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April 15, 2014

Dr. Frank G. Pogue
Dr. Frank G. Pogue

Grambling President to Retire, Citing Dramatic Cuts to School's Funding


by Frederick H. Lowe
Frank G. Pogue, president of Grambling State University in Grambling, La., has announced that he will retire June 30 after five years on the job. In a statement, Pogue said that it has been challenging to operate Grambling because the university's state funding has been cut by more than 56 percent.

In an Oct. 22, 2013, letter, Pogue asked alumni and friends of Grambling to donate funds to the school, which is suffering financially.

"Over the past six years, the university's state appropriation has been drastically reduced from $31.6 million to $13.8 million," Pogue wrote. "In essence, the university is operating on an annual budget that is lower than the operational budget six years ago. Grambling, when compared to other University of Louisiana system schools, is closest to declaring a financial emergency."

The Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System confirmed Pogue's appointment as interim president on Dec. 15, 2009. The job became permanent on July 1, 2010.

During his tenure, Pogue faced other high-profile challenges and embarrassments.

Jackson State wants to sue Grambling
Jackson State University announced that it would sue Grambling for forfeiting their Oct. 19, 2013, homecoming game in Jackson, Miss., that cost Jackson State hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

"We have a fiduciary responsibility to Mississippi taxpayers and to the JSU [Jackson State University] community to mitigate our ongoing and substantial losses," wrote Eric Stringfellow, executive director of university communications. "Jackson State plans to pursue litigation against Grambling State and others." The letter was dated Oct. 22, 2013.

Grambling football players boycotted the game to protest the school's rundown facilities, the long bus trips to road games and the firing of head coach Doug Williams, the first African-American quarterback to lead a National Football League team to victory in the Super Bowl.

Jackson State officials have been pushing the Mississippi attorney general to explore legal action against Grambling.

Jackson State officials claim the school lost as much as $600,000, including $475,000 in ticket refunds, $60,320 in parking fees, $25,951 from concessions, $9,000 in vendor space, $6,000 in salaries to stadium employees and nearly $14,000 for a concert to replace the cancelled homecoming game, according to news reports.

Despite the ongoing challenges, Pogue said in his resignation statement: "A lot has been accomplished and a lot of good things are still happening at Grambling State University." He added, however, that it is time for someone else to lead the school.

Pogue said he and his wife, Dorothy, will retire to Delaware to be near their daughter and their grandchildren. Although he will retire, Pogue said he will work as an educational consultant.

The Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System has not named Pogue's successor.
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