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.
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.
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.