Dallas Mavericks CEO to Keynote Grambling State Commencement

Newest NBA CEO and former AT&T Executive Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall to share with students

Newest NBA CEO and former AT&T Executive Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall to share with students GRAMBLING, LA GRAMBLING, LA — April 20, 2018 – Months after being tapped by Mark Cuban and team leadership to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the Dallas Mavericks, Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall will address students and faculty as the keynote speaker at the Grambling State University Spring Commencement, May 11, 2018 at 10 a.m.

Marshall, who is leading the charge to set the new NBA standard for inclusion and diversity, is known globally for her work with AT&T, where she served as Senior Vice President – Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer.

That work included guiding AT&T to placement on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, the top 3 on Diversity Inc.’s 2017 Top 50 list of companies, and her own acknowledgement as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise magazine and on Ebony magazine’s 2016 “Power 100” list.
“We are honored to have such a visionary leader on campus to share her wisdom with our students,” said GSU President Rick Gallot.  “It’s more important today than ever for our students to understand the value that a diverse and inclusive culture brings to an organization.”

Marshall, who The Network Journal recently named one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Business, has already had an impact on Grambling State students after recently hosting a student visit at the Mavericks headquarters in Dallas, TX.

“Meeting Cynthia Marshall was definitely something I didn’t know I needed,” said Sara Renee Garner, sophomore in Grambling State’s Department of Mass Communication. “As a black woman in a male-dominated industry, she is like superwoman. Meeting her, I saw all of my dreams personified.”

Marshall will address students, faculty, and their families on the heels of Grambling State’s highest enrollment since 2014, which includes a freshman class increase of greater than 200 percent since that time.

“It’s been a great year for Grambling State students,” said President Gallot. “We’re excited to welcome Mrs. Marshall to help us celebrate.”

Commencement Information:


Grambling State University Commencement, Spring 2018

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 10 a.m.
Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center
Grambling State University
100 North Stadium Drive
Grambling, LA 71245


For media credentials and coverage information, please contact mediarelations@gram.edu or call the Office of University Communications at 318-274-2866. 




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 gram.edu.

Beyoncé Scores Invite to Return to Grambling State for the 45th Bayou Classic

GSU President Rick Gallot invites artist Beyoncé to the 2018 Bayou Classic

Gallot Twitter Screen ShotGRAMBLING, LA — April 16, 2018 – On the heels of her record-breaking Coachella performance, President Rick Gallot tweets and invites music artist Beyoncé Knowles to attend the 45th Bayou Classic Game in New Orleans, LA.

“It’s incredible to see HBCU support surging from so many places,” says Rick Gallot, President of Grambling State University. “When an artist like Beyoncé uses her platform to highlight the amazing talent within the HBCU community, it helps push us all forward.”

Grambling State, home of the World Famed Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band, has a long relationship with Beyoncé’s music. That history began with her first visit to Grambling State with the group Destiny’s Child in the year 2000. Since then, the Tiger Marching Band has performed Beyoncé’s top hits across the world including Crazy in Love and Flawless.

“We’d love the opportunity to say thank you to Beyoncé for her continuous HBCU support in person,” says President Gallot. “It would also give our students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

That once-in-a-lifetime event is the 45th Annual Bayou Classic Weekend, where Grambling State University will face off against Southern University for the country’s second-most attended football game, next to the Super Bowl, and the Battle of the Bands.

Grambling State University students, supporters, and fans are encouraged to share the hashtag #BeyYouClassic to help show their support.


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 gram.edu.

About the 45th Annual Bayou Classic Weekend

In 2018, Grambling State University and Southern University will celebrate the 45th anniversary of the legendary football game that was the second most-attended football game in recent history. For more information, visit http://www.mybayouclassic.com/.

Distinguished GSU Alumnus Returns as Cleo Fields Lecturer

Grambling State University alumnus Ronald E. Childs, a senior media strategist and award-Ronald Childswinning journalist based in Chicago, will return to campus Tuesday to serve as a student feedback coach and keynote speaker as part of the Cleo Fields Lecture series sponsored by the Department of Mass Communication.

Childs, a 1982 graduate, has enjoyed a distinguished career and in 2007 became the first mass communication alum to be inducted into the Grambling State University Alumni Hall of Fame.

During his visit, he will help evaluate and offer feedback to seniors presenting their capstone projects Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the Washington Johnson Complex. He also will be the featured speaker at a 6 p.m. Mass Communication year-end awards and recognition dinner to be held in Green Room 167 of the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

“It is always a pleasure and privilege when one of the department’s own comes home to engage with students,” said Dr. Robbie R. Morganfield, the Cleo Fields Endowed Professor in Mass Communication and Department Head. “I know our students will greatly benefit from their time with Mr. Childs, who continues to punctuate an already outstanding career.”

Childs currently serves as a senior media strategist with Burrell Communications Group, of Chicago, one of the nation’s premiere African American-owned advertising agencies. He also is an award-winning journalist, public relations practitioner and social network engagement consultant, who through his own independently branded company, OMEN Communications, represents an array of clients as a digital editorial content provider, media relations specialist, editor, publicist and literary agent.

Childs’ 36-year career in communications has seen him serve in recent years as publisher and executive editor of The Chicago Defender, considered by some to be the flagship of the black press. Before that appointment, he was a vice president with Flowers Communications Group, a media strategist for the Burrell Communications Group and associate editor of the former EM – EBONY MAN magazine, while simultaneously working in public relations at Johnson Publishing Company.

He previously had served as a communications specialist and speechwriter to the late mayor Harold Washington, Chicago’s first African American chief executive, until Washington’s untimely death in office in 1987.

Childs began his career as a business editor, copy editor, photographer and editorial cartoonist for The Chicago Defender, and has since written articles and opinion columns for more than three-dozen black interest-newspapers, magazines and web sites throughout the U.S. and abroad.

He is a member of the National and Chicago Associations of Black Journalists, the National and Chicago Black Public Relations Societies and he additionally takes pride in mentoring journalism and public relations students at several historically black colleges and universities.  Childs currently holds 31 industry awards for editorial, public relations and media relations excellence, including the 1991 Award for Outstanding Commentary given by the Chicago Association of Black Journalists.

A recipient of the 1990 Distinguished Alumni Presidential Citation bestowed by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, he is one of two mass communication graduates to be inducted into the Grambling Hall of Fame.

About the Cleo Fields Lecture Series

The Cleo Fields Lecture series brings accomplished mass media practitioners to campus to discuss current events and offer practical advice to students. This year’s theme has focused on why diverse voices matter in media-related professions.

Dr. Morganfield said the awards dinner is an attempt to build new platforms for recognizing and encouraging excellence among students. Scholarships and other honors will be announced during the dinner, as well as opportunities for students to apply for several new scholarships.

GSU Calendar Cover Girl Pageant Turns the Big 5-0

Cover-Cal-girl-49Since 1968, the Grambling State University Cover Girl Calendar has highlighted a long history of stellar women and incredible alumnae. This Saturday, students and the campus community will celebrate and crown the 50th Calendar Cover Girl in the University’s History.

Grambling State University

50th Anniversary Calendar Cover Girl Pageant

Saturday, April 14, 2018 | 7 p.m.

T.H. Harris Auditorium

Admission: Free for Students and Community Members

This year’s momentous program will feature a record-number of Cover Girls who will return to celebrate the pageant’s milestone.

“The 50th Annual Cover Girl Pageant will highlight past, present and future pageant excellence. Terry Lilly, pageant choreographer has once again outdone himself in capturing this unforgettable pageantry experience,” said Sharon Perkins, Director of the Favrot Student Union.

This Year’s Cover Girl and recently elected Miss Grambling, JaMariea’ Davis-Miller, will pass on the crown to one of this year’s beautiful contestants:

Enausha Abney
Arcadia, LA
Talisia Mcmurray
Ruston, LA
Tia Wright
Washington, DC
Jade Belton-Coleman
Kierara Moore
Monroe, LA
Onshala Alexander
Milwaukee, WI
Jakayla Caleb
Springfield, LA
Ashton Myers
Savannah, Ga
Ahmya Ash
Davenport, Iowa
Jessica Clinton
Ruston, LA
Ahmani Ownens
Minden, LA
Dalyia Booker
Miami, FL
Lillian Christian
Little Rock, AR
Faith Poole
Asheville, NC
Nikky Dunbar
Chicago, IL
Allysa Crane
Atlanta, GA
Mikeia Ridgell
Pine Bluff, AR
Lajazzmond Pichon
Houston, TX
Mata Drain
Shreveport, LA
Jaalyn Roane
Ruston, LA
Jericha Richards
Springfield, IL
Cristina Franklin
Beaumont, TX
Antallia Ross
Farmerville, LA
Mariah Smith
Chicago Heights,IL
Megan Gainous
Grambling, LA
Yrrasha Taylor
Baton Rouge, LA
Dazmeiah Turner
Winnfield, LA
Taylor Graham
Chicago, IL
Destini Thurman
Orlando, FL
Alianndra Williams
Ruston, LA
Tori Guyton
Detroit, MI
Alexis Walker
Monroe, LA
Jazmine Hunter
Cienna Washington
Ruston, LA
Rickenzie Jhonikin
Farmerville, LA
Zakiyah Whaley
Tyler, TX
Madison Levingston
Dallas, TX
Jammie Wilson
Dallas, TX
De’Lia Madison
New Orleans, LA
Kelsey Woods
Shreveport, LA

Doors will open for this year’s event at 6 p.m. at T.H. Harris Auditorium. To get updates first on this year’s Cover Girl winner, follow @Grambling1901 on Facebook and Twitter.

4 Ways Grambling State’s Campus is Focusing On Sexual Assault Awareness

Grambling State Students, Faculty, & Staff Join in Sexual Assault Awareness Month #SAAM
By Jovan Hackley

From major headlines to new efforts by America’s even smallest employers, the #MeToo movement has breathed new life into sexual assault awareness – including a big effort spearheaded by Grambling State Students and staff.

“It is important for GSU to join in the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Movement to bring awareness and dialogue of the importance of respect in relationships and consent,” said Beverly Crawford, Beverly W. Crawford, Title IX Coordinator/EEO Officer for GSU. “It is also important for the GSU community to embrace survivors who courageously use their voice to speak the truth.”

This month Grambling State students and community members will band together to grow sexual assault awareness on campus through four big events:

Outreach Booths: How Can I Say Yes When I Can’t Say No?
The Yard & McCall Dining Hall
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 | 11 a.m.
Learn about consent, how to report sexual assault, and about resources nationally and on GSU’s campus.

Movie Screening: The Hunting Ground
Grambling Hall Auditorium
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 | 7:30 p.m.
GSU Students, staff and faculty will screen the award-winning 2015 expose on sexual assault on some of America’s most notable college campuses.

Greek Demonstration: Strolling Off to End Violence
The Yard
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | 11 a.m.
Join our campus fraternities and sororities as they raise awareness of sexual assault and resources for victims.

Campus Demonstration: National Sexual Assault Awareness Denim Day
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 | All-Day
Wear Denim to show your support for victims of sexual assault.

Students, faculty, and community members are encouraged to attend and share the hashtag #SAAM to support this year’s events.

For students and campus community members who may experience or have questions related to sexual assault, the University provides a list of resources:


Divisions Who Can Help:

Speak Up for GSU! ULS Day at the Capitol, April 11th

Advocate for Higher Education with Grambling State and the University of Louisiana System

By Jovan Hackley & Sara Renee Garner2018 ULS Day

If you believe our Governor and legislators should support higher education, April 11, 2018 is your day to speak up.

April 11th, Grambling State University will travel to Baton Rouge, along with eight other University of Louisiana System (ULS) schools to engage our state leaders and speak up for higher education. Alumni, community members, students and faculty are encouraged to show up in their black and gold to support.

This legislative session, there are many questions about the levels of funding for higher education. As the State of Louisiana’s governors and state legislators work to resolve a potential $1 billion shortfall.

The only historically black college/university (HBCU) in the UL system and the system’s leading provider of African-American graduates in key areas like computer science, it’s more important than ever for the University to receive consistent and growing support.

“We know that the foundation of workforce development, economic development, and community development is human development. That’s the business that colleges and universities are in,” said Dr. Jim Henderson, President of the UL System. “The future of the state of Louisiana, the future of our people, the future of our employer hangs in the balance.

South Louisiana Grambling State alumni and supporters are encouraged to join this year’s ULS Day events:

University of Louisiana System, “ULS Day” at the State Capitol

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

11:00 am to 2:30 pm (Lunch at 11 am)

Hosted by University of Louisiana System

Tentative Agenda (times are approximate)
11:00 am                  Lunch and Academic Program Displays

12:00 pm                  Louisiana Tech: Stage Combat Performance

12:30 pm                  Spirit Group Showcase and Mascot Dance-Off

1:00-2:00 pm            Official Program

2:15 pm                     Group Photo

For more information and live updates on ULS Day, visit https://www.ulsystem.edu/policymakers/uls-day-at-the-capitol/.

The order of events for the day are the following: it begins with a lunch and academic exhibits, then goes to a stage fighting demonstration from Louisiana Tech that segues into a spirit showcase featuring the schools’ mascots, and finally it ends with remarks from officials.




Grambling Women Up: STEM Leader Innovates for IBM, Sara Lee Hosiery, and Other Major U.S. Companies as an Entrepreneur

GSU Alumna Alana Ward Robinson turns Computer Science background into help for hundreds of companies.

By Jovan Hackley & Jasmine Kennedy

Alana and Oneal Robinson with Michelle ObamaHow does a computer science graduate end up creating $100 million engineering initiatives for one of America’s top commercial printing providers? “Never give up and never settle for less,” says Alana Ward Robinson an active supporter and alumna who uses her experience from IBM, Sara Lee Hosiery, and a series of other Fortune 500s to help grow companies today.

A graduate of Grambling State University and Harvard University’s Advanced Management Certificate program, Robinson advises that “We should assume that we’re the best. We should assume that we can be number one and never give up on that expectation.”

A continuous pioneer in women’s and African-American achievement, Robinson’s resume includes more than 40 years of helping corporations, non-profits, and higher education institutions across the country and globe find new ways to leverage technology.

That work includes working her way up from an entry-level hire to a senior executive at IBM; a Vice President and CIO for Sara Lee Hosiery, KMart, and Coors Brewery Company; and a board member to international non-profit organizations that include The Executive Leadership Council and the World Food Programme based in Rome, Italy.

Advice for the Women of Today’s #GramFam

When asked about the source of her achievements, Robinson, a graduate of the Computer Science program in 1972, offered, “The same effort I put into getting good grades as a student was the same effort I put into doing good work as an employee. I burned the midnight oil. I produced results, and those results came with the rewards of more opportunity.”

Those opportunities would take Robinson and her family to more than five major U.S. Cities and help her raise two children with the love of her life, former Drum Major and GSU Alumnus, Elbert O’Neal Robinson.

Why Alana Chose Grambling

One of The Network Journal’s Top 25 Most Influential Black Women from 2010, Robinson attributes much of her success to her father and his passion for giving her a Grambling State start.

“Very unselfishly, my dad, who was a Southern grad, was very concerned about his health. My guidance counselor helped me find a four-year scholarship and he thought that, for me, Grambling State made a lot of sense,” she shared.

Robinson’s dad did live to see her graduate with honors in 1972, after which she moved on to begin her career with IBM where she would become a trendsetting leader in STEM.

Helping Women & Companies Up

Today, Alana and her husband O’Neal lead Robinson Consulting Group, an executive consulting firm they’ve founded to help businesses across the nation identify and increase value by improving their finance, technology, and digital marketing operations.

“Women have not always been represented in corporate America’s executive teams; and not because they couldn’t do the job. It is important that we recognize the accomplishment of women executives, such as Alana Robinson,” says Dr. Connie Walton, Director of Sponsored Programs for Grambling State and long-time colleague of Robinson. “By recognizing these leaders, young girls, and young boys will grow up understanding that corporate leadership positions are possible for both men and women.”

Thank you, Alana Robinson, for helping raise “Grambling Women Up.”

To share a story of another Grambling State woman achiever, follow and share #GramblingWomenUp on Facebook or Twitter.

Grambling Women Up: Courageous Local Civil Rights Legends Share

By Kathy Spurlock and Jasmine Harris

As part of its Women’s History Month observance, Grambling State University celebrates a number of phenomenal women who have helped women across the nation and the world rise. Thank you to Louisiana’s Women Warriors for helping lift Grambling Women Up.

“Women Women WarriorsWarriors: A Conversation” was a program presented to students and the community to address a much-neglected area of humanities study: the activism of women in rural communities during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s.

During the program, several women shared their experiences. Mrs. Berta Bradford Robinson, a native of Jonesboro, Louisiana, along with James Potts, is noted for desegregating Louisiana Tech University. Robinson lost her church to a fire following the news of their integration at the university. “First of all, the headlines came out before the church was burned. The headlines were Bradford and Potts integrate Tech and immediately after that headlines showed church was burned,” she told the group. Robinson spoke to the guilt her counterpart felt toward enrolling into the university, blaming himself for the destruction caused to the church.

Mrs. Bessie Dill Bradley recounted the frightening night she was sought by Ku Klux Klan members while sitting in jail. Bradley received a feeling that she explained as a divine calling for her to hide herself. The men circled the building looking for a victim and eventually left when they found no one.

Bradley, with tears welling up in her eyes, began to sing a hymn to the crowd as a show of gratitude.

“It was a special moment in the room, it felt like listening to one of your grandparents telling you about their upbringing and the trials and tribulations they went through” said Derrick Johnson, a Biology major from Atlanta, Georgia.

Mrs. Mabel Houston detailed her experience at Jackson High School, where she was only able to stay for four months. The white students treated her as an oddity. Her bullying came in the form of children separating themselves from her. While demonstrating with 12 other students against the school, they were arrested and thrown in a garbage truck to be hauled off to jail. She was only 14 at the time. “They didn’t hurt us, they just put us in jail and fed us three meals a day for a week,” Houston said.

The program was designed to open an important conversation about the women who were not written into history, and to inspire the audience to seek the unrecognized heroines in their own communities and to document their stories before they are lost to history.

These women highlighted were vital parts in the movement toward equality in their communities. Thank you, Women Warriors, for helping raise “Grambling Women Up.”

To share a story of another Grambling State woman achiever, follow and share #GramblingWomenUp on Facebook or Twitter.

Grambling Women Up: Criminal Justice Graduate Makes Dallas History

Dallas Police Chief Renee HallGRAMBLING, La. (March 16, 2018) – As part of its Women’s History Month, Grambling State University celebrates a number of phenomenal women from its community who have helped women across the nation and the world rise. Thank you to Renee Hall for helping lift Grambling Women Up.  

Renee Hall, an alumna of Grambling State’s Criminal Justice program and the first female police chief in Dallas, Texas, has a long record of helping grow her industry and women’s achievement. 

Hall, who previously served as deputy chief of the Detroit Police Department, was hired as chief in September 2017. But, that’s not where her contributions started. 

Hall received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Grambling State in 1994 and master’s degrees in security administration and intelligence analysis from the University of Detroit Mercy. A graduate of the FBI National Academy, she also completed the Police Executive Leadership Institute and is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.  

She was recently appointed special assistant to the president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. In March 2015, she was selected as one of Michigan Chronicle’s Women of Excellence.  She has also been honored as “Woman of the Decade” by the Native Detroiter Magazine. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

As Deputy Chief in Detroit, Hall developed and implemented comprehensive community policing and mentor programs, forged partnerships and established trust within minority communities while also building strong relationships between officers of all ranks and community stakeholders. Under her leadership, the City of Detroit experienced a 40-year low in homicides and double-digit reductions in violent crime for three consecutive years.

Her responsibilities also included oversight of police services for six precincts and 720 sworn and non-sworn personnel. 

In Dallas, she has already completed a departmental reorganization to trim administrative staff, and is focused on neighborhood policing, recruiting new officers and community service. 

“Ms. Hall’s appointment as the chief of police for the city of Dallas is an achievement that reaches beyond the personal success of one person,” GSU Criminal Justice professor Dr. Karletta White said.  “Her achievement and future efforts will definitely have a lasting impact on the current and future generations of little girls and young women who would have never imagined that such a goal could be reached, and be comfortable accepting such a tremendous responsibility. “ 

Thank you, Chief Hall, for helping raise “Grambling Women Up.” 

To share a story of another Grambling State woman achiever, follow and share #GramblingWomenUp on Facebook or Twitter.  


Judge Lynn Toler Keynotes Women’s History Month Convocation

Woman Up, Grambling: Judge Lynn Toler highlights Opportunity for Grambling Today

GSU President Rick Gallot and Judge Lynn Toler“Thump to your own rhythm,” Judge Lynn Toler advised more than 300 young women during Grambling State University’s 2018 Women’s History Convocation.

Toler, well-known host of the nationally syndicated show “Divorce Court,” took to the stage with Miss Grambling, Jimmitriv Roberson, President Rick Gallot, and other student leaders to help offer advice and encouragement on how the women of GSU can “rise up.”

“As women, we have more in our arsenal than anyone thinks,” said Toler. “If we, as a people, are going to survive and create a better world we have to honor the contributions of both men and women.”

“Black women have to continue to be fearless and to go even where we haven’t seen others go,” said Toler. “There were no black women at the first or second law firms where I worked. I went anyway.”

Toler, a graduate of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, while well known for it, is much more than a judge on TV. Toler is the author of “My Mother’s Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius,” and has worked for more than 30 years to help communities, schools, and individuals advance both on and off the screen.

Her off-screen work includes serving on the boards and as a volunteer of The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), Cuyahoga County Criminal Justice Services Supervisory Board, Goodwill’s Starting Over Program, and preventing domestic violence through Bloom365.org.

“Grambling State University has a long history of producing and engaging influential women like Judge Toler,” said President Gallot. “We are educating a generation of game-changing women and it’s an honor for our students to engage with someone of her caliber. Her success in criminal justice, women’s rights and media affirms to our students that their big visions are possible.”

To follow more of the GSU conversation with Judge Toler and learn more about historic women from Grambling State, follow hashtag #WomanUpGrambling2018 on Twitter and Facebook.