Grambling State & City Town Hall Discuss Grambling’s Future


Historic Unity Town Hall on Monday connects University & City of Grambling leaders 

GRAMBLING, LA — March 13, 2018 – President Rick Gallot and Mayor Edward R. Jones will host students, faculty, and community members at a Monday town hall to discuss the future of theUnity in the Community collaboration between Grambling State University and the City of Grambling.

Billed as a “Unity in the Community” forum, the event is sponsored by the GSU Department of Mass Communication and the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce.

“We know that community partnership is a large part of what makes any University work. At Grambling we are fortunate enough to have a President and Mayor who have an open dialogue that fuels our historic relationship,” said Dr. Robbie Morganfield, event co-organizer and head of the Department of Mass Communication. “I’m excited that we get to publicly host and invite community members into what will be one of many conversations.”

Community residents, media, and the university campus community are invited to attend the forum.

Event Details

Town Hall: “Unity in the Community” 
Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center, 100 North Stadium Drive, Grambling State University on Monday, March 19, 2018, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Community members and attendees are encouraged to submit questions for the panelists about the past, present and future of the city and university.

To submit questions or for more information email or contact Dr. Robbie Morganfield, head of GSU’s Mass Communication Department at 318.274.2189 or Dr. Reginald Owens, president of the Chamber at 318.243.4337.


New Era of Excellence Reception Raises $100k+ for Grambling State

Grambling State Alumni and Friends raise $114,000 to support Presidential Initiatives

March 9, 2018

Draped in black and gold, more than 100 GSU community members joined Jonesboro Mayor Alumni and Friends CheckJames Bradford for the second annual New Era of Excellence Reception Saturday, March 3, 2018 which raised more than $100,000 for Grambling State.

The reception, in its second year, was originally inspired by alumni who, ignited by President Rick Gallot’s appointment, who wanted to create a new way to support GSU’s growth.

“We’re thankful for the many partners and individuals that support Grambling State,” said President Gallot. “That support comes in many ways and when I see folks show up and participate in events like this, it reminds me of the privilege it is to serve our incredible students and community.”

Since 2017 the New Era of Excellence effort, led by long-time alumni and GSU supporter James Bradford, has raised almost $260,000 earmarked to go directly toward University initiatives.

“We do this, because we know that we must,” said Mayor Bradford. “If we don’t support Grambling, who will?”

Hosted by a team of students, alumni, and University staff, the event drew donations and support from some of the largest businesses in North Louisiana including Jonesboro State Bank.

“We’re excited about all of the support we continue to see for Grambling State University,” said Marc Newman, Vice President of Advancement at GSU. “It’s proof that people believe in the leadership and direction of the University.”

For more information on the New Era of Excellence and more opportunities to donate the effort, please visit and select “New Era” in the giving portal.

Grambling State University Lunch and Learn Draws Business Leaders

First National, Coca-Cola, and Others Strategize to Invest in Grambling State

March 6, 2018

Marc Newman, GSU Vice President for Advancement

Business giants in North Louisiana’s economy, including Coca-Cola and First National Bank, are actively strategizing ways to leverage their more than billion dollars in value to support  Grambling State University.

“We’ve been a sponsor for many years and have always gotten a lot out of working with Grambling State,” said Brian Smith, a Senior Vice President at First National Bank. “First National Bank is excited to be a part of the team that supports Grambling’s growing vision.

Smith and 13 other executives from companies that include Primary Health Services, Coca-Cola, and State Farm joined University leaders last Thursday to explore strategies and discuss the future of Grambling State.
“We know our President’s big vision is going to require big collaboration,” said Marc Newman, Vice President of Advancement at GSU. “That means we have to connect with partners who can help turn that vision into a sustainable reality.”

“We have a marketable product – in 2017 over 200,000 guest and fans visited campus. They are consumers who will support our local business partners. Grambling State University is truly a worthwhile investment.”

Newman and business leaders met as a part of GSU’s second annual Lunch and Learn which, in the past two years, has helped coral support for scholarships, campus improvements, and major athletics and facility projects, including recent football stadium upgrades.

This year’s lunch and learn connected 14 partners representing 11 companies whose business range from apparel sales and insurance to healthcare and hospitality. This year’s attending companies included:

  • Ruston Convention Visitors Bureau
  • Primary Health Services Center (PHSC)
  • Collegiate Shop
  • First National Bank
  • Coca-Cola
  • State Farm
  • Reali-Tees
  • I Love my HBCU
  • Fairfield Inn
  • Princeton Place Skilled Nursing & Rehab
  • Tommy’s Tees

“The economic impact of Grambling is immense and growing. It’s showing in the number of companies that show up and support us,” said Newman.

For more information on sponsoring and supporting Grambling State University, please contact

Grambling State Hosts White House Correspondent, April Ryan

CNN Analyst & White House Correspondent to Keynote GSU’s Black History Convocation

By GSU Media Bureau

April Ryan HeadshotGRAMBLING, LA — February 26, 2018 – White House Correspondent, April Ryan, who is well known for her coverage of presidential administrations and African-American issues will deliver the keynote address at the 2018 Grambling State University Black History Convocation on February 27, 2018.

The only black female reporter covering urban issues in the White House and one of only three African Americans to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents Association, Ryan is a veteran journalist who began her White House work during the Clinton era. Since then, she’s grown to become the Washington Bureau Chief for the American Urban Radio Networks and through her “Fabric of America” news blog, CNN appearances and radio content, she reaches millions of Americans weekly.

“For more than one hundred years, Grambling State’s led Louisiana in engaging and attracting those who champion the African-American vantage point in media,” said Rick Gallot, GSU’s 10th President. “We’re honored to host Mrs. Ryan to share her unique perspective with our students.”

Ryan joins a long list of notable African-Americans featured at Grambling State University events, including Roland Martin, Johnny C. Taylor, and Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III.

GSU’s Black History Convocation is free and open to the campus, surrounding communities, and media.

Grambling State University Black History Convocation, 2018
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 | 11:00 a.m.

T.H. Harris Auditorium, Grambling State University

403 Main Street, Grambling, LA 71245

 For media credentials or more information, please contact




About Grambling State University

Grambling State University, located in Grambling Louisiana, is a historically black university founded in 1901. The University has been accredited by 13 accrediting associations and holds accreditations in all programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The 590-acre campus offers 43 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Grambling State University is a member of the University of Louisiana System. For more information visit






By GSU Media Bureau





Two Texas-based African-American mass communication professionals will deliver lectures and provide master classes as part of Grambling State University’s historic Cleo Fields Lecture Series “Why Our Voices Matter” on February 22 and March 15.

James T. Campbell, Senior Manager of Communication and Media for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas, and Nicole Cross, news anchor and health correspondent for KVUE-TV (ABC) in Austin, will talk with students, community members, and classes on the importance of the African-American Voice in today’s changing environment.

The Cleo Fields Lecture Series is named for the historic Louisiana icon, a lawyer who at age 24, became the youngest elected state senator in Louisiana’s history.

Lecture Series Events

Lecture: James Campbell of Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Thursday, February 22 at 11 a.m.
Washington-Johnson Complex, Room 100

Master Class: James Campbell of Blue Cross/Blue Shield
(Exclusive for Students in Mass Communications)
Thursday, February 22 at 1 p.m.
Washington-Johnson Complex, Room 100

Lecture: Nicole Cross of ABC Affiliate KVUE-TV, Austin
March 15 at 11 a.m.
Grambling Hall Auditorium

Master Class: Nicole Cross of ABC Affiliate KVUE-TV, Austin
(Exclusive for Students in Mass Communications)
March 15 at 1 p.m.
Washington-Johnson Complex, Room 100.

The series planning and moderation are headed up by Dr. Robbie Morganfield, head of Grambling State’s Department of Mass Communication and the Cleo Fields Endowed Professor in Mass Communication.

“Our students need to know that they are necessary parts of a puzzle that serve to make this nation great because out of many voices, we become one,” said Dr. Morganfield. “That does not mean we are uniformed; it means we are united in our purpose and identity as a free nation that is richer because of its diversity.”

The series is one of a number of events in GSU’s Department of Mass Communication that is designed to educate students and connect them with real life professionals and experience.

“Nothing beats face-time with real pros who are in the field now doing what students aspire to do,” he said. “Our students can be sponges and soak up knowledge and wisdom from individuals who know their fields and have the accolades to prove it.”

Students interested in Master Classes can register on-site.

For more information on the lecture series and events, please contact Dr. Robbie Morganfield at 318-274-2403 or

About Lecturer James Campbell of Blue Cross/Blue Shield
An award-winning newspaper journalist, Campbell will offer students a perspective on the role that they can play in strategic communication and news media careers and how experience in one media format can often open doors in another. After leaving the Houston Chronicle, Campbell went on to become senior vice president at Fleishman Hillard, Inc., one of the largest international public relations firms in the world.

About Lecturer Nicole Cross of ABC Affiliate KVUE
Cross, formerly an anchor and reporter with KNOE-TV in Monroe and KTBS-TV in Shreveport, is an award-winning journalist who served as evening news anchor and talk show host. As a journalist, and certified mental health expert with more than 15 years of counseling experience, she has worked to cover health-related issues both on- and off-air. In the past, Cross also served as spokesperson for Bishop T. D. Jakes, lead pastor of the Potter’s House Church in Dallas, one of the nation’s largest church congregations.




By GSU Media Bureau

Coca-Cola United’s “Pay It Forward” internship and scholarship contest is open, and two lucky Grambling State University students will win. SnipImage

The company is offering $1,000 scholarships and week-long training opportunities to students from a 16 historically black colleges and universities in the southern United States where the company operates. Students selected for the prestigious program will participate in a weeklong internship at a Coca-Cola UNITED facility in Baton Rouge or New Orleans. GSU and other students selected will be exposed to a range of company roles available at Coca-Cola UNITED, including operations management, sales, marketing, public relations, human resources and accounting. The all-expenses training includes housing, meals and transportation.

The contest is open to students who are 18 years old or older, enrolled as full-time undergraduate students at one of the participating HBCUs. This Internship is open to students of all majors. Applicants have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Students can apply February 1 through March 30. Grambling State students are encouraged to visit the university’s Career Services Office or the institutional advancement office to find out more.

In addition to Grambling State University, participating schools include Alabama State University, Miles College, Stillman College, Talladega College, Tuskegee University, Southern University, Xavier University, Alcorn State University, Dillard University, Clark-Atlanta University, Fort Valley State University, Savannah State University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Albany State University.

For the past two years, 10 students representing five HBCUs in Alabama were chosen to participate. The company expanded the program for 2018 to include schools throughout the seven-state footprint where Coca-Cola UNITED does business.

For more information on the annual “Pay it Forward” student opportunity, visit

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc., founded in 1902 and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, is the largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler in North America and the third largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the U.S. Among the franchises operated by UNITED include Chattanooga, the world’s first Coca-Cola bottler, and Atlanta, headquarters of the worldwide Coca-Cola system. United has approximately 10,000 associates located in 54 sales and distribution territories, and nine production facilities, across seven southeastern states.




By Stephanie Lindsey/GSU Media Bureau

Perry and Monica Jones found their perfect match at Grambling State University, and now they’re using corporate matching gifts to support the university that launched their relationship and their careers. MonicaPerryJonesCelebrationBowlDec2018

Perry Jones, a Chicago, Illinois, native, and Monica Jones, originally from Mobile, Alabama, both came to Grambling in 1980. She was a marketing and information systems major and graduated in 1983. He majored in industrial technology and automotive, and received his degree in 1984.

“Grambling was an amazing experience for both us. It truly was the place ‘Where everybody is somebody.’ You just felt how invested the faculty and administration were in you personally. We came into our own at Grambling and made lifelong friends,” Perry Jones said.

He is the senior vice president for North America, Manufacturing and Distillation – Diageo and she is director of Enterprise Sourcing for Cox Enterprises Inc. They have residences in Atlanta, Georgia and Naperville, Illinois.

 Giving back to the university that gave so much to them has always been a goal for the Joneses. “We have been blessed in our life together after Grambling and because of that we want to see that tradition continue with the next generation,” he said.

In 2009, the Joneses committed to raising $100,000 for Grambling.  Currently, they are over 50 percent of that goal with over $60,000 raised. 

“Due to some of the changes at Grambling over the years, we pressed pause on that commitment. However, we were re-energized with the creation of the Center for Professional Development under Otto Meyers and the outreach by Marc Newman after the installation of President Gallot. We have all the confidence in Rick and Marc’s leadership,” he said.

“It was the gift from Monica and Perry Jones that really jumpstarted my understanding of the power and potential of fundraising at GSU and among the Grambling community. Their generosity came at a pivotal time for me. I was new to Grambling. Their personal support of me and my department’s success is greatly appreciated,” said Marc Newman, vice president for Institutional Advancement at Grambling.

Much of the Joneses’ success in giving back has been through maximizing corporate matching gifts.

“I’ve utilized company match where my company has matched my personal donations. It’s a way to get more money to your chosen charity,” he said.

“The Joneses’ utilization of workplace giving is an example of how powerful the matching of giving amounts can be,” said Newman.

For more information on workplace giving or to make a gift to Grambling State University visit




Potential Tigers and their parents flocked to Grambling State University from all over the country. Although residents of Louisiana and Texas were the majority, guests from California, Florida, Illinois and Oregon witnessed the GRAMFAM in action. Hundreds attend Spring 2018 High School Day at Grambling State University.

Aysha Kemp, 17, a senior from Palm Harbor, Florida, came with the hopes of following in her sister’s footsteps. “My sister went to an HBCU, so I wanted to go to one. She went to Alabama A&M.”

Others, like Brieana Fields, 17, from Houston, were visiting Grambling for a second time. She liked GSU before, so Saturday’s visit was to determine whether the school remains her school of choice after an earlier visit.

“The first time I came I felt home,” she recalled. “Everyone was nice and friendly.”

Kemp and Fields were among more than 850 participants, counselors, parents and alumni registered for the black and gold “Stomp the Yard” experience. It was a record attendance number for a spring High School Day. Of that number, 257 students pre-registered and another 342 students registered on site.

High School Day Browsing Black and Gold“Spring high school day has never looked this good or been this big,” Grambling State University President Rick Gallot exclaimed with enthusiasm. The president greeted visitors with warm welcomes, and he teased the crowd in the T.H. Harris Auditorium with a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity stroll, and a red and white cane.

The day included campus tours led by student ambassadors. Current GSU students mixed with visitors in the auditorium, in the Black and Gold Room for academic program and student group browsing and lunch in the McCall Dining Hall, creating one of the
 liveliest environments at recent high school days.High School Day students with GSU Clothing at the Bookstore.

The “Stomp the Yard” event hosted by MC Fiji and DJ Twinz turned everyone into a hype crowd of gold and black in the auditorium. Participants were amazed by the World Famed Tiger Marching Band, bobbing to their performance of ‘Bodak Yellow’ by Cardi B, and rocking to the GSU anthem. Rapper Whop Bezzy, a Baton Rouge native, shocked everyone when he appeared onstage to his song “You Know I Ain’t Scared.”

High School Day students pose for photo in the Favrot Student Union Atrium.DeVaria Hudson, GSU’s director of admissions, coordinated the day’s big event with assistance from the admissions and recruiting team. Ms. Dee, as she’s known to students, arrived in Grambling in April 2017 after a stint at Nova Southeast University College of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The record-breaking turnout gave Hudson a lot to celebrate. She said student ambassadors were an important part of the success.

Referred to as the heart of admissions, student ambassadors lead visitors as student representatives offering a student-focused experience. Sophomore R’Reon Robinson, 20, a transfer student from Los Angeles, California, and a business management and history major, always wanted to go to an HBCU. She became an ambassador when a friend suggested it as something helpful she could do. She liked the idea of presenting a “student’s face instead of an administrator’s.” Miss GSU Royal Court poses for photo.

This year’s Spring 2018 high school day Robinson’s first big event, and she was pleased with the energy. “I feel like we showed them the best of our campus,” she said.

The next GSU High School Day is scheduled for Sept. 22.

Miniya Shabazz contributed to this report.




When the 64th Miss Grambling State University answered the question, “What does it means to be an American?” for, The Washington Post, she had no idea she would receive so much attention. IMG_1592

In mid-January, Post photojournalist Bonnie Jo Mount sent Jimmitriv Roberson a link to a photo-focused news feature about what unites Americans in a divided nation. Roberson was offered the opportunity by Will Sutton, the GSU director of communications, who received a call from Mount, a former newspaper and teaching colleague.

The Washington Post chose two people from each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., totaling 102 participants. Seven Post photographers traveled across the U.S.A. to conduct the interviews and photo shoots to make this project happen. The second Louisiana person chosen lives in West Monroe, Louisiana.

Once Roberson, the university and others started sharing the link, Roberson started hearing from family, friends and others and she’s been elated since. She had a lot to say, though only a small part of her interview was used.

“I felt that the only thing we have in common as Americans is to be free… Religion is one of the biggest things that separates us because there are so many types of religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Muslim…,” said Roberson, a senior biology major from Arcadia, Louisiana who attended Arcadia High School.

After conferring with Mount, Sutton told Roberson she could be Jimmi or Miss Grambling for the photo shoot, and she thought what better way to represent the university than to represent as Miss Grambling. She put on a nice outfit, sash and crown and. showed up for an 8 a.m. photo shoot in front of Brown Hall on Oct. 2. They took around 500 pictures.

Grambling State SGA President Adarian Williams is happy that Roberson got this national attention from the Washington Post, and he loves the energy it is bringing Roberson and the school. He called it a “marvelous achievement.”

“Jimmi is the type of queen we’re all so proud …I am just so proud of her,” he said. IMG_1556

Roberson said she recognizes that this is bigger than herself and she is grateful for this opportunity. She said she does back-to-back interviews frequently as Miss Grambling but didn’t know it would blow up to this magnitude. She has an electronic version of the “What Unites Us?” feature and she plans to print it, frame it and keep it as a keepsake.

Her high basketball coach found out about Roberson’s accomplishment when she posted the article on social media.

“I feel like it’s a major accomplishment for a young lady that is very deserving… she’s unique in a special way and she really deserves everything that comes to her…it’s remarkable,” said Coach DeAndre Alexander, the girls’ basketball coach at Arcadia High School.

“There are so many positive emotions that I feel. I feel really good that I was able to not only represent myself but my peers, my family, my community and, of course, the university and even the state of Louisiana …,” said Roberson, 21.

“At first I was shocked, and I still am, because it’s something that’s really big being that this is a news outlet that’s very well-known and people don’t just make it to the Washington Post every day,” added Roberson. “People are very proud of me and I’m continuing to remain humble…”





Grambling State University is starting a major reconstruction project, restoring several campus buildings to more extensive use as a part of a $2 million effort. BowlingAlleyLEWIS.DSC_2816 copy

Like a number of individuals and businesses in northern Louisiana, Grambling State University suffered a lot of building damage during a March 2016 flood. Several days of heavy rain brought more than 25 inches of rain to the area, including 20.66 inches at the Monroe Regional Airport, between March 8-11. Scores of people were displaced, and many businesses and homes were damaged, some permanently.

At Grambling State University, five buildings — Charles P. Adams, Woodson Hall, T.H. Harris Auditorium, the Favrot Student Union and the men’s memorial gymnasium – were damaged during the downpours. All will get facelifts.

WoodsonHallLEWIS.copy“This single bid construction project will give our students, faculty and staff more of the campus facilities they deserve,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “Our campus suffered significant damage as others did. It took some time to go through the processes, but we did what we had to do to get to this point.”

GSU Facilities Director Frederick Carr said once the purchase of building construction materials and supplies is completed and the project starts it will take about 300 days to finish all of the work. His goal is to see the work start as early as March of this year so the project can be finished by spring 2019.

The project, which went through a public bid and contract review process in December, was awarded to J.S. Rugg Construction Inc. It will include dry wall replacement, painting, floor and door replacements and repair, electrical fixes, new desk and chairs, plumbing updates and some equipment replacement. In addition, the men’s gym, where a number of student activities and events are scheduled, will get a new transformer and electrical control room repairs. A popular student feature, the eight-lane alley on the first floor of the student union, will be repaired and reopened once the construction is completed.GSUMen'sGymOutside

Carr said some faculty have had to live a “nomad life” since the rain storms, moving from building to building and office to office, complicating consistency and communication among faculty and students and having an impact on classroom instruction. He said a couple of parking lots were damaged so much they haven’t been used since the storm. AdamsHallJan252018HAMLIN.DSC_6783

Gallot said while the storm wasn’t something the university could’ve anticipated, it was the institution’s responsibility to work with the state, the federal government and other parties to get these campus buildings online again. Some, like the student union and Adams, have been partially used.

“It has been very stressful for our students, faculty and staff,” said Carr. “It will continue that way for some time, but the good news is that we’ve got a plan and everyone will see that we’re working the plan.”

HarrisAuditoriumJan252018HAMLIN.DSC_6779Carr said the university is working on a separate, more comprehensive flood mitigation plan that will be developed in coming months.

“These have been challenging times for the GSU family,” said Carr, “but Grambling State University is educating and graduating its students.”