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No normal business or classes at Grambling State University

Tuesday, Wednesday

By GSU Media Bureau

Grambling State University remains closed Wednesday for normal business and classes. Spring 2018 registration continues online via Banner, and on campus registration has been extended through Friday. GSUBrownHallSnowJan162018.IMG_1564

The National Weather Service forecasts temperatures below freezing tonight and Wednesday, making driving conditions hazardous. Our GSU decision to close is consistent with the decision of the State of Louisiana Division of Administration to close state offices Wednesday.

The C Store inside Tiger Express will be open Tuesday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. so students can purchase goods and supplies.

Campus dining will operate on the brunch schedule today and Wednesday in McCall Dining Hall. Brunch: 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Dinner: 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m.

We are monitoring National Weather Service reports for Wednesday and the rest of the week.

GSU advises students, faculty and staff to be careful and cautious.



University radio station features King special, president serves as grand
marshal in Shreveport parade

Dr. Martin Luther King GSU Media Bureau

Grambling State University and the Favrot Student Union Board will host an on-campus program on Monday (Jan. 15) in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The program, entitled “Keep the Dream Alive,” is a celebration of the life and lasting impact King had on civil rights and humanity in America and the world.

A candlelight prayer vigil and walk will start at 5:30 p.m. in front of the school’s Eddie the Fighting Tiger sculpture. Students and community representatives will walk to the Black and Gold Room in the Favrot Student Union for a program featuring Pastor Maurice White of Zion Traveler Baptist Church in Ruston, Louisiana.

“Our annual MLK prayer walk and program has added significance this year because 2018 is the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s death. It’s important that our students know our history and this is something we do with them and our community to keep King’s dreams alive. We encourage everyone in the Grambling, Ruston and Lincoln Parish communities to join us,” said David Ponton, GSU’s vice president for student affairs.

“As students, we know that we have an obligation to work hard and continue to make the world a better place for the generations to come just as Dr. King did for us. His eloquent words live on, inspiring others who see injustices and seek to change them.” GSU Student Government Association President Adarian Williams said.

KGRM, the campus radio station, will air “King: From Atlanta to the Mountaintop,” a three-hour special radio event featuring Lee Bailey, radio executive, journalist and co-creator of RadioScope: the Entertainment Magazine of the Air, a syndicated radio show, and Bailey Broadcasting Services (BBS). The program revisits some of the history made by King in the years he led civil rights movements across the nation before his assassination 50 years ago. Local listeners can tune in at 91.5 FM. Others can tune in online at

“This is a wonderful program, full of rich history and lots of things some of us may not remember,” said KGRM General Manager Joyce Evans. “It’s a good way to honor and remember King, and a great way to start your MLK day Monday.”

Also on Monday, GSU President Rick Gallot will be the grand marshal of the Krewe of Harambee Martin Luther King Jr. Day Mardi Gras Parade, Shreveport’s earliest major Mardi Gras parade. The family-friendly parade celebrates King and adds Mardi Gras flavor with floats, marching bands and more. It starts at 1 p.m. at the Municipal Auditorium on Elvis Presley Avenue, proceeding on Milam Street then Edwards and Texas through downtown Shreveport, ending at Elvis Presley Avenue.

For more information about the campus observance, contact the university’s student affairs office at 318-274-6115.



Arkansas higher education professor tells Grambling State faculty digitally connected youth respond to updated teaching methods


Using a lively, engaging and laughing approach, Mark Taylor was serious about the business of teaching today’s college students. He told a group of Grambling State University faculty that Generation NeXt doesn’t respond well to straightforward lectures, and if they really want them engaged, they must set clear expectations and involve them in ways that they will respond to in the classroom. Pres. Rick Gallot Dr. Mark Taylor

During a Friday (Jan. 5) faculty institute program in the Smith Nursing Building auditorium, Taylor said told an attentive audience that teaching digitally-connected teens and twentysomethings is different from teaching the students they may have taught for years or even decades. He said it’s important to keep their orientations in mind and use a different pedagogical approach. He suggested getting students thinking about the future professionals they want to be and talking with them that way; getting students to identify their individual goals and connecting those goals with class goals and “flipping” the class learning from inside the classroom to outside-of-class homework and reading so class time is far more participatory.

In addition, Taylor, 62,  said there must be a clear expectation that class attendance is important, giving students credit for attending with advance preparation and earning a “ticket” to actively participate in classes. Taylor, a a former HBCU professor who advises and speaks on best practices in teaching and learning, said “whoever does the work does the learning,” so those who have not prepared should sit elsewhere in the class and get the work done that they should have done in advance because class should be reserved for student interaction.

Finally, the Little Rock, Arkansas, expert said formative and summative assessments will improve accountability and assessments with research-based approaches. Taylor said his goal is the same for all higher education teachers: to help them better connect students with course content, but he has a special desire for those who teach at historically black colleges and universities. ---dr

“Remember that the mission is to provide access and high expectations in a nurturing environment, and I sincerely believe that understanding this generation of learners, and both the gifts and challenges that they bring to college,” he said in an interview after the program, “We can help students develop not only skills they need in the workplace but also the skills they need to navigate the culture of the future.”

Taylor, who has presented to dozens of corporate and college clients across the nation, got high marks from his GSU “students” for the day.

“I thought it was tremendously valuable. I thought it was very on point and appropriate,” said Robbie Morganfield, head of the school’s Department of Mass Communication. “Based on some past experiences I had been doing some of the things, but what I appreciated about his presentation was that he gave me a paradigm. He gave me a structure to use to make even more sense out of some of the approaches that I’ve been attempting.”

He said Taylor shared methods that, if the GSU faculty adopts them, “it really can help us accelerate and elevate student learning.” Morganfield said connecting classroom learning to industry expectations is especially important because “without that we become irrelevant.”

GSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen D. Smiley decided to bring Taylor in when she saw him present at a recent conference. “The Academic Affairs Institute provides professional development for the enrollment management and academic units that make up the Division of Academic Affairs,” she said. “Dr. Taylor’s workshop provided key details that will enhance communication and the delivery of instruction to the various generations who constitute our enrollment.  Methods to promote student success are the guiding forces that dictate our actions.” Pres. Rick Gallot, Dr. Mark Taylor, Dr

Adarian Williams, a junior who is the GSU Student Government Association president, attended the program and came away impressed and excited about the possibilities.

“A lot of the plans and the teaching model are definitely something our faculty can take into the classroom because the Generation NeXt that we’re dealing with is a generation that will continue to grow and the faculty has to grow with it so they can teach us to go out and do great things in the world,” said Williams. He said “getting more interactive, getting students more into research work and…getting them accustomed to research and a newer way of learning with technology” is something he’s certain his colleague students would appreciate.


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Colleagues, students, friends remember Dr. Joseph B. Johnson

Dr. Joseph B. Johnson, ‘The Developer’JohnsonGraduationSpeaking.img043

A true icon

In the span of fourteen years as president, Dr. Johnson brought a new dimension of progress and enhancement to our WilliamsAdarianChoirRobe.DSC_1840 copy institution. His contributions have created a legacy that will be carried out in generations to come. Dr. Johnson, a true icon, will never be forgotten and the impact he has left will reach far.

Adarian Williams, Grambling State University Student Government Association president



Always met the test

It is with a heavy heart and tremendous sadness that I offer my prayers, and condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of our dearly departed brother, Joseph B. Johnson, Ph.D.  Dr. Johnson was brilliant, determined, courageous, honest and reliable. It mattered not the role or situation, be it husband, father, friend, educator, or a fighter for justice and equality for our people, Dr. Johnson always met the test, challenge, and assignment, brilliantly and without fear.DrEricThomasBio

We talked almost daily, and he always reflected upon the love of his life, Mrs.Lula Johnson and the many great years they were blessed to spend together. Dr. Johnson was so proud of his children, Yolanda, the Attorney, Julie the Medical Doctor, Juliet, the University Educator and Joey, the Mathematician, and Statistician. He adored and worshiped his grandchildren.

Grambling and the Grambling family, Talladega, NAFEO; all HBCUs and the present conditions faced by our people were matters of great concern to Dr. Joseph B. Johnson. He was a great predictor and analyzer of events. We talked often about the present and the desperate situation we as a people find ourselves in.

I will be more forever grateful and indebted to my Kappa Alpha Psi brother for his friendship, support, mentor-ship, encouragement, time, patience, and tolerance.

He was a soldier from the beginning until the end. I will always remember the way he stood up to the state of Louisiana and delivered millions of dollars to Grambling and other HBCUs in Louisiana through a federal lawsuit. I will always remember the way he and President Emeritus (Frederick) Humphries stood up against Joe Paterno and the NCAA in the interest of Black athletes and HBCUs. I will always remember his candor, and bravery in fighting the federal, state or local government to ensure justice for our schools and for our people.

Joe was respected by our enemies and loved by his students, colleagues and the community, Dr. Johnson carries an indelible place in the progress of our people, and our schools, and in the minds and futures of his students. Like Dr. DuBois, he always did his homework. Like Malcolm X, he spoke truth to power with courage and conviction. Like Dr. King, he was a fearless, articulate, visionary leader. Like Fannie Lou Hammer, he ” was sick and tired of being sick and tired.’

Mr. President, We love you, we trust you, we admire you, we have unconditional respect and appreciation for you, my brother. We thank you for your many unselfish sacrifices and contributions to make this world a better place. God bless you always. We will miss you.

Dr. Arthur E. Thomas, president emeritus, Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio


God smiled on Grambling

Joe was president of Grambling when I was president of Tennessee State. We met during football. Tennessee State had John Merritt and Grambling had Eddie Robinson and they were two of the best football coaches in America. Dr.FrederickHumphries16

I went down to Grambling when we were playing them and in our conversations it was clear that he was going to be superior president. He had the common sense that was not usually found with such leaders. He had a sensibility to the plight of people, and it was extraordinary and it was …in his behavior.

He was fighting for survival with dignity as the world was trying to strip all HBCUs, and Joe fought (with that) case. It was as though God smiled on Grambling and said I need to send Grambling’s son home to protect his school.

Joe provided great leadership to historically black universities as chairman of the board of NAFEO. He gave it the spirit that permeated throughout his life.

He was a leader in desegregation. He was a leader in fighting wrongs. He was a leader helping deeply hurt black kids. He was a leader of we leaders, and faculties. He was a man who comes along so rarely. All black colleges will miss him.

Dr. Frederick Humphries, former president of Tennessee State University and Florida A&M University and former president of NAFEO (National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education)


Commitment bigger than one’s self

I am saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Joseph B. Johnson. Not only was he the third president of Grambling State LeDayRussellGraduationNoSmileSide.DSC_7542 copyUniversity, but my first president as a Gramblinite. He showed us what it is to commit yourself to something bigger than yourself. Dr. Johnson put in place many sustaining objectives that we now enjoy. Thank you Dr. Johnson for your love, dedication and commitment to your alma mater. Take your rest. You have earned your crown.

Russell LeDay, president of the Grambling University National Alumni Association (GUNAA)



Bringing Grambling a new spotlight

Naidu SeetalaWhen I joined Grambling, Dr. Johnson was the President and Dr. Carter was the Provost – the best combination Grambling experienced. Dr. Johnson brought Grambling to a spotlight by bring new programs, increasing quality of education with enhanced funding, and higher student enrollment. I wish him rest and peace.

Dr. Naidu V. Seetala, GSU Edward Bouchet Endowed Professor in Physics



A love for Grambling, the town and the school

I found Dr. Joseph Johnson to be a straightforward person. My husband, Rev. A.J. Mansfield, served as mayor of the town of Grambling during Dr. Johnson’s early tenure as president of Grambling State University. They both shared a love for Grambling, the town and the school. That is why our families share a special bond. I pray God’s love and strength upon his children at this most difficult time.

Mae F. Mansfield, retired GSU criminal justice professor, Monroe


A straightforward leader, with respect for students

I found Dr. Joseph Johnson to be a straightforward person. He let the students known what was expected of them. They were expected to go to class, get their lesson, and stay out of trouble. I remember one student telling me that he told them they could not fight. If they did, they would get sent home.

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He respected the students, walked around campus, talking to them. He was seen in various places. He maintained a pleasant demeanor. He set about planning to overcome the challenges that GSU faced with a declining enrollment and resources.

He contacted the alumni and said he expected them to help with the recovery process. He realized that the infrastructure needed repair and there was a need for new programs. He was able to get a nursing program up and running, wooing the dean of the nursing program at ULM to accept the position as dean and make the program work successfully.

Dr. Mildred Gallot, retired GSU history professor and history department chair, and author of the Grambling State University history book


MonicaPerryJonesCelebrationBowlDec2018By STEPHANIE LINDSEY/GSU Media Bureau 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Joseph B. Johnson, who led a significant Grambling State resurgence, died early Tuesday


Dr. Joseph Benjamin Johnson, Grambling State University’s third president died Tuesday (Jan. 2) after a lengthy illness.johnson joe headshot

Johnson, a longtime favorite president who served from 1977 until 1991, succeeded Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones, who served Grambling from 1936 until he retired. Johnson, who fought to save the school from financial failure as state and other challenges threatened its existence, led student enrollment growth from 2,600 to a record-setting 7,000-student enrollment.

“We have lost an iconic leader who elevated the standing of Grambling State University across the globe,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “I remember Dr. Johnson’s fierce resolve to protect and enhance our school. He was my president when I was a student, and and he served as a mentor and advisor very early in my tenure as president.”

Johnson pushed for and got a September 8, 1981 consent decree between the State of Louisiana and the U.S. Department of Justice. He worked with Lamore Carter, vice president and provost, and attorney Thomas N. Todd to research and prove that Grambling deserved greater support. That effort resulted in new campus building construction, employee raises, and new academic programs, including the creation of the School of Nursing in 1983 and the first doctoral developmental education program in 1984.

These and other significant improvements quickly established the university as a major institution on the move as it grew stronger and created a greater academic focus. Academic and education leaders across the nation said Johnson was responsible for becoming a comprehensive university with strongly enhanced academic program offerings.

Johnson once said that it was his appreciation and respect for leaders no matter what their political party that helped him get some things done. He worked with Louisiana Gov. David Treen, a Republican, to get him to sign off on the consent decree, and Treen told Johnson he did it “because it’s the right thing to do.”

Some reports say Johnson inherited a $7 million deficit and the consent decree allowed him to pay off that debt and implement big changes with an operating budget of $125 million.

In a Tuesday night interview, Todd, who Johnson asked to represent the school’s national alumni association, said Johnson was the leader, the cog and the force behind the consent decree. “The key was Dr. Johnson and his willingness to stand up to authority and to stand up for Grambling,” he said. “His work resulted in Grambling getting $300 million” to grow the institution.

“He was the reason it all came together. There were concerns that people were trying to close Grambling, but once he arrived most of that concern disappeared because of his attitude and stand that Grambling had every right to exist – and to do more,” Todd said from Chicago. “He was an educator’s educator who believed that students were most important….He was interested in not only Grambling, but education generally.”

Johnson led a significant number of changes at the institution. Though it is common these days for higher education institutions to have online registration, Johnson implemented an online registration process in 1987. He was president as head football coach Eddie Robinson continued to rise in prominence nationally, becoming the winningest football coach. A masters in criminal justice program was launched during his tenure. He not only started the school’s nationally recognized nursing program, he successfully sought $50 million to build a nursing school.

Once he left Grambling State in 1991, ending 14 years of leadership at his alma mater, he became president of Talladega College and served there until he retired in 1998.

Before Johnson was Grambling State’s leader, he was a student at the school. When he signed on to play in 1954 he played basketball under Eddie Robinson, who coached basketball and football at the time, playing alongside some of Grambling greats, something that Johnson would joke about from time to time.

“I played with Bob Hopkins, and Bob was the nation’s leading scorer,” Johnson said in one interview, mentioning “Hambone” Hopkins, a Jonesboro native GSU athlete who went on to play pro basketball. “I was the quarterback of the 1955 team. I was to Grambling’s championship team what Bob Cousy was to Boston. If Bob Hopkins was the nation’s leading scorer, then I must have led the nation in assists because somebody had to pass him the ball.” No stats for assists were kept, so there’s no telling what the record showed. Johnson was inducted into the Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame as a part of a class of 15 several years ago.

Johnson had an impact across the State of Louisiana, and colleagues and friends from Grambling to Jonesboro to Chicago reacted to his death.

“I am sad to learn that Dr. Johnson has passed,” said Baton Rouge’s E.L. Henry, an attorney who served as speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives when Johnson was GSU president. “I well remember when he became president of Grambling State University and the impact he had, not only on the university but the entire area. He was a dedicated public servant and an example for all of us to follow.”

Yvette Mansfield Alexander, a Baton Rouge city judge, Louisiana, recalled Johnson’s beginnings as the university’s leader. “He came in with a Grambling heart and a sturdy, father hand. It was just what Grambling needed,” she said. “He only wanted the best for his, and my, dear ole Grambling.

“Dr. Johnson was a student-centered president, and it showed in Grambling’s growth during his presidency. He was the epitome of excellence and a true gentleman. Grambling has lost a great one. He will forever be MY president.”

Joyce Evans, general manager of GSU’s KGRM radio station and Grambling resident, said Johnson was serious about the university. “There was not a thing that Dr. Joseph Johnson did for Grambling State University ‘just for the fun of it,’” she said. “He did great work, intentionally, to build and grow this great Institution.”

Jonesboro Mayor James Bradford, who graduated from Grambling more than 50 years ago, worked with Johnson when Johnson was president and Bradford was a Grambling University National Alumni Association leader. “Just as The Messiah was anointed by God to deliver his people and establish His kingdom, it is my belief that Dr. Joseph Johnson was anointed by God and sent to Grambling State University to save dear ole Grambling,” he said. “Dr. Johnson will always be remembered as “the developer” of Grambling State University.”

Johnson was a member of a number of civic, professional and social organizations, including Phi Delta Kappa and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. He and his wife, the late Lula Young Johnson, are the parents of four adult children, Yolanda Johnson Dixon, an attorney and Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Senate, and triplets – Julie, a medical doctor; Juliet, a Fisk University administrator, and Joseph III, an actuary and financial analyst. He was the son of the late Lillie M. Johnson and the late Sidney T. Johnson of New Orleans.

At Johnson’s request, the Johnson family said there will not be a funeral service, according to Gallot, who said GSU will honor Johnson soon.


Dr. Joseph B. Johnson (interviewed by Loretta Parham) provides perspectives on presidential leadership at HBCUs



Grambling State awards 342 diplomas during fall commencement, including a

historic seven doctoral degrees


One by one, Kevin Sly and six other Grambling State University students rose from their seats, walked across the stage and were hooded by President Rick Gallot as newly minted graduates of the school’s doctoral degree program. The group of seven made history as the largest single class of doctoral graduates in the institution’s history. dr. frederick d. haynes, III

During the Friday (Dec. 15) commencement at Fredrick C. Hobby Assembly Center, Sly, 57, was one of 342 students awarded diplomas for successful undergraduate and graduate studies. Sly, a faculty member at GSU’s College of Business, spent several years doing double duty, teaching and studying, to make this dream come true.

Born in Hodge, Louisiana, the Ruston, Louisiana, resident works in the computer information systems department as a CIS instructor. He started actively pursuing his doctoral journey in 2011, after a major career change. “My wife encouraged me to use to the time to complete my degree,” he recalled. “Twelve years as an Air Force officer, 16 years as a college instructor and 16 years as an ordained minister have taught me to persevere.” doctoral candidatesDSC_6992 copy

“It’s been a long journey,” he added, “but I was able to see it through.”

Not all of the seven worked their academic journey locally, however. Robin Ozz, president of the National Association for Developmental Education and director of developmental education and innovation at Phoenix College, did the majority of her course work online from Arizona. A Detroit, Michigan, native, she started the program in 2012 and Friday’s commencement was a happy culmination. She said she’s “proud to be an alum of the finest college in developmental education in the world.”

kevin sly DSC_7139 copy Sly and Ozz joined Rosemary Agbor of Austell, Georgia; Mary Jane Cahee of Ruston, Louisiana; Christine Crowder of St. Louis, Missouri; Rudolph Ellis of Belize City, Belize, and Cynthia Hester of Shreveport, Louisiana, to make up the historic doctoral group. cynthia hester DSC_7125 copy

The graduates, family, friends, faculty, staff and other students heard the Rev. Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes deliver an inspirational speech about perseverance and setting goals for one’s self while helping others.

He told a story about Harriett Tubman’s slave overseer throwing a metal object at her and causing her to have blackout spells for the rest of her life. When she became the underground railroad conductor for which she is famous, he said she didn’t let that stop her from going back to reach others, even when she had blackouts. “Once you get yours, don’t forget to go back and dismantle the system that tried to hold you back.”

Using Tubman as one of his metaphors for pursuing success and helping others, Haynes, senior pastor at Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, imagined Tubman telling him what he should tell the Grambling State graduates: ”As long as I was conscious, I was working for God. As long as I was unconscious, God was working for me.”DSC_7381 copy

The graduates in Grambling weren’t the only ones listening to Haynes as he delivered his talk to several standing ovations. Because head football coach Broderick Fobbs, his coaches and the G-Men football team are playing for the HBCU national championship in Saturday’s Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, another group of graduates participated in an off-site commencement program at the AT&T Midtown Center. Star running back Martez Carter was one of several football program student-athletes to walk across the stage in a multipurpose room with several others who were joined by Fobbs, GSU officials, family and friends.


GallotHaynesHendersonGraduationDec2017.DSC_6946 copyGradsCheerDec2017.DSC_7206 copy


Graduating with two undergraduate degrees, Smiley plans to become researcher, entrepreneur, venture capitalist

By Stephanie Lindsey/GSU Media Bureau

After hundreds of classes, papers, midterms and finals, Prentiss Smiley will cross the stage at Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center with 349 of his peers participating in commencement at Grambling State University on Friday (Dec. 15). PrentissSmileyStadiumDec2017.DSC_8630

However, as the top fall graduate, Smiley will have the distinct honor of addressing his peers when he delivers his valedictorian speech.

Even though he was a double major in the fields of computer information systems and history, Smiley did not let that stop him from achieving great success in and out of the classroom.

He received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Carter G. Woodson Award, Thurgood Marshall-Wells Fargo Scholar, Earl Lester Cole Honors College inductee and Louisiana Economic Development Scholar, to name a few. He also was a Student Government Association senator.

Even with such a busy schedule, Smiley was able to maintain a GPA of 3.91. “I did not focus on the GPA, I focused on the individual classes,” he said. “I worked extremely hard in every class and completed my work diligently.”PrentissSmileyClassRingDec2017.DSC_8640

“I chose Grambling because I am a third-generation Gramblinite and my grandfather played baseball at Grambling. My grandmother’s mom, dad, aunts, and uncles all attended Grambling State University. Therefore, the decision was easy,” said Smiley, whose mother named determined that he would carry her maiden name because he is the only grandson of the late Charlie James and Etta Hunter Smiley.

His mother is GSU Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Ellen Smiley, and his father is Rory Bedford, GSU’s director of continuing education and service learning and professor of sociology, psychology and philosophy. Smiley hails from Homer, Louisiana.

Of course, being the son of two GSU employees has had an impact on Smiley. “It is a great feeling knowing that my mother serves as provost,” he said. “I am proud of all of her success and accomplishments. She really is a source of empowerment and inspiration in my life and the PrentissSmileyOfficialGradDec2017best part about having her on campus is that I can simply walk over and converse with her.”

When asked what he was most proud of in regard to his time at Grambling, Smiley said, “I am most proud of working and getting passed a self- assessed (student) fee for the Earl Lester Cole Honors College.”

Graduation does not mean Smiley is going to quit working hard. The ambitious valedictorian has big plans:

“My future plans include: earning a PhD, becoming a researcher, author, public speaker, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist.” Smiley said.



Seven students set to receive Doctor of Education degrees, highest in school history

By GSU Media Bureau

Grambling State University’s School of Graduate Studies and Research will make history at the 2017 fall commencement on Friday (Dec. 15) as seven students earn doctorates in developmental education (Ed.D.). GSUSlyHoodingPracticeDec132017.DSC_7098 copy

The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center, 100 North Stadium Drive, Grambling State University, Grambling, LA. The Ed.D. graduates are among the 350 graduates who head out into the world where they will join thousands of GSU alumni.

One of the doctoral candidates, Kevin Sly, a GSU business college faculty member, said he is blessed to have had such success.

“I still remember my humble beginnings and where I came from,” he said. “Though I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, in the St. Rest and Chatham communities. I’m just a country boy trying to be the best he can be.”

Sly said he is thankful that his family and friends have stuck with him throughout his matriculation while taking graduate courses and teaching. “My wife, children, grandchildren and family members have been my greatest inspiration.  Because of them, I pushed myself,” he added. “I didn’t want to let them down.”

“All my professors from my undergraduate Computer Science program, to my major professor in the doctoral program, have been more than I can ask for!
There’s no place like GSU!”
2017 Ed.D. doctoral candidates, dissertation titles and major professors

Rosemary Agbor, Austell, GA

Dissertation Title: The Impact of Prison-Based Education Programs on Recidivism

Major Professor: Vernon L. Farmer, Ph.D.


Mary Jane Cahee, Ruston, LA

Dissertation Title: Perceptions of African American Male Students Utilizing Learning Assistance Centers at Predominantly White Institutions

Major Professor: Andolyn B. Harrison, Ph.D.


Christine Crowder, St. Louis, MO

Dissertation Title: An Analysis of Selected Demographic Factors on the Counseling Needs of At-Risk High School Students in an Urban School District

Major Professor: Andolyn B. Harrison, Ph.D.


Rudolph Ellis, Belize City, Belize

Dissertation Title: Student Narratives in Experiential Learning: Exploring Students’ Perceptions on Personal Growth, Academic Performance and Career Readiness Based on Internship and Practicum Courses

Major Professor: Vernon L. Farmer, Ph.D.


Cynthia Hester, Shreveport, LA

Dissertation Title: An Exploratory Study of Money Goals and Personal Finance: Knowledge of Traditional and Non-Traditional Developmental Students at Two Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Major Professor: Andolyn B. Harrison, Ph.D.


Robin Ozz, Phoenix, AZ

M.S. – Arizona State University, 1980

B.A. – Arizona State University, 1975

Dissertation Title: Student Perceptions of Necessary Elements for Success in an Online Developmental English Course

Major Professor: Andolyn B. Harrison, Ph.D.


Kevin Sly, Ruston, LA

M.A. – Webster University, 1994

B.A. – Grambling State University, 1983

Dissertation Title: A Phenomenological Qualitative Study of the Lived Experiences of First Year African-American Students Majoring in Business at Grambling State University

Major Professor: Vernon L. Farmer, Ph.D.



National alumni group dedicated to support Grambling State University continues its support with donation to help students in need

By GSU Media Bureau

The Grambling Friends of Football has contributed $20,000 to support Grambling State University.

IMG_0919The donation was presented to GSU President Rick Gallot at a reception during the Southwestern Athletics Conference weekend of activities in Houston. The event, held at the offices of Grambling University Foundation Board member Wayne McConnell, was attended by alumni and friends as well as Foundation Chairperson David Aubrey; GSU Vice President for Institutional Advancement Marc Newman; Miss Grambling, Jimmitriv Roberson, and her court and GSU Student Government Association President Adarian Williams.

Shelia Carr, the group treasurer, said the money came from committed alumni and friends, and the giving won’t stop.

“It will continue to be ongoing because that’s what Friends of Football does,” she said. “We donate and we give back to the university. It’s for the love of the university, and that’s what alums should do because if it wasn’t for Grambling State University, there wouldn’t be any successful alums like us.”

Carr noted that despite the name of the group, its members give to the school’s football program, other athletics programs and academic needs. In fact, this large amount is going to the institution’s GAP fund, for students who have a gap between the amount of money they have available and the amount they need to stay in school.

Friends of Football has a long history of supporting Grambling State University Athletics. Although Football is in the group’s title, the organization supports all GSU sports, and they recently supported fundraising for women’s basketball program rings.

“The Friends of Football group has truly been a band of GramFam friends,” said Newman. “This group has a strong history of supporting the university, no matter what’s going on, and they are a committed, dedicated and unified group. We’re grateful to have their continued support.”

Grambling State thanks the Friends of Football group, especially its officers:
Thomas Jones, president; Issac Tatum, vice president; Jackie Pope, secretary; Shelia Carr, treasurer and Fred Holts, parliamentarian.