Recipients receive MLK awards



Grambling State University award recipients include Monroe mayor, state elected officials, an Arcadia couple, an NBA legend and Shreveport Federal Credit Union are among those to be honored on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Grambling State University announces six illustrious recipients will be presented awards at the third annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Leadership Awards Luncheon. 

“We’re pleased to have a particularly strong group of honorees this year,” said GSU President Frank G. Pogue, who started the luncheon tradition. “Having Arcadia and Monroe mayors, a state representative and a state senator, a woman who stands tall in her community and a basketball legend all in one place at the same time as we honor Dr. King and kick off Black History Month is truly remarkable. We invite the community to join us as we celebrate what these incredible citizens have done.”

GSU and NBA basketball legend Willis Reed will receive the Eddie G. Robinson Sports Award and Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo will be one of the Fannie Lou Hamer Community Service and Leadership award recipients. A couple of area elected officials, state Sen. Rick Gallot and state Rep. Patrick Jefferson will also receive Hamer awards, as will Arcadia Mayor and Mrs. Eugene Smith. The Shreveport Federal Credit Union will be recognized with the Madame C.J. Walker Business award. The luncheon is scheduled for 11 a.m. on GSU campus in the Black and Gold Room of the Favrot Student Union. 

A member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Reed played GSU Tiger basketball from 1960-1964 then he went on to be a professional basketball player, coach and general manager. During his career, he showed much determination and perseverance against any and all prejudices as he set records, broke records and became a professional basketball legend.

A strong GSU supporter, Mayo has been Monroe’s mayor since June 2001. A native of Mer Rouge in Morehouse Parish, he graduated from Bastrop High School in Bastrop. A graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, the mayor’s son and daughter graduated from Grambling State.  As mayor of Monroe, Mayo has blazed paths for future African American leaders with his commitment to serve, his determination and his courage.

Gallot, a GSU graduate who also graduated from Southern University’s law school, represents District 29. With his work in the Louisiana Senate, he, along with Rep. Patrick Jefferson, were instrumental in sponsoring a bill which led to legislative approval of the GSU-West Campus acquisition, a tremendous asset to the university.  Jefferson represents state District 11 and is a Homer-based attorney. The Dillard University graduate was elected in 2011. 

Arcadia Mayor Smith has held his job since 2003. He and his wife, Billie, have been longtime supporters of Grambling.  They are often seen at university events together and contribute to various fundraising efforts.  The university is appreciative of their staunch support of higher education. 

The business award recipient, the Shreveport Federal Credit Union, is being honored for the institution’s commitment to higher education and its sustained financial support of GSU’s academic and athletic programs. Helen Godfrey-Smith, the credit union’s president and CEO, chairs the Grambling University Foundation. The credit union has eight locations in Louisiana and in Mississippi, including an office on Edith Rose Lane in Grambling, just off the GSU campus.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Leadership award recognizes persons who, through their service to Grambling State University, the state, region and country, exemplify King’s character, leadership and selflessness. Each honoree must have been personally or corporately involved in making tangible, visible and meaningful contributions to the advancement of race relations and/or human rights causes in one or more of the following areas, including but not limited to: the arts, business, education, justice, community service and leadership, religion, science and technology and athletics. 

A limited number of tickets are available for $10 per person. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Rose Wright in the Office of Institutional Advancement, 100 Robinson Street, on the university campus, across from the Army ROTC building. Or, call or email Wright at 318-274-2217 or  Tickets will be available until 11 a.m. on Jan. 31. No tickets will be sold at the door.