Jacksonville State University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Jacksonville State)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville State University seal.png
Former names
Jacksonville State Normal School (1883–1930)
Jacksonville State Teachers College (1930–1957)
Jacksonville State College (1957–1967)
Motto The friendliest campus in the South.
Type Public
Established 1883
Endowment $12.59 million[1]
President John M. Beehler
Provost Rebecca O. Turner
Academic staff
Students 8,514 (Fall 2016)[2]
Undergraduates 7,561 (Fall 2016)
Postgraduates 953 (Fall 2016)
Location Jacksonville, Alabama, United States
33°49′19″N 85°45′58″W / 33.822°N 85.766°W / 33.822; -85.766Coordinates: 33°49′19″N 85°45′58″W / 33.822°N 85.766°W / 33.822; -85.766
Campus Suburban (small city)
Colors Red and White[3]
Nickname Gamecocks
Website www.jsu.edu
Jacksonville State University logo.svg

Jacksonville State University (JSU) is a regional public coeducational university located in Jacksonville, Alabama, United States. Founded in 1883, Jacksonville State offers programs of study in five academic units leading to Bachelor's, Master's, Education Specialist, and Doctorate in addition to continuing and distance education programs. In the Fall semester of 2011, JSU began offering the school's first doctoral degree, Doctor of Science in Emergency Management.[4]

The university was founded as Jacksonville State Normal School, and in 1930 the name changed to Jacksonville State Teachers College, and again in 1957 to Jacksonville State College. The university began operating as Jacksonville State University in 1967. In 2008, the university celebrated its 125th anniversary.

JSU currently has an enrollment of about 8,500 students, with nearly 500 faculty members (more than 320 of whom are full-time). Jacksonville State's Business School was ranked within the nation's 90th percentile by the Princeton Review. The current University President is Dr. John M. Beehler.

Jacksonville State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). In addition, 40 academic programs (79% of programs that can be accredited) earned specialized programmatic accreditations. These programs include business, education, applied engineering, nursing, social work, drama, art, music, computer science, family and consumer science, and communication.

221 international students representing 73 countries were enrolled in the 2013–2014 academic year. The University has run its International House program, an international exchange program, for over 60 years.[5]


The institution that would become JSU was established on February 22, 1883, when Gov. Edward O'Neal signed into law a bill creating the State Normal School (SNS) at Jacksonville. The new school acquired the facilities and equipment of Calhoun College, which consisted of 12 acres of land and a two-story brick building and which closed upon its acquisition by the SNS. The State Normal School at Jacksonville offered a comprehensive teacher preparatory curriculum with strong emphasis in mathematics and English to train primary and intermediate school teachers and a two-year collegiate department.

The Board of Directors elected James C. Ryals Jr. as first president of the SNS at Jacksonville in 1883. Ryals, a native of Bartow County, Georgia, opened the new normal school with three instructors. His tenure, however, was short; on April 18, 1885, at the age of 30, he died after a nine-day bout of pneumonia. A few days later, the Board of Directors named J. Harris Chappell, a faculty member of the Columbus (Georgia) Female Academy, to complete Ryals's term. After presenting diplomas to the first class in 1886, Chappell left for another post, and faculty member Carleton Bartlett Gibson, a Mobile native, stepped into the vacancy. Gibson served as president until 1892, when J. B. Jarrett took over for a brief time.

Daugette Hall

In 1893, Jacob Forney IV, a Jacksonville native and an alumnus of the school's very first graduating class, began a six-year term as president. In February 1897, the Alabama State Legislature established a separate public school district for Jacksonville and gave the SNS president the authority to serve as superintendent over all schools within the district. The act also provided that the public schools would serve as teacher training schools for the SNS. Forney's brother-in-law Clarence W. Daugette, a science teacher at the school, succeeded him as president in 1899. In 1920, the school established extension programs that enabled grade-school teachers to take classes at more convenient times and locations.

Bibb Graves Hall

In 1921, the Alabama State Legislature appropriated funds to construct a building that is now called Kilby Hall and the core of Jacksonville Elementary Laboratory School (now Kitty Stone Elementary School). (This partnership continues to the present day, as JSU education majors still conduct their student teaching in Jacksonville City Schools.) Forney Hall, the men's dormitory, was built on adjacent property in 1927. A significant change came in 1929 when the school became a four-year institution and was renamed the State Teachers College. A third year of curriculum was added in the fall quarter of that same year, and a fourth year was added the following fall. Also in 1930, the college moved to its present location near the City of Jacksonville's northern border, where Bibb Graves Hall was constructed to house classrooms and administrative offices; it now serves as JSU's main administration building. The first bachelor of science degree in the field of education was awarded in 1931, and five years later, the college earned regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Despite the Great Depression, the school thrived, adding many buildings to the campus during the 1930s, including Ramona Wood Library, Daugette Hall, Hammond Hall, J. W. Stephenson Gymnasium, and Abercrombie Hall.

Houston Cole Library

After Daugette's death in 1942, Houston Cole became the seventh president. During his tenure, more than 20 buildings were completed or begun, including the student center, football stadium, nursing school, and police academy. In addition, Cole oversaw the establishment of the Student Government Association, ROTC program, and the International House program, which pairs American students with foreign-born students to promote language instruction and cultural exchange.

In 1957, the name changed to Jacksonville State College after the first graduate program, a master's degree in elementary education was created. In August 1966, the State Board of Education (BoE) elevated the college to university status. One year later, the legislature established an independent Board of Trustees for the university and divested jurisdiction from the BoE. Barbara Curry, who enrolled in the fall of 1965, is believed to be the first African American student at Jacksonville State College. She graduated in 1969 with a bachelor of science in education with a concentration in vocational home economics. By 1966, many more African American students and educators began entering classes at JSU.

In 1971, former State Superintendent of Education Ernest Stone succeeded Cole as university president. During Stone's tenure, the school hired many more educators with doctoral degrees, and enrollments increased to more than 6,500. In 1972, the university established JSU Gadsden, a branch campus in Etowah County. Theron Montgomery, a former sociology instructor, became president of JSU in 1981. Under his administration, university departments began seeking individual accreditation for their specific programs, and the Department of Technology was established in 1984. Additionally, a seven-month-long celebration of JSU's centennial took place, culminating in the dedication of a new courtyard in front of Bibb Graves Hall on February 23, 1983. Also to commemorate the event, the original school bell from Hames Hall on the old campus was given a permanent home in the new courtyard.

In 1986, education administrator Harold McGee began his 13-year JSU presidency, during which enrollments increased by 30 percent, $50 million in capital improvements were added, and every eligible professional program was accredited. In addition, the university developed its first master plan and capital campaign, and the JSU Foundation endowment increased to more than $19 million. Also during McGee's tenure, the school made many technological advances, adding class registration via telephone, individual e-mail accounts, Internet access, online courses, and the use of compressed video to transmit classes. Graduate enrollment exceeded 1,000 for the first time in 1990, and JSU student Heather Whitestone became the first deaf Miss America in 1995.

William A. Meehan, JSU's eleventh president, began his 16-year tenure in 1999. He had received bachelor's and master's degrees in biology from JSU and began teaching in the biology department at JSU in 1977, later earning a doctorate of education from the University of Alabama and serving in several administrative positions. Major accomplishments under Meehan have included establishing the Office of Distance Education in December 2004, opening JSU McClellan, a branch campus in Anniston, Calhoun County, in 2003, renovating the Houston Cole Library, and completing the $7 million Little River Canyon Center, which houses the National Park Service's headquarters for Little River Canyon National Preserve, and JSU's Little River Canyon Field School. The institution underwent a major project to increase campus housing and an expansion project at Paul Snow Stadium, which was scheduled and opened for occupation in August 2010. Other accomplishments include the successful launch and completion of a $25 million capital campaign held in conjunction with the university's 125th anniversary, establishment of the English Language Institute in 2005, and partnerships with four Chinese universities that will open new avenues for the exchange of research, faculty, staff, and students through study abroad programs. Under Meehan, enrollment has increased by 16 percent.

In 2015, following Meehan's retirement, Dr. John M. Beehler became the twelfth and current President of Jacksonville State University.

John M. Beehler was named the 12th president of Jacksonville State University during a special session of the Board of Trustees on May 8, 2015. Beehler was selected following a nationwide search led by the Atlanta-based firm, Diversified Search. For 20 years before becoming president, Beehler served in a wide range of higher education leadership positions. He served as the dean of the School of Business at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, previously served as founding provost and vice president for academic excellence and student success at the University of North Texas at Dallas, associate provost for economic initiatives and dean of the College of Business at Northern Kentucky University, dean of the School of Business at Wichita State University, and associate dean at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is a graduate of the Harvard Institutes of Higher Education Management Development Program and the American Academic Leadership Institute's Executive Leadership Academy. He earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from The Pennsylvania State University and an MBA and Ph.D. in finance and taxation from Indiana University.[6]

Administration and University organization[edit]

Jacksonville State is administered by the President of Jacksonville State and the Jacksonville State Board of Trustees. Members of the board are appointed to set the policies of the university, and appoint senior management personnel. Under the doctrine of collective responsibility, the entire board is liable for the financial and other consequences of the organization's activities. The President of Jacksonville State has authority Jacksonville State where the president sees over the administrative direction of Jacksonville State University. The president oversees the work of the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, the Athletic Director, the Vice President of Administration and Business Affairs, the Vice President of University Advancement, the Vice President of Information and Technology, and the Executive Director of Planning and Research. The president also oversees each vice president and director's subordinates as well.

Academic organization[edit]

Wallace Hall, home to the JSU nursing program.

Through Jacksonville State's six academic schools, Jacksonville State offers career-centered programs to prepare for certain workforces. Offices such as Academic Affairs, Graduate Studies, International House and Programs, Distance Education, Tutoring, Off-Campus Programs and Sites, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Academic Center for Excellence, the University Library, and others help students through the courses of the four academic colleges.

  • School of Arts and Humanities
  • School of Business and Industry
  • School of Education
  • School of Nursing and Health Professions
  • School of Human Services and Social Sciences
  • School of Science

Main and satellite campuses[edit]

Main campus[edit]

The JSU main campus has a 459-acre (1.9 km2) campus with 59 buildings in the Appalachian foothills of northeast Alabama. With this campus being the flagship campus for Jacksonville State, it offers large educational facilities, university housing and residence, on-campus dining, student centers, Greek housing, athletic facilities, student health and wellness facilities, administration offices, study centers, an international housing program, and an on-campus bookstore. The majority of students who study at Jacksonville State attend courses here.

Little River Canyon Center campus[edit]

The Little River Canyon Center campus opened to the public in 2009, and is a Jacksonville State University building located in Fort Payne, Alabama that adjoins the Little River Canyon National Preserve. A portion is leased to the National Park Service and the staff of the Little River Canyon National Preserve with a facility that features a Grand Hall, HD movie theater, gift shop, natural history library, exhibits, classrooms, back deck, outdoor amphitheater and trails for both education and adventure.[7]

McClellan campus[edit]

The Jacksonville State University Higher Education Consortium was established in 2003, and it houses two state schools: Jacksonville State University–McClellan Center, and Gadsden State Community College–McClellan Campus. Since 2005, the McClellan Center Building 3181 has been home to the Institute of Emergency Preparedness, In-Service, and the Northeast Alabama Police Academy. GSCC houses the traditional college students. Their EMS and 911 programs, in addition to the core classes of English, math, etc., are also housed in the building.[8]


In the fall of 2010 enrollment peaked at 9,504 students throughout the system, but this number fell slightly because the number of incoming freshman could not keep up with the number of graduating seniors. As of the Fall semester of 2013, the total number of students within the Jacksonville State system is 8,693. The total of undergraduates total to 7,588 students while the total of graduates amount to 1,105 students.

Campus events[edit]

On January 1, 2012, the school's marching band and dance team, The Southerners and the Marching Ballerinas,[9] led the New Year's Day Parade in London, England which also kicked off the year-long celebration of both Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 London Summer Olympics.[10] The invitation to lead the parade came in September 2010, just as the Southerners learned that they had been awarded the nationally recognized George Washington Honor Medal for their patriotic 2009 show, "Of Thee I Sing."

In spring 2008, the website GetEducated.com ranked the Master of Science in Computer Systems and Software Design as second on its list of "best buys" among 67 online master's programs in computer science and information technology offered by regionally accredited institutions in the United States.[11] In spring 2010, they followed this with a third-place ranking for JSU's online nursing master's program[12] and a sixth-place ranking for the online nursing bachelor's degree.[13]

In October 2007, the College of Commerce and Business Administration was named one of the 290 best business schools in the world by The Princeton Review and ranked second in providing the greatest opportunities for women.

In 2007, the school broke ground for the 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) Little River Canyon Center. The building houses National Park Service offices, an exhibit hall, meeting space, classrooms, and comfort stations and is the site of the JSU Little River Canyon Field School, which sponsors dozens of activities, seminars and programs each year. In 1992, the canyon was designated a national preserve. During the summer months, the staff includes 15 park rangers.

In February 2006, Jacksonville State University was named the "winner" of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) Speech Code of the Month.[14] At the time, FIRE called the University Code of Conduct "illegally overbroad." They considered the code to be in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution which protects offensive speech. The policy has since been changed.

In 2001, placekicker Ashley Martin became the first woman to score in an NCAA football game, kicking three extra points in the Gamecocks' 72–10 victory over Cumberland University.

March 19, 2018 Tornado[edit]

On the evening of March 19, 2018, an EF-3 tornado struck the campus of Jacksonville State University, causing minor to severe damage to every building.[15] It was the first day of spring break for both the university and the Jacksonville City School System. Classes resumed at the university on April 9, 2018 and the spring commencement ceremony was held on May 4, 2018 as scheduled, but moved to JSU Stadium from Pete Mathews Coliseum (which was closed due to tornado damage). [16] There were four injuries among city residents and no fatalities.[17] More than $42 million in property damage was inflicted on the university and, on April 27, 2018, President Donald Trump declared the event a federal disaster. [18] The university continued its summer semester as planned and President John Beehler stated all subsequent semesters will continue as normal. [19]


Jacksonville State's athletics teams are nicknamed the Gamecocks. The school is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference in Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) in football, formerly I-AA, of the NCAA. The university's football team gained national attention in 2001 when Junior placekicker Ashley Martin became the first female football player to score a point in a Division I game tallying 3 points against Cumberland University.

The school fields varsity teams in 14 sports: baseball, men's and women's basketball, cross country, football, men's and women's golf, rifle, women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, women's track and field, and volleyball. The football team plays in 25,000-seat Burgess-Snow Field. The men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams play in Pete Mathews Coliseum. Prior to the 1993–94 academic year, Jacksonville State competed in NCAA Division II athletics, winning national championships in men's basketball (1985), baseball (1990 and 1991), football (1992) and gymnastics (1984 and 1985).


Jacksonville State University sponsors one co-ed, six men's, and ten women's teams in NCAA sanctioned sports:[20]


The Jacksonville State Gamecocks football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Jacksonville State University. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Ohio Valley Conference. Jacksonville State's first football team was fielded in 1904. The team plays its home games at the 24,000 seat Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium in Jacksonville, Alabama. The Gamecocks are coached by John Grass. Under the direction of head coach John Grass in 2014, the Gamecocks went 10–2 overall, won the Ohio Valley Conference outright, and received an automatic bid in the NCAA FCS Playoffs.


The Jacksonville State Gamecocks baseball team is a varsity intercollegiate athletic team of Jacksonville State University. The team is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, which is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. The team plays its home games at Rudy Abbott Field in Jacksonville, Alabama. The Gamecocks are coached by Jim Case. During the 2013–2014 campaign, the Gamecocks won the OVC championship and received an automatic bid for the annual NCAA regional tournament.


The Jacksonville State Gamecocks men's basketball team is the men's basketball team that represents Jacksonville State University. The school's team currently competes in the Ohio Valley Conference. During the 2016–2017 season, the Gamecocks won the OVC championship and received their first NCAA tournament bid.

Women's basketball[edit]

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks women's basketball team is the women's basketball team that represents Jacksonville State University. The team currently competes in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Gamecocks are coached by Rick Pietri.


The Jacksonville State Gamecocks softball team represents Jacksonville State University in NCAA Division I college softball. The team participates in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). The Gamecocks are currently led by head coach Jana McGinnis. The team plays its home games at University Field located on the university's campus.

The Marching Southerners[edit]

Jacksonville State University's marching band, The Marching Southerners, was founded in 1956 by John Finley. He also conceived the band's precision danceline, The Marching Ballerinas.[21]

Dr. David L. Walters, for whom JSU's music department is named, served as band director from 1961 to 1991 and is credited with bringing the Marching Southerners to national prominence.[22]

Under the direction of Dr. Kenneth G. Bodiford, the Marching Southerners feature a corps marching style, the Marching Ballerinas, and the famous 20J's. Many of the 450+ member marching band are also members of Drum Corps International during the summer.[9]

2012 London New Year's Day Parade

The Marching Southerners were given the honor of leading the 2012 London New Year's Day Parade, which also celebrated the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.[23]

Greek life[edit]

With hundreds of students, comprising over ten percent of the undergraduate student body, JSU is home to 17 social and 22 total Greek-letter organizations. The Greek community at JSU donates over 10,000 hours and over $100,000 annually to the local community and national charities in philanthropy work. Greek students who hold executive positions within Greek Life also have a cumulative overall 3.0 GPA, ranking as one of the highest in the nation among Greek-supporting schools. The Office of Student Life advises and provides guidance to the fraternities and sororities associated with the three Greek Governing Councils: Interfraternity Council (IFC), the National Panhellenic Council (NPC), and the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

Chapter name, their year founded, and other information are in parentheses


Panhellenic Council (NPC) Sororities:

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Sororities:


Interfraternity Council (IFC) Fraternities:

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Fraternities:

Other Greek organizations[edit]

International House Program[edit]

Clarence W. Daugette, Jr. International House

The International House program is a unique part of JSU campus life. The program began in 1946 with five students from France. Initially, the program focused on languages. Today, there are forty members of the program, twenty American students and twenty international students.[24]

Each international student is from a different country and is roomed with an American student. Though emphasis is still placed on languages, greater emphasis is now placed on the overall aspects of cultural understanding. Truly, the International House Program provides "A Window on the World" for students at Jacksonville State University and the surrounding community. The International House is a stepping stone in Jacksonville which allows the growing international community to be increasingly active in student affairs. The International Student Organization (ISO) is one of many organizations at JSU committed to international and American students alike.The current Director of the International House Program is Dr. John J. Ketterer.[25]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Jacksonville State University". Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  2. ^ "JSU enrollment dips; officials encouraged by some stats". The Anniston Star. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ Jacksonville State University Style Guide & Identification Standards Manual (PDF). Retrieved April 3, 2016. 
  4. ^ Doctoral degrees
  5. ^ Exchange program
  6. ^ "JSU Selects John M. Beehler as 12th President". www.jsu.edu. Jacksonville State University. Retrieved May 8, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Little River Canyon Center – Environmental Policy and Information Center (EPIC) – Jacksonville State University". Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  8. ^ "JSU – JSU McClellan Center – Home". Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Welcome – JSU Marching Southerners". Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Southerners In London". Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Top 29 Ranked Best Buys Online Graduate Degrees Computer Science & Information Technology". Retrieved May 7, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Online Masters in Nursing – Affordable Online Degrees – Best Online Colleges". Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Online BSN – Affordable Online Degrees – Best Online Colleges". Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Speech Code of the Month: Jacksonville State University – FIRE". FIRE. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  15. ^ "We are JSU Strong | Jacksonville State University". www.jsu.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  16. ^ "Jacksonville State University | Academic Options for Completing the Spring Semester". www.jsu.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  17. ^ Service, US Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Weather. "Jacksonville Tornado - March 19, 2018". www.weather.gov. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  18. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Approves Alabama Disaster Declaration | FEMA.gov". www.fema.gov. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  19. ^ "Jacksonville State University | President Beehler Welcomes Students and Employees Back to Campus". www.jsu.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  20. ^ "2015 Fan Day – August 29". Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  21. ^ Southerners founder remembered as Jacksonville State starts band camp, by Seth Boster, The Anniston Star, August 13, 2015, accessed August 14, 2016
  22. ^ David Walters, Longtime Leader of JSU Bands, Dies at 92, by Seth Boster, The Anniston Star, December 30, 2015, accessed August 14, 2016
  23. ^ Marching to London
  24. ^ "International House". www.jsu.edu. Jacksonville State University. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  25. ^ "House History". www.jsu.edu. Jacksonville State University. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 

External links[edit]