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Lemelle named GSU president

Former Gallot VP returns to Grambling
Caleb Daniel
Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Photo via the University of Louisiana System Martin Lemelle was named 11th president of Grambling State University Thursday.

Lincoln Parish’s own historically black university will have a familiar face as its next leader.

Martin Lemelle, a former Grambling State University administrator under former president Rick Gallot, will return to his alma mater after being named Gallot’s successor and GSU’s 11th president.

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors unanimously chose Lemelle from three finalists after interviewing them Thursday in Baton Rouge, capping off a three-month search.

“To our Gram Fam across the globe, to our students current and future, to our alumni community, to my family, friends and supporters - from Bermuda to Bogalusa, from Germany to Grambling, from Singapore to Sunset - this is our story,” Lemelle said as he took the microphone after his appointment.

“This is the Grambling State University story.”

A third-generation GSU graduate, Lemelle served as Gallot’s executive vice president and COO from 2016 to 2021, a time that saw enrollment increases and significant improvement in GSU’s fiscal health scores.

More recently Lemelle was the executive vice president and CFO of Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He also made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in Louisiana’s 5th congressional district in 2020.

Gallot left GSU on Jan. 1 to become president of the UL System. He led the search committee to find his replacement and will now be Lemelle’s supervisor as one of nine university presidents in the system.

Connie Walton served as interim president following Gallot’s departure.

“Dr. Lemelle’s appointment as the 11th president of Grambling State University guarantees a leader well-prepared on day one,” Gallot said in a release following the appointment.

In his interviews Lemelle said he was focused on improving student outcomes and hoped to add lifting student debt loads to the traditional success metrics of graduation and retention rates.
“If we can improve the outcomes for our students - more students who graduate on time from Grambling State University, graduate with a career in hand, and hopefully graduate debt-free, that would be a dream five years from now,” Lemelle said during Thursday’s interview.

Lemelle is a former GSU student body president who went to elementary school at the former GSU lab school and whose father was recruited to play basketball there by Grambling fixture Fredrick Hobdy.