Monthly Archives: January 2015

Sociology Professor Leads GSU Recruiting Effort in Miami

Matthew Sheptoski, an assistant professor of sociology, loves working at Grambling State University, and he wants to give high school students from his former home of Miami, Florida, the opportunity to experience Grambling for themselves. While he was a social sciences teacher at Lawrence Academy Charter School in Miami-Dade County, Sheptoski does not recall seeing college recruiters from other states visiting the school. He felt a need to fill that role by encouraging students in the Miami area to look at out-of-state options like GSU.

During his first semester at Grambling, Sheptoski organized a recruiting trip to six high schools in Miami-Dade County during December 2013. He returned to five of those schools during his second recruiting trip from December 15-17, 2014, and returned with the contact information for 87 potential Gramblinites. The entire trip was completed for only $480, proving that successful recruiting trips can be done on a budget.

For Sheptoski’s next recruiting trip in December 2015, Interim President Cynthia Warrick has asked GSU alumni from the Miami area to assist students by helping them complete applications, providing them with gift cards to cover the $20 application fee, and encouraging them to apply for scholarships.

President’s Corner

Happy Black History Month at Grambling State University! We are kicking off February with the 4th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Leadership Awards Luncheon on Feb. 5 in the Black and Gold Room at 11:00am. We are honoring community leaders under the following categories: Fannie Lou Hamer Community Service & Leadership Award, Alvin Ailey Arts & Letters Award, and Thurgood Marshall Justice Award. The luncheon speaker will be US Attorney Stephanie Finley, who directs the Western District of Louisiana. Tickets are available at $15.00 and can be purchased by calling (318)274-2217.

February is a busy month for GSU. Numerous activities are scheduled including the Grambling State University Choir Winter Gala scheduled for the evening of Feb. 12, and a Shreveport Leadership Breakfast honoring Coach Broderick Fobbs, the SWAC Football Coach of the Year.   We will close the month by participating in the Black College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Feb. 28 when GSU Alumnus Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd will be inducted posthumously into the Class of 2015. Ladd, who died in 2007, was a 4-time AFL All Star and played for the San Diego Chargers, Houston Oilers, and Kansas City Chiefs.

As we remember and celebrate GSU Alumni during Black History Month, please share your history with your family, neighbors, and friends. More now than ever, the GramFam needs to unite to promote the excellence of Grambling and recruit future generations to this great University.

GSU Unites and Gives to United Way

Grambling State University has closed out its 2014 United Way Campaign in style by donating over $12,000. GSU was able to raise money by having over 10 departments with a 100 percent participation rate. Grambling State University has a long history of being a community leader in giving. GSU and United Way are partnering to increase local graduation rates, providing education towards financial literacy and preventive health behaviors that will align with Grambling’s community service interests.

“On behalf of the community, I would to thank GSU students, faculty and staff for their outstanding leadership,” said Michelle Tolar, United Way Area Director of Lincoln Parish. “This will provide life-changing services to people right here where we work and live.”

GSU Interim President Dr. Cynthia Warrick thanked all of the Grambling family for donating to this year’s United Way Campaign. “We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Way to align our service learning program with the programs they support in the community. Don’t be surprised when you see Grambling students, faculty, and staff, reading to 3rd grade classes, and volunteering with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and the Boys and Girls club. With the business expertise in our faculty and students, we will provide financial education to students in the area so they can prepare for a brighter financial future, especially when it comes to paying for their college education,” Warrick stated.

Additional Information:

GSU Alum becomes a nationally known Party Professional

Dalan Sharpe Photo (center)

(Scianna and Dalan Sharpe photographed with Everson Walls)

By: E’Vonne Gipson

Things were not always easy for Grambling State University alumni, Dalan Sharpe, but he didn’t let that stop him from setting very high standards for himself at an early age. At 11 years old, Sharpe spent a night helping his father, James, a waiter at Carriage House restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, wash hundreds of dirty dishes during a Westover Hills house party.

Sharpe said his father wanted something much better for him because he knew that his job was extremely demanding. Many people say that you have to be a great follower to become an outstanding leader, but Sharpe swore from that night of scrubbing in the kitchen that he would never follow in his father’s footsteps.

Sharpe’s father continued to lead by example by bringing Sharpe along to help serve and clean at house parties. He pushed his son to perform to the best of his abilities at whatever he was trying to accomplish.

Receiving an education was imperative in this family, and Sharpe’s father made sure that he had the opportunity to receive a quality education.

He attended O.D. Wyatt, a predominantly black public high school in southeast Fort Worth, and Grambling State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1995.

In 2000, after experiencing and enjoying teaching in Fort Worth public schools such as Morningside and O.D. Wyatt, Sharpe felt that a service career was the perfect fit for him and decided to start his own company. When he told his father his plan, he asked him if he was sure he was going to be able to handle the pressure of the job and get a good amount of gigs.

“If you want to get into the business, you need to see it up close and have the heart for it,” Sharpe said.

At 42, Sharpe is now in charge of his own small group of waiters, bartenders, and busboys. He has grown to adore his career, and one unique thing about him is that he serves in style. No important Fort Worth soiree is complete without Dalan and his signature custom bowties.

Sharpe did not know exactly what he wanted to do with his life, so he became a mentor for teenagers, determined to keep them on the right track.

“I want them to get their education first. I work them as hard as I can, so that they can decide if they have the right character to work in this business long term,” the Party Professional said.

Dalan and his team, which consists of his mother, brother and father, work more than 100 events during the September through December party season. These events include annual events like birthday celebrations, weddings, homecomings and extravagant out-of-town parties.

He has done what he loves locally and nationally. He has worked for local restaurateur Grady Spears and occasionally has had the pleasure of working with famous event planner Preston Bailey, who he has been mistaken for many times.

Arriving at success was not a walk on the beach for Sharpe. He hit and stumbled over a few bumps in the road and even got lost a few times on the way. Today, Sharpe is one of the thousands of students that remained focused during college, graduated from GSU and became a leader in the community.

Welcome back to the Spring 2015 Semester

Happy New Year! Grambling State University made significant strides in 2014, and we are well on our way in 2015. Thank you to GSU Alumni, Faculty, Students, and Friends for contributing to the University. In just 6 months’ time, we have exceeded the private funds raised in 2013-2014. More than $470,000 cash was donated to support GSU.

We have already kicked off 2015 with a number of activities. Thank you River Parishes’ GSU Alumni and especially Mrs. Bernetta Ambres, for organizing and implementing an Alumni “Meet and Greet” at Fifth Ward Elementary School on January 8, hosted by Principal and GSU Alumna Kendria Spears; and high school visits on January 9 at West St. John High School and East St. John High School. We talked with almost 800 students, parents, teachers and staff. Lunch for me and the recruitment team was provided by the St. John Parish President, Natalie Robottom, with special guests attending: Superintendent Kevin George, and GSU Alumni serving on the Parish School Board.

I provided greetings on behalf of GSU at Monroe District Women’s Conference on January 10 at the Lewis Temple CME Church in Grambling, followed by the GSU Alumni Educators Celebration at the FAVROT Student Center. Meetings are also underway with the architectural planning committees for the renovation of the Library and the Intramural Center. These committees are made up of GSU alumni, students, faculty, industry partners and staff.

Please mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

(1)               MLK Celebration and candlelight procession on Jan. 19
(2)               National Black Graduate Student Association’s “Chat & Chew on Jan. 24.
(3)               The 2nd Alumni & Distinguished Speakers series, featuring Alvin Washington, JD on
Jan. 27.
(4)               The Tiger Basketball schedule is located on our website: www.gram.edu – (Men’s Schedule, Women’s Schedule)

The entire GSU community is invited to all of our January events!