All about Dr. Nikole Roebuck, who made history leading one of the most prestigious college bands in the world  

Abu Mubarik February 21, 2023
Photos courtesy of Jalien Edwards, GSU Band photographer via nbcsports

Meet Dr. Nikole Roebuck. She is the first female Band Director at Grambling State University and its Chair of the Department of Music.

As chair of the Department of Music at Grambling State University, she oversees the operations of the World-Famed Tiger Marching Band which was recognized globally in April 2019 after performing for Beyoncé and Adidas.

“We are excited to have one of our home-grown innovators lead during this historic time,” President Rick Gallot said when she was appointed in 2019. “Dr Roebuck is one of our most dedicated and humble leaders and a proven gift to our students, community, and all who support the world-famed sound of Grambling.”

The university’s band was first established in 1926 and until the appointment of Roebuck, no woman had been appointed as the director of the band. In addition to being the first band director at Grambling State University, the appointment also made her the third woman band director in the history of historically black colleges and universities, joining Tomisha Brock of Clark Atlanta University and Dr Kerry Anne Simon of Mississippi Valley State University who were appointed in 2017 and in May 2019, respectively, according to Knoe.

What is more, her appointment made her the second woman band director in the history of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the platform further noted. 

Roebuck told NBC Sports that it was a “surreal” moment for her to be named the first female Band Director which is typically dominated by men. She said she hopes her appointment will also pave the way for other women who look like her.

“Because it was a male-dominated position, I knew one day it would happen I just didn’t know when,” Roebuck said. “I worked hard and dreamed big. I still have to pinch myself and say ‘is this real?’ I encourage women to never give up on their dreams. Don’t ever let anyone discourage you because a position is typically dominated by a man. Women can do it too.”

According to NBC Sports, Roebuck played clarinet in the band while she was a student at GSU and performed at each Bayou Classic when she was a student. She continued to the University of Louisiana-Monroe where she obtained a master’s degree in Music and a Doctor of Philosophy in Music from the University of Memphis.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 21, 2023


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