Reprinted here in its entirety.
Unite with Jacksonville State University Friday, Feb. 22, as we
commemorate the 125th anniversary of an institution, which began as Jacksonville
State Normal School in 1883 with the signing of a bill by Gov. Edward O’Neal.
The normal school opened with three instructors, and by 1884 there were 247
names in the roll book. JSU is now near meeting the goal of 10,000 students. In
the fall 2007 enrollment numbers for JSU, 247 is the number of international
students representing 71 countries studying at the university.
In 1883, normal classes were free and the tuition rose from there and topped
out at the collegiate senior paying three dollars per month. For the 2008 fiscal
year, JSU took in $42,551,973 in total tuition and fees and now stands as a
driving economic force for the city of Jacksonville.
As well as a financial asset to the city, JSU has always resided as a
research and educational resource to the community. Within the establishing act,
the normal school conducted a preparatory school for children in the town and
As a university in 2008, Jacksonville State has not drifted from many ideals
upon which the institution first began. The College of Education and
Professional Studies, a college graduating the largest number of educators in
the state, instructs community children through the Teaching/Learning Center
(TLC). More than 5,630 children have benefited from instruction at the TLC
within the past 20 years.
Tradition plays a tremendous role at Jacksonville State University. In 1930,
the university seal was adopted under President Clarence W. Daugette. Within the
ribbon under the crest is the Latin inscription, “Exegi monumentum ere
perennius,” which translates, “I have reared a monument more enduring than
The characteristic which distinguishes JSU as a leading regional
comprehensive institution is strength of tradition lying as a foundation on
which to build a transcendental future. Daugette, one of 11 presidents to serve
JSU, is an example of the dedicated leadership and eyes for enhancement the
university has been fortunate to experience and which I strive to continue.
In The First Hundred Years, a book detailing a century of history of
JSU, Effie Sawyer wrote, “For 43 years Daugette was an energizing force in a
growing education center. With keen business ability in managing meager
resources and a firm resolution to expand facilities, he dreamed and built as
the years passed. He laid the foundation for Jacksonville State University and
for the students who would become leaders in Alabama and throughout this
The drive fostered by Daugette was followed and increased by his successor,
Dr. Houston Cole. In her book, Sawyer noted that many ‘firsts’ of JSU are
credited to Dr. Cole. Under his administration, 24 buildings and two annexes
were built or begun and the college became a state university with a student
government, ROTC program, nursing school, football stadium and police academy,
among other firsts.
Over the past several years, the university has had the opportunity to
celebrate milestone anniversaries for organizations, which represent the
excellence upon which it is founded. Beginning with a vision, growing with
strategic planning and hard work, and carrying over all traditions which exude
excellence are components of survival for an organization on campus. Last year,
the Southerners and Marching Ballerinas hosted a 50-year reunion and in 2006,
the International House celebrated 60 years in Paris.
Tradition is an important aspect of every part of JSU—from 1883 to 2008. As
the university celebrates 125 years as an educating institution, we look to
maintain core values and ideas serving as our base and foundation, sustaining
excellence while moving forward.
“Our Vision: Jacksonville State University will be the regional comprehensive
institution of choice for students who want a strong, high quality education.
Students will be challenged academically by dedicated and accessible faculty and
have access to the latest technology to ensure success in an expanding global
community. Curriculum offerings will utilize developing methods of instruction
to eliminate barriers of time and distance and allow the JSU experience to
transcend regional boundaries. Highly responsive services that demonstrate the
institution’s commitment to continuous improvement will ensure JSU’s reputation
as the friendliest campus in the South.”
Erin Chupp, a graduate assistant in the Office of Marketing and
Communications, contributed to this article.
About William A. Meehan
Dr. William A. Meehan is president of Jacksonville
State University. His column, "Town & Gown," appears in The Jacksonville News.
See story at The Jacksonville News's website: www.jaxnews.com