Author Archives: Will Sutton


As UL system authorizes institutions to increase fees, Gallot says Grambling State students should not face additional charges

 By GSU Media Bureau

Grambling State University President Rick Gallot has decided to opt out of the University of Louisiana System’s institutional increases, saying GSU students should not bear additional financial responsibility for their education. DSC_9658 copy

“As a longtime state legislator, I understand well the competing challenges the governor and state legislators dealt with as they worked to find a reasonable state budget for the new fiscal year starting July 1,” said Gallot. “But I know that our students should not be burdened with additional costs as many of them struggle to stay in school. We need more of them to stay in school, and we need more students to decide to attend Grambling State. Additional fees might hurt those decisions.”

Gallot said he has confidence that the university’s alumni, business and corporate friends and stakeholders will continue to contribute to the institution so the institution can keep student fees reasonable as a part of encouraging more students to stay in school while attracting more students to choose GSU.

“We have an important fundraising campaign launching soon, and we need everyone who says they love GSU and bleed black and gold to support this effort,” he said. “This is just one example why we need ongoing support. In the end, this is about supporting our students and making our beloved institution stronger and stronger.”

In a special meeting of the Executive Committee, the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System approved fee changes for its nine universities Friday afternoon. The average increase of less than three percent is the lowest fee increase in a decade for the more than 90,000 students served by the state’s largest system of higher education.

“With the budget stability afforded to us by the legislature and our governor, in addition to the full funding of TOPS, our universities were able to minimize cost increases on our students,” UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson said. “We will continue to work with our state’s leadership to obtain a stable and significant investment in higher education.”

Grambling State University and the University of New Orleans opted not to implement fee increases. The remaining seven universities’ increases range from $98 to $212. The ULS changes only apply to fees; tuition costs remain stable across the system.

“Higher education has evolved into a competitive enterprise,” Henderson said. “While any increase in cost is significant to students, the average increase of $108 will provide valuable services in the classroom. Now, we must aggressively pursue a state policy environment and institutional cultures that ensure our universities are able to maximize the value received by our students.”

Adarian Williams, GSU’s student government association president, said he is happy to hear that his school won’t be increasing student fees.

“I support President Gallot’s decision to opt GSU out of the UL system’s decision to increase fees within its nine institutions,” he said. “I agree with his decision because such an increase can have a huge impact on our students, resulting in a decline in college enrollment, a delay in graduation time, a fall in student and academic performance and ultimately increase the dropout rate.”



Grambling State athletics and advancement leaders host potential university investors seeking partnerships to advance athletics, education  


 The addition of the new full-color LED Video Display Board at Grambling State University’s Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium presents many new possibilities for advertisers, and a group of business representatives heard about some exciting possibilities during a Thursday presentation. Grambling State athletics and advancement leaders host potential university investors seeking partnerships to advance athletics, education

“Our aim is to provide local business with opportunities to invest in the GSU brand while participating in game day activities,” said Marc Newman, vice president of institutional advancement.

The athletics and advancement departments teamed up to host 35 local business owners to discuss GSU’s economic impact in the region, opportunities for game day digital advertisements to be shown on the video board, turf logo advertisements, game day program ads and business-specific announcements during football, baseball, softball and basketball games.  Among those attending were representatives from Bank of Ruston, Ruston Lincoln Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Primary Health Services Center in Grambling.

Those attending each received a corporate donor package, watched video examples showing some possibilities and heard Newman and Athletics Director Paul Bryant talk about why they should partner with GSU.

“Over 150,000 fans and visitors attended GSU Tiger sporting events and commencement ceremonies last year. The average football home game attendance at GSU is over 16,500 fans,” added Newman, noting that the university has had three home games in recent years. “We have four home games this season. The fact that we are also HBCU National Football Champions just sweetens the pot.”

Business owners were shown various levels of sponsorship levels and commercial placement spots for pre- and post-game times, as well as in-game play, quarter and halftime sponsorships.

Bryant was pleased with the potential investors’ responses.  “I think it was a great turn out. We had some of the owners of key businesses in town to come out and we sold a few sponsorships today,” he said. “I think it went well. Our next steps will be to follow up with the business owners that came out today. We are going to have a personal relationship with every one of them.”

Newman said he cannot wait to hear back from those who attended, and others who were not able to attend. “This is a serious investment for Grambling State University and it’s also a great opportunity for our partners,” he said.


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Business majors can ramp up tech skills for high-demand jobs with infusion of state support

By Stephanie Lindsey/ GSU Media Bureau

Grambling State University’s College of Business is the proud recipient of a much needed technology upgrade. The COB is currently installing an excess of 100 Dell computers to replace old ones in three labs in the Jacob T. Stewart building. rashaan proctor, kevin sly(2)

The upgrade was funded by Louisiana’s Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund or WISE fund. The WISE Fund was created in 2014 by the Louisiana Legislature “to provide an incentive for postsecondary educational institutions to increase the production of certificates, diplomas, and degrees in fields of high demand by Louisiana employers, and to spur additional research and innovation as a meaningful way of supporting economic development,” according to the fund’s web site.

The computer labs are only available to students of the College of Business’s two STEM majors, accounting and computer information systems. However, all of the students in the college are required to take at least two courses in each.

Grambling’s College of Business applied for the funding as a way to help its STEM students remain on the cutting edge of technology.

“It is our goal to make sure that our students and faculty have state of the art technology available to assist with the facilitation of learning in all areas, said Grambling’s Provost Dr. Ellen Smiley This is especially necessary for our college of business, computer science department and engineering technology department.”

Donald White, interim dean of the College of Business, and Kevin Sly, a computer information systems professor, acknowledge that there is a skills-gap along the I-20 corridor and that the new computers will allow students coming from Grambling to be competitive in the Northern Louisiana job force.

White points out that “this is an initiative to help prepare and produce those people who could actually fill those positions from Monroe to Shreveport. There are unfilled positions right now because of unqualified workers in the STEM area.”

Sly, in agreement with White, notes that there are thousands of jobs along the I-20 corridor that students from the college of business could be qualified for. “We are trying to make sure that our students are where they need to be in terms of technology so they can get these jobs. So they don’t have to go to Dallas or D.C. or Atlanta.”

Both White and Sly believe it couldn’t be happening at a better time.

“We’ve had the old computers for a long long time, said White, they move very slowly and we get a lot of complaints from students and faculty and it was time for a change. This is a God send for us,” said White.

The new computers are faster and smaller which helps to cut down on the heat in the labs and reduces the space used. “Our labs will be all new by the fall. I’m excited for the new students coming in,” added Sly.

The computers were not the sole mission for the College of Business but rather a piece in a much larger project. “We just have to get more on the cutting edge. But obviously we need the technology, physical resources, as well as the human capitol to go where we need to go. As far as getting our students ready to participate on a much larger scale we first must train them. In order to train them we need the necessary wherewithal to get that done,” said White.

The students are also seeing the benefits of the new computers. The upgrades mean new and better programs for them to master. Marquis Gaydun is a junior majoring in business management and one of the student’s benefiting from the new computers. “Mr. Sly introduced us to Developer, a program that we can use to take normal slides and presentations and make them more dynamic.

Sly believes that his students are on their way to promising careers thanks to the upgrades. Through power-point graphic design programs like Developer and Visual Basic the students are becoming experts in their field. The department has already created, defined, and set a base salary expectation between $50,000 and $70,00 for students when they graduate. “We call them Advanced Graphics Presentation Designers. What we want to do at Grambling is develop a team of advanced graphic designers to go out and redo the way we do slide presentations. We turn PowerPoint presentations into seamless dynamic presentations. It is a revolutionary idea,” said Sly

“This is a new day for us, added White, “and we are happy to see it, simply because it is necessary for us to move forward to bigger and better things.”


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“Spotlight on STEAM” is theme

By Collin B. Jno-Finn/ GSU Media Bureau

Middle school students from around Louisiana are guests of Grambling State University for a week-long camp that seeks to impart practical academic knowledge and skills in preparation for their college journey. Adarian Williams LA GEAR-UP

The LA Gear-Up camp is being held under the theme “SOS – Spotlight on STEAM,” and will engage students in science, technology, English, ACT prep and mathematics.

The primary focus of Louisiana Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs is to “prepare students to be in post-secondary institutions and to succeed there,” said Tireka Cobb, director of Field Outreach Services for LA Gear-Up.


Natchez native Brown leads nursing at Grambling State, training students to be compassionate health care practitioners


Grambling State University’s Meg Brown has been named the 2017 Nurse of the Year by the Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses of Mississippi. Meg Brown Nursing Education

Eliza Farish Pillars was the first African American woman to work for the Mississippi department of health in 1926. The nursing organization is noted for health care efforts and helping nurses in Mississippi.

“Dr. Meg Brown is a born leader who promotes excellence at all levels.  We are elated that others have recognized what Grambling State University has known for some time now.  Dr. Meg Brown is an eminent scholar practitioner who continues to makes a unique and substantial impact on society,” says Ellen Smiley, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Grambling State University.

Brown is a native of Natchez, Mississippi. She obtained an undergraduate degree in nursing from Alcorn State University, a nursing master’s from Northwestern State University in Louisiana and a Doctorate of Philosophy nursing degree from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has over 35 years of practice as a registered nurse, including 15 years in academia. She has served in several administrative positions in clinical practice and at universities. Brown maintains certification as a board-certified adult health clinical nurse specialist. She is associate dean and an associate professor of nursing at Grambling State.

Before becoming a nurse, Brown had plans to be a veterinarian but she couldn’t deal with reptiles. She decided to live her dream as an interior decorator, but an uncle convinced her to become a nurse, assuring her it was her calling. “The decision to become a nurse has been fulfilling and provided me with several career opportunities,” says Brown.

She said becoming a great nurse takes skill and dedication. “The consistent usage of caring behaviors — comforting, nonjudgmental, listening, supportive and being unhurried — along with strong clinical reasoning skills” make the difference, says Brown.

Brown, who has been leading GSU’s efforts to start a new undergraduate nursing program at the school, says what she would like future nursing students to be receptive to learning and instruction while having “a commitment to doing what is required, and have compassion.”



Area beyond athletics complex is returning from an overgrown field and ponds to an educational and recreational space


A short walk from the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center, down a dirt road, beyond the Grambling State University facilities headquarters building, and Richmond Hall is one of about 20 ponds and a wooded area that’s been closed to the campus community and the public for years. DSC_1272 copy

Behind a locked gate, is a large area with several catfish ponds and a place that was once used for socializing, fishing, and education.

Many students and residents may not have seen the area, but it’s recently been cleared and renovated into a place students and community members can enjoy once again.

“My childhood home is probably 300 yards from the catfish ponds,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “I can recall when all of that was developed and built because all of that used to be a farm. Grambling used to operate a farm out there. So, some of my first memories are seeing that area being developed along with the walking trails.”

The $250,000 project, primarily funded by the Louisiana Army National Guard, will provide 15 acres for additional tailgating space for fall football games as the athletics complex grows, a place for academics with a focus on environmental research, and a safe place for recreational activities. The project started in early May and is scheduled to wrap up soon.
Payne Montgomery supervised the area among his many duties when he worked at GSU until his retirement about 15 years ago. He remembers the area fondly as a place that he and others worked with students, and he’s happy to see it being used again.

He said the Grambling Young Adult Conservation Corp program was created to use the area as a park with nature trails and general campus beautification as a way of attracting people to the campus and getting students interested in GSU.

Marc Newman, GSU vice president of institutional advancement, said the project has been in the works for a few years, and the effort got underway recently when everything came together. “It is more than just a tailgating space,” said Newman, who said the university is paying about $20,000 for fuel and some limited expenses. “This is an academic, community-related, and historical project. It impacts the community because families will once again be able to use the area. Educationally, it is a perfect area for environmental programs to research. Tailgating is an afterthought; the community and students are first.”

National Guard Maj. Joshua Culp said the project is mutually beneficial because the soldiers get real experience operating heavy equipment on a regular basis for longer periods of time than during training exercises. “The soldiers become proficient by getting to operate the equipment and then by having qualified leaders train them,” he said. “Our soldiers are operating some extremely technical equipment and without projects like this one, their learning curve could take longer.”

Capt. Antonio Tims, the Guard company commander for the work unit, is working with 15 men, including a couple of sergeants first class, a sergeant and specialists. The university has made the project easier by housing the soldiers at West Campus and providing meals in McCall Dining Hall with Aramark to eliminate travel to and from home. The project is taking a little longer than expected because of inclement weather, but Tims said it shouldn’t be much longer.

“Due to the rain, we haven’t been able to go to the site and work,” he said. “We are getting started again as soon as we can, and as soon as the land permits it.”

The project is exciting to Gallot, who used the area in his younger days and plans to use it again when it’s ready.

“To see us bringing growth back to life, is extremely exciting… It gives community people some where they can gather and engage in good, wholesome, familial activities.”


 Forgotten Catfish Ponds, Trails, Coming Back To Life


Much of the 2016 HBCU national championship football team received specially-designed championship rings during a special Wednesday event

By Sarah-Renee Garner/GSU Media Bureau

After an outstanding fall 2016 football season, the Grambling State University championship football team started wearing big rings proving that they are the 2016 HBCU National Champions. DSC_3160 copy

“It’s a great feeling to win both championships, the SWAC championship, and the national championship. To finally get the ring is just a great feeling to have,” said Quintin Guice, 18, a wide receiver and sophomore engineering technology major from Monroe, Louisiana.

“This rings symbolizes that the old Grambling is back,” said star running back Martez Carter, 23, a senior criminal justice major from Monroe, Louisiana. “To be a part of the era that restored it means a lot to me. I can’t really describe the excitement that we have to finally receive our rings.”

GSU President Rick Gallot happily addressed a room of excited players, coaches and others. “This is the day to celebrate you,” said Gallot. “We have been anticipating this day for quite some time.” The G-Men ring distribution happened at the Black and Gold Room in the Favrot Student Union Building Wednesday (May 24).

Head football coach Broderick Fobbs beamed with pride as he called the names of the players, coaches, support staff and others who made the championship possible. One by one, position by position, each went up to be recognized and to receive their rings.

“If you ask anyone, I really love everyone I work with. I am passionate about my staff and about this team,” said Fobbs, who became emotional as he was thanking them, especially Rev. Lance Wright, the team’s chaplain, an important member of team. Fobbs said one of the reasons the football program has been successful is because they give young men something they want: God and love.

“A lot of people may think love is weak, but I believe love is strong,” he said. “It will tell you ‘no’ when it’s appropriate, and it will tell you ‘yes,’ too.”

Athletics Director Paul Bryant celebrated with the players, saying he is joyful about their championship rings and their championship performance in classes. “I am so proud of the accomplishments of the G-Men on and off the field. They represent what a championship program is supposed to look like in athletics, and it starts at the top with the coaching staff,” said Bryant.

With the winning of a championship, the G-Men have gained support from all over the nation, even from people that might not be expected. Calvin Braxton, an alumnus of Louisiana State University and a former board member of Southern University System Board of Supervisors surprised nearly everyone when he donated $30,000 to help cover the cost of the rings.

“When I called Rick and asked him how much it cost, he said $30,000,” said Braxton. “So I said I would donate $3,000. Well this morning, I messed up and wrote a check for $30,000. Congratulations Tigers,” he said as the crowd roared, giving him a standing ovation.

Gallot put the moment in context.

“God will chase you down with blessings, and will surround you with people who want to support you,” said Gallot regarding the donation. Gallot and Braxton have been friends for many years.

Obadiah Simmons, who was interim athletics director as the football team knocked out opponent after opponent on their way to the championship, received a standing ovation from the football players as Bryant thanked him for all he did to make the team successful, and the championship possible.


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Winnfield’s Wilson trio is believed to be first set of triplets on campus in recent history, memory


Got twins? That’s nothing. Grambling State University has triplets. triplets(1)

“It’s awesome being a triplet. When you tell people you are triplets, it’s like you are a celebrity. You’re famous. They don’t believe it until they see all three faces,” said Stevie Wilson, the oldest triplet.

Stevie Wilson, Steven Wilson and Stephon Wilson are freshmen from Winnfield, Louisiana. At 19, they have become quite involved in the campus life at GSU. As they wrap up their first year, they are becoming more and more popular.

Ulrica Edwards, the university’s director of institutional research, said Grambling State does not keep data about sibling sets, but she recalls seeing twins on campus three to four times in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 3,871 triplets born in 2015. That means the Winnfield Wilsons are a bit rare.

“We decided to go to Grambling because our mother is an alumna and we have several family members all the way from the 1950s that attended Grambling, and we are next in line,” said Stephon Wilson, the youngest by two minutes.

Stephon is a double major in business management and computer information systems. He loves to cook and started cooking in 2010. He is so good that he’s been to various cooking competitions and he and his brother Steven went to compete in the Great American Seafood Cookoff in August 2016. They were given a $500 award. His favorite dish is blackened alligator with apple and bellini vinaigrette. He wants to own a restaurant or work with the federal government in computer information systems.

David “Rusty” Ponton, the interim vice president for student affairs, also known as Coach P, is pretty familiar with twins because his mother is one and he was born on their birthday. He said twins have been somewhat common at GSU, and he has seen them over the years many times. He can’t remember ever seeing a set of triplets. “Its kind of unique and it’s always an interesting story to see three young men all coming to the same place and they have different intentions on what they want to be in life,” stated Ponton.

The triplets love to spend time together talking, going to the movies, vacationing, playing cards and mingling.

“It’s fun because you’re able to bond with your brothers.  No one wants to be lonesome and your brothers are like your friends,” said Steven, the middle triplet.

People often can’t believe the brothers are part of a set of triplets.

“We were at the nursing building and we were talking with Dr. Doris Williams and she didn’t believe we were triplets. Once we came together, we took a picture together,” said Stevie.

“I’ve had a chance to enjoy all three of them and they are triplets but they are totally different,” said Ponton. “Just in how they react and how they see things. It’s exciting and interesting to see these young men at the university.”

Although Stevie and Steven are biology majors, they want to take different paths. Steven desires to be an anesthesiologist and Stevie wants to be a radiologist. They were born a minute apart.

Steven plays the piano, cooks, sings, and likes to play football. He served as the GSU Student Government Association freshman class president. He was elected freshman vice president in the fall but when the former president had to step down, Steven stepped up to the plate.  His favorite memory at GSU so far was when his brothers helped him campaign for freshman vice president.

Stevie loves to play alto and tenor saxophone in the World Famed Tiger Marching Band. In late April, he was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta, a freshman honor society. His favorite memory was when the G-Men football team won the Bayou Classic against Southern University in New Orleans. “It’s such great rivalry between two HBCUs, and it’s a really awesome to experience something like that,” said Stevie.

Their mom, D’Juana Wilson, and her husband, Stevie Wilson, went in for a sonogram at three months and discovered there were triplets in her uterus. The triplets were born at 36 weeks and although the parents were overwhelmed at first, they received a lot of family support.

“Without family I don’t think we could’ve made it,” said D’Juana Wilson.

A computer science major when she attended Grambling, the triplets’ mom reflects on what her sons going to her alma mater means to her. “I have great pride and it’s an awesome feeling that they wanted to follow my footsteps,” she said.





Grambling State graduates told they must start giving immediately as an obligation


Grambling State University’s hundreds of graduates got a double dose of encouragement to support their alma mater. Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. and Grambling University National Alumni Association President Russell LeDay each encouraged the new grads to support dear ole Grambling with talent, time and money. gloria george (doctorate)

LeDay led the graduating class in an oath to actively support GSU and to be a part of the Grambling University National Alumni Association. They stood. Even class valedictorian Sha Drake stood on the main stage. They repeated the alumni pledge, just as LeDay requested during the annual commencement program at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center on campus.

Taylor went beyond a pledge, imploring them that they are obliged to help their alma mater.

“You must give something back to this institution. You must,” Taylor told the grads. “Trust me, whatever you paid didn’t cover the cost of your education….Some say, ‘I don’t make a lot of money’ Then don’t give a lot of money. Give something, though.”

Taylor, who regularly seeks funding to support College Fund member institutions, said he asks billionaires and major corporations for a lot of money – and they have a question for him: “When I go out to funders and ask them for money, do you know the first thing they ask me? What’s the alumni giving rate.” That is a big reason they must give, he said.

GSU President Rick Gallot proudly congratulated each graduate as they crossed the stage, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Smiley did the same, hugging several of them, especially members of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College she leads.

“It was the manifestation of why we exist, and that is the completion of these programs with the awarding of the degrees,” said Gallot. “We’re excited to send our graduates out into the world to make a difference, and we’re very much focused on recruiting new students to begin their journeys with us as well.”

Hundreds of graduates were on th floor of the

The graduation was special for all of the graduates, including 292 receiving bachelor’s degrees, four receiving doctoral degrees and 173 receiving master’s degree, a record number in recent GSU history.

Gloria George, a Louisiana Delta Community College student success services specialist who called graduates’ names as they walked across the stage when she was working at Grambling State had her own name called as she received her doctorate. In the audience, dressed in a gold robe, was her mother, Joyce George, attending as a member of the 50th year class reunion group. The elder George, 72, retired after serving 36 years with the Caddo Parish School System as a master teacher and elementary curriculum coordinator. She insisted that the younger George, now 41, be better than average as a young student, and she’s done that. She’s spent 16 years in higher education and with Mary Kay, balancing her job as a Mary Kay team leader in middle management with her other duties, hour by hour.

“One of the greatest keys to success is having a strong spiritual foundation. There were times on this journey that all I had was my faith in God and belief in His promises,” said Gloria George. “He will give you the grace, peace and strength to finish strong.”

Miloni Perera works in the university’s service learning department, helping students gain valuable academic and community service experience as students to prepare them to be productive citizens after graduation. While doing her job, she was taking classes, and she graduated with a master’s in public administration with a human resources concentration. Her husband, Amila De Silva graduated with a bachelor’s in computer science. She earned a 4.0 GPA; he, a 3.9.

Drake was quite the example during her tenure at GSU. She went to class, studied, worked as a student librarian and she was a star hurdler on the school track and field team. With all of that, she earned a 4.0 GPA and was presented as the class val Friday morning. “I missed a lot of activities to do what I needed to do to be successful,” said Drake, a native of Meridian, Mississippi, heading to the prestigious Chicago School of Psychology graduate program at Xavier University in New Orleans this fall.

One of the highlights was the NFL’s Chester Rogers, a wide receiver with the Indianapolis Colts, returning to walk across the stage and graduate in front of his parents and family who traveled for the moment from Huntsville, Alabama. “It was a special moment, a once-in-the-lifetime moment,” said Rogers, who earned a bachelor’s in business management.

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Robinson Memorial Stadium gets significant football field turf upgrade, high-tech scoreboard


Grambling State University Director of Athletics Paul Bryant announced the first major renovations and upgrades to the Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium in decades, including a total football field turf overhaul and a high-tech digital scoreboard. DSC_0826 copy

The project, with an estimated cost of $1.5 million to $2 million, is scheduled to start as early as next week. The aggressive construction timeline calls for a mid-August completion, just before the first game against Tulane University in New Orleans on Sept. 2 and the first home game at Robinson Memorial Stadium on Sept. 9.

“I haven’t been here long, but I’ve heard loud and clear from our alumni, students and all kinds of GSU fans and stakeholders that this is long overdue,” said Bryant, who arrived in January. “There’s no time like the present, and it’s time to make this happen.”

In addition to the stadium upgrades, Bryant said the school is adding a fourth home game, something fans have discussed for years. Rather than play the Red River Classic in Shreveport this fall, the Texas Southern University football matchup will be played at home on Oct. 28. TSU has a big fan base, with a 2016 regular home attendance of 5,371 and away attendance averaging 8,665. Bryant said that game will now be the GSU homecoming game. The GSU-TSU game will be Homecoming 2018

The 19,600-seat stadium opened in 1983, replacing the old Grambling Stadium, which was located not far from the university’s baseball field. The stadium replaced a huge peach orchard, and contractors dug a lot of dirt to make the sloping landscape accommodate the football field that head football coach Eddie Robinson wanted. Often called “The Hole” because the entrances sit high above the field with seats in between, Grambling State fans have enjoyed G-Man football home games at the stadium for decades. In recent years, fans have clamored for upgrades.

“In 1983 when the stadium opened it was the only one of it’s kind,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “Now, in 2017, it’s the only one of its kind – and our championship football team deserves a championship stadium.”

Gallot said Bryant and his athletics team brought the stadium upgrade ideas to him and he told the AD he would have to find a way to pay for the project. Bryant discussed options with Marc Newman, the school’s institutional advancement vice president, and David Aubrey, chairman of the Grambling University Foundation, and they hatched the idea to seek foundation support to finance the project. The board approved the concept just a few days ago.

“This wouldn’t be possible without the strong endorsement of Aubrey and the foundation board,” added Bryant. “We have a partnership and a vision that all Grambling State University sports are important, and this is a piece of pursuing championship-level athletics programs.”

Bryant noted that the school’s soccer and softball fields are being renovated.

“President Gallot has the type of athletics vision that brought me here, and he’s allowing me to lead Grambling State to match the huge brand the school has internationally,” said Bryant. “Thanks to the board and the president, we are going to make these things happen.”

Head football coach Broderick Fobbs said he is excited about the stadium upgrades, and he’s especially happy for his coaches and players. “This is huge for this team. This team has been through some tough times and they have stayed focused and brought home a national championship last year,” he said. “This says a lot about how this administration views football and all of athletics, and we can’t wait to play on a state-of-the-art football field with a state-of-the-art scoreboard. Our guys are going to love it.”

Bryant said the company handling the turf overhaul and installation is Hellas Construction Inc., a nationally recognized leader in sports turf. Hellas has designed and installed turf for professional, college and high school sports groups, including the Dallas Cowboys, the Jacksonville Jaguars and several Texas high school teams. A new digital scoreboard will be installed by NEVCO of Greenville, Illinois, sign installment will be done by Shreveport Neon Signs and the new sound system will be handled by Gulf Coast Sound.

Aubrey said the foundation decided to support the upgrades with a significant investment because they believe in the leadership of Gallot and Bryant, and they see opportunities to seek additional support with field and scoreboard sponsorships as well as increased attendance. “This is a lot of money, but sometimes it takes spending money to bring the type of money you need to make a program successful,” said Aubrey. “Gallot says he’s supporting the athletics program with a holistic approach, and we believe that’s what it’s going to take to make the athletic program, and the school, successful.”

Newman said businesses and corporate sponsors can expect to hear about some tremendous sponsorship opportunities associated with the project in the coming weeks. “We’re looking for partners who want to invest in something great, and we’re doing great things at Grambling State University,” he said. “This whole thing has been moving quickly, and that’s really exciting. I like the speed with which we’ve been moving to make things happen. We want to be sure existing and new partners have a chance to join us as the construction gets underway.”


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