Jackson State University

1440 J R Lynch St 
Jackson MS 39217 

(601) 979-2121

Jackson State University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jackson State University
Motto "Challenging Minds, Changing Lives"
Established October 23, 1877 (1877-10-23)
Type Public, HBCU
Endowment US$12 million[1]
President Carolyn Meyers
Academic staff 450
Admin. staff 1,200
Students 8,687
Location Jackson, Mississippi, United States
32°17'46?N 090°12'28?W? / ?32.29611°N 90.20778°W? / 32.29611; -90.20778Coordinates: 32°17'46?N 090°12'28?W? / ?32.29611°N 90.20778°W? / 32.29611; -90.20778
Former names Natchez Seminary
Jackson College
Jackson State College
Colors Navy Blue and White
Athletics NCAA Division I
Nickname Tigers

Jackson State University (Jackson State, or JSU) is a historically black university in Jackson, Mississippi, United States. Founded in 1877 in Natchez, Mississippi by the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York, the Society moved the school to Jackson in 1882, renaming it Jackson College, and developed its present campus in 1902. It became a state-supported public institution in 1940, and it is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.


Jackson State University started as Natchez Seminary, a private school, under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York, to educate Mississippi's newly freed and underprivileged blacks.

  • 1877: Operated for 63 years as a private church school beginning with only twenty students. Inman Edward Page was the only black member of the original faculty.
  • 1882:, the decision was made to purchase the fifty-two-acre J.A.P. Campbell estate in North Jackson, Mississippi. In 1883, the Society moved the school to Jackson, to the site where Millsaps College now stands. A part of this transition was the renaming of the school to Jackson College in recognition of the institution’s new, central location in the City of Jackson. Natchez Seminary soon relocated from its site in north Jackson to a tract of land in the southwest section of the city.
  • In 1902, construction on the present campus's site began.
  • In 1924, the first bachelor’s degree was awarded. During this period, the major educational activities were directed toward teacher education for in-service teachers.
  • When the American Baptist Home Mission Society withdrew its support from the institution in 1934, A new board of trustees was organized that kept the school open. On May 30, 1938, control of the Board of Trustees was transferred to Jackson College, Incorporated.
  • In 1940, the school was transferred from the private control of the church to the state education system and renamed Mississippi Negro Training School. Initially, the school had been specifically designated by the state to train rural and elementary teachers. In 1942, the Board of Trustees expanded the curriculum to a full four-year teacher education program, culminating in the Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. In May 1944, the first four-year graduating class under state support received their degrees. In 1944, Mississippi Negro Training School was renamed Jackson College for Negro Teachers
  • In 1953, the Division of Graduate Studies was organized during the Summer and the program of Liberal Arts started in the fall of that year. In 1956, Jackson College for Negro Teachers was renamed Jackson State College.
  • During the late 1960s, the entire curriculum was reorganized and the following schools were established: the Schools of Liberal Studies, Education, Science and Technology, Business and Economics and the Graduate School.
  • On March 15, 1974, Jackson State College was designated Jackson State University. Jackson State College gained university status in accordance with the expanded breadth and quality of its faculty and academic programs. From 1967-1977, the faculty tripled in size and the number of faculty members with graduate degrees increased eightfold. In 1979, the University was officially designated the state’s Urban University by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning.
  • In the late 1980s, the University and its surrounding community was enriched through the expansion of the Universities Center; the establishment of the West Jackson Community Development Corporation to improve blighted housing around the campus; the organization of a Staff Senate; and the creation of a Center for Professional Development and the Center for Technology Transfer.
  • In the 1990s, a Campus Master Plan that projected the growth of the University into the 21st Century was developed. Fifteen new graduate and undergraduate programs evolved. These academic achievements were bolstered by the establishment of the School of Social Work, the formation of the School of Engineering, and the fall 1998 opening of the School of Allied Health Sciences, the School of Business received accreditation of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), a $13.5 million expansion of the H. T. Sampson Library, which doubled the capacity of the original structure, was completed, and the $17.2 million School of Liberal Arts building was occupied in 2001.
  • In Fall 2000, the University received doctoral research intensive status with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This prestigious designation was based on the awarding of more than 20 doctoral degrees from the Division of Graduate Studies and the $40 million in federally funded research contracts secured through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
  • In 2002, the University celebrated its 125th anniversary. It developed and implemented its strategic plan–Beyond Survival: The Millennium Agenda for Jackson State University. The five-point strategic plan is moving Jackson State University to a new academic excellence. Thus, Vision 2020 was created to fulfill the first strategy–Remodel the Learning System at JSU. In 2002, the University was reorganized into six colleges: College of Business; College of Public Service; College of Liberal Arts; College of Science, Engineering and Technology; College of Lifelong Learning; and College of Education and Human Development.
  • In 2004, a $20 million College of Business building was completed.
  • In 2006, a new 91,000-square-foot (8,500 m2) student health wellness center opened. For the first time in the University’s history, private bond financing was secured to renovate some facilities on campus and to build new facilities, including a new Campus Union, a new president’s house, new student apartments, and dormitories which opened in 2006. The campus transformation and wide array of academic programs enhanced Jackson State’s presence.[citation needed]


Jackson State University is located in Jackson, the capital city and the cultural, political, geographic and business center of Mississippi. The campus is a 245-acre (0.99 km2) campus with 51 academic and administrative buildings. The main campus is located on JR Lynch St between Prentiss and Dalton St.

Ayer Hall was constructed in 1903 and is the oldest structure on campus. It was named in honor of the First President and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Green-Gibb Pedestrian Walkway (Plaza) was named in honor of those who died in the Jackson State killings. The Walter Payton Health & Wellness Center was constructed in 2006.


University rankings
Forbes[2] 549

A historically black Doctoral/Research public university, Jackson State educates a diverse[clarification needed] student population in a broad range of baccalaureate, masters and doctoral programs. The learning process is enhanced through experiential learning. Jackson State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is 1 of only 2 Historically Black Colleges and Universities to be classified as a research intensive university with high research activity by [3] The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, along with Howard University.

JSU colleges include:

  • College of Business
  • College of Education and Human Development
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Public Service
  • College of Science, Engineering and Technology
  • College of Lifelong Learning

Student activities

National Pan-Hellenic Council

Organization Chapter Name Year Chartered Year Founded
Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity Delta Phi (?F) 1953 1906
Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority Gamma Rho (GP) 1949 1908
Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity Delta Delta (??) 1951 1911
Omega Psi Phi fraternity Upsilon Epsilon (?E) 1949 1911
Delta Sigma Theta sorority Delta Pi (??) 1952 1913
Phi Beta Sigma fraternity Alpha Beta (AB) 1927 1914
Zeta Phi Beta sorority Lambda Beta (?B) 1948 1920
Sigma Gamma Rho sorority Alpha Tau (AT) 1941 1922
Iota Phi Theta fraternity Delta Psi (??) 2003 1963


Athletic teams are a member of the NCAA Division I-FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) Southwestern Athletic Conference, commonly known as the SWAC. All SWAC sports are DI with Football being FCS. Currently, the university fields teams in men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, golf, tennis, soccer, and bowling; women's volleyball; and men's football. The university's mascot is the Tiger, and the teams are sometimes referred to as the "Blue Bengals."

The Tiger men's football team has a heralded history, winning and sharing 16 SWAC titles, including 2007.[4] Its most famous alumni includes NFL Hall of Famers Lem Barney, Jackie Slater and Walter Payton, and former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith.

The men's golf team has gained notoriety as it has become a SWAC powerhouse and perennial NCAA tournament participant under head coach Eddie Payton, older brother of Walter Payton.[citation needed]

JSU's well-known rivals include Southern, Alcorn State, Mississippi Valley State, Tennessee State and Texas Southern.

Sonic Boom of the South

The Jackson State University Marching Band, “The Sonic Boom of the South” is a musical group.

The band was first organized in the early 1940s. As early as the mid-1920s, the University had a well-organized orchestra. The group was given the nickname, “The Sonic Boom of the South” by band director Harold J. Haughton, Sr. in 1971. In 1971, the majorettes abandoned their batons and became a dance team known as the Prancing J-Settes, also named by Haughton. In 1974, “Get Ready,” an old Motown favorite was selected as the band’s theme song. Also, during the mid-1970s, the “Tiger Run-On” was perfected. Created by Haughton, the “Tiger Run-On” is a fast, eye-catching shuffle step that blends an adagio step with an up-tempo shuffle (200 steps per minute), then back to adagio—a “Sonic Boom” trademark that brings fans to their feet during halftime performances. Oct 1990, Under the direction of Dowell Taylor and staff, The Sonic Boom of the South performed in Los Angeles, California for Motown 30-What's Going on. This was the event that set the wheels in motion for the national attention of the Sonic Boom.

The J-Settes

Prancing J-Settes” is the official name of the Jackson State University dance line, an auxiliary group of the Jackson State University Marching Band, “The Sonic Boom of the South.” The Prancing J-Settes are currently supervised by Dowell Taylor, current Director of Bands. The Jackson State University Marching Band, “The Sonic Boom of the South” is an ensemble of the Department of Music, Dr. Jimmie James, Jr., Chair.

“The thrill of a thousand eyes,” were the words spoken by Dr. Jimmie James, Jr. at the onset of the “Prancing Jaycettes” in 1971.[citation needed] Shirley Middleton, a former majorette, initiated the concept of the majorettes abandoning their batons and dancing to popular musical selections. As the majorette sponsor, Shirley Middleton and the majorettes met with Dr. John A. Peoples, the University’s sixth president, and requested that they be permitted to “put down their batons.”

Dr. Peoples agreed and thus legends were born. In 1970, Middleton assembled 18 majorettes, and their notoriety immediately began to soar in rapid proportions. Their beauty, grace, and poise were astounding and their dance routines to songs such as “Kool-Aid,” James Brown’s “Make it Funky,” and “Hot Pants,” were magnificent, unmatched by any other competing groups.

The group was initially named the “Prancing Jaycettes.” The group’s name became official in 1971. However, in 1982, the Prancing Jaycette organization officially changed its name to Prancing J-Settes, because of a name conflict with a local organization known as the Jackson Jaycees/Jaycettes.

As a trained ballet dancer, Shirley Middleton held the J-Settes to a very high standard of perfection. Also, the late Hollis Pippins, a JSU twirler and a dancer of high performance in his own right, took great pride in providing the J-Settes with excellent choreography. In addition to emphasis on perfecting dance routines, it was completely unacceptable for any J-Sette to display mannerism and stature of anything less than a model citizen.

Shirley Middleton served as sponsor of the J-Settes from 1970-1975. In 1975, Narah Oatis was appointed the sponsor of the J-Settes. Under her leadership, the Prancing J-Settes became nationally renowned. During her reign, J-Sette marching techniques such as the “Salt and Pepper,” “J-Sette Walk,” “Strut,” and “Tip Toe” were perfected. The J-Settes consisted of lines of 12-16 young ladies who marched in rows affectionately named “Short and Sassy,” “Magnificent Middle,” or a “Tall and Tough.” Mrs. Oatis's tenure is best remembered by many for the J-Settes’s stellar performance at the 30th Anniversary of Motown in 1990, the “Coming to America routine,” “Proud Mary,” and the “Liturgical dance routine.” (“Coming to America” and the “Proud Mary” routines were both originally performed in 1995. The “Liturgical dance routine” was first performed in 1996.) Narah Oatis served as director (sponsor) of the Prancing J-Settes for 21 years. She resigned as sponsor of the J-Settes in February 1997.

Student media

Jackson State is home to radio station WJSU-FM which plays jazz, gospel, news and public affairs programming. It also houses a low-powered television station, W23BC. Jackson State also publishes the independent Blue and White Flash weekly student newspaper.

Notable alumni


Name Class year Notability References
Dr. Rod Paige Secretary of Education during President George W. Bush administration from 2001-2005, and former head football coach at Jackson State from 1964-1968

Arts, TV and Radio Media, Entertainment and Music

Name Class year Notability References
Vivian Brown Weather Channel meteorologist [5]
Demarco Morgan News anchor for WNBC in New York City.
Percy Greene founded the Jackson Advocate newspaper, Mississippi's oldest black-owned newspaper
Willie Norwood American Gospel singer. He is the father and voice coach of R&B singers Brandy and Ray J
Tonea Stewart Actress and Educator
Cassandra Wilson Jazz vocalist and musician

Politics, Law, and Government

Name Class year Notability References
Emmett C. Burns, Jr. Member of the Maryland House of Delegates

from the 10th district

Robert G. Clark, Jr. politician who was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1967. He was the first African American elected to the Mississippi State Legislature since the Reconstruction era.
Malcolm D. Jackson CIO at Environmental Protection Agency during President Barack Obama administration. He is a Presidential Appointment. [6]
Carlton W. Reeves 1986 Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
Bennie G. Thompson Member U. S. House of Representatives. Serving from April 1993 to Current


Name Class year Notability References
Shasta Averyhardt 2008 Female LGPA golfer, 1st African-American woman to qualify for the LPGA tour since 2001, and its fourth African-American woman member in the 60-year history of the LPGA. [7]
Lem Barney NFL Hall of Fame cornerback with the Detroit Lions
Marcus Benard 2009 Current NFL linebacker
Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd former Major League Baseball pitcher
Corey Bradford former National Football League wide receiver
Robert Brazile former 7-time NFL Pro Bowl outside linebacker with the Houston Oilers [8]
Wes Chamberlain former Major League outfielder
Dave Clark former Major League outfielder
Eddie Payton 1973 NFL kick returner; current Jackson State golf coach
Walter Payton 1975 NFL Hall of Fame running back; played entire career for the Chicago Bears
Archie "Gunslinger" Cooley 1962 former head football coach at Mississippi Valley State University, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Norfolk State University, and Paul Quinn College
Leslie "Speedy" Duncan former 4-time NFL Pro-Bowl cornerback with the San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins.
Marvin Freeman former Major League pitcher
Cletis Gordon former NFL defensive back
Lindsey Hunter Former NBA point guard. Won the 2001–02 championship with the Los Angeles Lakers and the 2003–04 championship with the Detroit Pistons. He was formerly the interim heach coach of the Phoenix Suns.
Harold Jackson former NFL wide receiver; played majority career with the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots
Thadeus Jackson NFL assistant coach
Claudis James former NFL player
Jaymar Johnson 2008 current NFL wide receiver
Trey Johnson current NBA/NBA Development League Player
Ed Manning Drafted by the Baltimore Bullets in the 8th round (1st pick, 80th overall) of the 1967 NBA draft, father of Danny Manning
Audie Norris former NBA Power Forward and superstar for Winterthur FC Barcelona in the late 1980s
Donald Reese NFL Player; played for the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers [9]
Purvis Short former NBA small forward for the Golden State Warriors in the mid-1980s
Jackie Slater NFL Hall of Fame offensive tackle; played entire career with the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams
Jimmy Smith Retired NFL wide receiver; played majority career with the Jacksonville Jaguars [10]
Michael Tinsley 2006 Track & Field sprinter

Sources: Google Maps, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers

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