On February 22, 2024, the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to name Dr. Martin Lemelle, Jr. the eleventh President of Grambling State University.
“To this illustrious Board, to our GramFam across the globe, to our students, current and future, to our alumni community, my family, friends, and supporters … This is our story. This is the Grambling State University story,” Lemelle said.
Lemelle is a 2006 graduate and former student government association president of Grambling. He has most recently served as executive vice president & chief financial officer at Maryland Institute College of Art. His start date is being determined.
Dr. Walton currently serves as the institution’s provost and vice president for academic affairs and has worked at Grambling for more than 30 years. She earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Southern Mississippi.
“My life is a testimony to the impact that this university can have on a student’s life. I knew as an undergraduate student at Grambling State University that I wanted to come back and be a part of the faculty,” Dr. Walton said. “This appointment provides an additional way to serve this great institution and help shape the lives of students. When the next president of Grambling State University is identified, I look forward to supporting that person’s strategic goals.”
UL System President and CEO Rick Gallot served as president of Grambling for seven years before the Board named him System president at its October 2023 meeting. He chairs the search committee charged with finding the institution’s next leader.
“I am supremely confident that Grambling will be well cared for under Dr. Walton’s interim leadership,” Gallot said. “She has proven her dedication to the institution and its success through her commitment to advancing cybersecurity and nursing programs, both of which are now soaring, and I know she will bring that same determination to the interim presidency.”
Fulfilling a desire to give back to her alma mater, Walton accepted a teaching position in the department of Chemistry at Grambling State University in 1993. In 2000, Walton was selected as Dean of the College of Science & Technology at GSU and was successful in organizing the University’s efforts to obtain initial ABET accreditation of the Engineering Technology Programs. Dr. Walton was appointed Interim Provost & Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Grambling in 2010 and served approximately a year before being selected to serve in this position on a regular appointment. Dr. Walton rejoined the Chemistry Faculty on a full-time basis in 2014. She served as the Director of Sponsored Programs until returning to the position of Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs in 2019. Walton is serving for a second time as the Grambling State University SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison. In this role she provided leadership for the University’s reaffirmation process during the last two decennial reviews. In her capacity as Liaison, Walton works with units on campus to maintain compliance with SACSCOC policies and standards. She has completed SACSCOC Academic Peer Evaluator Training. In 2023, she was elected to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees for SACSCOC.
Dr. Walton has presented at regional and national meetings of various organizations on topics linked to improving the preparedness of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) students. She is a co-author for a chapter in a recently released book that focuses on increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in science related fields. In 2018 the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers recognized Dr. Walton’s leadership in STEM by honoring her with the Winifred Burks-Houck Professional Leadership award. Dr. Walton is a co-inventor on two United States Patents that are related to Nonlinear Optics. Her technical presentations have included topics related to polymer synthesis and the characterization of liquid crystal properties. Since being at Grambling State University, she has been responsible for securing grant funding in excess of $15 million, as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator.
All information regarding the search can be found at ulsystem.edu/gramblingsearch.