Public Forum on Grambling Presidential Search to be Held Wednesday; Four So Far Apply for Top Spot

Public Forum on Grambling Presidential Search to be Held Wednesday; Four So Far Apply for Top Spot – Jan 15, 2004

Acting President Warner Decides Not to Seek the Position

BATON ROUGE – The search committee for a new Grambling State University president will hold its first public forum Wednesday afternoon on the Grambling campus.

Four people so far from around the country have applied for the top position of the 102-year-old university. Committee members hope to have a new president in place by July 1. Acting President Neari Warner, long considered a contender for the permanent presidency, announced Friday that she will retire in June, leaving the field open. By virtue of her office, she will act as an adviser to the search committee.

What: Public Forum
When: 2-4 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 21
Where: Black and Gold Room, 2nd Floor, Grambling Student Union

Prior to Wednesday’s public forum there will be a search committee meeting to review the timelines and other elements of the search. That meeting will be held in Room 242 (Lincoln Room) of the Student Union.

A second public forum, which is scheduled for February, will also be held on campus.

The Grambling presidential search will be similar to previous national searches conducted recently 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.

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. UL System President Sally Clausen will chair the committee.

“The public forums are essential to the selection process. The comments we collect in these sessions will shape our evaluation of applicants,” Clausen said. “While we’re not looking for specific names, we are very interested in the characteristics and qualifications that the Grambling community believes to be critical to this university’s successful future. We urge the entire Grambling community to participate in the process.”

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 will have contact information for anyone wanting to submit comments or questions to the search committee.

UL System staff members will assist the committee. One staff member in particular has had extensive experience recently on the Grambling campus. UL System Vice President for Accreditation, Leadership and Accountability Loren Blanchard spent several months in residence on the campus to help university officials meet accreditation challenges.

The UL System already has received four applications for the Grambling presidency. Applicants include:

Gene Gehrking, Ph.D., a consultant from Plano, Texas

Jerome G. Greene, Jr., Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, Mississippi

Martin Shapiro, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing, Management & International Business, Berkeley Colleges, NY and NJ Adjunct Professor, Marketing & International Business, Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York

Wayne Wormley, Ph.D., a consultant and President of The Wormley Company in Philadelphia

In December, citing evidence of Grambling’s financial stability, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges reaffirmed the university’s accreditation, eliminating the cloud that has hung over the institution since SACS placed it on probation in December 2001.

Founded in 1901 as a private industrial school to educate African-American citizens in north central Louisiana, Grambling is a comprehensive university offering undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education programs. Situated on a 383-acre campus in the small town of Grambling, the historically black university has almost 5,000 students.

Grambling is one of eight universities in the University of Louisiana System. The system, one of the 20 largest in the United States, also includes Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and University of Louisiana at Monroe.