Ruston’s Roberts ready to call Techsters basketball games

Louisiana Tech Athletics announced Thursday that Ruston native and University alum Kyle Roberts will be the next “Voice” of the Lady Techster Basketball program. LPJ caught up to Kyle to ask him about his newest endeavor.

Question: What does it personally mean to be the voice of the Lady Techsters?

Answer: Lady Techster basketball is incredibly meaningful to me. As someone who practically grew up in the Thomas Assembly Center, I have been a proud fan of the program my entire life. To be able to take over play-by-play duties for one of the most historic women’s college basketball programs is truly humbling, and I do not take that lightly.

Question: You have some deep connections to Louisiana Tech. Tell us about those?

Answer: I bleed Tech blue. I received both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from my alma mater. From 2005-09, I served in the media relations department serving under Malcolm Butler. In those four years, I learned so much about how and why relationships matter. It has prepared me for the many roles I serve today. Overall, Louisiana Tech is a standard bearer for excellence, and I attempt to live that value out in everything I do.

Question: For those that don’t know, who is Kyle Roberts?

Answer: I am a believer, husband, and father, in that order. My wonderful wife, Dr. Judith Roberts, is a mass communications professor at the university and we are proud parents to two future Lady Techsters, Alice and Penny. I am the Chief Marketing Officer for The Center for Children and Families, which is based in Monroe, La., and I am the worship leader at a multi-generational, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic church plant in Ruston called “The Springs.” I have been incredibly blessed to have many opportunities to serve my community, regardless of what those opportunities may look like.

Question: What is your background in radio?

Answer: I was very fortunate to start in 2004 as a co-host for Fox & Company. Through that opportunity, I served as the color commentator for Cedar Creek High School football that same year alongside Nick White. A couple of years later, I served as the play-by-play for West Ouachita High School and was then offered to be the voice of the Ruston Bearcats in 2010. I have been doing Ruston football ever since. And in that time, I have been able to fill in for Dave Nitz and Malcolm Butler for Louisiana Tech men’s and women’s basketball, respectively, to accommodate any scheduling conflicts.

Question: What are you looking forward to the most?

Answer: I have some enormous shoes to fill. Malcolm has set a high bar for women’s basketball broadcasting, and it’s a terrific honor to be chosen for this role. I’m mostly excited about my family having even more exposure to this powerhouse program and the people involved in it. I can’t wait to work with head coach Brooke Stoehr and her staff and watch these talented young women give their best on the court. I’ll certainly be giving my best from the broadcast booth.

PHOTO:  Kyle Roberts, his wife Dr. Judith Roberts, and their children.


Lincoln-Ruston Chamber of Commerce celebrates Grace & Grit at Ribbon Cutting

The Lincoln-Ruston Chamber of Commerce held a Ribbon Cutting to celebrate Grace & Grit.


About the Lincoln-Ruston Chamber of Commerce

With roots stretching back to 1919, the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce has served the needs of the business community, and in turn the community at large, in a variety of capacities.

What began as an organization formed to represent the needs of the business community has evolved into a multi-disciplinary membership service organization and sales and public relations agency representing not only Ruston but all of Lincoln Parish.

Your Chamber is the vehicle that pulls together volunteers from all segments of the community with the purpose and intent of making our community the best it can be relative to the business climate, political process and the many facets of that measurement known as “quality of life.” Through its Board of Directors, the Chamber acts as a de facto legislative body for area businesses, adopting policies and resolutions conducive to producing a strong local economy.

Add to the above the realms of business, tourism and relocation information we distribute every day by mail, email and phone, the seminars held for the benefit of our members, the enormous networking opportunities provided to local businesses and individuals, and the countless times we serve daily as someone’s initial contact with our community, and you begin to see the tip of the iceberg that is your Chamber at work. Multiply this by 90+ years of serving the community and you begin to see the significance of the impact of the Chamber of Commerce.


Fleeing Driver Dies in Lincoln Parish Crash, Impairment Suspected

Dubach – On July 28, 2021, shortly before 9:00 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop F responded to a single-vehicle fatal crash on Forsythe Road, east of U.S. Hwy 167. This crash claimed the life of the unrestrained driver, who was fleeing from law enforcement and is suspected of being impaired.

The initial investigation revealed a 2000 Dodge Ram, driven by 20-year-old Tyler Brazzel, of Bernice, was being pursued by Bernice Police Department for a traffic violation. Brazzel was traveling south on U.S. Hwy 167, at a high rate of speed, before making a turn onto Forsythe Road. For reasons still under investigation, he lost control of the vehicle, and it began to roll over.

Brazzel was ejected and pronounced dead on the scene. A passenger inside the vehicle, who was properly restrained, was not injured.

This crash remains under investigation. Toxicology samples were obtained and will be submitted for analysis.

Buckling up is the most effective way to protect yourself during a vehicle crash. Failure to take a few seconds to buckle up can have devastating consequences. Louisiana law requires every person in a vehicle, regardless of seating position, to be properly restrained day or night.

In 2021, Troop F has investigated 31 fatal crashes resulting in 38 deaths.

Contact Information:
M/T Michael Reichardt
Louisiana State Police
Public Affairs Section
Office: (318) 345-2810
michael.reichardt@la.gov


Crown Club of Ruston is Recruiting High School Members

Crown Club of Ruston is accepting new high school members! If interested in joining, you are invited to our second summer informational meeting on Aug. 8 at 3pm at Origin Bank, located at 1511 N. Trenton St in Ruston.

You will have the chance to meet current teenage members, learn what Crown Club is, what we do for our community, and how you can get involved. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to be a part of an amazing organization! Bring a friend, a co-worker, a family member, or come alone; we will be thrilled to have you.

You can learn more about Crown Club by visiting our website http://www.jaofruston.org or “follow us” on Facebook. Online applications can be found on our website also. Application deadline is Aug. 22.

You can email questions to crownclub@jaofruston.org.

Crown Club is a project of JA of Ruston and is a 501c3 organization. We are a local division of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries.


Ponderings – July 30, 2021

I want to give you a Greek lesson. With the Olympics going on you need to know that the Greek word for “victory” is “Nike.” Yes, the tennis shoe is translated, “victory.” Most folks know that Nike has the “swoosh” as their logo. If you don’t know about the swoosh, Google it. Let’s review the set up for this article. The Greek word for “victory” is “Nike” and the logo for Nike is the “swoosh.” You also need to know the New Testament was originally written in Greek.

Nearly a decade ago we rescued four puppies abandoned on the side of the road. The three males were adopted out quickly. The fourth one, a little female, we kept. We named her Dora because her first night with us she walked the perimeter of the yard. She was “Dora the explorer.” Dora nearly died a couple of times on us. She was a very sick little puppy. We think she started life blind and with some neurological issues. More than once, the vet told me, “I’m not sure this puppy is going to live.”

I’m a stubborn person and I wasn’t going to let Dora die. With the vet’s help and lots of puppy medicine. Dora made it. The sickly puppy now looks like boudin stuffed into fur. She runs, barks, digs, and wrestles any Labrador Retriever who is available. She is very much a normal dog. She is very much alive! She was victorious over her early challenges.

Early in her life, we noticed a bald spot growing on one of her hind quarters. In the middle of the bald spot was a black marking. The black marking wasn’t the scar from something. I don’t think it is anything hurtful. She doesn’t seem bothered by this bald spot with the mark. It is just a part of Dora the dog.

As she has grown and the mark has grown, the mark looks more and more like the Nike swoosh! Dora certainly earned her swoosh. She was victorious over the infection that threatened her little life. She was victorious despite overwhelming odds against her. I don’t know what it is, but it appears Dora has a permanent Nike swoosh on her body. Each time she goes to a new vet, they note the “scar” on her leg. It’s not a scar, it is the sign of victory! I always tell them the story of Dora’s victory.

You have a Nike swoosh imprinted on your soul. When you make Jesus your Lord and Savior, He gives you victory. In Christ, you have already won the victory over sin and death.

Live each day fully because through Jesus, you are a winner.


Opening ceremony this evening at 6 as Dixie Debs World Series comes to Ruston

First pitch is Saturday morning at 9 at the Ruston Sports Complex, but the excitement begins this evening at 6 with the 2021 Dixie Debs World Series Opening Ceremony at Railroad Park in downtown Ruston.

State champion softball teams from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana (Alexandria), South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia are in the double-elimination tournament along with the host Ruston team. The players are ages 16-18, with each squad fielding a 12-girl roster.

The opening ceremony begins at 6 and is free to all. Entertainment will be provided by local band Mourning Moon. Boudin and meat pie boats from Ponchatoulas will be on sale along with Kona Ice and refreshments. New Louisiana Tech softball coach Josh Taylor will be the keynote speaker after each team carries its state flag on stage during the festivities.

Competition begins Saturday morning at 9 at Complex C, fields 3 and 4, located at 708 Tournament Drive at the sparkling Ruston Sports Complex. Complex C is at the northeast corner of the complex near the old airport.

Tickets are $7 daily or $25 for an all-tournament pass and will be sold at the Complex C ticket windows. The World Series wraps up with a Tuesday evening 6 o’clock championship game on Field 4.

The tournament bracket and much more information is available on Facebook on the 2021 Dixie Debs World Series-Ruston page – https://www.facebook.com/Dixie-Debs-World-Series-2021-Ruston-106794328075315/

Game results on the bracket and additional information will be continually updated on the Facebook page throughout the World Series.

Georgia is the defending champion. The 2020 World Series did not have a full field due to pandemic issues.

Saturday’s first-round schedule begins at 9 a.m. with South Carolina taking on Virginia and the Louisiana state champion team from Alexandria facing Alabama. The 11 a.m. games pit Texas against North Carolina while Georgia meets Florida. At 1 p.m. on Field 4, the Ruston squad takes on Tennessee to wrap up the Day One slate.

Competition resumes Sunday at 9 a.m. The Monday semifinal rounds start at 4 p.m. with the championship contest providing the only action Tuesday, with the 6 o’clock first pitch.

The Ruston Dixie Softball Association is the host organization, led by co-presidents Jade Cannon and Stephanie Whitten.

“I’d like to encourage readers to come out and support these girls during the World Series,” said Whitten. “We are going to see some really good softball being played, and it will be fun to watch all teams.”

The event has been organized for months and the responsiveness from Ruston and the surrounding area has been very gratifying, setting the stage for a memorable and entertaining World Series.

“We truly appreciate the support from the community. It’s been wonderful, from sponsors to volunteers to the host families,” said Cannon. “An event of this scale takes a lot of volunteer help and our community has stepped up. The City of Ruston and the Ruston Convention and Tourism Bureau have been extremely gracious and helpful.”

With the remarkable host facility and a corps of helpful volunteers and sponsors, the RDSA is extremely eager to put the community’s best foot forward during the next five days.

“We want to show people what we have,” said Cannon, “so hopefully we can do it again.”

PHOTO: Ruston team


Women And Bass Fishing Part I

Today’s article may get me trouble but here it goes. Why are women not more prevalent in the bass fishing tours and why hasn’t their own pro tour taken off. Can women really compete on the pro tour with the men? Boy, these are some interesting questions that I’ll try an answer for you today and hopefully I won’t get myself in a pickle with all my lady friends.

Let’s make one thing clear, without women there probably would not be professional bass fishing tours! Now why is that? Because without the ladies back home holding down the fort, the men would not be able to go fishing! To be a professional bass fisherman, someone has to take care of kids and all their needs from doing homework to dance lessons to baseball practice to piano lessons and so on. Getting the kids up every day and ready for school and making sure they are fed, bathed and ready for bed at a descent hour. Taking care of all the bills rolling in and handling everything by themselves from a leaky faucet to changing a flat tire. This routine takes place every single day by the women who take on the role of being the home CEO. Yes, it’s a tough job and if you talk to any professional angler, they will tell without the women back at home doing all these things and raising the kids, they would not be able to be successful and fish the pro tour. It takes a special lady to be the wife of a professional bass fisherman.

Why aren’t more women fishing the pro tours with the men? As I have just revealed, 98% of the wives/women take care of everything going on in the household. This means that the ladies have less opportunity to get away and go fishing. To fish the professional level, requires a lot of time away from home with speaking engagements, travel, practice days and the 3- or 4-day tournament itself. When it’s all said and done, an angler will be gone from home 10 to 14 days straight at a time; sometimes even up to a month if the schedule calls for back-to-back events. Honestly, most men are not programed to handle the daily household chores and commitments with the kids required to keep a house running smoothly. Yes, this is sad but true! Us men know our limitations!

Now let’s look at women competing against the men. This is where I might get into some hot live well water. First, yes women can catch fish just like the men do but there seems to be a disconnect with catching bigger fish which I feel comes into play because of technique. Most men tend to power fish more than the ladies do. By that I mean men like flip and punch heavy cover like hydrilla, lily pads, deep brush tops and flip bushes with jigs and soft plastic lures; they like to throw big crankbaits all day which can take a physical toll on even the most fit angler. Most of the women I have fished with, tend to be more finesse type fishermen with lighter/smaller lures. A lot of women I’ve noticed really like to use a Carolina rig which is also more of a finesse technique.

Nothing wrong with anything the women are using; it’s just that finesse style fishing tends to produce smaller bags weighed in on tournament day. Trust me, I know there are times when finesse techniques work better for the men as well. But this is not the norm with guys most of the time. Now I know I’ll hear from some lady bass anglers how wrong I am but all I have to go by is what I have observed in my 31 years of tournament experience fishing with the ladies or guiding some of the pro tour ladies for an upcoming event. It’s just like any other sport; women are going to do things a little differently most of the time than men do basically because of our physical makeup. Another thing that gives the men an advantage is the fact that men will more than likely make more casts in a day than the ladies therefore giving them more opportunities to catch more fish again due to the power fishing techniques men tend to use.

Understand, that these are general rules of thumb and there are exceptions to these so-called rules I’ve established. Next week we’ll take a serious look at some of the best women bass anglers of all time. I just want to make sure you understand that I’m not trying to slight the ladies at all, but I want people to understand the reasons why there aren’t more ladies fishing either the women’s pro tour like the LBAA (Lady Bass Anglers Association) or fishing on the men’s tours. Again, without the ladies, it would be very difficult for the men to go fishing and make a living on the pro tour. Till next week, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!

Steve Graf
Owner/Co-host
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show
And Tackle Talk Live


Louisiana Tech announces pay raises for faculty, staff

Louisiana Tech University announced plans on July 29 to implement pay raises for faculty and unclassified staff members.

Faculty and unclassified staff will receive average pay raises of 3 percent, pending approval at the next University of Louisiana System (ULS) Board meeting on Aug. 26.

“Thanks to the support of Gov. Edwards, our Louisiana Legislature, Board of Regents, ULS Board, and Dr. Jim Henderson [System President and CEO], we’re able to plan for these salary adjustments for our employees,” said Dr. Les Guice, Louisiana Tech President. “In this year, we’ve all made increasing salaries for faculty and staff a priority, and I hope that this is the first step in getting those salaries to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) average.”

In accordance with the Department of State Civil Service guidelines, classified employees have received a market pay adjustment effective July 15.

The increase will be effective for fiscal year 2021-22 for eligible professional and academic employees. These raises follow a 4.5 percent increase in faculty and staff salaries in 2018.

“Our faculty and staff are the heart of our University,” Guice said. “Their work helps us achieve the mission of providing an unparalleled learning experience for all of our students.”


Lincoln Community Health Center Provider Spotlight – Monte Moore, CNP

Monte Moore is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner originally from Arkansas and currently living in Ruston. He has almost 30 years of experience as a registered nurse and advanced practice nurse. In his spare time, Monte enjoys fishing and hunting, and exploring the forests and waterways of Louisiana. Additionally, he is a motorcyclist and an avid amateur cook enjoying recreating YouTube cooking video-inspired dishes. He is married and has one child, a 22-year-old son, who is a computer programmer. He is very excited to be a psychiatric practitioner with Winn Community Health, helping provide services to the people of Northwest Louisiana.

Lincoln Community Health Center
1140 South Vienna, Ruston, LA 71270
Phone: 318-224-7190 Fax: 318-224-7194
Monday – Friday: 8:00am – 5:00pm


National accolades come to Ruston HS track coach Allen Whitaker

There have been several Coach of the Year awards deservedly flowing to Ruston High School track and field coach Allen Whitaker this summer, and the latest sparkles a little brighter than the others.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named Whitaker as the Louisiana boys Coach of the Year on Thursday as it released its list of top coaches for boys and girls high school teams in all 50 states.

Whitaker steered the Bearcats to the Class 5A state outdoor championship in May after a state runner-up finish indoors in February.

“It’s all about your support system,” the ever-modest Whitaker posted on his Facebook page. “I have countless people to thank … my assistant coaches, my athletes, the parents, my administrators, my fellow teachers, my family, my wife … it’s a pleasure to serve at Ruston High.”

Winners were selected based on their teams’ performance throughout the 2021 season, not just in state championships. Among the factors taken into consideration were team score and placement at state meets, margin of victory, performance against rankings if available, individual championships and how their teams’ performances compared to previous years.

The Bearcats topped second-place Zachary, the indoor champions, by 82.5-67 at the LHSAA state meet at Bernie Moore Track Stadium on the LSU campus May 8. A pair of runner-up finishes by the RHS boys and girls at the 2015 state meet was the previous high water mark under Whitaker’s guidance in seven seasons as head coach.

The Bearcats won the Region 1-5A championship by nearly doubling the score of runner-up Lafayette High School. The Lady Bearcats were also regional champs, topping Lafayette by 18 points. A total of 25 RHS athletes advanced to the state meet, where the Lady Bearcats finished fourth.

An astonishing 21 Ruston competitors made the composite Louisiana Sports Writers Association All-State team.

The USTFCCA announcement sparked a cascade of praise for Whitaker from current and former team members, colleagues, supporters and others from around the community, state and nation, including legendary former Ruston coach Dave Anderson.

Whitaker’s coaching staff includes Kai Burrell, Dustin Cochran, Kevin Jackson and Brandon Leggio.

Former Louisiana Tech football wide receiver Johnny Giordano won the USTFCCA Louisiana girls coach of the year honor for his work at St. Louis Catholic High School, in his hometown of Lake Charles.

The USTFCCA is headquartered in New Orleans and is led by former LSU assistant coach Sam Seemes. It focuses primarily on collegiate track and field but covers the sport globally.

Photo: Allen Whitaker/Amy Vessel


Humanitarian Enterprises of Lincoln Parish helps families purchase school uniforms

Humanitarian Enterprises of Lincoln Parish (H.E.L.P.) have begun assisting low-income families needing help with the purchase of school uniforms. Appointments can be scheduled on Monday, August 2. Eligibility criteria include (1) Applicant’s ID (2) Proof of total household monthly income (3) Proof of household composition and proof of age for each child aged 18 years or younger and/or Food stamp Printout (4) School Board Demographic sheet. Children attending schools that do not require uniforms are not eligible. Assistance will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis until funds are depleted. Applicants must schedule an appointment by calling (318) 251-5136 or in person at 307 N Homer Street, 2nd Floor, Ruston, LA. Appointments will be scheduled between hours of 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Tuesdays – Thursdays only.


LA Tech Baseball hits academic home run

And the hits just keep coming for Louisiana Tech baseball.

Almost two months after the Bulldogs saw their historic season come to an end on the diamond, three Diamond Dogs hit an academic home run on Thursday.

Steele Netterville, Jonathan Fincher and Hunter Wells were all named to the 2021 CoSIDA Division I Academic All-American team.

How impressive is that?

Louisiana Tech and Stanford tied for the most of any programs in the country this year. The Bulldogs and the Cardinal combined for six of the 33 total CoSIDA Academic All-America baseball honorees.

Even more amazing is it set a record for Louisiana Tech Athletics. Since the inception of the CoSIDA Academic All-American program in the 1970s, the most combined student-athletes that LA Tech Athletics had seen make the Academic All-America team was two accomplished four times (1982, 1983, 1986, 1999).

This is the first time Tech has had three student-athletes in one academic year earn the highest academic honor in college athletics.

“Of all the accomplishments of the 2021 team, this one makes me the most proud,” said Burroughs. “In my opinion, making the Academic All-American Team is one of the hardest things for a student-athlete to accomplish. You have to be very skilled and disciplined in both academics and your sport of choice.”

Maybe even more impressive is that fact that two of the three – Fincher and Wells – earned All-American honors on the playing fields this year as well.

Netterville, a two-time CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District 6 honoree, earned CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America accolades at the designated hitter position. The Shreveport native was named to the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll, a C-USA Academic Medalist and was one of two Bulldogs to earn a spot on the C-USA All-Academic Team earlier this year.

Netterville recently graduated from Louisiana Tech with a degree in biology with a 3.92 GPA. He was also accepted into medical school at LSU-Shreveport in May.

Wells, who earned four All-America honors following a standout final year for the Bulldogs, earned CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-America accolades. The Katy, Texas native was one of four infielders selected to the second team after earning his first CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District 6 honor earlier this month.

Wells earned both his undergraduate degree in supply chain management and his master’s in business administration from Louisiana Tech. Tech’s all-time hits leader graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.55 while completing his MBA.

Fincher, who was named an NCBWA Third Team All-American in June, earned CoSIDA Third Team Academic All-America honors. Fincher, another C.E. Byrd High School alumnus from Shreveport, was one of just six pitchers selected among the three CoSIDA Academic All-America squads.

Along with Wells, Fincher earned his first CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District 6 honor earlier this month. The left-hander recently graduated from Louisiana Tech with a degree in biology with a 3.89 GPA.

“We have had one player in the history of our program make this team (Clint Ewing, 2010) and to have three young men make it in the same year is just remarkable,” said Burroughs. I am so proud of Hunter, Steele and Finch. These guys are remarkable young men with high character and tremendous makeup.”

Louisiana Tech Athletics now boasts a total of 24 Academic All-Americans in its history.


Notice of Death – July 29, 2021

John J. N. Crocker
June 15, 1933 – July 27, 2021
Service:  Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – West Monroe, Friday, July 30, 2021, 10:00 am
Cemetery:  Beulah Cemetery, Friday, July 30, 2021

Howard Leon Holder Sr.
January 5, 1927 – July 28, 2021
Service:  Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – Ruston, Saturday, July 31, 2021, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Cemetery:  Hamilton Cemetery, Saturday, July 31, 2021, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Wilford “Wit” Fitzgerald
September 10, 1931 – July 29, 2021
Visitation:  Kilpatrick Funeral Home Farmerville, Friday, July 30, 2021, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Cemetery:  Farmerville City Cemetery, Saturday, July 31, 2021, 10:00 am – 11:00 am


Gallot Reflects on Five Years as Grambling State University President

On August 1, Rick Gallot will celebrate his fifth year as Grambling State University (GSU) president. During his tenure, the former Louisiana state senator has presided over enrollment and infrastructure growth, shoring up of university finances, and a reboot of the nursing program.
But, overall, what gives him great joy is the success of GSU students.

“The thing that I’m most proud of is the improvement in our first-to-second year retention rate. When I started in 2016, our first-to-second year retention rate was only 60% and we have improved that to 77%,” Gallot said. “When you think about what our core mission is – to educate our students and have them persist in the pursue of a degree – the greatest of all achievements is that our student success rate and retention have improved so significantly.”

When Gallot came in as the 10th president of GSU, the university was on fiscal watch by the Board of Regents.

“Our finances are in better shape than they’ve ever been,” he said. “We’ve had three consecutive years of no findings in our audits.”

In 2017, the university launched an effort to raise $1 million by homecoming through a partnership between GSU, GSU Foundation, Inc. and the GSU National Alumni Association. The funds raised by alumni, students, faculty and business partners from around the country exceeded the goal – generating $1.2 million. The funds went towards institutional growth and the carrying out of the university’s mission, including student scholarships, university stability, faculty support, balancing the budget, and athletic facility improvements.

Later that year, Gallot was honored with the HBCUGrow LEAD award for ”Best Leadership” for his energetic, student-focused approach to leadership and accomplishments, including the successful fundraising effort and record student enrollment.

Fall 2020 marked the sixth consecutive year that GSU had seen enrollment increases. The university saw a 20.47% increase from fall 2014 to fall 2020.

Gallot’s presence has brought stability to the university because he is the longest serving president in recent history. He recalled that shortly after arriving on campus in 2016, he was walking by the Student Union and a student came up to him.

The young scholar said, “President Gallot, this is my third year here. You’re the third president and the first one I’ve met.”

That statement resonated with him and solidified the need for him to be out and about talking with students, faculty and staff – something that he did a lot of before the pandemic hit.

Martin Lemelle, GSU executive vice-president and chief operating officer, said working with Gallot has been a master class in the art of leadership.

“[President Gallot] displays a powerful mixture of personal humility and indomitable will,” he said. “He is incredibly ambitious, but his ambition is first and foremost for the students, the university and its purpose, not himself.”

Lemelle said Gallot embraces diversity of thought and experience and shares space with his leaders and encourages them to be innovative and bold.

“From his passion to champion “first and only” achievements to his intense focus on ensuring that GSU has a first-row seat at tables of influence, President Gallot’s leadership ensures that GSU remains focused on service, growth, and intelligence,” he said.

Dr. Connie Walton, GSU provost and vice president for academic affairs, also describes Gallot as forward-thinking.

“President Gallot’s leadership style has consistently been that of a visionary leader,” she said. “He actively looks for partners who can enhance the reach of the university. He is student and faculty centered.”

She cited a number of “wins” under his leadership including new construction, implementation of a bachelor’s degree in cloud computing and cybersecurity, and approval to offer the university’s first doctorate program in criminology and justice administration.

GSU also transitioned its registration process to an e- process which “proved to be invaluable during our transition to telework during the pandemic,” Dr. Walton said.

Ironically, six years ago, becoming a college president was nowhere on Gallot’s radar. The Grambling State University alumni and Southern University Law Center graduate decided to leave politics and spend more time with his wife and family, and practice law.

“I have grown to appreciate the scripture, Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans in man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails,” he said.

When the opportunity arose for him to lead Grambling State, he knew it was the right fit because God “provided me with that peace that this was the purpose that He has for me.”

Gallot said his greatest challenge as president is how slowly the wheels of government often move. As an example, when he asked GSU Computer Department head Yenumula Reddy about emerging technology, Reddy cited cybersecurity.

“So, we set about creating the first and only bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity in Louisiana,” he said, explaining that it took nearly two years to get over bureaucratic hurdles.

“Business needs solutions quickly – not as rapidly as the government infrastructure would allow,” Gallot said. “That’s been one of the challenges – to quickly navigate the approval process.”

He said his goal is to “cast a vision for the institution that will make us relevant.”
The university’s new digital library, now close to completion, will be the first of its kind in the state.

“To know that we are the first and only in the state of Louisiana and the first and only HBCU with a digital library is quite an accomplishment,” he said, adding that the university needed a new library for many years but GSU didn’t want to just build a library of the past, but a library of the future.

“We wanted to be bold and do something that would be the first of its kind but also be forward thinking and elevate our standing as an academic institution,” he said. “Our students will have the very best cutting-edge technology as it relates to the library.”

The Grambling State University School of Nursing also relaunched its undergraduate nursing program with a 12-month curriculum in 2018. It came after the Louisiana State Board of Nursing voted to remove the conditional approval status in 2015.

A $5 million renovation of the dining hall began in 2020 and was completed earlier this year.
“SodexoMAGIC has been an incredible partner to us in enabling us to deliver that,” Gallot said.
It has been his mission to provide students with the best opportunities to be successful.

“When students choose to come to Grambling, they will be surrounded by a community of people who will provide them with the kind of environment where they will feel celebrated and not tolerated,” Gallot said.

That resonates with parents and students because of what’s going in society – police shootings of people of color, challenges to voting rights and other issues..

“We are just as relevant, even more so, as we were in post-reconstruction years,” he said.

Gallot said Grambling’s motto “Where Everybody Is Somebody” is more than just a motto. “It is, at our core, who we are. We value our students and our faculty and staff.”

That was evident when he opted not to have an investiture – a traditional president’s inauguration. Instead, he chose to put money that would have been raised for the event into the university. Fiscal decisions like this are one of many that helped facilitate two raises to faculty and staff over the last five years totaling 5.477 percent.

Moving forward, Gallot said the university must continue to invest in things to meet students’ needs. That includes having degree programs that will provide them with the best opportunity to be successful, including the Call Me Mister program which seeks to train black male teachers, Gallot said.

“Only 2% of classroom teachers are black males and only 5% are black females,” he said, explaining that the teachers in the classroom should reflect the diversity of the students.

“As an HBCU, we have a charge, a duty, a mission to ensure that we are training classroom teachers who will be the molders and mentors of children in their formative years – educators (both male and female) who will help bring the best out of these students,” Gallot said.

The university’s goal is the holistic development of students – not just in the classroom but by providing great facilities, engaging activities, internship opportunities and employment options.
Gallot said he’s looking forward to leading GSU into a bright future
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“Our best days are still ahead of us,” he said. “We’re really just getting started. This still doesn’t feel like work to me. For me, I feel like I’m living God’s purpose in my life.”