Grambling State students recognized for scholarship, community involvement

GSU Media Bureau

GSU NAACP Scholars - Keely Heggar  and Jessica Clinton Jessica Clinton and Keely Heggar were ecstatic on stage as they accepted scholarship awards.

Clinton and Heggar, Grambling State University students, each received $500 from the NAACP Lincoln Parish Chapter. They were among six area college students receiving scholarships during a mid-January (Jan. 14) event at the Ruston Civic Center.

Neither Clinton nor Heggar took the scholarships for granted, each saying the awards helped teach them the importance of setting goals.

Clinton, 18, a visual and performing arts major, plans to earn her degree and give back to her Ruston family and the Ruston community. She has learned that setting goals are important to success. “Stay focused and do not let anyone detour you,” she said.

Heggar, 18, a social work major also from Ruston, aspires to work with abandoned children, providing them with love while helping the children discover their purposes in life.

NAACP member Brenda Williams, the gift info processing coordinator for Grambling State University, helped choose the 2017 scholarship recipients. “The students submitted applications and completed all criteria required of them, which is the most important step,” said Williams. The applicants were required to provide church, community and school recommendation letters; have some evidence of community involvement and indicate how they promote diversity.

The two young women applied for the scholarships through church mentors who told them about the scholarship opportunity. Karen Lewis, a Sunday school teacher at St. David Baptist Church, notified Clinton. Jack Houston, a deacon at Zion Hill Baptist Church, informed Heggar.

Heggar encourages other students to consider applying for the NAACP scholarships, adding  “…you have to apply yourself, they will not be given to you without hard work and dedication.”

To find out more information about the NAACP scholarships, visit


Media Contact:
Office of Communications


Shabazz, of Maryland, works with prize-winning New York Times columnist Rhoden and The Undefeated

By GSU Media Bureau

Miniya Shabazz Newspaper PhotoMiniya Shabazz has been a Grambling State University student less than 24 months and she’s already an editor with the campus newspaper, a reporter with the university media bureau and she’s been published in area publications. Now she’s become a part of the ESPN family.

Shabazz, 20, has joined The Undefeated’s Rhoden Fellowship program. The sports journalism program focuses on identifying and training aspiring African American journalists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Shabazz, a native of Silver Spring, Maryland, is one of only six college journalists chosen for the prestigious opportunity. The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform initiative for sports, race and culture.

As a Rhoden Fellow, Miniya will report, write and record for The Undefeated. The program includes regular conference calls discussing story ideas, reporting, writing, producing podcasts and advising with William C. Rhoden. This award-winning sports columnist recently retired from The New York Times then joined The Undefeated as a columnist, editor-at-large and director of the fellowship program. The fellows were announced Wednesday, March 8.

Miniya Shabazz, GSU Student, selected for ESPN fellowshipShabazz, raised in Laurel, Maryland, started her college journalism career as a freshman, contributing to the campus newspaper, The Gramblinite, then quickly became its news editor. She is a student member of the National Association of Black Journalists and an active member of the Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. When she learned she had been selected, she found it hard to believe.

“I was filled with excitement and disbelief to be selected…because of the well-known and reputable brand of ESPN,” said Shabazz. “I knew instantly that when I got this opportunity that it would be beneficial to my career because of the nuance of gaining experience with writing and reporting on a national level.”

Rhoden was encouraged to develop the initiative by ESPN president John Skipper and has worked closely with Kevin Merida, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of The Undefeated, to make the Fellows a reality. They approached several HBCUs to be fellowship partners and discussed specific students with journalism and media professors and professionals at those schools. Will Sutton, GSU’s director of communications, suggested Shabazz because “she is committed to her craft, dedicated to being one of the best and because she signs up to get assignments done rather than sign in to get credit.” He said she is an up-and-coming journalist who will blossom with the ESPN experience.

“I am very eager to learn as much as I can, to apply it to my own craft, from the award-winning Bill Rhoden and other affiliates because of their years of experience in the journalism business. Now that I have begun to work at The Undefeated I have already started to serve as a liaison from my university to The Undefeated through podcasting and writing stories. I am very thrilled to be working with other young journalists from various HBCU institutions and look forward to the great content I know we will produce together.”

In addition to Shabazz, other college journalists selected include Kyla Wright, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia; Paul A. Holston, Howard University, Washington, D.C.; C. Isaiah Smalls II, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia; Simone Benson, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, and Donovan Dooley, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, North Carolina.

With support from ESPN, the Rhoden Fellowship is a two-year program established as part of The Undefeated’s mission to develop new voices and serve as an incubator for future multicultural journalists. The fellowship is open to outstanding undergraduate students at HBCUs.

During the academic year, the fellows will report news stories from their respective universities and cover the varied facets of HBCU life, serving as on-campus correspondents for The Undefeated’s HBCU vertical. They will produce daily, weekly and monthly multimedia content, as well as serve as on-site beat writers covering sports teams – college or professional – in their respective markets. During the summer, students will work 40-hour weeks at ESPN for 10 weeks, gaining a first-hand education and experience in sports journalism.

The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture. The digital hub, which launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.

In addition to its cutting-edge content, The Undefeated seeks to be a thought-leader on race, sports and culture in the country – convening insightful forums to discuss and debate topical issues affecting sports and race in America.


Media Contact:
Office of Communications


GSU alumna Finley steps down from federal post after 25 years of service

Stephanie Finley, Retiring U.S. Attorney and GSU AlumGrambling State University President Rick Gallot has congratulated GSU alumna and U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley on her recently announced retirement after 25 years.

“U.S. Attorney Finley has been an exemplary judicial leader and an impeccable Grambling State University example, and I congratulate her on her retirement and I wish her good luck with her future endeavors,” said Gallot, who has known Finley for more than three decades.

In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Finley as U.S. Attorney for the western districts of Louisiana. The district covers 42 of the 64 Louisiana parishes. Prior to that appointment, she was an assistant U.S. attorney, deputy criminal chief and senior litigation counsel for the U.S. attorney’s office in Lafayette office.

Finley, a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, thanked the people of the western district as well as other federal agencies and local partners in the area, adding that her future is bright. “I am excited about what the future holds, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the United States Attorney,” she said, noting that she plans to serve the country in a “private capacity.”


Media Contact:
Office of Communications


Longtime Grambling State educator knows the university, faculty, staff

GSU Media Bureau

Dr. Ellen SmileyGrambling, LA – A number of universities sought to recruit Ellen Smiley as an undergraduate student. Her parents encouraged her to attend Grambling State University; both her parents and her sister are/were alumni. Now she’s the institution’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

GSU President Rick Gallot quickly recognized Smiley’s attributes, contributions and deep love for Grambling State, and he chose her as his interim provost in August. Still, that meant that she would have to compete for the permanent job. There was a national search, a strong pool of finalists and Smiley was the unanimous choice of the search committee. Gallot accepted the recommendation.

“I chose Smiley not only for her strong academic background, but because she has a GSU commitment and heart,” he said.

Smiley completed her undergraduate education at GSU, earning a bachelor’s degree in radio and television communication, now known as mass communication, and she earned a master’s in teaching social science, with a concentration in sociology at Grambling State. She earned her doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors recently (Feb. 23) confirmed Gallot’s selection at its February board meeting in Baton Rouge.

“I am confident that my longstanding history with Grambling State University, vast experience and extensive knowledge will permit me to make an immediate contribution to the overall operational and educational goals of the university, specifically within the Division of Academic Affairs,” said Smiley, a native of Homer, Louisiana. “The Grambling State University family impacts the world in a powerful way.  To serve as the provost and vice president for academic affairs of this prominent institution is a humbling honor.

“I love being a part of President Gallot’s fast-paced, energized team.  His leadership motivates us to pursue excellence in all that we do.”

Smiley was recruited to Grambling State University to assist with the development of the Honors College in 1990. During her career, Smiley has continued her work with the honors program in a number of positions and she has served in other academic and administrative capacities. She has served as the assistant dean of the Honors College, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and executive assistant to the president.  She is a member of the president’s cabinet, the university’s budget and priorities committee and several other university committees. Smiley is quite accustomed to faculty desires and needs, too; she served as president of the Grambling State University Faculty Senate for several years.

Gallot said Smiley’s years of service are a symbol of her commitment and willingness to strive for sustainability and longevity at Grambling State University. “Dr. Smiley has been here and she has a better feel for talented people within a certain area because she is familiar with the employees,” said Gallot. “This advantage allows Smiley to quickly notice, suggest or make improvements because she has analyzed skill sets of faculty, staff and students and will be able to match people in the most beneficial areas to increase effectiveness and efficiency in departments where employees are being underutilized.”

Smiley said she is excited to continue her work at GSU, and to continue in the job she started in late summer, more permanently pursuing goals to improve academics at the school overall and helping faculty provide students with encouraging and substantive learning opportunities.

“Not only does it provide an opportunity to give back to my alma mater, but it is an honor to be a part of President Gallot’s team,” she added. “I plan to cultivate leading strategies to build, manage and recognize a high-functioning, performance-driven team of faculty and staff.   I plan to inspire the faculty, staff and students in a manner that encourages them to release those energies and passion that boost academic excellence.”

Smiley said she plans to pursue new programs and new concentrations as Grambling State “continues to meet workforce demands, ensuring that our learners are prepared to work and serve.”

Smiley is married to Dr. Rory L. Bedford, director of GSU’s Service-Learning and Continuing Education programs and a professor of philosophy, sociology and psychology. They have three children: Joi Bedford-Williams, an alumnus of Alabama A&M University; Samantha Bedford, a senior at Alabama State University, and Prentiss Smiley, a senior at Grambling State University.


Media Contact:
Office of Communications


GSU president is moving swiftly to transition library from academic eyesore to academic example

GSU Media Bureau

President Gallot speaks with attendees at Library Meeting.Grambling State University’s library was built in 1962 and an addition was added in 1986. With decades of use, and limited maintenance, the building is not what it used to be. GSU President Rick Gallot intends to change that – and as soon as possible.

A nationally known library design consultant met with Gallot; faculty, staff and student representatives and Louisiana Board of Regents and University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors members to start the process of replacing the A.C. Lewis Library with a 21st Century library with a much stronger focus on digital resources and technology services.

“I’ve told anyone who will listen that our students deserve better and more when it comes to a library,” said Gallot. “We can no longer accept that what we have is reasonable and good enough. Our students must have the best, and we can do this with reasonable financial costs if we do it right.”

Gallot is pursuing a library project that would downsize the size of the existing library while making it much more inviting and useful to students with more up-to-date resources and technology. The Lewis building is about 87,000 square feet. A significant upgrade with all of the current hardback, old periodicals and other content and databases might take as much as square footage in a new building with a traditional approach. But Gallot said he’s seen better used libraries with fewer books and periodicals housed on site and he’s convinced that today’s GSU students would more frequently use the right kind of library.

Atendees at the meeting discuss the future of the library at GSU.A group of more than 15 listened intently as Denelle C. Wrightson, a library planning and design consultant, shared the latest ideas among nationally recognized library facilities, including small libraries and mega libraries the size of a football field. During her 30 years of experience, Wrightson has assisted with the design of 1,000-square-foot library additions and new libraries of 160,000 square feet. She talked about the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University, often referenced as the “library of the future” because it includes cutting-edge tools, hands-on interactive stations and large-scale technology, including simulated submarines, destroyers and aircraft carriers.

As a part of a transition plan, Gallot said the library books, resources and staff will move to the second floor of Adams Hall to start the process of moving toward a new library. The existing library has had a series of environmental issues, and the president said it is better, and safer, to close the building rather than to continue to invest money in a building that no longer serves students well. He said the library will be relocated for an undetermined period of time as the university pursues the type of facility needed.

The library operates on a limited schedule, closing at 10 p.m. most weekdays, closing at 12:30 p.m. on Fridays and it is open for four hours on Saturdays and six hours on Sundays. Meeting participants said they want to see a 24-hour library, one that online students can use from home or work no matter the hour, and a library that students want to visit regularly. Gallot wants to fast-track the process, aiming to get the project on the April 20 ULS board agenda for consideration.

Such a major project would require support from the UL system board and the state’s board of regents. Board leaders participating in the meeting said they are encouraged, and they want to find a way to make this idea reality.

Shawn Murphy, a ULS board member, liked what he heard during the presentation and the meeting, adding that this type of project is the right thing for Grambling State. “I’m just glad to be a part of this effort, and I look forward to getting this done as soon as possible,” he said. “Kind of like the commercial that says, ‘Let’s get this one done.’”

Longtime ULS board member Winfred Sibille has supported higher education during the decades he has served on the system board, carefully balancing financial requests with justifiable needs. “This project has been a long time coming, and we need to make this a shining effort and an example for other universities that need library facilities.”

Gallot said though Monday’s meeting was successful, next steps include a follow up visit by Wrightson to include more campus stakeholders and a draft proposal with a suggested financial cost and timetable. “This is just the beginning,” he said, “but no really good idea gets anywhere without involving the key players, getting the best reactions and suggestions and moving the concept forward.”

Library Meeting March 2017


Media Contact:
Office of Communications

Look for the Label! Trademark & Licensing at Grambling State University

Look for the Label! Trademark & Licensing at Grambling State University

Grambling State University (GSU) Trademark Licensing, managed by the Office of Advancement, protects the reputation and goodwill of GSU through the control of the appearance of its name and distinguishing marks in the marketplace and elsewhere. Through a partnership with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), we monitor commercial and internal use of GSU marks, name and logos. We promote and advance Grambling State University by keeping its name and distinguishing marks in the public eye and through association with only quality goods and services. Please help us keep the GSU brand strong and request a license before printing or producing materials bearing the University’s name.


Grambling State University (GSU) Trademark Licensing, managed by the Office of Advancement, has been established so that the public properly identifies and associates University logos on products bearing the institution’s marks.

Our mission is to protect the reputation and marks of Grambling State University; to insure that the University receives the appropriate commercial value for the use of its trademarks and to actively enforce the unauthorized use of marks/name and logos of the University.

The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) maintains the official inventory of University names and logos; approves and registers any new marks, logos, etc.; and maintains a list of licensees authorized to manufacture and distribute goods bearing the name, indicia, or logos of Grambling State University.

All of the names, nicknames, trademarks, services marks, seals, logos and mascots which relate to GSU or which members of the public reasonably believe relate to the University are owned by Grambling State University.

More Information: 


Media Contact:
Office of Communications



  • There have been some mumps cases in the Baton Rouge area recently, and we want Grambling State University students to be aware of this situation, and to focus on prevention.
  • Though mumps is no longer very common in the United States, outbreaks continue to occur.

Mumps is spread by contact with infectious respiratory tract secretions and saliva. To help prevent transmission of the illness, people should follow these tips:

    • Practice good hand washing
    • Do not eat or drink after others
    • Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing

Receiving two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best way to prevent mumps.  Proof of immunity to mumps or proof of two doses of the vaccine is required for all GSU students.  However, the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, and the infection can occur even in vaccinated students.

Mumps Infographic


Media Contact:
Office of Communications

C-SPAN Bus Comes to GSU!


March 2
11 am – 1 pm

In front of the
Favrot Student Union 

C-SPAN Bus Comes to GSU! - Mar. 2, 11am-1pm, GSU Campus (FSU)

C-Span Bus Visits GSU - Mar. 2, In from of FSU

The C-SPAN BUS is coming to GSU!
The C-SPAN Bus and crew travel the nation capturing unique stories along the way!

The crew also speaks to students and other groups about filming and video journalism production.
Additionally, C-SPAN sends representatives to introduce visitors to C-SPAN’s public affairs programming while providing a greater understanding of C-SPAN.

Click here for more info (pdf)
C-Span Bus tour wiki
C-Span Bus/Community Website

GSU C-Span Bus Tour


Media Contact:
Office of Communications


Working with a committee focused on $1,000 donors, group tops $100,000 goal to give president discretionary funds to lead institution

By Will Sutton
GSU Media Bureau

GSU Fundraiser Reception - Feb. 2017When Rick Gallot was named the 10th president in July, James Bradford was there in the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors room as scores erupted in glee. Bradford was elated but he decided he had to do something, something big.

Initially, he thought he’d set a goal of raising $50,000 to help the new president take on the challenging job of running a historically black university with dwindling state funding and an enrollment lower than it was years ago. Then, as Bradford quietly talked with a few associates and friends, he decided even that wasn’t enough. On his own, he decided to increase the goal to $100,000.

After a quiet campaign including no advance publicity and lots of telephone calls, emails and letters, Bradford announced that he and a committee of supporters raised $140,000 during a private, special fundraising event in the World Famed Tiger Marching Band band room inside the Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center Saturday night. Bradford teased the scores of people who showed up to support the president as he asked presidential assistant Constance Nelson to add one number at a time on a large check with space for a total. Bradford teased the  president, and the crowd, sometimes saying he wasn’t sure whether they would reach the $100,000 goal. But when the final number was revealed, the president and the crowd erupted in applause and with cheers, and Gallot stood and applauded in the direction of the crowd.

Gallot said he was thrilled, but not surprised.

“I know they were working hard….,” he said. “We had a lot of somebodies in here tonight who really love Grambling, so that part doesn’t surprise me. Given the chance to help the university, we rally around one another and this university, and I am very thankful.”

During an interview, Bradford, also Jonesboro’s mayor, said the group exceeded expectations with personal, one-on-one contacts and requests.

“We made personal contact. Everybody who contributed we called or we saw them somewhere, and we followed up on their commitments,” he said. “After a while people started hearing about it and they said, ‘I want to give,’ and they gave. We could not have done this with another president. …The key was who we have as president now. Rick is the key. They trust him. They support him.”

“The closer we got to it, the more the money kept coming in,” he added. “We were amazed, shocked when we got to $100,000, $105,000, $110,000, and it just kept coming.”

Bradford said raising that much money means “we have life at the university again, saying that Grambling is the Place Where Everybody is Somebody, …People just want to help, and they feel good about it.”

Bradford was clear that the money raised would go into a discretionary foundation account the president can use to get things done “as he sees fit.” Gallot said he will be responsible with the money, adding that “it will go to the betterment of the university and the students and the university will benefit directly.”

Marc Newman, GSU’s vice president for institutional advancement, said he appreciates the committee’s efforts and raising the money will help the university a great deal. Having someone like Bradford was key, he said.

“Having someone of Mr. Bradford’s caliber willing to provide his personal network on behalf of Grambling State University is a tremendous asset,” he added. He said Gallot is “really setting the tone” and the message he is sending to Grambling alums across the nation is ‘It’s time; it’s time to get on board, it’s time to support our institution,’ …and this could not have come at a better time.”

GSU Fundraising Reception


Media Contact:
Office of Communications


By Raven LeDay

GSU Lyceum Committee Black History Month Speaker - Feb. 21, 11am T.H. Harris AuditoriumStudents, faculty, staff and community members are invited to join Grambling State University for Black History Month activities and events as the institution reflects, recognizes and honors contributions of African Americans who have shaped the nation’s economic, political, cultural and social landscape.

Grambling State University’s Black History Month activities include thought-provoking  programs, fun history events and interactive black history opportunities.

The highlight of the month is GSU Lyceum Committee’s guest, multifaceted journalist, Roland S. Martin, host of News One Now on TV One and a syndicated national columnist with Creators Syndicate.


Tuesday, Feb. 7 – “Brick by Brick”
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: T.L. James Building, Room 153, Grambling State University
Happenings: Brief history of behind campus building names

Wednesday, Feb. 8 – FSUB Trivia Game Night
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Favrot Student Union, Black and Gold Room, Grambling State University
Happenings: Test your knowledge of black history

Thursday, Feb. 9 – SGA Scavenger Hunt
Time: 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.
Location: TBD

Thursday, Feb. 16 – “History of Black History”
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building, Room 177, Grambling State University
Happenings: Learn the history of Black History Month and its importance in today’s society

Monday, Feb. 20
Film Viewing and Discussion: “Frederick Douglass: When the Lion Wrote History”
Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building, Room 212
Time: 3 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 20-24
Kinesiology, Sports, and Leisure Studies History Display
Location: Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center

Tuesday, Feb. 21 – Keynote Speaker Roland S. Martin
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: T.H. Harris Auditorium, Grambling State University
Happenings: Keynote address by Roland S. Martin 

Thursday, Feb. 21 – Masters of Social Work Black History Month Program
Event Date: 6 p.m.
Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building Auditorium, Grambling State University

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. “Black Jeopardy” Game Show
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building, Room 177, Grambling State University

School of Nursing: “History of Black Nurses in the 19th and 20th Century”
Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building, Room 240
Time: 1:30 p.m.-12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.-4 p.m.
Happenings: Keynote Speaker Sharon Muriff

Student Presentations and the Influential Community Social Worker Award Presentation
Location: Favrot Student Union, Black and Gold Room
Time: 6 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 23 – Black History Month March
Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Route will start at Clubhouse on R. W. E. Jones Drive and end at the Eddie the Fighting Tiger sculpture on the quad in front of Long-Jones Hall, across from the Eddie Robinson Museum and Grambling Hall

Location: Betty E. Smith Nursing Building, Auditorium
Time: 11 a.m.
Happenings: Keynote speaker Gregory Bridges

Friday, Feb. 24 – History of Jazz
Location: Performing Arts Center, Recital Hall
Time: 10 a.m.

Saturday, Feb. 25 Black History Month with Curriculum and Instruction, the Links Inc.
Happenings: Preparing Males for Manhood: The African Experience
Time: Saturday, February 25, 1 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
Location: To Be Determined

Happenings: Featured Presenters Dr. Lemmy Akoma, professor of political science and public administration, and Dr. Fabian Nabangi, professor of political science and public administration
Time: 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Event: Preparing library books for shipment to St. Mary’s School library in Montego Bay, Jamaica, a community service project for high school males from select area high schools
Location: To Be Determined

“Preparing Males for Manhood: The African Experience”
Location: Favrot Student Union
Time: 1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Preparation for shipping books to Jamaica
Location: Favrot Student Union
Time: 2 p.m.-3 p.m.

Roland Martin Black History Month Speech


Media Contact:
Office of Communications