As the beginning of fall semester rolls in, the Tom Joyner Foundation announced Grambling State University as its September School of the Month.
The announcement was made via social media on Sept. 1.
In the past six years, the university’s state funding has declined tremendously. In response, President Frank G. Pogue and his administration have been working to raise money to keep students enrolled and the institution alive, which the foundation noted.
“It’s always nice to be tied to the Tom Joyner Foundation because it brings such national exposure to Grambling State University,” said Pogue.
“We’re thrilled to have a chance to get our name out there, and to encourage friends and supporters to help us provide a good education for our students.”
According to Will Sutton, acting public relations and communications director, 68 percent of students receive various forms of financial assistance to pay for tuition at Grambling. Pogue said the university has more than 40 percent of students who are not from Louisiana, and “a healthy number of students from abroad.”
For the month of September, the Tom Joyner Morning Show will promote Grambling through the radio show. Any donations made by listeners will be given to the university. Neil Foote, who is over media relations for the Tom Joyner Foundation Inc., told The Gramblinite in an e-mail that the funds raised will help Grambling in many ways.
“Giving a $1,500 Hercules Scholarship to talented male students, improving buildings, and other facilities on campus and overall improvement of the school,” said Foote when describing where the allocated funds will go.
Joyner, the radio personality who started the foundation-gained fame from his morning show that is aired in 115 markets in the nation and reaches 8 million listeners weekly. Over the past 15 years, Joyner has raised over $60 million, and his foundation has worked with every HBCU to help keep students enrolled.
According to Debra Johnson, the university’s alumni association is helping promote this opportunity for Grambling in getting the word out. The alumni affairs director, who is also interim associate vice president for development, has challenged alumni to contribute to Grambling’s scholarship fundraising efforts.
“Our national alumni association and member chapters, along with alums around the country, are ecstatic about what we are going to do this month,” Johnson said, “and excited about the opportunity to have a national audience hear about the great things happening at Grambling State University, the place Where Everybody is Somebody.”
GSU student Micah Gholston found out the news from Twitter. The foundation – (@TomJoynerFound) – tweeted, “And our September School of the Month is … *drum roll* Grambling State University! #GSU #Grambling #SchooloftheMonth #RT.”
“I believe that this is a big accomplishment for Grambling,” said the senior psychology major. “To be recognized as HBCU for the month of September shows that we don’t let budget cuts predict our future.”
Recent graduate Erina Love echoed Gholston’s thoughts when she heard the news. Now residing in Houston, Love told The Gramblinite, “To be selected as school of the month is a great opportunity in the efforts of raising money to continue to better the university.”
“As a new alumna, it gives me great pleasure to see good things happening to and for my alma mater.”
The last time the Tom Joyner Foundation named Grambling its school of the month was September 2011.