“Grambling is an international name,” said Grambling State University President, Dr. Frank G. Pogue as he opened Wednesday’s spring convocation.Lamark Hughes, Student Government Association President, introduced and thanked Dr. Pogue for his commitment in leading GSU in the right direction, promoting GSU’s theme, “A New Beginning.”
Dr. Pogue praised Grambling’s 110 years of existence, but reassured Gramblinites that the next 110 years are going to be far more challenging.
“Some of our students come to us from segregated communities. Some come to us who have been taught to hate each other, or hate people who don’t look like themselves,” Dr. Pogue said as he built a correlation between present day students and those who attended the university when it first opened.
He added that Grambling does not only want to graduate students in several professional areas, but also for graduates to know that they have been prepared to make a difference and preserve our culture.
Reflecting back to the founder Charles P. Adams, Dr. Pogue called the creation of Grambling “absolutely revolutionary,” for African Americans.
Dr. Pogue elaborated on the advancement of GSU once called the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School, which has grown to over 446 acres of land and over 200 million square feet of usable land valued at $198 million.
That’s a far leap from the 200 acres purchased back in 1905 for 800 dollars. From one academic building, to more than 100 buildings, in which nine of those are now historic sites.
Dr. Pogue made no hesitation to share possible changes with campus wide strategic planning.
Some of those changes are due, largely in part, to the budget cuts that Grambling are facing with a budget of once 32 million dollars to now 18 million dollars, with more probable cuts for the next fiscal year.
Even with budgets cuts Dr. Pogue was proud to announce that the university has not had to lay off one faculty member, but instead enacted the furlough system, which can save the university $1.5 million.
The furlough system makes faculty and staff take unpaid days off. Those who earn the highest salary take more days than those who make the latter, many of which are taken while they are performing their designated duty as an employee of GSU.
Last fall, Dr. Pogue and his executive board began to focus on five priorities that would enhance academic quality by building on the strengths and accomplishments of the university, while preparing for several accreditations, rising admission and follow guidelines of the Grad Act.
Administrators implemented an enrollment management and retention plan that will focus on increasing enrollment from 5,100 to 7,500 over the next five years lead by Dr. Paul Bryant, interim vice president of Enrollment Management and Retention.
Third, the development of fundraising and friend raising initiatives to replace the reduction of funding.