Tom Joyner visits GSU


It was time for a celebration at Grambling State University. It’s not every day the school gets $50,000 for student scholarships. 

GSU students welcomed nationally syndicated radio show host Tom Joyner with “We Love Tom Joyner” and “Thanks Allstate” signs as he dropped off the big check. 

The World Famed Tiger Marching Band led the crowd with a loud, bouncing and rocking tune as GSU cheerleaders led Joyner down the aisle to the stage in the T.H. Harris Auditorium to celebrate Grambling State winning the Allstate and Tom Joyner Foundation “Quotes for Education” national HBCU competition.

Of the scores of HBCUs participating, Grambling State had the most school spirit, winning $50,000 for deserving students. Each of the 32 students receiving a $1,000 scholarship was introduced. Some of the students were on the verge of dropping out of school, struggling to pay tuition balances. 

The balance of the scholarship money will be used to recruit freshmen and transfer students for the fall semester. 

Thomas Joyner Jr., president of the Tom Joyner foundation, said the partnership between the Tom Joyner Foundation and Allstate is an important one, and GSU is benefitting. He said the foundation doesn’t have “a lot of generous partners like Allstate” and he applauds their continued support for HBCUs

Joyner Jr. also congratulated Grambling State and its supporters for garnering the largest number of Allstate insurance quotes. Participants had the opportunity to seek an insurance quote and Allstate donated $10 to each identified HBCU for each quote.

“Every semester I have a balance of more than $2,000,” said Raven Croft, 20, a junior marketing major from Dallas. “My parents work extremely hard to make sure I can return to GSU to continue my education. 

I go back home to work every winter and summer break to do my part. 

This scholarship will alleviate some stress on me and my family. I am extremely grateful.” 

The Allstate Scholars maintained grade point averages of 3.0 or higher, wrote an essay and showed financial need.  

“I am grateful and blessed,” said Jasmine Hobdy, 20, a junior criminal justice and psychology major from Alexandria, La. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am motivated to continue my dedication to academic excellence.” Students included athletes, international students and Earl Lester Cole Honors College members and a range of classifications and majors. 

Joyner, a Tuskegee University graduate, believes it’s his responsibility to protect HBCUs and their students. He comes from a long family line of HBCUs graduates, dating back to his grandparents, and vows his grandchildren will attend HBCUs. He said he understands the trials GSU students face, and he’s heard similar stories at other HBCUs. He said he wants students to have “one less worry” after getting an Allstate scholarship.

“If I don’t, who will” support HBCUs, said Joyner. 

Since 1998, the Tom Joyner Foundation has helped more than 21,000 students and raised more than $65 million. Joyner is one of the most recognizable supporters of HBCUs

To win the Allstate competition, it took thousands of GSU faculty, students, alumni and supporters voting online in a nationwide competition for their favorite HBCUs. All of the votes were tallied and the HBCU will the most votes won. Voting started in August and ended at the end of November. 

 “I am extremely proud how we came together as a university to impact our students,” Miss Grambling Ambra Brice said. 

As the event started, the skies were dark, cloudy and it was pouring. One student scholar put it in context. 

“Although it’s raining outside, it’s a great day in Grambling,” Mahalia Jackson, 18, a freshman computer science major from Jonesboro.