Southern University mourns the death of Dr. Isaac Greggs, the legendary former director of bands on the Baton Rouge campus. Greggs, 85, died today in Baton Rouge.

“Dr. Isaac Greggs was a visionary, who created a marching band – the Human Jukebox – that constantly set the standard of greatness for all college marching bands,” said SU’s Baton Rouge Chancellor James L. Llorens. “He poured his heart and soul into every performance. With Dr. Greggs, perfection was the only outcome he accepted.”

“The true testament of his leadership is reflected not only in the number of his students who have become band directors and musicians of note around the country, but the multitude of former band members who, through the dedication and commitment instilled in them by Dr. Greggs, became leaders in their respective chosen careers outside of music,” Llorens said.

“What he created with our marching band drew thousands of students to Southern University and left fans of the band in cities from Los Angeles to Houston to New York City,” Llorens said. “The Southern University family has lost a giant and he will be missed.”

Greggs headed Southern’s marching band for 36 years before retiring in 2005. In 2013, Greggs was inducted into the Louisiana Black History Hall of Fame.

SU’s Director of Bands Lawrence Jackson said today that “Dr. Greggs was an icon in the marching band world. He was an impeccable leader and he believed in innovation. Many of the things we do today, we do because Dr. Greggs was the architect.”

Jackson played in Southern’s marching band from 1971 to 1975 under Greggs leadership, was an assistant and associate band director at SU before succeeding Greggs in 2006.

“A lot of the success we have enjoyed is because of the system that he put in place,” Jackson said. “He was my mentor and he taught me a lot about being a band director. I know that he will be missed.”

Funeral arrangements are pending. 

–Provided by Edward Pratt, SUBR Media Relations