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25 April 2008

Jacksonville State Reaches 125-year Milestone

By Markeshia Ricks
Star Capital Correspondent

Reprinted here in its entirety.

MONTGOMERY Jacksonville State University President Bill Meehan said it was fitting that the 125-year-old school was recognized on the same day state lawmakers were tackling one of the very things that helps it keep going: the education budget.

Meehan received a joint resolution from the Legislature on Tuesday recognizing JSU for reaching the milestone.

The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Lea Fite, D-Jacksonville, and Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston.

Marsh said JSU and Meehan's leadership have been great assets to the eastern region of the state.

Meehan said K-12 goes "hand-in-glove" with higher education, and he is hoping lawmakers will remember that as they make appropriations in an education budget that is $375 million less than it was last year.

"We supply the teachers, and they supply the students," he said. "Education in this state should be seamless from pre-K to Ph.D."

The state's two- and four-year colleges are expecting major cuts under the proposed $6.3 billion budget, which provides an additional $25 million for higher education.

Representatives for colleges and universities had hoped the state would come up with $50 million in additional funding.

Meehan said JSU credentials more teachers than any other university in the state, and the university has big plans for expansion, including adding a doctoral program in emergency management.

Jim Bennett, chairman of the JSU Board of Trustees and an alumnus, said the university has seen a great deal of growth and expects to see more in the next 125 years.

"You can no longer say that JSU is your father's Oldsmobile," he said.

"The university has grown to more than 9,000 students, and 60,000 alumni, and it will continue to grow in the coming years," Meehan said.

About Markeshia Ricks

Markeshia Ricks is Capitol Correspondent for The Star.

See story at The Anniston Star's website: .

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