Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Amy's Extraordinary Alabama - Jacksonville State University

By Amy

Today I want to introduce you to a wonderful place amongst the Appalachian Foothills in northeast Alabama. My alma mater -- Jacksonville State University.

Nestled among the foothills, JSU is known as "The Friendlist Campus in the South". Growing up near Jax State I enjoyed going to football and basketball games before becoming a student there. "Whup Troy" was heard more than "Roll Tide" or "War Eagle". JSU no longer plays Troy because of moves to different athletic conferences and divisions, but it was a definite rival for many years.


A view of campus from stop one of the mountains.

In 1883 the Alabama legislature created Jacksonville State Normal School. The normal school acquired the facilities and land of Calhoun College. In 1930 it became Jacksonville State Teachers College. In 1957 the name changed to Jacksonville State College when the first graduate program was created. That first graduate program happened to be a Masters in Elementary Education. JSU is known for it's education program. In 1966 it was elevated to University status and 1967 the state legislature appointed a board of trustees removing it from the jurisdiction of the State Board of Education. Today JSU educated approximately 10,000 students and continues to grow.

From academics in 4 colleges with over 40 departments among them, to athletics and of course the amazing Marching Southerners, traditions at JSU run deep.

Call me biased, but I truly believe once you hear the incredible sounds of JSU's band, The Marching Southerners, you will agree they are the best university marching band in the state and possibly the southeast. The incredible sound of the 20Js give the band a unique persona. JSU is also proud of it's 6 National Championships and 72 conference titles in athletics. Randy Owen of the country group Alabama and Representative Mike Rogers are counted among many distinguished alumni.

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JSU's Houston Cole Library, one of the tallest buildings in the area.


Bibb Graves Hall sits along Hwy 21 across from the Houston Cole Library.


Ernest Stone Performing Arts Center is home to the drama, English, History and Foreign Language departments. As an English major I spent many, many hours here.


The Theron Montgomery Student Commons Building as well as the Houston Cole Library seen above have undergone major changes in the past 12 years since I was a student. The library used to be white marble, but had to have major renovations and is now red marble. The student commons used to be white as well, but was renovated to fit better with the historical buildings on campus.


The Alumni House sits directly across Hwy 21 from the Theron Montgomery and Bibb Graves and adjacent to the library.


There is always a quiet place in the shade to relax or study on campus.


As an alumna I have watched Jacksonville State University grow and change. Athletic conferences and divisions have been changed and with that move some growing pains occur, but JSU remains an institution of excellence, remaining grounded in its traditions while planning for the future.

For me, Jacksonville State University will always be an extraordinary part of Alabama.


Jennie said...

Amy, What a great profile of JSU! I'm part of a JSU family and am currently finishing up my Master's here. I'm a JSU alum as are my Mom, Dad, husband, one sister, and one brother-in-law. My Dad is a professor at JSU. This university has been a major part of my life for 20+ years. We even had our wedding reception at the Alumni House! Thanks for sharing your photos and love for JSU with the other AL Bloggers.

Unknown said...

Hi Amy, Thanks so much for your comments about JSU and especially your mention of the Marching Southerners. My son attends JSU and plays in the band. You might find it interesting to know that one knowledgeable marching band fan put together a well-done list of the top 8 marching bands in the country. JSU made the list. They were the only AL band to be included. There only other southern bands included were one from VA and the Univ. of GA.
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

While it remains to be seen as our daughter is starting her freshman year at JSU, as parents, we can tell you that this school appears to be a real gem!

She plays in the Marching Southerners, and the band and staff have quickly embraced her as a member of the family. The Admissions staff were all wonderful (thanks, Allison O!) and made us feel as parents that we were sending our child to the best school on the planet. Our recruitment and selection process was easy, and meeting faculty and staff just cemented our decision. Now it's up to our child to soar- this really is the friendliest campus not just in the south, but the world!

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