Above: Lieutenant General (LTG) Darrell K. Williams (U.S. Army retired), president of Hampton University speaks to attendees inside the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center during Convocation for the 122nd Founder’s Celebration. Photo by Carlton Hamlin | View the full event

Grambling, La. – November 1, 2023 – Remembering legacy while creating leadership skills was the primary message presented by keynote speaker Lieutenant General (LTG) Darrell K. Williams (U.S. Army retired) during Grambling State University’s Founder’s Day Convocation held Wednesday morning inside the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

Williams, the president of Hampton University, has four decades of proven strategic leadership experience and a track record of successfully managing large, complex, domestic, international, academic, and executive sector organizations. Among numerous awards and honors, Williams is the recipient of the U.S. Defense Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Defense Superior Service Medal, and the U.S. Armed Forces Bronze Star Medal. 
He also reminded GSU students that being part of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) gives them an edge created by many who came before them.

“Our HBCUs aren’t just educational institutions,” Williams said. “They’re sanctuaries of Black growth, resilience, and relentless determination. Today as we speak on building on their legacy, I carry with me the weight and the wisdom of our countless ancestors, educators, and trailblazers whose sacrifices paved the way for our journey to be here today.

“As I think of my own journey and my path to Hampton as a student from 1979 to 1983, and then now standing before my Grambling sisters and brothers 40 years later in 2023 as a president of a university, I know firsthand that hopes and dreams can be launched at schools like this great institution. I also know that education remains the key to opening the doors to great opportunities.”

Dr. Williams urged those in the audience to remember the legacy of those who have come before them and to draw strength from the understanding that if Coach Eddie Robinson and so many others could thrive at GSU, then certainly current Grambling students can and will, too.

“My message is also that you are the current living history of an ongoing experiment that began a century ago,” Williams said. “And the greatest honor that you can bestow on Grambling is to take the investment in your future and go make her proud.”

“Don’t settle for a mere legacy of admiring other people’s posts on social media, go out and become someone to be admired. Live up to Grambling (State) University of being a place where everybody is somebody. Take advantage of Grambling’s ability to nurture your dream and then pursue that dream with urgency.”