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Christella Dawson was living in alleys at one point in her life, but she refused to let that deter her from seeking success. When she arrived at Grambling State University she had no idea what she wanted to do. DSC_8354 copy

“I had no idea what career I wanted,” recalled Dawson, a 1968 GSU graduate. “Mr. Jay Humphreys stopped me one day after his math class and told me that I had impressed him and that I should consider majoring in mathematics. He spent the next four years guiding my college career. I watched the proud, knowledgeable professors at Grambling and wanted to imitate them. I hope I’ve made them proud.”

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, she graduated from Carroll High School in Monroe, Louisiana, and went on to earn a mathematics degree from Grambling State University.

In 1969, a federal court-mandated integration order sent her to Neville High School, where she taught for 22 years before moving into an assistant principal role and then, in 2016, to the top administrative job, principal. DSC_8346 copy

As she was honored with the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Trailblazer Award by Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, Dawson told the hundreds of school children in Howard Theatre at the Monroe Civic Center that she’s proof they can do anything they choose to do. Dawson meant it. She may be small in stature, but she’s been an active karateka for 17 years. She holds local, regional and national titles as a second-degree black belt in Shotokan Karate.

“You can do anything you set your mind to do,” Dawson, 73, said to thunderous applause. Noting that it’s important to have the support of family and others who have their best interest at heart, even when some doubt them, Dawson asked her mentor to stand, acknowledging that she wouldn’t have succeeded without her. “I will never forget this moment,” she said.

Dawson was recognized for as an “individual who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to Dr. King’s dream of equality and achievement for all,” someone who “goes far above and beyond the call of duty to assist, educate, help or inspire others.” DSC_8605 copy

Dawson made a point to acknowledge Johnnie G. Rodgers, her longtime mentor. “I met her when I was a child attending Zion Traveler Baptist Church of Monroe. Her husband was the pastor,” Dawson said later. “When I entered Carroll High School, she was my English teacher and encouraged me from that point until this very day. When you meet her, you walk away feeling better about yourself than when you walked up to her. She will always find something positive to say to make you feel good about yourself.”

It was a big day for Gramblinites as three of the Monroe MLK award winners are graduates of Grambling State University. In addition to Dawson, Darryl Triplett, a talented art instructor in the Monroe School System, was presented the Morris Henry Carroll Education Award and John Ross was presented the W.L. “Jack” Howard Public Service Award. GSU President Rick Gallot was the keynote speaker at the event. DSC_8571 copy

Triplett, a New Orleans native, was an All-American football player at Highland Community College in Kansas before playing his final two collegiate years at GSU under Coach Eddie Robinson. It was while in college that Triplett refined his appreciation for and his skill with art while earning an art education degree and a master’s in art and humanities. He has created widely recognized paintings, including the 20th Bayou Classic football game program, an image for the 2003 LSU National Championship Football Team and a piece celebrating the New Orleans Saints as Super Bowl champions. He was honored for his work in Monroe schools for 28 years, and evidence of his popularity and impact was shown as scores of students in the audience cheered when he was presented the award.

“Grambling State University prepared me well as an educator,” Triplett said after the program. ” Professors were very interested in the students’ well being as well as their educational experiences.   It is good to be recognized by your peers. The reward was a long time coming and very much appreciated.  I am 55 years old and looking forward to serving for a few more years.”

John RossJohn Ross, who earned an undergraduate degree in education at GSU, was honored with the W.L. “Jack” Howard Public Service Award for his 32 years encouraging and motivating students during his education career, including 12 years as principal at Berg Jones Elementary School in Monroe. Ross developed a reputation for doing whatever it took to help students achieve success. He would put on costumes, do stunts, climb trees and get on top of buildings if it meant students were excited about learning and meeting goals.  Ross wore multiple hats, including a stint as the interim director of the city’s parks and recreation department and director of community affairs in addition to being pastor of Good Hope Baptist Church.


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University opens at 7:30 a.m., classes resume on normal schedules

Grambling State University opens for normal business and classes THURSDAY. GSUStudentTrioSnowPicJan162017.IMG_1574

Spring 2018 registration continues online via Banner. On campus registration has been extended through Friday at 5 p.m.

The National Weather Service forecasts temperatures below freezing tonight and Thursday morning, with a hard freeze expect tonight and in the morning. Prioritize safety first, and check travel routes for hazardous conditions.

Campus dining will operate on the brunch schedule today, Wednesday, in McCall Dining Hall. Brunch: 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Dinner: 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. We will resume normal dining hours Thursday.



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.


GSU Weather Closure: Tuesday, January 16

We will be CLOSED for normal business and classes TOMORROW (Tuesday, Jan 16) in anticipation of the wintry precipitation forecast for overnight and into Wednesday.

The convenience store in Tiger Express will open today (Monday) from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm for students to stock up on supplies.   In the event of a power outage, they are prepared to provide sack lunches (sandwich, chips, cookies, fruit and soda).

On TOMORROW (Tuesday, Jan 16), McCall Dining Hall Hours will be according to the Brunch Schedule:  Brunch (10:30 am – 1:00 pm) and Dinner (4:30 pm – 6:00 pm)

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.

Spring 2018 registration continues online via Banner.


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.





Larry Holston Acrylic on Canvas

Larry Holston
Acrylic on Canvas



Four Grambling State faculty are sharing art work during a special show at the university’s Dunbar Gallery through late January

Grambling State University’s Dunbar Gallery is hosting the Annual Faculty Art Exhibition, SeeSaw, January 8 – 29. Artists exhibiting are Donna McGee, Rodrecas (Drék) Davis, Larry D. Holston, and Terence C. Williams II. The works in the show encompass a range from satirical discourse on social topics to introspective contemplation as an antidote to stressors in contemporary culture.

McGee, professor of art, holds a bachelor of science in art education from Mississippi State University, a masters in counseling from Mississippi State University and a master of fine arts in studio, painting and drawing from Louisiana Tech University. Her work is rooted in the belief that man is an integral part of nature. She believes that through communion with the natural world, we gain a greater understanding of ourselves.

“Drék” (pronounced Dreek) Davis, assistant professor of art, is a native of Monroe, Georgia, and holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of Georgia. Davis’ works address underlying meanings associated with words such as “Black” and “Magic” and the irony of such words when considered in the context of black culture.

Holston, assistant professor of art, received his bachelor of arts degree in art education from Grambling State University and a master of arts in art from Northwestern Louisiana University. His work for this is reflective of people and the way they express their identity through their physical appearance.

Williams holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in sequential art from Savannah College of Art and Design. His work is a visual commentary on various social topics and current events. He brings the art of the graphic novel into the gallery setting to capture attention and generate discussion in a different format.

The public is invited to meet the artists at a closing reception to be held in the gallery on January 25 from 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. Gallery hours are from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m.-12 noon on Friday. The gallery is closed on university holidays. Dunbar Gallery is located in Dunbar Fine Arts Annex on Hutchinson Street in Grambling. Accommodations are available for large groups and special needs persons. For more information, please call 318-274-2274 or 318-274- 3462.



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

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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





In higher education, every university’s history includes the gift of a few iconic leaders whose work and service grow the very fabric and trajectory of the institution.

Dr. Joseph B. Johnson, the third president of Grambling State University, was uncontestably one of our legacy’s greatest gifts. My GSU president and fellow member of Kappa Alpha Psi’s Gamma Psi chapter, Dr. Johnson will forever be remembered as a bold and progressive leader.Dr and Mrs Johnson (former GSU President)

Never afraid to speak his mind or challenge the status quo, he helped elevate our University to one of America’s most influential and recognized African American institutions.

His voice and contributions created impact that will be felt for generations to come. From his conversations with students under our “tree of knowledge” to his Whitehouse visits with various presidents, his presence helped create the change our university, nation, and world needed to see.

He and his administration’s tireless work on legacy-changing efforts included preparing the Consent Decree, which brought millions of dollars to GSU; establishing key academic programs including our School of Nursing, MBA program, and top-ranked computer science programs; and establishing GSU’s Earl Lester Cole Honors College and our doctoral program in developmental education.

Our first alumni president and the first Kappa president of GSU, Dr. Johnson will be remembered for the way he used his Grambling love to grow our University’s place in history.

He invested in our community, campus, and a long list of GSU alumni who have followed in his footsteps in shaping our world and education.

Grambling State University will be forever indebted to President Johnson. He was a fighter, a warrior and one of the voices who made sure our institution never settled for ordinary. It was an honor to call him President, mentor, and advisor.

I know I speak for all in our GSU family when I say he will always be remembered and deeply missed.  Christy and I send our prayers and condolences to the Johnson family during this difficult time.