Grambling State University Narrows the Field in Its Presidential Search

The presidential search committee for Grambling State University in Louisiana has narrowed down its search for the university’s next president to six semi-finalists. The committee plans to make their final selection on February 22.

“I am pleased with the impressive talent and diverse experience demonstrated by our applicants,” said Rick Gallot, chair of the search committee. “We eagerly anticipate meeting the candidates on campus in the coming weeks and recommending finalists who embody the experience and drive to lead Grambling into its next era of success.”

The final six contenders for the Grambling State University presidency are:

Gregory Ford is a tenured associate professor of biology at Southern University in New Orleans, a historically Black institution. He has held various leadership positions in higher education including provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at Southern University, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at historically Black Fort Valley State University in Georgia, and dean of the Division of Natural Science and Physical Education at Georgia Highlands College.

Dr. Ford is an alumnus of Grambling State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. He holds a Ph.D. in biomedical science from Meharry Medical College, a historically Black medical school in Nashville, Tennessee.

Martin Lemelle is executive vice president and chief financial officer at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has experience with Grambling State University as both an alumnus and the former executive vice president and chief operating officer. Dr. Lemelle has served as financial advisor and has overseen projects for organizations including the United States Senate, PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, General Electric, Dean Foods, and Industrial Retail Group.

Dr. Lemelle received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Grambling State University, an MBA from George Washington University, and an executive doctorate in business administration from the SKEMA Business School in Paris, France.

Markey Pierre is vice chancellor of external affairs and chief of staff for Louisiana State University Health Shreveport. Prior to her current role, she served as president and managing partner of the Southern Strategy Group of North Louisiana. She previously held academic appointments two historically Black institutions: Wiley College in Texas and Southern University in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Dr. Pierre holds a bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Louisiana Tech University, an MBA from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and a doctor of business administration degree from Walden University.

Edwin Smith is senior director of alliances and channels for the London Stock Exchange. Before his career at the London Stock Exchange, he was employed by IBM for 19 years, ultimately as their global business development executive from 2013 to 2019.

Smith is a graduate of Grambling State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in information technology and management. He received an MBA from the University of Dallas and a juris doctorate from Texas A&M University.

Roderick Smothers is executive director and professor of education at the Center for the Study and Preservation of HBCUs at Virginia Union University. Prior to his current role, Dr. Smothers was the president and chief executive officer of what is now Philander Smith University in Little Rock, Arkansas, for eight years. He has held other academic and administrative positions at Huston-Tillotson University in Texas, Langston University in Oklahoma, the University of Louisiana Lafayette, Southern Louisiana Community College, and Louisiana State University.

Dr. Smothers holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in public administration, and a Ph.D. in educational leadership, research, and counseling all from Louisiana State University.

Monica Williams is foundation president and vice president of advancement at the University of North Texas Dallas. Throughout her career, she has served in various higher education administrative leadership roles with Rice University in Texas, Prairie View A&M University in Texas, and Texas Southern University. She has also held adjunct faculty positions with the University of North Texas Dallas and Texas Southern University.

Dr. Smith holds bachelor’s degree in journalism and English and her master’s degree in communications from Texas Southern University. She earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Prairie View A&M University in Texas.

Update: Monica Williams, Martin Lemelle, and Gregory Ford were selected as finalists. The new president will be selected on February 22.

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