Legacy Alumnus Harmona Epps was indoctrinated with Grambling tradition by her mother and family, so it was normal that she desired to help Grambling State University during a challenging financial time. Late last month, just before the Bayou Classic, Epps asked GSU President Frank G. Pogue to join her and other alumni in the Dallas area for a special Skype call.
Epps and the group told President Pogue they had raised $27,500 in donations and pledges – and that they were not stopping.
“Our goal to raise $250,000 by Homecoming 2014,” said Epps. “My mom graduated from Grambling in 1962 and she has been a long time supporter. So that has been instilled in me.”
Ecstatic with the generosity of alumni helping the university by giving back, Pogue said he graciously and enthusiastically accepted the donations and pledges on a recent Saturday morning, especially since “it wasn’t our normal telephone call.”
“I’ve gotten to know Harmona during my time at GSU, and I’ve known she worked to provide for the black and gold school she loves so much, but I didn’t imagine anything like this,” said Pogue. “This is an excellent example for other alumni. If you want to help your university, even if you have complaints or concerns, write a check.”
“I hope others will see this Dallas example and follow suit,” added President Pogue.
About $8,500 in actual donations was raised that night, and Epps assured the president that the pledges were real and will come through.
Using alumni caterers and musicians to contribute to the fundraising house party was hosted at Epps’ home in Dallas, everyone invited was responsible for inviting 10 friends, each with donations or a pledge to help Grambling State.
Debra Johnson, GSU’s interim executive director of external affairs, said the Dallas group has not stopped. They reported that the amount raised is now above $30,000.
Epps said she saw coverage of an interview between Pogue and the Rev. Jesse Jackson and was inspired to host a “house party,” something mentioned by Jackson during his weekly Sunday morning broadcast. The alumna added that her “partner-in-crime” GSU 1975 alum Greta Burton played a major role as she worked “tirelessly” to help alumni identify corporate matching fund opportunities.
“I hope it teaches that Mandela’s work and teachings do not become depleted but instead serve as motivation to become the change that we wish to see in the world,” Hammond said.