Graduation holds twice the family value

The 2007 Grambling State University Spring commencement holds a special memory for one family of graduates.
Besides witnessing over 425 graduates marching into the newly dedicated Grambling Assembly Center, Willup Garrett Jr., shared the moment with his grandfather, Thomas A. Ellis Sr., a member of the 50th anniversary class of 1957.
The family is a true testimony to the story told by speaker Dr. Willie L. Hill Jr.
Hill referred to the importance of life as filling a jar with rocks, pebbles and sand. He said rocks are the most important things in your life such as your family: wife, husband or children. Pebbles are the things you need to survive in life, like your job, and the sand represents everything else. If you put the rock in the jar first, you still have room for pebbles because they fill the space that the rocks leave. Then you put the sand. It takes up the rest of the space in the jar. But if you put the sand in first, there is room for nothing else.
Garrett makes the third generation of his family to pass through the graduation line at GSU.
“Having my son and father in the same graduation line of march was exciting. I felt especially blessed to be a part of a unique history,” said Sharon A. Ellis, mother of Willup.
“I don’t know of many families that have had this experience. I thank God that He allowed my father to see his 50th year reunion at Grambling and at the same time witness his first grandchild graduate from college,” Ellis said.
When asked why he chose to come to GSU Garrett said he had two universities in mind, Grambling and Southern.
“While visiting Southern’s campus with my mother and some of her students, I felt Grambling was a better fit for me,” expressed Garrett.
The young graduate with a 3.6 GPA and a student of the Earl Lester Cole Honor’s college plans to continue his education at grad school.
The Ellis family has a history of attending Grambling State, Sharon said.
“It started with my parents who met while attending Grambling. It has been a tradition with our family starting in the early 50’s. My mother, Bertha McGaskey Ellis, was encouraged by an older sister that attended Grambling. My mother had not planned to go to college. When she graduated from high school her sister completed the application, and the rest is history,” Ellis said.