Jacksonville University

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Not to be confused with Jacksonville State University.
Jacksonville University
Seal of Jacksonville University
Motto Fiat Lux (Latin) [1]
Motto in English
Let There Be Light
Type Private
Established 1934
Affiliation Nonsectarian
Endowment $30 million[2]
Chairman Fred G. Pruitt
President Tim Cost
Academic staff
Students 3,741
Undergraduates 3,221
Postgraduates 520
Location Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Campus Urban
240 acres
Colors Forest Green and White[3]
Athletics NCAA Division I, Pioneer Football League, Atlantic Sun Conference
Nickname Dolphins
Mascot Dunk'n the Dolphin
Affiliations Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Website www.ju.edu

Jacksonville University (JU) is a private university in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. The school was founded in 1934 as a two-year college and was known as Jacksonville Junior College until 1958, when it shifted its focus to four-year university degrees and adopted its present name. It is a member of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Its sports teams are known as the Jacksonville Dolphins.


The school was founded in 1934 by William J. Porter. Originally known as William J. Porter University, it began as a private two-year college. Since a permanent site had not yet been acquired, classes were held on the third floor of the First Baptist Church Educational Building in downtown Jacksonville.[4] Sixty students were enrolled in Porter University's first year of operation.[5]

The school changed its name to Jacksonville Junior College in 1935. It relocated three times over the next fifteen years, including a period in the Florida Theatre building, but the influx of GI bill students following the end of World War II made it necessary for the school to find a permanent location. In 1947 the administration purchased land in Jacksonville's Arlington neighborhood on which to establish the current campus. The first building was completed in 1950 and classes officially began.[6] The same year the school received full accreditation as a two-year college from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).[4]

In 1958 Jacksonville Junior College merged with the Jacksonville College of Music, and the name was changed to Jacksonville University. In 1959 the first four-year class graduated, and in 1962 JU received full accreditation as a four-year school from SACS. The 1960s saw the university grow substantially as enrollment increased, dormitories were built, two new colleges were established and the Swisher Gymnasium was constructed. In 1970 the Jacksonville University Dolphins men's basketball team, under star center Artis Gilmore, went to the NCAA Division I Championship. However, the opening of the public University of North Florida in 1973 eroded JU's enrollment, while the removal of public funding hurt the school financially. In the 1990s Jacksonville University reconfigured itself as primarily a liberal arts college and embarked on a substantial fundraising campaign, which provided for the construction of new buildings and a revision of the campus master plan.[4][6]


The main entrance of Jacksonville University

Jacksonville University offers over 70 majors and programs at the undergraduate level, as well as several Master's programs that include the M.S., M.A., M.A.T., and Master of Business Administration, and doctorates that include the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

The University is divided into six colleges: The College of Arts and Sciences, which offers a traditional liberal arts education; the College of Fine Arts with its integrated Alexander Brest Museum and Gallery; the Davis College of Business (DCOB), the School of Education, the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences,[7] and the School of Orthodontics. It has a Marine Science Research Center on campus along the bank of the St. Johns River. Jacksonville University has also teamed up with the Florida Coastal School of Law to offer a joint MBA/law degree.

Davis College of Business: JU's Davis College of Business received its AACSB accreditation in January, 2010. The Davis College of Business is the only private AACSB accredited business school in North Florida.[8] DCOB offers MBA and EMBA degrees along with undergraduate business degrees in Accounting, Aviation Management, Aviation Management & Flight Operations, Economics, Finance, International Business, Management and Marketing.

JU has also joined forces with Aerosim Flight Academy, to provide professional flight training to its aviation students.

The JU Flight Team competes in National Intercollegiate Flying Association Regional and National Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) against other universities. The best team performance came in 2007. The program is the third largest in the nation behind Spartan School in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. The JU Flight Team placed 10th in the nation at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association. JU placed 10th overall in Flight Events and eighth in Ground Events. In 2008, the team was awarded the Loening Trophy, which is given to the best collegiate aviation program in the country each year. It is housed and on display in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

JU has programs in nursing, communication sciences disorders, public policy, dance, and marine sciences, and the second-largest Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program in the nation.[9] The university's nursing program now offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree through online education.[10] In 2012, the university established the Public Policy Institute, offering the only Master in Public Policy degree program in the state of Florida.[11] In 2014, Jacksonville University partnered with Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital to create the Brooks Rehabilitation Speech-Language Pathology program.[12]

The Davis Student Commons center opened in October 2006, and the long-dormant Swisher Theatre opened to much fanfare in January 2007. Apartment-style residence halls have been opened on campus, and the school plans to renovate other residence halls on the campus as well.[citation needed]

The school has been noted for its faculty-student ratio by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[citation needed]

Recently, the university's forged partnership with City of Glasgow College had its first exchange in 2014.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, JU's 8-year graduation rate is 41%.[13]


Main article: Jacksonville Dolphins

The JU athletic programs participate in NCAA Division I in the Atlantic Sun Conference, with the exception of the football program, which competes in the Division I FCS Pioneer Football League, and the rowing program, which competes in the MAAC Conference (NCAA Division I).

Dolphins football team at practice

Terry Alexander, the most successful coach in Jacksonville's baseball history with 631 wins, enters his 31st year at Jacksonville and his 20th year as the program’s head coach. He has led the program to nine NCAA regional appearances, won six conference championships (1995, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009) and has completed five 40-win seasons. He has also coached 10 All-America honorees, 50 all-conference selections and helped 44 players get drafted by Major League Baseball organizations.

The basketball program has produced professional basketball players such as Artis Gilmore, Otis Smith, Pembrook Burrows III and Rex Morgan.[citation needed] In 1970, Jacksonville University became the second smallest school (behind St. Bonaventure) to make it to the NCAA Final Four and the national championship game.[citation needed] The team was led by head coach Joe Williams. After defeating the St. Bonaventure team in the tournament semi-finals, the Dolphins lost to the UCLA Bruins in the national championship. The following season, Jacksonville became the first college basketball team to average 100+ points per game, at a time when there was no three-point shot and no shot clock in college basketball. In 2009, Jacksonville won the regular season Atlantic Sun Conference title in men's basketball, but fell to East Tennessee State in the conference tournament title game. The Dolphins were invited to the National Invitation Tournament, the school's first post-season tournament since 1986, but lost in the first round to the University of Florida Gators.

The football program won its first PFL title in 2008.

JU is noted for its rowing program after taking the overall FIRA Cup (Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association) in 2007 and again in 2014. The women's rowing team won their first MAAC Championship in 2014 and won an automatic bid to the NCAA Div I National Championship (JU Website). Recently, JU has expanded its rowing program with the addition of the Negaard Rowing Center. The JU rowing program has had over 50 years of success around the world and has competed in locations such as the Nile River and England's Henley Royal Regatta.

The school added men's and women's lacrosse programs during the 2009-2010 academic year.[citation needed]

Greek and student life[edit]

The school's Greek system, consisting by some estimates of 15% of the school[citation needed], includes Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Alpha Psi, Sigma Chi, Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, and Sigma Nu fraternities and the Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Delta Pi, and Gamma Phi Beta sororities.

53 percent of all students live on campus in one of three residential halls and eight apartment-style housing facilities. Most residence halls provide academic and social events as well as host programs to acclimate incoming students to the college experience.

While Greeks do offer some social events, many residence halls also host their own events, though alcohol policies are strictly enforced.

The student center of the University (the Davis Student Commons Building) includes a fitness center overlooking the St. Johns River, a sports-themed dining facility named Nellie's (after the school mascot), a Chick-Fil-A, and a game room for all campus community members, while serving as a focal point for campus life. The facility opened in October 2006.

Student life at Jacksonville University includes a diverse range of activities and organizations. There are multicultural, arts, political and social action, service and professional, religious, sports and recreation, academic and professional, and special interest groups.

There are also a variety [14] of campus ministries on campus. In 2011, another campus ministry, the Campus to City Wesley Foundation, started meeting at JU.[15]

Campus media organizations include the student newspaper (The Navigator), campus radio station (JU108), literary and arts magazine (The Aquarian), student-run broadcasting station (Dolphin Channel), and yearbook (The Riparian).

The Jacksonville University Student Alliance serves the needs of the student body as a whole by electing representatives from the university's student organizations, residential communities and colleges.

The Florida Leader magazine ranked JU as having the third-best positive student life experience out of the 28 private colleges and universities in the state, citing its small campus size, peer and faculty relationships, and the close-knit campus community.[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]

Fowler Building, ROTC headquarters

This list of Jacksonville University alumni includes graduates, non-graduate former students and current students of Jacksonville University.

Alumni Notability
Bertice Berry Sociologist
Alvin Brown Mayor of Jacksonville, 2011–2015
Dee Brown NBA player (1990-2002), 1991 NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest winner
David "Jack" Dorsett Director of Naval Intelligence, Vice Admiral, US Navy
William Forsythe dancer and choreographer
Paul G. Gaffney II President of Monmouth University
Artis Gilmore ABA player (1971-1976), NBA player (1976-1988), Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (2011)
Donnie Hammond professional golfer
Tommy Hazouri former Mayor of Jacksonville (1987-1991), Duval County School Board Member (2004-2012), Jacksonville City Council member (2015–present)
Bruce Helford television producer (The Drew Carey Show, George Lopez')
Smoke Laval college baseball coach of Louisiana–Monroe, LSU, and North Florida
Terrence Mann actor, director, singer, songwriter and dancer
Tom McMillan former Major League Baseball shortstop and member of the inaugural 1977 Seattle Mariners team
Bob Moore composer and conductor
Daniel Murphy (outfielder) Major League Baseball player for the Washington Nationals (Previously: New York Mets)
Frank Pace television producer
Leonard Skinner Namesake of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, basketball player
Otis Smith NBA player (1986-1992), former general manager of the Orlando Magic
Jay Thomas film and TV actor, radio show host
David Walker former Comptroller General of the United States
Will W. Weatherford Florida state representative
John A. Wright Oklahoma state representative, unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fiat Lux. Economic Perspectives http://econperspectives.blogspot.com/2009/04/fiat-lux.html. Retrieved 11 October 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ As of 2011. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 10, 2010. 
  3. ^ Jacksonville University Jacksonville University Colors. 2007.
  4. ^ a b c "Timeline". www.ju.edu. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  5. ^ "75th Anniversary". www.ju.edu. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Humphrey, Joe (September 29, 2000). "The hidden treasure awaiting excavation". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved October 20, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  8. ^ "AACSB International". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  9. ^ [1] Archived September 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Jacksonville University Introduces World-Class Master of Science in Nursing Programs Online". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "Jacksonville University off to an impressive start with public policy program". Jax Air News. Retrieved 2016-03-30. 
  12. ^ Jacksonville University introduces world class master of science in nursing programs online ereleases.com, 3 June 2010
  13. ^ http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=jacksonville+university&s=all&id=134945#retgrad
  14. ^ [2] Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "Campus to City Wesley". Retrieved 17 August 2015. 

Media related to Jacksonville University at Wikimedia Commons

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°21′12″N 81°36′16″W / 30.353206°N 81.604568°W / 30.353206; -81.604568