Panel to Consider Eight Candidates for Grambling State University President

BATON ROUGE – The Grambling State University Presidential Search Committee today received eight applications of candidates recommended by the search firm, The Hollins Group. The search committee will meet at 10 a.m. Friday in Baton Rouge to select semifinalists to interview on the Grambling campus June 2 and 3.

The UL System Board will announce the new Grambling President in a special meeting on the North Louisiana campus at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 4. According to the consultants, there were four nominations and 49 complete applications.

All of the candidates have executive-level experience and two are former presidents. The eight candidates are listed below in alphabetical order with the highest degree earned and most recent position noted:

  • McKinley Boston, Jr. (Ed.D. — New York University), Former Athletic Director New Mexico State University
  • W. Wayne Brumfield (Ph.D. — Louisiana State University), Former Vice President for Student Affairs, the University of Louisiana at Monroe
  • Thomas J. Calhoun, Jr. (Ph.D. – University of Washington), Vice President for Enrollment Management, University of North Alabama
  • Glenda F. Carter (Ph.D. – University of Michigan), Executive Vice President and Provost and Professor of Education, Wiley College
  • Janet A. Guyden (Ph.D. – Georgia State University), Interim Provost/Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Grambling State University
  • Willie D. Larkin (Ph.D. – Ohio State University), Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Morgan State University
  • Gilbert L. Rochon (Ph.D. – Massachusetts Institute of Technology), President’s Council, University of New Orleans (former President, Tuskegee University)
  • Earl G. Yarbrough (Ph.D. – Iowa State University), Former President, Savannah State University, University System of Georgia

The candidate applications can be downloaded from the UL System website. Voting members of the Grambling Presidential Search Committee include UL System Board members Edward Crawford, III of Shreveport, Kelly Faircloth of Pineville, David Guidry of Natalbany, Board Chair E. Gerald “T-Boy” Hebert of Kenner, student board member Adam Lefort of Nicholls State University, Jimmy Long, Sr. of Natchitoches, Board Vice Chair Jimmie “Beau” Martin, Jr. of Cut Off, Shawn Murphy of Jonesboro, Mark Romero of Lafayette, and Winfred Sibille of Sunset. Recently-appointed student member to the board, Maggie Brakeville of Louisiana Tech University, will become a voting member when her term begins on June 1. Also serving as a voting member is Grambling Faculty Senate President Herbert Simmons. Serving as advisory, non-voting members are Grambling National Alumni Association President Melissa Bickham, Grambling SGA President Jonathan Wallace and Grambling community representatives Howard Davis, Wilbert Ellis and Mildred Gallot. UL System President Sandra Woodley serves as non-voting committee chair. The UL System has established a page on its website  for information about the Grambling Presidential Search. 


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Grambling State University Releases 2015 Football Schedule

GRAMBLING, La. – Home games against Southwestern Athletic Conference rivals Alabama A&M, Mississippi Valley, Prairie View A&M, Texas Southern and Southern University highlights the 2015 Grambling State University football schedule, which was officially released on Wednesday.

The GSU Tigers have two non-conference contests for the 2015 season, the University of California Berkeley and Bethune Cookman University. The schedule features three home games and five road games.

The Grambling State University Football team opens the 2015 season against the University of California at Berkeley on Saturday, Sept. 5 at Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium. Next, the Tigers will open its first home game of the season against Bethune Cookman University on Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. On September 19, Grambling State will travel to Montgomery, Alabama, to battle conference opponent, Alabama State University. After that the Tigers will play Prairie View A&M University in the State Fair Classic on Sept. 26 with Grambling as the home team.

The GSU Tigers will travel to Jackson, Mississippi, to face Jackson State University on Oct. 3. On the following weekend, season ticket holders will have the opportunity to return home for the 2015 home conference season opener scheduled for Oct. 10 against Alabama A&M University.

Grambling will hit the road to travel to Lorman, Mississippi, to take on Alcorn State University on October 17. Homecoming 2015 will be played on Oct. 24 against Mississippi Valley State University at 2 p.m. Next up for the Tigers will be SWAC rival Texas Southern on November 7. The GSU Tigers will then hit the road again to take on the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

After an open date on Nov. 21, the final home game of the regular season for GSU will be played during the 42nd Annual Bayou Classic against SWAC rival Southern University on November 28 at the Mercedes- Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

2015 Grambling State University Football Schedule

Sept. 5 – at University of California Berkeley
Sept. 12 – Bethune Cookman University
Sept. 19 – at Alabama State University
Sept. 26 – Prairie View A&M University (State Fair Classic)
Oct. 3 – at Jackson State University
Oct. 17 – at Alcorn State University
Oct. 31 – Open date
Nov. 14 – at University of Arkansas Pine-Bluff
Nov. 21 – Open date
Nov. 28 – Southern University (42ND Bayou Classic)
Dec. 5 – SWAC Championship
Dec. 19 – SWAC/MEAC Bowl


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Former Grambling Basketball Coach and Player Bob Hopkins Dies at 80


Former GSU Basketball Caoch and Player Bob Hopkins PR Photo

Bob Hopkins

GRAMBLING, LA – Bob Hopkins, a legend at Grambling State University for his basketball and coaching achievements, passed away May 15 at the age of 80 in Bellevue, Washington. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Beverly, four children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“It’s certainly a loss of one of Grambling’s legends,” said Obadiah Simmons, interim athletic director at Grambling. “Hopkins is fondly remembered as Li’l Abner by all those who are familiar with Grambling State University basketball. It’s such a loss for the university of one of our greats, and we send our condolences to the Hopkins family. He had such an outstanding career here at Grambling.”

Hopkins was a native of Jonesboro and a star basketball and baseball player at Jonesboro High School. Hopkin’s cousin, Collie J. Nicholson, then Grambling’s sports information director, helped recruit Hopkins to Grambling, where he played under legendary Coach Eddie G. Robinson, who served as both the men’s football and basketball coach at the time.

Hopkins averaged 29.8 points and 17 rebounds at Grambling, led the Tigers to two Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and was twice named National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American. He scored the second most points (3,759) in college basketball history. Nicholson gave him the nickname “Li’l Abner” in press releases.

After Grambling, he went on to play four seasons with the NBA’s Syracuse Nationals from 1956-1960. After a knee injury ended his professional basketball career, Hopkins used his knowledge of the game to become a successful coach at Prairie View A&M University, Alcorn State University and Xavier University of Louisiana.

“Bob was an extraordinary player and also a good coach. He touched a lot of young men’s lives. He recruited a lot of talent, because he could recognize talent. A lot of guys from Xavier have the utmost respect for him,” said Aaron James, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Grambling and a former professional basketball player with the New Orleans Jazz.

As a teenager growing up in New Orleans, James and his friends would play basketball at Xavier University, where he first met Hopkins, who was Xavier’s head basketball coach at the time. “For me, growing up a New Orleans boy, Bob was always willing to teach young people things he knew about the game, and I knew quite a bit about basketball just from being around Bob Hopkins,” James said.

Hopkins later returned to the NBA as an assistant coach with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1974 and even served a 22-game run as head coach in the 1977-1978 season. Hopkins returned to the college scene after two years as an assistant coach with the New York Knicks.

He made his way home to Grambling, where he served as the head coach of the women’s basketball team from 1982-1984 and later the men’s basketball team from 1986-1989. He led Grambling to Southwestern Athletic Conference championships in the 1986-87 and 1988-89 seasons.

After a 17-month run at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, Hopkins retired from coaching in 1991 and returned to his home in Mercer Island, Washington. Hopkins was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1978 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

A memorial service for Hopkins will be held following the 11 a.m. mass at Saint Monica Catholic Church on Mercer Island, Washington, on Friday, May 22.


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Grambling State Officials and Supporters Meet with Legislators to Discuss Higher Education

GSU Reps and Alums Meet at Capital with Legislators for GSU Day

Grambling State University representatives and alumni meet with Louisiana state legislators to discuss the state of higher education in Louisiana during GSU Day at the Capitol on April 28 in Baton Rouge.

GRAMBLING, LA – As a 50-year alumnae of Grambling State University, nothing was going to stop Bobbie Scott Williams from making it to Baton Rouge to discuss the state of higher education with Louisiana state legislators during GSU at the Capitol Day on April 28.

“I traveled through a storm to be here today,” said Williams, who is a 1965 graduate of Grambling from Beaumont, Texas. “I am here to support House Bill (HB) 129 and House Bill 171.”

HB 129 and HB 171 are two pieces of proposed legislation sponsored by Rep. Patrick Jefferson aimed at helping historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Louisiana. HB 129 is aimed at increasing attendance at HBCUs by attracting students from other states. The bill would reduce undergraduate tuition and fees for out of state students who want to attend HBCUs.

HB 171 would help students who would normally go to a community college attend an HBCU, where the graduation rates are often higher. If passed, the legislation would exempt Grambling, Southern University and A&M College and Southern University at New Orleans from GRAD Act requirements to eliminate remedial courses.

“I think it certainly will empower us to be able to recruit non-traditional students who have been coming to the university historically since the very beginning,” said Sen. Richard Gallot, Jr. “I think it will un-tie our hands to a certain extent to be able to recruit more students and not have to turn students away who are seeking an education.”

Louisiana is facing a $1.6 billion funding shortage for the budget year that begins on July 1. Under a worst-case scenario, higher education institutions are facing cuts of more than $600 million for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, which would eliminate more than 80 percent of state funding.

“Grambling’s budget has been cut for the past five years, so another cut at this point would be devastating to our university. Because of the dire situation with the Louisiana state budget and the potential impact on our university and higher education as a whole, I want to speak with legislators to show them how important Grambling is to us,” said Felicia Henry, president of the Douglas L. Williams Alumni Chapter in Houston.

Kenyethia Jones, who works to recruit high school students to Grambling with the Houston alumni chapter, is worried that cuts will prevent Grambling from offering scholarships to “quality students that we recruit.”

“I was born and raised in Grambling, so I am always concerned about Grambling’s future. With all of these budget cuts, I am very concerned,” she said.

Grambling officials and supporters met with more than 20 members of the legislation, including Grambling alumni Rep. Edward Price, Sen. Gallot and Rep. Jeffrey Hall.

Grambling supporters also met with Senators Elbert Guillory and Edwin Murray and Representatives Patrick Jefferson, Robert Shadoin, Katrina Jackson, Wesley Bishop, Joseph Bouie, Jr., Barbara Norton, Marcus Hunter, Roy Burrell, Vincent Pierre, Patricia Haynes Smith, Kenny Cox, Randal Gaines, Dalton Honoré, Edward James and Terry Landry, Sr.

“As a member of the Senate and as a Grambling graduate and a Grambling resident, it’s important that we share with our colleagues the importance of Grambling State University. It’s a great opportunity to highlight the university and how important it is to our state,” Gallot said.


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Grambling State University’s Class of 1965 Celebrates 50th Reunion

50th Anniversary Grads Spring 2015 PR Photo

GSU Interim President Cynthia Warrick presented 18 members of the Class of 1965 with Golden Reunion Certificates during the 2015 Spring Commencement on May 8.

By Angelita Faller

GRAMBLING, LA – Netria Anne Joe’s fondest memory of attending Grambling State University 50 years ago is of sneaking into a peach orchard across the street from her dormitory.

“A group of us sneaked over to the orchard and got some peaches, and we got caught by the dormitory matron. Yes, we did, so that was the most fun thing and the scariest thing, because I thought I was going to get sent home,” Joe said during the 50th Golden Reunion for the Class of 1965 on May 7.

While Joe does not recall what her exact punishment was, she certainly did not get kicked out of school. Grambling taught her the value of education, and she went on to share that belief with the hundreds of students she taught during her 38 years as an eighth-grade English teacher in Louisiana.

Joe attended the reunion with her best friend of 40 years, Ida Thomas James, who also worked as an elementary school teacher in Louisiana and Illinois. While Joe and James both attended Grambling, had the same major and graduated in 1965, the two claim they never met until they became co-workers at the same school in Madisonville, La., 10 years later in 1975.

“Nobody believes that we never met while we were here. We never ran in the same circle. I was more into organizations and the sorority side, and she (Joe) was a socialite,” James recalled, adding that she was very active in a political organization called the Nomad League.

“We would meet with citizens in the area to help them pass the test so they could go register to vote. A lot of people in the 1960s were not able to register, because there was a test and in some places there was a fee to register,” she said.

James recalls how lucky she was to be able to afford a college education at Grambling. Her father died when she was in the 10th grade, and her mother single-handedly put James and her two siblings through college.

“We didn’t have extra money to buy things. There were two other friends in the same situation, and we would put our money together to buy snacks: a honey bun and a Mr. Cola. A honey bun cost 10 cents, and a Mr. Cola cost 15 cents. We would divide it into three, so we would have a piece of honey bun and a little of Mr. Cola. We are still very close today. One is in Florida and one is in Michigan, but we made it,” she said.

Eighteen member of the Class of 1965 were presented with Golden Reunion Certificates during the 2015 Spring Commencement on May 8: James Bradford, Jonesboro, La.; Birdex Copeland, Grambling, La.; Mary Casson Davenport, Shreveport, La.; Alfred Dawson, Houston, Texas; Lille Doyer Dawson, Houston, Texas; Florence Durell, New Orleans; Donald Francis, Jennings, La.; Delia Monroe Hamilton, Shreveport, La.; Clarence Hawkins, Bastrop, La.; Betty Webb Jackson, Grambling, La.; Ida Thomas James, Covington, La.; Hazel Jefferson, Opelousas, La.; Netria Anne Joe, Mandelville, La.; Alice Naylor, Country Club Hills, Ill., William Ruffin, Many, La.; Herbert Simmons, Jr., Jonesboro, La.; Gilbert Stampley, Beaumont, Texas; and Bobbie Scott Williams, Beaumont, Texas.

James Bradford, mayor of Jonesboro, called the opportunity to return to Grambling for his 50th reunion a blessing.

“I was up on stage 50 years ago, and to be able to walk across that stage unaided 50 years later is a blessing,”

After Bradford graduated, he worked as central regional manager of government and public relations at Smurfit-Stone. He says he owes his success to his time at Grambling.

“Grambling made me what I am today. Were it not for Grambling, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Grambling gave me an opportunity when other schools would not,” Bradford said.


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Grambling State University Class Helps Local Couple

GSU Class Helps Local Couple PR Photo

Grambling State University students from Mary Ghongkedze’s Human Growth and Development class volunteer at the home of D.C. and Inell Hoard of Grambling. Photo by Glen Lewis.

GRAMBLING, LA – When D.C. Hoard says that he and his wife, Inell, own a “few” potted plants, he is vastly underestimating. The Grambling couple loves gardening and own well over 100 potted plants housed in a storage building during the winter months. This year, the Hoards had the benefit of 20 Grambling State University students to help them spread their green thumbs.

As people grow older, they cannot always complete the same physical tasks they could when they were younger. This is a concept that students studying Human Growth and Development know well. As a service learning component to her class, Mary Ghongkedze, an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, has her students volunteer at the homes of older members of the Grambling community.

“After seeing how adults age and how they cannot always do the same things, we want to promote and help them in whatever way we can. It’s a little bit of service learning for the students, to know that they can give back to the community and just make a difference in someone’s life,” Ghongkedze said.

Kadijah Hoard, a junior majoring in therapeutic recreation, was quick to volunteer her grandparents, D.C. and Inell Hoard, for the class project.

“My grandparents are getting a little older in age, and I know that sometimes I come out and help them in my free time,” she said. “That’s why I volunteered my grandparents’ house, because I felt like it would be a good opportunity to help them out.”

While the Hoards are especially grateful to the class for a morning of having students unload potted plants, sift through soil and clean garden ornaments, D.C. also thinks of it as a good way to keep the class entertained.

“We are just entertaining the class. The class wanted to come out and help individuals in the community. It’s all about what Grambling is about. It’s good interaction with the community, and it’s a good way for the school to stay involved,” said D.C. Hoard, who worked at Grambling State University for more than 30 years.

Rain kept the class from working out in the yard, but one student thinks the best lesson learned from the class project is how to reach out to the older citizens in the community.

“We are coming out into the community and helping somebody. We are doing something to go out into the community to help the older people and let them know that somebody cares about them,” said YeaNia Alicea, a junior therapeutic recreation major.


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Hank Aaron Donates $10,000 to Eddie G. Robinson Museum


By Angelita Faller

Hank Aaron Museum Donation PR Photo

Henry “Hank” Aaron and his wife, Billye Aaron, donated $10,000 to the Eddie G. Robinson Museum during a fundraiser on May 8. Photo by Glen Lewis.

GRAMBLING, LA – A reception honoring baseball great Henry “Hank” Aaron and former members of the Atlanta Braves to raise money for the Eddie G. Robinson Museum ended with a surprise donation of $10,000 from Aaron.

Due to the $1.6 billion deficit in the state budget, funding for the museum was cut forcing the museum to only be open one day a week beginning in April. The Friends of the Eddie G. Robinson Museum (EGRM) do not believe that is nearly enough time for visitors to experience the historic significance of Coach Robinson’s impact on college football.

“The museum is named after one of American’s greatest, Eddie G. Robinson, who coached at Grambling for 57 years and is in every Hall of Fame you can name,” said Wilbert Ellis, president of the Friends of EGRM. “He’s touched the lives of so many individuals, including myself. We want young people to see this great American and his contributions and what he has done for Grambling State University and the whole country.”

Coach Robinson has the second-highest wins in NCAA football history with 408 wins. The Friends of EGRM have pledged to keep the museum open four days a week, and are raising funds to cover the cost of operating the museum the additional three days a week no longer covered by state funds.

“This museum does not need to be open one day a week. It needs to be open all the time so people traveling on I-20 can appreciate what Eddie Robinson meant to the world of football, what he meant to the state of Louisiana,” said Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne.

An auction was held featuring autographed sports memorabilia, including baseballs and bats signed by Aaron and basketballs signed by Willis Reed, a Grambling alumnus and former New York Knicks player. One mysterious benefactor anonymously matched the donations of the last Hank Aaron baseball and bat purchased during the auction, which brought in a total of $6,000 for the last bat auctioned at the fundraiser.

Aaron played 21 seasons for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the National League and two seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League. When he retired at the end of the 1976 season, he held more Major League batting records than any other player in the game’s history. His most famous home run came in Atlanta on April 8, 1974, when he hit his 715 home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s seemingly untouchable record.

Four former Atlanta Braves players, who are all Louisiana natives, were honored at the reception: Wayne Causey, Gary Eaves, Ralph “Roadrunner” Garr and George Stone.

Stone, a graduate of Ruston High School and Louisiana Tech University who was a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, described how Aaron’s accomplishments inspired African Americans.

“He’s the most respected baseball player ever in the history of the game. Not necessarily for what he did on the field, but it’s how he did it, with grace, with character, with dignity, with integrity,” Stone said. “I think one of the reasons he was really focused, he was playing for a whole race of people that desperately needed something to cling to at that particular time.”

“We are life-long Louisianans, and this museum is more than a little important to our way of life,” said Mark Neal, an attorney from Monroe who purchased an autographed baseball for his family for $1,500. “I have been a fan of Hank Aaron for many years. There is no greater baseball player ever to live.”

Aaron, who was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Grambling’s 2015 Spring Commencement earlier in the day, surprised museum officials by announcing a personal donation of $10,000 from him and his wife, Billye Aaron.

The total amount of money raised from the fundraiser is still being tabulated. The event was sponsored by Toyota, First National Bank and Squire Creek Country Club.


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Over 500 Grambling State University Students Graduate in Spring Commencement


GSU Spring Commencement Exercises 2015 PR Photo1

GSU Interim President Cynthia Warrick presents Senior Class President Corey Howard with his degree in the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center on May 8.

GRAMBLING, LA – Henry “Hank” Aaron encouraged Grambling State University’s Class of 2015 to pay it forward by helping those who cannot help themselves during the Spring Commencement on May 8.

“I’m proud to stand here this evening before you because you graduating students are our future,” Aaron told the class of 505 graduates. “I have tried, in my lifetime and in the 23 years I played baseball, to have what we call the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation. My wife and I started it many years ago, and you too can do things like that.”

GSU Interim President Cynthia Warrick presented Aaron, who is currently the senior vice president in the Atlanta Braves front office, the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, for his distinguished career in professional baseball and his vast humanitarian efforts for the youth. Aaron’s Chasing the Dream Foundation was established in 2007 to help children between the ages of nine and 12 realize their dreams.

Spring Commencement Exercises 2015 PR Photo 2

Henry “Hank” Aaron speaks at Grambling State University’s Spring Commencement.

“We have tried to help, and that’s why you are graduating. You are here to graduate and be able to help those students or those people who can’t help themselves. Please, whatever you do, remember that. Remember that you are here because someone on stage or some teacher or instructor helped you prepare yourself to help prepare other kids that can’t help themselves. I beg all of you today, remember that you too can do the same thing,” Aaron said.

Grambling awarded a second honorary degree, Doctor of Business, to Charles Guidry for his accomplishments in business and success in the sugar industry. Guidry, the eldest son of a sharecropper, has grown his small family farm in Erath, La., to become one of the top producers of sugar cane in the state of Louisiana. He also serves as the only African American member of the Cajun Sugar Co-Op, Inc. Board of Directors.

“Grambling State University is the most wonderful university to receive such an honor from. My message to you today is to dream big. Dreams do come true. I am living proof as I stand before you today,” Guidry said.

Congressman Ralph Abraham, who represents Grambling, Lincoln Parish and 23 other parishes in north, central and southeastern Louisiana, advised students that now is the time to explore all the opportunities earning a college degree grants them during his commencement address.

“I’ve had somewhat of an unconventional life,” Abraham said, referring to his multiple careers as a veterinarian, medical doctor, business owner, pilot and now congressman. “I just want to tell you that you don’t have to have it all figured out right now. You’ve got time. In a minute, you graduates are going to be handed a piece of paper. It will also be the greatest piece of paper that can ever shape your life. You’ve earned the respect and the recognition that diploma gives you.”

Next, Karlin Gray was honored as the valedictorian of the Class of 2015. Gray is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, and a 2011 graduate of White Station High School. She is a senior in the Department of Kinesiology, Sport and Leisure Studies (KSLS) with a concentration in Sport Management who is graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

“I will miss student life the most. From the very first day I stepped on campus, it was very inclusive. There was always a lot of love, and I will miss that,” she said.

Gray began working her first full-time job at Results Physiotherapy Women’s Specialty Clinic in Memphis, Tenn. After she gets married in August, Gray and her husband will move to Jackson, Miss., where she plans on studying physical therapy and undertaking ministry work at local colleges.

Grambling also bestowed five doctoral candidates with a Doctor of Education degree in Developmental Education: Sandie Crawford of Macedonia, Ohio; Gerald Iacullo of Jersey City, New Jersey; Susan Louise Prather of Waldorf, Maryland; Elise Hester Reed of Grambling; and Xanthe Yvette Seals of Homer, La.

Lt. Col. Denise Moultrie, a professor of military science, awarded commissions to eight Army ROTC officers: Michael Blackshire, Lance Bradford, Cendra Doni, Paris McMurray, Gregory Oshotse, Omseti Smart, Michaela Sneed, and A’Miracle Wesley.

“They are now part of the elite, of the one percent that serves in the uniformed services. I am so proud of them, and they will do awesome as leaders,” Moultrie said.

Golden Reunion Certificates were also presented to 18 members of the Class of 1965 to celebrate their 50th reunion at Grambling: James Bradford, Jonesboro, La.; Birdex Copeland, Grambling, La.; Mary Casson Davenport, Shreveport, La.; Alfred Dawson, Houston, Texas; Lille Doyer Dawson, Houston, Texas; Florence Durell, New Orleans; Donald Francis, Jennings, La.; Delia Monroe Hamilton, Shreveport, La.; Clarence Hawkins, Bastrop, La.; Betty Webb Jackson, Grambling, La.; Ida Thomas James, Covington, La.; Hazel Jefferson, Opelousas, La.; Netria Anne Joe, Mandelville, La.; Alice Naylor, Country Club Hills, Ill., William Ruffin, Many, La.; Herbert Simmons, Jr., Jonesboro, La.; Gilbert Stampley, Beaumont, Texas; and Bobbie Scott Williams, Beaumont, Texas.


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Dr. Woodley’s Statement about Legislative Action on the Budget

The Louisiana House of Representatives passed legislation today that begins to address higher education’s $608 million budget gap.

“The University of Louisiana System applauds the difficult votes that were cast in the House of Representatives today. We have great respect for the difficulty of the task ahead and will continue to support our legislative leaders,” said UL System President Sandra K. Woodley.

President Woodley will discuss today’s legislative activity during Friday’s budget briefing webinar at 11:30 a.m. To register for the webinar and access past budget information, visit


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Karlin Gray Named Valedictorian of Grambling State University Class of 2015


Karlin Gray Spring 2015 Valedictorian PR Photo

Karlin Gray

GRAMBLING, LA – Grambling State University is proud to announce Karlin Gray as the valedictorian of the Class of 2015. Gray will graduate with a 4.0 GPA at 10 a.m. Friday at the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

Gray is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, and a 2011 graduate of White Station High School. She is a senior in the Department of Kinesiology, Sport and Leisure Studies (KSLS) with a concentration in Sport Management.

Gray is a very active member of the Grambling community. Throughout her four years on campus, she has been a cheerleader, participated in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program and served on the Favrot Student Union Board. She is also a member of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College, Phi Epsilon Kappa and the KSLS Majors Club.

Gray is very dedicated to a career in sport management, having served as a volunteer athletic trainer for track and field, football and soccer players in 2011 and a youth volunteer soccer and flag football coach in 2014. She also organized and led fitness and recreational activities for summer camp youth at First Baptist Church Broad in Memphis during summer 2014.

Gray’s professors describe her as a model student who is quick to help her teachers and classmates. They are especially proud of her accomplishments, since it is rare for the valedictorian to be a kinesiology major.

“We collectively are extremely delighted about Karlin being the graduate with the highest GPA,” said Obadiah Simmons, Jr., who previously served as the director of the KSLS Department, but has recently been named the interim athletic director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“From day one, she has demonstrated her leadership, efficiency and passion for her major. She has been a model student and a model club member in the KSLS Majors Club. She’s been very helpful to her peers and her faculty members, always helping them with research and helping them prepare for workshops. Everyone that has come into contact with her in our department has nothing but positive things to say to each other,” Simmons said.


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