August 12, 2013

Students Get Help Moving Into Dorm Digs

Move-in day starts with first of 1,600 at Grambling State

Grambling State University Media Bureau

Grambling, LA - Carrying bedspreads, mini-fridges, and mementos from home, the Grambling State University campus was swarming with new students, parents and relatives.  Elrick Truvillion was among them.

His mom, Shawanda Truvillion, held bags of food and bottles of water bottles for her son. Despite feeling sad that her son was leaving home, she said she’s excited about the opportunities.  "Grambling is a good experience to teach my son,” she stated. "We just hope everything he needs for her future is here."

President Frank G. Pogue is happy that Truvillion chose Grambling State.  “There are 105 HBCUs institutions in the United States and, among all those, they chose to come to Grambling ….and that means something to everybody here,” said Pogue, who greeted students as they unpacked and moved in. “This is Grambling State University. We take a lot of pride in that name and hopefully the class of 2017 does, too.”

According to university officials, about 1,600 students are moving into Pinchback, Wheatley, Attucks and Bethune halls this week, preparing to start class on Aug. 19. That’s about 50 fewer than last year at this point. “Hopefully we’re going to be well over 1,600,” said James Payne, the university’s director of housing. 

An army of university administration, faculty, staff and student volunteers started helping students unload boxes, bags and hampers, helping the new students carry them to their dorm rooms. Returning university students with the Student Government Association (SGA), Favrot Student Union Board (FSUB), fraternities, sororities and other student groups were among the helpers. “I was in their shoes two years ago,” chuckled Dominick Wilson, president of the engineering club. “We’re here to help them any way possible.”

“This is going to be their home away from home for the next few years, why not help,” he added.

Connie Walton, provost and vice president of academic affairs who attended and graduated from Grambling State a few years ago, said the start of the new academic year is “an exciting time because it indicates that we have the opportunity to shape another generation of students.”

Students said they’re looking forward to taking college courses, meeting new friends and making the most of their college experience. “I’m excited,” said Kimini Black, a Los Angeles native who wants to major in business marketing. “I can’t wait to meet my dorm mates. I haven’t met them yet.”

Bossier City freshman Kierra Rochelle took courses on campus this summer so she’s learned something about the campus and the area, but it’s time for the real school year. “I can’t wait for school to start,” said Rochelle, who plans to major in biology. “I’m not really nervous at all.”

Elrick Truvillion, who plans to be a mechanical engineer major, said he’s getting settled so he can “take advantage of everything this school has to offer."

The university will have a host of welcome activities this week, including a block party to help students get to know each other and have some fun.

“What I hope freshman are hearing is how important it is for them to be at Grambling and how important it is to complete their work and serve the world in magnificent ways,” said Pogue.

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Additional Information:

Media Contact:
Will Sutton



Facing Challenging Times, University Ramps Up Customer Service

Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue brings Chicago ‘master communicator’ to campus to help faculty, staff provide “exceptional customer service”

By Grambling State University Media Bureau

Customer Service Consutlant Lisa Laude addresses the staff at Grambling State University

Customer Service Consutlant Lisa Laude addresses
the staff at Grambling State University.

Grambling, La. – In difficult times when money is tight, there are fewer jobs, more duties for those employed and there’s significant structural changes, customer service is key.

Chicago-based consultant, trainer and “master communicator” Lisa Laude’ told a group of Grambling State University administrators, faculty and staff that they, individually, will determine the university’s reputation every time they come in contact with someone, must realize they are “on stage” every time someone calls or walks in and that they shape the environment in which they work.

“You make or break the reputation of Grambling State University every time you come in contact with a parent or a student,” said Laude’, who has clients nationally and internationally. “Too often people think Grambling State is the president, or the administration. But Grambling State University is YOU.”

State funds have declined significantly in the last eight years with annual and mid-year budget cuts.  With so many cuts, so much combining of jobs and so many changes, Pogue decided that the university’s faculty and staff needed some ideas and training to prepare for the opening of school this fall. Working with Monica Bradley, associate vice president for human resources, the president put together “Opening the University with a GSU Welcome,” a half-day workshop focused on preparing to welcome back returning students and welcoming new students in the Black and Gold Room in the Favrot Student Union on campus.

 “When you come to work, you’re on stage,” added Laude’, who some participants described as a dynamic, engaging energizer. “When the customer walks in…you’ve got to give them 110 percent, and whatever it takes to make that happen you do.”

Rather than blame others and pointing fingers, Laude’ said it’s best to look inward. “You so often get what you bring,” she said. “Whatever you bring to the table is more than likely what you’ve going to get back. So if you don’t like what you’re getting, you have to ask yourself what are you giving.”

Pogue said “we don’t have a choice” whether to provide superb customer service. “We’ve been forced to deal with fewer and fewer state funds, fewer jobs but our students, parents and visitors don’t care about our challenges,” he said. “They expect service, they expect the best and we owe that to them.”

Pogue pointed out that some customer service is internal, and the entire university can do a better job working across departments, divisions and units. “We cannot afford to have this one not liking to work with that one and someone skipping a meeting because someone else is going to be there,” he said. “That’s nonsense. You don’t have to be someone’s best buddy and have them over for dinner, but you darn sure better do what’s necessary to serve our customers, especially our students.”

Laude’ helps businesses and other clients “create the culture that will bring success.” She said she was excited when she learned that the university had decided to invest in its employees and she saw it as a wonderful opportunity. “So often employees are asked to reach certain goals and not given resources to do that,” Laude’ explained, “and Grambling State has asked them to provide exceptional customer service and I’m here to help do that.”

Several faculty and staff said after the program that they will take new, improved approaches to registration and welcoming new and returning students in August. Terrence Bradford, assistant athletic director for business, said rather than send students away from his department because athletics has nothing to do with many student issues “I’ll give them some options, give them some alternatives.”

Colton Brown, who works as an electrical mechanical technician in the university’s mechanical engineering unit, said he walked away with the tools he needs to be successful, to be happy and to put on a good face as she provides the best customer service possible. “I have renewed enthusiasm to help our students be successful and to meet their needs,” he said after the workshop. “I really liked how Laude’ touched me. She really moved me from the place where I was when I came in to where I am now that we’ve ended.”

Brown said he’s taking one specific step immediately: He’s changing his outgoing voicemail message to include his name, to be more helpful and to be more informative.

Laude’ said she enjoyed the university visit and would love to return to continue the work she started. She said customer service is an ongoing effort, and one that should be measured. 

“Organizations that focus on that are successful, and other people talk about them – in a good way,” added Laude’. “They make it a part of their regular culture, and you can tell the difference. When you track it you can see how the investment has been worthwhile.”

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Additional Information:

Media Contact:
Will Sutton



July 31, 2013

LA. Baptists Launch Youth Camp at Grambling State University

Three-year-old Greater Louisiana Baptist Convention hosting hundreds of youth at HBCU with spiritual, academic focuses

By Grambling State University Media Bureau

Dr. Pogue speaks to guest campers.
Dr. Pogue speaks to guest campers.

Grambling, LA –  About 400 elementary, middle and high school students from nearly every part of Louisiana are attending the first summer camp offered by the Greater Louisiana Baptist Convention.

The Youth Empowerment Retreat has the theme “Changing One Life at a Time,” and Rev. Daniel Smith Sr. said the campers will go home with a better understanding of their relationship with God as well as what opportunities they have beyond high school. The camp is being hosted by Grambling State University, on the main campus in the City of Grambling and at Grambling State University West Campus: R.W.E. Jones Annex in Ruston.

Smith, director general of the convention’s summer camp, said in an interview Monday afternoon that a small staff and a host of volunteers from Baptist churches from Alexandria, Lafayette, Monroe, West Monroe, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge, Shreveport and elsewhere are making things happen. “We couldn’t do this without them,” he said.

At an opening session in the university’s Black and Gold Room in the Favrot Student Union Monday, President Frank G. Pogue urged about 200 of the students to strongly consider Grambling State University – with a focus on doing well in school and completing high school.

“We want you to be serious about your future so that you can be a highly productive citizen for the rest of your life,” said Pogue, urging them all to have fun while on campus while keeping an eye on what’s important in the numerous sessions and workshops. “I want to see you back here, I want to see you have fun and I want you to leave here with something that says Grambling on it.”

With Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Gloria George serving as emcee, the students heard from admissions, financial aid, student life, spirit group and athletics representatives, often bursting into applause while wearing camp and church pullovers and teeshirts of various colors. George and others gave the students a lot of good information about how to prepare for college, and they gave away some black and gold Grambling State University freebies.

Rev. Willie Maynard Jr., the GLBC president, said it was important that the convention bring its summer program to Grambling State. “We’re losing ground with our young people when it comes to our black colleges, and we pastors have to do a better job making sure they know about these opportunities.”

Rev. Sam Lofton Jr., GLBC’s youth director and pastor of education and youth at Good Hope Baptist Church in Lafayette, La., said the convention’s mission calls for such a program and it is an outgrowth of quarterly youth events. “In partnership with Grambling State University we want our youth to focus on the spiritual and the academic, making sure they know what’s expected and what opportunities they have before them,” he said.

Diamond Fountain, 14, gets it. “We’re learning that we don’t need to be ashamed of worshipping God no matter where we are and who we are with,” she said.


Fountain has visited the university previously, but she had not experienced it as she has this week. “The dorms are kind of cozy, and that’s nice,” said Fountain, a rising ninth grader at Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge. who carries a 3.5 GPA. “The food is AWESOME! I’m in love with French fries and their French fries are spiced just right. I love them.”

Fountain, who attends Greater King David Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, said though she’s been on campus before she had not taken a tour until this week. “There are real nice buildings here,” she added. She plans to be a music education major and she likes what she sees.

Ante’ Britten, assistant vice president for administration, worked with the convention leadership to bring the group to the campus.  The camp continues through Thursday. “This is a first for them and a first for us,” said Britten, who supervises the university’s facilities and grounds. “We were really happy that they chose our university for their first summer camp, and we’ll do what we can to make sure they return next year.”

Maynard said this is not a one-time activity and the convention wants to build a partnership with Grambling State University. “The president made us feel special and made some special adjustments to suit us, so we want to have university faculty and staff involved with what we do on a regular basis,” said Maynard, who has pastored St. Paul Baptist Church in Opelousas, La., and St. James Baptist Church in Roanoke, La.,  for 33 years. “This isn’t something we’re just doing; we’re building something here.”

Admission guidelines and infromation is given to campers.

Camp administrators work with GSU administrators to make the camp a success.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



July 12, 2013

Sport Management Graduate Student Heading to Taiwan

Devin Brown lands fall internship at Taipei-based university

Dr. Christina Gipson, assistant professor of sport management, and graduate student Devin Brown.
Dr. Christina Gipson, assistant professor of sport
management, and graduate student Devin Brown.

Grambling, LA – A Grambling State University master’s student is the first to spend a semester abroad as a sports administration intern at Alethia University in Taipei, Taiwan.

Though Devin Brown does not leave for Asia until September, he is getting more and more excited about visiting another continent for a dual academic and professional internship experience. “This opportunity is truly a blessing for me,” said Brown, 23.  “Dr. (Christina) Gipson has been a great mentor and inspired me to push and challenge myself to greater heights, not only with my education and career but also in my daily life.”

“Devin will be exposed to a myriad of sports and sport-related experiences at the university level,” according to Willie Daniel, head of the Department of Kinesiology, Sport and Leisure Studies in the College of Education. “He’ll have a hands-on opportunity to develop and work with the World Association of Sport Management’s Global Sports Management Summit that will take place in October and to help prepare for the World University Games, which will be hosted by Taiwan in 2017. This is a first for our program, and our university, and we’re ecstatic.”

The association is a new organization, founded just last year during a meeting of the Global Sport Management Summit.  The group’s goal is “to facilitate sport management research, teaching and learning excellence and professional practice” as a forum for international ideas about sport management among university faculty, students, sport federations and sports professionals.

Aletheia University is recognized as Taiwan’s oldest institution of higher learning. Since 1994 the university has operated as an independent, four-year institution with eight colleges, including sports knowledge, management science and tourism.
Brown learned about the opportunity in Asia from one of his professors, Gipson, an assistant professor of sport management and Brown’s academic advisor. “I am always looking for students who are organized, versatile, and interested in international sports,” she said. “I learned about this internship opportunity through one of my academic listservs and presented the information to a number of students, and Devin was the only student who decided to apply.”

Ever diligent about providing students with legitimate opportunities and exposing students to opportunities, Gipson contacted World Association committee members, an American and a Venezuelan, to make sure “everything was legit.” When everything checked out, she worked with Brown to get his application submitted and, a few weeks later, Brown got the official word that he had been selected.

Brown, who left Carson, Calif., to attend Grambling State University as a freshman, is a strong student, and he’s maintained a 4.0 GPA in the Master of Science in sports administration degree program. He graduated from the business undergraduate program in 2012 and decided to continue his education, especially since he had developed a special professor-student relationship with Gipson. “She has been a special person in my life,” said Brown. “She presented this opportunity to me because she had faith in my abilities to step up and rise to the challenge of the unknown.”

“I will use this great opportunity to represent the GSU Sports Administration Program to open new doors in the sports industry domestically and globally.”

Dr. Christina Gipson, assistant professor of sport management, and graduate student Devin Brown. (Photo 2)

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



July 11, 2013

Theatre Leader Rises to College Dean

Distinguished scholar King David Godwin takes on the College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. King David Godwin, head of Grambling State University’s visual and performing arts, has assumed the role of interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. King David Godwin, head of Grambling State University’s
visual and performing arts, has assumed the role of interim
dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Grambling, LA – The head of Grambling State University’s visual and performing arts has assumed the role of interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. King David Godwin, who has worked at the university since 2007, now leads the institution’s largest college.

“Dr. Godwin has been a strong leader across the entire campus, but especially in the performing and visual arts areas and a strong proponent of academic integrity,” Connie Walton, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said about Godwin, who has nearly 40 years of academic experience. “When this opportunity became available, it was obvious what we needed to do and who we needed to call upon.”

Godwin, the son of illiterate foster parents who strongly encouraged him to pursue a good education, is the youngest of 14 siblings by his biological parents and was the first to attend college. “My foster parents instilled in me a thirst for knowledge and a desire to never give up. These are challenging and difficult times, and I am thankful that the president and the provost are confident in my abilities and skills to take on such a large responsibility,” said Godwin, who lives in Ruston. “This college has a number of wonderful things going on, and it’ll be my duty to help the faculty and staff enhance the good work to best benefit our students.”

Born in Florence, SC, and raised in Lake City, SC, Godwin has more than 30 years of academic experience as a faculty member, department head and administrator. At Grambling State he has been responsible for or led the efforts to get a number of grants for academic support and scholarships. In addition to Grambling State, he has worked at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Voorhees College in Denmark, SC. Godwin has been a recipient of the Fulbright and Salzburg fellowships and studied abroad in Egypt and Salzburg, Austria.

Godwin succeeds Evelyn Wynn, who led the college until returning to the faculty recently. His appointment was effective July 1. The College of Arts and Sciences includes departments and programs including art, biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering technology, English, family and consumer sciences, history, music, math and physics, political science & public administration, sociology and psychology and visual & performing arts. Godwin, the Ira Aldridge Endowed Professor of Theatre Arts, and his wife, the Rev. Cheri L. Godwin are the parents of three adult children.

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Media Contact:
Will Sutton



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