Grambling State Hosts White House Correspondent, April Ryan

CNN Analyst & White House Correspondent to Keynote GSU’s Black History Convocation

By GSU Media Bureau

April Ryan HeadshotGRAMBLING, LA — February 26, 2018 – White House Correspondent, April Ryan, who is well known for her coverage of presidential administrations and African-American issues will deliver the keynote address at the 2018 Grambling State University Black History Convocation on February 27, 2018.

The only black female reporter covering urban issues in the White House and one of only three African Americans to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents Association, Ryan is a veteran journalist who began her White House work during the Clinton era. Since then, she’s grown to become the Washington Bureau Chief for the American Urban Radio Networks and through her “Fabric of America” news blog, CNN appearances and radio content, she reaches millions of Americans weekly.

“For more than one hundred years, Grambling State’s led Louisiana in engaging and attracting those who champion the African-American vantage point in media,” said Rick Gallot, GSU’s 10th President. “We’re honored to host Mrs. Ryan to share her unique perspective with our students.”

Ryan joins a long list of notable African-Americans featured at Grambling State University events, including Roland Martin, Johnny C. Taylor, and Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III.

GSU’s Black History Convocation is free and open to the campus, surrounding communities, and media.

Grambling State University Black History Convocation, 2018
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 | 11:00 a.m.

T.H. Harris Auditorium, Grambling State University

403 Main Street, Grambling, LA 71245

 For media credentials or more information, please contact




About Grambling State University

Grambling State University, located in Grambling Louisiana, is a historically black university founded in 1901. The University has been accredited by 13 accrediting associations and holds accreditations in all programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The 590-acre campus offers 43 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Grambling State University is a member of the University of Louisiana System. For more information visit






By GSU Media Bureau





Two Texas-based African-American mass communication professionals will deliver lectures and provide master classes as part of Grambling State University’s historic Cleo Fields Lecture Series “Why Our Voices Matter” on February 22 and March 15.

James T. Campbell, Senior Manager of Communication and Media for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas, and Nicole Cross, news anchor and health correspondent for KVUE-TV (ABC) in Austin, will talk with students, community members, and classes on the importance of the African-American Voice in today’s changing environment.

The Cleo Fields Lecture Series is named for the historic Louisiana icon, a lawyer who at age 24, became the youngest elected state senator in Louisiana’s history.

Lecture Series Events

Lecture: James Campbell of Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Thursday, February 22 at 11 a.m.
Washington-Johnson Complex, Room 100

Master Class: James Campbell of Blue Cross/Blue Shield
(Exclusive for Students in Mass Communications)
Thursday, February 22 at 1 p.m.
Washington-Johnson Complex, Room 100

Lecture: Nicole Cross of ABC Affiliate KVUE-TV, Austin
March 15 at 11 a.m.
Grambling Hall Auditorium

Master Class: Nicole Cross of ABC Affiliate KVUE-TV, Austin
(Exclusive for Students in Mass Communications)
March 15 at 1 p.m.
Washington-Johnson Complex, Room 100.

The series planning and moderation are headed up by Dr. Robbie Morganfield, head of Grambling State’s Department of Mass Communication and the Cleo Fields Endowed Professor in Mass Communication.

“Our students need to know that they are necessary parts of a puzzle that serve to make this nation great because out of many voices, we become one,” said Dr. Morganfield. “That does not mean we are uniformed; it means we are united in our purpose and identity as a free nation that is richer because of its diversity.”

The series is one of a number of events in GSU’s Department of Mass Communication that is designed to educate students and connect them with real life professionals and experience.

“Nothing beats face-time with real pros who are in the field now doing what students aspire to do,” he said. “Our students can be sponges and soak up knowledge and wisdom from individuals who know their fields and have the accolades to prove it.”

Students interested in Master Classes can register on-site.

For more information on the lecture series and events, please contact Dr. Robbie Morganfield at 318-274-2403 or

About Lecturer James Campbell of Blue Cross/Blue Shield
An award-winning newspaper journalist, Campbell will offer students a perspective on the role that they can play in strategic communication and news media careers and how experience in one media format can often open doors in another. After leaving the Houston Chronicle, Campbell went on to become senior vice president at Fleishman Hillard, Inc., one of the largest international public relations firms in the world.

About Lecturer Nicole Cross of ABC Affiliate KVUE
Cross, formerly an anchor and reporter with KNOE-TV in Monroe and KTBS-TV in Shreveport, is an award-winning journalist who served as evening news anchor and talk show host. As a journalist, and certified mental health expert with more than 15 years of counseling experience, she has worked to cover health-related issues both on- and off-air. In the past, Cross also served as spokesperson for Bishop T. D. Jakes, lead pastor of the Potter’s House Church in Dallas, one of the nation’s largest church congregations.




By GSU Media Bureau

Coca-Cola United’s “Pay It Forward” internship and scholarship contest is open, and two lucky Grambling State University students will win. SnipImage

The company is offering $1,000 scholarships and week-long training opportunities to students from a 16 historically black colleges and universities in the southern United States where the company operates. Students selected for the prestigious program will participate in a weeklong internship at a Coca-Cola UNITED facility in Baton Rouge or New Orleans. GSU and other students selected will be exposed to a range of company roles available at Coca-Cola UNITED, including operations management, sales, marketing, public relations, human resources and accounting. The all-expenses training includes housing, meals and transportation.

The contest is open to students who are 18 years old or older, enrolled as full-time undergraduate students at one of the participating HBCUs. This Internship is open to students of all majors. Applicants have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Students can apply February 1 through March 30. Grambling State students are encouraged to visit the university’s Career Services Office or the institutional advancement office to find out more.

In addition to Grambling State University, participating schools include Alabama State University, Miles College, Stillman College, Talladega College, Tuskegee University, Southern University, Xavier University, Alcorn State University, Dillard University, Clark-Atlanta University, Fort Valley State University, Savannah State University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Albany State University.

For the past two years, 10 students representing five HBCUs in Alabama were chosen to participate. The company expanded the program for 2018 to include schools throughout the seven-state footprint where Coca-Cola UNITED does business.

For more information on the annual “Pay it Forward” student opportunity, visit

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc., founded in 1902 and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, is the largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler in North America and the third largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the U.S. Among the franchises operated by UNITED include Chattanooga, the world’s first Coca-Cola bottler, and Atlanta, headquarters of the worldwide Coca-Cola system. United has approximately 10,000 associates located in 54 sales and distribution territories, and nine production facilities, across seven southeastern states.




By Stephanie Lindsey/GSU Media Bureau

Perry and Monica Jones found their perfect match at Grambling State University, and now they’re using corporate matching gifts to support the university that launched their relationship and their careers. MonicaPerryJonesCelebrationBowlDec2018

Perry Jones, a Chicago, Illinois, native, and Monica Jones, originally from Mobile, Alabama, both came to Grambling in 1980. She was a marketing and information systems major and graduated in 1983. He majored in industrial technology and automotive, and received his degree in 1984.

“Grambling was an amazing experience for both us. It truly was the place ‘Where everybody is somebody.’ You just felt how invested the faculty and administration were in you personally. We came into our own at Grambling and made lifelong friends,” Perry Jones said.

He is the senior vice president for North America, Manufacturing and Distillation – Diageo and she is director of Enterprise Sourcing for Cox Enterprises Inc. They have residences in Atlanta, Georgia and Naperville, Illinois.

 Giving back to the university that gave so much to them has always been a goal for the Joneses. “We have been blessed in our life together after Grambling and because of that we want to see that tradition continue with the next generation,” he said.

In 2009, the Joneses committed to raising $100,000 for Grambling.  Currently, they are over 50 percent of that goal with over $60,000 raised. 

“Due to some of the changes at Grambling over the years, we pressed pause on that commitment. However, we were re-energized with the creation of the Center for Professional Development under Otto Meyers and the outreach by Marc Newman after the installation of President Gallot. We have all the confidence in Rick and Marc’s leadership,” he said.

“It was the gift from Monica and Perry Jones that really jumpstarted my understanding of the power and potential of fundraising at GSU and among the Grambling community. Their generosity came at a pivotal time for me. I was new to Grambling. Their personal support of me and my department’s success is greatly appreciated,” said Marc Newman, vice president for Institutional Advancement at Grambling.

Much of the Joneses’ success in giving back has been through maximizing corporate matching gifts.

“I’ve utilized company match where my company has matched my personal donations. It’s a way to get more money to your chosen charity,” he said.

“The Joneses’ utilization of workplace giving is an example of how powerful the matching of giving amounts can be,” said Newman.

For more information on workplace giving or to make a gift to Grambling State University visit




Potential Tigers and their parents flocked to Grambling State University from all over the country. Although residents of Louisiana and Texas were the majority, guests from California, Florida, Illinois and Oregon witnessed the GRAMFAM in action. Hundreds attend Spring 2018 High School Day at Grambling State University.

Aysha Kemp, 17, a senior from Palm Harbor, Florida, came with the hopes of following in her sister’s footsteps. “My sister went to an HBCU, so I wanted to go to one. She went to Alabama A&M.”

Others, like Brieana Fields, 17, from Houston, were visiting Grambling for a second time. She liked GSU before, so Saturday’s visit was to determine whether the school remains her school of choice after an earlier visit.

“The first time I came I felt home,” she recalled. “Everyone was nice and friendly.”

Kemp and Fields were among more than 850 participants, counselors, parents and alumni registered for the black and gold “Stomp the Yard” experience. It was a record attendance number for a spring High School Day. Of that number, 257 students pre-registered and another 342 students registered on site.

High School Day Browsing Black and Gold“Spring high school day has never looked this good or been this big,” Grambling State University President Rick Gallot exclaimed with enthusiasm. The president greeted visitors with warm welcomes, and he teased the crowd in the T.H. Harris Auditorium with a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity stroll, and a red and white cane.

The day included campus tours led by student ambassadors. Current GSU students mixed with visitors in the auditorium, in the Black and Gold Room for academic program and student group browsing and lunch in the McCall Dining Hall, creating one of the
 liveliest environments at recent high school days.High School Day students with GSU Clothing at the Bookstore.

The “Stomp the Yard” event hosted by MC Fiji and DJ Twinz turned everyone into a hype crowd of gold and black in the auditorium. Participants were amazed by the World Famed Tiger Marching Band, bobbing to their performance of ‘Bodak Yellow’ by Cardi B, and rocking to the GSU anthem. Rapper Whop Bezzy, a Baton Rouge native, shocked everyone when he appeared onstage to his song “You Know I Ain’t Scared.”

High School Day students pose for photo in the Favrot Student Union Atrium.DeVaria Hudson, GSU’s director of admissions, coordinated the day’s big event with assistance from the admissions and recruiting team. Ms. Dee, as she’s known to students, arrived in Grambling in April 2017 after a stint at Nova Southeast University College of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The record-breaking turnout gave Hudson a lot to celebrate. She said student ambassadors were an important part of the success.

Referred to as the heart of admissions, student ambassadors lead visitors as student representatives offering a student-focused experience. Sophomore R’Reon Robinson, 20, a transfer student from Los Angeles, California, and a business management and history major, always wanted to go to an HBCU. She became an ambassador when a friend suggested it as something helpful she could do. She liked the idea of presenting a “student’s face instead of an administrator’s.” Miss GSU Royal Court poses for photo.

This year’s Spring 2018 high school day Robinson’s first big event, and she was pleased with the energy. “I feel like we showed them the best of our campus,” she said.

The next GSU High School Day is scheduled for Sept. 22.

Miniya Shabazz contributed to this report.