By GSU Media Bureau
Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and former New Orleans mayor, will deliver the spring 2017 commencement address on May 12. The graduation is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.
“Mayor Morial has an international reputation; he’s a focused leader and activist, said GSU President Rick Gallot. “We are excited that the head of the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy group is available to visit our campus and share his knowledge with our graduates.”
About 500 students are candidates for graduation next month, including about 200 master’s degree candidates and several doctorate candidates.
During his career, Morial has been an entrepreneur, attorney, professor, state legislator and mayor of his hometown. As president and CEO of the National Urban League since 2003, he has been the key catalyst and change agent for the 105-year old civil rights organization, refocusing the organization’s empowerment other communities of color, and rich and poor Americans.
During his National Urban League tenure, the league has had record financial success, raising over $280 million in five years. The league has been recognized as a leading national nonprofit, and is highly rated by Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest independent charity evaluator. As a result, the league is among the top 10 percent of all U.S. charities for adhering to good governance and other best practices, as well as executing its mission in a fiscally responsible way.
His creativity has led to initiatives such as the Urban Youth Empowerment Program to assist young adults in securing sustainable jobs and Entrepreneurship Centers in 10 cities to help the growth of small businesses. Morial helped create the Urban Empowerment Fund, a community development financial institution and small business loan fund.
As mayor of New Orleans, Morial was a popular chief executive with a broad multi-racial coalition who led New Orleans’ 1990’s renaissance and left office with a 70% approval rating.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics and African American Studies, he also holds a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., as well as numerous honorary degrees including Xavier University and Howard University.
Morial has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential Black Americans by Ebony Magazine, one of the Top 50 Nonprofit Executives by the Nonprofit Times, and one of the Top 100 Black Lawyers in America.
Cheer, SGA, SLI and World Famed help Grambling State be heard, seen, understood during ULS Day
By MINIYA SHABAZZ
GSU Media Bureau
The goal of the day was to highlight the opportunity for legislators to change the pattern of draconian cuts to higher education to one of investment in our state’s future.
GSU brought the largest contingent, with the HBCU national championship football team congratulated by Gov. John Bel Edwards at the Governor’s Mansion and the GSU World Famed Tiger Marching Band performing a concert on the Capitol steps. The GSU leadership team, including Student Government Association leadership and the President’s Student Leadership Initiative, also was present.
“It was a good day for the UL system and a great day for Grambling State,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “The system has been quite supportive and we know that will continue. I know my former colleagues in the house and the debate are good people and good leaders, and we trust that they will see the faces of our students and understand that they and the institutions they attend deserve support.”
Henderson echoed Gallot’s comments.
“Our system serves over 90,000 students from every parish in the state of Louisiana,” ULS President Jim Henderson said. “It’s a $3.9-billion-dollar direct economic impact; our graduates have earned $6.5 billion in increased salaries after they graduate.
“We think it’s important that legislators understand that higher education investments in UL Systems are not a cost, they are not an expense to the state they are an investment in our future,” Henderson said.
“We want to showcase the return on investment that the state gets in higher education by showing them the faces of about 800 students at the university of Louisiana systems universities,” said Henderson.
Louisiana Tech President Les Guide also touched on the importance of networking with state officials.
Because everyone is not from the same part of the state, they may miss key information on what is going on in another part of the state like Grambling or Tech.
“I just met a representative from the west bank of New Orleans and so we get to tell about a little bit about what we do up in north Louisiana. Hopefully it helps them understand how to make good decisions,” said Guice.
He has been at Louisiana Tech for 39 years and has been president since 2013.
Guice enjoyed watching the different students interact with each other, showing off their school pride and networking with one another. This made him reflect on how a lot of Louisiana graduates stay in Louisiana, which creates an impact to the state’s workforce and gives back to the state.
“Higher ed is not a cost. Higher ed is an investment. It’s an investment for our future. Without this investment our students may not have the opportunity to compete for the best jobs in the country,” said Guice.
Although the University of Louisiana at Monroe is on spring break, they still felt the need to make their presence known.
“The most important thing is to develop network and communication lines so you can avoid some potentially harmful legislation passing that may impair the universities,” said ULM President Nick Bruno.
The capital is no strange place to Michael Meadows, the SGA president of Grambling State University. He visits the capital every month with other SGA presidents to advocate for higher education.
“The Council of Student Body Presidents meet the actual system’s board members making sure that they understand the actual students concerns the actual student issues that the universities are facing,” said Meadows.
Grambling brought more than their SGA president, one of them being Elizabeth Eddy, the SGA Chief justice.
“We are trying to promote GSU as a whole, support the GSU football team because they are getting honored today and to get some more money in the ULS system,” said Eddy.
GSU’s HBCU national championship football team was honored in both the Louisiana House and Senate chambers as both bodies went into session for the day.
“GSU represented well. Our band, football team, student leaders, faculty and staff showed up in force from campus and our Baton Rouge chapter alums came out strong,” added Gallot. “It’s important that we all realize that Gov. Edwards and the state legislature have a lot of significant issues to consider. We just want them to see GSU and the other higher education institutions as good investments worthy of support.”
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By GSU Media Bureau
Grambling State University’s Orchesis Dance Company is preparing for its 10th year anniversary performance of the annual Dance His High Praise show in Shreveport. The April 22 event will be held at the Strand Theatre at 7 p.m.
This year’s performance honors E. Edward Jones Sr., a civil rights leader and pastor of Shreveport’s Galilee Missionary Baptist Church for 57 years. Jones died at 85 years old in June 2016. Jones was central in the development of Galilee City, an uplifting revitalization of Shreveport’s Allendale neighborhood. Jones also served as president of the National Baptist Convention of America and was selected by Ebony magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in America.” He filed a 1965 lawsuit on behalf of his daughter, spearheading the desegregation of Caddo Parish School System and bringing about the integration of the public schools.
Jones started his higher education path at Grambling State University at the age of 17, graduated and later established a scholarship at the school. The auction at the Dance His High Praise show will help fund the scholarship.
“This event will be different because it will include a silent auction in remembrance of Pastor E. Edward Jones,” said show producer Vincent Williams. “The auction will have things available for purchase such as jewelry and other treasures. The proceeds received from the auction will be turned over to the Reverend E. Edward Jones, Sr. and Mrs. Leslie A. Jones Endowed Student Scholarship.”
In addition to Orchesis, the Christian Dance Center will perform. Some members of the Shreveport dance center have gone on to join Orchesis in college. The two groups will perform to “If I Could Help Somebody” as a special tribute to Jones. There will be a special closing performance with some special guests.
“We are performing King Jesus for the closing and I have invited several alumni to come back to perform with us,” said Dianne Maroney Grigsby, Orchesis director.
To reserve tickets, call the Strand Theatre box office at (318) 226-8555.
State Department of Transportation highway improvements improve safety, visibility for Grambling State students
By GSU Media Bureau
As the work continues, GSU has seen bright, new highway markings with reflective paint, particularly along R.W.E. Jones Drive down the center of campus.
“I want to thank Louisiana DOT and DOT Secretary Shawn Wilson for including Grambling State in these plans and with this work,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “The safety of our students is our top priority and we appreciate Secretary Wilson and DOT for making our students’ safety a priority as well.”
Frederick Carr, the university facilities director, said the improvements have made a big difference for students. “It provides better visibility for drivers, it enhances safety for our students when they use the cross walks and, overall, the fresh paint enhances our campus with beautification.”
Grambling State quiz bowl team will compete with the nation’s brightest HBCU students in California
BY JESSICA WRIGHT
GSU Media Bureau
Grambling State University has qualified to compete at the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) National Championship Tournament, a prestigious competition that showcases the academic prowess of the brightest students from America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Nearly 50 student teams have qualified for this year’s national championship tournament, April 8-11 in Torrance, California, outside of Los Angeles.
Competing for the 48 qualifying tournament spots were 78 HBCUs. After seven qualifying tournaments held in early February, the smaller group of schools earned the opportunity to compete for the title of national champion and a $75,000 institutional grant from Honda. Jharrayne McKnight, a senior biology and chemistry major; Jasmine Ayatey, a senior elementary education major; John Carter, a junior history major, and Donavon Travis, a freshman marketing major will represent GSU.
“Not only do these tournaments give us the opportunity to show off our skills, but it also serves as an invitation to fellowship with like-minded students from HBCUs across the nation,” said Ayatey.
The team includes veteran HCASC quiz bowl competitors, and it is the fourth year competing for three of the four team members. Travis is new to GSU and the competition, and he is excited. “I’ve just started and I’ve already made a lot of memories and I’m looking forward to making more,” said Travis.
GSU team agrees when they describe this experience as it differs from past years because they had to learn how to work together without a teammate who graduated. “We had to learn each other’s personalities, strengths, and weaknesses and use that to build our collective knowledge base and help each other,” said Carter. They did not do well at this year’s national qualifying tournament (NQT); they came away with a three-way tie for a third place finish, lowering their ranking.
“In recent years, Grambling State has had first and second place finishes at NQT and were a part the “Sweet 16” at the National Championship Tournament (NCT),” added McKnight, team captain. “This year, the team’s goal is to reach the “Elite 8” to compete on-stage at the American Honda Headquarters for the national title.”
Team captain McKnight believes having a team with mostly veterans sets them up for success, no matter which teams they face.
“Similar to any other sports team, I think that with the proper training schedule and ample resources we should be able to make it to the top,” said McKnight. “Though we do not have all the resources I would wish for our team, I know that we have worked hard to try to still be successful this competition season.”
“We’ll be cheering for and pulling for Team GSU,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “These young scholars represent our institution well, and they prove that we’re a strong academic institution. We wish them well.”
Honda representative Steve Morikawa said the GSU team has a lot to make them proud. “Earning a seat at the National Championship Tournament is no easy feat, and we congratulate each and every student for displaying the drive and determination necessary to do so,” said Morikawa, American Honda’s vice president for corporate relations and social responsibility. “Over its 28-year history, Honda Campus All-Star Challenge has become a multi-generational community event, and we look forward to hosting the students and providing their families with an opportunity to watch them compete in California.”
The final round of the 2017 National Championship Tournament will be live-streamed on April 10 a.m. at 11 a.m. CT and 12 noon ET on HCASC.com.
For more information on the 2017 HCASC, including a full list of the 48 qualifying teams, visit www.hcasc.com.
About Honda Campus All-Star Challenge:
Celebrating HBCU academic achievement, Honda Campus All-Star Challenge is one of Honda’s largest and longest running philanthropic initiatives in the United States. Since 1989, the program has impacted the lives of over 100,000 HBCU students across 22 states. Through Honda Campus All-Star Challenge and Honda Battle of the Bands, an annual marching band showcase, Honda has awarded more than $10 million to support music and educational programs at America’s HBCUs.
For more information, contact:
Mary Oberembt, Honda Campus All-Star Challenge: (800) 388-2272 x107 / email@example.com
Jaymie Robinson, Honda North America, (310) 783-3943 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Miss Cover Girl 2017-18 says the money makes a big difference
By KOURTNEY BURNEY
GSU Media Bureau
For the past 49 years, GSU has hosted its scholarship pageant, this year awarding scholarships 15 winners: Miss Cover Girl, two Cover Girl runners-up and one for each of the 12 months of the year. This year’s pageant was held March 18 in the T.H. Harris Auditorium. The audience was filled with supporters of the contestants, many holding signs of support.
Successful contestants who won the right to be displayed in a calendar on a particular month and the two Miss Cover Girl runners-up each received $100 per semester. Miss Cover Girl gets $600 per semester as well as room and board.
“These young ladies compete in a number of categories, and they work really hard to win in each one. They raise money to support their participation, the pageant and the school,” said David “Rusty” Ponton, interim vice president for student affairs. “In the end, our top winners walk away with scholarship money, and that’s an important aspect that makes this more than a beauty contest.
“Many of these young ladies have never been in a pageant before. When it’s over you can see the sense of accomplishment and joy in their eyes even when they don’t win a category or month.”
As the program ended, Jameria Davis-Miller, a sophomore biology major was named the 2017-2018 Miss Cover Girl.
“I am overwhelmingly grateful that God allowed me to represent us, the student body of THE Grambling State University, and reign as the 2017-2018 Miss Cover Girl,” said Davis-Miller. “It is definitely an honor and a privilege to wear the crown and receive the scholarship while increasing financial literacy among my fellow Grambling students.”
Davis-Miller, a Monroe, Louisiana, native, was one of 28 students competing for a calendar girl spot. Davis-Miller said the scholarship money was an important part of her decision to participate as it helps her family and she gets to continue representing Grambling.
The contestants compete in casual, swimwear and evening gown segments. They are judged by a panel that determines the winners based on scoring.
“I was pretty stressed out at first about the pageant on how things would go, but my parents work 50 plus hours a week so getting a scholarship back for something that was beyond enjoyable really helps them out as well as myself. It also encourages you to be more involved at Grambling,” said Charly Gay, a freshman and a native of Houston, Texas, recalling her long nights of pageant preparation. Gay won Miss December.
10-for-10 group raises funds by asking alumni to donate $10 and getting others to do the same, one donation at a time
By KOURTNEY BURNEY
GSU Media Bureau
Grambling State University received $40,000 from GSU alumni raising money with a 10-for-10 campaign urging alumni and others to donate and getting friends to contribute. Co-chair Marva Nichols Griffin and committee member Darryl Jackson represented the group as they presented a check to GSU President Rick Gallot during the annual spring Black and Gold Game festivities Saturday.
Standing outside, the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center, Gallot said he was happy to accept the check, and he thanked the alums for their hard work. “What you do and how much you care for our university is impressive, and I truly appreciate this important contribution,” he said. “This will help our institution and our students.”
Marquisha Riggins and Zaria Chertien, a couple of GSU freshman from Houston Texas, have already benefited. Each received a $500 scholarship to help defray the cost of college. The money raised is used to provide university students who need some money to close the gap of what they have and what is needed, with students receiving scholarship grants between $500 and $750.
Since its start in 2015, the $10-for-10 project has raised thousands. Griffin said the group raised $55,000 in its first year, making a total of $95,000 raised.
Co-chair Angelee Moody Rhynes, a 1988 alumnae, said the group is happy to help their alma mater. She said the effort has a social media focus because so many alumni and students are on social media. “If you donate $10 you send the invite through social media for a friend to take on the challenge of donating $10 as well,” she said. “The campaign was originally started to encourage alumni who could not donate large sums, to donate $10 and send it to 10 friends to then donate…. It encourages a lot of donations.”
Jackson beamed as Gallot accepted the check. He said he loves his school because GSU has done so much for him and he wants to help. “Grambling is a part of our heritage and a part of everything that you become,” said Jackson, a Shreveport attorney and a life member of the Grambling University National Alumni Association who graduated in 1984. “I could not have achieved many of my achievements if I did not attend Grambling so I encourage our alumni and students to give back to our beloved institution.”
Marc Newman, GSU vice president for advancement, said the group represents the type of alumni committed to helping the institution, especially with financial contributions. “This is the type of alumni driven campaign that is truly appreciated,” he said. “With continued support are well on our way to having the type of endowment, scholarship support and working capital GSU deserves.”
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Gallot awards $2,000 to three international students for best student recruitment video
By WILL SUTTON
GSU Media Bureau
Collin Jno-Finn, Al Burnette and Awoyemi “Dayo” Ademola heard about GSU President Rick Gallot’s pitch that students come up with some student-focused concepts when the president made the offer in August and they went to work. The contest, open to all undergraduate and graduate students at the university, ran from late summer until late February and the winners were announced Thursday (March 30). The students will share a $2,000 grand prize scholarship.
“My team and I were elated that we won …,” said Jno-Finn, a graduate student from the Caribbean. “We are eternally grateful to our cast and GSU for this opportunity. It will be remembered and cherished for a lifetime.”
“These young men put a lot of effort and time into this project, and it shows,” said Gallot, who announced the competition during his first Facebook Live in August. “I got the idea when I was talking with some of our student leaders, and I knew they were right: we needed to give our students a chance to come up with some fresh ideas.
“Well, it worked,” he added. “I really like what they did.”
The students’ video concepts and the video will be used by the university communications office and GSU TV Center to come up with a video that will be used to market and promote Grambling State.
Jno-Finn, a doctorate education student from St. John’s, Antigua; Burnett, a senior computer information science and marketing major from Dominica and Ademola, a senior accounting major from Nigeria, came together to produce a video for the contest after Jno-Finn decided to enter and asked Burnette and Ademola to be his partners.
“As an undergraduate I majored in mass communication,” said Jno-Finn. “I am passionate about media and publicity so I decided to enter this competition to help my beloved institution. Our team thought this was a great avenue to show our diversity, our strengths and at the same time our creative gifts. Grambling has so many gifted students and this was a powerful avenue to give us the students an opportunity to express our capabilities.”
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Highly anticipated concert excites Grambling State, other students
By SARAH-RENEE GARNER
GSU Media Bureau
After months of anticipation, Grambling State University students found out a few days ago one of the nation’s most popular singing rap groups would be performing at their school — and soon college students across the nation found out, too.
GSU students are excited that Migos is scheduled to perform Thursday at the Fredrick D. Hobdy Assembly Center, and it seems students from other parts of Louisiana – and other states — are planning to attend the 7 p.m. show.
Migos concert tickets can run $60 to $100 and more, so the $35 GSU ticket price is cheap, making a trip to Grambling worth the money and time. GSU annually has spring concerts with big name acts, but no recent performances have attracted this kind of attention.
Dillard University student Margeret Acuaye plans to be there, coming in from New Orleans. Melanie Graves is traveling to Louisiana from the University of Missouri.
“Migos is one of the hottest rap acts touring, and we expect a large crowd,” said David “Rusty” Ponton, interim vice president for student affairs. “However, the response has been unbelievable. We issued almost one thousand tickets the first day…. All of this commotion for Migos.”
Ponton and the Favrot Student Union Board worked hard to secure the Migos’ performance, delaying an announcement about Tiger Fest week events until late last week when the agreement with the group was official.
Migos, a group of three young men — Quavo, Offset and Takeoff – have an adoring, demanding audience of fans. The group has been mainstream since 2009, gaining popularity each year. One of the first songs that put them on the map was “Versace,” a 2013 song they did with Drake. More recently, they became more universally known with “Bad and Boujee,” they popularized the dab and just this week they recorded a television segment with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” They got a shout out from actor Donald Glover when he accepted a Golden Globe award.
Missouri’s Graves, 18, from Houston, Texas, is traveling Thursday to GSU solely because she wants to see Migos. “When my friend called me and told me that Migos was coming to perform at her school and that the tickets were so cheap, I knew right then and there that I would have to go,” she said.
Acuaye, 19, from Dallas, Texas, said she and a friend have tried to see Migos without success, until now. “My best friend and I have been dying to see Migos,” she said. “Each time we try and see Migos, it never works out, and now it has finally worked out.”
Expecting a larger than normal turnout, Ponton said the university has safety in mind, so additional police officers will be added to enhance security and GSU students are being asked to walk to Hobdy to alleviate parking and traffic congestion. “Parking will be handled just like a home football game, but there will not be pre-assigned parking spots,” said Ponton. “It will be first come, first served.”
Ponton, who has worked at Grambling State for nearly 30 years, said he has seen a lot of concerts. Comparing the response to previous GSU concerts, he said, “This could be one of the biggest.”
Tickets are being sold on the second floor of the Favrot Student Union on the GSU campus.
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Grambling State AD says new coach must have strong foundation, area recruiting emphasis
and a balanced approach
By GSU Media Bureau
Grambling State University has struggled to build a successful men’s basketball program for the last several years, and GSU Athletics Director Paul Bryant is ready for a change. He wants a winner on and off the court.
“The thing is, winning is defined in different ways,” said Bryant, who started as AD in January.
“Wins and losses is one way to look at winning. Another is to look at student-athlete academic
success. Another is to look at how much of a program is built as a team and alumni engagement. And then there’s the life blood of all sports programs: recruiting.”
The basketball G-Men finished the 2016-17 season with a 16-17 overall record and a 10-8 record in the Southwestern Athletics Conference. Last year’s season records were 7-19 overall and 4-10 in the SWAC. The G-Men had a 2-17 overall record and a 0-18 record in the 2014-15 season. It has been several years since the team has had a strong winning season.
Bryant said he wants a coach willing to recruit locally, regionally and nationally. He said he wants a coach that Louisiana high school coaches would know because the head coach and his coaching staff have been in their gyms and at their practices. He said he wants someone who knows basketball strategy, someone who can identify players to fit a specific system but also identify players who can grow into the coach’s system. “This is what I tell all of our coaches,” added Bryant. “I expect and want each coach and coaching staff to handle the basics, from recruiting and staffing to budget and games.”
“In the end, we need a well-rounded, aggressive, challenging and competitive men’s basketball coach who the players can appreciate, understand and respond to as a leader,” said Bryant.
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