Wife Establishes Scholarship at GSU for Long-Time Educator and Pastor Clifton Lewis

 

By Angelita Faller

Clifton Lewis Scholarship PR Photo - Summer 2015

Shirley Lewis established a $1,000 scholarship in honor of her husband, Clifton Lewis. Shown from left to right are Lewis’ son, Everette, grandson, Clifton, Brianna Cotton, the first scholarship recipient, and Shirley Lewis. Photo by Glen Lewis.

GRAMBLING, LA – Clifton Lewis served as a dedicated educator and pastor for more than three decades. His wife of 39 years, Shirley Lewis, remembers him as a deeply spiritual man whose life was defined by giving back to the community he loved so much.

“He knew no limits to reaching out to his fellow man and showed a genuine kindness and love to all who knew him. He was propelled forward by an incessant desire to be a servant in whom God was well pleased,” Shirley Lewis said.

Shirley and Clifton Lewis were both dedicated educators. Shirley Lewis, who worked as the K-12 curriculum coordinator at Grambling Laboratory Schools until her retirement in 2014, felt the best way to honor her husband’s memory was to help young people attend the university they both attended and loved by establishing a $1,000 scholarship in his honor.

The Rev. Clifton E. Lewis Non-Endowed Memorial Scholarship is given annually to incoming freshman from Claiborne, Jackson, Lincoln and Union Parishes who have a 3.0 GPA and are following in Lewis’ example by actively participating in their church. The four parishes represent the locations where Lewis worked as an educator and pastor over his lifetime.

Clifton Lewis was born in 1951 and grew up in Farmersville, La. He earned a Bachelor of Science in English Education from Grambling State University in 1975 and later earned a Master of Art in Literature in 1992 and his 30+ in Supervision and Administration in 2001. As an educator for over three decades, Lewis served as dean of students, assistant principal, director of Option III Program, director of Title IV Drug Free Schools and principal in Union, Lincoln and Claiborne parishes. In earlier years, he worked as coordinator for communications and assistant business manager at Grambling State University. In his final years, he served as principal of Homer High School in Homer, La.

Lewis answered the call to ministry in 1980. He was licensed to preach the gospel in 1981 and was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1982. He served as pastor of St. Peter Missionary Baptist Church in Ruston, New Land Baptist Church in Bernice and New Galilee Baptist Church in Jonesboro.

He also spent 15 years as pastor of Mount Harmony Missionary Baptist Church in Ruston. Under his leadership, the church flourished and established a daycare, elder care program and family life center during Lewis’ tenure. The Clifton E. Lewis Family Life Center was named and dedicated in his honor in 2013.

Shirley Lewis thinks her husband would have been pleased that the first recipient of his scholarship, Brianna Cotton, a 19-year-old freshman majoring in social work, is one of his former students from Homer High School.

“That makes it even more extraordinary. How awesome that the first recipient would have an actual connection to him and be able to benefit from him even now. He wanted the best for his students. He wanted them all to do their best,” she said.

Cotton is a very active member of her church, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Homer, who sings in the choir, dances as a praise dancer and helps teach Sunday School. She remembers Lewis as a principal who believed in his students and motivated them to succeed in academics.

“He was a good principal. We got along well. He kept us motivated,” she said.

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Grambling Alumni, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Evelyn Crayton becomes 2015-16 President of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

 

Dr. Evelyn Crayton - President of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics PR Photo Sum15Grambling, LA – Registered dietitian nutritionist Evelyn F. Crayton, professor emeritus at Auburn University, begins her one-year term on June 1 as the president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

Crayton, of Montgomery, Ala., and a native of Jones, La., is the 90th president of the Academy, which was founded in 1917 as the American Dietetic Association. She has been the Academy’s president-elect since June 2014 and will serve as president until May 31, 2016. Crayton is the first African-American to serve as the Academy’s president.

“It is important to demonstrate to the world that we are the most qualified leaders in the field of nutrition and dietetics. We aim to maximize the optimum health of the people in our community, state, nation and in the world. Another goal is to continue to increase ethnic diversity in our membership,” Crayton said.

Crayton said among her priorities as president of the 76,000-member Academy are working with the Board of Directors, Academy leaders, nutrition and dietetic educators and the Academy’s Headquarters Team to increase the number of internships available for students and the number of preceptors to work with interns.

“As a part of the Academy’s strategic plan, I also hope we will increase our partnerships and collaborations with like-minded organizations that are involved in addressing food insecurity and hunger issues worldwide. Through these partnerships and collaborative efforts, we will contribute to the reduction in health disparities and increase health equity,” Crayton said.

Crayton is a past president of the Alabama Dietetic Association; chair of the Academy’s Nutrition Education for the Public dietetic practice group; membership chair of the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition practice group; and a mentor for the Academy’s National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition member interest group. She has served as a consumer representative on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Advisory Committee. At Auburn University, Crayton was a professor of nutrition, dietetics and hospitality management and assistant director of extension family and consumer sciences. She collaborated, partnered or received funding from the National Cancer Institute; the March of Dimes; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health; International Society of Hypertension in Blacks; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

She is a life member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority and a founder of the Gamma Xi chapter at Auburn University, where she served as a faculty advisor. Crayton has been a member of the Alabama Cooperative Extension Services Employees Organization; a founding member of the Auburn Black Caucus; and a past member of the Montgomery County Board of Education’s Bi-Racial Committee. She was a member of the ninth class of the “Leadership Montgomery” professional development program, now in its 32nd year.

A published author in refereed journals, Crayton has developed curricula, videos, slide presentations, leaflets and other teaching materials and is a national and international speaker. Crayton is the author of Food Preservation in Alabama (Alabama Cooperative Extension System 2012).

A graduate of Grambling State University, Crayton earned a master’s degree from Saint Louis University and a doctorate from Auburn University.

Grambling State University Releases 2015 Volleyball Schedule

 

GRAMBLING, LA – Grambling State University Volleyball Head Coach Demetria Keys-Johnson has announced the Lady Tigers’ 2015 schedule, currently a slate that includes nine Southwestern Athletic Conference home games, four tournaments and 18 road games.

The 2015 roster will boast one senior, two juniors and six sophomores returning from last year’s team. The Lady Tigers will have six new incoming freshmen to be seen out on the court. The Lady Tigers finished 2014 with a 3-22 overall record. The team is looking forward to a better outcome with our incoming and upcoming players.

Grambling will kick off the 2015 season in Arlington, Texas, for a two-day tournament hosted by the University of Texas at Arlington on August 28-29. The Lady Tigers will play its first home game of the season Sept. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

Southwestern Athletic Conference play will get started on Sept. 2 with a home match against Mississippi Valley State University, followed by a trip over to Baton Rouge on Sept. 21 for a Monday tilt at Southern University.

Grambling will have seven non-conference games mixed among its conference schedule. The Lady Tigers will travel to Magnolia, Arkansas, for a match against Southern Arkansas University on Sept. 8. The Lady Tigers will travel to Monroe in a competition against the University of Louisiana at Monroe on Oct. 19, followed by a match against Louisiana Tech on Oct. 27 in Ruston.

The 2015 Southwestern Athletic Conference Volleyball Championship will be held Nov. 20-21 in Baton Rouge. The Lady Tigers will play its final regular-season match on Saturday, Nov. 14 in a SWAC competition against Texas Southern University at home.

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High School Students Complete Robotics Workshop at Grambling State University

GSU Robotics Workshop PR Photo - Summer 2015

Local high school students completed a two-week workshop on robotics and cyber security at Grambling State University on June 18. Shown from left to right are Mercedes Swift, a junior at Grambling High School; Jhori Leonard, a senior at Jonesboro-Hodge High School; Prof. Yemumula Reddy; JhaVinie Barnes, a junior at Waxahachie Global High School; Melanie Colvin, an English teacher at Grambling High School; Daizsha Hackney, a student at Grambling Middle School; Rhonda Lee, an assistant principal in Jackson Parish; Nicholas Douzart, a junior at Grambling High School; Kiran Seetala, a student at Ruston High School; and Evelyn Todd, a student at West Monroe High School. Photo by Glen Lewis.

GRAMBLING, LA – Nine high school students completed the Summer 2015 Workshop on Robotic and Cyber Security at Grambling State University on June 18.

The students include Mercedes Swift, a junior at Grambling High School; Jhori Leonard, a senior at Jonesboro-Hodge High School; JhaVinie Barnes, a junior at Waxahachie Global High School; Daizsha Hackney, a student at Grambling Middle School; Nicholas Douzart, a junior at Grambling High School; Kiran Seetala, a student at Ruston High School; Chris Burks, a student at Caddo Magnet High School; Aeneas Bell, a senior at Jonesboro-Hodge High School; and Evelyn Todd, a student at West Monroe High School.

The workshop, which began in 2006 and is sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory Collaboration Program, is a two-week summer program for high school students and teachers to learn how to build and program robots with the goal of preparing the participants to compete in robotics competitions.

“These students have complete training for programming and everything,” said Yenumula Reddy, a professor of computer science who runs the robotics workshop. “They can easily go for a competition, but teachers have to take the next step. Teachers learn and then become instructors for the students to take them into competition.”

Melanie Colvin, an English teacher at Grambling High School who has been working with the program for five years, said this camp exposes her students to valuable lessons in computer science, engineering and computer programming that they would not normally receive in high school.

“It actually exposes them to things that they probably wouldn’t get in the high school classrooms. A senior I had this year, he worked with the program last year and his major is going to be computer programming because he was exposed to this program,” Colvin said.

During the first week, students build robots and program them to complete various functions, such as moving objects and climbing up stairs.

In the second week, the addition of various sensors add a wide range of capabilities to the robots’ functionality. The use of an ultrasonic range finder sensor allows robots to avoid obstacles in its path. The sensor emits a sound wave, which bounces off a reflective surface and then returns to the sensor, allowing the robot to determine the distance from the object and when it needs to turn in order to avoid the object in its path. Other sensors allow the robots to track lines and detect light, adding multiple ways to control the way the robots move.

JhaVinie Barnes, a junior at Waxahachie Global High School, joined the program after her cousin participated.

“This is my third year doing it. Originally, my cousin did it, and I said that’s cool, building robots and stuff,” Barnes said. “I like all the experience and skills it gives you. You learn as you go. There are people who help you if you need help, but it’s more like if there is a problem, you figure out how to solve it.”

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Ulrica Edwards Recognized by NSF for Outstanding Service

 

Ulrica Edwards PR Photo - summer 2015

Ulrica Edwards

The National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health have recognized the efforts of Ulrica Edwards, a planning and research analyst in the Office of Institutional Planning, Assessment and Effectiveness, as Grambling State University’s coordinator for the 2014 Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering.

“Without the accurate and timely work of our GSS coordinators at approximately 700 postsecondary institutions nationwide, we would not be able to compile our annual statistics on graduate enrollment, post-docs and nonfaculty researchers in science, engineering and health fields. We appreciate the extra efforts of your staff outside of their workload,” said John Gawalt, director of the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.

The survey is an annual census of all U.S. academic institutions granting research-based master’s degrees or doctorates in science, engineering and selected health fields. The results are used to assess shifts in graduate enrollment and postdoctoral appointments and trends in financial support.

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GSU Ruston Alumni Chapter Donates $10,000 to Scholarship Endowment; Awards Two Scholarships

 

Ruston Alumni Scholarship Gala Winners PR Photo - Summer 2015

The Grambling University National Alumni Association-Ruston Chapter presented two $500 book scholarships to incoming freshmen who are both Ruston natives. The scholarship winners include Psnefra Wills, who will be majoring in kinesiology and plans to become a physical therapist, and Trace Payne, who will be majoring in biology and plans to become a doctor of internal medicine.

GRAMBLING, LA – The Grambling University National Alumni Association-Ruston Chapter has donated $10,000 to a scholarship endowment fund for Grambling students at the chapter’s fourth annual scholarship gala held Saturday night in the Black and Gold Room in Favrot Student Union.

Ruston Alumni Chapter President Liz White said it is important to encourage giving in light of budget cuts to higher education.

“The gala is another opportunity, and for some, perhaps the only opportunity to give,” White said. “People will give if you ask them. We want to create a culture of giving to our state-funded educational institutions. We want to start looking beyond state funding.”

The Ruston chapter also honored eight Grambling State alumni that made contributions of $1,000 or more to make the donation possible, including Greg Ludley, a police sergeant at Louisiana State University Health Science Center; Ethel Drayton, an elementary teacher in the Jackson Parish School System; Michelle Wright, executive director of the Lincoln Council on Aging; Patricia Hutcherson, university registrar and executive director of enrollment management at GSU; Mary Richard, a retired elementary teacher with the Lincoln Parish School System; Liz White, a retired English professor at Louisiana Tech University; and Rhonda Pruitt, the owner of True Care Dental in Grambling.

The scholarship is named the Ruston Alumni Chapter’s The Family of Coach James Wicks Duncan Sr. Endowed Scholarship in memory of Duncan, a prominent Lincoln Parish coach and educator, after his daughter, Janet Duncan Barnes, a member of the Grambling University Foundation Board of Directors, donated $25,000 to the endowment last year.

“Grambling is grateful for the Ruston Chapter’s consistent support of GSU students and programs,” GSU Interim President Cynthia Warrick said. “Their unselfish gifts and hard work are responsible for our success in recruitment, retention and graduation.”

The chapter also presented two $500 book scholarships to incoming freshmen who are both Ruston natives. The first scholarship winner is Psnefra Wills, the daughter of Yvette Moss and Paul Wills of Ruston. She is a 2015 graduate of Grambling High School with a 3.6 GPA who is an active member of Mr. Harmony Missionary Baptist Church in Ruston. After graduation, she plans to become a physical therapist and track and field coach.

“I want to come to Grambling because I feel like I would get more opportunities here and get a chance to meet people. I felt privileged and honored to get a scholarship, because I really needed it in order to afford my books,” Wills said.

The second scholarship recipient is Trace Payne, the son of Renwick and Sandra Payne of Ruston. He is a 2015 graduate of Grambling High School with a 3.7 GPA and a member of Gumspring Missionary Baptist Church in Farmerville. After graduation, he plans to attend medical school and become a doctor of internal medicine.

“I went to Grambling lab schools, and I just want to continue my education at Grambling. I had a $500 book scholarship, and it was an experience, because it helped me to better prepare myself for my future,” Payne said.

The chapter also presented a $500 donation to the Grambling University Athletic Foundation in honor of Head Football Coach Broderick Fobbs, who served as the night’s keynote speaker.

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GSU Police Department Gets New Communication Room and System

 

Emmanuel Brown, a communications officer with the GSU Police Department PR Photo - Summer 2015

Emmanuel Brown, a communications officer with the GSU Police Department, monitors campus security in the department’s new communication room, which was funded by a Title 3 grant.

GRAMBLING, LA – Grambling State University’s Police Department has recently undergone a first-floor makeover. Thanks to a Title 3 grant, renovations were recently completed to the police department’s communication room, which now houses a new communication system as well.

The new communication system from Cardinal Tracking, Inc. is much faster and more reliable than the previous communication system. It combines four systems that provide officers with faster access to information and more reliable storage of reports and related data.

GSU Interim Police Chief Howard Caviness has been interested in expanding the communication room into the department’s lobby and upgrading the system ever since he became chief in July 2014.

“When I assumed this position, my first priority was to make that room larger, more comfortable and definitely more safe for employees. It was incredibly small. There was a lot of unusable space that is now useable because of the renovations that we did,” he said.

The communication room acts as the hub of the police department. The room contains most of the department’s communication and surveillance equipment, and the expansion allows for more equipment and personnel to be housed in the room.

The police department was awarded a $100,000 Title 3 grant in October 2014. About 70 percent of this grant has gone toward renovating the GSUPD communication room and purchasing a new communication system. The grant also funded new body cameras and Tasers for the police department.

In addition to the communication system, GSUPD also purchased a system that tracks parking tickets and automatically uploads the information to an electronic database. This system will save the department on time spent manually entering and searching through carbon copies of the parking tickets.

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Drexler Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 38th Round

 

Grambling State senior Edwin Drexler capitalized on a strong senior season and will head into the professional ranks this summer.Grambling State senior Edwin Drexler capitalized on a strong senior season and will head into the professional ranks this summer.

Grambling, La. – The Los Angeles Dodgers picked Grambling’s Edwin Drexlerin the 38th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft on Wednesday. Drexler was the No. 1,152 overall pick.

Drexler is a native from Jeanerette, Louisiana, and a senior center fielder who played in all of GSU’s games this season. He recorded 185 at bats, 42 runs, 51 hits, five doubles, two triples, three home-runs and 19 runners batted in. Edwin led the team in runs scored (42), triples (2), walks (33), stolen bases (30) and steal attempts (34).

“It is such a remarkable feeling helping dreams come true for young men, especially when they do it the right way by graduating with a degree in May and then getting drafted in June,” said Head Baseball Coach James Cooper. “We take pride in being a student first and athlete second here at Grambling. Edwin has exemplified just that. His hard work in class and on the field has been recognized. He’s a Dodger now. I wish him the best. That’s the fifth player drafted in six seasons. Thank God for dear ole Grambling!”

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Disappointing News for GSU Undergraduate Nursing Program

 

GRAMBLING, LA – The Louisiana State Board of Nursing voted to remove the conditional approval status for Grambling State University’s undergraduate nursing program at a show cause meeting today. The master’s program in nursing is not affected by this decision.

Grambling is now dedicated to helping our current Level 2 and Level 3 undergraduate nursing students who are affected by this decision and will choose between switching their majors or completing their nursing degrees at another institution. There are currently 16 remaining Level 2 and Level 3 students who are affected by this decision. Grambling is making every effort to assist our students in transitioning and helping them make the best decision for their futures.

The Level 4 students and the Level 5 students who are currently taking summer classes at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches will not be affected.

The School of Nursing has been an important part of Grambling for over three decades and has prepared more than 2,000 students to enter the healthcare industry. Unfortunately, the nursing program has been struggling with maintaining exam pass rates since 2010. In order to obtain a license to become a registered nurse, students must pass a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

“We are disappointed with the order that the Louisiana State Board of Nursing adopted this afternoon,” GSU Interim President Cynthia Warrick said. “We will continue to revamp and reorganize the nursing program, so that we can reopen the nursing program as soon as possible. We are using all of our resources to support our existing students to pass the NCLEX exam.”

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GSU Ruston Alumni Chapter Holds Fourth Annual Scholarship Gala

 

GRAMBLING, LA – The Grambling University National Alumni Association-Ruston Chapter will hold its fourth annual scholarship gala on Saturday, June 13 in the Black and Gold Room in Grambling’s Favrot Student Union.

“While the primary purpose of this gala is to raise money for scholarships for GSU, the gala will honor eight leadership donors and two scholarship recipients,” said Liz White, president of the Grambling University National Alumni Association Ruston Chapter and a 1966 graduate of Grambling. “It’s an opportunity for us to give back. We want to develop a mindset of giving to our institutions.”

A wine and cheese reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by a banquet at 7 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Head Football Coach Broderick Fobbs with Groove Minded providing live entertainment for the black-tie event.

A silent auction will also be held, where attendees will have the unique opportunity to bid on a live pony that was donated by an anonymous business owner in Ruston.

The scholarship is named the Ruston Alumni Chapter’s The Family of Coach James Wicks Duncan Sr. Endowed Scholarship in memory of Duncan, a prominent Lincoln Parish coach and educator, after his daughter, Janet Duncan Barnes, a member of the Grambling University Foundation Board of Directors, donated $25,000 to the endowment last year.

Tickets are $50 each. To purchase tickets, please call 318-278-2046.

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