Click here to Watch the Founder’s Day Convocation online
The Weather Channel Meteorologist Vivian Brown gave the keynote address during Jackson State University’s Founders’ Day Convocation on Oct. 24.
JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers opened The Founders’ Day Convocation with greetings to students, faculty, staff and alumni and friends.
“Today we celebrate the stories of Jackson State University from her founding in 1877, 136 years ago, until today,” Meyers said. “We celebrate our freedom to imagine and experience. Today we pause in honor and respect all of the courage, commitment, character and creativity of our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends who have defined Jackson State University.”
Dr. Wilbur Walters, Associate Dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology at JSU, introduced Brown.
Brown opened her speech with a recollection of her experiences as an undergraduate student at JSU. “All I can say is wow,” Brown remarked. “What a long way we’ve come! Look at all the new buildings and the renovations of the old ones.”
Brown went on to talk about her matriculation through the university. She credited Jackson State for her personal development that led to her success in life.
“Jackson State has also prepared me with the confidence of knowing that I am prepared for any additional challenges that life has to offer,” says Brown.
Brown, a 1986 JSU graduate, joined The Weather Channel soon after graduation. While at JSU, she received a full-athletic scholarship in track and field and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology. As a meteorologist for The Weather Channel, Brown has covered major weather events, such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the April 2011 tornado outbreak in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and most recently, Super Storm Sandy.
The convocation followed a week of activities related to the annual observance of JSU’s history. Other events included a book reading, panel discussions and a reception.
“Each year, we look forward to Founders’ Day because it allows us to reflect on JSU’s rich history and amazing progress and growth over the years,” said Dr. Marie O’Banner-Jackson, chair of the Founders’ Day Committee.
The institution that would become known as Jackson State University was founded in 1877 as the Natchez Seminary, a private church school established in Natchez under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York. The seminary educated newly freed African Americans as ministers and teachers. In 1882, the society moved the school to Jackson, Miss., and it was renamed Jackson College. The college was under state control by 1940. Through a 1974 legislative act, the college became Jackson State University. Five years later, the Institutions of Higher Learning officially designated JSU Mississippi’s Urban University.
Founders’ Day activities included:
- Oct. 21 at 11 a.m. JSU Names and Sites, Liberal Arts Auditorium, Lecture Room 166/266. Heather Wilcox reviews excerpts from the book, Jackson State University: The First 100 Years 1877-1977, written by Dean Emerita of Libraries, Dr. Lelia G. Rhodes.
- Oct. 22 at 11:30 a.m. JSU Presidents, Programs, Politics and Football, Liberal Arts Auditorium, Lecture Room 166/266. Three eminent alumni scholars share segments of JSU history by tracing the chronology of its presidents, the major programs they promoted and the political climate and challenges faced during each juncture. Historian Robert Major Walker, the first black mayor Vicksburg, chronicles 1877 to 1967, while Dr. Hilliard Lackey, Associate Professor of Urban Higher Education shares his observations as the first employee of President Dr. John A. Peoples, Jr. (1967-1984), followed by former Dean of the College of Education and Human Development Dr. Ivory Phillips, who shares the challenges and accomplishments of presidents from 1984 to the present.
- Oct. 23 11 a.m. History of the Sonic Boom and the Prancing J-Settes, Liberal Arts Auditorium, Lecture Room 166/266. Retired band director Dr. Lewis Liddell gives highlights on the origin of the marching band and its growth from the 1940s to the present Sonic Boom of the South. J-Settes founder Shirley Middleton Blakely and a panel of original J-Settes will recount their beginning.
- Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. Founders’ Day Convocation, Gibbs Green Walkway. President Carolyn W. Meyers and the JSU Family celebrate 136 years under the theme: “One JSU: Higher Purpose, Higher Expectations, Higher Outcomes.” Meteorologist Vivian Brown will deliver the convocation address.
- Oct. 24, Founders’ Day Reception immediately following the convocation and bell-ringing ceremony, Student Center Ballrooms A and B.