September 25, 2013

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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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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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



September 24, 2013

GSU Faculty Honored For Helping Students Provide Service

Motivational speaker inspires audience to continue helping students give back as “heroes”

Grambling State University Media Bureau

Service learning appreciation luncheon featured guest Harvey Alston with students.
Service learning appreciation luncheon featured
guest Harvey Alston with students.

Grambling, LA – The invigorating energy of motivational speaker Harvey Alston fired up an audience of faculty members at Grambling State University’s service learning lunch appreciation ceremony on Thursday.

He focused on stressing the importance of service, and community heroes. He reminisced about a visit to an elementary school classroom and talking to students who defined heroes as Superman, Spiderman and Chad Ochocinco, an NFL football player.

“Does anyone know what a hero is?” asked Alston. He said the older generation is to blame for the younger generation’s hero worship.

The luncheon in the university’s Black and Gold Room in the Favrot Student Union was hosted to show appreciation for and to honor the faculty, staff and community members who have helped GSU students get academic enhancement by providing service learning opportunities. All university undergraduates are required to perform academic and community service learning hours to graduate, and the service learning office relies on the generosity of faculty and staff to get it done.

The Office of Service Learning was created at Grambling State by director Rory L. Bedford, allowing students to work with faculty members to complete approved community service projects as a part of their curriculum. Bedford said it’s important to recognize those who help the university and its students give back, and Alston was a great choice to encourage and support that work.

Alston engaged the audience with a series of exercises to help them gain greater confidence, including one with the audience divided into “good,” “better” and “best” groups and each challenged to shout their given word with great confidence. Alston’s point was that he boxed them in with his comments and they chose not to break out and do even better, and one group learned by listening to and watching the other two.

He also asked a group of five students to help him, each holding different letters, including P, Y, H, A, P. He didn’t give them instructions at first, allowing them to figure it out. Once they spelled the word “happy” he walked the students, and the audience, through how everyone can be happy and successful by being inclusive and respectful of others.

We are such a selfish and greedy society that we’ve gotten away from helping other people,” said Alston. “We must understand that our destinies are tied together.”

After Alston spoke, about 124 faculty members were recognized with certificates and 11 were recognized with special plaques for going above and beyond with special service learning projects in the past year.

Loretta Walton-Jaggers, an education professor, was honored for three service learning projects in the reading and literacy graduate level courses in which students were given the opportunity to showcase what they learned and created books for K-12 level students.

“This is such an outstanding honor,” she said. “I am so very proud, not only for the recognition of myself, but also for my candidates. It’s such a pleasure to see them highlighted and showcased because they work very hard and feel a heighten sense of pride as well.”

“I thought it was creative. I thought it was excellent and I thought they did a good job with honoring everyone,” said King David Godwin, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and one of the recognized faculty members.

Larry Pannell, the music department head and band director, was recognized for a number of service learning contributions, including things the World Famed Tiger Marching Band did at two presidential inaugurations and providing post-hurricane Katrina aid. Pannell’s support includedworking with members of the band to donate sheet music, instruments and other items to three high schools in New Orleans. He also directed concerts to raise money to help New Orleanians.

“If it’s recognition for any services rendered by the music department, I would like to take that award and tear it up and give it to everybody in the music department,” said Pannell. “I just worked as a mediator to pull all the elements together.”

Alston was the featured speaker, but he enjoyed hearing about the contributions and enjoying the event.

 “Coming to Grambling was like putting a star up on my wall,” said Alston, who has spoken to business, corporate and university events across the nation. “The event was fantastic.”

During a special “Lunch, Learn and Appreciate” luncheon in the Black and Gold room, 11 individuals were honored Sept. 19 for their exemplary projects and service. The awards were bestowed through the Office of Service-Learning under Dr. Rory L. Bedford (first row, far left) and Academic Affairs directed by Dr. Connie Walton. The honorees included (first row, L-R) Grambling Mayor Ed Jones, Johnny McCarty, Rev. Kenneth Sapp, Mrs. Mary Bryant, Dr. Frances Staten, Dr. Gaylon Murray and  Eugene Taylor. Second Row: Dr. Gernerique T. Stewart, Dr. Larry Pannell, Dr. Carl  Roberts and Dr. Aaron Witherspoon.  Motivational speaker Harvey Alston addressed the gathering prior to the presentation of awards. The activity celebrated the faculty who incorporated service-learning into the curriculum.

Click here for PDF.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



Grambling State Starts Founder’s Week

President, Grambling mayor pay tribute to founder Charles P. Adams

Grambling State University Media Bureau

GSU President Frank G Pogue and Grambling Mayor Edward R. Jones signed an official proclamation recognizing university founder Charles P. Adams.
GSU President Frank G Pogue and Grambling Mayor
Edward R. Jones signed an official proclamation recognizing
university founder Charles P. Adams

Grambling, LA – Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue and Grambling Mayor Edward R. Jones signed an official proclamation recognizing university founder Charles P. Adams at a bust of Adams adjacent to Lee Hall.

"After 112 years, the opportunity to pause and show respect to our founder is extremely important," said Pogue, dressed in his signature black and gold suit as the proclamation was signed at 7:44 a.m. This is Founder’s Week at the university, and the president said it is a time to recognize Adams and to celebrate the university’s history, mission and heritage.

“Charles P. Adams created the ground floor for education and for blacks,” Jones said to a group of about 15 university administration, faculty, staff and students.

On November 1, 1901 the doors opened to the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School, known today as Grambling State University. Adams was sent by Tuskegee Institute’s Booker T. Washington to assist in organizing the industrial school, then he became the founding president.

"He was a genius,” said Pogue, who’s beginning his fifth year as president. Adams was president for 35 years.

 “As student leaders, celebrating the beginning of our institution is extremely important,” said Ambra Brice, 21, Miss Grambling State University.

The university’s Founder’s Week activities continue Tuesday with an 11 a.m. convocation with former acting president Neari Warner in the T.H. Harris Auditorium. Other activities continue through the week, and guests can find out more at

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



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