Grambling State panel discusses U.S. Constitution during convocation event

Grambling, La. – September 30, 2022 – Grambling State University’s (GSU) Office of Continuing Education and Service-Learning along with GSU’s Earl Lester Cole Honors College held a Constitution Day Discussion Tuesday at T.H. Harris Auditorium.

The theme of the program was “I Am An American: A Conversation About The U.S. Constitution.” Dr. Quentin Holmes, Dr. Penya Moses, and Dr. Kevin Washington served as panelists answering questions presented by GSU Mass Communication major Gene Wilson, III, Criminal Justice major Bria Johnson, and Sociology major Taye Abraham.

At the start of their discussion, the panelists were asked to give their perspectives on the Constitution and what it means to them.

“The Constitution sets forward the foundation for our rules of law,” Hol

mes, former police chief for Monroe, Louisiana, and former assistant professor in GSU’s Public Administration Department where he currently teaches both criminal justice and public administration courses, said as he opened the discussion. “While it’s not a perfect document, the Constitution has been a very good document and the longest-lasting Constitution of any country in the world. So when I think about the Constitution and how it dictates what we do, it helps maintain law and order within our country. It’s not always perfect — that law and order — but it does give us a foundation.”

Washington, currently an associate professor in the Sociology and Psychology Department at GSU, challenged the Constitution in his opening.

 

 

“From its beginning, who are considered its people, who are the ‘We’ being talked about?,” Washington asked. “You can clearly see in the Declaration of Independence that those who owned land were the ones who were human and that they had rights and the ones who did not own land didn’t.”

Holmes got more to that point when asked what he felt was the purpose of the U.S. Constitution.

“The purpose of the Constitution is to make sure everyone is treated on a level field,” Holmes said. “But we do know that when the Constitution was crafted and written, it didn’t consider minorities, and in specific, Blacks, on that same level playing field. When it was written it wasn’t written for us, it wasn’t written for African Americans. It was written for the whites of the day and then of course later amended and that’s what brought us into the fold of being treated equally.

“So for me, the foundation of the Constitution, the root of it, is to make sure we’re all afforded the same equal rights. It’s fairly interpretive as far as what the Supreme Court down to local courts have to interpret it with the Supreme Court being the final artibitor of it. That’s the foundation of it. Amendments try to make it better, but equality is what I believe the foundation of the Constitution works toward.”

Moses, chief operating officer at GSU, said she believes the purpose of the Constitution has evolved over time.

“When you look to the Constitution as to what its purpose is now as opposed to the basis behind how it was drafted, today it’s about due process, it’s about equality, it’s about having a foundation where we all have the rights and privileges that we can truly today benefit from – not being discriminated against.

“There are so many privileges and rights that we have now that 200 years ago, we as a people did not have. So when you look to the Constitution now, and its purpose, it’s evolved over time and I believe that as a panel today we’re going to discuss some issues that will help explain the constitution in a deeper way so that will you take the rights you have now more seriously, because your ancestors lived, fought, and died in some instances for you to have the rights you have now.”

Moses then told the GSU students in attendance that while they have the right to vote, 200 years ago their ancestors didn’t. She pointed out that freedom of speech has improved in their favor as opposed to what their ancestors faced, adding that now they have the right to remain silent because what they say may be used against them in a court of law, just as they have the right to the assistance of legal counsel.

“As you learn about the Constitution you will learn the benefits your ancestors basically provided to you that you can’t take for granted,” Moses said.

During his concluding remarks, Holmes urged GSU students to take advantage of the rights the Constitution and its Amendments provide to them.

“If you don’t vote, you shouldn’t complain,” Holmes said. “”And when I’m talking about voting, I’m not talking about voting in only presidential elections. The most important laws get done at the local level or even university level.

“A lot of students will complain about what happens here on campus. Yet they didn’t take time to vote to be represented the way they wanted to be. They just complain about everything. … I encourage you to exercise your power to vote because people died for us to get that right. It doesn’t matter how big or small an election is, you should vote, because then you can complain if your representative isn’t doing what’s right or what’s fair. Then you have a solid moral reason to complain with good conscience.”

Moses concluded by reminding the onlooking students that they have a purpose.

“Don’t miss the opportunity to fulfill your purpose and destiny as you move forward,” Moses said. “What you heard today — what is the Constitution and why is it important?

“When you learn about the Constitution and African Americans — only five African American United States senators in all of history, that’s important. Don’t miss your moment to fulfill your purpose.”

Washington ended the program by telling the students that the Constitution reminded him that everyone in the auditorium has the capacity to establish for themselves what they stand for, how they will stand and to recognize the shoulders of those before them they stand upon.

“We must recognize that when we talk about the Constitution, we talk about a proclamation of humanity,” Washington said. “We must recognize that there is clearly a continuation from the legacy of greatness. When we talk about voting, we have to be clear we’re talking not only about the right to vote, but for what?”

“In our community, we have to stop being a cheap date to politicians who show up to our churches and come out and bait us,” Washington continued. “They treat us well and as soon as they get what they want from us, we don’t see them again until the next election. We have to stop that behavior and determine for ourselves what is our true agenda?”

Grambling State Teams with IBM to Address Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

Grambling State will work with IBM to establish a Cybersecurity Leadership Center, giving students and faculty access to IBM training, software multiple cloud environments, and certifications at no cost.

Grambling, La. — September 22, 2022 — During the National HBCU Week Conference convened by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House and currently being held in Washington D.C., Grambling State University (GSU) announced a collaboration with IBM to help establish a virtual GSU Cybersecurity Leadership Center.

Grambling State is one of 20 schools working with IBM to create Cybersecurity Leadership Centers.

With 500,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S., the need for expertise is critical: According to a recent IBM Security study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored and analyzed by IBM, insufficiently staffed organizations average $550,000 more in breach costs than those that state they are sufficiently staffed.

“The Department of Computer Science and Digital Technologies at Grambling State University is proud to partner with IBM in a collaboration that will offer training in new security technologies and skills to our students and thereby produce well-trained Cybersecurity professionals,” said Dr. Prasanthi Sreekumari, interim chair of the Department of Computer Science and Cloud Technologies at Grambling State.

Through IBM’s collaboration, faculty and students at participating schools will have access to coursework, lectures, immersive training experiences, certifications, IBM cloud, and professional development resources, all at no cost to them. This includes access to:

• Cybersecurity curricula: IBM will develop for each participating HBCU, a customized IBM Security Learning Academy portal – an IBM client offering – including courses designed to help the university enhance its cybersecurity education portfolio. In addition, IBM will continue to give access to IBM SkillsBuild.

• Immersive learning experience: HBCUs will have an opportunity to benefit from IBM Security’s Command Center, through which they can experience a highly realistic, simulated cyberattack, designed to prepare them and train them on response techniques. Moreover, HBCUs’ faculty will have access to consultation sessions with IBM technical personnel on cybersecurity.

Software: Multiple IBM Security premier enterprise security products hosted in the IBM Cloud

• Professional development: Forums to exchange best practices, learn from IBM experts, and discover IBM internships and job openings

“Collaborations between academia and the private sector can help students prepare for success. That’s especially true for HBCUs because their mission is so vital,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, Vice President, IBM Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG. “The Cybersecurity Leadership Centers we’re co-creating with Historically Black College and Universities epitomize our commitment to the Black community and STEM education; it also builds on our pledge to train 150,000 people in cybersecurity over three years.”

About Grambling State University

Combining the academic strengths of a major university with the benefits of a small college, Grambling State University fosters an environment where students develop into the trailblazers, thought leaders, and innovators of the next generation. 

As one of the country’s top producers of African American graduates in Computer Information Science, we take pride in preparing graduates that are unafraid to forge new paths and challenge what’s possible. 

A historically black university founded in 1901 in Grambling, Louisiana, the institution offers 46 undergraduate and graduate academic programs on its 590-acre campus and is home to world-class athletics, an internationally renowned marching band, and vibrant student life. For more information, visit gram.edu.

Four Grambling State students chosen for Moguls in the Making competition

Pictured (l-r) are GSU “Moguls in the Making” team members Brendan Nzoma, Katrice McMullen, Alesia Jackson and Darielle Clark.

Grambling, LA. – September 15, 2022 – A team of four Grambling State University students recently arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina, on an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the “Moguls in the Making” competition presented by The Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF) Innovation and Entrepreneur (I&E) program, Ally Financial and the Sean Anderson Foundation.

TMCF and Ally Financial selected 15 HBCUs to participate in the “Moguls in the Making” competition to find the best and brightest entrepreneurial minds.

GSU students include education major Katrice McMullen, Brendan Nzoma, a CIS major minoring in Data Analytics), history major Darielle Clark, and CIS major Alesia Jackson (CIS).

The competing teams will be tasked with developing solutions to economic problems facing various industries and then pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges composed of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.

The selection of teams started with interested students submitting applications and then participating in virtual interviews explaining why they were interested in the competition and entrepreneurship.

“We also had to present a platform on why we thought Grambling students would be a good fit and actually benefit from being in the program,” said McMullen, the lead student for GSU’s team.

Applicants also had to record videos doing a short speech about themselves and then were chosen from there.

“It’s crazy because none of us really knew each other well before we got into this program,” McMullen said. “I am not a business major or anything like that, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to be in that kind of environment. But I saw the opportunity and read up on it and thought it would be cool to work to come up with plans for the betterment of another community. That’s how we really got into it.”

The teams know they will be working on project development for the city of Charlotte and creating things that will help the city draw different people and industries to the area.

“We’ll be working on some ideas the city can use to help the community and help the city move forward,” McMullen said.

McCullen admitted she was surprised when she found out she had been selected for the competition.

“I found out at the end of June or July, and I was shocked,” McMullen said. “That’s not saying that I didn’t think I couldn’t do it, but I knew there were very many talented and qualified applicants. I was shocked and excited that I was given the opportunity to show not only what I know but the things that I can accomplish with other people that have like mindsets.”

While they didn’t know each other well, some of GSU’s team members were at least acquainted before being teamed for the competition.

“I actually used to hang with Darielle at the bookstore Back to the Basics over in the village,” McMullen said. “We’d both go to ‘Freestyle Fridays’ there and sing, read poetry, showcase artists, and that kind of thing. I didn’t really know Brendan but we found out we were both Greek organization members, so that was a connection that we didn’t know we had.”

Nzoma also had a previous connection with Clark because they’re both from Detroit.

“We were both part of the Midnight Golf program,” Nzoma said.

Midnight Golf is a Michigan-based program dedicated to equipping determined young adults through life skills training, proactive coaching, long-term mentoring and the discipline of golf in order to succeed in college, in their careers and beyond.

“Darielle is a year younger than me, but I first met her through that Midnight Golf program up in Michigan, and I think all four of us will be good and successful teammates working together,” Nzoma said.

McMullen intends to take what she’s learned at GSU and help her team qualify for winnings.

“The slogan ‘Everybody is Somebody’ at GSU is true with this in that we’re being given an opportunity to show our skills and give back,” McMullen said. “I feel like I can do things in my community to give back and help those around me. So GSU has taught me how to be somebody as far as going out and doing whatever I put my mind to.”

When the students arrive in Charlotte, they’ll first attend workshops before the actual competition is held on Saturday and Sunday.

“Then we’ll find out who the winners are on Sunday and we’re hoping to at least place in the top three,” McMullen said.

Nzoma said he’s also looking forward to competing for the prize money while proving himself along the way.

“I think we have a good group,” Nzoma said. “I think I’m a good leader with good networking skills and understanding, and I think that will be very beneficial to our project. I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to help our team go to Charlotte, succeed, and earn that prize money. It’s a great opportunity we need to take advantage of. I’m looking forward to going up there and showing what we can do.”

69th Miss Grambling State looks to expand platform of Service, Leadership, Legacy

Fifth-generation Gramblinite plans to become first medical doctor in her family

Kelli Copes will be crowned the 69th Miss Grambling State University in a Coronation ceremony Thursday, September 15, 2022, in T.H. Harris Auditorium on GSU’s campus. (GSU Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing/CarltonHamlin).

Grambling, LA – September 12, 2022 – Kelli Copes will be crowned as the 69th Miss Grambling State University in a 7 p.m. coronation ceremony on Thursday in T.H. Harris Auditorium, and the junior biology pre-med major said the event will be a continuation of lifelong dreams that have always been focused around “The G.”

“My parents both graduated from GSU and I never considered going anywhere else,” Copes said. “My dad (Dr. Joe Copes) was a geography professor and Title III director here until his retirement in 2007. And my mom (Carmen Copes) worked in IT. My sister graduated from here with the second-highest GPA in 2007. My uncle [also] works and graduated from here. It was always going to be the ‘G’ for me when I was growing up. I’ve never seen myself anywhere else. I knew Grambling would present me with the opportunities I needed, so I went with Grambling. There was never any question about going anywhere else.”

Copes isn’t the first member of her family to run for Miss GSU — her older sister also ran for the title.

“She was unsuccessful, so it was a little bit more personal for me to make sure I brought it home,” Copes said of earning the title.

Copes said her platform to become Miss GSU consisted of three parts — “The Lady, The Leader, and The Legacy.”

“The Legacy portion of my campaign has been geared toward what I’ve done since becoming a student at GSU and the fact I am a legacy from here,” Copes said. “The Lady part is just about me continuing to serve the Grambling community with grace, as I’ve done since beginning my journey here at Grambling.”

“Being a leader, every Grambling student’s journey is one they’ll remember forever, and over the last three years I’ve tried to be well-rounded and involved,” Copes continued. “I’ve hosted voter registration drives and blood pressure checks, and I’ve hosted ‘Buzz Talks’ to help my fellow students. I plan on continuing and building on all of that as Miss Grambling State.”

Copes said she hopes to help pull university administration and students together in her role as Miss GSU.

“There seems to be a disconnect at times and I’d like to help with that as well as increase student engagement,” Copes said. “Since COVID, the level of student involvement at GSU has significantly dropped, so I’d like to boost those numbers back up. I’d like to start monthly ‘Queen’s Corner’ sessions to keep students actively involved. I like it to be a video podcast – something fellow students will like watching.”

Copes has another goal she said she’d like to work on and try to make happen.

“As a product of GSU Nursery School, I’d like to push for the reopening of the school for children of faculty, students, and staff,” Copes said.

She said the “Legacy” part of her platform is simply upholding the family tradition.

“I wanted to show that by attending Grambling State University and to help my fellow students realize that what they do here will leave a lasting impact. I’ve been creating my legacy since putting my foot on the university’s rich soil as a GSU student and I won’t stop. My charge to my fellow students is for them to consider how they will leave their legacy and to make it a great one for both themselves and GSU.”

Copes’ 3.96 GPA in Pre-Med has her on track toward realizing her career goal of becoming a doctor.

“I would be the first doctor in my family,” Copes said. “That’s another longtime goal I’m going to make happen.”

Copes said she’s experienced many special moments in her time as a GSU student but that at least one stands out a little more than others.

“Serving as a student representative for the University Master Planning committee, I’ve expressed my concerns about the lab facilities in the STEM building here — old Carver Hall,” Copes said. “And seeing those get upgraded made me feel good, even if there were plans to do that before I became part of the planning committee. “

“I’ve always wanted to help my fellow students and seeing that happen made me feel I had been able to do that in some small way. And that’s what I intend to keep on doing as Miss Grambling. Knowing I’m helping someone is always a special moment for me.”

Efforts of alumnus challenged inclusion, developed musicians, inspired thousands

Pictured is the former Alcee Fortier High School in New Orleans, more recently known as Lusher Charter School, that will be renamed in honor of GSU alumnus Elijah Brimmer Jr. on Saturday. (Photo courtesy NOLA Public Schools)

By T. Scott Boatright/University Communications

A Grambling State University graduate is set to be honored with “The Ultimate Honor Event” early on Saturday.

At noon Saturday, the late Elijah Brimmer Jr., a product of the former Alcee Fortier High School in New Orleans, will have that school’s building, which now houses Lusher Charter School, renamed in his honor.

The building is located at 7315 Willow St. in New Orleans.

Hired in 1978, Brimmer was among the second wave of Black teachers to integrate Fortier High School, according to a petition that sought to have the building named in Brimmer’s honor.  

That petition noted that Brimmer “worked to change the systemic racism within Mardi Gras parades” that affected Black high school bands at the time. 

Pictured is Elijah Brimmer Jr. during his days as a member of GSU World Famed Tiger Marching Band.

Fortier alumnus Norman Bell, in a comment on an online petition asking for the school to be renamed in Brimmer’s honor, remembered Brimmer fondly. 

“Mr. Brimmer was an inspiration to thousands. He inspired not only band members, but the entire student body was challenged to succeed because of the pride of inclusion he created. This honor would be well deserved,” Bell wrote. 

After Brimmer’s death in 2019, Mayor LaToya Cantrell honored him with a post made on social media.

 “Mr. Brimmer has played a pivotal role in the lives of our musicians and culture in so many positive ways,” Cantrell wrote. “His years of service to the uptown community will never be forgotten.”

Members of the Elijah Brimmer Jr. Committee, which worked to have the building named after Brimmer, said that Brimmer worked countless hours on and off the clock, dedicating his life to educating his students in instrumental, concert, and marching band music. 

Brimmer was born June 24, 1945, in New Orleans and was raised by his parents — Elijah Brimmer, Sr. and Agnes Landry Brimmer, in the city’s Uptown Garden District.

A graduate of New Orleans’ Booker T. Washington High School, Brimmer’s musical abilities earned him a four-year scholarship to attend GSU, where he was a member of the World Famed Marching Tiger Band.

After graduating from GSU with a bachelor’s degree in music, Brimmer went back home to New Orleans, where he worked as a student teacher and wrote sheet music for several schools in the district.’

Brimmer worked at New Orleans’ George Washington Carver High School before receiving a full-time position at Alcee Fortier High School in 1978.

He is said to have faced many challenges dealing with students from different wards and four different New Orleans housing projects: Calliope, Melpomene, Magnolia and St. Thomas, especially when gangs/drug sales territories began to form in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

Pictured is the obituary photo for the late Elijah Brimmer Jr. (Photo courtesy of Rhodes Funeral Home).

Brimmer is said to have used music as a way of bridging those gaps by focusing on a common goal of students wanting to be part of the best marching band in uptown New Orleans.

His above and beyond approach was evident when he provided transportation for students to and from band practice and after football and basketball games as well as carnival parades by picking them up and dropping them off at public bus stops. 

He headed the Fortier Band Summer Camp for 20 years, with community members calling him a father to the fatherless, a mentor, a role model, advocate, visionary and leader not only in the school system but also as a pillar in the community.

James Henderson was in the drum corps in GSU’s World Famed Tiger Marching Band when he first met Brimmer, who was a flutist in the band. Henderson later worked often with Brimmer when Henderson was Chief Financial Officer for the New Orleans Public Schools System from 1975-97.

“It’s an outstanding and well-deserved honor,” Henderson said of the building being renamed in Brimmer’s honor. “He built one of the best music programs at Fortier — he put the school on the map. “That school took a lot of pride in that band he built.”

Brimmer’s band at Fortier became one of the premiere bands during carnival season in New Orleans, serving as one of the lead-off bands for some one of the city’s top Mardi Gras parades like Bachhaus and the Krewe of Freret.

“The Krewe of Freret (parade) started Uptown on the street in front of Fortier High School,” Henderson said. “They would march out of their school with pride like you wouldn’t believe. They would march straight out of the school into the formation of the parade. 

“Just to see them in that parade was something to see — something special, just like he was.”

Mental Health mural rises like phoenix on campus of GSU

Pictured is the mural presented Thursday in the new Quad Living Learning Room on the GSU campus. (Photo by Carlton Hamlin/University Communications)

By T. Scott Boatright/University Communications

Grambling State University has a new Quad Living Learning Community Room located in the old Grambling Laboratory High School building that currently houses the Receiving Department.

On Thursday afternoon, the room was the site of the unveiling of an art mural designed by a team effort between GSU’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA), the Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) and the Black Creative Circle of North Louisiana (BCCNL).

NEDSHA has worked on using various art forms as one of its integrated health care, evidence-based prevention, communications, and treatment strategies to help serve persons with mental health, addictive disorders, and developmental disabilities. 

The new mural at GSU is the second commissioned public art completed through NEDHSA’s  partnership with BCCNL. 

NEDHSA Director of Public Information DeRon L. Talley said Thursday the mural was strategically placed on the campus in the Grambling High Building to help the students overcome the traumatic experiences they have had in their lives on campus or away from campus.

“While the murals we’re commissioning are generating much-needed regional economic development, diversity, and job creation, they are also helping our region’s vulnerable populations get the help they need,” said NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer in a press release. “We believe there is medicine in creative expression, and the arts can help a person come alive in ways traditional treatment options can’t. We intend to help create an environment where dreams are realized, families are strong, bodies are healthy, community institutions are thriving, and spirits are renewed.”

BCCNL Project Manager Brandon Virgil designed the mural with painting help from Rodrecas Davis, head of GSU’s VAPA department.

The mural incorporates the NEDHSA’s colors of purple, red, yellow and orange, and features the organization’s phoenix symbol as well as butterflies, which Virgil said are often used to depict people whose lives are affected by mental illness. 

“We tried to design a positive image that can help give (GSU) students a positive mindset when they come in and see the mural,” Virgil said.

In June, NEDHSA and BCCNL unveiled NEDHSA’s first wall art in downtown Monroe’s Art Alley.

“It’s always good to be invited to the party, but then you start thinking about the logistics — like how are we going to get this thing done in the amount of time we had?,”  Davis said. “We were on a deadline for some other projects, too, and working on murals in the middle of a Louisiana summer can be tough.”

The groups are working on another mural in Lake Providence with a third planned for Farmerville.

“I wasn’t able to work on the Lake Providence mural because summer school started, but hopefully I can work on the one that will be in Farmerville,” Davis said. “We’re building as many bridges as we can so everything isn’t only about the Black Creative Circle. We’re trying to get everyone activated in the process.

“It’s like being in the classroom, you do your own personal thing, but being able to get into the classroom and share what you’ve learned — that practical experience -— is what it’s all about and this is a way to demonstrate that the arts can be a formative experience for people who are involved and can make some kind of substantive change in people’s lives. It’s not just images on the wall, it’s about much more than that, especially when you can get people to stop and think about it.”

Gallot appointed to Governor’s Cybersecurity Commission

Grambling State President Rick Gallot was recently appointed to Governor John Bel Edwards commission on cyber security.

Gallot was appointed to the Louisiana Cyber Security Commission and will serve at large.

The Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission’s mission is to advance the State’s cyber ecosystem and position Louisiana as a national leader and preferred location for cyber business, education and research.

The 15 member Commission is to identify, prioritize, and mitigate Louisiana’s cyber risk, promote cybersecurity awareness and promoting action including legislative, administrative and regulatory for the security of all Louisiana’s cyber ecosystem and ultimately the enhancement of cybersecurity in Louisiana.

Northeast Delta HSA to unveil mural at Grambling State with Black Creatives Circle

Monroe, LA – Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) is set to unveil a public art mural on the campus of Grambling State University on Thursday, September 1, 2022, at 1 PM at the Grambling High Building, 278 Central Ave, Grambling, LA 71245. The latest public art mural continues NEDHSA’s partnership with the Black Creatives Circle of North Louisiana (BCCNL).

The agency began working on using various art forms as one of its integrated health care, evidence-based prevention, communications, and treatment strategies to help serve persons with mental health, addictive disorders, and developmental disabilities.

The mural on the Grambling State University campus is the second commissioned public art completed through the BCCNL partnership. It was strategically placed on the campus in the Grambling High Building to help the students overcome the traumatic experiences they have had in their lives on campus or away from campus.

NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said, “while the murals we’re commissioning are generating much-needed regional economic development, diversity, and job creation, they are also helping our region’s vulnerable populations get the help they need.”

“We believe there is medicine in creative expression, and the arts can help a person come alive in ways traditional treatment options can’t,” Dr. Sizer said. “We intend to help create an environment where dreams are realized, families are strong, bodies are healthy, community institutions are thriving, and spirits are renewed.”

According to the Americans for the Arts, 69 percent of the United States population believe the Arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” 73 percent feel the Arts give them “pure pleasure to experience and participate in,” and 81 percent say the Arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”

Grambling State University President Rick Gallot said he is “inspired by the partnership between the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Black Creatives Circle of North Louisiana, and Northeast Delta Human Services Authority.”

“The importance of supporting the whole student cannot be overstated,” Gallot said. “I am thankful for their collective vision of finding ways to keep mental health at the forefront of daily conversation.”

Grambling State University Chairperson of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Rodrecas Davis, MFA, said after COVID-19, he and other faculty had many students dealing with issues and “needed a place where they could unburden themselves.”

“The physical space is representative of the focus to provide an avenue for students to discuss self-care with their peers and address the importance of attending to one’s mental health,” Davis said. “My hope is that this space will facilitate those conversations.”

BCCNL’s President Vitus Shell said murals are “direct and great ways to express a community’s concerns and needs, envisioning a new future and safer space for the people.”

“Kids and the rest of the community can see themselves in a new light,” Shell said. “Murals can enforce themes for the people and show that someone cares about their quality of life.”

Shell said BCCNL looks like the city’s majority, and “we use our voices and talent to speak up for the unheard.”

“Artists are the visionaries of our neighborhoods, so with NEDHSA, this partnership is perfect,” Shell said. “The history and mission of NEDHSA align with our goals of empowering creatives to create change in any way imaginable.”

The mural reveal is open to the public. To reserve a spot at the reveal, visit nedhsamural.eventbrite.com.

For more information, contact Public Information Director DeRon Talley by emailing Deron.Talley@La.Gov.

World Famed Tiger Marching Band debuts 2022 season at Pepsi Battle of the Bands event

Houston, TX – August 29, 2022 – The Grambling State University World Famed Tiger Marching Band got an early start to the fall marching band season as one of eight bands from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to compete in the 2022 Pepsi National Battle of the Bands event that was held Saturday at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Other competing marching bands included Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Kentucky State University, North Carolina A&T University, Prairie View A&M University, and Southern University.

“I think the kids did well even if they say I’m never satisfied,” said Dr. Nikole Roebuck, Director of Bands and Chair of the Department of Music. “And I’m not, so I’ll continue to push and get them to keep making progress week after week. I don’t want them to get complacent, so we’ll continue to work hard so that we keep on elevating our performances throughout the season.”

“I think the fact that it was our first performance of the year and our first performance in the National Battle of Bands made it even more special than many performances,” Roebuck said. “This was the first time we’ve gone up against seven additional HBCU bands, so it was very exciting. There was a lot of energy in the stadium and the kids fell in line and did what they were supposed to do.”

Roebuck said the early competitive event will also help make the Tiger Marching Band better in the long run.

“I think that kind of event is good for all bands in general. That’s your opponent across the field, so you’re doing everything you can to make sure you come out on top, every week. This was a great way to start marching band season,” Roebuck said. “Every time the World Famed Tiger Marching Band performs, it’s special. We try to make each performance one people will remember and talk about forever. So, we’re going to go out there and show people what ‘The World Famed’ is all about.”

GRAMMY-nominated rap group Migos headlined the event with a performance following the final band performance of the show. Migos is a multi-platinum hip-hop group founded in Atlanta as a trio featuring Quavo, Offset and Takeoff. The iconic hip hop trio amassed more than 3.3 billion streams of their hit songs on Spotify, including “Stir Fry,” “Walk It Talk It” and “Bad and Boujee.”

The event also included a conference for entrepreneurs. National and local bank leaders showed up in Houston’s 5th Ward community to conduct a workshop with established and aspiring business owners. Food distribution to the homeless community also took place on Saturday morning.

100% of Grambling State 2022 nursing graduates pass NCLEX on first attempt

Grambling, La. – August 15, 2022 – The Grambling State University (GSU) College of Professional Studies is celebrating after all 16 of its 2022 School of Nursing graduates passed the NCLEX exam as first-time test takers. A National Council of State Board of Nursing exam used to test the competency of nursing school graduates in the U.S. and Canada, a passing grade is required to become a registered nurse.
The 100% pass rate for first-time test takers is a first in the history of the School of Nursing at GSU.

“The Louisiana Board of Nursing requires an 80% NCLEX-RN passage rate for first-time testers for full state approval,” said Dr. Meg Brown, associate dean of the GSU’s School of Nursing. “The current BSN program enrolled its first cohort in 2018. This is the second cohort to graduate. The first cohort was less than 80%.”

Brown said the higher passing rate was due to the work nursing faculty put in with students to make it happen.

“Strategies were put into place to improve the NCLEX-RN passage rate,” Brown said. “It appears that they worked with students passing at 100% for first-time testers. The full state approval allows the nursing students to be eligible for scholarships earmarked for nursing schools with full state approval.”

Brown continued that the impact of full state approval and the 100% passing rate will increase inquiries and applicants to the BSN program. Accredited by the (CCNE), the twelve-month curriculum format offers programs in pre-nursing, BSN, RN to BSN, and MSN. To learn more about the program, visit gram.edu/nursing.