Jackson State University received a $50,000 donation from Joe N. Tatum, JSU alumnus and distinguished attorney, for the College of Business in order to provide students with the concrete life skills necessary to function within the business world.
“We are truly grateful for this generous donation. It is through alumni like Joe Tatum we have an opportunity to reflect on the fruits of our labor as an institution. This is the epitome of what we do: build up industry leaders who then pour back into our community as a way to say thank you,” said Thomas K. Hudson, president of JSU. “We will continue to strengthen our alumni outreach base and look forward to utilizing this financial resource to enhance the academic experience for our College of Business students.”
Tatum shared that he felt compelled to donate out of strong desire to see JSU flourish and hope to meet students’ needs through strengthened alumni outreach and consistent financial investments.
As one of thirteen children in his family to attend college, Tatum’s collegiate journey was uncharted territory, which allowed JSU to serve as the seeding ground for his promising future. Tatum went on to graduate Cum Laude, earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting. He attributes the development of his professional skill to his alma mater.
“My experience at Jackson State literally set the course for how things have played out for me. It was at Jackson State that I learned how to engage with people, how to dress and how to conduct business,” said Tatum, who currently serves as a shareholder in Jackson-based firm, Tatum and Wide, PLLC., a full-service law firm specializing in cases involving bankruptcy law.
Prior to practicing law for 25 years, Tatum established a stellar record as an accountant, starting his career working at one of the top accounting firms based out of Detroit. He then received his Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law, where he received the American Jurisprudence Award in secure transactions, was a Fredrick Douglass Moot Court Semi-Finalist, served on the Moot Court Board and has competed in several national moot court competitions.
Tatum has handled over 3,500 consumer bankruptcy cases and served as lead counsel in various personal injury and medical malpractice cases resulting in multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts at trial. Recently, Tatum obtained one of the largest verdicts in Mississippi in a premise’s liability case.
Reflecting on his JSU tenure as a student, he showed deep gratitude towards the encouraging faculty within the College of Business, more specifically former Accounting Chair Dr. Quinton Booker, who encouraged him to trust in his skillset and apply to the nation’s top-accounting firms, which led to him receiving multiple offers from all firms he applied to.
“Professor Quinton was more than a teacher that discussed solely the business aspects of society. He was truly a mentor in my life. He was a part of my support system. He spoke wisdom into me about life, achieving my goals and encouraged me to reach beyond what I believed was possible.”
With a large portion of his colleagues having attended other prestigious institutions such as Harvard and Stanford, Tatum said he took immense pride in being able to represent his HBCU.
Excited about the future of Jackson State, Tatum expressed how extremely pleased he is with the development of the institution and the increased national awareness surrounding Jackson State. It is his desire that his financial investment, along with others, will generate a seismic shift within the alumni base and encourage others to aid in building up the institution that once shaped who he has become today.
“If I can give and encourage others to, then I believe we can grow, I believe we can expand our capacity even further, and continue to drive our mission. People will come, and people will go, but our institution will always be here.”