GRAMBLING -- It's been a year of ups and downs for Grambling State University.
But GSU's president says a new statue, unveiled Tuesday, is a symbol of how much they've overcome these past few months.
This school year, the GSU football team's boycott gained national attention as the school juggled a budget crisis.
"We've had a chance to tell Gramblings real story to this nation," said GSU president Dr. Frank Pogue.
But university officials call that time a bump in the road.
"Things have calmed down,people are moving forward," said Pogue.
A few months down the road now, staff and students say GSU is getting back into the swing of things.
Dozens lined up Tuesday to see the newest addition to campus -- a 20 foot, 3,500 pound bronze fighting tiger statue in the Quad. It was sculpted by Houston-based artist Bridgette Mongeon.
“This statue is designed to bring our university together the way we ought to be together,” said GSU President Frank G. Pogue. “This is going to be the gathering place.”
"Great uplift, a great uplift...We've had a rough year, " David Ponton
Dean of Student Affairs at GSU. "With the budget cuts and the football season, those guys fought hard. But it's a rejuvenating time now."
Pogue says this new statue is symbolic for a renewed sense of pride at GSU."
"It gives hope for a better future, we have had a rough year, this is definitely apart of our turn around." said Joiya Smith, a GSU sophomore who helped sculpt statue with Mongeon.
Dr. Pogue says since the football team's boycott, they've renovated the crumbling weight room and just this week introduced a new head football coach.
"That whole situation was systematic, simplimatic of something much larger. And it was the financial plight of Grambling," said Pogue.
Over the years, school officials say 57 percent of state support has been slashed away, but Pogue says people everywhere have heard their plight. Alumni have responded to GSU's call to pledge $1,000, while others have chosen to donate $10,000 or more.
"In Vicksburg, a person approached me in the bathroom, and promised to give us $1,000 himself, and he followed through," said Pogue, adding that GSU has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations. in the past few months.
"It is a serious shot in the arm for Grambling, to be receiving the kind of contributions that we are receiving now," he said.
But for now, the new statue is helping GSU turn chapters.
"This is a time for us to heal, we've got something, like an early Christmas present so to speak," said Ponton.
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