With faculty, administration, students and alumni, members of the Criminal Justice Department, both present and past, celebrated 40 years of excellence at Grambling State University during Grambling State University’s Homecoming activities.
The event held in the Betty E. Smith Nursing Auditorium on Friday, Oct. 17, was a Homecoming reunion and fundraiser where alumni returned to their alma mater to mingle with students, share success stories and celebrate four decades worth of service at GSU. Items such as autographed footballs, portraits of Eddie G. Robinson and gift baskets were just a few items raffled in a silent auction. The department was able to raise over $15000, which will go towards criminal justice majors and organizations such as Alpha Phi Sigma Inc.
“I thought it was an awesome program,” said Mae Conley, a 28-year criminal justice professor at GSU. “Our students were exposed to what they can accomplish if they work hard in the classroom,” said Conley, a graduate of Mississippi Valley State. “I was so proud when I saw all my prior students come back and flash their success with the present students.”
On the program were several speakers whom since attended Grambling and are now prominent figures in the criminal justice field. One of the speakers, Nicole Sinegar is one out of 147 African American woman in FBI, which has only 500 African Americans altogether. In total, there are 13000 agents and that is just one of the accomplishments achieved by the alumni. Each speaker’s message was different but the topic, nevertheless, remained the same sharing words of encouragement and valuable info about securing a job with the federal government.
“It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know,” said Keith Brach, a GSU alumni whom is now the assistant director of residential services at Esquire in Houston. “Network, dare to be different.”
“Success is a formula, not a fantasy,” said Reller Jones, a former criminal justice professor and now campus volunteer at GSU.
The alumni speakers wanted students to be proactive in their studies as well as utilize their time in college wisely. They shared with the students their experiences at GSU as well as knowledge about the different criminal justice fields.
“Listening to the alumni, I learned about some of the requirements I need to be successful,” said Deandrea Federick, a sophomore criminal justice major from Bossier City.
Although each speaker’s message lamented similar meaning, what each student took away from it differed.
“I learned that when you go in for an interview, you are interviewing before you even open your mouth and speak to someone,” said Amber Williams, a senior criminal justice major from Dallas. “It’s about who you know to get you in the door and what you know to keep you there.”
The alumni that came back to Grambling to celebrate this event represented government agencies well because there were so many different branches from state troopers to special agents to border patrol and so on. Not only did the alumni donate time but also they each donated an allocated cash amount back to the department.
“It just goes to show the foundation of Grambling State University is always willing to help each other,” said Conley about the success of the event. “As proud as I was, it was a humbling experience because all of our students came back and they didn’t have to. With all of their success they still wanted to give back to the students.”