MLK luncheon honors leaders


Grambling awarded five recipients  and one company at the Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Leadership Award Luncheon.

The lunch was held in the Black and Gold Room in the Favrot Student Union. The guest list was full of many political figures of Grambling and surrounding areas, including democrate distrct 67 representative Patricia Haynes-Smith, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and Mayor of Arcadia Eugene Smith. All but Haynes-Smith was honored. 

Mayo received the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Award. He has helped sponsor multiple jobs and internships for high school and college students as well as his sponsoring of the city of Monroe’s “Partnerships in Education” program.

“I’m both honored and humbled to receive such a prestigious award especially from a prestigious university such as Grambling State University,” said Mayo. “I thank the world of Dr. Pogue and this university we want to heighten our support of Grambling State University.”

Smith, along with his wife Billie, also received the Fannie Lou Hamer Award for their community service contributions. Smith is a graduate of Louisiana Tech who has contributed to scholarships for Grambling students, and works to improve economic development and fiscal accountability of the school. 

“It feels wonderful. I’ve never dreamed that I would receive such a prestigious award, and I’m real proud of it,” said Smith. 

The Eddie G. Robinson Sports Award was presented to Willis Reed.

“It’s a great honor, Coach Rob was a great man, he’s done a lot of things for Grambling,” said Reed. “He was visionary like Dr. King. His contributions have really helped blacks across the world in terms of what they are able to do in the world of sports.” 

Willis was a stand out basketball player for Grambling from 1960-64. He led Grambling to three SWAC Championships as well as the NAIA Championship. The New York Knicks drafted Reed in 1964. Reed won two championships with the Knicks in 1970 and 1973.  Willis was also awarded MVP of both of those games.