Johnny Taylor

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president & CEO Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF)

The spring commencement week includes several activities, including social work and ROTC celebrations

More than 500 students are expected to graduate during Grambling State University’s spring 2017 commencement exercises at 10 a.m. May 12 in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center. The university plans to award 318 bachelor’s degrees, 190 master’s degrees and four doctorates.

The commencement exercises will be live streamed on the university’s official YouTube channel:

Other graduation activities include:

  • The School of Social Work will hold its annual “Honor Celebration and Hooding” Ceremony on Wednesday (May 10) at 6 p.m. in the Black and Gold Room.  School of Social Work candidates for graduation, Bachelor’s and master’s candidates and invited guests will attend.  The program includes special honors for BSW and MSW students with the highest GPAs, National Association of Social Workers’ student of the year, Phi Alpha Honor Society members and scholarship and stipend students. A reception will follow in the Atrium. It is not open to the general public; only invited guests may attend.
  • The Army ROTC will host a commissioning ceremony that will be on Thursday (May 11) 10 a.m., with the keynote speaker being Brigadier General Wilson.  Refreshments and fellowship will follow in the Black and Gold Room. Ten cadets will be commissioned, and their friends and families will be in attendance. Army ROTC will conduct an oath of office during graduation.

GSU’s commencement speaker will be Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a national non-profit organization assisting publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions with scholarships, capacity building, research initiatives, innovative programs and strategic partnerships. Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and former mayor of New Orleans, was scheduled to deliver the commencement address. Mayor Morial will be attending the funeral services of former New Orleans police chief and police superintendent, Richard Pennington.  Chief Pennington is widely credited with reforming the New Orleans police department and reducing the city’s murder rate in the late 1990’s.


Commencement rehearsal will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 10th at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center. On May 12th, graduates should arrive at the Assembly Center at 8:00 a.m., while faculty, staff, and students participating in the ceremony will assemble at 8:30 a.m.


A commencement reception will be held in McCall Dining Hall immediately following the event. Graduates and their guests are invited to attend. Those attending are asked to park in designated parking locations. Violators may be towed.  Light refreshments will be served.



Visitors attending the commencement at the Assembly Center are asked to park in the designated locations. There will be a drop-off and pick-up area in front of the Assembly Center for those who for persons needing additional assistance, but this is not a parking area. Graduates are asked to park in the parking spaces near the Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium sign closest to the Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center to allow family and friends to park closest to the Assembly Center. Parking spaces will be monitored and proper credentials must be displayed or vehicle will be towed. No curb parking — violators will be towed.

Those with VIP (special parking permits) must show the permits to the officer stationed on the north side of the Assembly Center.  VIP members are strongly encouraged to go to the end of the driveway and turn their vehicle around so that it is facing the football field. This will avoid a traffic delay after the ceremonies end, as everyone must turn around to exit.

Please do NOT park on the grass.



The doors to the Assembly Center will open at 7 a.m. No visitors will be allowed to enter the Assembly Center before 7 a.m. All audience members should arrange for their parties to be seated at the same time. SAVING SEATS FOR OTHERS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED. Ushers will be monitoring the rows to ensure that all seats are filled. While waiting for commencement to begin, please be respectful and courteous to others attending the ceremony, mindful of any instructions made by Grambling employees working at commencement, and listen carefully to any pre-commencement announcements.


Everyone attending the commencement is asked to be respectful of others who want to hear the names of their graduates called, to see their graduates in the procession and receive their degrees. To ensure that this formal event is as enjoyable for everyone as possible, NO CONGRATULATORY BANNERS, FLAGS OR AIRHORNS WILL BE ALLOWED INSIDE THE ASSEMBLY CENTER.


Only university-authorized campus and external media will be allowed on the floor of the Assembly Center to shoot and film the event. Only media with university-recognized media credentials will be allowed on the center’s floor, and only authorized campus and external media representatives with university-issued media passes will be permitted on the floor. All others will be asked to clear the area.


To watch a live broadcast of commencement, visit and click on the “Watch 2017 Spring Commencement Live” link on the right side of the webpage, available 10 a.m. CST on May 12, 2017. In addition, KGRM-FM will broadcast the entire commencement live. Tune in at 91.5 FM starting at 10 a.m. The station will broadcast until diplomas are awarded. Visit and click on the link at the right of the homepage to listen to KGRM live.

View Archive Broadcast Here:


External media are asked to contact the Office of University Communications at or 318-243-4159 for further information regarding admittance to commencement and to make interview requests. All external media must park in a designated parking area in the loading dock area at the back of the Hobdy Assembly Center, and are required to show media credentials. External media are asked to enter at the back of the building; media credentials are required.

Spring 2017 Graduation