Community Invited to Retirement Reception for JSU President on April 3

Community Invited to Retirement Reception for JSU President on April 3


President MeehanA major chapter is coming to a close in Jacksonville State University history. President William A. Meehan – who has spent 47 years of his life at the university, 16 at its helm – is retiring. On April 3, the community is invited to commemorate his lasting legacy at a retirement celebration to be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on the fifth floor of Stadium Tower. 

Meehan has held the third longest presidency in the university’s 132-year history. His JSU story began in 1968 when he first set foot on campus as a freshman and fell in love with the institution. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology and was hired as a full-time biology instructor in 1977 by Dr. Theron Montgomery. 

Before he was named the 11th president of the university in 1999, Meehan served in several other roles including coordinator of medical technology, director of academic advisement, assistant to the vice president for academic affairs, acting vice president for academic affairs, associate vice president for academic and student affairs, and acting vice president for institutional advancement. He earned a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Alabama in 1999. 

Key accomplishments over the past 16 years of Meehan’s presidency include:

  • The construction of five new buildings: McGee Science Center, Gladys M. Carlisle Fine Arts Facility, Little River Canyon Center, Kennamer Hall and Stadium Towers
  • Major renovations to Houston Cole Library, Martin Hall, and Jack Hopper dining hall
  • The creation of the FUSION transfer program with Gadsden State Community College
  • The reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in 2004 and 2014
  • JSU Athletics officially moving to the Ohio Valley Conference
  • The establishment of the university’s first Comprehensive Strategic Plan
  • The completion of the university’s first capital campaign
  • The launch of the Gamecock Express transportation system
  • The creation of the Elite Honors program
  • The founding of the English Language Institute
  • The launch of the university’s first doctoral program, a Doctor of Science in Emergency Management

Meehan is well regarded as a community leader throughout the state and region. He is currently active in the Exchange Club and Rotary Club and has served on the Board of Directors for United Way of East Central Alabama, Anniston Museum of Natural History, and the Calhoun and Etowah County Chambers of Commerce. He and his wife, Beth, team-teach with two other couples a youth Sunday school class for grades 7-12 at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville.

Over the years, Meehan has also served on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Partnership for Children, chaired the Calhoun County Relay for Life and Heart Walk, chaired the Friends of Scouting campaign for the Choccolocco District of the Boy Scouts of America, served on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee of the East Alabama Metropolitan Planning Organization, served on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, co-chaired with Anniston Mayor Chip Howell the 2003 Jimmy Carter Work Project and Habitat for Humanity, and served on the advisory board for the Knox Concert Series.

Outside Northeast Alabama, Meehan has held numerous leadership positions for the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Board – including chairing the Presidential Advisory Group since 2011. He is also a leader among higher education professionals, representing his peers as chairman of the Council of College and University Presidents for the Alabama Council on Higher Education from 2003-2005 and as chairman of the Higher Education Partnership’s Council of University Presidents from 2005 to 2009. He was appointed by Gov. Bob Riley to serve as district chairman of the education committee of the Alabama Rural Action Commission from 2007 to 2010.

Throughout his presidency, Meehan has been recognized with numerous awards for his service, including:

  • Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce’s W. Roy Crow Leadership Award, 2000
  • Association of Public Safety Communication Officials’ Outstanding Achievement Award, 2000
  • The Boys and Girls Club’s Eagle Award for Outstanding Community Service, 2002
  • Silver Beaver Award from the Greater Alabama Council of the Boy Scouts of America, 2003
  • Educator of the Year by the Calhoun County Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, 2005
  • Open Door Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2005          
  • The Anniston Star’s Citizen of the Year award, 2007
  • Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boys Scouts of America Choccolocco District, 2008
  • The Bobby L. Austin Community Impact Award, Gadsden Area Chamber of Commerce, 2008
  • National Alumnus of the Year for the Delta Chi Fraternity, 2012
  • Legacy Award, the Chamber of Gadsden and Etowah County, 2014
  • The Jacksonville News’ Citizen of the Year, 2015

Meehan will retire from JSU on July 1 after 40 years of service to the university. For more information on him or his retirement reception, visit