Author Archives: Raven Thissel

Grambling State University to Establish Sports Education Center with Doug Williams 

The Doug Williams Center for the Study of Race and Politics in Sports Collaborates with the Eddie G. Robinson Museum

The Doug Williams Center for the Study of Race and Politics in Sports Collaborates with the Eddie G. Robinson Museum

GRAMBLING, La. – August 10, 2020 – Today, Grambling State University announced the establishment of the Doug Williams Center for the Study of Race and Politics in Sports to engage public education and develop potential social and political solutions to issues concerning professional sports. The Center will be supported by the National Football League (NFL) Campus Connection program and collaborate with the Eddie G. Robinson Museum.

“Politics and race have historically been intertwined in the sporting world,” said Doug Williams, National Football League Executive and Grambling State University alumni.  “It’s not a new concept, but it is one that we must educate our future leaders on to cultivate an ideal environment for the next wave of great athletes, coaches and sports leadership.” 

Grambling State has sent more players to the NFL than any other Historically Black College and University, including Williams who was the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl. In 2010, The University became home to the Eddie G. Robinson Museum, which commemorates the many contributions of University legends to national and global professional sports. 

“The sports legacy left by the great Coach Eddie Robinson and so many others makes GSU uniquely positioned as a home for this type of education,” said University President Rick Gallot.  “It’s never been clearer that these conversations are essential to making a lasting impact on our athletes and the politics of the sports industry.” 

In 1974, Grambling State became the first Historically Black College and University to offer a master’s degree in sports marketing. In 2020, the Doug Williams Center will serve as an academic hub for understanding the intersection of professional sports, politics and race can be used to progress social justice among other key objectives.  

“Students can expect assignments that explore the historic significance of sports in racial justice as well as modern case studies like Colin Kaepernick’s protest,” said Dr. Connie Walton, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. “We are looking forward to the progressive ideas and brilliant initiatives that our students put forth as a result of these relevant studies.”

Campus Connection is just one of several HBCU-focused programs the NFL has implemented to recognize and strengthen its relationships with HBCUs across the country. Through Campus Connection, the NFL will support Grambling State students with career development opportunities such as involvement in career fairs, case study programs, and the Executive Leaders Series hosted by NFL personnel.  Student support will also include participation in the NFL Experienceship program which provides nominated students hands-on experience and networking opportunities at NFL Tentpole events. 

“The NFL-HBCU partnership acknowledges, celebrates and honors the history and impact HBCUs and their players have had on the game of football,” says Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “We are pleased to honor Grambling State’s historic contribution to both football and the nation by driving awareness for students of color opportunities in professional football beyond the playing field.”

Grambling State’s Athletics Legacy
Grambling State University’s international reputation for excellence in athletics stems from numerous historic contributions and continues to push the boundaries with record-breaking performers.

Coach Eddie G. Robinson, known as the “Winningest Coach in NCAA History” upon retirement, won 408 games at Grambling State during a football coaching career that stretched from 1941-1997. The wins include nine Black College National Championships and 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference championships. The College Football Hall of Fame inductee graduated over 80 percent of his players and saw more than 200 of his student athletes play in the NFL, including four who are now enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

“From Coach Wilbert Ellis’s legendary baseball career that began in the 1970s to Shakyla Hill’s historic women’s basketball performance in 2019, Grambling State has the magic when it comes to coaching and athletic success,” said Dr. David Ponton, Athletic Director and Vice President of Student Affairs at Grambling State. “We are now channeling that aptitude into this Center for the purpose of broadening our students’ education and opening minds in our community.”

About the Doug Williams Center for the Study of Race & Politics in Sports

The Doug Williams Center for the Study of Race and Politics in Sports will engage domestic and global conversations on race and politics in sports aimed at helping to identify, analyze, and develop feasible solutions. The Center will leverage the expertise of an advisory board that will include academic leaders, athletes, politicians, and activists to:

  • examine the historical role of sports and politics in addressing racial inequality and disadvantage in the domestic and global contexts;
  • contribute to national discussions related to race, politics, and diversity in sports;
  • promote critical, interdisciplinary, and innovative research and approaches to understanding race and discrimination;
  • serve as a think tank to generate insights, identify trends and solutions necessary to achieve positive and sustainable change on race issues;
  • collaborate with the NCAA and professional sports leagues to address issues of racial barriers, diversity, and access in athletics;
  • and produce tangible products promoting and addressing the challenging issues of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. 

More about the Center can be learned at

About Doug Williams

Doug Williams, former GSU SWAC championship quarterback, was drafted 17th overall in the NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, becoming the first African-American quarterback to be picked in the first round. He later became a member of the Washington Redskins and as the first Black quarterback on a Super Bowl starting line-up led his team to a 42-10 victory as MVP in Super Bowl XXII. In 1988, he founded the Doug Williams Foundation, which awarded more than $100,000 in college scholarships.

In 1998, Williams succeeded Eddie G. Robinson as the head coach at Grambling State University, during his stint he coached to team to four SWAC Championships. Next, he served as personnel executive with his former NFL teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Washington Redskins. Since 2017, Williams has served as Senior Vice President of player personnel with the Washington Redskins.


About the Eddie G. Robinson Museum

The Eddie G. Robinson Museum recognizes the outstanding contributions to the state of Louisiana, the nation, and the game of football made by Coach Robinson. The Eddie G. Robinson Museum is located on the campus of Grambling State University where Coach Robinson achieved legendary status by becoming NCAA Division I football’s all-time winningest coach. The purpose of this museum is to collect, preserve, and exhibit – as an educational resource – objects of art, documents, archives, and other artifacts that reflect the history of the life and coaching domain of Coach Robinson. 

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  

About NFL Campus Connection

The NFL Campus Connection program, launched in 2018, aims to provide students with programs and experiences that help prepare them for future careers in professional football administration. The Campus Connection program is an extension of the NFL’s ongoing relationship with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Through the partnership, the NFL and participating institutions seek to increase career opportunities for students and athletic administrators.

Whataburger to Open Student Resource Room at Grambling State University

Student government answers food insecurity concerns with new partnership

GRAMBLING, La. – August 3, 2020 – In an effort to address students’ top welfare concerns, Grambling State University’s Student Government Association (SGA) and Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA) announced a partnership with Whataburger to open the Tiger Resource Room Powered by Whataburger in the Favrot Student Union during the 2020 fall semester. The Tiger Resource Room will include a food pantry and resource center for students needing additional support.

“Our student needs assessment showed 80 percent of Grambling students struggle with food insecurity, and Student Government leaders knew the need for a resource room was great,” said Steven Wilson, Grambling State University 2019-2020 SGA President.

After a survey of more than 500 students revealed financial hardship, nutrition and security as top student welfareconcerns, Grambling State University’s student governing associations sought to establish a joint venture with internal and external stakeholders to organize and operate a food pantry and resource center for emergency food supplies and basic hygiene needs.

“I was actually able to personally see the impact by realizing where my brother would have been had I not been present,” said Karmel Reeves, Grambling State University 2019-2020 GSGA President. “When his meal plan swipes ran out, he went to the cafeteria and was shocked that he couldn’t get a meal. I realized there had to be another way for students on this campus to be able to meet their basic needs. Our students frequent Whataburger all the time, and I think having the brand associated with the resource room is going to make people excited to come.”

Grambling State University’s food services contractor, SodexoMAGIC, has joined Whataburger to support the program. Food will also be provided for the pantry through a partnership with the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana. A Tiger Resource Room steering committee consisting of students from the University’s SGA, GSGA and Favrot Student Union Board will provide ongoing advisement for the student-operated resource.

“Whataburger is committed to helping students achieve their dreams of a college education and reach career goals. All too often, these can be impacted by the struggle for basic needs,” said Ed Nelson, Whataburger CEO. “We hope the Tiger Resource Room will provide students healthy food and essential supplies to allow them to successfully continue on their college education journey.”

“When someone is struggling with hunger, it is difficult to focus on learning. The Tiger Resource Room is such a good investment in the success of the students at Grambling,” said Jean Toth, Executive Director at the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana. “Thank you to Whataburger for helping to make this a reality for the University, and improving the health of Grambling students.”


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. For more information, visit

About Whataburger

Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 830 locations in 10 states and sales of more than $2 billion annually. Whataburger has 46,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 14 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just the way they like it. In addition to guests, Whataburger remains committed to supporting students in the communities it serves. In 2020, Whataburger opened its first student resource center at the University of Texas at San Antonio which has provided more than 34,700 pounds of food for over 2,000 students. Visit for more information.

About the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana

The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana leads the fight against hunger in our region by providing food, advocacy, education, and disaster response. The Food Bank is a charitable organization that solicits, stores, and distributes food to partner agencies, children and seniors in 12 Parishes in Northeast Louisiana. Together, as a hunger-relief network we serve over 22,000 people monthly. The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana is a member of Feeding America and a United Way Partner Agency. To learn more about how you can help, please visit Follow us at, or on Twitter and Instagram @fbnela.


Grambling State Awarded Over $3.1M in Student CARES Act Relief 

Applications for Fall Grants to Open September 15th 


GRAMBLING, La. – July 24, 2020 – 

To date, Grambling State has awarded $3,128,200 in CARES Act grants to students who have experienced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Another opportunity remains for Grambling State University students to apply for CARES Act grants during the Fall 2020 semester. 

Eligible students can apply for CARES grant funding for Fall 2020 starting September 15, 2020  in the online student portal. Eligible students enrolled with six or more credit hours will receive a $125.00 grant.  Applications are open from  September 15th to September 20th, from 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.

Funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress provides financial support to qualifying students. At Grambling State, over 3,700 students were eligible for the relief funding, which was signed into law March 27. 

More on Grambling State’s coronavirus prevention and response can be found at

Grambling State Awarded Over $3M in Student CARES Act Relief 

Applications for Summer Session II Grants to Open July 15 

GRAMBLING, La. – July 6, 2020 –   To date, Grambling State has awarded $3,006,600 in CARES Act grants to students who have experienced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  One opportunity remains for Grambling State University students to apply for CARES Act grants for Summer Session II.

Eligible students can apply for CARES grant funding for Summer Session II only on July 15, 2020 in the online student portal. Applications are open for one day only, July 15, 2020, from 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.     


Funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress provides financial support to qualifying students. At Grambling State, over 3,700 students were eligible for the relief funding, which was signed into law March 27.

More on Grambling State’s coronavirus prevention and response can be found at  

Grambling State University’s W.I.T.S. Partnership offers Gold Certified Personal Trainer Certification and More

Dr. Bedford photoGRAMBLING, La – July 21, 2020 – Grambling State University’s Office of Continuing Education and Service-Learning has entered into a partnership with World Instructor Training School (W.I.T.S.) to offer 4 certification programs and over 50 Continuing Education courses.

“Considering the current state of the nation, online certifications and professional development opportunities are essential,” said Dr. Rory Bedford, Director of Continuing Education and Service-Learning. “Our goal is to ensure that people are able to retool and gain important training to enhance and further their careers in an online format.  In addition, students can now earn a degree and add certifications that place them in a position to be more marketable than those who do not have certifications.”

The W.I.T.S. partnership allows the University to offer the following certifications:  Gold Certified Personal Trainer Certification; Fitness Management Certification; Lifestyle Wellness Coaching Certification; and Senior Fitness Specialist Certification.  Leaders of the initiative saw these certifications as assets to the University because of its thriving Kinesiology Department and the community’s emphasis on health and wellness. The W.I.T.S. program will provide an avenue for training and fitness experts to retool.

In addition to the certification programs, the Continuing Education Department has added 53 additional workshop courses.  Some of the courses are Conditioning for Football and Basketball as well as Essentials of Diabetes and Prediabetes, Introduction to Cancer Exercise, Essentials of Cancer Exercise,  Introduction to Cardiovascular Disease and Exercise.  Students can enroll now and classes begin September 14, 2020. Payment plans are available.

For additional information about the certifications and a full list of courses offered, email,, or log on to

Grambling State University Announces Fall Sports Season Postponed 

GRAMBLING, La – July 20, 2020 – Today, Grambling State University President Rick Gallot met with SWAC presidents and leadership to render a final determination on whether the Fall SWAC sports schedule will remain in effect. The Council of Presidents and SWAC commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland have decided to postpone with Fall sports.  

“These decisions would be more difficult if it weren’t so clear what’s in the best interest of public safety,” said President Gallot. “Current medical science indicates that if the proper precautions are taken by entities like ours, surge in cases will slow down. We have a responsibility to act as preventers and protectors of those we serve.”  

GSU football, soccer, cross-country, and volleyball are included in the list of postponed SWAC events.  

“None of us could have predicted that we would be forced to make this decision, but we are determined to make the best out of the situation for the sake of our student-athletes and fans,” said Dr. David Ponton. “We will continue working with SWAC leadership to ensure the health and safety of our student athletes comes first.”  

Fans are encouraged to continue following official GSU athletics pages for Grambling State sports updates.  

SWAC Releases Statement Regarding Fall Sports Competition

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- The Southwestern Athletic Conference has announced the postponement of all scheduled fall contests along with SWAC championships due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The fall sports impacted include men’s and women’s cross country, football, soccer and volleyball.
The conference has started the process of formalizing plans to conduct a competitive schedule for the fall sports during the 2021 spring semester.

Additional details regarding the rescheduling of contests and championships will be released at a later date, including more information pertaining to the 2020 Cricket Wireless SWAC Football Championship which was initially scheduled for Saturday, December 5th.

Fall sports teams and student-athletes will have the opportunity to attend classes and practices in preparation for a spring 2021 competitive schedule upon return to campus. Student-athletes will have the ability to participate in conditioning, strength training and practices in all sports provided all required local, state, and federal health and safety guidelines are met. There have been no final decisions made regarding competitive schedules for the league’s winter and spring sports at this time.

The SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors felt this action was necessary out of growing concern for the health, safety and well-being both mentally and physically of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, team staff, campus faculty, fans and supporters.

The continued increase of COVID-19 cases across many portions of the league’s geographic footprint and Southern regions of the country played a significant role in the council’s decision, along with data that suggests African-American communities have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SWAC shares in the disappointment that will undoubtedly be felt by student-athletes, fans, and supporters impacted by the postponement of fall sports competition. The league will continue to review appropriate measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and the local community which continues to be the primary responsibility of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and its member institutions.

About the SWAC
The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is considered one of the premier HBCU conferences in the country and currently ranks among the elite in the nation in terms of HBCU alumni playing with professional sports teams.

Current championship competition offered by the league includes competition for men in Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field and Tennis.

Women’s competition is offered in the sports of Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Golf, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field, Soccer, Softball, Tennis and Volleyball.

Follow the SWAC
For complete coverage of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, please follow the SWAC on social media at @TheSWAC (Twitter), @TheSWAC (Facebook), and @TheSWAC (Instagram) or visit the official home of the Southwestern Athletic Conference at

From President & Mrs. Gallot on the passing of John Lewis

To the Lewis Family:

On behalf of our entire Grambling State University family, we want to offer our sincerest condolences on the passing of American hero and U.S. Congressman, John Lewis.

Congressman Lewis will always be remembered for his outstanding sacrifices in the name of equality and justice. His willingness to get into “good trouble” for the sake of change transformed politics and opened doors for Black voters and Black civil servants alike.

Mr. Lewis’s contributions to the advancement of American civil rights made the growth and progress of Historically Black Colleges and Universities like Grambling State possible, and for that, hundreds of thousands of HBCU graduates and hopefuls, including myself, are in his debt.

Very few people have walked this earth and made the level of outstanding impact as Mr. Lewis, and we at Grambling State University are proud of his fighting spirit that lives on as our community continues his work. We especially send out prayers up for Mr. Lewis’s close loved ones.

We hope you take comfort in the ongoing impact of his extraordinary life as you endure this challenging time. We are grateful for his work and will keep your family lifted in our prayers.

Forever Grambling,

President and Mrs. Rick Gallot




July 16-24, 2020 via Bannerweb


Graduating this Summer? Now candidates for graduation can submit applications through Bannerweb. No need to make a visit to the campus, or download a form. Submission takes less than 5 minutes and you are on the road to graduation!

Submit your Graduation Application before the deadline – midnight on  July 24.   If you need assistance with the process, please see the attached steps.


If you have already submitted a paper application, we are asking you to submit your application online. If you are unable to submit the online application for any reason, please notify the Registrar’s Office via email(   Please include your name, G#, major and phone number in your correspondence.

Grambling State Announces Fall Academic Plans and Phased Return to Campus  


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 25. The 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 guidelines. Professional 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 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