Gallot awards $2,000 to three international students for best student recruitment video

GSU Media Bureau

Three Grambling State University international students put their ideas together and came up with a winning video concept to promote the school they love. GetFileAttachment-1

Collin Jno-Finn, Al Burnette and Awoyemi “Dayo” Ademola heard about GSU President Rick Gallot’s pitch that students come up with some student-focused concepts when the president made the offer in August and they went to work. The contest, open to all undergraduate and graduate students at the university, ran from late summer until late February and the winners were announced Thursday (March 30). The students will share a $2,000 grand prize scholarship.

“My team and I were elated that we won …,” said Jno-Finn, a graduate student from the Caribbean. “We are eternally grateful to our cast and GSU for this opportunity.  It will be remembered and cherished for a lifetime.”

“These young men put a lot of effort and time into this project, and it shows,” said Gallot, who announced the competition during his first Facebook Live in August. “I got the idea when I was talking with some of our student leaders, and I knew they were right: we needed to give our students a chance to come up with some fresh ideas.

“Well, it worked,” he added. “I really like what they did.”

The students’ video concepts and the video will be used by the university communications office and GSU TV Center to come up with a video that will be used to market and promote Grambling State.

Jno-Finn, a doctorate education student from St. John’s, Antigua; Burnett, a senior computer information science and marketing major from Dominica and Ademola, a senior accounting major from Nigeria, came together to produce a video for the contest after Jno-Finn decided to enter and asked Burnette and Ademola to be his partners.

“As an undergraduate I majored in mass communication,” said Jno-Finn. “I am passionate about media and publicity so I decided to enter this competition to help my beloved institution.  Our team thought this was a great avenue to show our diversity, our strengths and at the same time our creative gifts.  Grambling has so many gifted students and this was a powerful avenue to give us the students an opportunity to express our capabilities.”

DSC_6829 copyDSC_6873 copyGetFileAttachment


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Highly anticipated concert excites Grambling State, other students

GSU Media Bureau

Migos is scheduled to perform Thursday at the Fredrick D. Hobdy Assembly Center

Migos is scheduled to perform Thursday at the Fredrick D. Hobdy Assembly Center.

After months of anticipation, Grambling State University students found out a few days ago one of the nation’s most popular singing rap groups would be performing at their school  — and soon college students across the nation found out, too.

GSU students are excited that Migos is scheduled to perform Thursday at the Fredrick D. Hobdy Assembly Center, and it seems students from other parts of Louisiana – and other states — are planning to attend the 7 p.m. show.

Migos concert tickets can run $60 to $100 and more, so the $35 GSU ticket price is cheap, making a trip to Grambling worth the money and time. GSU annually has spring concerts with big name acts, but no recent performances have attracted this kind of attention.

Dillard University student Margeret Acuaye plans to be there, coming in from New Orleans. Melanie Graves is traveling to Louisiana from the University of Missouri.

“Migos is one of the hottest rap acts touring, and we expect a large crowd,” said David “Rusty” Ponton, interim vice president for student affairs. “However, the response has been unbelievable. We issued almost one thousand tickets the first day…. All of this commotion for Migos.”

Ponton and the Favrot Student Union Board worked hard to secure the Migos’ performance, delaying an announcement about Tiger Fest week events until late last week when the agreement with the group was official.

Migos, a group of three young men — Quavo, Offset and Takeoff – have an adoring, demanding audience of fans. The group has been mainstream since 2009, gaining popularity each year. One of the first songs that put them on the map was “Versace,” a 2013 song they did with Drake. More recently, they became more universally known with “Bad and Boujee,” they popularized the dab and just this week they recorded a television segment with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” They got a shout out from actor Donald Glover when he accepted a Golden Globe award.

Missouri’s Graves, 18, from Houston, Texas, is traveling Thursday to GSU solely because she wants to see Migos. “When my friend called me and told me that Migos was coming to perform at her school and that the tickets were so cheap, I knew right then and there that I would have to go,” she said.

Acuaye, 19, from Dallas, Texas, said she and a friend have tried to see Migos without success, until now. “My best friend and I have been dying to see Migos,” she said. “Each time we try and see Migos, it never works out, and now it has finally worked out.”

Expecting a larger than normal turnout, Ponton said the university has safety in mind, so additional police officers will be added to enhance security and GSU students are being asked to walk to Hobdy to alleviate parking and traffic congestion. “Parking will be handled just like a home football game, but there will not be pre-assigned parking spots,” said Ponton. “It will be first come, first served.”

Ponton, who has worked at Grambling State for nearly 30 years, said he has seen a lot of concerts. Comparing the response to previous GSU concerts, he said, “This could be one of the biggest.”

Tickets are being sold on the second floor of the Favrot Student Union on the GSU campus.


Migos, a group of three young men -- Quavo, Offset and Takeoff


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Grambling State AD says new coach must have strong foundation, area recruiting emphasis
and a balanced approach

By GSU Media Bureau

GSU Athletic Director, Paul BryantGrambling State University has struggled to build a successful men’s basketball program for the last several years, and GSU Athletics Director Paul Bryant is ready for a change. He wants a winner on and off the court.

“The thing is, winning is defined in different ways,” said Bryant, who started as AD in January.
“Wins and losses is one way to look at winning. Another is to look at student-athlete academic
success. Another is to look at how much of a program is built as a team and alumni engagement. And then there’s the life blood of all sports programs: recruiting.”

The basketball G-Men finished the 2016-17 season with a 16-17 overall record and a 10-8 record in the Southwestern Athletics Conference. Last year’s season records were 7-19 overall and 4-10 in the SWAC. The G-Men had a 2-17 overall record and a 0-18 record in the 2014-15 season. It has been several years since the team has had a strong winning season.

Bryant said he wants a coach willing to recruit locally, regionally and nationally. He said he wants a coach that Louisiana high school coaches would know because the head coach and his coaching staff have been in their gyms and at their practices. He said he wants someone who knows basketball strategy, someone who can identify players to fit a specific system but also identify players who can grow into the coach’s system. “This is what I tell all of our coaches,” added Bryant. “I expect and want each coach and coaching staff to handle the basics, from recruiting and staffing to budget and games.”

“In the end, we need a well-rounded, aggressive, challenging and competitive men’s basketball coach who the players can appreciate, understand and respond to as a leader,” said Bryant.


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More than 200 experience multimedia vehicle during national tour stop in Grambling

GSU Media Bureau

Over 200 students toured a $1.2 million virtual media bus during a stop in Grambling recently. The students learned how C-Span shares its cable-television coverage during the final week of a C-SPAN HBCU tour at Grambling State University.

GSU students listen during a recent C-SPAN bus visit on campus during the HBCU Campus Tour

GSU students listen during a recent C-SPAN bus visit on campus during the HBCU Campus Tour.

“I have never experienced a bus like that before. I knew it was a cable company and I liked the fact that a spokesperson for the company explained to me what the company was about,” said Tevyn Wade, a mass communication major.

Wade and other students looked around the large bus, interacting with touch screens and learning about the network’s video media library and its 220,000 hours of programming dating back to 1987. Several GSU faculty members and some Grambling community members also took the tour.

“College students are perfect for the tour because they’re our next leaders, congressmen and presidents. We want people to make informed decisions,” said La’Shawna Saint-Preux, a marketing representative for C-SPAN.

Saint-Preux said C-SPAN is a public affairs network that extensively covers the U.S. Congress, the president, the White House and the executive branch of the federal government with uninterrupted start-to-finish broadcasts. Unlike traditional television networks, C-Span provides viewers with gavel-to-gavel coverage of briefings and meetings as well as news conference. She said the network includes Book TV and American History TV shows on weekends.

“C-SPAN is a non-profit organization which is not funded through the government, taxes or a political party. It is paid for through your cable bill. Every month six cents out of your cable bill is how C-SPAN is funded,” said Saint-Preux.

In the Association of Cable Communicators’ multicultural public relations category, C-SPAN won a Beacon Award for its HBCU tour in 2015. ACC’s Beacon Award honors excellence in cable communications and public affairs. Grambling State University hosted the C-SPAN bus tour in front of the Favrot Student Union building for a couple of hours on March 2. Commonly referred to as C-SPAN, the company has been known more formally as the Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network.

During the tour, students tried their hand at interactive displays, asked questions, learned more about a variety of social media platforms and discussed the value of branding. GSU mass communication department head Robbie Morganfield encouraged the students to visit the C-SPAN bus to be exposed to shifting priorities in the global communications field and to learn more about a company with internship and job opportunities.

Some students did one-minute interviews about what they want to see happen during President Trump’s early days in office, and C-SPAN bus representatives posted the interviews on Twitter, tagging the students to make their comments heard nationwide with the hashtag #CSPANbus.

Wade, 19, who visited as a member of the GSU National Association of Black Journalists chapter, said the experience was a good one.

“I’m glad now being a new member of NABJ opened my eyes to this experience, before I arrived at GSU I didn’t know anything about the mass- communication department,” he said.

GSU C-Span Bus Tour


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Grambling State students recognized for scholarship, community involvement

GSU Media Bureau

GSU NAACP Scholars - Keely Heggar  and Jessica Clinton Jessica Clinton and Keely Heggar were ecstatic on stage as they accepted scholarship awards.

Clinton and Heggar, Grambling State University students, each received $500 from the NAACP Lincoln Parish Chapter. They were among six area college students receiving scholarships during a mid-January (Jan. 14) event at the Ruston Civic Center.

Neither Clinton nor Heggar took the scholarships for granted, each saying the awards helped teach them the importance of setting goals.

Clinton, 18, a visual and performing arts major, plans to earn her degree and give back to her Ruston family and the Ruston community. She has learned that setting goals are important to success. “Stay focused and do not let anyone detour you,” she said.

Heggar, 18, a social work major also from Ruston, aspires to work with abandoned children, providing them with love while helping the children discover their purposes in life.

NAACP member Brenda Williams, the gift info processing coordinator for Grambling State University, helped choose the 2017 scholarship recipients. “The students submitted applications and completed all criteria required of them, which is the most important step,” said Williams. The applicants were required to provide church, community and school recommendation letters; have some evidence of community involvement and indicate how they promote diversity.

The two young women applied for the scholarships through church mentors who told them about the scholarship opportunity. Karen Lewis, a Sunday school teacher at St. David Baptist Church, notified Clinton. Jack Houston, a deacon at Zion Hill Baptist Church, informed Heggar.

Heggar encourages other students to consider applying for the NAACP scholarships, adding  “…you have to apply yourself, they will not be given to you without hard work and dedication.”

To find out more information about the NAACP scholarships, visit


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Shabazz, of Maryland, works with prize-winning New York Times columnist Rhoden and The Undefeated

By GSU Media Bureau

Miniya Shabazz Newspaper PhotoMiniya Shabazz has been a Grambling State University student less than 24 months and she’s already an editor with the campus newspaper, a reporter with the university media bureau and she’s been published in area publications. Now she’s become a part of the ESPN family.

Shabazz, 20, has joined The Undefeated’s Rhoden Fellowship program. The sports journalism program focuses on identifying and training aspiring African American journalists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Shabazz, a native of Silver Spring, Maryland, is one of only six college journalists chosen for the prestigious opportunity. The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform initiative for sports, race and culture.

As a Rhoden Fellow, Miniya will report, write and record for The Undefeated. The program includes regular conference calls discussing story ideas, reporting, writing, producing podcasts and advising with William C. Rhoden. This award-winning sports columnist recently retired from The New York Times then joined The Undefeated as a columnist, editor-at-large and director of the fellowship program. The fellows were announced Wednesday, March 8.

Miniya Shabazz, GSU Student, selected for ESPN fellowshipShabazz, raised in Laurel, Maryland, started her college journalism career as a freshman, contributing to the campus newspaper, The Gramblinite, then quickly became its news editor. She is a student member of the National Association of Black Journalists and an active member of the Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. When she learned she had been selected, she found it hard to believe.

“I was filled with excitement and disbelief to be selected…because of the well-known and reputable brand of ESPN,” said Shabazz. “I knew instantly that when I got this opportunity that it would be beneficial to my career because of the nuance of gaining experience with writing and reporting on a national level.”

Rhoden was encouraged to develop the initiative by ESPN president John Skipper and has worked closely with Kevin Merida, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of The Undefeated, to make the Fellows a reality. They approached several HBCUs to be fellowship partners and discussed specific students with journalism and media professors and professionals at those schools. Will Sutton, GSU’s director of communications, suggested Shabazz because “she is committed to her craft, dedicated to being one of the best and because she signs up to get assignments done rather than sign in to get credit.” He said she is an up-and-coming journalist who will blossom with the ESPN experience.

“I am very eager to learn as much as I can, to apply it to my own craft, from the award-winning Bill Rhoden and other affiliates because of their years of experience in the journalism business. Now that I have begun to work at The Undefeated I have already started to serve as a liaison from my university to The Undefeated through podcasting and writing stories. I am very thrilled to be working with other young journalists from various HBCU institutions and look forward to the great content I know we will produce together.”

In addition to Shabazz, other college journalists selected include Kyla Wright, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia; Paul A. Holston, Howard University, Washington, D.C.; C. Isaiah Smalls II, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia; Simone Benson, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, and Donovan Dooley, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, North Carolina.

With support from ESPN, the Rhoden Fellowship is a two-year program established as part of The Undefeated’s mission to develop new voices and serve as an incubator for future multicultural journalists. The fellowship is open to outstanding undergraduate students at HBCUs.

During the academic year, the fellows will report news stories from their respective universities and cover the varied facets of HBCU life, serving as on-campus correspondents for The Undefeated’s HBCU vertical. They will produce daily, weekly and monthly multimedia content, as well as serve as on-site beat writers covering sports teams – college or professional – in their respective markets. During the summer, students will work 40-hour weeks at ESPN for 10 weeks, gaining a first-hand education and experience in sports journalism.

The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture. The digital hub, which launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.

In addition to its cutting-edge content, The Undefeated seeks to be a thought-leader on race, sports and culture in the country – convening insightful forums to discuss and debate topical issues affecting sports and race in America.


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GSU alumna Finley steps down from federal post after 25 years of service

Stephanie Finley, Retiring U.S. Attorney and GSU AlumGrambling State University President Rick Gallot has congratulated GSU alumna and U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley on her recently announced retirement after 25 years.

“U.S. Attorney Finley has been an exemplary judicial leader and an impeccable Grambling State University example, and I congratulate her on her retirement and I wish her good luck with her future endeavors,” said Gallot, who has known Finley for more than three decades.

In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Finley as U.S. Attorney for the western districts of Louisiana. The district covers 42 of the 64 Louisiana parishes. Prior to that appointment, she was an assistant U.S. attorney, deputy criminal chief and senior litigation counsel for the U.S. attorney’s office in Lafayette office.

Finley, a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, thanked the people of the western district as well as other federal agencies and local partners in the area, adding that her future is bright. “I am excited about what the future holds, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the United States Attorney,” she said, noting that she plans to serve the country in a “private capacity.”


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Longtime Grambling State educator knows the university, faculty, staff

GSU Media Bureau

Dr. Ellen SmileyGrambling, LA – A number of universities sought to recruit Ellen Smiley as an undergraduate student. Her parents encouraged her to attend Grambling State University; both her parents and her sister are/were alumni. Now she’s the institution’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

GSU President Rick Gallot quickly recognized Smiley’s attributes, contributions and deep love for Grambling State, and he chose her as his interim provost in August. Still, that meant that she would have to compete for the permanent job. There was a national search, a strong pool of finalists and Smiley was the unanimous choice of the search committee. Gallot accepted the recommendation.

“I chose Smiley not only for her strong academic background, but because she has a GSU commitment and heart,” he said.

Smiley completed her undergraduate education at GSU, earning a bachelor’s degree in radio and television communication, now known as mass communication, and she earned a master’s in teaching social science, with a concentration in sociology at Grambling State. She earned her doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors recently (Feb. 23) confirmed Gallot’s selection at its February board meeting in Baton Rouge.

“I am confident that my longstanding history with Grambling State University, vast experience and extensive knowledge will permit me to make an immediate contribution to the overall operational and educational goals of the university, specifically within the Division of Academic Affairs,” said Smiley, a native of Homer, Louisiana. “The Grambling State University family impacts the world in a powerful way.  To serve as the provost and vice president for academic affairs of this prominent institution is a humbling honor.

“I love being a part of President Gallot’s fast-paced, energized team.  His leadership motivates us to pursue excellence in all that we do.”

Smiley was recruited to Grambling State University to assist with the development of the Honors College in 1990. During her career, Smiley has continued her work with the honors program in a number of positions and she has served in other academic and administrative capacities. She has served as the assistant dean of the Honors College, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and executive assistant to the president.  She is a member of the president’s cabinet, the university’s budget and priorities committee and several other university committees. Smiley is quite accustomed to faculty desires and needs, too; she served as president of the Grambling State University Faculty Senate for several years.

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 is excited to continue her work at GSU, and to continue in the job she started in late summer, more permanently pursuing goals to improve academics at the school overall and helping faculty provide students with encouraging and substantive learning opportunities.

“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,” she added. “I plan to cultivate leading strategies to build, manage and recognize a high-functioning, performance-driven team of faculty and staff.   I plan to inspire the faculty, staff and students in a manner that encourages them to release those energies and passion that boost academic excellence.”

Smiley said she plans to pursue new programs and new concentrations as Grambling State “continues to meet workforce demands, ensuring that our learners are prepared to work and serve.”

Smiley is married to Dr. Rory L. Bedford, director of GSU’s Service-Learning and Continuing Education programs and a professor of philosophy, sociology and psychology. They have three children: Joi Bedford-Williams, an alumnus of Alabama A&M University; Samantha Bedford, a senior at Alabama State University, and Prentiss Smiley, a senior at Grambling State University.


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GSU president is moving swiftly to transition library from academic eyesore to academic example

GSU Media Bureau

President Gallot speaks with attendees at Library Meeting.Grambling State University’s library was built in 1962 and an addition was added in 1986. With decades of use, and limited maintenance, the building is not what it used to be. GSU President Rick Gallot intends to change that – and as soon as possible.

A nationally known library design consultant met with Gallot; faculty, staff and student representatives and Louisiana Board of Regents and University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors members to start the process of replacing the A.C. Lewis Library with a 21st Century library with a much stronger focus on digital resources and technology services.

“I’ve told anyone who will listen that our students deserve better and more when it comes to a library,” said Gallot. “We can no longer accept that what we have is reasonable and good enough. Our students must have the best, and we can do this with reasonable financial costs if we do it right.”

Gallot is pursuing a library project that would downsize the size of the existing library while making it much more inviting and useful to students with more up-to-date resources and technology. The Lewis building is about 87,000 square feet. A significant upgrade with all of the current hardback, old periodicals and other content and databases might take as much as square footage in a new building with a traditional approach. But Gallot said he’s seen better used libraries with fewer books and periodicals housed on site and he’s convinced that today’s GSU students would more frequently use the right kind of library.

Atendees at the meeting discuss the future of the library at GSU.A group of more than 15 listened intently as Denelle C. Wrightson, a library planning and design consultant, shared the latest ideas among nationally recognized library facilities, including small libraries and mega libraries the size of a football field. During her 30 years of experience, Wrightson has assisted with the design of 1,000-square-foot library additions and new libraries of 160,000 square feet. She talked about the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University, often referenced as the “library of the future” because it includes cutting-edge tools, hands-on interactive stations and large-scale technology, including simulated submarines, destroyers and aircraft carriers.

As a part of a transition plan, Gallot said the library books, resources and staff will move to the second floor of Adams Hall to start the process of moving toward a new library. The existing library has had a series of environmental issues, and the president said it is better, and safer, to close the building rather than to continue to invest money in a building that no longer serves students well. He said the library will be relocated for an undetermined period of time as the university pursues the type of facility needed.

The library operates on a limited schedule, closing at 10 p.m. most weekdays, closing at 12:30 p.m. on Fridays and it is open for four hours on Saturdays and six hours on Sundays. Meeting participants said they want to see a 24-hour library, one that online students can use from home or work no matter the hour, and a library that students want to visit regularly. Gallot wants to fast-track the process, aiming to get the project on the April 20 ULS board agenda for consideration.

Such a major project would require support from the UL system board and the state’s board of regents. Board leaders participating in the meeting said they are encouraged, and they want to find a way to make this idea reality.

Shawn Murphy, a ULS board member, liked what he heard during the presentation and the meeting, adding that this type of project is the right thing for Grambling State. “I’m just glad to be a part of this effort, and I look forward to getting this done as soon as possible,” he said. “Kind of like the commercial that says, ‘Let’s get this one done.’”

Longtime ULS board member Winfred Sibille has supported higher education during the decades he has served on the system board, carefully balancing financial requests with justifiable needs. “This project has been a long time coming, and we need to make this a shining effort and an example for other universities that need library facilities.”

Gallot said though Monday’s meeting was successful, next steps include a follow up visit by Wrightson to include more campus stakeholders and a draft proposal with a suggested financial cost and timetable. “This is just the beginning,” he said, “but no really good idea gets anywhere without involving the key players, getting the best reactions and suggestions and moving the concept forward.”

Library Meeting March 2017


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Look for the Label! Trademark & Licensing at Grambling State University

Look for the Label! Trademark & Licensing at Grambling State University

Grambling State University (GSU) Trademark Licensing, managed by the Office of Advancement, protects the reputation and goodwill of GSU through the control of the appearance of its name and distinguishing marks in the marketplace and elsewhere. Through a partnership with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), we monitor commercial and internal use of GSU marks, name and logos. We promote and advance Grambling State University by keeping its name and distinguishing marks in the public eye and through association with only quality goods and services. Please help us keep the GSU brand strong and request a license before printing or producing materials bearing the University’s name.


Grambling State University (GSU) Trademark Licensing, managed by the Office of Advancement, has been established so that the public properly identifies and associates University logos on products bearing the institution’s marks.

Our mission is to protect the reputation and marks of Grambling State University; to insure that the University receives the appropriate commercial value for the use of its trademarks and to actively enforce the unauthorized use of marks/name and logos of the University.

The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) maintains the official inventory of University names and logos; approves and registers any new marks, logos, etc.; and maintains a list of licensees authorized to manufacture and distribute goods bearing the name, indicia, or logos of Grambling State University.

All of the names, nicknames, trademarks, services marks, seals, logos and mascots which relate to GSU or which members of the public reasonably believe relate to the University are owned by Grambling State University.

More Information: 


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