Jackson State University

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Jackson State University
Motto"Challenging Minds, Changing Lives"
EstablishedOctober 23, 1877 (1877-10-23)
TypePublic, HBCU
EndowmentUS $49 million[1]
PresidentCarolyn Meyers
Academic staff450
Admin. staff1,200
LocationJackson, 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 namesNatchez Seminary
Jackson College
Jackson State College
ColorsNavy Blue and White
AthleticsNCAA Division I
MascotBengal Tiger
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"Jackson State College" redirects here. For the college in Tennessee, see Jackson State Community College. For other uses, see Jackson College (disambiguation).
Jackson State University
Motto"Challenging Minds, Changing Lives"
EstablishedOctober 23, 1877 (1877-10-23)
TypePublic, HBCU
EndowmentUS $49 million[1]
PresidentCarolyn Meyers
Academic staff450
Admin. staff1,200
LocationJackson, 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 namesNatchez Seminary
Jackson College
Jackson State College
ColorsNavy Blue and White
AthleticsNCAA Division I
MascotBengal Tiger

Jackson State University (Jackson State, or JSU) is a historically black university in Jackson, Mississippi, United States. Founded in 1877 in Natchez, Mississippi as Natchez Seminary 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.


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. Jackson State also has satellite campus throughout the Jackson-Metropolitan area which includes, The Universities Center (Ridgewood Road location), JSU-Madison campus, JSU-Holmes campus, JSU- Mississippi E-Center, and JSU Downtown (Building 100 on Capital Street.


University rankings

A historically black Doctoral/Research public university, Jackson State educates a multicultural 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 [4] The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, along with Howard University. Most recently, through the iPad technology initiative (all first-time incoming freshman receive an Apple iPad), Jackson State has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School. This designation puts the university in an elite group of educational institutions that are blazing the trail of innovative learning through the use of technology. Jackson State University is currently the only college in Mississippi that has an Apple Authorized campus store. Jackson State launched "JSU Online" to provide several degree programs completely online through distance learning to begin the fall of 2014. This online initiative provides a more accessible opportunity to obtaining a degree via the internet. Also, beginning in the fall of 2014, Jackson State will offer four new degree programs in its College of Science, Engineering and Technology. A Ph.D. in Engineering, a Ph.D. in Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Statistics. The B.S. in Biomedical Engineering will be the only undergraduate program offered in the state of Mississippi.

JSU colleges include:

Student activities[edit]

National Pan-Hellenic Council[edit]

OrganizationChapter NameYear CharteredYear Founded
Alpha Phi Alpha fraternityDelta Phi (ΔΦ)19531906
Alpha Kappa Alpha sororityGamma Rho (ΓP)19491908
Kappa Alpha Psi fraternityDelta Delta (ΔΔ)19511911
Omega Psi Phi fraternityUpsilon Epsilon (ΥE)19491911
Delta Sigma Theta sororityDelta Pi (ΔΠ)19521913
Phi Beta Sigma fraternityAlpha Beta (AB)19271914
Zeta Phi Beta sororityLambda Beta (ΛB)19481920
Sigma Gamma Rho sororityAlpha Tau (AT)19411922
Iota Phi Theta fraternityDelta Psi (ΔΨ)20031963


Main article: Jackson State Tigers

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.[5] Its most famous alumni includes NFL Hall of Famers Lem Barney, Jackie Slater and Walter Payton, and former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith. Former NFL wide-receiver, five-time Pro Bowler and Jackson State alumnus, Harold Jackson was named head football coach in January 2014.

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[edit]

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[edit]

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. In the Spring of 1997, a former J-Sette captain, Mrs. Kathy Pinkston-Worthy was appointed director (sponsor) of the Prancing J-Settes. Under her direction, the J-Settes have become nationally known for their rapid fire highly technical dance routines to selections such as “I Go to Work” and “Swoop.” Perhaps, the most celebrated marque performance by the Prancing J-Settes was rendered at the 34th NAACP Image Awards in Hollywood, California in 2003 where the J-Settes performed on National Television with “Cedric the Entertainer” and “Sugar Bear of E.U.” Both routines were choreographed by Mrs. Worthy. Mrs. Worthy served 16 years as the director of the Prancing J-Settes. The Prancing J-settes have become a major part of pop culture in collegiate marching bands across the nation. The style and performance routine of the J-Settes is often imitated by many dance lines and the term "J-Setting" is synonymous with the prancing J-settes of Jackson State University. In the spring of 2013, Ms. Chloe Ashley, also former J-sette captain (2005-2008), became the director of the Prancing J-Settes.

Student media[edit]

Jackson State is home to radio station WJSU-FM which plays jazz, gospel, news and public affairs programming. Jackson State University’s public radio station, WJSU 88.5FM, now airs one of its most popular programs on the new HBCU Sirius XM channel. Launched November 14, 2013 and airing on station 142, the HBCU Sirius XM channel is powered by Howard University. The WJSU program, Jazz Reflections, hosted by Gerard Howard, presents a spectrum of the traditional pioneers of jazz like Ella Fitzgerald, Max Roach, Miles Davis, Dinah Washington, and Duke Ellington. The program airs Fridays at 2 p.m. CST and is repeated throughout the week. It also presents rare recordings from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. 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 and the Jacksonian Magazine which features news and highlights about the university, its students, and alumni.

Notable alumni[edit]


NameClass yearNotabilityReference(s)
Dr. Rod PaigeSecretary 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[edit]

NameClass yearNotabilityReference(s)
Vivian BrownWeather Channel meteorologist[6]
Demarco MorganNews anchor for WNBC in New York City.
Percy Greenefounded the Jackson Advocate newspaper, Mississippi's oldest black-owned newspaper
Willie NorwoodAmerican Gospel singer. He is the father and voice coach of R&B singers Brandy and Ray J
Tonea StewartActress and Educator
Cassandra WilsonJazz vocalist and musician
Kenyatta Jones2002Reality TV star, Fashion Designer and CEO of Bella Renee Clothing in Atlanta, GA

Politics, Law, and Government[edit]

NameClass yearNotabilityReference(s)
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. JacksonCIO at Environmental Protection Agency during President Barack Obama administration. He is a Presidential Appointment.[7]
Flossie Boyd-McIntyre1960Member North Carolina House of Representatives (1994-2002)[8]
Carlton W. Reeves1986Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
Bennie G. ThompsonMember U. S. House of Representatives. Serving from April 1993 to Current
Tony YarberMayor of Jackson, Mississippi[9]


NameClass yearNotabilityReference(s)
Shasta Averyhardt2008Professional 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.[10]
Lem BarneyNFL Hall of Fame cornerback with the Detroit Lions
Marcus Benard2009Current NFL linebacker
Dennis "Oil Can" Boydformer Major League Baseball pitcher
Corey Bradfordformer National Football League wide receiver
Robert Brazileformer 7-time NFL Pro Bowl outside linebacker with the Houston Oilers[11]
Wes Chamberlainformer Major League outfielder
Dave Clarkformer Major League outfielder
Eddie Payton1973NFL kick returner; current Jackson State golf coach
Walter Payton1975NFL Hall of Fame running back; played entire career for the Chicago Bears
Archie "Gunslinger" Cooley1962former head football coach at Mississippi Valley State University, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Norfolk State University, and Paul Quinn College
Leslie "Speedy" Duncanformer 4-time NFL Pro-Bowl cornerback with the San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins.
Marvin Freemanformer Major League pitcher
Cletis Gordonformer NFL defensive back
Lindsey HunterFormer 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 Jacksonformer NFL wide receiver; played majority career with the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots
Thadeus JacksonNFL assistant coach
Claudis Jamesformer NFL player
Jaymar Johnson2008current NFL wide receiver
Trey Johnsoncurrent NBA/NBA Development League Player
Ed ManningDrafted by the Baltimore Bullets in the 8th round (1st pick, 80th overall) of the 1967 NBA draft, father of Danny Manning
Audie Norrisformer NBA Power Forward and superstar for Winterthur FC Barcelona in the late 1980s
Donald ReeseNFL Player; played for the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers[12]
Purvis Shortformer NBA small forward for the Golden State Warriors in the mid-1980s
Jackie SlaterNFL Hall of Fame offensive tackle; played entire career with the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams
Jimmy SmithRetired NFL wide receiver; played majority career with the Jacksonville Jaguars[13]
Michael Tinsley2006Track & Field sprinter

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2012. "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 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ http://www.jsumsnews.com/?p=8114
  3. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes.com LLC™. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ http://classifications.carnegiefoundation.org/lookup_listings/view_institution.php?unit_id=175856&start_page=institution.php&clq={%22ipug2005_ids%22%3A%22%22%2C%22ipgrad2005_ids%22%3A%22%22%2C%22enrprofile2005_ids%22%3A%22%22%2C%22ugprfile2005_ids%22%3A%22%22%2C%22sizeset2005_ids%22%3A%22%22%2C%22basic2005_ids%22%3A%22%22%2C%22eng2005_ids%22%3A%22%22%2C%22search_string%22%3A%22Jackson+State+University%22%2C%22first_letter%22%3A%22%22%2C%22level%22%3A%22%22%2C%22control%22%3A%22%22%2C%22accred%22%3A%22%22%2C%22state%22%3A%22%22%2C%22region%22%3A%22%22%2C%22urbanicity%22%3A%22%22%2C%22womens%22%3A%22%22%2C%22hbcu%22%3A%22%22%2C%22hsi%22%3A%22%22%2C%22tribal%22%3A%22%22%2C%22msi%22%3A%22%22%2C%22landgrant%22%3A%22%22%2C%22coplac%22%3A%22%22%2C%22urban%22%3A%22%22}
  5. ^ "Oliver leads Jackson State to SWAC title". The ClarionLedger. 
  6. ^ "Vivian Brown". The Weather Channel Interactive, Inc. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  7. ^ "Malcolm D. Jackson, Chief Information Officer and Assistant Administrator for the Office of Environmental Information". 
  8. ^ "Flossie Boyd-McIntyre Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Office of the Mayor". City of Jackson, Mississippi. Retrieved April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Former Jackson State golfer Shasta Averyhardt qualifies of LPGA tour". 
  11. ^ "Robert Lorenzo Brazile". databaseFootball.com. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Donald Francis Reese". databaseFootball.com. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Jimmy Lee Smith". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 

External links[edit]