Category Archives: graduation

Grambling State Names Former Calendar Queen as Valedictorian

Alianndra Williams ReceivesTop Honors in Graduating Class of Spring 2020

GRAMBLING, La – May 5, 2020 – Today, Grambling State University announced former Miss Cover Girl Alianndra Williams as valedictorian of the Spring 2020 graduating class. Williams earned top honors, with a 4.0 grade point average.  

“I plan on giving back to Grambling State by offering numerous academic and book scholarships to upperclassmen in need,” said Williams.  

Attending Grambling State University is a family tradition for spring 2020 valedictorian Alianndra Williams. Along with the family tradition of attending Grambling State, Williams’ legacy includes family members who worked at the University in various capacities, including her great-grandmother, Ann Stevenson Osborne, who worked in Purchasing for 46 years and her grandmother, Gail Stevenson Lee, who taught Developmental English in Brown Hall for many years. Her mother, Adrienne Gray, grandfather, and uncles also graduated from Grambling State. 

This valedictorian has distinguished herself by not only continuing a family tradition, but also in her excellence as a student leader and role model while maintaining her perfect 4.0 grade point average. 

“It’s an honor to award the valedictorian distinction to someone from our local community with such an outstanding extracurricular record,” said President Gallot. “Ms. Williams is a hard-working student who I know will continue to excel in all of her future endeavors.” 

Williams was crowned Miss Covergirl 2018-2019, donning the pages of the University’s annual calendar. She was selected as an esteemed member of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College as well as The President’s Student Leadership Initiative. During her years as a student, Williams served on the Favrot Student Union Board, Phi Epsilon Kappa Honors Fraternity, Inc., Grambling State University Student Ambassadors, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. President of the Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Williams has been named to the President’s List throughout her university career. 

After graduation, she plans to attend Physical Therapy School at Texas Woman’s University and ultimately open a physical therapy practice in Dallas, Texas.  

Grambling State Student Overcomes Paralysis to Walk Across Graduation Stage December 13, 2019

Graduation Candidate Arhonda Smith Shares Her Story of Overcoming a Stroke While Earning Her Degree 

GRAMBLING, La. – December 12, 2019 – Grambling State criminal justice major, Arhonda Smith knew something wasn’t right when she suddenly couldn’t walk without staggering the morning of December 3, 2018. After receiving emergency medical attention, Smith learned she had had a stroke, lost the use of her right arm, and was warned that she would never walk again.

I prayed and asked God to deliver me,” said Smith, who was at the time scheduled to graduate in May 2019. “I heard Him say, ‘Snap out of it. I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  

After being airlifted to Shreveport for 17 days of intensive treatment, then transferred to Glenwood where she could only eat through a feeding tube for several weeks, Smith experienced a breakthrough. 

Smith was no longer using a wheelchair by February 2019. She was determined to complete her criminal justice coursework and graduate with her Bachelor’s degree. Smith recalls the support of her professors as she worked to regain full mobility of her right arm using only her left hand to type and complete assignments.  

“All of my professors including Dr. Singh, Dr. Conley, Dr. Thomason and Dr. Threadcraft were very understanding and supportive,” said Smith, “Dr. Threadcraft said that she wished all students in the class were like me because I always turned my work in early.” 

Criminal Justice is one of the University’s leading programs and Grambling State is a top state-wide producer of African American graduates in the field. With continued improvement in her health, Smith hopes to use her education to open a Safe House for Women after obtaining her degree. 

“I would encourage anyone who is going through hard times to stay positive, stay strong, have faith,” said Smith.  

Smith will join more than 360 Grambling State University graduates who will collect their diploma Friday, December 13 at 10 a.m. in the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center. 

Media is invited to RSVP to Grambling State University’s Fall Commencement exercises by emailing

Grambling State University Names Two Valedictorians for the Class of Fall 2019

Tionna Baker and Mustapha Yoosuf-Akinlaja to Receive Highest Honors at December 13 Commencement 

GRAMBLING, La. – December 12, 2019 – Grambling State University is proud to announce the position of highest GPA for the Fall 2019 graduating class is held by two students, Tionna L. Baker and Mustapha Yoosuf-Akinlaja. The two will be honored as top graduates during fall commencement exercises at 10 a.m. Friday, December 13, 2019, in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly. 

About Tionna L. Baker

Tionna L. Baker, a social work major from Smackover, Arkansas. After graduation, Baker will join the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services and return to Grambling State in the master’s in social work program.

“From the moment I walked on to campus as a transfer student seeking to find a new school, I knew Grambling would be more of a home,” said Baker.

About Mustapha Yoosuf-Akinlaja 

Mustapha Yoosuf-Akinlaja, a criminal justice major from Lagos, Nigeria. Yoosuf-Akinlaja plans to attend law
school after matriculating at Grambling State; he has already been accepted into three prestigious law programs.
Yoosuf-Akinlaja plans “to give back to the Grambling community by serving as a valuable resource for past, current and future Gramblinites.”

About Fall 2019 Commencement

Both valedictorians are first-generation college graduates who will finish with a 3.98 grade point average. Baker and Yoosuf-Akinlaja will be honored for their outstanding academic performances during Friday’s Fall commencement exercises.

Related articles: 

Shreveport Mayor, Adrian Perkins, To Address Grambling State Fall Graduates 

Grambling State University Fall 2019 Commencement Information 

For more information, please contact or call (318) 274-2866.

Recruiters Want You! Who’s Coming to the Fall 2019 Career Fair?

Quinnipiac University wide Career Fair Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, in the Recreation Center Courts on Quinnipiacís Mount Carmel Campus.

Quinnipiac University wide Career Fair Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, in the Recreation Center Courts on Quinnipiacís Mount Carmel Campus.

Check out the growing list of top-grossing companies coming to recruit Grambling State students at next week’s career fair events. Whether you’re looking for an internship for summer or a full-time gig after graduation, there are competitive openings in career fields from nursing to computer science to criminal justice and many more. Continue reading

18 Months to MBA: Grambling State Partners with Nicholls State University

University of Louisiana System Approves MOU for Grambling State and Nicholls State Partnership   

213142447GRAMBLING, LA – October 15, 2019 – Today, Grambling State University and Nicholls State University announced a memorandum of understanding that offers students at Grambling State a new 18-month path to receiving a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA). Continue reading

Grambling State Baseball Player Named Valedictorian

Heath_Jalen_1B_Colorado_Springs-SQUAREJalen Alexander Heath to be recognized at University’s 2019 Spring Commencement

Grambling, LA – May 07, 2019 – Today, Grambling State University named baseball student-athlete, Jalen Alexander Heath, Valedictorian of the Spring 2019 graduating class. Heath earned top honors, with a 3.98-grade point average, and will take the stage Friday, May 10, 2019 at 10 a.m. at the University’s Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center. Continue reading

For Students: President Gallot’s Summer Message

Dear Students:

With so many displays of your brilliance over the last nine months, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for another excellent school year. This year, you’ve enriched Grambling State with incredible work in academics, entertainment, and on the field and courts. That work has been shared around the world and proof of what you may not yet realize; that you are innovators. Continue reading

National Urban League CEO to Keynote Grambling State Commencement

MMorialPortrait-SQUAREEntrepreneur and Lawyer Marc H. Morial to share with students

GRAMBLING, LA — April 16, 2019 – Today, Grambling State University announced it will host the Honorable Marc H. Morial, President, and CEO of the National Urban League and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors as keynote speaker at the Spring Commencement, May 10, 2019, at 10 a.m.

Morial, who leads the nation’s largest Civil Rights & Urban Advocacy effort, is well known for his local work as former mayor of New Orleans. His tenure as mayor included developing a broad multi-racial coalition who led New Orleans’ 1990’s renaissance and ended with a 70 percent approval rating.

As a lawyer, Morial won the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award for his legal service to the underserved.  He was also one of the youngest lawyers, at age 26, to argue and win a major case before the Louisiana Supreme Court.

“It’s an honor to host a transformational leader like Mr. Morial,” said GSU President Rick Gallot.  “His experience in advocacy, service, and entrepreneurship offers an important perspective to our graduates as they prepare to change the world.”

Morial will address faculty, guests, students and their families on the heels of Grambling State’s highest enrollment since 2014 and its recent authorization to offer Louisiana’s first Bachelor of Cybersecurity.

Event Information:

Grambling State University Commencement, Spring 2019 
Friday, May 10, 2019, at 10 a.m.

Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center
Grambling State University
100 North Stadium Drive
Grambling, LA 71245

For media credentials and coverage information, please contact or call the Office of University Communications at 318-274-2866.