Thurgood Marshall College Fund and The Coca-Cola Foundation provide much needed assistance for first generation college students

 By GSU Media Bureau

Grambling State University has received $50,000 from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and The Coca-Cola Foundation to support the Thurgood Marshall College Fund – Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship Program.  Each year for four years, four students will receive $3,125 in scholarships that may be used for tuition, books, or housing for a total of $12,500. To be eligible for the scholarship award, students must be the first in their immediate family to attend college and maintain a 2.8 GPA on a 4.0 scale.  DSC_4790 copy

During the second annual Eddie G. Robinson Sr. Leadership Lecture Series, Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Coca-Cola representatives presented GSU President Rick Gallot and Institutional Advancement Vice President Marc Newman with a check to provide support to first generation students.

“At Grambling State, we try to ensure every student has the help they need to graduate,” said Gallot. “More than 90 percent of our students are eligible for some form of aid, and we are very grateful for partners like TMCF and Coca-Cola who help our students through scholarships, grants and other assistance.”

During the university’s Tuesday (Nov. 14) event, representatives from the Monroe Coca-Cola Bottling Company, a sales center of UNITED Coca-Cola Bottling Company, shared their support.

“We’ve been strong GSU partners for more than seven decades and we’re extremely happy to see our parent company leaders contribute to this important institution just as we have,” said Keith Biedenham, sales center manager with the Monroe company. “Our company invested $260,000 earlier this year to the Bring It Home campaign, and this is another indication that the Coca-Cola stands with HBCUs, and GSU is the leader in our community.”

“The Thurgood Marshall College Fund values the tremendous impact of our corporate partners like Coca-Cola who help us fund much-needed student scholarships at Grambling State and all of our 47 member-schools,” said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., TMCF’s president and CEO.

Newman said the $50,000 in scholarships will help several GSU students the next few years. “We really appreciate The Coca-Cola Foundation and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and their investments in and partnership with Grambling State University as we build a good future together.”


DSC_4792 copy


Gallot honored by HBCUGrow for leadership and vision during his first year as institution’s 10th president 

By GSU Media Bureau 

RALEIGH, NC (November 9, 2017 ) – Grambling State University President Rick Gallot was recognized today with the HBCUGrow LEAD award for “Best Leadership” at the group’s 2017 annual LEAD Conference. GSU President Rick Gallot

Gallot, who was nominated in his first year as the institution’s 10th president, was recognized for his energetic, student-centered approach to leadership and the university’s growing list of recent accomplishments, including record enrollment and a recent $1.2 million raised from alumni and donors in just four months.

“In your first year, any award is an honor. This acknowledgment from HBCUGrow is significant because it means our peers and others across the nation can see the progress with our students and campus,” said Gallot. “It’s a privilege to lead Grambling because of our students, faculty and administrative community members. They’re the ones who make the vision possible.”

In addition to enrollment progress and fundraising, under Gallot’s leadership, the university has seen a new nursing program approved by the state, new funds secured to start progress on a cutting-edge library project and an additional $2 million in federal grants and contract funding.

The Best Leadership award is given to an active president of a historically black college and university at the HBCUGrow Lead Conference, one of the country’s fastest-growing university leadership training events.

In addition, Grambling State was also recognized as 2017 winner in the Innovation category, recognizing forward-thinking solutions in campus experience, technology and university programming.
Winners were selected in several categories based on peer nominations and input and data reviews by a panel of judges.  This year’s categories included LEAD Innovation, LEAD Marketing, LEAD Website, LEAD Military-Friendly and Best Leadership.



Fourteen of university’s finest scholars exhibit what it means to be a successful Gramblinite

By Stephanie Lindsey/GSU Media Bureau

Grambling State University stood out among the crowd at this year’s Thurgood Marshall College Fund Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. GSUMarshallFundGroupNov2017-12

More than 400 students attended the Institute, which involved breakout sessions throughout the weekend to learn about everything from financial literacy and investing to business meeting etiquette and selling your brand.

Chosen to attend the four-day conference were Alickson Alexander, junior computer science major; Christian Bailey, junior chemistry, chemical engineering and military science major; Noressa Fontaine, junior business management and computer information systems major; Jada Johnson, junior biology major; Justin Malone, sophomore marketing and business management major; LaJazz Pichon, freshman visual and performing arts major; La’Terious Pouncy, senior accounting and computer and information systems major; Jarrid Richards, junior computer information systems major; Dhara Richardson, freshman biology major; Faron Rush, junior business management and computer information systems major; Derisha St. Rose, sophomore business management major; Aschel St. Ville, senior biology, mathematics and physics major; Kellyne Thomas, junior accounting and computer information systems major, and Dionte Wilson, senior marketing and business management major.

As any of the 14 Grambling students will tell you, being selected to attend the Leadership Institute is no easy task.

Bailey, president of the GSU chemistry club and vice president of the Delta Sigma Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., knows the process first hand.

“First you have to apply. Then depending on your credentials, grade point average and campus involvement, you’ll get an interview. There are face-to-face interviews on campus and once you’ve gotten past the first round of interviews, you move on to a second round of Skype interviews. After that, you’re told within the next month or two if you’ve been selected,” said Bailey, who received an internship opportunity with the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly while attending the Leadership Institute.

Graduating senior Wilson attended the institute for the second time this year. “Being a part of the leadership Institute has helped me with networking skills and seeing the bigger picture of how important career readiness before graduation is,” the Chicago native said. “This year my mind was pretty much on full-time offers.”

“The Leadership Institute prepared me for life after Grambling by showing me the ins and outs of corporate jobs, how to communicate in a professional environment, and how to use my own strengths as a springboard for my success, “ Richardson said.

St. Rose received an internship with Walmart’s 2018 logistics summer internship program and Richards received a scholarship from John Deere.

Named for former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the fund has been a key proponent for the professional advancement of African American students for decades.




University employees contributing to help improve quality of life in the area

By GSU Media Bureau

Monster Moto of Ruston has partnered with Grambling State University and United Way of Northeast Louisiana to encourage contributions to help nonprofit organizations in the region.DSC_2986 copy

The Ruston business has donated a classic 80cc mini bike for the annual GSU United Way campaign. The mini bike, valued at about $400, is an incentive to encourage GSU employees to make contributions.

“Our partnerships really help make Grambling State University successful, and we have partnered with the United Way for several years,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “It’s exciting to have Monster Moto join us as a partner to help with such a worthy cause.”

During a recent (Nov. 1) visit to Monster Moto, Gallot toured the facility with business and university representatives and expressed his appreciation for the mini bike donation.

Monica Bradley, associate vice president for human resources and chair of the GSU United Way campaign, said she was particularly excited that a local business has partnered to help boost employee giving.

“Our employees are wonderful when it comes to making United Way contributions,” she said. “Having such a nice gift as an added value incentive will make some people consider giving more and it will cause others thinking about giving to give.”

Bradley said employees can sign up for a payroll deduction of $10 per month starting in January 2018 or make a one-time donation of $120 with a check, cash or credit card by visiting the cashiers office on the first floor of Long-Jones Hall on the campus. Individuals can use the 2017 United Way Pledge Form to contribute and have a chance to win the bike. She said non-employees are welcome to contribute to GSU’s United Way campaign, though payroll deduction is not an option. Non-employees can contribute with cash or credit cards.

She said there will be a drawing for the bike on Monday (Nov. 13) at 10 a.m. in the Favrot Student Union during the United Way Campaign closing ceremony in room 242.  Special recognition will be given to individuals, departments and divisions that have the highest donation and participation rates.

“I can’t wait to see how our employees will step up to give this year,” added Bradley. “I can’t wait to see who’s going to win and get to ride this mini bike.”

The United Way of Northeast Louisiana works with volunteers, donors and organizations to identify education, income, health and basic and emergency needs to help improve the quality of life in northeastern Louisiana, including Grambling, Ruston, Monroe, West Monroe, Rayville and elsewhere in the area.

Grambling State University has hosted an annual United Way Workplace Campaign since 2007.  The employees support the agencies that are funded by United Way dollars, including DART, Boys and Girls Club, Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, Counsel on Aging, The Health Hut, MedCamps, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Wellspring. Gallot and Alex Keechle, CEO of Monster Moto, are involved with the United Way Workplace Campaign 2017.  Michelle Tolar, the area director for the Northeast Louisiana United Way, provides guidance and strategies for the annual Workplace Campaigns. Phranses Williams is the Monster Moto Workplace Campaign coordinator.


United Way Logo GSU Logo MonsterMoto Logo

Monster Moto Mini Motorcycle

Click here for PDF
UNITED WAY CLOSING NOVEMBER 8TH–Enter A Drawing to Win a Classic 80cc Mini Bike


Corporate, individual, other investors contribute to help university continue success


In a short few months, the Grambling State University family came together to meet then surpass a $1 million fundraising goal. The campaign grand total is $1,232,543.

GSUBringItHomeBigCheckOct2017.DSC_2235 2Raising about $1.2 million in a mere four months was a challenge, but it was one that the GramFam took on and were determined to see to a successful conclusion at the school’s recent homecoming game.

“This is really big,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “We set ourselves up for success by involving the entire GSU family, from alumni to faculty and staff, students and business and corporate partners.

“Nearly everyone wants to invest in something in which they believe, something that clearly pays dividends and something that makes the investor feel good.”

Marc Newman, GSU’s vice president for institutional advancement, said there were a total of 2,024 gifts. The largest amounts included $421,905 in corporate contributions and $168,827 in online donations. Three of the biggest special event investment opportunities included the Day of Giving, the GSU employee giving campaign and the annual KGRM Radiothon, which brought in $70,017, $69,949 and $30,247 respectively. Newman said there were a full range of investments, including those who gave a few dollars and several, significant individual contributions, from $5,000 to $100,000.

“These numbers show that our alumni, faculty and staff, the business community and even our students understand what it means to invest in this institution,” he said.

The effort was launched in July with a Bring It Home announcement in the Black and Gold Room on the second floor of the Favrot Student Union. Gallot and his wife, Christy, jump-started the campaign with a $10,000 contribution, and several others contributed on the first day. The largest investment was $260,000 from the Monroe Coca-Cola Bottling Company, a division of UNITED Coca-Cola Bottling Company. The first day total was $321,000, and the contributions kept rolling in, week by week and month by month.

“That single investment was just what we needed to kick off the campaign,” said Marc Newman, vice president for institutional advancement, who led the Bring It Home team. “Our advancement team worked closely with the Grambling University Foundation and a host of alumni groups and individuals to build on that initial success.”

“This effort had a wide scope of participation,” added Newman. “We have support from the Divine Nine Greek sororities and fraternities, and a number of other affinity groups. The Grambling University National Alumni Association played an important role with regular check-ins, event-specific activities and helping us spread the word through local alumni chapters. We had support from across the region, including Monroe, Arcadia, Ruston, Shreveport and beyond.”

“When President Gallot and Marc Newman asked me to help, I didn’t have any other choice than to immediately say yes because I knew it would help Grambling and it would be just what we needed,” said Wilbert Ellis, a legendary Grambling State baseball coach who served as the honorary Bring It Home campaign chairman. “When that big amount was announced and I saw that big check, I couldn’t help but cry tears of joy. We haven’t seen anything like this at Grambling before, and, boy, do we need it.”

“With the president we have at the helm and the advancement team we have in place, there was no doubt in my mind that we could set a big, bold goal and meet it,” said Aubrey, a 1995 GSU alum. “We just needed to put the right structures in place and make it work.”

Newman said lining up a couple of dozen Bring It Home campaign captains, holding regular conference calls, identifying key events and key people were central to the success. “I can’t thank those captains enough,” he said. “All of them were volunteers who worked hard because they love GSU.”



Program provides student flexibility, especially those with credit hours wanting a degree

By GSU Media Bureau

The Louisiana Board of Regents has given conditional approval for a new general studies degree program at Grambling State University. The new program allows students needing a more flexible curriculum to pursue a bachelors degree with an interdisciplinary approach while exploring varied interests that extend beyond a particular major. Dr. Ellen Smiley

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students who have completed quite a number of course credit hours, especially those who are close to having the requisite number of hours to graduate,” said Ellen D. Smiley, GSU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This new program gives students a choice of four concentration areas — humanities and culture; gender, race and intersectionality; juvenile behavioral studies and gerontology.”

Smiley said the university has three years to ensure that the program is successful to gain full approval. She said GSU must file a progress report each year, beginning fall 2019, to indicate how many students are in the program, how the students are performing and anticipated success. The board took the action at its Oct. 26 meeting.

The provost said while this innovative approach to earning a bachelor’s degree provides students with an additional, flexible option, all students choosing this option must satisfy state, system and university requirements. The general studies program requires 120 credit hours. Students must earn 39 hours of general education credits and two hours of First Year Experience (FYE) credits as well as 27 credit hours in the chosen concentration.  There must be 21 hours of “enrichment courses,” or classes that strengthen student knowledge, and 31 hours of electives, focused on a second concentration within the degree program or an approved minor.

All GSU students are required to meet university-wide service learning requirements. At least 160 hours of service learning hours are required, including 80 hours based on academic courses and 80 hours of community involvement.

Smiley said GSU is planning to admit students for the program in summer 2018. Interested students can contact Dr. Roshunda Belton at 318-274-2256 for more information.




Gallot provides transparency with Tiger1 card investigation 

“Grambling State University is committed to proactively identifying areas of improvement, taking the necessary actions to implement corrections, and monitoring progress,” Grambling State University President Rick Gallot said in an Oct. 20 letter to the state legislative auditor. “The university’s focus on enhancing internal controls has resulted in notable changes to our organizational structure, policies, and processes.”   GSU President Rick Gallot

In February 2017, in accordance with state law, Grambling State University submitted findings related to misuse of Tiger1 card accounts to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor and the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Gallot said the administration is focused on ”moving the accountability train forward.”

“We are committed to continuous improvement and accountability at all levels,” he said after a report detailing the issues from prior administrations was made public by the state legislative auditor Monday. (Oct. 30).

In the letter to the auditor, Gallot noted that employees involved were dismissed and “leadership changes have been implemented” in GSU’s Office of Finance and Administration and by food service contractor ARAMARK.   The Tiger1 card accounts being investigated are based in the office of finance and administration.

Gallot expressed his thanks to the internal auditor’s office, Louisiana Legislative Auditor, District Attorney, and the State Police for their continued commitment and support.

The full report is available at


Food TV cook prepares spicy shrimp during special homecoming event


Chef Jaaion Barnes prepared some New Orleans-style barbeque shrimp on two large skillets on a table as bystanders watched, anticipating a taste of the delicacy he was preparing. Dressed in a blue, long-sleeved button down and white pants and a black apron, Barnes kept looking at the seafood, checking the temperature of the flames and adding splashes of salt, pepper and a homemade creole sauce as Harrington Harris and Jon Weatherspoon licked their lips outside on The Yard.CHEFBARNESBURNS.1361

When Barnes was done, he putted them to the side and Grambling State University students quickly starting grabbing them. Harris, 21, a senior mass communication major from Phoenix, gave Barnes two thumbs up when he tasted the spicy shrimp. “It’s the best shrimp I’ve ever tasted,” said Harris, who likes to cook only breakfast food.

Barnes, a chef who has appeared on Bravo and Aspire TV, is based in Atlanta, where he is a chef for events and celebrity clients. He returned to Grambling to celebrate homecoming with friends and colleagues and he wanted to give back. As a 2005 graduate of the university’s hotel and restaurant management program, he asked to set up a special opportunity for students and others to taste what he’s done with the culinary skills he developed at GSU.

Students came out in droves on Wednesday to chow down on Barnes’ tasty seafood during a food tasting event on The Yard. It was an event Barnes had worked on since the summer.

Barnes began his career at 18 years old at the Cheesecake Bistro in New Orleans, working as a line cook. After he graduating from Grambling State, Barnes moved to Atlanta to further his education at Le Gordon Bleu Culinary School of Arts.

While pursuing his culinary arts degree, Barnes worked his way through the ranks at Cheesecake Factory. He was ultimately promoted to the kitchen manager and in less than two years after he earned his degree. He took his career to newer heights after a four-year stint with Cheesecake by accepting the position of corporate executive chef at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world’s busiest airport. After working at Hartsfield, he served as a culinary instructor at his alma mater the Le Gordon Bleu.

Several students in attendance raved about Barnes’ food. Some asked if could he start a cooking class at Grambling State. It’s an idea Barnes said he’s considered.

Barnes said a culinary program might be in the works, and it could be a two-year degree program His goal would be to see the initial culinary program become a four-year program.

“It was good giving back to the university,” said Barnes.



GSU POSTPONES 2017 Nursing Leadership Summit


Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams, the U.S. deputy surgeon general, was excited to be asked to speak at Grambling State University’s Nursing Leadership Summit. Unfortunately, due to an unforeseen change in her schedule, she will not be able to attend the Oct. 26-27 summit.

The summit has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date. The summit date will be based on her availability.

Refunds for ticket purchases, advertisements and sponsorships will be issued by the GSU Office of Advancement.

Please contact Vel Malone ( in the GSU Office of Advancement or call (318) 274-2217 for refund information or to ask questions.



Office of Advancement

Grambling State University

403 Main Street

Grambling, LA 71245




Enhanced federal funding provides faculty, students with more opportunities

By GSU Media Bureau

Grambling State University is celebrating a $2,000,000 increase in federal grants and contracts awarded. Excluding federal Title III funding, federal funding increased from $3.6 million in the 2015-2016 fiscal year to $5.6 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, a 55.55 percent increase.

Dr. Connie Walton - Interim Director, Sponsored Programs

Dr. Connie Walton – Interim Director, Sponsored Programs

Faculty and staff wrote competitive, winning proposals that were funded by agencies that include the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Louisiana Biomedical Research Network, Northwestern Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services, Louisiana Department of Education, the National Institutes of

Health, and the Air Force. Walton said these projects support the university’s recruitment and retention of students as well as their academic preparedness. The faculty who are involved in these funded programs infuse into the curriculum knowledge and skills gained from the projects. Many of the funded projects provide support for student scholarships and stipends.

According to Marc Newman, GSU’s vice president for institutional advancement, the increase is the result of a lot of hard work by many individuals. These individuals include the faculty, staff, and Dr. Connie Walton, interim director of the university’s sponsored programs office.

“We are excited about the growth in services provided by the office of sponsored programs,” said Newman. “As we continue to enhance the programs and services at Grambling State University, we understand that a competitive sponsored programs unit will play a significant role in meeting needs for growth.”

Walton noted that the increase in funding that was realized was due in large part to the high priority the administration has placed on the acquisition of grants. She indicated that it was not unusual for President Gallot and Provost Smiley to share funding opportunities with the office of sponsored programs and in some cases even suggest whom should be on the proposal writing team.

Mrs. Teresa Jackson, research analyst in the office of sponsored programs, worked closely with Dr. Walton in expanding the services offered. Newman praised the team for expanding the sponsored programs services, in part by providing faculty assistance with proposal writing.

“We are appreciative of the hard work of faculty and staff,” added Newman.