Author Archives: Raven Thissel

Grambling State Announces Fall Academic Plans and Phased Return to Campus  

UPDATED JULY 9, 2020

University Facilities and Policies Updated for COVID-19 Prevention 

GRAMBLING, La – July 6, 2020 – Today, Grambling State University announced a hybrid approach to online classes for the Fall 2020 semester along with more information for faculty and staff. 

We’ve been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and meeting regularly to consider all aspects of student, faculty and staff needs, said President Rick Gallot. “Even though every feasible campus adjustment has been made to help everyone stay safe, with the recent surge in cases, it’s clear that we must remain flexible in our Fall planning.” 

Adjustments to Fall Academics 

Grambling State’s Fall semester will begin on August 10 and end on November 25The majority of classes will be taught in a hybrid manner, including online and face-to-face instruction. Grambling State’s hybrid class model is largely online and allows professors to offer optional in-person class sessions as is consistent with CDC and state guidelinesProfessional nursing and lab courses among other specialized classes must take place face-to-face.  

“Our students will have the choice between learning remotely or returning to campus while taking hybrid courses,” said Dr. Connie Walton, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.  

In addition to mandatory temperature scans at each building entrance, masks must be worn in all university buildings and offices, excluding private bedroom spaces in residence halls, and appropriate social distancing must be respected. Access to Grambling State’s campus will be limited to faculty, staff, students, and a limited number of approved visitors.  

Many students need to return to campus for a variety of reasons. It’s our responsibility to make sure they have the option to live in safe spaces where they can focus on learning,” said Gourjoine M. Wade, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “We are counting on students and team members to observe new safety policies and our collective effort to minimize health risk. 

All campus resources will be available by online appointment to make sure students have what they need. Eligible students in need of laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, or other support for hybrid learning can apply for additional assistance when these resources become available. 

At this time, no changes have been made concerning Fall sports, homecoming, or other events. 

“We are being especially cautious with developing procedures to adequately protect our student-athletes and community,” said Dr. David Ponton, Athletics Director and Vice President of Student Affairs. 

A Phased Return for Team Members 

After months of remote work, university personnel will begin their phased return to campus on July 13, adhering to new safety policies.  

“The phased approach will help everyone become familiar with the newly implemented safety procedures and develop a sense of normalcy around campus operations,” said Lori Williams, GSU’s Associate VP for Operations/Chief Human Resources Officer. “By the time students arrive, we can focus our attention on getting them acquainted with new safety procedures. 

  • On July 13, 2020, team members from the following departments are to begin reporting to campus for work: Admissions, Athletics, Campus Living & Housing, Financial Aid, Information Technology Center, Registrar’s Office, Property & Receiving, Mailroom, Controller’s Office, and Tiger 1 Card Services. 
  • Academic department heads and deans will report on July 20, 2020. 

New campus policies require faculty and staff to wear masks on campus and have their temperatures checked each morning before reporting to their respective work spaces 

In the event that the current surge of COVID-19 infections increases in the coming weeks, adjustments to the Fall 2020 plans may be necessary. 

Students and families are encouraged to visit gram.edu/coronavirus for answers to frequently asked questions and contact pertinent departments for assistance with other matters. 

For media inquiries, contact Raven Thissel at 318-243-5012 or email mediarelations@gram.edu.

Grambling State to “Retool” Common Areas for Social Distancing and Sustainability 

University Uses $50,000 “Retool Your School” Winnings to Improve Study Spaces and More  

GRAMBLING, La. – July 1, 2020 – Grambling State prepares for students to return to a distancing-friendly campus using the $50,000 prize from The Home Depot’s 2020 “Retool Your School” competition. Campus updates can be expected in Carver Hall, The Tiger Den, and other prominent outdoor areas of the campus.  

“Our Student Affairs Team and SGA conducted a survey that received over 500 responses about where students felt the campus updates would be most beneficial,” said Gourjoine Wade, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “We were able to combine some of the final suggestions into one multilayered project based on cost estimates, sustainability, and the need for increased safety.” 

The University garnered unprecedented support to the tune of hundreds of thousands of tweets containing the hashtag #Grambling_RYS20 to win the online competition. Other top prize winners were Jackson State University, Southern A&M University, and Stillman College.  

“It was powerful to see everyone coming together on social media for weeks to make sure the prize went to GSU,” said Student Government President Steven Wilson. “Using the funds to help students stay at safe distances in the areas where we spend the most collective time will keep us safer when we return to campus.”  

Energy-efficient lighting will illuminate interior common areas and exterior green spaces so students, faculty, staff, and community members can study, research, engage, and interact within appropriate safe distances. The University will also install modern, sustainable furnishings that can be easily moved apart to give students safe and comfortable areas to support their social and emotional well-being.

Relaxation spaces will also provide students with a quiet room that will serve as havens to practice self-care. A collaborative effort between key campus partners will conduct quality assurance inspections and practice ongoing industry recommended cleaning and maintenance of all lights, furnishings, and equipment to ensure the project’s sustainability. 

“Investments from partners like The Home Depot are essential to our continued success at maintaining a student-centered experience at Grambling State,” President Rick Gallot said.  

The Home Depot “Retool Your School Program” has provided over $2.6 million in campus improvement grants for HBCUs to make sustainable improvements to their campuses.  

Potential partners who would like to contribute to Grambling State’s ongoing infrastructure and safety plans can contact Marc Newman, Vice President for Advancement, at advancementservices@gram.edu.

AT&T Foundation Awards $25,000 Grant to Grambling State University Foundation

HBCU Receives Scholarship Contribution for Freshmen Studying Cybersecurity and Related Majors 

GRAMBLING, La. – June 29, 2020 – Today, the Grambling State University Foundation announced that it has received a $25,000 AT&T Foundation grant. The grant is designated to support scholarships for incoming freshmen who have declared majors in cybersecurity, computer science or computer information science.

“Grants like this make a huge difference for our students,” said Marc Newman, Vice President for Advancement. “Our student body largely consists of first-generation college students and funds like these mean even more in the scope of creating opportunities for those students in the most high-demand career fields of our time.”

Grambling State University has had a tremendous impact on the lives of young people for many generations, including myself, and we are proud to support their efforts to build paths to opportunity and help create better futures,” said David Aubrey, Regional Vice President, AT&T Louisiana.


Students interested in applying for these scholarships should contact Grambling State’s Office of Financial Aid. AT&T has contributed about $180,000 to various Grambling State programs over the past five years. About the Grambling State University Foundation The Grambling State University Foundation is a public non-profit organization established to provide financial assistance to Grambling State, primarily from earnings on endowed funds, gifts, or property.

The Foundation acts independently of the University, but is solely for the benefit of Grambling State. For more information, please contact  mediarelations@gram.edu  or call (318) 274-2866.

About Grambling State University 

Grambling State University, located in Grambling, Louisiana, is a historically black university founded in 1901. The University has been accredited by 13 accrediting associations and holds accreditations in all programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The 590-acre campus offers 43 undergraduate and graduate academic programs. Grambling State University is a member of the University of Louisiana System. For more information, visit gram.edu

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T

AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. We have a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities, promote academic and economic achievement, and address community needs. Our AT&T Aspire initiative uses innovation in education to drive student success in school and beyond. With a financial commitment of $550 million since 2008, AT&T is leveraging technology, relationships and social innovation to help all students make their biggest dreams a reality.

GSU NOTICE: University Re-Opening Plan Coming July 6

Due to the unpredictable nature of the ongoing global health crisis, Grambling State University administration is working diligently to prepare our campus, faculty, staff and most importantly our students for all potential scenarios, including the return of students to campus, a continuation of remote learning, or a hybrid combination of the two. The University has made no changes concerning Homecoming and other fall/winter events. However, we remain flexible to respond in the interest of public safety. Please remain engaged as we will issue our Fall 2020 Campus Re-opening Plan, which will include residence hall move in information and essential dates, on July 6, 2020 with contingencies in mind for alternative outcomes.

2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars Announced 

Shared from the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

June 18, 2020

 

Contact: Press Office

(202) 401-1576 or press@ed.gov

2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars Announced

Washington – The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Initiative) announced today the names of 44 students from 33 historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) selected as 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars – the Initiative’s highest student recognition.

“It is my privilege to congratulate the HBCU Competitiveness Scholars Class of 2020 on their outstanding academic achievement, community leadership, and entrepreneurial spirit,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “These exemplary students have excelled inside the classroom and out and have successfully met the unprecedented challenges to learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their determination, resilience and commitment to excellence will serve them well as they continue their academic careers and prepare for future continued success.”

“I am simply thrilled to recognize the 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars,” said Johnathan Holifield, Executive Director of the Initiative. “These students are fine examples of the talent and boundless vitality found at America’s HBCUs. This recognition heightens expectations for scholars to continue making meaningful contributions to our nation. I am confident they will deliver.”

Scholars are chosen based on their academic achievements, campus and civic involvement and entrepreneurial ethos or “go-getter” spirits. Comprised of undergraduate, graduate, professional students, and international students from various academic backgrounds, the 2020 scholars were selected from among several highly distinguished HBCU students. In addition, each recognized scholar was nominated and endorsed by their institution president, which itself is a prestigious acknowledgement.

“The Competitiveness Scholars Program is a great way to showcase and recognize HBCU students for their academic, civic and entrepreneurial prowess,” said President James E. Clark, South Carolina State University. “Our students are the leaders of the future and this program is one of the many ways we celebrate our student leaders and introduce them to society. I could not be any prouder than I am now of the HBCU 2020 cohort of scholars especially those from SC State.”

 

The Initiative remains committed to extending their platform to provide meaningful experiences for HBCU students. Both the Initiative and the U.S. Department of Education fully support this 2020 recognition of competitiveness scholars and believe it to be a critical effort to better support and motivate HBCU students during the pandemic.

“These scholars are already extraordinary,” said Elyse Jones, Scholar Program Coordinator. “With the drastic changes that have been made to their learning environments, they still manage to distinguished themselves in their leadership and service, continue to foster their student voices, and furthermore embody what it means to have a ‘competitiveness spirit.’ Their ability to stay so diligent in their studies and invested in their personal growth during a time of uncertainty speaks volumes to the character of these students.”

 

Selected students will serve for one academic school year representing the 2020-2021 cohort of Competitiveness Scholars. During this unique academic school year, the Initiative will work closely with our federal and non-federal partners to develop a robust calendar of virtual events for our scholars that will explore, exchange ideas and share best practices around leadership, professional development, career pathways, government resources and much more.

 

North Carolina A&T is delighted to participate in the HBCU Competitiveness Scholars Program and very proud of our student, who is among those selected for this prestigious honor,” said N.C. A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “The outstanding academic work and commitment to high achievement are illustrative of the kind of students this program is attracting. I congratulate our scholar, Oluchi Ochukwanyere, and her very impressive peers for their recognition, and look forward to the exciting work I know all of them will do over the coming year in exhibiting and championing HBCU excellence across the country.”

 

Competitiveness Scholars typically assemble during the Annual National HBCU Week Conference. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, scholars will not be able to convene in Washington, D.C. for the National Recognition Program in the Fall. Instead, plans are underway for an online recognition and virtual campaign to ensure the scholars receive their acknowledgement during 2020 Virtual HBCU Week Conference. During this virtual event, they will participate in workshops designed to strengthen their leadership and will be encouraged to seek out ongoing personal and professional development in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.

 

For more information on this recognition you can visit our Competitiveness Scholars Program webpage.

 

NOTE: Below is a list of the 2020 Competitiveness Scholars, in alphabetical order by hometown state, the school they attend and the school’s location.

 

ARKANSAS

Pine Bluff-Sadagicous Owens, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

ARIZONA

Peoria- Stacy Porche, Southern University Law School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Phoenix-Sarah Adewumi, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Maryland

CANADA

Toronto- Remeya Ganesh, Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, Mississippi

CONNECTICUT

Windsor-Tanysha Young, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania

DELAWARE

Bear- Corban Weatherspoon, Delaware State University, Dover, Delaware

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Washington-Taria Taylor, University of District of Columbia Community College, Washington, District of Columbia

ENGLAND

London- Chyna Sawyers, Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, Mississippi

FLORIDA

Gainesville- Jayda Teasley, Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina

Orange Park- Ashanique Moore, Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina

GEORGIA

Covington- Alexander Lowe, Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgia

Doerun-Denerick Simpson, Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia

Ellenwood- Jailen Edwards, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee

Villa Rica- Pablo Vallejo, Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

ILLINOIS

Chicago- Bruce Wilson, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia

Chicago- Justin Lindberg, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, Huntsville, Alabama

Chicago-Travis Armstead, Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina

Chicago- William McCorn, Livingstone College, Salisbury, North Carolina

KENTUCKY

Louisville-Christopher Ward, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Kentucky

Owensboro-Brionna Greer, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Kentucky

LOUISIANA

Winnfield- Stephon Wilson, Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana

MARYLAND

Bowie-Christopher Clay, Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland

District Heights- Makala Brent, Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina

Laurel- Alleyah Caesar, Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia

Temple Hills- Darious Lawson, Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland

MICHIGAN

Detroit- Karmel Reeves, Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana

MISSOURI

Saint Louis- Eric Johnson, Rust College, Holly Springs, Mississippi

Saint Louis- Skylr Smith, Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia

NEW JERSEY

Jersey City- Kiyana Roberts, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Cheyney, Pennsylvania

NEW YORK

Rochester-Virgil Parker, Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia

NIGERIA

Lagos-Emmanuella Kyllians, Alcorn State University, Alcorn, Mississippi

NORTH CAROLINA

Battleboro- Zaniya Caine, North Carolina Central University, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Durham-Malaysia Davis, Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina

Greensboro- Desmond Freeman, Bluefield State College, Bluefield, West Virginia

Raleigh- Oluchi Chukwanyere, North Carolina Agricultural and Technology University, Greensboro, North Carolina

PENNSYLVANIA

Easton- Kevin Mwangi, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Cheyney, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia-Jalen Scott-Davis, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania

SOUTH CAROLINA

Aiken-Calvin Coach III, Voorhees College, Denmark, South Carolina

Columbia-Ronitra Wilson, Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina

Orangeburg- Herbert Smith, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, South Carolina

TENNESSEE

Murfreesboro- Rhyan Lake, Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia

TEXAS

Fort Worth- Toiya Smith, Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Rockwall- Jeffrey Clemmons, Hutson Tillotson University, Austin, Texas

San Antonio-Amira Johnson, St. Phillips College, San Antonio, Texas

Grambling State University Names Senior Associate Athletics Director 

Nationally Respected Sports Leader Will Also Serve as Senior Woman Administrator

GRAMBLING, La. – June 17, 2020 – This week, Grambling State University welcomed Merlene Aitken-Smith as Senior Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator.

Aitken-Smith comes to Grambling State after serving seven years as the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance, Student Services/ Senior Woman Administrator, and Title IX Investigator at Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga.

“It’s imperative that every member of the team have a clear vision of how to continue the progress of our outstanding athletics legacy,” said Dr. David Ponton, Athletics Director and Vice President of Student Affairs. “We are excited to welcome Mrs. Aitken-Smith to the team.”

At Grambling State, she will lead the athletics compliance program and supervise the academic services program, which facilitates and supports academic advising and tutorial services for student-athletes. Aitken-Smith will partner with and serve as the primary liaison for the Title IX, Financial Aid, and Registrar’s Offices to ensure compliance and proper certification of student-athlete eligibility consistent with NCAA and SWAC rules and regulations.  She will report directly to Grambling State President Rick Gallot and have an indirect reporting line to Ponton.

Additionally, Aitken-Smith will serve as the sport administrator for multiple men’s and women’s teams, along with representing Grambling State for a four-year term as a newly appointed member of the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct.

“I am honored and humbled to accept the Senior Associate Athletics Director/SWA position at Grambling State University,” Aitken-Smith said. “Grambling State has a rich tradition of academic excellence and athletic success. I am proud and excited to be part of this tradition.  I want to thank President Rick Gallot and Dr. David Ponton for the opportunity to join the Grambling State family, and I look forward to contributing to the success our student-athletes, coaches, and team members. “

Aitken-Smith’s 20-plus years of compliance and athletics administration experience include previous positions at Georgia Tech, North Carolina A&T, Winston Salem State, University of Kansas, University of Washington, and Michigan State University.

At Clayton State, Aitken-Smith coordinated day-to-day compliance and rules education for all intercollegiate athletics programs. Her primary areas of oversight included the compliance office, academic services/life-skills, women’s basketball, men’s golf, and cheerleading. From May-September 2018, she also served as the Interim Director of Athletics.

Under Aitken-Smith’s leadership, Clayton State student-athletes set records with grade point averages, and Clayton State earned the Peach Belt Conference President’s Academic Award in May 2019.

In addition to leading students to academic excellence, Aitken-Smith established the Laker Leadership Program, a life-skills program that featured various personal and professional sessions throughout the academic year.

About Merlene Aitken-Smith 

Merlene Aitken-Smith served on numerous Institutional, Peach Belt Conference, and NCAA committees. During 2019-2020, she was selected to participate in the prestigious NCAA Pathway Program for aspiring athletics directors and conference commissioners. She has been appointed to serve on the Board for the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA) and serves as a member of Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA) where she is on the Nominating Committee and the 2018 Atlanta Local Organizing Committee. Aitken-Smith also served as the NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women Internship Grant Chair-2018 and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

A native of Yonkers, NY, Merlene Aitken-Smith earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Brooklyn College and her Juris Doctorate from Massachusetts School of Law.

For more information, please contact mediarelations@gram.edu or call (318) 274-2866. To learn about open positions at Grambling State University, visit gram.edu/careers.

Grambling State’s “Team Member First” Approach Helps Flatten the Curve in Black Communities 

Campus Safety Measures and Extended Telework Promote Health at GSU 

GRAMBLING, La – June 15, 2020 – As North Louisiana COVID-19 cases continue to impact African American communities at a dramatically higher rate than other demographics, Grambling State University’s administration enacts a “Team Member First” approach to work and the forthcoming return to campus this summer.  

“By extending telework and using that time to diligently prepare our campus for safer daily procedures, we are aiming to keep our community at lower risk,” said President Richard Gallot. “There is no greater team than the Grambling team and it’s our honor to make sure they can do what they do best in safety.” 

Since March 23, the University has made telework accommodations for most job functions. Over the last several weeks, the administration’s efforts have been aimed at developing preventative procedures in preparation for return to on-campus work. Returning team members can expect protective plexiglass around circulation desks, sanitizing stations across campus, and a mandatory morning temperature screen each day before entering campus buildings.  

“Our strategy is simple – Team Members First,” said Lori Williams, the University’s AVP for Operations and Chief Human Resources Officer. “We are taking the necessary time to ensure we’re considering everything before team members return to campus. Until we are confident our campus can support prevention, we will continue to operate remotely.” 

Grambling State University employs nearly 600 people, over 90% of whom are African American. In northwest Louisiana, Black citizens are dying at 3.86 times the rate of those of other races. The University’s efforts are intended to keep team members and the Grambling community safer by extending telework and limiting work-related external contact.  

JUNE 2020 | Campus Living & Housing Update

New Freshman, New Transfer, Readmits and Off Campus Students Desiring to live on-campus
June 15, 2020

We are excited that you have chosen to begin or continue your higher education experience at Grambling State University for the Fall semester of 2020. Due to higher than normal student housing demand, all university provided housing has been filled to capacity prior to the listed Priority Deadline. We understand that on-campus housing is a unique part of the collegiate experience and the Office of Campus Living and Housing strives to provide a safe and comfortable living environment where students can focus on their studies; that is why we are committed to keeping our students informed of upcoming opportunities to access university provided housing.

 

Essential FAQs:

I am an incoming freshman/new transfer/ readmit/off campus student that desires university provided housing, but have not completed the Fall 2020 Housing Application. What should I do next? Due to higher than normal student housing demand, Students are currently unable to complete the Housing Application until spaces become available. Should you desire to be notified when space may become available, please complete the “Housing Interest Form” (Click here).  Please note, completing this form does not guarantee university provided housing.

 

I am an incoming freshman/new transfer female student who has submitted a housing application and paid my deposit for Fall 2020 housing. What should I do next?

Female students who have completed the application and paid their deposit will be contacted by phone as spaces become available. Students will receive a phone call from the Campus Living & Housing staff based on the order in which the application was received.

 

Can I move to CEV using financial aid?  No, unless your move is within one of our university provided housing units assigned by Campus Living and Housing. However, if you enter a CEV lease without university approval, you will be responsible for the cost of rent and utilities. Financial aid does not cover the cost of this off-campus living option.

 

Can I move off campus? Those students who can secure off-campus housing or live within a distance that would allow them to commute from home, you may complete the “Off Campus Exemption Form” under the “My Housing” tab in banner. Make sure that all supporting documents are attached to your application to expedite your approval. Some options for off-campus residence can be found HERE.

 

So without Housing, what should I do?

Please know that all hope is not lost. From living locally with relatives and friends, commuting from a local city, temporary off campus arrangements, online learning, and securing your own place off campus, students without Housing (Or those waiting on Housing) can still attend Grambling State University. Although it is possible spaces will not open before August, having options are essential to starting the semester off right. Here are some off campus resources regarding local rental options in the area, in addition to hotel options that may be secured while you wait for university provided housing availability.

 

 

UPDATE YOUR CONTACT INFO

In order to be contacted about housing availability, please ensure your correct email address, cell phone number, address, and emergency contact information are listed in BannerWeb. This is the contact information that will be used to reach you concerning your housing and other University outreach.

If needed, contact the office of Campus Living and Housing at gsuhousing@gram.edu to clear up any remaining questions about your Housing status.

PRESS CONFERENCE: Louisiana National Guard Begins Repairs at Grambling State  

Campus Drainage Issues to be Resolved Before August  

 GRAMBLING, La – June 14, 2020 – The Louisiana National Guard will be joined by their Adjutant General Keith Waddell, Grambling State University President Rick Gallot, and other state officials on the campus of Grambling State University for the official groundbreaking of a drainage improvement project on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.  

“We appreciate the support of Governor Edwards and other officials as we address the flooding issues on campus,” said President Gallot. “The support in the form of funding and personnel will provide a long-term solution for an issue that has plagued the campus for years.” 

The project was approved under the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Program, enabling the use of National Guard equipment for a Civil-Military project, according to CPT Brandon R. Cambre. The Innovative Readiness Program affords the Louisiana National Guard opportunities to use soldiers’ training requirements and equipment to benefit various public entities, non-profit organizations, and the people of Louisiana.   

Representatives of the Louisiana National Guard’s 225th Engineer Brigade shared that “the Louisiana National Guard values the opportunity to assist Grambling State University and the surrounding community.”  

Flooding in early spring of 2019 caused damage to infrastructure at Grambling State due to ditches and culverts becoming partially obstructed by trees, silt, and other debris. Louisiana National Guard engineers have begun the necessary improvements to re-establish proper drainage.  

Limited media access will be granted, please contact mediarelations@gram.edu to verify intent to attend. Protective masks are required and physical distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed. 

Grambling State to Honor Juneteenth as an Official University Holiday 

Historically Black University Memorializes African American Independence Day

GRAMBLING, LA – June 12, 2020 – Today, Grambling State University announced that June 19 will be acknowledged as an official university holiday. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day and Cel-Liberation Day, commemorates the date in 1865 that the last documented illegally detained slaves learned that they were free roughly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law.  

“The observance of Juneteenth in our holiday schedule will support awareness of African American History and promote ongoing enlightenment among our students, employees, and other stakeholders about the continued significance of HBCUs,” said Martin Lemelle, Executive Vice President of Grambling State. 

The Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial Institute, now Grambling State University, was founded in 1901, only 36 years after the official end of legal United States slavery on June 19, 1865. As an historically Black institution, GSU’s foundational values have been centered on the educational, societal, and professional progress of Black Americans.  

“Grambling State helped to do something incredible in North Louisiana at a crucial time,” said President Rick Gallot. “Our visionary founder Charles P. Adams took on the challenge of entering a post-Civil War south to battle all forms of racism and systemic oppression in order to build an institution that would shift the culture away from the mindset of an unpaid Black labor force into more brilliant, empowered Black experience. Juneteenth marks the start of that shift.” 

The University’s observance of June 19 as an official holiday means a campus-wide closure for the day effective immediately.  

“A lack of Black History in education plays a significant role in our society’s shift into a second major civil rights moment,” said Dr. Roshunda Belton, Head of the History Department at Grambling State. “Recognizing Juneteenth is a necessary step in deepening public understanding of American History, especially given the irreplaceable role of Black people in that story and how we see it playing out in today’s social climate.” 

For media interviews, contact mediarelations@gram.edu