Dear JSU Family,
I cannot be prouder to be a graduate of Jackson State University. It is not a day that passes where I do not read or hear about JSU alums doing impressive work in their fields, giving back to the community, mentoring students, or uplifting our institution in myriad ways. It is truly an honor to serve as the 12th president of Jackson Fair, Jackson Dear.
We have had what I consider to be a successful academic year amid slight challenges. Despite it all, JSU met the moment. There was only a one percent decline in our fall enrollment, in stark contrast to what reporting agencies predicted for colleges and universities throughout the country.
While other institutions fared much worse, JSU remained ‘Thee’ choice for many.
Reflecting on our 144-year history, whether civic engagement, social justice, athletic prowess, or educational achievement – JSU has consistently met the moment. This is at our very core and becomes a part of our DNA during the matriculation process. Looking toward the future, we will continue to advance our university; meeting the moment and surpassing expectations.
As I stated before, my aim for our alma mater is to build upon the foundation set by our previous leaders. This means reinforcing our infrastructure and beginning the process of elevating us to our 21st-century status, starting with our academic quality. Our responsibility is to equip our graduates to meet the needs of an evolving society and a demanding global marketplace. I am confident in our faculty and staff, who have continued to raise the bar in research, grants received, and distinguished accolades.
Additional areas of focus include improving our learning outcomes, graduation and retention rates, increasing our fundraising efforts and our endowment. We must continue to press forward in making our university the top HBCU that we all envision. Much of what I stated is encapsulated in the university’s strategic plan rolling out this fall.
While it may appear ambitious, we have to be progressive in thought, action and execution. We must continue to do the work that allows us to meet the moment. This cannot be done without your support and commitment. See, it is your support that has alumni giving up from last year. We have the proclivity to do this year-after-year, and I do not doubt that we will.
We are also celebrating 110 years of JSU football, which has a storied legacy of SWAC championships, including NFL legends like Walter Payton, Hall of Famers such as Lem Barney, and exceptional coaches like W.C. Gorden, who we unfortunately lost last year. Now, we begin a new era led by Ashley Robinson, vice president and director of athletics, and the dynamic Coach Prime, aka Deion Sanders. I thoroughly enjoyed our spring season and cannot wait until the fall.
I also reserve a special shout-out to our women’s basketball team and our volleyball team for bringing home SWAC championships. All of our athletic programs deserve recognition for indeed blazing new trails. As I said before, this is our winning season, and the energy you show for our alma mater is unmatched.
Whether rooting loudly from the stands, recruiting in your hometowns, or wearing your JSU apparel, you are outstanding representatives who uplift this institution, making sure Jackson State University is recognized and respected both far and wide.
The hallmark of every successful university is a robust, dedicated, and visionary alumni – and we have that in all of you. Thank you for your unconditional love for Jackson State University and for honoring the JSU legacy.
Thomas K. Hudson c/o 1999