Jackson State University

Jackson State University (Jackson State or JSU) is a public historically black university in Jackson, Mississippi. It is one of the largest HBCUs in the United States and the fourth largest university in Mississippi.[6] The university is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".[7]

Jackson State University
Jackson State University seal.png
Motto"Challenging Minds, Changing Lives"
TypePublic historically black university
EstablishedOctober 23, 1877; 143 years ago (1877-10-23)
Academic affiliations
Sea-grant, Space-grant
Endowment$60 million (2019)[1]
PresidentThomas Hudson[2]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students7,020 (Fall 2019)[3]
Undergraduates5,152 (Fall 2019)
Postgraduates1,868 (Fall 2019)
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
NewspaperThe Blue & White Flash [4]
ColorsNavy blue and White[5]
AthleticsNCAA Division I-FCSSWAC
MascotBengal Tiger
Jackson State University logo.png

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.[8] Their accompanying danceline, the Prancing J-Settes, are well known for their unique style of dance, known as J-Setting.


Jackson College in 1889

Jackson State University grew out of Natchez Seminary, founded October 23, 1877 in Natchez, Mississippi. The seminary operated 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".[9][10] In 1883, the school changed its name to Jackson College and moved from Natchez to a site in Jackson that is today the campus of Millsaps College. Jackson College moved to JSU's current location early in the 20th Century.[11] The Society withdrew financial support in 1934, and the school became a state-supported public institution in 1940, as the Mississippi Negro Training School. The name has since been changed to: Jackson College for Negro Teachers (1944), Jackson State College (1967), and Jackson State University (1974).[12]

1970 student killingsEdit

On May 14, 1970, two students were killed by police gunfire during an on-campus protest.[13] An additional 12 students were injured during the shooting.[14] A dormitory still bears the bullet marks fired on campus that day.


Ayer Hall on main campus

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 the main 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.[15]

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 administrationEdit


The Board of Trustees is the constitutional governing body of the Mississippi State Institutions of Higher Learning.[16] This body appoints the President of the university. There are 575 faculty and 1,431 staff, of which 54% are tenured, teaching approximately 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students.[17]

JSU presidentsEdit

Interim presidents excluded

  1. 1877–1894: Dr. Charles Ayer
  2. 1894–1911: Dr. Luther G. Barrett
  3. 1911–1927: Dr. Zachary T. Hubert
  4. 1927–1940: Dr. B. Baldwin Dansby
  5. 1940–1967: Dr. Jacob L. Reddix
  6. 1967–1984: Dr. John A. Peoples, Jr.
  7. 1984–1991: Dr. James A. Hefner
  8. 1992–1999: Dr. James E. Lyons Sr.
  9. 2000–2010: Dr. Ronald Mason, Jr.
  10. 2011–2016: Dr. Carolyn W. Meyers
  11. 2017–2020: Dr. William B. Bynum[18][19]
  12. 2020-present: Thomas Hudson, JD[20]


University rankings
Forbes[22] 462
U.S. News & World Report[23] 293-381
Washington Monthly[24] 32[21]

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 – Maria Luisa Alvarez Harvey Honors College
  • School of Life Long Learning

Teaching and learningEdit

In 2015, JSU became the first university in Mississippi approved by the legislature to establish a School of Public Health.[25] 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.[26] Since 2012, Jackson State University has provided all first-time, full-time freshmen brand new iPads to increase technology usage on campus.[27] JSU is the first and only HBCU in Mississippi to support a bachelor's and master's level engineering program.[28] JSU is one of only two universities in Mississippi with a comprehensive meteorology undergraduate level degree program. 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.[29]

Military ScienceEdit

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.


Jackson State is a member of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Currently, the university fields teams in basketball, track and field, cross country, baseball, softball, golf, tennis, soccer, bowling, volleyball, and 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.[30] 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 SouthEdit

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.[31] 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.[31] The first full-time band director, William W. Davis, was appointed in 1948, replacing Charles Saulsburg, who had been director since 1947.[31] 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.[31] The band at this time had around 20 members, increasing to 88 in 1963.[32] Davis retired as director in 1971, but remained the chief arranger for the band.[31] He was replaced by Harold J. Haughton.[31] Haughton was instrumental in the creation of the Prancing J-Settes, the band's accompanying danceline.

Student lifeEdit

Student bodyEdit

As of fall 2017, 75% of Jackson State's student community was from Mississippi, with the majority from Hinds County and 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.[33]

Student organizationsEdit

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.[34] All student organizations are governed under the Student Affairs division.

JSU campus mediaEdit

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[35] and the Jacksonian magazine, which features news and highlights about the university, its students, and alumni.

Notable alumniEdit


Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Jane Ellen McAllister 1925 First black woman in U.S. to receive doctorate in education [36]
Mary Geraldine Whiteside 1925 Helped to draft first teacher certification bulletin for the state of Mississippi [36]
Charlotte P. Morris 1970 Interim president of Tuskegee University (2010; 2017–2018) [37]
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 musicEdit

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Vivian Brown Weather Channel meteorologist [38]
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 governmentEdit

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
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. [39]
Malcolm D. Jackson CIO at Environmental Protection Agency during President Barack Obama administration. He is a Presidential Appointment. [40]
Flossie Boyd-McIntyre 1960 Member North Carolina House of Representatives (1994–2002) [41]
Carlton W. Reeves 1986 Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
Bennie G. Thompson 1973 Member U. S. House of Representatives (1993–present)
Tony Yarber 2004 Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi [42]
Dennis Deer 2nd district Cook County Commissioner [43]

Medicine & ScienceEdit

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Carolyn B. Howard, PhD 1981 University of Mississippi Medical Center PhD Class of 1995, JSU Cancer and Metabolism Researcher & Biology professor (2004–present) [44]
Earlexia M. Norwood, MD 1984 Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine MD Class of 1988 and West Bloomfield Hospital Family Medicine Service Chief (2013-present) [45]
Jacqueline J. Stevens, PhD 1984 University of California, Santa Barbara PhD Class of 1994, JSU Canciogenesis Researcher & Biology professor (2001–present) [46]
John Edison Foster, PhD 1991 University of Michigan Professor and Physicist (2006–present) [47]
Justin L. Rice, PhD 2006 Louisiana Technical University PhD Class of 2013 and DSCOVR GDS Lead at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (2013–present) [48]
Kamron Robinson, MS 2015 Morehouse School of Medicine MD Class of 2021 & 2018 HBCU Competitive Scholar [49]
Devin Stewart, DMD 2015 University of Mississippi Medical Center DMD Class of 2019 and Dentist at SmileBuilders, Inc. [50]
William Kayitare 2017 University of California, Berkeley Chevron-Xenel Ph.D. Gateway Fellow [51]
Chidalu Utojiuba 2018 Jonathan Friendship Foundation Founder [52]


Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Robert Porter Jr. 2016 Professional Canadian Football League Football Player [53]
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. [54]
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
Tommie Whitten NFL Free Agent WR NFL
Corey Bradford Former National Football League wide receiver
Robert Braddy Jackson State Tigers baseball player and coach [55]
Robert Brazile Former 7-time NFL Pro Bowl outside linebacker with the Houston Oilers [56]
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 [57]
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 [58]
Karen Taylor Played professionally in Europe, mother of Stanley Johnson [59]
Michael Tinsley 2006 Track & Field sprinter [60]


Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Malaika Griffin Murderer [61]


Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
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 [61]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "JSU Audits | JSU Development Foundation". Jsums.edu. Retrieved 2020-02-22.
  2. ^ https://www.jsums.edu/jsuadministration/thomas-hudson/#:~:text=Before%20joining%20the%20staff%20at,of%20Mississippi%20School%20of%20Law.
  3. ^ http://www.jsums.edu/institutionalresearch/files/2019/10/2019-FTE-Enrollment.pdf
  4. ^ http://sites.jsums.edu/jsuflash/
  5. ^ "JSU Color Scheme | Style Guide". Jsums.edu. Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  6. ^ "Jackson State Becomes the 4th Largest HBCU by Enrollment". Hbculifestyle.com. 2015-09-28. Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  7. ^ "Carnegie Classifications Institution Lookup". carnegieclassifications.iu.edu. Center for Postsecondary Education. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  8. ^ "A Brief History and Chronology of the "Sonic Boom."". Sonic Boom of the South. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 21 June 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.
  9. ^ "Jackson State University | Unite Pre-Engineering Summer Program | JSU History". www.jsums.edu. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  10. ^ "Jackson State University (1877- ) • BlackPast". BlackPast. 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  11. ^ Kendrick, Eva Walton. "Jackson State University". Mississippi Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  12. ^ "JSU History". jsums.edu. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Jackson State: A Tragedy Widely Forgotten". npr.org. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  14. ^ Roy Reed (May 16, 1970). "F.B.I. Investigating Killing Of 2 Negroes in Jackson :Two Negro Students Are Killed In Clash With Police in Jackson". New York Times. p. 1. ProQuest 80023683.
  15. ^ cmaadmin (20 December 2015). "Jackson State Raises Non-Black Enrollment, Gains Control of Endowment".
  16. ^ "Mississippi Public Universities – The Board of Trustees -". www.mississippi.edu. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  17. ^ "2017–18 Facts and Figures" (PDF).
  18. ^ Vicory, Justin. "Jackson State University president resigns after arrest in prostitution sting". www.msn.com. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  19. ^ https://www.wlbt.com/2020/02/10/jsu-president-arrested-soliciting-prostitute/
  20. ^ https://www.jsums.edu/jsuadministration/thomas-hudson/#:~:text=Before%20joining%20the%20staff%20at,of%20Mississippi%20School%20of%20Law.
  21. ^ "2014 National Universities Rankings". Washington Monthly. n.d. Archived from the original on August 28, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  22. ^ "America's Top Colleges 2019". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  23. ^ "2021 Best National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  24. ^ "2020 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  25. ^ "JSU to Create the 1st School of Public Health in Mississippi". Hbculifestyle.com. 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  26. ^ "JSU blossoms again as Apple Distinguished School for 2015–2017 | Jackson State Newsroom". Jsumsnews.com. 2015-12-18. Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  27. ^ "JSU continues to promote innovation in education with iPad Initiative – Jackson State Newsroom". www.jsumsnews.com.
  28. ^ "Best Historically Black Engineering Colleges". US News & World Report. Archived from the original on 2016-05-13.
  29. ^ "W.E.B. Du Bois Honors College – Jackson State University". jsums.edu. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  30. ^ "Oliver leads Jackson State to SWAC title". The ClarionLedger.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ Grant, Richard (January 2017). "March to the Joyous Raucous Beat of the Sonic Boom of the South". Smithsonian. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  33. ^ "2017-2018 Facts and Figures" (PDF). JSU Department of Institutional Research, Planning, & Assessment.
  34. ^ "Student Organizations | Student Affairs". Jsums.edu. 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  35. ^ "JSU Student Publications". Issuu. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  36. ^ a b "McAllister-Whiteside Hall". Jackson State University. February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  37. ^ "Leadership Change at Tuskegee University". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. June 2, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  38. ^ "Vivian Brown". The Weather Channel Interactive, Inc. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  39. ^ Adderton, Donald (March 13, 2004). "Clark helped move state beyond prejudice". Columbian-Progress. p. 4.
  40. ^ "Malcolm D. Jackson, Chief Information Officer and Assistant Administrator for the Office of Environmental Information".
  41. ^ "Flossie Boyd-McIntyre Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  42. ^ "Office of the Mayor". City of Jackson, Mississippi.
  43. ^ "About Commissioner Dennis Deer". Cook County Government. Archived from the original on September 28, 2020. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  44. ^ "Carolyn B. Howard, PhD". Jackson State University Department of Biology. February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  45. ^ "Earlexia M. Norwood, MD". Henry Ford Health System. February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  46. ^ "Jacqueline J. Stevens, PhD". Jackson State University Department of Biology. February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  47. ^ "John Foster". University of Michigan. February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  48. ^ "Justin Rice – A Sun Amidst the Stars at Goddard". NASA. February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  49. ^ "M.D. Student Kamron Robinson Selected by White House as 2018 HBCU Competitive Scholar". Morehouse School of Medicine. February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  50. ^ "SmileBuilders, Inc". Morehouse School of Medicine. February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  51. ^ "William Kayitare, The 2018–19 Chevron-Xenel Ph.D. Gateway Fellow at International House, UC Berkeley" (PDF). University of California Berkeley. February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  52. ^ "Our Team". University of California Berkeley. February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  53. ^ "ROBERT PORTER JR. #32 Defensive Back".
  54. ^ "Former Jackson State golfer Shasta Averyhardt qualifies of LPGA tour".
  55. ^ Flynn, Bryan. "Bob Braddy". Jackson Free Press.
  56. ^ "Robert Lorenzo Brazile". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  57. ^ "Donald Francis Reese". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  58. ^ "Jimmy Lee Smith". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  59. ^ Bruce Pascoe (7 November 2013). "Johnson fulfills mom's hoops wishes". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  60. ^ "MICHAEL TINSLEY". Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  61. ^ a b Woman arrested for 1999 murder of Sheridan man | Wyoming News | trib.com

External linksEdit