Miss Grambling State University Credits Perseverance, Support for Completing Graduation Journey

by Bobbie Handcock | Office of University Communications


If there are two things that have gotten graduating senior Ashley Dabney through the last few years – including a pandemic – it has been perseverance and the support of her “Gramfam” at Grambling State University.

“Despite many challenges; I will forever cherish the memories I have made – most importantly the unwavering support my entire Grambling community has provided in unforeseen times is what I will always hold dear to my heart.”

Dabney, who is from Gainesville, Georgia, said she had the honor and privilege to serve her campus one last time as the 67th Miss Grambling State University.

“My favorite memory would definitely be anytime I was granted to travel,” she said. “My SGA (Student Government Association) friends always left every trip with unforgettable memories.”

Perseverance has helped her reach her goal of graduating, Dabney said.

“Many times, we see a student leader and we think they have it all together and most of the time they are just as broken. Take a minute to check on your strong leaders. A simple “are you doing well” can brighten anyone’s day.”

With a double major in management and marketing, she chose her courses of study with the goal of becoming a corporate attorney.

“My favorite part of the College of Business is the opportunities,” she said. “The program of study has pushed me not only inside the classroom but to market myself as a professional.”

Royal Court Advisor Tanisha Cousby said Dabney is hardworking and dedicated to whatever task is brought before her. From sophomore class president to Student Government Association chief of staff, to president of her sorority, to Miss Grambling State University, Dabney’s primary goal was to be the change she wanted to see; and she was able to do just that, Cousby said.

“Through this pandemic and before, Ashley has set the bar very high in exemplifying what true student leadership is,'” she said. “It’s very rare that you have a student who is willing to take the extra mile to not only excel academically (multiple internships, SLI, high achiever in the classroom, hosting seminars) but also consistently gives that same energy within student leadership and engagement.”

GSU Residential Operations Coordinator Kindrell Plains hired Dabney as a resident assistant and within a year, she became his senior resident assistant. Her involvement on campus proves that she has the ability to lead and work extremely well with others, Plains said.

“This vibrant young lady immediately attached herself to her residents in Douglass Hall and built a community – not only with her residents [in her immediate area] but residents across the campus,” he said. “She is truly a leader who has a great influence on her peers.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely been a challenge in the job search but Dabney said it has prepared her to be confident in the skills and assets that she has.

As she looks to the future, Dabney’s plans include enrolling in a master’s program that focuses on local and state government with an emphasis on doing things to sharpen her knowledge of higher education.

Dabney said she is grateful to Grambling for an amazing four years and looks forward to the opportunity to invest in her alma mater as an alumnus.

“I am inspired by any black woman who knows the importance of providing active change within their respective communities,” said Dabney. “They understand [that] it is not about financial status, but the status to improve within that greatly impacts future generations.”

About Grambling State University

Grambling State University, located in Grambling, Louisiana, is a historically black university founded in 1901 that combines the academic strengths of a major university with the benefits of a small college. This combination enables students to grow and learn in a serene and positive environment. The 590-acre campus offers 43 undergraduate and graduate academic programs. A member of the University of Louisiana System, Grambling State University has been accredited by 13 accrediting associations and holds accreditations in all programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents. With a longstanding tradition of excellence, Grambling State University continues to emphasize the value and importance of each student, exemplified by our motto: Where Everybody Is Somebody.