FCC Commissioner to Visit Grambling State University at Mass Communication Workshop

Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner

Grambling State University will host the commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission and other important figures in the media industry during a workshop on Tuesday that will teach mass communication students about on-going issues and opportunities in the media industry.

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn began her service at the FCC in August 2009. Prior to the FCC, she spent 11 years as a member of the sixth district on the Public Service Commission of South Carolina and 14 years as co-owner and operator of The Coastal Times, a weekly newspaper that focused primarily on issues affecting the African American Community.

The additional guest speakers include Michelle Duke, vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF), a non-profit organization that advocates the importance of the First Amendment, community service, philanthropy and timely broadcasting issues, and Stephen Robinson, operations manager of Sirius XM HBCU Network, a radio channel which highlights HBCUs and their contributions to African Diaspora.

Duke joined NABEF in 2005 as director of diversity services and was later promoted to vice president of diversity services and development, overseeing several diversity initiatives, including NABEF’s Broadcast Leadership Program. She was promoted to vice president of NABEF in 2009 and is now responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Foundation.

Clyburn, Duke and Robinson will speak on Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. in GSU’s Washington Johnson Complex. After their speeches, there will be time for a question and answer session and an informal media conference. Members of the pubic and the media are encouraged to attend. Following this session, they will tour GSU’s campus media outlets at 1:30 p.m.

Click here for photos of the event.

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GSU Alumni Ernie Ladd will be Inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame

 

GSU Alumni Ernie LaddOne of Grambling State University’s most distinguished athletes, Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd, will be posthumously inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Ladd will forever be remembered for his successful careers in both professional football and wrestling. Born in 1938 in Rayville, La., Ladd attended Grambling State University on a basketball scholarship, where he also played as a defensive tackle on the football team under legendary coach Eddie G. Robinson.

Ladd was drafted by the American Football League’s San Diego Chargers in 1961, where he helped the Chargers win four AFL Championships in five years. He played 112 consecutive AFL games during his eight years as a professional football player. He played with the Chargers from 1961 to 1965, the Houston Oilers from 1966 to 1967 and the Kansas City Chiefs from 1967 to 1968.

Ladd was inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Grambling State University Hall of Fame in 1989.

Ladd began wrestling in 1961 during the football off-seasons, and became a full-time professional wrestler when his football career ended in 1968. He portrayed one of the first African American heels, a wrestler who represents the antagonist in the match, in the wrestling business. He retired from wrestling in 1986 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.

Ladd passed away from colon cancer in 2007 at the age of 68.

Ladd is one of seven inductees who were selected from a list of 25 finalists. The Class of 2015 includes Ladd, Roger Brown (University of Maryland Eastern Shore), Richard Dent (Tennessee State University), L.C. Greenwood (University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), Ken Riley (Florida A&M University), Donnie Shell (South Carolina State University) and Coach W.C. Gorden (Jackson State University).

Inductees will be honored at the Sixth Annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, presented by the Atlanta Falcons, at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

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Weather Alert!

Weather Alert!

UPDATE! 02/26/2015 – The university will be open on Friday, Feb. 27.

UPDATE! 02/25/2015 – Due to the continued threat of Inclement Weather, Grambling State University will be closed tomorrow, Thursday February 26th

UPDATE! 02/24/2015 – Due to the continued threat of Inclement Weather, Grambling State University will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday February 25th

UPDATE! 02/23/2105 – Due the potential for severe weather Grambling State University will be closed Tuesday February 24rd.

Due the potential for severe weather Grambling State University will be closed Monday February 23rd.

Please stay posted, more information to follow.

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GSU Football Coach Starts Fundraising Campaign in Shreveport

Shreveport Fundraiser Breakfast Photo 02/15

By Angelita Faller

Grambling State University Football Coach Broderick Fobbs was honored at a Shreveport breakfast, which celebrated his naming as the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Coach of the Year and began a fundraising campaign to raise money for the university in light of the large cuts the university is facing in the 2015-2016 Louisiana state budget.

“Grambling is a state public institution, and what you’ll find these days is that our institutions, especially the public institutions, are not getting the same amount of funding from your taxes anymore,” said GSU Interim President Cynthia Warrick.

“We need help. We need your dollars. We need you to talk to the legislature, especially about this upcoming legislative session, to not cut higher education, because the cuts he’s talking about will have a major impact on higher education that is really going to be detrimental to our future. So I want to plead with all of you to assist us in making the case that it’s really important that Grambling State University gets the kind of support it needs to move forward,” she said.

The meet and greet was held February 13 at the Independence Bowl Club Level in Shreveport and was organized by two Grambling State University Foundation Board Members, Helen Godfrey-Smith, president and CEO of Shreveport Federal Credit Union, and David Aubrey, regional direction of AT&T.

“If we don’t invest in our universities, we will invest in corrections. It’s up to us as citizens of our state to decide what is important to the future of the state of Louisiana, and we know how important a well-educated workforce is to the success of our state. This is not the time or the season for us to turn back and say that we are not investing in the future,” Godfrey-Smith said.

Coach Fobbs said that Grambling athletics is centered on producing well-rounded student athletes who can perform well in the field, in the classroom and serve as future leaders in their communities.

“We believe it is important to invest not only in their future on the field, but off the field as well. Everything that we do, all the programs that are put in place with our staff, is with that in mind. It’s about building the entire student athlete. We will need your help with that,” he said.

Many people who attended the fundraising breakfast expressed a desire to help Grambling. For Michael Randle, pastor of Washington Temple in Shreveport, he felt driven to support the place where he answered the call to enter the service of the Lord.

“I became a preacher at Grambling. The Lord decided that was the right time. I actually became a Christian at Grambling, got saved and accepted my call into the ministry,” he said. “Being a graduate, I thought it would be a good idea to come and lend my support. I thought it was a very informative meeting to see the financial challenges the university is facing from a legislative perspective.”

Miss Grambling 1975, Gail Guidry-Griffin, was glad to show support for her alma mater, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Science in Counseling.

As a teacher of 40 years, Griffin recognizes the value of higher education, especially at Grambling, where 10 of her family members have earned higher degrees, and she is sorry to see that the university is facing financial trouble due to cuts in higher education.

“It means we are not preparing the future of our children for the productive workforce. If a student wants to go to college, the state should fully support that. That’s what our tax dollars are for,” she said.

Shreveport Federal Credit Union was the title sponsor with a donation of $5,000. Tiger sponsors include Grigg’s Enterprise McDonald’s with a donation of $1,500 and Southern Strategy Group with a donation of $1,000.

Shreveport Bossier Sports Commission, BALAR Engineering, IMS Engineering, Delta Upsilon Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Shreveport Chapter of Grambling Alumni Association and Shreveport Bossier African American Chamber of Commerce were table sponsors with a donation of $500 each.

This breakfast was the first of many “meet and greet” events for Coach Fobbs, who will be traveling around the country to meet with Grambling alumni and to raise money for the university.

Coach Fobbs will be traveling to Dallas on February 21, Atlanta on March 1, Houston on March 10, Los Angeles on March 22 and Washington, D.C. on March 29. He will also make stops in New York City and Monroe in April, New Orleans and Chicago in May, and Detroit in June.

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Grambling Qualifies to Compete at Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Nationals in California

 Honda All-Star Challenge Logo

Student team will challenge the best and brightest HBCU students

GSU Honda All-Star Challenge Team

Grambling, LA – Completing a hard-fought journey that began in the fall, the team representing Grambling State Univ. has qualified to compete at the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) National Championship Tournament to be held March 21-25 in Torrance, California. Now in its 26th season, HCASC is a unique academic competition that showcases the academic prowess of the best and brightest students from America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

With 76 HBCUs vying for a spot in the Nationals, teams competed in seven qualifying tournaments held in late January. 48 emerged from the group, including Grambling earning the opportunity to compete for the title of “National Champion” and a $50,000 institutional grant from Honda.

“GSU is very proud of our talented Quiz Bowl Team.  We are competitive and expect to bring home the top honors” said Interim President Dr. Cynthia Warrick.

Dave Fields, Jr., John Carter, Whitney Gaston-Loyd, and Jharrayne McKnight will represent Grambling. Charlette Favors, Student Clubs & Organizations Director will coach the team. The 2015 National Championship Tournament will be live-streamed on Monday, March 23rd starting at 12:00 ET on HCASC.com and other websites.

For more information on the 2015 HCASC, including a full list of the 48 qualifying teams, visit www.hcasc.com. Connect with HCASC via social media for updates on Facebook (www.facebook.com/HCASC) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/HCASC), using #HCASC.

About Honda Campus All-Star Challenge:

Celebrating HBCU excellence, Honda Campus All-Star Challenge is one of Honda’s largest and longest running philanthropic initiatives in the United States. Since 1989, the program has awarded more than $7.5 million in grants to participating HBCUs, impacting the lives of over 100,000 students across 22 states. The participating HBCUs share in grants from Honda of up to $328,000 each year. HCASC’s impressive roster of past participants includes engineers, lawyers, doctors and professors. A number of high profile former HCASC participants have been inducted into the HCASC Hall of Fame, including Clark Atlanta University alumnus and ESPN anchor, Bomani Jones, who participated in two HCASC competitions between 1999 and 2001, serving as team captain in 2001.

For more information, contact:

Thomas Cunningham, Honda Campus All-Star Challenge: (800) 388-2272 x105 / tom@hcasc.com

Matt Sloustcher, Honda North America, (310) 357-5711 / matt_sloustcher@hna.honda.com

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Young, Member of Honors College demonstrates Scholarship, Leadership, and Comradeship

Derrick Young, Jr. - Honors College Member

Derrick Young, Jr. was recently selected to be highlighted along with 2 other students for their leadership roles with the Pro-Israel UNIFY project by The Israel Campus Coalition. The Israel Campus Coalition created a short video of the 3 students who attend Northwestern, Princeton and Grambling State Universities respectively. The video demonstrates their campus initiatives and leadership with the Pro-Israel project. Young currently serves as the campus coordinator for UNIFY, a pro-Israel group at GSU. For the last three years he has been an activist for the State of Israel and has worked to build other pro-Israel activists. Young’s objective as an activist is to educate others of the strong U.S.-Israel relationship, create other activists, and gain support from political leaders.

In addition to his work with UNIFY, Young was also chosen as an intern for the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Selected as one from thousands of applicants nationwide, he was placed at the University of Michigan for 3 months to conduct intense research on obesity, HIV and AIDS, tobacco and drug use, and other major health disparities faced by U.S. citizens. Because of his impressive ability to diagnose problems in our country, Young was later selected among 24 other young adults from across the country to be part of the National Minority AIDS Council.

Young seeks to encourage others by being a positive role model and mentor to his peers. He has held to the same insightful adage of both the late President John F. Kennedy and current President Barack H. Obama have expressed in their inaugural addresses, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Derrick is a native of Chicago, Illinois, and resident of Kansas City, Missouri. He began his tenure at Grambling State University (GSU) in the fall of 2011. Derrick, a distinguished member of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College is majoring in psychology and is scheduled to graduate in May. He has been accepted to Tufts University School of Medicine in the Master of Public Health program.

Dr. Ellen D. Smiley, Dean of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College, stated that the students, staff and faculty of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College are extremely excited about Derrick’s work, recognition, and admission to Tufts. He truly exemplifies the meaning of our motto – Scholarship, Leadership, and Comradeship. Derrick is a true scholar and leader.

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GSU Alumnus Donates Second African Art Collection to University

McConnel Art Collection Donation - Spr.15

By Angelita Faller

Most people would consider a one-time donation of a rare African art collection to their alma mater to be more than generous. For Grambling State University alumni Ira Wayne McConnell, this is his second time around.

Ira Wayne, who is a managing partner for the Houston-based accounting and consulting firm McConnell & Jones, and his wife, Judy, first donated a collection of 19 pieces valued at $318,000 in 2008. The collection is currently on display in A.C. Lewis Memorial Library.

The second collection has been valued at $238,000. It is not yet known where the art will be displayed, since members of the Art Department have just begun to explore the additional 19 donated pieces. “The first thing is we will unpack it and check it and document. We will take photos of every piece. Then we are planning a show for next fall,” said Donna McGee, an associate professor of visual arts who is responsible for reviewing the donated art collection.

The collection contains 19th century African wood sculptures from the pre-tourist phase, a time when people did not consider what they were making to be art, simply another relic of everyday life. “Most of these were used in daily life for some purpose, ritual or ceremonial purposes. Offerings have been made on these figures,” McGee explained. “Now when you travel to Africa, they make art to sell to tourists. It’s still made by Africans, but it’s not made with the same concept in mind. It’s made to sell as art, not for traditional purposes.”

McConnell has been collecting African art since 1991, when an interior designer who was working for his firm recommended the firm purchase tribal spears for display in the firm’s reception area. McConnell graduated from Grambling State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1972 and a Master of Business Administration in 1975. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of GSU’s Black & Gold Foundation.

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GSU 2015 MLK Distinguished Leadership Award Recipients Detail Inspiration Behind Lives of Service

By Angelita Faller

When Frank Kelly, Jr. was a child, he loved to draw, but his family did not have enough money to buy him art supplies.

“My mom would be in the grocery store in Safeway, and she would sometimes say, Frank, I want to buy you that, art materials, but we can’t. We need to buy food,” he said.

Kelley, who was one of 10 award winners at the fourth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Leadership Awards Luncheon on February 5, thanked Grambling State University for giving him the opportunity to pursue his passion for art.

“Without Grambling, I wouldn’t be standing here, and I mean that literally because I went to a small school where there wasn’t any art available, but there were people who believed in me, who gave me an opportunity to study,” he said.

For Kelley, who has since become a professional artist, consultant and motivational speaker since he graduated from Grambling in 1984 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, winning the Alvin Ailey Arts and Letters Award from his alma mater means more to him than many of the other awards he has received.

“Throughout the nation, I have been given many awards, and it’s a beautiful thing, because when you get something from home, you get a big portion of who you are and what you are and what you can be,” he said.

Another award recipient, Janet Durden, president of United Way of Northeast Louisiana, was honored to be one of seven people receiving an award in the name of her childhood hero, Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights activist who helped organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and later became the Vice-Chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

“I too have walked down the path of history. In 1964, I was a ninth grader in a very small rural town in north Mississippi. Only 137 miles down the road was another woman, Fannie Lou Hamer, hanging on a thread for her life because she was bold enough to say, I want to vote,” she said.

As proud as Durden is to receive an award in the name of Hamer, there is one person she thinks would be even prouder. In the hours leading up to the award ceremony, Durden says she thought often of her father, who served on her town’s school board and was implemental in integration issues.

“I think my dad would be very honored that I lived a life that would warrant the opportunity to be recognized by the kind of service that Fannie Lou Hamer provided our country, and I am very grateful that you have inspired us to move forward, not to rest, and ask what we can do to serve our fellow man,” she said.

Additional winners of the Fannie Lou Hamer Community Service and Leadership Award include: David Aubrey, the North Louisiana Regional Director of External Affairs for AT&T Inc.; Clarence Hawkins, Louisiana State Director for United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development; Hazel Hunter, a former manager with Louisiana Department of Social Services; Quentin Messer, assistant secretary for Louisiana Economic Development; Eldonta Osborne, former professional football player and chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Club of North Central Louisiana; and Willie Washington, federal programs director.

John Belton, district attorney for the 3rd Judicial District Court for Lincoln and Union Parishes, and his wife, Alana Belton, a former prosecutor, received the Thurgood Marshall Justice Award. Marshall was the first African American justice of the United States Supreme Court and the lawyer who successfully argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court.

Stephanie Finley, United States District Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, served as the special guest speaker.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Leadership Awards recognizes persons who, through their service to Grambling State University, the state, region and country, exemplify King’s character, leadership and selflessness. Each honoree must have been personally or corporately involved in making tangible, visible and meaningful contributions to the advancement of race relations and/or human rights causes in one or more of the following areas, including but not limited to, the arts, business, education, justice, politics, science and technology, religion and athletics.

John Rosenthall, vice president of Research Advancement and Economic Development, says the luncheon is a good way for students to learn more about the leaders who came before them.

“This is such an inspirational program. Most students don’t know who Fannie Lou Hamer or Thurgood Marshall are. They can learn more about history and understand the struggles of people who have come before them from the great institution of Grambling,” he said.

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Grambling State University Quiz Bowl Team Headed to Nationals!

GSU quiz bowl members are headed to nationals!

Members of the Grambling State University Academic Quiz Bowl Team defeated Prairie View A&M University to win the regional Honda Campus All-Star Challenge on January 31. Grambling will compete in nationals March 21-25 in Torrance, Calif. Team members, from L to R, are: Jharrayne McKnight, Bello Ahmadou, Dave Fields, John Carter, Whitney Gaston-Loyd and Jasmine Ayatey

Members of the Grambling State University Academic Quiz Bowl Team defeated Prairie View A&M University to win the regional Honda Campus All-Star Challenge on January 31. Grambling will compete in nationals March 21-25 in Torrance, Calif. Team members, from L to R, are: Jharrayne McKnight, Bello Ahmadou, Dave Fields, John Carter, Whitney Gaston-Loyd and Jasmine Ayatey.

The Grambling State University Academic Quiz Bowl Team is headed to the national tournament in March after winning the regional tournament on January 31 at Prairie View A&M University.

Grambling is a part of the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC). For 25 years, HCASC has hosted regional and national academic quiz bowl competitions for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

During the regional competition, 10 teams are divided into two divisions, A and B. The winner of each division advances to the championship round, and the regional winner advances to the national tournament held March 21-25 in Torrance, Calif.

Grambling defeated Xavier University 530-330 to win the Division B title, and then took on Prairie View, the 2010 national champions, in the final match of the tournament. Though Captain Dave Fields described it as a “close match,” Grambling defeated Prairie View 565-485 for the win.

Fields, a junior nursing major, was especially proud of his team’s performance since he was the only returning team member. Everyone else who competed at the tournament was new to quiz bowl.

“I was happy. It was everyone’s first time, and we killed it, so it was nice,” he said.

The quiz bowl team won $3,000 for qualifying for nationals, but they could win up to $50,000 if they win the national tournament. In 2014, the team won $6,000 for making it to the Sweet 16.

“I think we have a better team than last year. Last year, we were in the top 16 out of 48 teams. This year I feel like we can go even farther up,” Fields said.

The members of the GSU Quiz Bowl Team are Whitney Gaston-Loyd, John Carter, Jasmine Ayatey, Jharrayne McKnight , Bello Ahmadou Ahidjo and Captain Fields. The team is advised by Charlette Favors, director of student organizations , and Juanita Bobo, a counselor.

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Grambling State University to Expand Recycling Program

 

By Angelita Faller

Grambling State University is doing its part to make the planet a little greener, replacing one trash bin at a time in a new campus-wide recycling initiative.

Grambling will soon be the home of 12 recycling bins by the beginning of March. An additional eight green recycling bins will join the four that replaced Waste Management trash bins behind the Athletics building and dormitories as part of a university-recycling program that began November 15, 2014.

Grambling celebrated the expansion of its recycling program with a Recycle Mania event in Favrot Student Union on January 22 with free food, games and giveaways made out of recyclable materials.

Members of the community also viewed a display of art from students at Grambling Middle School and Grambling High School. The Creative Recycling Challenge contained works of art made completely out of recyclable materials. In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, many of the students focused on projects related to black history.

In addition to more recycling bins, Grambling is also partnering with the city of Grambling to gather recyclables within the city. Though plans are not yet complete, Mayor Edward Jones said the cooperative could begin with a shared location where both members of the public and the university could drop off their recyclables.

“The citizens are elated about the prospect of recycling,” Mayor Jones said. “They have been asking me when we are going to get started. We are happy to be a part of that process. It’s environmentally sound for us to have a recycling project in the city. It should make a huge impact on what we have been throwing in the garbage, as opposed to what we will be recycling in the future.”

Grambling has plans to turn the recycling initiative into a long-term project that will both help save the planet and generate income for the university, which eventually plans to build a Recycling Profit Center in GSU’s West Campus.

In the long run, Grambling would also like to partner with the city of Ruston, Louisiana Tech University and other surrounding communities and colleges.

“We do not have the resources at the moment to collect residential recycling, but eventually, we would like to recycle for all of northern Louisiana. That would be our goal. This is a commercial venture, as well as a save-the-planet venture,” said John Rosenthall, vice president of Research Advancement and Economic Development at Grambling State University.

Beginning a recycling program will not only save energy and reduce landfill space, but it can also save the university money by reducing the amount spent on trash being picked up from the campus.

Grambling is partnering with Pratt Industries, a company with recycling and recovery facilities in eight states.

“It reduces waste. It’s better for the environment.   It keeps your campus clean, and it’s very easy to recycle, and you can generate an income at the same time,” said Mandel Davis, a procurement representative developer at Pratt Industries who is also a 2003 graduate of Grambling State University.

“It makes me proud to come back and do something that will benefit the university. Pratt is very proud to reach out to universities and cities to have a recycling program,” he said.

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