December 2, 2013

GSU Alum Works the Bayou Classic Chain Gang

Baton Rouge resident has worked as a referee for 16 years

Sporting his official uniform of black and white stripes, Bray, 61, is a part of the football game “chain gang” crew, and has been doing it 16 years.

Sporting his official uniform of black and white stripes,
Bray, 61, is a part of the football game “chain gang” crew,
and has been doing it 16 years.

By DIANA SEPULVEDA
Grambling State University Media Bureau

New Orleans, La. – Mark Bray had one of the best spots at the Bayou Classic in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday, he didn’t have a seat.

Sporting his official uniform of black and white stripes, Bray, 61, is a part of the football game “chain gang” crew, and has been doing it 16 years. “He needed a Gramblinite on the crew,” Bray said as he recalled getting a call from referee supervisor Odell Wilmer, “and I volunteered. I have been doing it ever since.”

In 1971, the Lake Charles native enrolled in then Grambling College. During his college tenure, he enjoyed attending the football games, watching the band perform and seeing the late Eddie G. Robinson coach the football team. A longtime high school referee, Bray recently retired from his position as a senior district executive with the Boy Scouts of America’s Baton Rouge area council.

A Bray friend, Nelson Royal Jr., is a part of the Baton Rouge Area Football Officials Association with Bray and both have been a part of the Bayou Classic chain gang crew for years. Royal said Bray’s Gramblinite spirit is evident. “He is not a selfish person,” said Royal, a Baton Rouge native. “He is the type of person who likes to give back.”

Coming from a family that has a rich Grambling tradition, Bray wanted to keep the legacy intact. However, he married a Southernite and his high school sweetheart, Linda. They have been married for 37 years. His three daughters are also Southern Jaguars. Not fond of his children’s choice for their college education at first, he’s come to terms with it.

“My dad is an undoubtedly a Gramblinite and you can see his passion for football,” said Simone Bray, his youngest daughter.

Simone Bray, a senior mass communication major at Southern, is the Student Government Association president as well and a self-described “daddy’s little girl,” but she made a different university decision. “He tried to persuade us, but it didn’t work,” she said. “My whole life he knew I wanted to be a Southernite because I grew up around them.”

Just like any other game, Simone proudly pointed out her Gramblinite father while in the stands in the Superdome.

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

 

 

December 1, 2013

Economist: Require College Students to Learn Business Skills

Former HBCU president says university students must learn some basics, gain another language

By Ninfa Saavedra
Grambling State University Media Bureau

New Orleans, La. – Using “requirement” often, nationally known economist Julianne Malveaux said historically black universities need more entrepreneurial approaches and more bottom-up help for students — even requiring some things they desperately need.

“HBCUs should have entrepreneurship centers,” Malveaux told a group of about 70 influential business representatives at a Bayou Classic business summit Wednesday. “Young people don’t know how to dress in their jobs or talk in their jobs…In the entrepreneurship center students would be taught these skills.”

A San Francisco native, Malveaux was the keynote speaker during the half-day event in the Rivergate Room at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.  The Bayou Classic collaboration on the importance of universities role to prepare students for a competitive business workforce and connecting them to global entrepreneurship’s. Grambling State University faces Southern University on the football field at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday and the two institutions cooperate on multiple events leading up to the weekend game.

Malveaux, founder and thought leader of Last Word Productions, Inc., a multimedia production company headquartered in Washington, D.C., was the 15th president of Bennet College in Greensboro, N.C. While there, she identified four key areas: women’s leadership, entrepreneurship, excellence in communications and global awareness.

Malveaux encouraged the audience to use the summit as a “stepping stone,” taking the information to maximize HBCUs’ values while preparing students for the international employment workforce. She said more HBCU students need to speak more than one language, a surefire way to have more job opportunities. “Only one of 10 African Americans speak something other than English,” she said.
Language is one limitation, she said, but some students do not take advantage of opportunities such as internships. Malveaux said students shouldn’t start their junior and senior years in college looking for internships; instead, students should start searching starting in high school.

Young people need to learn more about the business world and the real cost of borrowing. Malveaux said students can get a loan to get a car but they don’t understand the value of borrowing to get a good education. She talked about how a lot of college students look forward to what they call “refunds,” a loan proceed of available funds beyond what is needed to stay in school. These are not really refunds but loans that have to be paid back.

Malveaux encouraged educating more entrepreneurs. She said some African American-owned businesses are not as successful because too many are in competition with each other instead of going into business with one other. She said 1.8 million black-owned businesses have one employee “because they don’t know how to expand.”

Ed Robinson, a New Orleans business owner, said one word describing Malveaux’s talk: “GREAT!”  He said he agrees with her that more HBCU students should get paid for internships because they have expenses many of their families cannot cover.

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

 

 

Universities Must Focus on Real-World Skills

New Orleans, Louisiana business leaders discuss business-university economic development

By DIANA SEPULVEDA
Grambling State University Media Bureau

New Orleans, La. – Sadly, Rodrick Miller said, not enough universities prepare students for the “real world.”

Wanting to focus on developing and improving the minority workforce, the president and CEO of New Orleans Business Alliance said universities must develop programs and create opportunities for students to create small businesses with more real world skills such as developing ground-up business plans and using business incubator approaches to launch new businesses.

“They need to understand the nature of global competitiveness,” said Miller, a Development Counsellors International “40 under 40” award recipient.

During a Wednesday morning session with successful business owners and university officials, Miller and others talked about the economic development role of universities in the Rivergate Room at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center as a part of the first Bayou Classic University-Business Summit. Panelists discussed how to bridge business-university gaps and ways to benefit HBCU students.

Agreeing with Miller, Sandra Woodley said universities have to take the responsibility to prepare students for their future and guide them to a financially stable path.

“We have a responsibility to help students much earlier, even in high school,” said Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System, which includes Grambling State University. “We need to have students understand their choices, but I think what we have to be able to do is to nudge our students to know the transparent ways to understand.”

Woodley said universities must merge academics with employer needs. She said the state will learn more about a new ULS partnership with a high-tech online platform called MyEdu, a site much like a cross between the professional-focused LinkedIn and the social-focused Facebook.

Murphy Cheatham, a 2001 Grambling State University graduate who is the director of the central United States region of the National Development Council, said more universities must push their students beyond classroom theories. “I don’t know if you can teach someone what happens in the real word from theories,” said Cheatham, who works with NDC, the oldest national nonprofit organization in the nation.

Timothy McLachlan, vice president at IBM Global Service Center, said his company is ramping up a big operation in the Baton Rouge area and they are hiring at least 200 people a year, even new graduates with limited experience. He told the audience IBM needs help.
“The biggest challenge is getting more female diversity in STEM programs,” said McLachlan. “Help me to recruit graduates with skills.”

Grambling State University Provost Connie Walton plans to take the summit information back to campus to help GSU students move in the right direction.  She said she will use what she learned to get students involved with more business entrepreneur opportunities while developing innovative projects. She said GSU was awarded $487,500 from the U.S. Small Business Administration for an economic development program called Expanding Minority Entrepreneurship Regionally Across the Louisiana Delta (EMERALD) to focus in areas with heavy poverty.

“All of our students will benefit from training in entrepreneurships, regardless of their major,” said Walton.

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

 

 

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