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Grambling State president steps down after less than one year on the job

28th June 2016   ·   0 Comments

After less than a year at the helm, Grambling State University President Dr, Willie D. Larkin, the historically Black public university’s ninth president, has announced his resignation.

Larkin, appointed by the University of Louisiana System on July 1, 2015, announced his resignation on Thursday, June 23.

Despite his brief tenure, Dr. Larkin is credited with bringing some major improvements to the university.

In less than a year, he led the university in adopting a five-year Strategic Plan that focused on shared governance, increasing enrollment and strengthening a student-centered culture. He is credited with over $1,000,000 in financial gifts to the university and developed the Student Leadership Initiative to increase student retention. The university realized a 92 percent increase in freshmen applications, an 80 percent increase in admitted freshmen, and the university awarded 731 degrees during the academic year.

Also, Dr. Larkin developed the “President’s Appeal: Student Gap Sponsorship” to support students who need additional funding to attend the university.

“I am not a quitter,” said Larkin. “I committed to serving Grambling State University for seven years, or as long as I was allowed to do so. I will always love Grambling State University. She deserves more, much more in order for her to regain her splendor. Grambling State will survive and thrive. I have faith that one day the faculty, staff, students and the alumni will stand together firmly to move Grambling forward without being distracted from the goal of educational excellence. GSU has had 10 presidents in 25 years. Continuity is the key to success. Grambling State University must have continuity before she can move to the next level of preeminence.”

Dr. Fredrick Pinkney, GSU alumnus, and a member of Governor John Bel Edwards’ transition team for Higher Education, commented, “I am quite disappointed that he was not given a fair chance nor enough time. The constant change is disheartening, and the message from the UL System Board of Supervisors is deafening.”

“My parents, who were sharecroppers, told me to ‘leave something better than you found it,’” Larkin said Thursday. “I believe I have done that during my time here. Many blessings to Grambling State University. Go Tigers!”

This article originally published in the June 27, 2016 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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