Jackson State
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Jackson State
Jackson State University
Jackson State University seal.png
Motto"Challenging Minds, Changing Lives"
TypePublic, HBCU
EstablishedOctober 23, 1877 (1877-10-23)
Endowment$36 million
PresidentDr. William B Bynum, Jr.
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location, ,
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
ColorsNavy blue and White[2]
AthleticsNCAA Division I - SWAC
MascotBengal Tiger
Jackson State University logo.png

Jackson State University (Jackson State or JSU) is a public, historically black university in Jackson, Mississippi. The university is one of the largest HBCUs in the United States and the fourth largest university in Mississippi.[3] The university is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. It is classified as a research university with high research activity.[4]

Jackson State University's athletic teams, the Tigers, participate in NCAA Division I athletics as a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The university is also the home of the Sonic Boom of the South, a marching band founded in the 1940s.[5] Their accompanying danceline, the Prancing J-Settes, are well known for their unique style of dance, known as J-Setting.


Jackson State University was founded on October 23, 1877 as Natchez Seminary, operating under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York, "for the moral, religious, and intellectual improvement of Christian leaders of the colored people of Mississippi and the neighboring states".[6] The Society withdrew support for the school in 1934; the school became a state-supported public institution in 1940, being officially renamed the Mississippi Negro Training School, then Jackson State College.[7] Jackson State College became Jackson State University on March 15, 1974.[8]

1970 student killings

On May 14, 1970, two students were shot by police during an on-campus protest.[9] An additional 12 students were injured during the shooting.[10] A dormitory still bears the bullet marks fired on campus that day.


Ayer Hall

The main campus contains over 50 academic and administrative buildings on 245 acres (0.99 km2). It is located at 1400 John R. Lynch Street between Prentiss and Dalton Streets.

Ayer Hall was constructed in 1903 and is the oldest structure on campus. It was named in honor of the first president of the institution, Charles Ayer. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Green-Gibb Pedestrian Walkway was named in honor of the two young men who died in the Jackson State shooting in 1970. As a result of the landmark "Ayers Settlement" in 2002, the university, along with the other two HBCUs in the state, has completed extensive renovations and upgrades to campus.[11]

Jackson State has satellite campuses throughout the Jackson Metropolitan area:

  • Universities Center (Ridgewood Road)
  • Madison campus
  • Holmes campus
  • Mississippi E-Center
  • Downtown (100 Capitol Street)

Organization and administration


The Board of Trustees is the constitutional governing body of the Mississippi State Institutions of Higher Learning.[12] This body appoints the President of the university. The current President of the university is Dr. William B. Bynum, Jr. There are 575 faculty and 1,431 staff, of which 54% are tenured, teaching approximately 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students.[13]

Former Presidents

1877-1894: Dr. Charles Ayer

1894-1911: Dr. Luther G. Barrett

1911-1927: Dr. Zachary T. Hubert

1927-1940: Dr. B. Baldwin Dansby

1940-1967: Dr. Jacob L. Reddix

1967-1984: Dr. John A. Peoples, Jr.

1984-1991: Dr. James A. Hefner

1991-1992: Dr. Herman B. Smith, Jr. (interim)

1992-1999: Dr. James E. Lyons Sr.

1999-2000: Dr. Bettye Ward Fletcher (interim)

2000-2010: Dr. Ronald Mason, Jr.

2010: Dr. Leslie Burl McLemore (interim)

2011-2016: Dr. Carolyn W. Meyers

2016-2017: Dr. Rod Paige (interim)

2017-present: Dr. William B. Bynum


JSU colleges and schools include:

  • College of Business
  • College of Education and Human Development
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Public Service
  • School of Public Health
  • College of Science, Engineering and Technology
  • School of Journalism and Media Studies
  • W.E.B. Du Bois Honors College
  • School of Life Long Learning

Teaching and learning

In 2015, JSU became the first university in Mississippi approved by the legislature to establish a School of Public Health.[18] JSU is the only university in Mississippi to earn two consecutive "Apple Distinguished School" distinctions. Apple Inc. biennially acknowledges schools that uniquely incorporate technology into its curriculum.[19] Since 2012, Jackson State University has provided all first-time, full-time freshmen brand new iPads to increase technology usage on campus.[20] JSU is the first and only HBCU in Mississippi to support a bachelor's and master's level engineering program.[21] JSU is one of only two universities in Mississippi with a comprehensive meteorology undergraduate level degree program. Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked JSU as among the top universities in the United States for producing African Americans with bachelor's degrees in education, biology, and physical science.[22] Jackson State University consistently ranks in the top 20 of HBCUs in the US according to the U.S. News & World Report annual HBCU ranking.[23] The W.E.B. Du Bois - Maria Luisa Alvarez Harvey Honors College is a selective interdisciplinary college at the university that provides a unique academic experience for the most high-achieving undergraduate students.[24]

Military Science

Tiger Battalion, the University's Army ROTC program is the host US Army ROTC program for Belhaven College, Delta State University, Hinds Community College, Millsaps College, Mississippi College, Mississippi College School of Law, Mississippi Valley State University, Tougaloo College, and University of Mississippi Medical Center's School of Nursing. Air Force Detachment 006 is the Air Force ROTC Component for the Jackson metropolitan area. Hosted at Jackson State, it also serves students from Belhaven University, Millsaps College, Mississippi College and Tougaloo College.


Athletic teams are a member of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as Division I-AA, participating in Southwestern Athletic Conference. 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."

Official athletics logo

The Tiger men's football team has a heralded history, winning and sharing 16 SWAC titles, most recent in 2007.[25] Its most famous alumni includes Pro Football Hall of Famers Lem Barney, Jackie Slater and Walter Payton, and former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith.

JSU participates in a number of notable football games with rival colleges. These include:

The Sonic Boom of the South at halftime in Veterans Memorial Stadium

Sonic Boom of the South

The marching band began in the 1940s at what was then Jackson State College, under the directorship of Frederick D. Hall, who had directed a band at the college as early as the 1920s, in addition to the chorus and orchestra. It was initially made up of students from Jackson College and Lanier High School.[26] Founded as the Jackson State University Marching Band, the name "Sonic Boom of the South" was adopted by the school in 1971, after having been suggested by band members.[26] The first fulltime band director, William W. Davis, was appointed in 1948, replacing Charles Saulsburg, who had been director since 1947.[26] Davis had previously played trumpet in Cab Calloway's band, and Calloway's musical style and showmanship influenced Davis's conceptualization of the marching band.[26] The band at this time had around 20 members, increasing to 88 in 1963.[27] Davis retired as director in 1971, but remained the chief arranger for the band.[26] He was replaced by Harold J. Haughton.[26] Haughton was instrumental in the creation of the Prancing J-Settes, the band's accompanying danceline. The current Marching Band Director is Roderick Little.[28]

Student life

Student body

As of fall 2017, 75% of Jackson State's student community was from Mississippi, with the majority from Hinds County or Madison County. The top three feeder states were Illinois (419 students), Louisiana (227), and Tennessee (192). China accounted for the highest number of international students on campus. 90% of students identified as black, 6% identified as white, and 4% identified with various race categories. 34% of students were male, and 66% of students were female.[29]

Student organizations

Jackson State University offers over 100 registered student organizations. There are academic, residential, religious, Greek, and special interest groups established to serve the diverse interests of JSU's student community.[30] All student organizations are governed under the Student Affairs division.

Student media

Jackson State is home to radio station WJSU-88.5 FM which plays jazz, gospel, news and public affairs programming. Jackson State University also owns a television station, W23BC known as JSUTV aired on Comcast. Jackson State also publishes the independent Blue and White Flash weekly student newspaper[31] and the Jacksonian magazine, which features news and highlights about the university, its students, and alumni.

Notable alumni


Name Class year Notability
Charlotte P. Morris 1970 Interim president of Tuskegee University (2010; 2017-2018) [32]
Dr. Rod Paige 1955 First African-American to serve as Secretary of Education during President George W. Bush administration from 2001 to 2005, former head football coach at Jackson State from 1964 to 1968, and interim president of JSU (2016-present)
John Peoples 1950 President of JSU 1967-1984

Arts, TV and radio media, entertainment and music

Name Class year Notability
Vivian Brown Weather Channel meteorologist [33]
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, 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
Cornell William Brooks 1983 Yale trained lawyer that served as the 18th President and CEO of the NAACP
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. [34]
Flossie Boyd-McIntyre 1960 Member North Carolina House of Representatives (1994-2002) [35]
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 (1993 - present)
Tony Yarber 2004 Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi [36]


Name Class year Notability
Shasta Averyhardt 2008 Professional 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 tour. [37]
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 Braddy Jackson State Tigers baseball player and coach [38]
Robert Brazile Former 7-time NFL Pro Bowl outside linebacker with the Houston Oilers [39]
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 Pro Football 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 Jackson State Head Football Coach; former NFL wide receiver; played majority career with the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots
Claudis James Former NFL player
Jaymar Johnson 2008 Current NFL wide receiver
Trey Johnson Current NBA/NBA Development League Player
Robert Kent Jackson State and professional quarterback
Ed Manning Drafted by the Baltimore Bullets in the 8th round (1st pick, 80th overall) of the 1967 NBA draft, father of Danny Manning
Picasso Nelson Gridiron football player
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 [40]
Purvis Short Former NBA small forward for the Golden State Warriors in the mid-1980s
Jackie Slater Pro Football 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 [41]
Karen Taylor Played professionally in Europe, mother of Stanley Johnson [42]
Michael Tinsley 2006 Track & Field sprinter


Name Class year Notability
Malaika Griffin Convicted of anti-white racist hate crime murder of Jason Patrick Horsley in May 1999 and sought to start a race war [43]


Name Class year Notability
First Lady Michelle Obama 2016 First African-American to serve as First Lady of the United States. She was given an honorary doctorate from Jackson State University where she served as the keynote speaker for its 2016 Spring undergraduate commencement ceremony [44]

See also


  1. ^ "University, community college enrollment down in Mississippi". Hattiesburg American.
  2. ^ "JSU Color Scheme | Style Guide". Jsums.edu. Retrieved .
  3. ^ September 28, 2015 (2015-09-28). "Jackson State Becomes the 4th Largest HBCU by Enrollment". Hbculifestyle.com. Retrieved .
  4. ^ Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research (2014). "Carnegie Classifications". Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ "A Brief History and Chronology of the "Sonic Boom."". Sonic Boom of the South. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 2018. Although Dr. F.D. Hall served as director of the band, chorus and orchestra in the 1920s, the marching band began in the 1940s consisting of college students and students from Lanier High School.
  6. ^ "Jackson State University (1877- ) o BlackPast". BlackPast. 2010-01-07. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Jackson State University | Unite Pre-Engineering Summer Program | JSU History". www.jsums.edu. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Jackson State University 2011-2013 Graduate Catalog". Jackson State University. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ "Jackson State: A Tragedy Widely Forgotten". npr.org. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ Roy Reed, Special to The New York Times, "F.B.I. Investigating Killing Of 2 Negroes in Jackson :Two Negro Students Are Killed In Clash With Police in Jackson", New York Times (1857-Current file) [serial online]. May 16, 1970:1. Available from: ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). Accessed August 14, 2009, Document ID: 80023683.
  11. ^ cmaadmin (20 December 2015). "Jackson State Raises Non-Black Enrollment, Gains Control of Endowment".
  12. ^ "Mississippi Public Universities - The Board of Trustees -". www.mississippi.edu. Retrieved .
  13. ^ "2017-18 Facts and Figures" (PDF).
  14. ^ "2014 National Universities Rankings". Washington Monthly. n.d. Archived from the original on August 28, 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  15. ^ "America's Top Colleges 2019". Forbes. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ "Best Colleges 2020: National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ "2019 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ May 4, 2015 (2015-05-04). "JSU to Create the 1st School of Public Health in Mississippi". Hbculifestyle.com. Retrieved .
  19. ^ "JSU blossoms again as Apple Distinguished School for 2015-2017 | Jackson State Newsroom". Jsumsnews.com. 2015-12-18. Retrieved .
  20. ^ "JSU continues to promote innovation in education with iPad Initiative - Jackson State Newsroom". www.jsumsnews.com.
  21. ^ "Best Historically Black Engineering Colleges" Archived 2016-05-13 at the Wayback Machine, US News & World Report
  22. ^ Education, Diverse Issues in Higher. "Top 100 Bachelor's Degree Producers". diverseeducation.com. Archived from the original on 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2016.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-27. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "W.E.B. Du Bois Honors College - Jackson State University". jsums.edu. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ "Oliver leads Jackson State to SWAC title". The ClarionLedger.
  26. ^ a b c d e f "A Brief History and Chronology of the 'Sonic Boom'". Sonic Boom of the South. Jackson State University. Archived from the original on July 1, 2017.
  27. ^ Grant, Richard (January 2017). "March to the Joyous Raucous Beat of the Sonic Boom of the South". Smithsonian. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2018.
  28. ^ "Jackson State University | Department of Music | Mr. Roderick Little". www.jsums.edu. Retrieved .
  29. ^ "2017-2018 Facts and Figures" (PDF). JSU Department of Institutional Research, Planning, & Assessment.
  30. ^ "Student Organizations | Student Affairs". Jsums.edu. 2013-12-20. Retrieved .
  31. ^ "JSU Student Publications". Issuu. Retrieved .
  32. ^ "Leadership Change at Tuskegee University". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. June 2, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  33. ^ "Vivian Brown". The Weather Channel Interactive, Inc. Retrieved .
  34. ^ "Malcolm D. Jackson, Chief Information Officer and Assistant Administrator for the Office of Environmental Information".
  35. ^ "Flossie Boyd-McIntyre Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2014.
  36. ^ "Office of the Mayor". City of Jackson, Mississippi. Retrieved April 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  37. ^ "Former Jackson State golfer Shasta Averyhardt qualifies of LPGA tour".
  38. ^ Flynn, Bryan. "Bob Braddy". www.jacksonfreepress.com.
  39. ^ "Robert Lorenzo Brazile". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  40. ^ "Donald Francis Reese". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  41. ^ "Jimmy Lee Smith". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved 2012.
  42. ^ Bruce Pascoe (7 November 2013) Johnson fulfills mom's hoops wishes Arizona Daily Star. Accessed 7 July 2015.
  43. ^ "Most Wanted Fugitive To Be Extradited". 7 June 2005.
  44. ^ "First lady Obama slams Mississippi's anti-LGBT law". clarionledger.com. Retrieved 2016.

External links

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