Over 400 students were conferred undergraduate and graduate degrees during the Spring commencement exercises at Grambling State University Sunday, May 18 in the University assembly center.
Talea Lashea Mayo not only took the spot as the highest graduate, she also scored a perfect score on the math section of the GRE. She majored in mathematics with a minor in biology. Mayo is from Highlands Ranch, Colo. Mayo plans to pursue a Ph.D degree in applied mathematics and a career in scientific research.
The commencement speaker, Dr. Charlie Nelms, chancellor of North Carolina Central University, encouraged the graduates to answer that call to companies such as General Electric, Bell, and Xerox because their education has equipped them to serve.
“You don’t own the degree you are just the custodian,” said Dr. Nelms.
Prior to joining North Carolina Central as its 10th chief administrator, Dr. Nelms served as vice president for Institutional Development and Student Affairs for the Indiana University system.
As vice president, Nelms was responsible for a combination of duties on the Bloomington campus and systemwide that spanned university planning, institutional research and effectiveness, enrollment management, student affairs, student retention, and diversity and equity.
Dr. Nelms told the graduates they owed themselves many things among which included to go to the poles and vote.
” As you leave forth from this place, seek out that which is worth fighting for,” advised Nelms.
James Ellis Davison, noted Ruston businessman, humanitarian and philanthropist, received an honorary doctorate degree for his unselfish deeds and unwavering support of the university. Dr. Davison is a former member of the University of Louisiana System where he once served as chairman and a long-time friend of GSU.
“It’s very unusual for a C student to get a doctorate degree,” joked Davison after being presented with an academic hood.
At the start of the 50th anniversary for Grambling’s class of 1958, there was a moment of silence in dedication to the deceased classmates. Then two talented students, Debrah Robinson- playing the violin- and Leah Love- playing the viola- played a magnificent selection by Aria.
President Dr. Horace Judson was the guest speaker. He began with speaking about the first year he tried to focus on his vision to help build the overall image of the school. He stated that GSU’s aim is to simply become a premier institution and produce culturally competent students.
When Judson arrived, he described the goals that he set for the school. He has been determined to express his commitment to setting challenging goals and getting them accomplished. His first goals was to get new dorms on campus. Last fall a 60 million dollar project went into effect to put up three new dormitory buildings within a year.
The crowd was pleased to hear about the improvements of the new dorms. The room filled with laughter when Judson mentioned there were no more than two students per bedroom and bathroom as they reminisced back to their personal experiences of universal bathrooms. He mentioned that the last phase of the new dorms will provide not only living space for the children but also class rooms and space for visiting professors. The crowd was interested to hear this.
“I drove from Arcadia everyday because I did not want to stay on campus. I majored in elementary education. If I was young again I would come back to further my education,” commented Jean H. Kelley from Arcadia.
“Facilities make a difference,” Said Judson. They attract people to our campus. He mentioned all of the new buildings that have been built thus far and more that are to come. Other than the new dorms, Tiger Express is a new eating attraction for students and visitors to enjoy. The dining hall has been renovated. There will be a new science and Dunbar building and an A.C. Lewis Memorial library in the future.
The new assembly center is also a very nice brand new building where students attend class, large events are held, and our basketball teams play there. Judson was proud to announce at that time that we have two new basketball coaches for men and women and he was proud to be able to show them the nice facility that they would be able to coach and play in for the time that they will be here.
Some of the alumni were worried about the enrollment numbers. Judson has great plans for the educational programs across campus. In the fall, there will be revised curriculums for every major.
Every course will include more writing, critical thinking and presentation classes. Since the school is switching to closed enrollment, this will help to raise the requirements of students entering into the college. In the long run this will help to raise the quality of education given to all students at the university.
During the time that Judson has been in office, he has improved much of the schools overall appearance. In the last year, Grambling’s enrollment has gone up at least 500 students.
The number of international students has also risen helping to create diversity on campus. By improving and creating a quality living environment will help to excel a students learning experience. The alumni were happy to hear the accomplishments being made by the university.
After the banquet everyone who wanted to go was taken on a tour to visually see what has changed.