Johnson, state’s first African American female chief justice, scheduled to speak at Dec. 16 graduation
GRAMBLING, La. - Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua. Johnson will deliver Grambling State University’s 2016 fall commencement speech. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. December 16 in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center on the university campus.
“As one of the first African American women to attend the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University (LSU), she is a trailblazer for women and men in the judiciary,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “Chief Justice Johnson has always advocated for civil rights, social justice and empowering communities. She has practiced at all levels of the judiciary, and has provided services to clients in socio-economically deprived neighborhoods. We are so honored to have her as our commencement speaker.”
Johnson is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she earned her a bachelor’s in political science in 1964. In 1969, she earned her juris doctorate from LS ‘s Paul M. Hebert Law Center.
Her career path emphasizes principles of justice, fairness, equality and a life of service. Johnson chairs both the Louisiana Supreme Court’s Judicial Council and the Human Resources Committee. She has served as a member of the Court’s Legal Services Task Force and the National Campaign on Best Practices in the area of racial and ethnic fairness in the court system. She is an active member of the Women in Prison Project, the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Louisiana State Bar Association.
Johnson was awarded the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Spirit of Excellence Award from the ABA’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession in 2010. That same year, she was inducted into the National Bar Association’s (NBA) Hall of same.
Johnson is an active member of the New Orleans Chapter of Links Inc. and the Omicron Nu Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.
Johnson is the proud parent of two adult children. Her son, David, is an accountant living in Atlanta, Georgia, with his family. Her daughter, Rachael, is an attorney licensed to practice law in Florida and Louisiana.
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Grambling State World Famed drummers are a rare sight on band drum line
By MINIYA SHABAZZ
GSU Media Bureau
History was made in the World-Famed Tiger Marching Band this semester when the “Snare Sistahs” – Janequia Alberty, Brianna Cannady, and Ya’Lisha Gatewood – came together to play the snare drums.
“Women have been a part of the snare drum since the early ‘80s,” said Edwin Thomas, a Grambling State University assistant director of bands from New Iberia, Louisiana, who supervises the band’s drum line. “You might have one every four years because this is a predominately male-oriented section.” The trio played at the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game at NRG Stadium. They played as the G-Men won against Alcorn State University, 27-20. Next, they will be headed to Atlanta to play the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion North Carolina Central University Eagles at the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 17.
Alberty is new to the GSU World Famed Tiger Marching Band, but music has been part of her life since she was four years old, and she’s been in a band since sixth grade.
“Music always had a positive role on my life so I choose to be in music instead of sports,” said the freshman, an engineering technology major from Lancaster, Texas.
She was introduced to Grambling by her high school band director, Adrian Bonner, a World Famed drum major who was attended GSU in the late 1990s. Alberty attended GSU’s summer band camp after her junior year in high school, as she was going into her senior year, — and she was hooked.
“That was the main reason why I wanted to come because I got to see how Grambling style was and just the way it felt,” Alberty said. “It felt like home.”
After auditioning for the World Famed, she was awarded a P1 rank, the highest rank in the band based on accuracy, musicianship and more. She is proud to be a part of the band, and this specific part of history.
“Women are like secret weapons on snares. If you go to any other HBCU drumline, they don’t really like women or have women that can play snares, so for us to play at Grambling, for them being World Famed and being women it feels phenomenal,” she added.
Cannady, a freshman in the band, has been playing snare drums since the age of seven. Her father was her inspiration. He started her on a drum set at church, and she would play when her father sang in the choir.
“My daddy molded me to being a drummer because he was a drummer in high school, too,” said Cannady, an engineering technology major from Tulsa, Oklahoma. “He didn’t play snare. He played quints and base, and he taught me everything I know.”
Canndady started playing in a marching band in sixth grade, and she’s attended Grambling’s band camp every year since the eighth grade.
“In the eighth grade when the band camp had opened back up, my middle school director took us here and I would always come to band camp every year…,” she said.
Thomas said she was persistent.
“She called me for a month straight,” he recalled. “She wanted to come to Grambling. She kept calling to make sure her paperwork was straight, that her audition was straight. Anytime somebody wants to come that bad, that’s the kind of people we want.”
Cannady is short in stature but she can play the drum as if she were six feet tall.
“It’s a little overwhelming at times, but it’s a great thing because boys underestimate women and they get mad when they see women can actually do what they do and even better. It’s actually an honor to be a girl drummer in the band, especially being my size and carrying the same drum as everyone else,” said Cannady.
Gatewood is the veteran female snare drummer in the World Famed. She’s been playing snare in the Tiger marching band since 2013.
Gatewood is no stranger to making history as she was the first African American female snare drummer at Airline High School in Bossier City.
She has been playing drums for 12 years and started playing in the band in the sixth grade.
“When I was in fifth grade, I watched drumline for the first time and I remember when GSU was going onto the field right after the girl was singing the anthem, and I was like whatever school that is, I want to go to that school,” said senior Gatewood, a mass communication major from Shreveport.
She didn’t play snare drums until her senior year of high school, and she can play other instruments as well. Gatewood started out on bass drums in middle school, and she played xylophone and cymbals in 9th-11th grades.
“It’s a hobby that I like to do,” she said. “I like to perform, I love to put on a good show and I like when we all play together and sound alike. It’s real fun.”
With all of the hours of practice required to execute not only the precision playing, but also the precision marching required of members of the World Famed Tiger Band, this trio has become more than part of the drum line. They’ve become sisters, snare sisters.
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GSU tops five other teams in Bayou Classic natural disaster competition
By MINIYA SHABAZZ
GSU Media Bureau
A group of Grambling State University students put their minds to work in the last several weeks to take a shot at winning a business technology competition, a contest with the equivalent of NFL football playoffs leading to a Super Bowl business game day challenge.
Not only did they make it to the finals, but won the entire competition. They won $10,000 towards their project entitled Relief Front.
Barry Bontiff, Kenneth Tanner and Joshua Anderson think when there are natural disasters, one solution is to provide and online market place to match those in need with disaster area businesses. The idea captured the imaginations of a panel of judges, and the team won $10,000 to implement their idea during a Bayou Classic Biz Tech Challenge (Nov. 26). Designed to get college students thinking about how to best fix natural disasters, the New Orleans competition featured students from Grambling State and five other universities. A panel of four judges considered each proposal, and the GSU students came out on top.
Byron Clayton, CEO of NexusLA, hosted the event for his company, and Kelisha Garrett of the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, assisted as a special guest speaker.
The big win provided a different type of big game emotional win, one emphasizing academics.
“Bayou Classic is more than a football game there are other opportunities that highlight our students who are doing great things,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “We have a lot of great students who have never put on a band or football uniform by they are the core of our university.”
Ellen Smiley was equally excited.
“The team and their faculty mentors have demonstrated scholarship, leadership and comradeship throughout the Biztech Challenge competition,” added Smiley, dean of the university’s Lester B. Cole Honors College and interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “They are exemplary examples of what Grambling State University represents — leaders on all playing fields. As always, we are proud of our dedicated faculty and outstanding students.”
The competition was stiff. Nineteen teams participated, and only a few made it to the final competition. The GSU students competed with six teams from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Southern University-Shreveport and three New Orleans-based institutions, Southern University-New Orleans (SUNO), Dillard University and Xavier University during the finals the day before the Bayou Classic football clash between Grambling State and Southern.
The judges included Louis M. Freeman Jr., an innovation catalyst; Yvette Moody, from an IBM Baton Rouge client innovation center; Lyndon B. Johnson, a Caddo Parish commissioner for District 2, and Christopher Reade of the Carrollton Group/LookFar.
Tanner said he and his team worked hard to prepare a strong proposal connecting with the natural disaster concept.
“We believe that the internet gave the ability to connect people and it is a powerful tool,” explained Tanner, a senior marketing major from Rancho Cucamonga, California. “We just wanted to create a product that utilizes the full potential of the internet, something that gives both parties benefits.”
Xavier University won second place with a prize of $6,000. Southern University at New Orleans won third place with a $4,000 prize..
Gallot said he loves that others can see that Grambling State students are capable of so much. “We’re so proud of our students for their participation and winning the BizTech Challenge and the work that they are doing,” he said. “I was honored to be in the audience when they made their presentation, and I’m not surprised at all that they won and I want to congratulate them on a job well done.”
Tanner said the win was special for he, Bontiff and Anderson for another reason. “This our last semester at Grambling, so to leave with a bang and get a win with GSU was a great feeling.”
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Rematch against Alcorn State is for the conference championship, and a trip to Atlanta
By KOURTNEY BURNEY
GSU Media Bureau
This time, in 2016, Fobbs expects a different result. He wants to win as he continues to build a championship-quality team, and program. Many see a resurgence of the Coach Eddie Robinson days.
“I hope that’s right. I don’t think it is me,” Fobbs said after a Friday (Dec. 2) morning news conference at NRG Park stadium. “I think it is our entire program. Our coaches do an exceptional job in preparing our players — and the players do a good job of doing what we ask them to do.”
Fobbs said his team will come out strong during the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s “Judgment Day” SWAC championship game at 3 p.m. Saturday where the Houston Texans play. “You can expect to see a fast paced game on Saturday. We have a lot of athleticism on the team to watch out for,” said Fobbs.
The weather is expected to be bleary and rainy, but the teams will play in a domed stadium. GSU’s Tigers and Alcorn’s Braves battled it last year and, ultimately, the Braves won the championship. The G-Men have been dominant in the SWAC in several categories, including offensive, and landing nine first team players on the SWAC all-conference team this week.
Saturday’s rematch will determine which team is the 2016 SWAC championship team, and who faces the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference champion North Carolina Central University Eagles in the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 17 in Atlanta. The Grambling Tigers have an undefeated 9-0 conference season. The Braves are 5-5.
“From going to winning one game a season to the position where we are at now is amazing and also a blessing,” said Miller, 22, a graduate student majoring in sports administration from Ruston, Louisiana. Stallworth, 22 a senior from Gulfport, Mississippi, majoring in criminal justice, said he has seen success by “surrounding myself with such positive people and positive coaches and teammates to keep pushing forward…” and he will take that into Saturday’s game.
Grambling President Rick Gallot has witnessed a lot of greatness as a youth, as a GSU student and as an adult when it comes to Grambling football. In his first few months as president, he’s seen an undefeated season, and now a championship game. “I just thank God for this opportunity,” he said. “Coach Fobbs does such a wonderful job, and the tiger team does a tremendous job both on the field and off.”
Interim Athletic Director Obadiah Simmons said this weekend is full of expectations and exciting experiences for GSU alums, students, faculty, staff and supporters, and “it means another opportunity to earn another championship for Grambling State University.”
The game is not the only SWAC activity this weekend. There was a SWAC Hall of Fame Dinner Thursday night, and there is a college expo at the stadium before the game. The game will be hosted by radio and television personalities Big Tigger and Traci Steele, affiliated with BET.
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Bryant joins Grambling State as a successful athletics administrator who impressed Gallot, search committee with his experience, outlook
Grambling, La. - Grambling State University President Rick Gallot has hired Paul Bryant as the institution’s next athletic director, effective January 1, 2017. Bryant, who has more than 25 years of experience in athletics and 22 years of coaching, has a strong track record of business acumen and sports success at South Carolina State University as director of athletics and previously as director of athletics at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and director of athletics at Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois. The hire is subject to the approval of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, and the hire has been included on the board’s December 8 meeting agenda.
“We had an impressive group of two dozen candidates, and quite a strong group of finalists for this important job,” said Gallot. “Bryant rose to the top and he was the choice of the search committee because of his tremendous experience and success, particularly his business knowledge and skill.”
Bryant has a two-year agreement with GSU. He will earn $130,000 annually, and the Grambling University Foundation has agreed to supplement his university salary with another $30,000. As athletic director, Bryant will be responsible for the management and supervision of Grambling State’s 15 sports programs: football, men’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field; women’s basketball, bowling, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, women’s tennis, soccer, softball and volleyball.
“I am excited to lead one of the nation’s most historic athletic institutions, a school with a huge national and international brand, and I’m grateful to President Gallot and the search committee for this opportunity,” said Bryant. “We will address the issues that need to be addressed and take the athletics program to the next level,”
Bryant succeeds Obadiah Simmons, who has served as interim athletic director for the last 16 months. “Dr. Simmons has done an incredible job under challenging and trying circumstances as he helped us through this major transition while continuing in his role as the head of our kinesiology department,” said Canal. “We were fortunate to have someone of his experience and stature to handle such a task.”
He has been married to Shannon Bryant for 25 years. They have a daughter, Kayla, 23, an assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a son, Paul Jr., 16.
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Reprinted, original source: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/grambling-assistant-wins-afca-award-152712254–ncaaf.html
Grambling assistant wins AFCA award
(STATS) – Grambling State offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Eric Dooley was named the FCS assistant coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association on Wednesday.
The award, first presented in 1997, honors assistant coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement.
Dooley is in his 22nd year coaching college football, including the last three on coach Broderick Fobbs’ staff at Grambling State. The Tigers (9-1) have the top-ranked offense in the Southwestern Athletic Association as they head into the conference championship game against Alcorn State on Saturday.
An active member of the AFCA, Dooley has volunteered his time at every coaching stop, including serving as a mentor for the Alma J. Brown Boy Scouts, working with high risk students in after school or summer programs, visiting retirement homes and volunteering with the Salvation Army Christmas Drive, Girl Scouts of Baton Rouge, Southern University November Turkey Drive, FCA/CCA field days and various Reading Literacy Fay programs.
The other finalists for the FCS award were Randy Hedberg of North Dakota State, Tim Plough of Northern Arizona and Brian Rock of Holy Cross.
Winners also were selected on the FBS, Division II, Division and NAIA levels. All of the winners will be feted at the AFCA Honors Luncheon on Jan. 9 in Nashville, Tennessee.
American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Press release: http://www.afca.com/article/article.php?id=2824
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NEW ORLEANS, LA – With focus on technology and family unity, the 2016 Bayou Classic introduced new and exciting events to the weeklong festivities. Between the new events, celebrity starpower and winning seasons in the SWAC conference for both Grambling State University and Southern University, this historic Bayou Classic had the largest crowd since the Classic returned to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2006.
The Bayou Classic is the annual extravaganza bringing the fans and alumni of Grambling State University and Southern University to New Orleans each November for a celebration of football, family and the traditions surrounding Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The attendance at this year’s Bayou Classic was 30,231 for the Battle of the Bands and Greek Show and 67,845 for the 43rd Annual Bayou Classic game – an increase of almost 5,000 attendees from 2015.
The Bayou Classic has something for everyone. It’s no wonder why the event attracts over 200,000 patrons to the city annually. Popular Louisiana sports website, SportsNOLA.com claims, “The Bayou Classic remains a winner. While Grambling took home the trophy, the real winners were New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.”
“The Bayou Classic is more than a game,” says Dottie Belletto, President and CEO of New Orleans Convention Company, Inc. (NOCCI), the management firm of the Bayou Classic. “Business and technology have come to Bayou Classic in many forms – through the mobile app, Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge, IBM Cyber Cafe and more, Bayou Classic continues to grow as it offers something for everyone. As we go into the future, we look forward to what Bayou Classic will bring in 2017.”
Highlights of the 43rd Annual Bayou Classic include:
- With the Grambling Tigers winning the Bayou Classic with a score of 52-30 against the Southern Jaguars, the Tigers lead the series holding 22 victories in the 43 game series.
- With the win, the Grambling Tigers move onto the SWAC Championship against Alcorn State to be held in Houston on Saturday, December 3, 2016.
- This historical matchup was the first time both teams came into the Bayou Classic undefeated in SWAC play.
- The 2016 Bayou Classic introduced its first ever mobile app in which users could vote for their favorite step team at the Greek Show and MVP of the game.
- Hotel occupancy for Bayou Classic weekend was 97% citywide.
- The Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Day had an increased attendance of more than 83,000 attendees.
- Bayou Classic Fan Fest, presented by Cox Louisiana with entertainment by iHeart Radio, had an attendance of more than 12,000 attendees.
- Hundreds of students gathered information from more than 30 colleges and businesses during the Bayou Classic Career & College Expo.
- Attendees of the Bayou Classic Career & College Expo were able to apply for jobs and higher education programs on the spot at the brand new IBM Cyber Café.
- Following the Career & College Expo, 68 students from all six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Louisiana competed in the Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge, created in partnership with NexusLA. The winning team of the competition was awarded $10,000 and an additional $5,000 in legal counsel for their technology and comprehensive business plan to assist small businesses affected by natural disaster.
- Anika Noni-Rose from Dreamgirls, Roots and the upcoming BET Show, The Quad served as a guest judge for the Greek Show and media-mogul Nick Cannon made an appearance at the Battle of the Bands as well as hosted the Official Battle of the Bands After Party & WILD’N OUT Karaoke Event at Metropolitian Nightclub. New Orleans Native and Actor, Wendell Pierce from the hit HBO show, Treme was also present.
- Gospel singer, Kim Burrell wowed the crowd with her acapella rendition of the National Anthem before the big game.
- Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Lt. Governor Billy Nunguesser and Anthony Pope, senior vice president and region manager for Cox’s Southeast Region conducted the coin toss before the big game.
- The Bayou Classic partnered with the Southeast Louisiana Council of Boy Scouts of America and unveiled a limited edition merit badge for their participation in the Bayou Classic.
- For the first time, the Bayou Classic introduced the MVP Club presented by AARP Louisiana to honor the athletes awarded MVP during the Bayou Classic’s history. Legendary Bayou Classic athletes including, Doug Williams, Eric Randall, Sammie White and Quincy Richard were all present.
- The Bayou Classic hosted the New Orleans Education Forum featuring the Louisiana Federation for Children, U.S. Black Chamber and New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce focused on “creating America’s new work force.”
- On Twitter, #bayouclassic and #bayouclassic2016 generated over 8.5 million impressions reaching over 3.7 million social accounts. The Bayou Classic Facebook Page received over 5,000 likes in 2016 increasing the page to over 81,000 likes. All Bayou Classic social pages combined generated a total of 12.1 million impressions reaching over 7.3 million social accounts.
About Bayou Classic:
The Bayou Classic is the legendary game between Grambling State University and Southern played in New Orleans each November. With viewership over 5.5 million in 2015 on the NBC Sports Network, the Bayou Classic has proven to be a steadfast beacon of legacy and tradition that extends beyond the HBCU community. Over 200,000 fans from across the nation journey to New Orleans during Thanksgiving weekend to witness the electrifying football game between Grambling State and Southern, while eagerly awaiting the highly anticipated halftime show featuring two of the greatest marching bands in the nation. For more information, visit www.mybayouclassic.com or download the official Bayou Classic mobile app.
The 43rd Annual Bayou Classic is supported by the following organizations – MillerCoors, The Louisiana Office of Tourism, The New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation, The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, United States Marine Corps, Hyatt Regency New Orleans, IBM, McDonald’s, MetroPCS, Cox Louisiana, United States Army, UBER, The Coca-Cola Company, AARP Louisiana, Allstate Insurance Company, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, AHF, AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, SMG, Downtown Development District, Acadian Ambulance Services, French Market District, Cracker Barrel Old Country Story, Entergy Louisiana, Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Parish of Caddo – Shreveport, Amtrak, Essence Festival, Visit Baton Rouge, iHeart Radio New Orleans & Q93, Cumulus New Orleans/Baton Rouge, Konsole Kings.
By Collin B. Jno-Finn
GSU Media Bureau
Grambling State University’s Keisha Laville, a junior social work major from Dominica, has won the National Association of Black Social Workers of North Louisiana award for outstanding work as an undergraduate student.
The award is bestowed on a student with a GPA of 3.0 or above, who excels in academic work, participates and contributes to community and or academic organization affairs, plans to pursue social work as a profession and intents to focus on a specific area of interest in social work. Additionally, the nominee had to submit a 500-word essay including future plans and specific interest in the field of practice of social work.
Clarence Williams, Bachelor of Social Work program director, nominated Laville for the award. “She (Laville) is an extremely hard worker and is always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. Moreover, she has conducted research and made presentations off campus with me on several occasions,” he said.
Upon graduation, Laville plans to work primarily with juveniles. Laville said the problems with juveniles start at a young age, “however, my plan is to develop programs and policies that will enable them to better cope with the difficulties they encounter. As social workers we cannot say that we will totally eliminate all of society’s problems but my plans is to help them deal with their difficulties.”
Laville plans to pursue further studies by obtaining a masters in social work and is pondering enrolling in a doctoral degree in social work or related field.
This is the fifth time that a Grambling student has won the award in the last six years.
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The Grambling State University Black & Gold Room was transformed into a mini-island
paradise when the International Student Organization commemorated the Caribbean island of the Commonwealth of Dominica’s 38 th independence anniversary earlier this month.
The event included the nation’s folk songs, dance and a video presentation on Dominica’s
history and culture. The room was adorned with the bright green, yellow, black and white
colors of the country, commonly referred to as the Nature Isle.
Program chairwoman Nathalie Alfred said the program was geared at spreading
awareness of Dominica since many students and faculty on campus are unfamiliar about this tiny Caribbean island. Additionally, it was an opportunity to bring the sizable Dominican student
population on campus together. About 45 Dominicans are on campus this semester.
Dominica often is mistaken for the Dominican Republic, which is a Spanish-speaking
island that shares landmass with Haiti, Alfred said. The crowd of fellow Dominicans, GSU
student leaders and administrators were informed that the predominant language in Dominica is English, while a small percentage of the population speaks Creole French.
Dominican students used this activity as an opportunity to demonstrate traditional wear
commonly referred to the Wob Dwiyet. The pulsating and rhythmic music captured the
audience’s attention as Dominicans performed their Quadrille and Bèlè n ational dances.
ISO President Niana Celestine, a Dominican double majoring in Computer Science and
Marketing, said the program was a “good opportunity to share our culture, food, language and
dance with the student population.”
Dominica established a partnership with Grambling State University in 2005 and sends
students to acquire undergraduate/graduate degrees in various academic fields.
Born, and reared, Gramblinite has a rich history contributing to his success in his first 100 days as GSU president
In his first few months as president of Grambling State University, Rick Gallot has performed as gracefully as the GSU G-Men football team does on the field, according to state leaders, students and his pastor.
Gallot, a Grambling native and the university’s 10th president, started his first day on August 1 has involved himself on campus and off campus in ways that make him one of the more visible presidents. He told the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors on the day of his July interview that, if selected, he would put God first in all things and that’s how he would approach being president.
His 100th day in office November 8. He has participated in the school’s Welcome Week activities in August, including time spent helping students move into their dorms, sometimes shocking students and their parents as he lifted boxes and luggage.
He’s visited university departments, colleges and units, including some where they haven’t seen a president where they work, ever. Gallot took a selfie on stage during high school day, and struck a pose at the homecoming concert in the Fredrick Hobdy Assembly Center. He quickly got involved with the negotiation of head football Broderick Fobbs’ contract, getting a two-year extension as the coach agreed to a no-increase agreement focused on salary pools to satisfy his assistants and staff.
The president pushed GSU in the national HBCU conversation as he appeared on Roland Martin’s TV One News show, and he’s been on social media regularly each week; he can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and from time to time he’s even on SnapChat.
Gallot did not celebrate his 100th day in office on Tuesday (Nov. 8). It was another day of work at the school he loves, and the university that gave him the foundation that has led to his leading his alma mater. He continues to find different ways to raise the school’s profile, and to make Grambling State a part of conversations to gain support.
The new president even got Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to visit Grambling State’s homecoming game on Oct. 29.
State Rep. Patrick Jefferson, a longtime Gallot friend, visited Gallot a couple times since taking office and GSU student Braxton Matthews is thrilled with Gallot’s frequent appearances on campus.
Matthews, a senior computer Information systems major from Houma, Louisiana, said he’s excited. “I’ve been at Grambling since 2013 and I have met and shook President Gallot’s hand more times this semester than any other president in my four years here,” said Matthews, 22. “Every time Gallot and I shake hands it shows me he cares about the students and the university. He’s going to do great things for Grambling.”
During an interview at the homecoming football game, Edwards said Gallot’s performance as the Tiger-in-Chief has been welcome.
“Based on everything I can gather, he’s doing the job we all expected him to do,” Edwards, who served in the Louisiana state legislature with Gallot and became his friend, said as he stood in the Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium. He hasn’t been here long, but the family around Grambling is really tight. And when I say the family I don’t mean right here at the university or in the city of Grambling.
“The alumni around the state and around the country are going to support Rick and I know he’s going to get support from the Louisiana System, he’s going the get support from my office and the legislature. I’m very optimistic about the future of this university under his leadership.”
It’s that tight Grambling family that helped groom Gallot to be the newest GSU president, and he appreciates and respects what has been done to help him become the top university leader.
One of Gallot’s first actions as president was honoring the late Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones, the university’s second president, by selecting his university email account as firstname.lastname@example.org.
“That’s a tribute to Prez Jones,” said Gallot. “He was the kind of president who knew about you.”
When Jones retired in 1977, he built a house next door to Gallot’s family home. During Jones’ retirement Gallot often visited Jones at his home, programmed Jones’s television remotes and chatted about young Gallot’s personal life.
“One of the things I did was set up my email address as Prez@gram.edu, that’s a tribute to Prez Jones,” said Gallot. “He was the kind of president who knew about you.”
Gallot said he got to know Jones and famous GSU head football coach Eddie Robinson well as a kid growing up in Grambling. “I got to know them on a personal level,” he said. “They were genuinely good people who were concerned about you as a student, as an individual and what your future would be, and how they might help you to get where you were going … in life.”
President Gallot grew up playing basketball at Kenny Patton’s house, right across the street from Robinson on Adams Avenue. Gallot respected Coach Rob as more than a football coach. Coach Rob asked him about his grades, and his parents. He got to know Gallot. PrezRick, as he’s sometimes called and often referred to on social media, experienced what most of the world never saw: Robinson the man.
Gallot’s father, former Grambling Mayor Richard Gallot Sr., said his son’s relationship with Jones and Robinson was very good. “A lot of kids would come over, or he would go play and they would talk to the coach,” said the elder Gallot, who has been cutting hair at his Grambling barbershop for about 50 years.
Jefferson, Gallot’s successor in the 11th district, which includes Bienville, Claiborne and Lincoln parishes, grew up knowing and competing against Gallot in basketball and band. As a kid in the neighboring community of Arcadia watching Gallot and playing against him, Jefferson said “you knew then there was something special about him.”
“Mr. President is doing a stellar job; he has exceeded expectations and the thing that is so important is the energy and the enthusiasm he brings. It is unparalleled.
“Grambling is a very special place and has a very special person leading it at this unique time in our history. With me being a public servant I go across the state and interact with folk the primary question asked is what took us so long to name him,” added Jefferson.
Gallot attends New Living Word Ministries in Ruston, Louisiana, where Jerry Baldwin is the pastor. Baldwin was appointed by Gallot to the important GSU athletics director search committee based on his football coach career at Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University and as head football coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The pastor sees a great opportunity for Grambling State, and its students.
“He’s a tremendous asset. We know he’s stable. He’s been in the same zip code all of his life,” added Baldwin, noting that 71245 is the Grambling zip code that has been Gallot’s home address since he was born.
“I’ve seen him grow as a man of faith over the years through his regular attendance at church,” he said. “He’s been a great note taker and listener.”
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