scholars who might not have continued their education without this much-needed support."They see the financial assistance as a blessing," added the president. "We consider each of them a blessing."

Pogue noted that he and his wife, Dorothy Pogue, have endowed student scholarships at three of the universities where they have served, and they have endowed scholarships at Grambling State. “I understand fully the purpose of endowed scholarships to help students,” he said. “My wife and I know that without this kind of support that most of these students wouldn’t be able to continue their matriculation.”

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Additional Information:

Media Contact:
Will Sutton



Long-Time, First-Time Community Breakfast Participants Honor Adams

Mayors, faculty, students, others honor GSU founder connecting with each other

Grambling State University Media Bureau

Grambling, LA – Grambling Mayor Edward Jones thinks he’s attended nearly all of the Grambling State University Founder’s Week community breakfasts. Jasmine Hill attended her first.

The annual Founder’s Week Fellowship Breakfast was held in the Black and Gold Room at the Favrot Student Union on Monday morning. The large room with black and gold tile was filled with 25 tables which were dressed with large, white tablecloths. Attendees feasted on pancakes, grits, eggs, biscuits, sausage, Canadian ham, fruit salad and potatoes, all served on faux porcelain plates.

“I’ve been here practically every year,” said Jones, a former teacher who worked at GSU for 25 years. “This function mainly gives the university and the city the opportunity to come together, join forces and create a better environment for not only the city, but for the university as well.”

Hill, a senior accounting major from Duarte, Calif., attended the breakfast because her supervisor gave her a ticket, and she was glad to have the experience.  “The breakfast is a great way for people to fellowship and start off founder’s week,” said Hill.

The annual breakfast was coordinated by Janis Bluford, senior assistant to the president, and Pauline Lee, a retired dean of library services. “We started Founder’s Week in 1979 which means we’ve had a breakfast, but not at this level of participation,” said Lee. “The participation has grown every year that we’ve had the breakfast and it’s the fellowship and the spirit of the people that make it what it is today.”

Attendees were served breakfast by representatives from the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce, Liberty Hill Baptist Association ministers, Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue’s executive council, university faculty representatives, athletics department officials, Lincoln Parish police and Sheriff’s Department officials and Lincoln Parish School Board members.

“The most important part of the community breakfast is the community,” said Pogue, just before serving a spoonful of scrambled eggs to Jones. “It is so wonderful to see familiar faces coming together —  elected officials, faculty, staff, alumni, students — all supporting Grambling State University and recognizing the importance of the founder of this institution.”
Grambling State University was founded by the North Louisiana Colored Agriculture Relief Association on Nov. 1, 1901 as the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School. The university’s first president and founder was Charles P. Adams, who served from 1901 until 1936.

As Athletic Director Aaron James called their names, the breakfast servers lathered on hand sanitizer and put on aprons and gloves before taking their respective places to serve others. Some ate before serving. Others ate after. James offered the opportunity for seconds, too.

“The president of the school board invited us to attend and I think it’s an honor that we were asked to come and be part of GSU’s Founder’s Day,” said Danny Hancock, a Lincoln Parish School Board member who attended the breakfast for the first time. “It’s a wonderful thing.”

“The best thing about the breakfast is that we get to see people who really care about Grambling come together,” said Eddie Allen, president of the Inter-denominational Alliance of Ministers, Inc. in Grambling.

“It is always important that Grambling continues its long tradition of connecting with the local community,” said state Rep. Patrick O. Jefferson, 44. “This breakfast is something that is looked forward to by so many individuals and I think it helps to keep the connection.”

“I’ve been coming for a number of years and I think that it is an outstanding opportunity as it related to Founder’s week for Grambling State University,” said Jamie Mayo, mayor of Monroe. “Two of my children graduated from GSU and I feel very much a part of the family and I look forward to this time of the year. I love Grambling State University and I want to support it in every way that I can.”

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Additional Information:

Media Contact:
Will Sutton



GSU’S Only Female President: Long Live Grambling State University

Neari Warner returns, delivers Founder’s Day convocation speech

Grambling State University Media Bureau

Grambling, LA – Long-Jones Hall has portraits of presidents that laid foundations to keep Grambling State University going. Among the nine, eight are men and there is one woman, Neari Warner.

She returned the Grambling State’s campus after four years to give the Founder’s Day Convocation address on Tuesday (Sept. 23).

During her 2001-2004 presidency, Warner successfully led the university through a probation period by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the accrediting agency for schools in the South. With hard work from students, faculty and staff, Grambling State was cleared in 2003.

“We worked not only to secure SACS accreditation, but to also ensure that all degree programs were accredited by their respective agencies,” she said. “We had to make sure that our academic programs were validated and that our school was a university of excellence.”
Founder’s Day celebrates tradition, service and excellence at Grambling State University, founded by Charles P. Adams, the university’s first president, when the school opened in August 1901.

“Adams worked, toiled and fought to ensure the reality and longevity of this school,” Warner told an audience of Grambling elementary, middle and school students as well as university faculty, staff and students. “Now you have to remember this was in the early 1900s. I am sure none of us can imagine the trials and tribulations he encountered to keep the school growing and prospering.”

Grambling State University, which started as Colored Industrial and Agricultural School, has had many presidents continue Adams’ leadership legacy. Along the way, among the leaders was Warner.

“Then something happen,” said Warner. “I vowed openly to all constituents of the university, I would do my best to ensure the tradition, service and excellence established by our founder, and all my male predecessors, that I would continue and not be compromised.” 

The Grambling State alumna had a long career tailored in Grambling’s administration. Before becoming acting president, she was provost and vice president for academic affairs, acting vice president of academic affairs, special assistant to the president, vice president for development and university relations and interim vice president for student affairs from 1994 until she became acting president.

During her founder’s day address, Warner took time to acknowledge nearly every department and degree program that was accredited during her presidency. She believes it was time for them to receive recognition for their hard work and dedication.

“When the College of Business received it’s accreditation, we wanted to announce it on the New York Stock Exchange,” said Warner. “But, we didn’t because we still had work to do.”

In addition, she was honored to be notified that seven GSU students were awarded $2,000 each from the Dr. Neari F. Warner Endowed Scholarship fund, money the students can use to cover tuition, books or related school expenses.

The World Famed Tiger Marching Band, dressed in black coats and slacks and white shirts, performed “Marched of the Heralds” as President Frank G. Pogue and some faculty and staff marched into the T.H. Harris Auditorium robed in academic regalia.

“I am honored to attend such a prestigious program,” said Michael Wells, 18, a freshman marketing major from Tallulah, La. “If it wasn’t for people like Charles P. Adams, Grambling would not still be standing today.”

Many freshmen were in attendance, in part because the First Year Experience class requires attendance at general assemblies.  Still, some freshmen see the benefit.

“First Year Experience is a great class which teaches us about the legacy of Grambling,” said Jermey Klie, 19, a sophomore computer information system from Tallulah. Among other things, the F.Y.E. class teaches students about the university’s rich tradition, the alma mater and the fight song.  

Among the convocation attendees were a couple of special guests, descendants of Adams, a great grandchild, Edward Adams, and a great-great grandchild, Christian Adams, both of New Orleans.

“As a child, I would always spend time with my grandparents when they lived in Grambling,” said Christian Adams. “I never realized the magnitude of being a descendant of Charles P. Adams until today.”  This was his first founder’s convocation and he said he appreciated the experience and the respect for his great-great grandfather.

“This is a great recognition of the Adams family,” added Edward “Terry” Adams. 

One of the most sentimental moments of the convocation was the placing of the flowers. Three kindergarten students from Alma J. Brown Elementary School placed bright yellow flowers on stage near Adam’s pictures while the crowd watched, smiled and awed. 

There were also students from Grambling Laboratory Middle and High Schools in attendance. Adarian Williams, 17, a senior who is the student government association president at Grambling Lab High School, shared an inspiring poem about Adams dedication to the university. Williams said Grambling State University is one of his top picks for college next year.

During the assembly, the university choir sang several selections, including “Life Ev’Ry Voice and Sing,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and “Daniel, Daniel Servant of the Lord,” arranged and directed by Undine Moore and Natorshau Davis.  

This week, students will tour the campus, including historical highlights including landmarks including the Adam’s home and his burial site. Founder’s Week Tours for the general public are scheduled for Thursday (September 26) at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., leaving from the front of Brown Hall on the campus.

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Additional Information:

Media Contact:
Will Sutton



GSU is First HBCU, First in State With P.O.D. Market

Fresh fruit, juices and ethnic hair products bring students alternatives, joy

Grambling State University Media Bureau

Grambling, LA – Grambling State University has a new addition at the Tiger Express. GSU is the only HBCU and the first Louisiana university with the new store.

What was once the empty space in a corner of the of the food court is now home to a Provisions On Demand Market, also known as the P.O.D Market; gives students the access to healthier food alternatives. The store hosted a grand opening on Sept. 17, and the store was busy with new customers, games and more.

“I need coffee in my life,” said Faith Lyons, 17, a freshman. “There should have been a Starbucks but I am happy there is a P.O.D.” Though coffee is a priority, there are other reasons she’s happy with the new store. “Now I don’t have to go all the way to Wal-Mart in Ruston to get cereal.”

Aramark created the P.O.D Market concept with three stores — Brandeis University, University of Tennessee and University of Toledo – and the number of stores has grown to about 350 stores, including 250 on college campuses. Grambling State will be the first university in Louisiana to have established a P.O.D market.

Savon Belton 18, of Monroe, has watched the construction since early in the semester while working in the Tiger Express. He will be working in the P.OD for work study. The hours, which are posted just outside of the glass window, say the P.O.D is open all week. They are open as early as 7am and close as late as 9pm.

With ten refrigerators on the wall, an aisle for hair products and tub of ice that cools a variety of Minutemaid juices, the new store offers quite a variety of products. Students did not hesitate to use the blending bar, “F’Real Milkshakes and More.”

Tiger Express assistant retail manager Melvin Johnston, 27, a 2008 Grambling alum who attended school without such a store, said he’s excited about the new addition. Johnston said he is “looking forward to seeing the students happy.”

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



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