Smiley makes other changes in department leadership

Grambling State University Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen D. Smiley has named new deans at two of the university’s colleges.

Smiley said the moves are aimed at strengthening the institution’s academic offerings while seeking creative approaches to help the colleges, and the university, grow.

Danny Hubbard, interim dean of the GSU College of Arts and SciencesDanny Hubbard has been appointed interim dean of the GSU College of Arts and Sciences and Donald White has been appointed interim dean of the College of Business. Both appointments are effective September 1.

Hubbard had led the chemistry program and served as associate dean of his college. He has been actively engaged with recruiting and training high school students for careers in the sciences.

“Dr. Hubbard has great rapport with the students and is an excellent professor and researcher,” said Smiley.  “He is a problem solver.  His focus on new programs and concentrations will increase the university’s ability to attract majors in the STEM areas and liberal arts.”

Donald White, interim dean of the College of BusinessWhite worked at Grambling State, left for Wiley College, where he was director of organizational management, then returned to GSU a few years later. He has led GSU’s management and marketing program since 2012, and he will continue to serve in that role. White earned a doctorate in business administration from Louisiana Tech University.

“I have watched Dr. White over the years.  His love for the students and commitment to the university is admirable,” added Smiley. “He has a distinct vision for the College of Business that will take us to the next level. Dr. White’s connections and influence with business, industry, and alumni make him the ideal choice.”

Hubbard replaces King David Godwin. White replaces Erick Valentine. Both return to the faculty to teach.

Smiley announced several department head appointments, also effective September 1. Dagne Hill has been named interim head of the Department of Biological Sciences; Stacey Duhon is the interim coordinator for the Department of Sociology and Psychology; Karl Norman has been named interim coordinator for the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and Andolyn Harrison is the interim head of the Department of Educational Leadership.


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President Gallot calls decision ‘one of the most important’

Grambling State University has reopened its search for an athletics director with the goal of identifying a choice as soon as possible.

The university will repost the job.

“This is one of the most important jobs on campus at any university, and that’s especially true at Grambling State University where we have such a rich and well-recognized legacy in several sports,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “Our coaches, athletics staff and student athletes deserve a permanent leader, and we will make that happen.”

Grambling State is a part of the Southwestern Athletics Conference, which includes Jackson State University, Alcorn State University and Prairie View A&M. The AD supervises all team sports and is responsible for the administration, management and marketing of athletics as well as the academic success of student-athletes.

Interim AD Obadiah Simmons has filled the role since late spring 2015.

A previous search drew more than 40 applicants. The current search includes 12 applicants. Gallot said previous candidates can simply express continued interest without reapplying by the new September 30 deadline.

The president will appoint a search committee including GSU faculty, staff and student representatives as well as Grambling-Ruston area community representatives. He plans to ask for their recommendations and to make a selection by early fall.

“We welcome all highly qualified and highly motivated candidates,” added Gallot. “I know the strength of our athletics brand and we want someone who will take us to the next level. That likely means having a good combination of sports administration and conference experience and knowledge as well as business savvy and great leadership.”


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Biology major Green surprised when phone call from D.C. gives her a special honor

GSU Media Bureau

Endiah Green 2016 HBCU All-Star and mentor Melvina Martin, Associate Professor of Biology

Endiah Green 2016 HBCU All-Star and mentor Melvina Martin, Associate Professor of Biology

Endiah Green sat inside the Grambling State University provost’s office suite, waiting for Ellen Smiley to call her in to talk about “opportunities for STEM students” with her faculty adviser and mentor Melvenia Martin. When it was time, they went in and the bright young woman provided some interesting ideas when the telephone rang.

It wasn’t for Smiley; it was for Green.

Elyse Jones was calling from The White House Initiative on HBCUs to personally congratulate Green on being selected to represent GSU as a 2016 HBCU All-Star.

“We really enjoyed reading your application, learning about you and were really impressed with your commitment to your campus and community,” said Jones. “We are looking forward to working with you… we know that you’re going to be a great addition to our 2016 cohorts and you’re going to do awesome things in your community.”

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) works to promote HBCU excellence, innovation and sustainability. The initiative recognizes undergraduate, graduate and professional students for accomplishments in scholarship, leadership and civic engagement. In October, Green will attend the annual HBCU Week Conference in Washington, D.C., with 72 other students.

Green, 20, junior, biology major with a pre-med concentration, learned about the opportunity when she saw a notice on a board in the school’s financial aid office. She thought it was a great program and discussed it with Martin, an assistant biology professor who has worked with Green since 2014. “I’m so happy to be her mentor and that she brought this opportunity to my attention,” said Martin. “Now you (Green) just have to get your peers to apply so we can have more than one.”

The program is open to undergraduate, graduate and professional students at any Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Applicants submit application packages including a nomination form, a transcript, an essay, a resume and an endorsement/commitment letter. As an HBCU All-Star, Green will use social media and personal and professional relationships with community-based organizations to share some promising and proven practices that support young people pursuing academic and career excellence.

Ellen Smiley, Provost & VP of Academic Affairs, and Endiah Green

Ellen Smiley, Provost & VP of Academic Affairs, and Endiah Green (Photos: Glenn Lewis)

Green, a native of Ruston, has been growing in Grambling as a student and a young woman. She went to Grambling Lab High School and she participated in GSU’s High Ability program. In college, she is chief justice for the GSU Student Government Association, she is a member of the Center for Mathematical Achievement in Science and Technology (CMAST) and she is a part of the Favrot Student Union Board (FSUB). She is also is a legacy student, the daughter of Grambling alumnae Karen Green, an administrative assistant 3 in the Grambling State registrar’s office.

“Ms. Greene is one of Grambling State University’s treasures. This accomplishment is a distinguished honor for Grambling State University,” said Smiley. She congratulated Green on her success and complimented her selection in choosing a mentor. “Dr. Melvenia Martin is a faculty mentor who goes above and beyond the call in order to drive her students toward success,” said Smiley.

Green gave Smiley a promise to represent the university well and motivate more students to get involved in STEM opportunities. Green said she had no idea about the recognition, and she was surprised. “Everyone maintained the secret so well,” she said.


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President, first lady help students move, thank parents for choosing Grambling State

GSU Media Bureau

GSUPrezRickMoveInAug142016 078
Grambling State University President Rick Gallot helped haul a trunk and more for new freshmen Angel Parker and Dejanay Reed up the stairs to the third floor of the Sojourner Truth dormitory during Sunday’s move in day.

He and first lady Christy Gallot roamed the campus from the campus residential life center to dorms checking on some of the more than 500 students who moved into dorms on campus from as close as Ruston and Baton Rouge and from as far away as Wisconsin, New York and California.

David “Rusty” Ponton, GSU’s interim vice president of student affairs, said even more new students are expected to arrive this week, especially from southern Louisiana areas where heavy rains and flooding have caused extensive evacuations and relocations.

The president said he has been through GSU move in days for years as a lifelong Grambling resident, a Grambling student and graduate, but this time was different. “As president it is very special because all the parents and students I spoke with said the transitioning process has been seamless,” he said.

One parent, Barnessa Reed of Oak Hill, California, said she researched Gallot before flying to Louisiana and she was surprised with an “unexpected…blessing” when she met the president as her two daughters moved in.

“We were walking out to help my daughters move in and there he was…I was like, oh my God, there’s the president,” she said, standing a few feet away from Gallot. “How awesome that he’s out here to greet us.”

The Gallots teamed up with Student Government Association leaders toting boxes, suitcases and bags into dorms as the president asked the new students whether they needed assistance, where they are from and what majors they plan to pursue.

Ruston High School grad Ali Williams, 18, said it was great that the president helped students move in because “he is showing us that he is one of us and that he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.”

Gallot said his presidential style is simple: “Part of being president is being accessible and being visible.”

Fall 2016 Welcome Week


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Sutton returns to role after two years teaching journalism, public relations

GSU Media Bureau

Will Sutton selected as director of communicationsGrambling State University President Richard “Rick”Gallot Jr. has appointed Will Sutton as director of communications, effective immediately.

Gallot said he chose Sutton because of his credentials, experience and connections in the world of journalism and media. The president said he contacted a number of regional media leaders and they all respect Sutton and know him to be a real professional.

“Grambling is a national and international brand so we have to have professionals handling our message who understand the global implications of the Grambling brand,” said Gallot. “When you have someone who can appreciate and understand when something is reported about Grambling it doesn’t just appear in the local media, it can be in the San Francisco Chronicle or The New York Times, the message must be conveyed well enough to be read from coast to coast and even around the world.”

Sutton joined the Tiger family in January 2012 when he began teaching a business journalism class as part of the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism as a visiting professor in a program that pairs veteran journalists with academic institutions to encourage stronger business and financial journalism training. He was asked to remain at GSU as the director of media relations later that year then returned to the classroom for the last two years.

“I’m glad President Gallot has such a respect and understanding about the importance of communications and media, and I look forward to helping him spread the good news about this wonderful institution,” said Sutton.

The New Orleans native was one of four visiting professors funded by a $1.67 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. His journalism and public relations career includes leading award-winning teams at various media outlets. “Overall, wherever I am, whatever I do, I am a people person focused on making the people for whom I work better,” said Sutton. “I do so by listening to and reading people; through accountability and responsibility and connecting daily and regular task with larger desires, goals and philosophies.”

Sutton is a former deputy managing editor of The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina; managing editor and editor and vice president of the Post-Tribune in Gary, Indiana, from 1993-1996. He was the 13th president of the National Association of Black Journalists and taught at his alma mater, Hampton University, as the Scripps Howard Endowed Professor at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Sutton has judged several competitive journalism competitions, including the Pulitzer Prize. During his time teaching at GSU, he has helped mass communication students gain valuable work skills through various journalism and media experiences as well as internships, including the Dow Jones News Fund Business Residency at New York University, where he has served as director annually since 2014. An Eagle Scout, he sits on the board of the Louisiana Purchase Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Sutton lives in Grambling with his wife, Cheryl Sutton. They have one son, Tre.

Joining Sutton in the university’s communications unit are Greta Carter and Jessica Wright.

CarterGCarter, a Grambling native, is the communications and marketing specialist, working with internal and external media audiences. She returned to GSU in February 2015 as director of the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) in the College of Business then became special assistant to the president. A summa cum laude GSU graduate, she earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science/mathematics, and her master’s in human development and early childhood disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is working on her dissertation in her doctoral studies in developmental psychology and neuroscience at UT-Dallas.  Prior to coming to GSU, Carter was dean of students at Shelton School in Dallas.

WrightJWright returns to the unit, taking on the role of social media coordinator and writer. She moved to Grambling from Mesquite, Texas, to study mass communication in 2007. She worked as a student in the unit and became communications coordinator. She spent several months as a program analyst/office manager in the Title III office. Wright did a research development and marketing internship with the Boys & Girls Club of North Central Louisiana in 2011 then started worked at the club part time. A 2012 GSU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with a broadcasting and public relations focus, Wright went on to earn a master’s in mass communication in 2014 at Grambling State. She spent a summer as a Dow Jones News Fund business journalism intern with the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) working with media relations, marketing and communications in Denver and worked as a communications intern at the North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) in Monroe.


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GSU president, first lady feted at Ruston’s New Living Word for “kingdom assignment” responsibility

GSU Media Bureau

GSU President, First Lady Celebrated at New Living WordKia Baldwin-Richardson was a young attorney, determined and excited to make a difference with her chosen career when she met Rick Gallot through her dad, New Living Word Ministries Pastor Jerry Baldwin about 10 years ago. Gallot became her mentor.

She often consulted him for advice, talked with him about the law and justice and soaked up his wisdom as much as she could.

“When I met President Gallot he was a state representative while running his private practice,” said Richardson. “Although he was busy, he was always accessible. He gave me his cell phone number and made himself available to assist me or he would point me in the direction of someone who could help.”

Richardson spoke about the special relationship during a recent (August 3) Kingdom Assignment celebration at the church in honor of Grambling State University President Richard “Rick” Gallot Jr. and GSU First Lady Christy Gallot. The prayer celebration and reception included a whos who of Grambling State alumni and supporters, including Grambling Mayor Edward Jones, State Rep. Patrick Jefferson, former GSU head baseball coach and hall of famer Wilbert Ellis and GSU head football coach Broderick Fobbs.

During the evening service in the church sanctuary Richardson, explained the occasion celebrating such an important, God-given assignment.  “A Kingdom Assignment is God-ordained,” she said, “a God-given responsibility.” She went on to put the appointment in context, adding “Though the Board may have elected you and appointed you, God called you.”

Richardsons father, Baldwin, shared with Gallot and those gathered in his honor a confession of divine assignment, including eight points of common characteristics shared by successful kingdom leaders: a consistent prayer life, commitment, confidence, consistency, courageousness, Christ-like, continuing in the word and critic-proof.

“Everybody in the kingdom of God that was given a kingdom assignment and anyone operating by kingdom principles (has been) successful,” said Baldwin.

Baldwin charged Gallot to be a kingdom leader by integrating all eight points into his leadership of GSU and his personal life. He said it is crucial to Gallots success, and the success of Grambling State.

“Grambling should be on top in every area. A price was paid for Grambling to be on top,” he told Gallot and the congregation. “God is well aware of that, and for Grambling to get where it needs to be Grambling needs qualified, effective leadership — and God appointed Rick Gallot Jr,” said Baldwin.

Christy Gallot was presented with a dozen red roses by New Living Words first lady, Juliet Baldwin, as she provided some advice and God-inspired words of encouragement from one first lady to another.

“Always encourage your husband and dont let anyone talk against your husband in your presence, no matter…the situation,” she told Christy Gallot. “Be independent and most of all be you and do not allow the presidents position to change who you are.”

Baldwin presented Gallot with a clock, saying “to be on time is to be late and to be early is to be on time.” He also presented Gallot with a plaque of the eight kingdom assignment leadership points.

The Gallots thanked everyone for coming. President Gallot was overcome with emotion as he began to speak. He said, “My father would always say that he kept our belly full and my mom kept our minds full.” He recalled familiar faces in the crowd but then held back as he did not want to leave anyone out. President Gallot expressed his extreme gratefulness for his parents, wife and grooming during his journey at New Living Word Ministries under Pastor Jerry Baldwin.

Jones recalled growing up with Gallot on the same block in the city. He gave the presidents parents, Mildred and Richard Gallot Sr., credit for raising a fine son by being great examples.

“The Gallots are community grounded and Rick was groomed as a child for this position,” the mayor said. “They may not have known it, but this was the role made for him. They have been an infinite part of Grambling, the university and the community.”

Mildred Gallot acknowledged that she and her husband certainly did not groom Rick Gallot to become GSUs president, but she said they are quite overjoyed and grateful that he is the universitys new leader. She said they put him in the right positions to be exposed to good people and good situations. She suggested that he study history as a major because she felt he needed to “learn to research, analyze, write and think like a judge” to be a good attorney. Mrs. Gallot, a retired Grambling State faculty member, said Gramblings second president, Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones, had a strong influence on young Gallot as he spent time visiting “Prez,” who lived next door.

President Gallot started attending New Living Word after visiting during campaign season in 2007. He said though he was looking for votes, he kept returning because he was being fed spiritually by Pastor Baldwin.

With so many well-wishers in the audience and getting lots of hugs and shaking lots of hands, at one point President Gallot welled up with tears, paused and said he was “grateful.”

GSU President, First Lady Celebrated at New Living Word


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Smiley, a longtime Gramblinite, continues to lead honors college and significantly expands duties

GSU Media Bureau

Grambling State University President Rick Gallot has appointed Ellen Smiley as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, effective immediately.

In his first major administrative restructuring move, the president said he chose Smiley because she has a strong academic background and she has a GSU commitment and heart.

“Dr. Smiley brings a wealth of talent to academic affairs and she has been involved with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation process and almost every area that involves academic affairs,” said Gallot. “She has served as faculty, president of the GSU Faculty-Senate and continues to enjoy relationships with faculty leadership and faculty representatives, which is critical to the university.”

Smiley, dean of the institution’s Earl Lester Cole Honors College, led the college’s development to become a more robust program. Gallot said she will continue in that role as part of a concerted effort to maximize the university’s resources.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs,” said Smiley. “Not only does it provide an opportunity to give back to my alma mater, but it is an honor to be a part of President Gallot’s team.”

Gallot said Smiley’s years of service are a symbol of her commitment and willingness to strive for sustainability and longevity at Grambling State University. “Dr. Smiley has been here and she has a better feel for talented people within a certain area because she is familiar with the employees,” said Gallot. “This advantage allows Smiley to quickly notice, suggest or make improvements because she has analyzed skill sets of faculty, staff and students and will be able to match people in the most beneficial areas to increase effectiveness and efficiency in departments where employees are being underutilized.”

Smiley said she was thrilled to hear Gallot had been appointed president, and she’s even happier she will work closely with him as provost.

“I have listened to President Gallot’s plans for Grambling State University and truly believe that he is the best leader for our university at this time in history,” she said. “The combination of a dedicated faculty, precocious students, devoted staff and an energized president is the perfect recipe for success.”

Smiley graduated from Grambling with a bachelor’s degree in radio and television communication, now a department known as mass communication. She earned a master’s in teaching social science at GSU and went on to earn a doctorate in higher education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her dissertation was titled “An Empirical Investigation of the Perceived Stress Factors of Female Administrators at Selected Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

She started working at GSU in 1991 as an assistant program coordinator with the honors college and rose to become the director and then the dean. She has been an active academician, organizing a number of conferences and workshops and leading or participating with several personnel searches. She has served as executive assistant to the president and as assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Smiley is married to Rory L. Bedford, who directs GSU’s service-learning program and teaches philosophy, sociology, and psychology. They have three children: Joi Bedford-Williams, an alumnus of Alabama A&M University; Samantha Bedford, a student at Alabama State University, and Prentiss Smiley, a senior at Grambling State University.

Smiley succeeds Janet Guyden, who has returned to the classroom.


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