Gov. Bobby Jindal to speak at Spring commencement

Gov. Bobby Jindal will deliver the Spring 2009 commencement address at Grambling State University at 10 a.m. May 16 in the GSU Assembly Center as part of a weekend of activities scheduled at the university.This year will mark the first time in modern history that the university has scheduled commencement exercises on a Saturday. GSU is anticipating more than 400 graduates during the exercise.

It had been rumored for nearly two weeks that Jindal was to be the guest speaker at commencement, but it was finally confirmed by the President’s Office.

Jindal has been criticized for turning down federal stimulus money in the face of looming budget cuts for the state. The governor has proposed a $141 million budget cut from K-12 schools, and $219 million budget cut from higher education.

This has spurred a domino effect, forcing the University of Louisiana System to impose cuts on all of its universities, including almost $5 million from Grambling State.

Also during commencement exercises, the university will award an honorary degree to Dr. Cuthbert O. Simpkins, a Shreveport dentist, civil rights leader and member of the Grambling Black and Gold Foundation board of directors.

The GSU graduating class of 1959 will celebrate its 50th anniversary with campus activities May 14-16.

“Our spring commencement ceremony is always a special time, a time of celebration and new beginnings,” said GSU President Horace A. Judson. “And, this year, we are honored to have Gov. Jindal impart words of wisdom to our graduates.”

Jindal was sworn in as governor of Louisiana on Jan. 14, 2008. He is also the former president of the University of Louisiana System, of which Grambling State University is a member.

Jindal was born in Baton Rouge on June 10, 1971. He graduated from Baton Rouge High School in 1988 and went on to attend Brown University, where he graduated with honors in biology and public policy.

Following his graduation from Brown, he attended Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar.

Graduation practice is May 14 at 9 a.m. in the GSU Assembly Center.