March 26, 2014

GSU Features ‘Women of Gospel’

The free event is open to the public as four gospel songstresses ‘have church’ on a typical midweek Bible study evening

GSU Celebrates Women's History Month with 4 talented gospel singers at a free concert held in the T.H. Harris Auditorium.
GSU Celebrates Women’s History Month with 4
talented gospel singers at a free concert held in the
T.H. Harris Auditorium.

GRAMBLING, La.  — Grambling State University will have not one, but four powerhouse gospel stars performing hit songs Wednesday (March 26) in the T.H. Harris Auditorium at 7 p.m. – and it is FREE.

Presented by university’s Lyceum Committee and the Office of Student Activities, this is the first time GSU has had four gospel recording artists performing on the same stage on campus.  Two of the artists were crowned “Sunday Best” on BET, one is part of a legendary gospel family and the fourth has been singing since she was two years old.

“We invite all of northern Louisiana to come out and have a little church with Grambling State University,” said GSU President Frank G. Pogue. “We know Wednesdays are a normal, midweek night for a lot of church Bible studies, and we know that regular church-goers will get a lot of religion and a lot about the Word if they join us Wednesday night. I don’t think many pastors would mind.”

Le’Andria Johnson and Amber Bullock were crowned winners of BET’s reality show “Sunday Best,” a gospel singing competition series hosted by gospel recording artist and producer Kirk Franklin.  On the show, the judges set out to find the best, undiscovered gospel talent around the world.

Johnson, 31, of Palatka, Fla., was crowned the Season 3 winner in June 2010, and Bullock, 28, of St. Louis, was crowned the Season 4 in September 2011. Each received a national recording contract, a new car and an undisclosed cash prize benefiting his or her community as well as the title of ‘Sunday Best.’ Both were signed with the Music World Gospel label with Matthew Knowles, father of superstar Beyoncé Knowles.

Kierra Sheard, 26, from Detroit, is another big name in the music industry. Sheard is the daughter of gospel singer Karen Clark Sheard and the granddaughter of gospel choral director Mattie Moss Clark. Sheard has many hits, but her 2011 hit "Indescribable" is one many fans have been singing across the nation. Sheard and her family also have had a hit reality show “The Sheards,” an eight-episode reality show following one of the biggest families in gospel music aired on BET.

Candace Bryant, from Cincinnati, is a songstress that has been singing since the age of two. She has been a member of the Greater Cincinnati Choral Union, an affiliatiate of The National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Chorus founded by the late Thomas A. Dorsey. Her outstanding voice has captured the hearts of many. Her family is a big part of who and why she is such a stunning gospel artist. She has always said her children and fans are her biggest motivation.

All four gospel artists have beautiful voices that fill rooms and touch people’s hearts, and each has a different style. They each travel nationally, and the university is excited that they are making Grambling State University as one of many stops.


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Will Sutton




GSU Professor: ‘Don’t Cheat; Succeed With Integrity’

GSU endowed history professor honors students with academic, other honors who earned them with integrity, encourages others to do what’s right

Douglass Thomas, Benjamin S. Quales Endowed Professor of History, addresses honorees and guests at the Spring 2014 Honor's Day Convocation.
Douglass Thomas, Benjamin S. Quales Endowed Professor
of History, addresses honorees and guests at the
Spring 2014 Honor’s Day Convocation.

Grambling State University Media Bureau

GRAMBLING, La.  — When everything has been done in college and students move on to their own professional lives, Douglass Thomas said there’s only one thing that makes a big difference: Integrity.

“I applaud everybody who is here because of hard work,” Thomas, the university’s Benjamin S. Quales Endowed Professor of History, told a Grambling State University honors convocation audience, “but some of you are here because you cheated.” He said those who cheated know who they are, and they should not feel honored at all because people who have “true honor live by integrity.”

During the annual late-morning event, scores of students were honored for having strong academic records, earning internships and special opportunities and recognition. The event also recognized some faculty and staff that had gone above and beyond normal duties.

Thomas said there are three key points needed to be successful with integrity: (1) know who God is, (2) know who you are and (3) know where you are.

“The administration and staff are here to prepare students for the real world and life after college,” said Thomas. “Some students do complain about smaller things around campus such as cafeteria food, but honestly, in order to have integrity, you don’t have to make an agreement or answer to anybody but yourself.”

The likeable professor reminded students that they have a great opportunity, not too far away from otherwise difficult lives. “Grambling State University is a beautiful place to be, it is an honor to be in the classroom,” he said. “Some years ago many were somewhere in the kitchen scrubbing somebody’s floor.”

Thomas went on to acknowledge that many in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center are more than students, including some who are parents and some who are employees. He said he knows it is hard, but those who are driven and motivated honestly will be the most successful – and those who cheated will be found out later.

Thomas said to know who you are, “you have to know what you have been through and know where you want to be.” Do your best and do what it takes, he told them, working as hard as possible to achieve specific goals, never give up and “rewards will come.”

Many believe integrity just means honesty, but it means having all pieces fit together as one in the right place. If they don’t fit, you will be being dishonest, and not have a real chance and the real feeling of feeling accomplished and hearing someone tell you well done.

Emotions, body, and soul; in order for all these things to fit right you have to know God. I often times refer to Genesis 2:7 God molded man and breathe the breath into his nostrils and man became a living soul.

“If you don’t have some integrity, my advice to you is to go find some,” said Thomas.

GSU President Frank G. Pogue told the students that it takes five things to be a successful honor student and a great professor  – setting goals, displaying and having a positive attitude, dedication and commitment, hard work and achieving goals.

“You are an example of what academic excellence is, and I want to congratulate, celebrate, recognize, and honor all of you for achieving an exemplary accomplishment,” said the president.

GSU Students, faculty and staff recognized at annual honor's day convocation.
GSU Students, faculty and staff recognized at annual honor’s day convocation.

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Will Sutton




March 21, 2014

GSU Packs Weekend with Football, Other Activities

University urges school, community support for new head coach Fobbs, rebuilding football team as well as other sports, play and pageant

Grambling State University Media Bureau

Grambling State University hasn’t seen anything like this weekend in a long, long time, if ever, according to GSU Athletic Director Aaron James.

“I will be attending all of the many events on Friday and Saturday,” said James. “It will be tough getting to all of them, but I am excited …”

The university’s weekend of activities starts Friday with a “meet and greet” with the football coaches at the Eddie G. Robinson Museum on campus and continues Saturday with events that include a parade, a flag football game with alumni football players and the annual Black and Gold Game. People with a little different taste can see “The Great Gatsby” in the afternoon and the Miss Cover Girl pageant Saturday night. Then, there’s more on Sunday.

Though some faculty, staff, students and alumni have heard about one or two of the events, more are hearing how much is planned and they are getting excited.

“Whoever is working behind the scenes with Coach (Broderick) Fobbs is really great, because this is what the G-Men football needs in order to rebuild their reputation,” said Ninfa Saavedra, a junior mass communication major from Fresno, Texas, a suburb outside of Houston.

That’s exactly what the football program has planned, and the idea guy behind all the football-focused activity is Wayne Cordova, GSU football’s director of player personnel and running backs coach.

“Honestly, the Grambling football program has had a couple disappointing years, and this is a time for the school now to go in a different direction,” said Cordova. He said people will be excited when they see everything planned this weekend “and people will become more excited about the university.”

“When outside students see Grambling extracurricular activities doing well,” he added, “their success increases enrollment…and the university excels.”

Cordova worked with a team of people to plan several events to build excitement and support around this year’s Black and Gold game. The flag football game will feature former GSU players in a 7-on-7 game with players playing offense and defense. The honorary coaches for this game will include Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, Ruston Fire Chief James Austin and Eddie G. Robinson III, grandson of legendary head football coach Eddie G. Robinson and a GSU alum.

After the flag football game and before the big Black and Gold game, a parade will feature a number of individuals and groups, including GSU President Frank G. Pogue and first lady Dorothy Pogue, serving as parade grand marshals; athletics representatives and a number of campus and community organizations. A feature attraction will be GSU’s World Famed Tiger Marching Band in the 1 p.m. parade. There is no admission to football-related activities, with the exception of a $7/per person breakfast social for former GSU athletes at Ryan’s at 9 a.m. Saturday in Ruston.

As the G-Men run plays at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium, those interested in theater can see the last production of “The Great Gatsby” at the Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center at 2:30 p.m. The visual and performing arts production has run this past week and Saturday is the finale performance.

The Black and Gold Game is played each spring. Students, faculty, staff and some alumni and supporters come out to see what’s coming this fall as the G-Men do their best to show the coaches what they have in a real-time game situation. They will play a game against their teammates putting their training and practice time to test on the field as they give fans a preview of the 2014 squad.

A little later in the day, after a host of activities and the play, the university’s 46th Annual Miss Calendar Girl Scholarship Pageant starts at 7 p.m. in T.H. Harris Auditorium. Some of last year’s participants are anxious to see the new contestants.

“I’m excited to see how the hard work of the young ladies will be translated on the stage.  I know they worked long and hard to prepare for the pageant,” said Tierra Smith, a junior mass communication major from Houston and Miss Academic Excellence 2013-2014.

La’Resha Taylor, last year’s Miss January in the pageant, had a great experience last year. “It was an amazing experience. It felt like I was a celebrity for the night because of the bright shining lights, props and applause from the audience, and having the experience of meeting and sharing the experience with the other contestants,” said  Taylor, a social work major from Texas.

Several sports teams are on the road as the GSU football, baseball and women’s tennis teams play on campus or nearby. The baseball team faces rival Southern University at 12 noon at Wilbert Ellis Field at R.W.E. Jones Park and they play again on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Lady Tiger tennis team faces Louisiana Tech University Sunday in Ruston at 2 p.m. Admission is free.

Athletic Director Aaron James, Head Football Coach Broderick Fobbs, and Band Director Larry Pannell are some of the university family who are excited about, and will be participating in this weekend's events.
Athletic Director Aaron James, Head Football Coach Broderick Fobbs, and Band Director Larry Pannell are some of the university family who are excited about, and will be participating in this weekend’s events.

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Will Sutton




March 20, 2014

GSU Track Team Comes Together as Champs, Friends, Brothers

SWAC champions share a lunch in their honor as family with president, coaches and others

President Pogue shakes hands with track coach Bertram Lovell at luncheon honoring the team.
President Pogue shakes hands with track coach
Bertram Lovell at luncheon honoring the team.

Grambling State University Media Bureau

GRAMBLING, La.  — As the Grambling State University track and field team reflected on its championship season, GSU President Frank G. Pogue was touched to hear each team member say what it means to be a part of this special team.

“It has done my heart justice to hear the brotherhood, respect and love you have said (you have) about yourself, your coaches and Grambling,” said Pogue, who sat attentively listening to each team member. The president said there are things “that many people do not get to hear.”

Pogue honored the team for winning the 2014 Southwestern Athletic men’s indoor track & field championship with a luncheon in his private, presidential dining room in McCall Dining Hall Wednesday afternoon. It was the first time most had been in the room, and the first time some had been so close to Pogue. The team won the championship in Birmingham, Ala., in late February.

It was the third consecutive SWAC men’s indoor title and the fourth in the last five years for head coach Bertram Lovell, who won SWAC coach of the year honors. Athletic Director Aaron James joined the group. The 23 young men honored during Wednesday’s luncheon were appreciative, respectful and deeply rooted in Grambling State tradition, showing a clear “brother’s keeper” commitment to their teammates and parent-like respect for their coaches, Lovell and assistant coach Ashley Curry, who graduated from GSU with a bachelor’s in biology in 2007 and a master’s in sports administration in 2013.

The team has established strong bonds of camaraderie, a great love and respect for each other as brothers and a desire to help each other with academics, studying and generally bettering their lives.

Each of the young men credited Lovell and GSU for giving them a chance when other universities had given up on them or made it obvious that they were only concerned about what they did on the field and the track. After dining on smothered chicken, sautéed vegetables and peach cobbler, each team member took a turn to say a few words to their teammates, and the coach who has meant so much to them.

 “Coach Lovell teaches his vision through us,” said senior Jamael McTear, 21, a criminal justice major from Detroit. “He cares more about academics than track, asks what is going on in our lives and he’s just very supportive of us as individuals.”

McTear’s teammates shared similar ideas as they recalled how Lovell and their “mother away from home” Curry are involved in their sports careers, and lives, on and off the track.

Sylvester Baisden, 22, of Riverdale, Ga., a senior majoring in criminal justice, said he chose Grambling State University because Lovell “made me feel at home” and “other universities were just putting on a show.” He said he felt a GSU family bond immediately.

“Coach Lovell cared about my education, what I’d do after college … he cared about me and has become like a father,” added Anthony Hall, 22, a senior from Kansas City, Mo.

Senior Deonte Pope, 23, a 3.0 GPA student from Detroit said he was recruited to go to Michigan State University but turned down the predominantly white institution to grow and excel at the historically black university he chose, GSU.

Lovell expressed appreciation to his assistant, Curry, saying he couldn’t do as much without her and he’s glad the GSU grad decided to return to give back to her alma mater. He said his GSU “sons” keep him going. “Strength keeps me going, and you guys are my strength,” Lovell told them as he delivered an emotional chat about why he stays at Grambling State after offers to go elsewhere.  He said he stays in part because “all money isn’t good money.”

Pogue presented Lovell with a letter from Sam Seemes, CEO of U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, for his hard work on and off the field with his athletes and acknowledging their most recent championship. Lovell graciously accepted it as his team gave him a standing ovation.

“This is a great group of young men and we are so proud and thankful to be recognized by Dr. Pogue,” added Curry.

GSU track team honored at luncheon with President Pogue and AD.
GSU track team honored at luncheon with President Pogue and AD.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton




March 19, 2014

Campus Beautification Construction Notice

Campus Beautification Phase 2 is underway with work around Jacob T. Stewart Hall.

PLEASE BE AWARE. Starting on  MONDAY (March 24), construction on phase two of the Campus Beautification Project begins. The project includes cleaning, painting and waterproofing Jacob T. Stewart Hall.

As this building will be online during the construction phase, please be aware of your surroundings and take the necessary precautions to avoid any hazards.

When nearing a construction area:

  • PAY CLOSE ATTENTION to signs and work zone flaggers.
  • MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS in construction areas, especially the use of cell phones.
  • BE PATIENT. Remember work zones are necessary to improve the Grambling State University campus and make it safer!

Everyone is asked to take precautions to be safe. The facilities management staff will alert the campus community about construction activities.  Please be patient as we work to improve the university’s academic climate through external renovation and construction initiatives as part of the Campus Beautification Project.

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