Recently Ruston’s Campus Community Worship Center (CCWC) celebrated GSU Day. Grambling State University students, alumni, administrators, faculty, staff and supporters were a part of this event. Dr. Frank Pogue, president of Grambling State University served as guest speaker.
GSU professor Dr. Glenda Island, the coordinator of this celebration, used the analogy of a tiger to describe Pogue as she introduced him.
She said the tiger is the biggest, baddest cat in the world. “Dr. Pogue is a GSU Tiger Christian. At GSU it is the season for a Tiger Christian and a new beginning,” said Island.
She said of Pogue’s leadership style, “Leaders do not force people to follow. They invite them on the journey. Dr. Pogue had the courage to stand alone and the compassion to listen to others.”
Pogue said of the GSU Day service, “I wish I could bottle and patent the spirit felt here today and take it around the world.”
Pogue said God was involved in the founding and creation of Grambling. To prove his point, he spoke about slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow laws.
He said GSU was founded to provide a quality education for all who wanted to learn. “HBCU’s never had laws that discriminated. The God in us has not taught us to hate anyone. We do not teach our children to hate,” said Pogue.
“We have always wanted fair treatment, access to goods and services and respect. There used to be 137 HBCU’s. Now there are 103,” he said.
Thousands of pre-K – 12 schools, located in black communities, have been closed. Pogue said, “Schools that served blacks was thought to be inferior to those that served whites. Young people, you need to know we don’t want the same things to happen to our HBCU’s. HBCU’s are needed now more than ever. Blacks and Hispanics are most often underprepared for college.”
Pogue said that because they have done it, HBCU’s can show the world how to prepare the growing underprepared populations.
He spoke about how GSU has grown from one main building to over 100 buildings, 200 acres to 445, 105 students to 5,100, one major to 67 degree programs, no out-of-state or international students to students from 42 states and over 400 international students from 35 countries.
The worship center is lead by Bishop A. Bryan Smith and his wife Glenda. Pogue presented both of them with GSU pins, and the Smiths and the CCWC family gave Pogue gifts for him and his wife.
Miss Grambling State University, Solange N. Sayers, delivered a message about unity, God’s blessings and the great things offered by GSU.
“Everyone has a gift. GSU is the place where we find ourselves and are molded into what God wants us to be,” she said.
“If we do not have a united front, there is no way we can survive as people. Please encourage freshmen. Sometimes all it takes is a simple hello. Extending a hand can go a long way,” said Sayers, a St. Lucia native majoring in nursing.
One highlight of the program was GSU student Daunte Borner’s mime routine to Daryl Coley’s “When Sunday Comes.” The audience was so moved by his performance, they gave him a standing ovation.
Stephen Woods, who plays drums at CCWC and in the Tiger Marching Band said it was a very educational and enlightening experience.
“This was a powerful program. I liked the different performances and Dr. Pogue’s speech. This was a good way to recruit and get supporters for Grambling,” said Woods.
Gloria Mays, a 1989 graduate of GSU and member of CCWC since 1997, said the goal of GSU day was to highlight the impact GSU has in the community.
“This is a good way to recruit and an opportunity for students to see people who graduated from GSU who are still contributing to the community,” she said.
“It was powerful. I liked the different performances and Dr. Pogue’s speech. Also, it was a good way to get recruits and supporters,” said the Houston native and music education major.
GSU day was a day of unity for all. Also, in attendance were graduates of Louisiana Tech University and Alcorn State University.