Grambling State University’s top academic students received recognition during the annual Honors Day Convocation and awards banquet held on Wednesday.Clarence Hawkins, the featured speaker for the convocation held in the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center, was introduced by honor student Imani J. Jackson.
After joking with Jackson for calling him quintessential, Hawkins said, “The greatest honor is being asked to come home.”
He told the honorees, “This is your day. This is the day that you are to be recognized for doing what you have been doing.”
Hawkins said the students should thank people in their community and relatives for helping them to make it. He used a remark by GSU’s second president, R.W.E. Jones.
“At the end of every assembly, Prez would tell us to thank the folks in our community – aunt, uncles, parents – and the mule. ‘Thank that mule. Kiss that mule.’ We were from an agrarian society, so the mule was a useful tool,” said Hawkins.
He said people have made sacrifices so the honorees could sit where they are sitting and receive the honors bestowed upon them.
Hawkins spoke about the keys to success and a life free of problems. He said learn the rules of the things they decide to do. Follow the rules. Realize the rules change, depending on who is in charge. His son added anticipate change.
Hawkins said honorees have done what they came to do: acquire skills to better the world. “You have made some positive choices.”
GSU President Frank Pogue called the honorees academic superstars and told them the education they are receiving at GSU will prepare them for leadership in a global society. He challenged students to never give up.
Pogue said, “Do not leave this place without your degree. I also challenge you when you graduate to bring somebody here to sit in your chair to replace you because you know better than anybody else on earth the quality of education you are receiving from GSU.”
Dr. LaWanna Gunn-Williams, Honors Day Committee chair, said, “The lamp of knowledge medallion that you will receive is symbolic of your honor status here at Grambling State University. We want you to cherish them because we cherish you.”
Dr. Connie Walton, interim provost and vice president, told students to pledge to continue on their path of excellence and take someone with them. “You are the reason Grambling will continue to stand tall,” she said.
Chemistry and biology major Sparkle Springfield said that Honors Day is character-building, uplifting and reminds students that hard work pays off.
“Recognition assures students that they are taking steps in the right direction,” she said. She received awards for outstanding chemistry student and Committee on Institutional Cooperation Summer Research Opportunities Program University of Illinois at Chicago.