Category Archives: graduation

GSU Spotlight: 5,500 Miles to Graduation – Grambling State’s Fall 2018 Top Graduate

Valedictorian, Coulibaly, Graduates with Top Honors After 3 Years Away From Home

Lala Coulibaly - 2018 Fall ValedictorianThe Fall 2018 valedictorian for Grambling State University celebrates not only academic success, but also a one-of-a-kind journey on this fall’s graduation stage.

Ms. Lala Aicha Coulibaly will graduate this fall with a 3.91 cumulative GPA, majoring in computer science, and with fluency in three languages: French, English, and her native tongue, Bambara, which she grew up speaking in Bamako, Mali.  Mali is 5,500 miles from Grambling State University and Ms. Coulibaly is excited to share some of her story with her fellow students tomorrow. Continue reading

MEDIA ALERT: Grambling State University Fall 2018 Commencement Information

Fall Commencement to Feature Claire Babineaux-Fontenot and 412 Candidates

GRAMBLING, LA – Grambling State University, Louisiana’s top producer of African-American Computer Science graduates, will celebrate its Fall 2018 Commencement Ceremonies Friday, December 14, 2018 at 10 a.m. in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

Members of the media are encouraged to RSVP to to attend. Continue reading

Feeding America CEO & Former Wal-Mart Exec to Keynote Grambling State Graduation

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot to share  December 14 at University’s Fall Commencement Headshot-Fontentot-Claire

GRAMBLING, LA — November 16, 2018 – Today, Grambling State University announced Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot will keynote the University’s, December 14, 2018 Fall Commencement.
Babineaux-Fontenot has earned national recognition for her humanitarian work, growing up as one of 108 siblings, and serving as Wal-Mart’s former Executive Vice President of Finance and Global treasurer.

“Mrs. Babineaux-Fontenot’s long record of service is one we can all learn from,” said President Rick Gallot. “We are grateful and excited for our students to hear how they can leverage their Louisiana education to change the world.”

Babineaux-Fontenot’s long record of service includes serving on the national board of directors for National Urban League, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the Association of Latino Professionals for America, and the National Association of Black Accountants.  
Members of the media are invited to join graduates, families, and the University at

Grambling State University Commencement, Fall 2018 
Friday, December 14, 2018 at 10 a.m.
Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center
Grambling State University
100 North Stadium Drive
Grambling, LA 71245

For event media credentials or interview scheduling, please contact or (318) 243-5012.



Grambling State Graduate Student, Cletus Emokpae receives $25,000 Scholarship

Grambling State Graduate Student, Cletus Emokpae receives $25,000 ScholarshipGRAMBLING, LA–July 23, 2018– Today, Beyonce’s BeyGood Foundation announced it has awarded a $25,000 scholarship to Grambling State University Mass Communication student, Cletus Emokpae.

“This is incredible,” says Cletus Emokpae, a graduate student from Staten Island, New York. “I knew that me coming to Grambling was going to lead to big things, but I never imagined this.” Continue reading

GSU Spotlight: Mother-Son Graduates Celebrate 3 Degrees of GSU Legacy

By Stephanie Lindsey & Jovan Hackley

IMG-1002-cropWhen Denise Mack crossed the stage to receive her first degree from Dr. Johnson in the early 90’s, she had no idea she’d share that stage years later with the son she carried the first time around.

“I’m very proud to graduate with Virgil,” says Denise. “I’m most of all proud of him for just graduating and staying focused on his goal. It hasn’t always been easy for him.”

Virgil Mack, who will receive his Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Performing Arts, grew up in Dubach, Louisiana and worked to beat his neighborhood outlook on a college degree.

“Growing where I’m from there’s not the expectation that you’ll graduate from college. It was a stigma I wanted to overcome. I wanted to break the statistic,” said Mack.

This week, Virgil will not only graduate with a college degree, but he has leveraged his time at Grambling to start on the path to entrepreneurship.

“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do for my first few years at Grambling. I found my love for camera when I was thinking about my hobbies. I wanted to commit to something that didn’t feel like work. Movies were what I liked the most,” said Mack. “My junior year, I invested in a camera and started to doing photos and short videos.”

Today, Virgil is in the second year of running his own photography and video company that captures and edits commercial video for businesses in North Louisiana.

“It was challenging to get him to believe in himself. I knew he could do it,” says Virgil’s mom Denise.

“Seeing him strive to do more, pushed me to do more. Just watching him go through college it encouraged me to go to college.”

This Spring Denise will graduate with a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice after a more than 20-year break from education. Her advice to those who are considering returning to school is, “It’s never too late to pursue your career. If you want to go back to school, I don’t care what your age is, you have to start somewhere. Just give it a try.”

Grambling State University would like to congratulate Denise Mack, Virgil Mack, and all of the Spring 2018 graduates on their great accomplishments and inspiration to Tigers past, present, and future around the world.

GSU Spotlights highlights the accomplishments of students, faculty, and alumni successes throughout the GSU Community. To nominate or provide feedback on GSU highlights, contact the Grambling State University Office of University Communications at