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    Grambling State launches new dining program with Magic Johnson’s Sodexo Magic

    Grambling State University announced the launch of a long-term partnership with a new dining service provider SodexoMAGIC. The new agreement will deliver $6.7 million in facility renovations, new major-brand quick-serve restaurants, and 24-hour dining.

    “The best part of our new program is that we, as students, are driving the design,” said Steven Wilson, rising senior and President of the University’s Student Government Association. “I’m grateful to President Gallot and the entire administration for how they’ve helped turn our comments, emails, and surveys into an experience that supports all of our students.”
    Grambling State Partners with SodexoMAGIC

    The University’s partnership comes as a result of a collaborative RFP process where students, faculty and staff weighed in on proposals from America’s leading dining service providers. The winning finalist, SodexoMAGIC, is well known for its chairman, NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and its service to universities and corporate clients that include Delta Airlines, the Walt Disney Company, the Federal Reserve Bank, and Toyota.

    “This agreement is a great example of what is possible when Universities put our students first,” said Rick Gallot, President of Grambling State. “We are fortunate to collaborate with a partner, like SodexoMAGIC who understands the holistic needs of our students.”

    The partnership will include a two-year overhaul of campus dining facilities and the launch of new program features that include:

    • New menus overseen by Chef G. Garvin, nationally acclaimed TV host, author, and NAACP Image Award winner
    • A New mobile app feature for ordering takeout and made-to-order items
    • Allergen-friendly meal programs to support vegetarians and other specialized dietary needs.

    The deal connects SodexoMAGIC and the University for a five-year partnership that will yield a $51 million return on investment and includes a five-year option to renew.

    “We are proud to partner with the Grambling State community and excited about investing in the students,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson, NBA hall of famer and chairman of SodexoMAGIC. “My team is committed to providing excellent service that the Grambling students, staff, and community deserve so they can continue leading efforts to change the world in sports, technology, and in business.”

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    Grambling State approved to offer cybersecurity degree

    NNPA Newswire–Grambling State University has been approved to offer the state’s first Bachelor of Science degree in cybersecurity. The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors provided their approval and support for the university’s program, according to a news release. The next step in the process is approval from the Louisiana Board of Regents.

    Students will be eligible to begin enrolling in the program in fall 2019.

    “With the vision of your team and the support of this Board, we are confident Grambling is prepared to educate cybersecurity professionals the market is demanding,” said Board Chair Al Perkins. “These graduates will be equipped with highly sought-after skills to protect us as technology becomes more prevalent in our daily lives.”

    Grambling State faculty member, researcher and a member of the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission Yenumula B. Reddy, Ph.D., has been spearheading the new program’s development.

    “We are excited about the work of Dr. Reddy and his team,” said Grambling State President Rick Gallot. “Their continuous innovation in research and the classroom are paving the way for this program. We are excited for the impact their leadership and our system-level support will have on our state and economy.”

    The news comes on the heels of an October report issued by the University of Louisiana System that said Grambling State University has doubled its fiscal health score since FY 2016, increasing from a 1.30 to a 2.60 as of the most recent report.

    The fiscal health score, developed by the Louisiana Board of Regents, measures overall organizational health, factoring in important components including debt, revenue, and ability to operate.

    “It’s been a team-wide effort,” Gallot said. “As a part of our commitment to innovation, we’ve engaged new talent and alumni from across the U.S. who not only understand our charge but offer us expert perspectives and thought leadership.”

    Leading the University’s fiscal health initiatives team is Martin Lemelle Jr. the University’s Chief Operating Officer and Interim Vice-President of Finance. The initiative also includes team members who offer experience from higher education, Silicon Valley, and public accountancy.

    “We’re an example of what’s possible when we partner,” said Lemelle. “The key to our successes has been a university-wide combination of collaboration and commitment. We’ve seen innovative ideas from every area, from our controller’s office to our academic units.”

    The outputs of these collaborative teams are having a direct impact on the institution’s bottom-line. Some of those outputs include:

    $1.2 million in annual savings through participating in the Department of Education’s Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program;

    Overall expense reduction of more than $6 million;

    A 320 percent annual increase in grants from federal and state government initiatives; and

    Realizing new revenue opportunities that include an increase in third-party commissions and its “Look for the Label” program which focuses on increasing licensing royalties.

    “Grambling State University is experiencing a renaissance. Its vastly improved fiscal health is yet another indication of the effective leadership and hard work occurring at all levels of the institution,” University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson said. “From its enrollment numbers to its operations, it’s exciting to see the rapid and significant advancement of this historic institution.”

    By Stacy M. Brown
    NNPA Newswire Correspondent

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    Bayou Classic TV agreement with NBCSN extended through 2021

    NBC Sports Group, Grambling State University, and Southern University have reached an agreement to extend their three-decade partnership for three more years, keeping the annual Bayou Classic on NBCSN through 2021.

    Since 1991, NBC Sports has served as the exclusive home of the Bayou Classic, an annual college football tradition featuring Grambling State University and Southern University that is played on Thanksgiving weekend at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. At the end of this new extension, NBC Sports will have televised 31 Bayou Classics.

    The 2018 game will mark the 45th consecutive meeting between the Tigers and Jaguars, a rivalry that originated in 1974. The first-ever Bayou Classic, won 21-0 by Grambling, was played in New Orleans’ Tulane Stadium.

    “The Bayou Classic is a college football staple, and one we’re proud to have broadcast for three decades at the end of this agreement,” said Gary Quinn, vice president of programming and owned properties with NBC Sports Group. “We look forward to showcasing this annual Thanksgiving tradition for the next three years to avid college football fans across the country on NBCSN.”

    The Grambling Tigers lead the overall series, 23-21, and have won three consecutive games, including seven of the past 10 meetings overall. Over the course of 44 years, the Bayou Classic has featured some of the most prominent figures in college football history, including NFL Hall of Fame defensive back and Southern alum Aeneas Williams, Super Bowl-winning quarterback and Grambling alum Doug Williams and former Tigers head coach Eddie Robinson, whose 408 career wins rank third all-time in NCAA Division I history.

    The annual telecast of the Bayou Classic is headlined by the renowned “Battle of the Bands” halftime show, which pits the marching bands of both Southern University and Grambling State against each other in a musical display of talent.

    The game is also streamed live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

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    Grambling student, Adrian Wilson, named to La. Board of Regents

    Adrian Williams, of Ruston, has been appointed to the Louisiana Board of Regents. He is in his third year as a Liberal Arts and Theatre major at Grambling State University. Williams has served as the 2014-2015 Student Government Association (SGA) Freshman Class President, the 2015-2016 SGA Sophomore Class President, the 2016-2017 SGA Chief of Staff, a Student Ambassador, a member of the University Concert Choir, the NAACP, and the Floyd L. Sandle Players Club.  He is a brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, Inc. and currently serves as the 2017-2018 SGA President. Williams has aspirations to become a professional performer, lawyer, and political figure.  Following graduation, he plans to attend graduate school for performing arts and law school.

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    Grambling takes 44th Bayou Classic, heads to SWAC Championship

    NEW ORLEANS - The 44th Annual Bayou Classic was all about unity. During the weekend, the theme “We Are One” was echoed from the Superdome to the French Market and throughout the various venues which hosted Bayou Classic events across the city. The Grambling State University Tigers took the victory for their third straight Bayou Classic, but the exciting back-and-forth game, combined with family fun events, and HBCU pride made everyone a winner.
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    The Annual Bayou Classic brings fans from Grambling State University and Southern University and A&M College to New Orleans for an HBCU experience like no other. Students, fans and alumni unite to experience the historic rivalry and take part in the unique tradition and pageantry.
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    The attendance at the 2017 Greek Show presented by McDonald’s and Battle of the Bands presented by the U.S. Marine Corps was 28,730. The attendance at the game was 66,550. This year, the electrifying halftime show was presented by P&G’s Crest 3D White Toothpaste.
    For the second year in a row, the game served as a playoff for the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championship game. The Grambling State University Tigers will go on to face Alcorn State on December 2, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The SWAC champion will then play in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia on December 16.
    Dottie Belletto, President and CEO of New Orleans Convention Company, Inc. (NOCCI) said, “It was a great year and now we have begun the planning for our 45th Bayou Classic Anniversary for 2018.”
    Highlights of the 44th Annual Bayou Classic include:
    • With the Grambling Tigers winning the Bayou Classic with a score of 30-21 against the Southern Jaguars, the Tigers lead the series holding 23 victories in the 43-game series.
    • With the win, the Grambling State University Tigers move onto the SWAC Championship against Alcorn State to be held in Houston on Saturday, December 2, 2017.
    • Grambling’s Devante Kincade and Southern’s Austin Howard were named MVPs of the 44th Annual Bayou Classic.
    • Louisiana Seafood presented a 44-foot po-boy to commemorate the Bayou Classic’s 44th Anniversary at the Bayou Classic Press Conference.
    • The theme of the 44th Annual Bayou Classic was “We Are One” to promote unity amongst the HBCU community.IMG_2801
    • In 2017, fan voting via the Bayou Classic App played a larger role in choosing the winner of their favorite step stem at the Greek Show and MVP of the game. There were 1,121 people that voted for the winner of the Greek Show and 493 people voted for the MVP of the game.
    • Over the Bayou Classic Weekend, the Bayou Classic App peaked in downloads at number 34 out of the top 200 Sports Apps. The app had 8,279 downloads and was more popular with fans this year vs. the debut year in 2016.
    • First place winners of the Bayou Classic Greek Show presented by McDonald’s, Beta Sigma Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Psi Beta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., were presented with $3,000 checks for their victories.
    • This year the Bayou Classic Parade changed the date from Thanksgiving Day to pre-game on Saturday. The Bayou Classic Parade had an attendance of more than 65,000 attendees. The parade featured 11 high school marching bands, three of which were from out of state.
    • Bayou Classic Fan Fest presented by Cox with entertainment by iHeart Radio reached capacity for the first time and the entrance gates to Champions Square were closed. Over 12,500 people attended Fan Fest on a flow.
    • iHeart Radio provided artists including K Camp, Young Greatness and Cupid along with headliner T.I., presented by Coors Light at the Bayou Classic Fan Fest presented by Cox.
    • Six teams comprised of 21 students were selected to present their final presentations at the Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge presented by Nexus LA. The winner of the $10,000 Grand Prize was Team OurGlass from Southern University who created a portable 3D-printed device that brews tea, so that users can brew and drink tea “on the go”. The team is working with the Technology and Entrepreneurship Clinic at Southern University’s Law Center to patent and trademark their intellectual property, and set up legal structures to enable them to start selling their product.
    • The top three finalists of the Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge received $10,000 in free legal services from Stone Pigman Law Firm to advise them on next steps.
    • Approximately 150 people attended the Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
    • Sheryl Underwood, actress, comedian, and personality as seen on The Talk judged the Greek Show along with Elvin Ross, founder of Elvin Ross Studios, and Music Director of the beloved Tyler Perry films. Singer, songwriter, model and actress, Solange Knowles was in attendance for the show.  Omar J. Dorsey, actor in Queen Sugar was in attendance for the game.
    • The U.S. Marine Corps Band played an instrumental rendition of the National Anthem before the big game.
    • Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, Bryan Terrell Clark who plays George Washington in the Broadway play Hamilton, and Anthony Pope, senior vice president and region manager for Cox’s Southeast Region conducted the coin toss before the big game.
    • The Bayou Classic partnered with the inDEFINED Initiative, Bryan Terrell Clark’s fashion line which supports inner city arts education. inDEFINED sold a special edition Bayou Classic tee at Fan Fest which benefited arts education programs in New Orleans.
    • Grambling’s Devante Kincade and Southern’s Lenard Tillery were inducted into Bayou Classic’s MVP Club during the Coaches Luncheon in honor of being named MVPs of the Bayou Classic in 2016.

    See more photo highlights by Yusef Davis, photojournalist 

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    A conversation with Grambling State University’s athletic director Paul Bryant

    As the Chicago Football Classic is steadfastly approaching its 20thAnniversary weekend, co-founder and producer Everett Rand along with business partner Larry Huggins have made the Chicago media rounds with the participating school Athletic Directors. HBCU football teams Clark Atlanta University Panthers and Grambling State University Tigers are facing off on Saturday, September 30 at Soldier Field for the only collegiate football classic in the North. The Chicago Football Classic expects a strong turnout of not only both school’s alumni but the support of graduates overall.

    Grambling State University is considered one of the more prominent football programs in the country with a long tradition of championship wins, as a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The university’s athletic director Paul Bryant is excited about being a part of this year’s Chicago Football Classic and working with businessmen and organizers Larry Huggins, Tim Rand and Everett Rand on making sure HBCU schools are highlighted on a national platform.

    Mary L. Datcher, Chicago Defender Sr. Staff Writer sat down with Bryant and discussed the program’s direction, recruitment and continuing the school’s tradition of producing quality students both athletically and academically. Read it on The Defender. 

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