Grambling State University

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"Grambling" redirects here. For the town in which this university is located, see Grambling, Louisiana.
Grambling State University
Grambling State University seal.png
Former names
Colored Industrial and
   Agricultural School
North Louisiana Agricultural
   and Industrial School
Louisiana Negro Normal
   and Industrial Institute
Grambling College
Motto Where Everybody is Somebody
Established 1901
Type Public, HBCU
Endowment $4.5 million
President Willie D. Larkin
Provost Janet Guyden, Interim
Students 4,504[1]
Undergraduates 3,524[1]
Postgraduates 980[1]
Location Grambling, Louisiana, U.S.
Campus Rural
Colors Black & Gold
Athletics NCAA Division I FCSSWAC
Nickname Gram
Mascot Tiger
Affiliations UL System
GSU logo.PNG

Grambling State University (GSU) is a historically black, public, coeducational university, located in Grambling, Louisiana. The university is the home of late head football coach Eddie Robinson, and is listed on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. The university is a member-school of the University of Louisiana System and Thurgood Marshall College Fund.


Bust of Charles P. Adams, the founder and first president of Grambling State University

Grambling State was founded in 1901 and accredited in 1949. The school became Grambling College in 1946 named after a white sawmill owner, Judson H. Grambling, who donated a parcel of land for the school to be constructed. With the addition of graduate departments, Grambling gained university status in 1974. Grambling State University emerged from the desire of African-American farmers in rural north Louisiana who wanted to educate other African Americans in the northern part of the state. In 1896, the North Louisiana Colored Agriculture Relief Association was formed to organize and operate a school. After opening a small school west of what is now the town of Grambling, the Association requested assistance from Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Charles P. Adams, sent to aid the group in organizing an industrial school, became its founder and first president.

Under Adams’ leadership, the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School opened on November 1, 1901. Four years later, the school moved to its present location and was renamed the North Louisiana Agricultural and Industrial School. By 1928, the school was able to offer two-year professional certificates and diplomas after becoming a state junior college. The school was renamed Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial Institute.

In 1936, the program was reorganized to emphasize rural education. It became known as "The Louisiana Plan" or "A Venture in Rural Teacher Education." Professional teaching certificates were awarded when a third year was added in 1936, and the first baccalaureate degree was awarded in 1944 in elementary education. The institution’s name was changed to Grambling College in 1946 in honor of a white sawmill owner, P.G. Grambling, who donated a parcel of land for the school. Thereafter, the college prepared secondary teachers and added curricula in sciences, liberal arts and business. With these programs in effect, the school was transformed from a single purpose institution of teacher education into a multipurpose college. In 1949, the college was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The Grambling science building is one of twenty-six public structures in Louisiana constructed by the contractor George A. Caldwell.[2] In 1974, the addition of graduate programs in early childhood and elementary education gave the school a new status and a new name – Grambling State University.

From 1977 to 2000, the university grew and prospered. Several new academic programs were incorporated and new facilities were added to the 384-acre (1.55 km2) campus, including a business and computer science building, school of nursing, student services building, stadium, stadium support facility and an intramural sports center. In 2006, Grambling State was the setting for the Black Entertainment Television network docudrama "Season of the Tiger," which chronicled the daily lives of members of the football team and marching band throughout the 2005 season.

State Representative George B. Holstead of Ruston, whose grandfather had been instrumental in the founding of Louisiana Tech, worked to increase state appropriations for both Louisiana Tech and Grambling State University during his legislative tenure from 1964-1980.[3]

Grambling State is accredited by 18 separate accrediting associations, a member in good standing in 20 organizations and is 100% accredited in all of the programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents.[4]

GSU presidents[edit]

Following the first university president Charles P. Adams, Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones became the second president and the highly successful baseball coach from 1936 until his retirement in 1977. Five presidents served from 1977 to 2001: Dr. Joseph Benjamin Johnson, Dr. Harold W. Lundy, Dr. Raymond Hicks, Dr. Leonard Haynes III and Dr. Steve A. Favors. The advent of a new millennium and the beginning of a second century of service ushered in Grambling State University’s first female president, Dr. Neari Francois Warner. Warner served a three-year interim term. Dr. Horace Judson, who became the institution’s seventh president in 2004, led the most ambitious 5-year campaign to rebuild the institution's facilities. On Wednesday, October 21, 2009, Judson announced his resignation effective October 31, 2009. Dr. Frank Pogue, who became the institution’s eighth president in 2009. On April 4, 2014, Pogue announced his retirement effective June 30, 2014. Dr. Cynthia S. Warrick became Grambling's second female president, serving a one-year interim term starting on July 1, 2014 and ending on July 1, 2015. The current and ninth president is Dr. Willie D. Larkin.


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[5] RNP (South)
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[6] 79

There are four main colleges which include the following:[7]

  • College of Art & Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Professional & Graduate Studies

In addition, there is the Lester Earl Honors College available for undergraduate students (of any major) with above average academic records. Also an Army ROTC program for undergraduate students interested in a college curriculum with a military foundation.

Student life[edit]


The "Tiger" at the entrance to Grambling State University

The Grambling Tigers represent Grambling State University in NCAA intercollegiate athletics. Grambling's sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (Football Championship Subdivision for football) in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Currently, the Grambling State University Department of Athletics sponsors Men's Intercollegiate football, along with men's and women's basketball, baseball, track & field, softball, golf, soccer, tennis, bowling and volleyball.

Grambling State's long held rivals are their south Louisiana foe Southern, Prairie View A&M, and Texas Southern.

Student body[edit]

As of 2014, 40% of GSU's student body is from out-of-state; Texas, California, and Illinois are the three largest feeder states. 60% of the student body is female, 40% is male. 91% of the student body identify as black, 9% identify as non-black.[8]

Marching band[edit]

GSU's World Famed Tiger Marching Band is a historic marching band with many special accolades and accomplishments. For instance, they are the only collegiate marching band in the nation to perform at two consecutive presidential inaugurations.[9] "World Famed" was founded in 1926 and is one of the premier ambassadors of the university. One of the band's most anticipated traditions is the nationally televised "Battle of The Bands" against Southern University's Human Jukebox marching band during Bayou Classic weekend in the Superdome. The yearly event attracts tens of thousands of alumni, fans, and spectators.[10]

"World Famed" is led by two drum majors and features a dance line from the Orchesis Dance Company.

GSU media[edit]

The Gramblinite is the university's weekly student newspaper that is consistently recognized as a top competitor at journalism competitions.[11][12] KGRM Tiger Radio 91.5 FM is a 24 hour student run radio station that provides a variety of music, news, sports and public affairs programming.[13]

Notable GSU alumni[edit]

Alumni of Grambling State include numerous MLB, NBA and NFL players, public officials, journalists, businessmen and artists, including NFL Hall of FamerWillie Brown of the Oakland Raiders, eight-time Mr. Olympia winner Ronnie Coleman, as well as actress Natalie Desselle-Reid. Grammy-winner Erykah Badu attended Grambling State University and once served as a campus Queen. New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow is also an alumnus. Alumna Pinkie C. Wilkerson, served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1992 until her death in an automobile accident on August 1, 2000.Super Bowl XXII MVP quarterback Doug Williams is not only an alumnus, but previously served as the Tigers head football coach. West coast bay area rap artist E-40 also attended Grambling State University. Alumnus Ahmad Terry is the former Rocky Mountain News Staff photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner 2000 and 2003. *Pulitzer Prize winning graduate Stephanie Finley was nominated as U.S. Attorney for Louisiana's Western District by President Barack Obama. Award winning and world-renowned jazz artist Michael Thomas is a Grambling alumnus and was a member of the Tiger Marching Band along with jazz artists Lovett Hines and Bob French. Professor Alma Dawson,B.S., is a scholar of library and information science who held the Russell B. Long Professorship at Louisiana State University. The writer Judi-Ann Mason was a double major graduate of Grambling. She began her writing career at GSU by winning two major playwrighting awards through the American College Theatre Festival. As a sophomore, her first full-length play, "Livin' Fat" won the Norman Lear award. In her senior year, her script "A Star Aint Nothin But a Hole in Heaven" won the first Lorraine Hansberry Award. As part of the prize, she worked for several years with the Lear organization writing for the TV sitcom, "Good Times." She later was named the head writer for the black soap opera "Generations," and went on to write the screenplay for the film, Sister Act II. Mason died in 2009 at the age of 54. In the fictional 1975 film Cooley High, main character Richard "Cochise" Morris (played by actor Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs), is tragically murdered after being notified that he'd been awarded a basketball scholarship to Grambling. N. Burl Cain, warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary, has a master's degree in criminal justice from Grambling. In the TV Series Magnum, P.I., Theodore "T.C" Calvin (played by actor Roger E. Mosley) was a 1968 graduate of then Grambling College.



  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Headcount Enrollment Summary" (PDF). Louisiana Board of Regents. September 25, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-20. 
  2. ^ "Caldwell, George A.". Louisiana Historical Association, A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. Retrieved December 21, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Descendants of Lemuel Holstead". Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Grambling State University - About /us". 
  5. ^ "Regional Universities Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ "The Washington Monthly Master's University Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Grambling State University - Academics". 
  8. ^ "2014-15 Grambling State University Fact Book" (PDF). Grambling State University. Retrieved 2015-09-23. 
  9. ^ "Playing for the President, Grambling Marching Band to Return to Washington". 
  10. ^ "Grambling and Southern clash at Battle of the Bands". WGNO. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^

External links[edit]