Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville State University seal.png
Former names
Jacksonville State Normal School (1883–1930)
Jacksonville State Teachers College (1930–1957)
Jacksonville State College (1957–1966)
MottoThe friendliest campus in the South.
TypePublic university
Established1883; 139 years ago (1883)
Endowment$14 million (2020) [1]
PresidentDon C. Killingsworth, Jr.[2]
ProvostChristie Shelton
Academic staff
350 Full-time and 163 Part-time (Fall 2022)[3]
Students9,540 (Fall 2022)[4]
Undergraduates8,067 (Fall 2022)[5]
Postgraduates1,473 (Fall 2022)[6]
Location, ,
United States

33°49′19″N 85°45′58″W / 33.822°N 85.766°W / 33.822; -85.766Coordinates: 33°49′19″N 85°45′58″W / 33.822°N 85.766°W / 33.822; -85.766
CampusSuburban (small city)
ColorsRed and White[7]
Jacksonville State University logo.svg

Jacksonville State University (JSU) is a public university in Jacksonville, Alabama. Founded in 1883, Jacksonville State offers programs of study in six academic schools leading to bachelor's, master's, education specialist, and doctorate degrees in addition to certificate programs and continuing education opportunities. In the Fall semester of 2011, JSU began offering the school's first doctoral degree, Doctor of Science in Emergency Management.[8] In 2016, the university gained approval to offer its second doctorate, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.[9]

The university was founded as Jacksonville State Normal School, and in 1930, the name changed to Jacksonville State Teachers College, and again in 1957, to Jacksonville State College. The university began operating as Jacksonville State University in 1966.

JSU currently has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students, with nearly 500 faculty members (more than 320 of whom are full-time). Jacksonville State's Business School was ranked within the nation's 90th percentile by the Princeton Review. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). In addition, 40 academic programs (79% of programs that can be accredited) earned specialized programmatic accreditations. These programs include business, education, applied engineering, nursing, social work, drama, art, music, computer science, family and consumer science, and communication.

Administration and organization

Jacksonville State is administered by President Don Killlingsworth [10] and the Jacksonville State Board of Trustees. Members of the board are appointed by the Governor of Alabama to set the policies of the university and select senior management personnel. Under the doctrine of collective responsibility, the entire board is liable for the financial and other consequences of the organization's activities. The President oversees his or her Presidential Cabinet,[11] composed of the university's vice presidents and other senior personnel. The university's organization chart is available online.

Academic organization

Wallace Hall, home to the JSU nursing program.
Wallace Hall, home to the JSU nursing program.

Through Jacksonville State's six academic colleges, the university offers career-centered programs where students can prepare for the workforce.

Additionally, students are supported throughout their studies by the following units:

Main and satellite campuses

Main campus

The JSU main campus has a 459-acre (1.9 km2) campus with 59 buildings in the Appalachian foothills of northeast Alabama. With this campus being the flagship campus for Jacksonville State, it offers large educational facilities, university housing and residence, on-campus dining, student centers, Greek housing, athletic facilities, student health and wellness facilities, administration offices, study centers, an international housing program, and an on-campus bookstore. The majority of students who study at Jacksonville State attend courses here.

Little River Canyon Center campus

The Little River Canyon Center campus opened to the public in 2009, and is a Jacksonville State University building located in Fort Payne, Alabama that adjoins the Little River Canyon National Preserve. A portion is leased to the National Park Service and the staff of the Little River Canyon National Preserve with a facility that features a Grand Hall, HD movie theater, gift shop, natural history library, exhibits, classrooms, back deck, outdoor amphitheater and trails for both education and adventure.[12]

McClellan campus

The Jacksonville State University Higher Education Consortium was established in 2003, and it houses two state schools: Jacksonville State University–McClellan Center, and Gadsden State Community College–McClellan Campus. Since 2005, the McClellan Center Building 3181 has been home to the Institute of Emergency Preparedness, In-Service, and the Northeast Alabama Police Academy. GSCC houses the traditional college students. Their EMS and 911 programs, in addition to the core classes of English, math, etc., are also housed in the building.[13]


In the fall of 2010 enrollment peaked at 9,504 students throughout the system, but this number fell slightly because the number of incoming freshman could not keep up with the number of graduating seniors. The Fall 2019 enrollment surpassed 9,000 students for the first time since 2012, with 9,021 undergraduate and graduate students.

Campus events

On January 1, 2012, the university's marching band and dance team, The Southerners and the Marching Ballerinas,[14] led the New Year's Day Parade in London, England, which also kicked off the year-long celebration of both Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 London Summer Olympics.[15] The invitation to lead the parade came in September 2010, just as the Southerners learned that they had been awarded the nationally recognized George Washington Honor Medal for their patriotic 2009 show, "Of Thee I Sing."

In 2007, the university broke ground for the 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) Little River Canyon Center. The building houses National Park Service offices, an exhibit hall, meeting space, classrooms, and comfort stations and is the site of the JSU Little River Canyon Field School, which sponsors dozens of activities, seminars and programs each year. In 1992, the canyon was designated a national preserve. During the summer months, the staff includes 15 park rangers.

In February 2006, Jacksonville State University was named the "winner" of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) Speech Code of the Month.[16] At the time, FIRE called the University Code of Conduct "illegally overbroad." They considered the code to be in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution which protects offensive speech. The policy has since been changed.

In 2001, placekicker Ashley Martin became the first woman to score in an NCAA football game, kicking three extra points in the Gamecocks' 72–10 victory over Cumberland University.


Main article: Jacksonville State Gamecocks

Jacksonville State's athletics teams are nicknamed the Gamecocks. Through the 2020–21 school year, JSU is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference in Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) in football, formerly I-AA, of the NCAA. The university's football team gained national attention in 2001 when junior (3rd-year) placekicker Ashley Martin became the first female football player to score a point in a Division I game tallying 3 points against Cumberland University.

On July 1, 2021, JSU will move to the ASUN Conference, a league in which it had been a member from 1995 to 2003. The ASUN does not currently sponsor football, but has announced plans to launch a football league in the near future.[17] Until that time, JSU will be a de facto associate member of the Western Athletic Conference, competing in a football partnership between the two leagues officially branded as the ASUN–WAC Challenge.[18]

The school fields varsity teams in 14 sports: baseball, men's and women's basketball, cross country, football, men's and women's golf, rifle, women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, women's track and field, and volleyball. The football team plays in 25,000-seat Burgess-Snow Field. The men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams play in Pete Mathews Coliseum. Prior to the 1993–94 academic year, Jacksonville State competed in NCAA Division II athletics, winning national championships in men's basketball (1985), baseball (1990 and 1991), football (1992) and gymnastics (1984 and 1985).


Jacksonville State University sponsors one co-ed, six men's, and ten women's teams in NCAA sanctioned sports:[19]


Main article: Jacksonville State Gamecocks football

Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Jacksonville State University. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) as a member of the ASUN Conference through the 2022-23 school year. The Gamecocks will move to Conference USA in 2023. Jacksonville State's first football team was fielded in 1904, nicknamed at the time as the "Eagle Owls." The team plays its home games at the 24,000 seat Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium in Jacksonville, Alabama. The Gamecocks hire former Division I football coach Rich "RichRod" Rodriguez for the 2022 season. Rodriguez was previously head coach at football power Michigan (2008-10), as well as West Virginia (2001-07) and Arizona (2012-17). His luster has dulled in recent years, and he seeks his return to the head coaching circle here at Jax State. He comes from Louisiana Monroe, where he served as the offensive coordinator under head coach Terry Bowden. "RichRod" replaces former Gamecocks head coach John Grass, who resigned after the 2021 season. Glass had a 72-26 record during his tenure as head coach which included 6 Ohio Valley Conference championships. In 2021, the Gamecocks upset the Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee, Florida on a 59-yard touchdown pass at the end of the game.[20]


Main article: Jacksonville State Gamecocks baseball

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks baseball team is a varsity intercollegiate athletic team of Jacksonville State University. The team is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, which is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. The team plays its home games at Rudy Abbott Field in Jacksonville, Alabama. The Gamecocks are coached by Jim Case. During the 2013–2014 campaign, the Gamecocks won the OVC championship and received an automatic bid for the annual NCAA regional tournament.


Main article: Jacksonville State Gamecocks men's basketball

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks men's basketball team is the men's basketball team that represents Jacksonville State University. The school's team currently competes in the Ohio Valley Conference. During the 2016–2017 season, the Gamecocks won the OVC championship and received their first NCAA tournament bid under the direction of head coach, Ray Harper.

Women's basketball

Main article: Jacksonville State Gamecocks women's basketball

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks women's basketball team is the women's basketball team that represents Jacksonville State University. The team currently competes in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Gamecocks are coached by Rick Pietri.


Main article: Jacksonville State Gamecocks softball

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks softball team represents Jacksonville State University in NCAA Division I college softball. The team participates in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). The Gamecocks are currently led by head coach Jana McGinnis. The team plays its home games at University Field located on the university's campus.

The Marching Southerners

Main article: Marching Southerners

Jacksonville State University's marching band, The Marching Southerners, was founded in 1956 by John Finley. He also conceived the band's precision dance line, The Marching Ballerinas.[21] Dr. David L. Walters, for whom JSU's music department is named, served as band director from 1961 to 1991 and is credited with bringing the Marching Southerners to national prominence.[22] The Marching Southerners feature the Marching Ballerinas and the famous 20J's, named for the C.G. Conn 20J tuba that the Southerners proudly feature in its many dazzling halftime shows.[23] The Southerners were the 2021 recipients of the Sudler Trophy, the highest award for collegiate marching bands.

Greek life

Student body composition as of May 2, 2022
Race and ethnicity[24] Total
White 67% 67
Black 22% 22
Other[a] 8% 8
Foreign national 2% 2
Asian 1% 1
Economic diversity
Low-income[b] 51% 51
Affluent[c] 49% 49

With hundreds of students, over ten percent of the undergraduate student body, JSU is home to 17 social and 22 total Greek-letter organizations. The Greek community at JSU donates over 10,000 hours and over $100,000 annually to the local community and national charities in philanthropy work. Greek students who hold executive positions within Greek Life also have a cumulative overall 3.0 GPA, ranking as one of the highest in the nation among Greek-supporting schools. In the 2017-2018 school year, every Student Government Association Executive Officer was also a member of a Greek organization along with over 60% of the SGA Student Senate. The Dean of Students Office advises and provides guidance to the fraternities and sororities associated with the three Greek Governing Councils: Interfraternity Council (IFC), the National Panhellenic Council (NPC), and the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

Chapter name, their year founded, and other information are in parentheses


Panhellenic Council (NPC) Sororities:

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Sororities:


Interfraternity Council (IFC) Fraternities:

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Fraternities:

Other Greek organizations

Notable alumni

Main article: List of Jacksonville State University people

2018 tornado

On the evening of March 19, 2018, an EF3 tornado struck the campus of Jacksonville State University, causing minor to severe damage to every building.[25] It was the first day of spring break for both the university and the Jacksonville City School System. Classes resumed at the university on April 9, 2018, and the spring commencement ceremony was held on May 4, 2018, as scheduled, but moved to JSU Stadium from Pete Mathews Coliseum (which was closed due to tornado damage).[26] There were four injuries among city residents and no fatalities.[27] More than $42 million in property damage was inflicted on the university and on April 27, 2018, President Donald Trump declared the event a federal disaster.[28] The university continued its summer semester as planned, and President John Beehler stated all subsequent semesters will continue as normal.[29]


  1. ^ Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  2. ^ The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  3. ^ The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.


  1. ^ "Jacksonville State University". DataUSA.io. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Don Killingsworth Named President of Jacksonville State University". JSU News. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  3. ^ "College Navigator - Jacksonville State University".
  4. ^ "College Navigator - Jacksonville State University".
  5. ^ "College Navigator - Jacksonville State University".
  6. ^ "College Navigator - Jacksonville State University".
  7. ^ Jacksonville State University Style Guide & Identification Standards Manual (PDF). Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  8. ^ "Doctoral degrees". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "JSU | JSU News | JSU Approved to Offer Doctorate in Nursing". www.jsu.edu. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  10. ^ "JSU | Office of the President | Dr. Don Killingsworth". www.jsu.edu. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  11. ^ "JSU | Office of the President | JSU President's Cabinet". www.jsu.edu. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  12. ^ "Little River Canyon Center – Environmental Policy and Information Center (EPIC) – Jacksonville State University". Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "JSU – JSU McClellan Center – Home". Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  14. ^ "Welcome – JSU Marching Southerners". Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  15. ^ "Southerners in London". Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  16. ^ Harris, Samantha. "Speech Code of the Month: Jacksonville State University". FIRE. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  17. ^ "ASUN Conference Announces Three New Institutions; Adds Football as 20th Sport" (Press release). ASUN Conference. January 29, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  18. ^ "ASUN, WAC Conferences Announce Football Partnership for 2021" (Press release). ASUN Conference. February 23, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  19. ^ "2015 Fan Day – August 29". Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  20. ^ "WATCH: Jacksonville State stuns Florida State with 59-yard walk-off TD, plants flag at midfield in epic upset". CBS Sports. September 12, 2021. Retrieved September 12, 2021.
  21. ^ Southerners founder remembered as Jacksonville State starts band camp, by Seth Boster, The Anniston Star, August 13, 2015, accessed August 14, 2016
  22. ^ David Walters, Longtime Leader of JSU Bands, Dies at 92, by Seth Boster, The Anniston Star, December 30, 2015, accessed August 14, 2016
  23. ^ "20Js". JSU Marching Southerners. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  24. ^ "College Scorecard: Jacksonville State University". United States Department of Education. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  25. ^ "We are JSU Strong | Jacksonville State University". www.jsu.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  26. ^ "Jacksonville State University | Academic Options for Completing the Spring Semester". www.jsu.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  27. ^ Service, US Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Weather. "Jacksonville Tornado - March 19, 2018". www.weather.gov. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  28. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Approves Alabama Disaster Declaration | FEMA.gov". www.fema.gov. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  29. ^ "Jacksonville State University | President Beehler Welcomes Students and Employees Back to Campus". www.jsu.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-15.