Jacksonville University (JU) is a private university in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. The school was founded in 1934 as a two-year college and was known as Jacksonville Junior College until September 5, 1956, when it shifted focus to building four-year university degree programs and later graduated its first four-year degree candidates as Jacksonville University in June 1959. It is a member of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). JU's student body currently represents more than 40 U.S. states and approximately 45 countries around the world. As a Division I university, it is home to 19 sports teams, known as the JU Dolphins, as well as intramural sports and clubs. Among the top majors declared by JU students are aviation management, biology, nursing, business and marine science.
The school was founded in 1934 by William J. Porter. Originally known as William J. Porter University, it began as a private two-year college. Since a permanent site had not yet been acquired, classes were held on the third floor of the First Baptist Church Educational Building in downtown Jacksonville. Sixty students were enrolled in Porter University's first year of operation.
The school changed its name to Jacksonville Junior College in 1935. It relocated three times over the next fifteen years, including a period in the Florida Theatre building, but the influx of GI bill students following the end of World War II made it necessary for the school to find a permanent location. In 1947 the administration purchased land in Jacksonville's Arlington neighborhood on which to establish the current campus. The first building was completed in 1950 and classes officially began. The same year the school received full accreditation as a two-year college from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
In 1958 Jacksonville Junior College merged with the Jacksonville College of Music, and the name was changed to Jacksonville University. In 1959 the first four-year class graduated, and in 1962 JU received full accreditation as a four-year school from SACS. The 1960s saw the university grow substantially as enrollment increased, dormitories were built, two new colleges were established and the Swisher Gymnasium was constructed. In 1970 the Jacksonville University Dolphins men's basketball team, under star center Artis Gilmore, went to the NCAA Division I Championship. However, the opening of the public University of North Florida in 1973 eroded JU's enrollment, while the removal of public funding hurt the school financially. In the 1990s Jacksonville University reconfigured itself as primarily a liberal arts college and embarked on a substantial fundraising campaign, which provided for the construction of new buildings and a revision of the campus master plan.
George Hallam, in conjunction with Jacksonville University and its library staff, published an extensive history of the University titled Our Place in the Sun, which details the development and progress of the institution between its inception in 1934 through the spring of 1988. Other University publications to have chronicled JU history throughout the decades include the JU Navigator, the Riparian, and The Wave magazine.
Jacksonville University offers more than 70 majors and programs at the undergraduate level, as well as 23 Master's and doctorate degree programs, leading to the M.S., M.A., M.A.T., and Master of Business Administration, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
The University is divided into four colleges and two institutes: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Davis College of Business (DCOB), the College of Fine Arts (CFA), the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences (BRCHS), the Marine Science Research Institute (MSRI), and its newest addition, the Public Policy Institute (PPI).
The College of Arts and Sciences offers a traditional liberal arts education and includes JU's School of Education, Wilma's Little People School, Science and Mathematics, Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC). JU has the second-largest Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program in the nation and the longest-running in Florida. Jacksonville is a military- and veteran-friendly town, and is home to three major military installations. As the founding member of the Northeast Florida Military Veteran College Network, JU and its partners leverage the educational expertise from fellow universities, military installations, Veterans’ Service Officers, and other stakeholders to provide the best experience for active military students. It is also an approved Yellow Ribbon School and is home to the Jacksonville University Veterans and Military Resource Center (VMRC). University staff and administration includes many distinguished veterans from multiple branches of the U.S. military.
The College of Fine Arts, with its integrated Alexander Brest Museum and Gallery, is one of the longest-standing colleges in JU history. Undergraduate programs include dance, theatre, music, and visual arts. Graduate programs are available in Choreography and Visual Arts. The College of Fine Arts' annual Artist Series is open to the public and offers more than 20 concerts, events and exhibitions per season.
The Davis College of Business (DCOB) received its AACSB accreditation in January 2010, and is the only private, AACSB-accredited business school in North Florida. DCOB offers both MBA and EMBA degrees, along with undergraduate business degrees in accounting, aviation management, aviation management & flight operations, business administration, business analytics, business information systems, economics, finance, international business, management, marketing, and sport business. In 2017, the school's CFA Research Challenge team won the Chartered Financial Analysis Institute’s (CFA) Research Challenge in Florida, beating out schools such as University of Miami and University of Florida, and went on to compete nationally. The Finance department has a trading room with a Bloomberg Terminal, and a $700,000 investment fund managed by students, allowing finance majors to gain investment experience. Jacksonville University has also teamed up with the Florida Coastal School of Law to offer a joint MBA/law degree, and joined forces with Aerosim Flight Academy to provide professional flight training to students of its ever-popular aviation major.
The JU Flight Team competes in National Intercollegiate Flying Association Regional and National Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) against other universities, with its best team performance in 2007. The program is the third largest in the nation, behind Spartan School in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. The Team also placed 10th in the nation at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association. In 2008, the team was awarded the Loening Trophy, which is given to the best collegiate aviation program in the country each year. It is currently on display in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
The Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences (BRCHS), includes the School of Orthodontics and one of JU's many premier learning environments, the Simulation Training and Applied Research (STAR) Center where students can participate in simulations of everything from childbirth to wound care.
The University's BRCHS program offers Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Master of Science in Nursing degree, among many other degree programs and certifications. In 2014, Jacksonville University partnered with Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital to create the Brooks Rehabilitation Speech-Language Pathology program. BRCHS is affiliated with hundreds of local healthcare partners, including Nemours Children's Clinic, Baptist Health Systems, Shands, St. Vincent's Healthcare, Florida Blue, Duval County Public Schools, Wolfson Children's Hospital, and many more.
In 2012, the university established the Public Policy Institute (PPI), offering the only Master in Public Policy (MPP) degree program in the state of Florida. The Institute also offers dual degree programs in conjunction with the Davis College of Business and hosts a variety of politically-related events, including televised debates for local and regional elections, a radio program titled Policy Matters, and internship opportunities with local companies, local government and the Office of the Governor.
The JU athletic programs participate in NCAA Division I in the Atlantic Sun Conference, with the exception of the football program, which competes in the Division I FCS Pioneer Football League, and the rowing program, which competes in the MAAC Conference (NCAA Division I).
Terry Alexander, the most successful coach in Jacksonville's baseball history with 631 wins, enters his 31st year at Jacksonville and his 20th year as the program’s head coach. He has led the program to nine NCAA regional appearances, won six conference championships (1995, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009) and has completed five 40-win seasons. He has also coached 10 All-America honorees, 50 all-conference selections and helped 44 players get drafted by Major League Baseball organizations.
The basketball program has produced professional basketball players such as Artis Gilmore, Otis Smith, Pembrook Burrows III and Rex Morgan. In 1970, Jacksonville University became the second smallest school (behind St. Bonaventure) to make it to the NCAA Final Four and the national championship game. The team was led by head coach Joe Williams. After defeating the St. Bonaventure team in the tournament semi-finals, the Dolphins lost to the UCLA Bruins in the national championship. The following season, Jacksonville became the first college basketball team to average 100+ points per game, at a time when there was no three-point shot and no shot clock in college basketball. In 2009, Jacksonville won the regular season Atlantic Sun Conference title in men's basketball, but fell to East Tennessee State in the conference tournament title game. The Dolphins were invited to the National Invitation Tournament, the school's first post-season tournament since 1986, but lost in the first round to the University of Florida Gators.
The football program won its first PFL title in 2008.
JU is noted for its rowing program after taking the overall FIRA Cup (Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association) in 2007 and again in 2014. The women's rowing team won their first MAAC Championship in 2014 and won an automatic bid to the NCAA Div I National Championship (JU Website). Recently, JU has expanded its rowing program with the addition of the Negaard Rowing Center. The JU rowing program has had over 50 years of success around the world and has competed in locations such as the Nile River and England's Henley Royal Regatta.
In 2016 Jacksonville University landed a pair of lacrosse icons to lead its men's lacrosse program as Providence College assistant coach John Galloway has been named head coach.
Galloway, one of the young legends in the sport, was at Providence for four years after spending one year as a volunteer assistant at Duke and brought on one of the game's most famous players ever, Casey Powell, as his offensive coordinator.
The school's Greek system, consisting by some estimates of 15% of the school, includes Pi Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Sigma Chi, Phi Delta Theta, and Sigma Nu fraternities and the Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Delta Pi, and Gamma Phi Beta sororities.
53 percent of all students live on campus in one of three residential halls and eight apartment-style housing facilities. Most residence halls provide academic and social events as well as host programs to acclimate incoming students to the college experience.
While Greeks do offer some social events, many residence halls also host their own events, though alcohol policies are strictly enforced.
The student center of the University (the Davis Student Commons Building) includes a fitness center overlooking the St. Johns River, a Chick-Fil-A, and a game room for all campus community members, while serving as a focal point for campus life. The facility opened in October 2006.
Student life at Jacksonville University includes a diverse range of activities and organizations. There are multicultural, arts, political and social action, service and professional, religious, sports and recreation, academic and professional, and special interest groups.
Campus media organizations include the student newspaper (The Navigator), campus radio station (JU108), literary and arts magazine (The Aquarian), student-run broadcasting station (Dolphin Channel), and yearbook (The Riparian).
The Jacksonville University Student Alliance serves the needs of the student body as a whole by electing representatives from the university's student organizations, residential communities and colleges.
The Florida Leader magazine ranked JU as having the third-best positive student life experience out of the 28 private colleges and universities in the state, citing its small campus size, peer and faculty relationships, and the close-knit campus community.
This list of Jacksonville University alumni includes graduates, non-graduate former students and current students of Jacksonville University.
|Aaron Bean||Florida state representative|
|Alvin Brown||Mayor of Jacksonville, 2011–2015|
|Dee Brown||NBA player (1990-2002), 1991 NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest winner|
|David "Jack" Dorsett||Director of Naval Intelligence, Vice Admiral, US Navy|
|William Forsythe||dancer and choreographer|
|Paul G. Gaffney II||President of Monmouth University|
|Artis Gilmore||ABA player (1971-1976), NBA player (1976-1988), Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (2011)|
|Donnie Hammond||professional golfer|
|Tommy Hazouri||former Mayor of Jacksonville (1987-1991), Duval County School Board Member (2004-2012), Jacksonville City Council member (2015–present)|
|Bruce Helford||television producer (The Drew Carey Show, George Lopez')|
|Russell Knox||professional golfer|
|Smoke Laval||college baseball coach of Louisiana–Monroe, LSU, and North Florida|
|Terrence Mann||actor, director, singer, songwriter and dancer|
|Tom McMillan||former Major League Baseball shortstop and member of the inaugural 1977 Seattle Mariners team|
|Bob Moore||composer and conductor|
|Daniel Murphy (outfielder)||Major League Baseball player for the Washington Nationals (Previously: New York Mets)|
|Frank Pace||television producer|
|Leonard Skinner||Namesake of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, basketball player|
|Otis Smith||NBA player (1986-1992), former general manager of the Orlando Magic|
|Jay Thomas||film and TV actor, radio show host|
|David Walker||former Comptroller General of the United States|
|Will W. Weatherford||former Florida state representative and Speaker of the Florida House|
|John A. Wright||Oklahoma state representative, unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor|
Media related to Jacksonville University at Wikimedia Commons
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