“We celebrate Founders Day to keep the legacy alive,” assistant professor Sandra Lee explained, “So that youth can understand the importance of Grambling and where it came from and how it’s grown from the minute entity of teaching farmers how to farm better,” Lee said.As a part of the Historically Black College and University family, Grambling was founded in 1901 by Charles P. Adams with the goal of educating the African-American community. On a 200-acre farm field, supporting community members helped to beautify the land and erect buildings.
“I wish they wouldn’t have torn down the old dorms,” They should have been renovated for the memories and they should have been kept around as memorable landmarks,” Lee adamantly expressed.
Lee joined the Grambling State University faculty 24 years ago under the presidency of Dr. Joseph B. Johnson.
“Johnson was the strong arm of Grambling. He brought in so many good things under his administration. I liked his style of leadership,” added Lee.
During his 14-year administration, the list of “good things” include: Grambling repeatedly reached its peak enrollment; the graduate school gained accreditation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and Coach Eddie Robinson won his 300th victory. Dr. Johnson also started Grambling’s first Founder’s Day celebration.
“I’m not going to be against the administration,” said band director Larry Pannell. “Dr. Judson is a shepherd and I am his sheep, and he has a shepherd above him and I will not be found insubordinate of what he’s handing down from his shepherd.
“But at the same time, I’m praying for Grambling,” Pannell added, who is also the head of the Music Department.
“It’s so important for us to understand that there was a past and that past is the tree. The good book tells you that the tree stands by the water and it has roots. The wind may blow, and the water may brush up to it, it may rock and it may reel but it’s so deeply rooted that it’s going to endure.”
“I have unheard Faith in a God I never seen, and where there’s a will there’s a way. Grambling will be OK,” Pannell said.
Grambling was founded (Charles P. Adams), built (Ralph W.E. Jones), enhanced (Joseph B. Johnson), strengthened (Harold W. Lundy), enriched (Raymond A. Hicks), sustained (Leonard L. Haynes, III), collaborated (Steve A. Favors), restored (Neari F. Warner) and reclaimed (Horace A. Judson) with the purpose of bringing higher education to African-American citizens.
Now, 108 years later, Grambling State University offers undergraduate, graduate professional programs, and is epitomizing its motto
“Where Everybody is Somebody.” Each of Grambling’s presidents played a significant role in elevating Grambling and their work shine’s through the students, staff and alumni.
Marquesha Moore, a sophomore special education major from New Orleans, reflected, “Founder’s Day is the one day set aside to remember Grambling’s founding fathers. A day that all students and faculty can honor the road that has been paved for us.