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Tue, 10.23.1877

Jackson State University is Founded

*On this date in 1877, Jackson State University (JSU) was founded. They are a public Historically Black College and University (HBCU).   Located in Jackson, Mississippi. The university is one of the largest HBCUs in the United States and the fourth-largest in Mississippi.  The university is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. It is classified as a research university with high research activity.  

Jackson State University grew out of Natchez Seminary, founded in Natchez, Mississippi on October 23, 1877. The seminary operated under the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York "for the moral, religious, and intellectual improvement of Christian leaders of the colored people of Mississippi and the neighboring states."  In 1883, the school changed its name to Jackson College and moved from Natchez to a site in Jackson that is today the campus of Millsaps College.

Jackson College moved to JSU's current location early in the 20th Century.  The Society withdrew financial support in 1934, and the school became a state-supported public institution in 1940 as the Mississippi Negro Training School. The name has since been changed to Jackson College for Negro Teachers (1944), Jackson State College (1967), and Jackson State University (1974).  

On May 14, 1970, two students were killed by police gunfire during an on-campus protest. An additional 12 students were injured during the shooting. dormitory still bears the bullet marks fired on campus that day. Since 2012, Jackson State University has provided all first-time, full-time freshmen brand new iPads to increase technology usage on campus.  

JSU is Mississippi's first and only HBCU to support a bachelor's and master's level engineering program.  JSU is one of only two universities in Mississippi with a comprehensive meteorology undergraduate-level degree program. Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked JSU as among the top universities in the United States for producing African Americans with bachelor's degrees in education, biology, and physical science. 

 Jackson State University consistently ranks in the top 20 of HBCUs in the US according to the U.S. News & World Report annual HBCU ranking.  The W.E.B. Du Bois – Maria Luisa Alvarez Harvey Honors College is a selective interdisciplinary college that provides a unique academic experience for the most high-achieving undergraduate students.  In 2015, JSU became the first university in Mississippi approved by the legislature to establish a School of Public Health. JSU is the only university in Mississippi to earn two consecutive "Apple Distinguished School" distinctions. 

Apple Inc. biennially acknowledges schools that uniquely incorporate technology into its curriculum.   Tiger Battalion, the University's Army ROTC program, is the host US Army ROTC program for Belhaven College, Delta State University, Hinds Community College, Millsaps College, Mississippi College, Mississippi College School of Law, Mississippi Valley State UniversityTougaloo College, and University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Nursing.  Air Force Detachment 006 is the Air Force ROTC Component for the Jackson metropolitan area. It is hosted at Jackson State and serves students from Belhaven University, Millsaps College, Mississippi College, and Tougaloo College.  

As of fall 2017, 75% of Jackson State's student community was from Mississippi, mostly from Hinds County and Madison County. The top three feeder states were Illinois (419 students), Louisiana (227), and Tennessee (192). China accounted for the highest number of international students on campus. 90% of students identified as black, 6% identified as white, and 4% identified with various race categories. 34% of students were male, and 66% of students were female.  

Jackson State University's athletic team, the Tigers, participates in NCAA Division I athletics as a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) member. The university is also the home of the Sonic Boom of the South, a marching band founded in the 1940s.  Their accompanying dance line, the Prancing J-Settes, is well known for its unique style of dance, J-Setting.    Notable alumni include Walter Payton, Cassandra Wilson, and more.

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