Nine Invited to Interview for Grambling President

Nine Invited to Interview for Grambling President – Feb 26, 2004

Public Interviews to be Held March 15 and 16 on GSU Campus


BATON ROUGE – Nine higher education leaders have been invited to interview for the presidency of Grambling State University.

After an extensive national search that attracted 49 applicants, the Grambling State University Presidential Search Committee invited the following individuals to interview:

A. Toy Caldwell-Colbert (Ph.D., University of Georgia); Senior Research Associate, American Council on Education

William Harris (Ph.D., Indiana University); self-employed; former president of Alabama State University, Texas Southern University and Paine College

Melvin Johnson (D.B.A., Indiana University); Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Winston-Salem State University

Horace Judson (Ph.D., Cornell University); Senior Fellow, American Association of State Colleges and Universities; former president, Plattsburgh State University

Charlie Nelms (Ph.D., Indiana University); Vice President for Institutional Development and Student Affairs, Indiana University System; former Chancellor of the University of Michigan at Flint and former Chancellor of Indiana University East

William Pollard (Ph.D., University of Chicago); President, University of the District of Columbia

Rodney Smith (Ed.D., Harvard University); President and Chief Executive Officer, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Anne Watts (Ph.D., Georgia State University); Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Morehouse College

David Wilson (Ed.D., Harvard University); Associate Provost and Vice President for University Outreach, Auburn University

Nelms was nominated for the Grambling presidency but has yet to confirm his candidacy.

“He has been highly recommended, and the committee wanted to invite him to interview in hopes that he will become an applicant,” UL System President Sally Clausen said.

The search committee will hold public interviews on the Grambling campus March 15 and 16. The UL System office will release a complete schedule of interviews within the next week.

The Grambling presidential search is similar to previous national searches conducted in recent years at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Nicholls State University in Thibodaux. Those searches featured open public meetings and candidate interviews and encouraged public participation.

The committee held two public forums on the Grambling campus earlier this year to collect comments from the community about the characteristics desired in the next president.

Serving on the Grambling presidential search committee as voting members are University of Louisiana System Board members Gordon Pugh, Elsie Burkhalter, Wayne Parker, Jennifer Porter (student member), Walter Rhodes, Carl Shetler and David Wright, as well as Grambling Faculty Senate President Ellen Smiley. Serving in an advisory, non-voting capacity are Grambling Student Government Association President Adonis Ducre, Grambling Alumnus Clifton Lemelle, and Lincoln Parish District Attorney and Board of Regents member Robert Levy. Clausen chairs the committee.

Acting President Neari Warner, long considered a contender for the permanent presidency, announced that she will retire in June, leaving the field open.

A web page (at has been dedicated to the search. It contains information about the university, search announcements, news, candidates’ resumes and other information. It also has contact information for anyone wanting to submit comments or questions to the search committee.