TECH EXEC ENCOURAGES GSU STUDENTS

eBay’s Black says HBCUs must develop practical, hands-on learning experiences and provide networking opportunities

BY BRANDON-MICHAEL LAGARDE
GSU Media Bureau

Tiffany Black’s first experience at an historically black college university (HBCU) was on the Grambling State University campus. Ebay’s head of global influencer content marketing toured the campus, visited the Eddie G. Robinson Museum and attended the Miss Grambling State University.

During a Friday (Sept. 16) breakfast hosted by GSU President Rick Gallot, Black, shared a wealth of journalistic, marketing, social media insights with students. Black talked and allowed student to ask questions about her career and the opportunities, and challenges, for HBCU students at tech companies in the Silicon Valley.

Black told a group of GSU students that too many HBCU students gaining “text book” educations without the hands-on experience and corporate networking that often matters.  “HBCU students learn and understand practicums and theories but have trouble applying those theories and problem solving issues” sometimes, she said. “In addition, HBCUs have to reestablish pipelines with tech companies in Atlanta, New York and California. Gaining a pipeline allows opportunities such as meeting with employees from Apple, eBay, Google, and Facebook.”

A longtime “ride or die” east coast soul, Black has lived in New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Maryland and Pennsylvania so California is different for her, culturally and professionally.  Growing up in Harlem, Black said she was culturally exposed to Jamaicans, Puerto Ricans, Haitians and other diverse ethnicities and races. In California, she said, diversity means something different on a daily basis, including a diversity of thinking, ideas, gender, gays and lesbians. Plus, she added, San Francisco Bay area companies “definitely interview differently.”

“At Google they’re looking for Googly people but won’t define what Googly means,” she said. “At eBay I was challenged with making a power point presentation with eight slides or less. At this point I’m working in marketing, normally for presentations our slides decks would be 50 slides or more. It was very challenging.”

Black encouraged the GSU students to consider geography but to choose jobs and opportunities across the nation and the world. “Go where the best opportunity is for you,” said Black, who travels with eBay across the United States, London and Germany regularly. “Whether it’s in California, London, New York wherever it is, go for the opportunity first and then seek the community” you need and want to be a part of.”

Black knows there is a great deal of diversity growth opportunity, and she is determined to see others come behind her to help improve staff diversity and company impact. In 2014, when Black joined eBay, she was disappointed to learn that she was one of only 50 full-time African American eBay employees –out of 30,000 employees nationwide. To help the few African American employees encourage and support each other, there was an affinity group, the African American Employee Network (AAEN), since renamed Black Employees at eBay (BEE).

The business and mass communication majors attending the special event learned a lot from Black. Harrington Harris, 20, a junior mass communication major from Phoenix, said “the biggest thing she spoke about was coming into companies and knowing how to do stuff, not being textbook savvy, having hands-on experiences …”

During her visit, Black was constantly on social media talking about her GSU experiences, even using the now popular hashtag #WhyNotGrambling. She was showered with Grambling State gifts and she said she felt quite welcome, especially since she graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She was told she’s now GramFam.

Gallot thanked Black as Taylor Stewart, Grambling State Miss Cover Girl, pinned the a GSU lapel pin on her dress. “Our motto here is, “Where everybody is somebody” and you are somebody here,” the president told her. “The fact you would take time out of your global schedule to be here with us is incredibly important.”

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GSU GRAD ENTERS ARMY ROTC HALL OF FAME

By JESSICA WRIGHT
GSU Media Bureau

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Jeremy M. Martin, Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary of Defense office, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., was recently presented his ROTC National Hall of Fame certificate and medal, by the Honorable Patrick Murphy, Under Secretary of the United States Army.

Grambling State University graduate and former ROTC Cadet Jeremy M. Martin has been inducted in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) National Hall of Fame. Martin, a retired U.S. Army colonel, was one of more than 300 to receive a certificate and medal at the 100th anniversary ceremony for the Army ROTC.

“I am trying to build our network of ROTC graduates form Grambling,” said Lt. Col. Denise A. Moultrie, a professor of military science for the GSU ROTC Tiger Student Battalion who nominated Martin for the honor. “It was the first time that a candidate from Grambling had been selected.”

Martin serves as the principal staff assistant and adviser to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense for communications, news media relations, public outreach, engagement, public affairs and visual information. Prior to his appointment into senior executive service, Martin served for 30 years in the Army. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal.
Martin, a Louisiana native, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Grambling State. He holds a master’s degree in human resources development from Webster University and a master’s of strategic studies (MSS) degree in strategic studies from the United States Army War College. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer’s Basic Course; Military Intelligence Officers Advance Course; Joint Forces Staff College; Public Affairs Officers Course; United States Army War College, and the Department of the Army Senior Leader Seminar.

A few of the notable ROTC Hall of Famers include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito (Princeton), former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State Colin Powell (City College of New York) and NFL legend Jim Brown (Syracuse).

Martin was pleased to be in the special group. “I was happy to be selected to represent Grambling State University,” he said.

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MAYO, MONROE DONATE TWO POLICE CARS TO GSU

Vehicles replace high mileage patrol cars, enhancing campus safety

By WILL SUTTON
GSU Media Bureau

MAYO, MONROE DONATE TWO POLICE CARS TO GSUGrambling State University President Rick Gallot said the first thing GSU Police Chief Howard Caviness did after saying congratulations when he was named the university’s 10th president was to ask for help.

Caviness told Gallot about the high mileage fleet of five police cars included one wouldn’t start, one that couldn’t be driven on the highway and another with more than 204,000 miles.

“I got a call from Chief Caviness congratulating me and before he could finish that statement he said, ‘By the way, I’m down to two operational vehicles. Mr. President, I need some help,’” recalled Gallot, who started as president August 1.

That casual and serious request led to a series of telephone calls and the Monroe Police Department dropped off a couple of low mileage Ford Crown Victorias at the campus police station Wednesday morning. Gallot called Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, who called Monroe Police Chief Quinton Holmes and, soon, a deal was made to seek the approval of the Monroe City Council to transfer the cars to Grambling State.

“Our students’ safety and the safety of all of those who visit our campus is our top priority,” Gallot said during a news conference outside of campus police headquarters as GSU and Monroe police officers stood by.

GSU has had an under resourced and understaffed police department as state funding has declined in recent years, forcing the department to pour money into old cars just to keep a couple of them running in any given week.

“We really do appreciate this,” said Caviness, a criminal justice major at GSU. “I’m a student here at Grambling also, so as a student I appreciate it and as an employee, I appreciate it.”

The GSU police chief said most people look at police cars and say they don’t want to ride in the back seat. That’s understandable, he said, but the Grambling State police officers also provide transportation for students and others.  “Here on this campus, we give rides to the stadium, we give rides elsewhere…And in the rare instance when someone has to go to the jailhouse, we’ll also have a comfortable ride for them.”

Monroe/Mayo Police Car Donation

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GSU ALUMS DONATE $15K TO HELP STUDENTS

The money helps students short of money to get into school or stay in school

By JESSICA WRIGHT
GSU Media Bureau

GSU ALUMS DONATE $15K TO HELP STUDENTSThe Grambling University National Alumni Association (GUNAA) presented the Grambling University Foundation with a $15,000 contribution during Saturday’s football game at halftime.

GUNAA President Melissa Bickham and GUNAA Vice President Thomas Jones presented a check during the Grambling State University-University of Virginia-Lynchburg game at the Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium. The contribution supports the university’s effort to help scores of students close financial gaps. Some students need as little as $200, $500 or $1,000 to enroll in school or to stay in school.

“It sends a strong statement that our alumni are so invested in the success our students,” said GSU President Rick Gallot, “and by making that contribution they allow students to complete the registration process and become full fledged Tigers.”

The contribution aids the President’s Appeal: Student “GAP” Sponsorship, a short-term fundraising campaign that ends Friday (Sept. 9).

Otto Meyers, interim vice president for advancement, research and economic development, said the money will not sit around and will be put to use immediately as the university wraps up its registration period this week. “This will be invested directly into the GAP account… there are already over 100 students identified that we’re trying to support,” said Meyers. “This will immediately allow us to help some of those certain students.”

Since 2013, former members of the Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and former members  of the Delta Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority Inc. have provided monetary support to GSU by fundraising for GUNAA. The sororities collected the funds during a 21-day campaign prior to homecoming last year and grew them throughout the beginning of this year.

Bickham and Jones presented the check to Gallot, Meyers, Helen Godfrey-Smith, foundation president and president of the Shreveport Federal Credit Union, and David “Rusty” Ponton, interim vice president of student affairs.

GSU students, faculty, staff and supporters can contribute to the GAP fund by visiting www.gram.edu/gap or going to the university’s official crowdfunding platform at https://www.givecampus.com/schools/GramblingStateUniversity.

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Three G-Men Named to Black College Football Hall of Fame Watch List

Carter, Stallworth and Williams among players selected

By Candice Dixson,
GSU Sports Media

Three G-Men Named to Black College Hall of Fame Watch ListOn Tuesday, the Black College Football Hall of Fame announced the establishment of the Black College Football Player of the Year Award, along with the watch list of 52 contenders. Three Grambling State University football team members were included on the list in Martez Carter (running back), Guy Stallworth (defensive back) and Chad Williams (wide receiver).

Carter, Stallworth and Williams have earned the privilege of being selected to the watch list, as all three of them are current All-SWAC honorees in their perspective positions on the field. Last season, Carter produced 1,663 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns, Williams finished with 1,012 all-purpose yards and Stallworth lead the team with 101 tackles.

“I am very pleased and excited for our players to receive the honors they have received. Just to be recognized is an honor. Congratulations to all of them, for they work extremely hard for GSU,” said head football coach Broderick Fobbs.

Founded in 2009 by James Harris and Doug Williams, the Black College Football Hall of Fame preserves the history and honors the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Since inception, there have been 64 Inductees, including Mel Blount, James Harris, Willie Lanier, Art Shell and Doug Williams, who all serve as trustees.

“We’re excited about the establishment of this Award, which will honor the best football player attending a Historically Black College and University,” said Super Bowl MVP quarterback Doug Williams, a 2011 inductee and BCFHOF co-founder.

“Players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities have had a tremendous impact on the game of football,” said BCFHOF co-founder and inductee James Harris.

The candidates have been selected based on past performance and future potential. Additions to the list may be made as the 2016 season progresses. The finalists and the winner will be chosen by a Selection Committee.

The winner of the award will be announced on February 25, 2017 at the Eighth Annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia.

For complete coverage of Grambling State University Tigers football, please follow @GSU_Tigers on Twitter, GSU Tigers on Facebook, and @gsu_tigers on Instagram. You can also find up-to date information on all things Grambling State Athletics at www.gsutigers.com.

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GSU PROVOST NAMES TWO DEANS

 

Smiley makes other changes in department leadership

Grambling State University Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen D. Smiley has named new deans at two of the university’s colleges.

Smiley said the moves are aimed at strengthening the institution’s academic offerings while seeking creative approaches to help the colleges, and the university, grow.

Danny Hubbard, interim dean of the GSU College of Arts and SciencesDanny Hubbard has been appointed interim dean of the GSU College of Arts and Sciences and Donald White has been appointed interim dean of the College of Business. Both appointments are effective September 1.

Hubbard had led the chemistry program and served as associate dean of his college. He has been actively engaged with recruiting and training high school students for careers in the sciences.

“Dr. Hubbard has great rapport with the students and is an excellent professor and researcher,” said Smiley.  “He is a problem solver.  His focus on new programs and concentrations will increase the university’s ability to attract majors in the STEM areas and liberal arts.”

Donald White, interim dean of the College of BusinessWhite worked at Grambling State, left for Wiley College, where he was director of organizational management, then returned to GSU a few years later. He has led GSU’s management and marketing program since 2012, and he will continue to serve in that role. White earned a doctorate in business administration from Louisiana Tech University.

“I have watched Dr. White over the years.  His love for the students and commitment to the university is admirable,” added Smiley. “He has a distinct vision for the College of Business that will take us to the next level. Dr. White’s connections and influence with business, industry, and alumni make him the ideal choice.”

Hubbard replaces King David Godwin. White replaces Erick Valentine. Both return to the faculty to teach.

Smiley announced several department head appointments, also effective September 1. Dagne Hill has been named interim head of the Department of Biological Sciences; Stacey Duhon is the interim coordinator for the Department of Sociology and Psychology; Karl Norman has been named interim coordinator for the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and Andolyn Harrison is the interim head of the Department of Educational Leadership.

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GSU AD SEARCH OPENS AGAIN

 

President Gallot calls decision ‘one of the most important’

Grambling State University has reopened its search for an athletics director with the goal of identifying a choice as soon as possible.

The university will repost the job.

“This is one of the most important jobs on campus at any university, and that’s especially true at Grambling State University where we have such a rich and well-recognized legacy in several sports,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “Our coaches, athletics staff and student athletes deserve a permanent leader, and we will make that happen.”

Grambling State is a part of the Southwestern Athletics Conference, which includes Jackson State University, Alcorn State University and Prairie View A&M. The AD supervises all team sports and is responsible for the administration, management and marketing of athletics as well as the academic success of student-athletes.

Interim AD Obadiah Simmons has filled the role since late spring 2015.

A previous search drew more than 40 applicants. The current search includes 12 applicants. Gallot said previous candidates can simply express continued interest without reapplying by the new September 30 deadline.

The president will appoint a search committee including GSU faculty, staff and student representatives as well as Grambling-Ruston area community representatives. He plans to ask for their recommendations and to make a selection by early fall.

“We welcome all highly qualified and highly motivated candidates,” added Gallot. “I know the strength of our athletics brand and we want someone who will take us to the next level. That likely means having a good combination of sports administration and conference experience and knowledge as well as business savvy and great leadership.”

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GSU STUDENT SELECTED AS HBCU ALL STAR

 

Biology major Green surprised when phone call from D.C. gives her a special honor

By JESSICA WRIGHT
GSU Media Bureau

Endiah Green 2016 HBCU All-Star and mentor Melvina Martin, Associate Professor of Biology

Endiah Green 2016 HBCU All-Star and mentor Melvina Martin, Associate Professor of Biology

Endiah Green sat inside the Grambling State University provost’s office suite, waiting for Ellen Smiley to call her in to talk about “opportunities for STEM students” with her faculty adviser and mentor Melvenia Martin. When it was time, they went in and the bright young woman provided some interesting ideas when the telephone rang.

It wasn’t for Smiley; it was for Green.

Elyse Jones was calling from The White House Initiative on HBCUs to personally congratulate Green on being selected to represent GSU as a 2016 HBCU All-Star.

“We really enjoyed reading your application, learning about you and were really impressed with your commitment to your campus and community,” said Jones. “We are looking forward to working with you… we know that you’re going to be a great addition to our 2016 cohorts and you’re going to do awesome things in your community.”

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) works to promote HBCU excellence, innovation and sustainability. The initiative recognizes undergraduate, graduate and professional students for accomplishments in scholarship, leadership and civic engagement. In October, Green will attend the annual HBCU Week Conference in Washington, D.C., with 72 other students.

Green, 20, junior, biology major with a pre-med concentration, learned about the opportunity when she saw a notice on a board in the school’s financial aid office. She thought it was a great program and discussed it with Martin, an assistant biology professor who has worked with Green since 2014. “I’m so happy to be her mentor and that she brought this opportunity to my attention,” said Martin. “Now you (Green) just have to get your peers to apply so we can have more than one.”

The program is open to undergraduate, graduate and professional students at any Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Applicants submit application packages including a nomination form, a transcript, an essay, a resume and an endorsement/commitment letter. As an HBCU All-Star, Green will use social media and personal and professional relationships with community-based organizations to share some promising and proven practices that support young people pursuing academic and career excellence.

Ellen Smiley, Provost & VP of Academic Affairs, and Endiah Green

Ellen Smiley, Provost & VP of Academic Affairs, and Endiah Green (Photos: Glenn Lewis)

Green, a native of Ruston, has been growing in Grambling as a student and a young woman. She went to Grambling Lab High School and she participated in GSU’s High Ability program. In college, she is chief justice for the GSU Student Government Association, she is a member of the Center for Mathematical Achievement in Science and Technology (CMAST) and she is a part of the Favrot Student Union Board (FSUB). She is also is a legacy student, the daughter of Grambling alumnae Karen Green, an administrative assistant 3 in the Grambling State registrar’s office.

“Ms. Greene is one of Grambling State University’s treasures. This accomplishment is a distinguished honor for Grambling State University,” said Smiley. She congratulated Green on her success and complimented her selection in choosing a mentor. “Dr. Melvenia Martin is a faculty mentor who goes above and beyond the call in order to drive her students toward success,” said Smiley.

Green gave Smiley a promise to represent the university well and motivate more students to get involved in STEM opportunities. Green said she had no idea about the recognition, and she was surprised. “Everyone maintained the secret so well,” she said.

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GSU MOVE IN DAY BRINGS SATISFACTION, SURPRISE

 

President, first lady help students move, thank parents for choosing Grambling State

By YA’LISHA GATEWOOD
GSU Media Bureau

GSUPrezRickMoveInAug142016 078
Grambling State University President Rick Gallot helped haul a trunk and more for new freshmen Angel Parker and Dejanay Reed up the stairs to the third floor of the Sojourner Truth dormitory during Sunday’s move in day.

He and first lady Christy Gallot roamed the campus from the campus residential life center to dorms checking on some of the more than 500 students who moved into dorms on campus from as close as Ruston and Baton Rouge and from as far away as Wisconsin, New York and California.

David “Rusty” Ponton, GSU’s interim vice president of student affairs, said even more new students are expected to arrive this week, especially from southern Louisiana areas where heavy rains and flooding have caused extensive evacuations and relocations.

The president said he has been through GSU move in days for years as a lifelong Grambling resident, a Grambling student and graduate, but this time was different. “As president it is very special because all the parents and students I spoke with said the transitioning process has been seamless,” he said.

One parent, Barnessa Reed of Oak Hill, California, said she researched Gallot before flying to Louisiana and she was surprised with an “unexpected…blessing” when she met the president as her two daughters moved in.

“We were walking out to help my daughters move in and there he was…I was like, oh my God, there’s the president,” she said, standing a few feet away from Gallot. “How awesome that he’s out here to greet us.”

The Gallots teamed up with Student Government Association leaders toting boxes, suitcases and bags into dorms as the president asked the new students whether they needed assistance, where they are from and what majors they plan to pursue.

Ruston High School grad Ali Williams, 18, said it was great that the president helped students move in because “he is showing us that he is one of us and that he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.”

Gallot said his presidential style is simple: “Part of being president is being accessible and being visible.”

Fall 2016 Welcome Week

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GALLOT TAPS JOURNALIST TO LEAD GSU COMMUNICATIONS

 

Sutton returns to role after two years teaching journalism, public relations

By JESSICA WRIGHT
GSU Media Bureau

Will Sutton selected as director of communicationsGrambling State University President Richard “Rick”Gallot Jr. has appointed Will Sutton as director of communications, effective immediately.

Gallot said he chose Sutton because of his credentials, experience and connections in the world of journalism and media. The president said he contacted a number of regional media leaders and they all respect Sutton and know him to be a real professional.

“Grambling is a national and international brand so we have to have professionals handling our message who understand the global implications of the Grambling brand,” said Gallot. “When you have someone who can appreciate and understand when something is reported about Grambling it doesn’t just appear in the local media, it can be in the San Francisco Chronicle or The New York Times, the message must be conveyed well enough to be read from coast to coast and even around the world.”

Sutton joined the Tiger family in January 2012 when he began teaching a business journalism class as part of the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism as a visiting professor in a program that pairs veteran journalists with academic institutions to encourage stronger business and financial journalism training. He was asked to remain at GSU as the director of media relations later that year then returned to the classroom for the last two years.

“I’m glad President Gallot has such a respect and understanding about the importance of communications and media, and I look forward to helping him spread the good news about this wonderful institution,” said Sutton.

The New Orleans native was one of four visiting professors funded by a $1.67 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. His journalism and public relations career includes leading award-winning teams at various media outlets. “Overall, wherever I am, whatever I do, I am a people person focused on making the people for whom I work better,” said Sutton. “I do so by listening to and reading people; through accountability and responsibility and connecting daily and regular task with larger desires, goals and philosophies.”

Sutton is a former deputy managing editor of The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina; managing editor and editor and vice president of the Post-Tribune in Gary, Indiana, from 1993-1996. He was the 13th president of the National Association of Black Journalists and taught at his alma mater, Hampton University, as the Scripps Howard Endowed Professor at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Sutton has judged several competitive journalism competitions, including the Pulitzer Prize. During his time teaching at GSU, he has helped mass communication students gain valuable work skills through various journalism and media experiences as well as internships, including the Dow Jones News Fund Business Residency at New York University, where he has served as director annually since 2014. An Eagle Scout, he sits on the board of the Louisiana Purchase Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Sutton lives in Grambling with his wife, Cheryl Sutton. They have one son, Tre.

Joining Sutton in the university’s communications unit are Greta Carter and Jessica Wright.

CarterGCarter, a Grambling native, is the communications and marketing specialist, working with internal and external media audiences. She returned to GSU in February 2015 as director of the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) in the College of Business then became special assistant to the president. A summa cum laude GSU graduate, she earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science/mathematics, and her master’s in human development and early childhood disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is working on her dissertation in her doctoral studies in developmental psychology and neuroscience at UT-Dallas.  Prior to coming to GSU, Carter was dean of students at Shelton School in Dallas.

WrightJWright returns to the unit, taking on the role of social media coordinator and writer. She moved to Grambling from Mesquite, Texas, to study mass communication in 2007. She worked as a student in the unit and became communications coordinator. She spent several months as a program analyst/office manager in the Title III office. Wright did a research development and marketing internship with the Boys & Girls Club of North Central Louisiana in 2011 then started worked at the club part time. A 2012 GSU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with a broadcasting and public relations focus, Wright went on to earn a master’s in mass communication in 2014 at Grambling State. She spent a summer as a Dow Jones News Fund business journalism intern with the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) working with media relations, marketing and communications in Denver and worked as a communications intern at the North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) in Monroe.

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