About JSU

Board of Trustees

Trustee Name District Term
The Honorable Kay Ivey Governor of Alabama President, Ex Officio
Senator Vivian Davis Figures (Vice Chair) First 2012-2023
Ms. Gale Saxon Main Second 2012-2023
Mr. Anthony Smoke Third 2019-2022
Mr. Gregory Brown Third 2016-2027
Mr. Clarence W. Daugette III Fourth 2012-2023
Mr. Randall Jones (Chair) Fifth 2008-2027
Mr. Rusty Fuller Sixth 2016-2025
Mr. Drew Linn Seventh 2020-2025
Mr. Randy Owen In-State At-Large 2000-2024
Mr. Tony Ingram Out-of-State At-Large 2015-2027

History of Jacksonville State University

From modest beginnings, Jacksonville State University has evolved into the educational center of northeast Alabama. The Alabama Legislature, in the 1882-83 session, created a state normal school when Governor Edward O’Neal signed into law a bill creating the school on February 22, 1883.  Jacksonville State Normal School acquired the facilities and equipment of Calhoun College, consisting of twelve acres of land and a two-story brick building.  The Board of Directors elected James C. Ryals, Jr. as the first president.  The school opened with three instructors: W. J. Borden, mathematics; Eliza A. Bowen, English; and Ida J. Woodward, primary department. 

The Normal School remained in operation until 1930 when it became Jacksonville State Teachers College, reflecting an increasingly higher education role for the Institution.  Five years later, the College earned regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  In 1957, the name again changed to Jacksonville State College when the first graduate program - the master’s degree in elementary education - was created. 

On August 2, 1966, the State Board of Education was authorized to elevate the College to university status.  On August 17, 1967, the Legislature established an independent Board of Trustees for the University and divested jurisdiction from the State Board of Education. 

In December, 2010, JSU attained Level 5 accreditation status when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges gave approval for the University to begin offering its first doctoral degree, the Doctor of Science in Emergency Management, beginning Fall semester 2011.  JSU was approved to begin offering its second doctoral degree, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, effective Fall 2017.

Jacksonville State University has been served by 13 presidents:

  1. James G. Ryals, Jr. (1883-1885)
  2. J. Harris Chappell (1885-1886)
  3. Carlton Bartlett Gibson (1886-1892)
  4. J.B. Jarrett (1892-1893)
  5. Jacob Forney IV (1893-1899)
  6. Clarence William Daugette (1899-1942)
  7. Houston Cole (1942-1971)
  8. Ernest Stone (1971-1981)
  9. Theron E. Montgomery (1981-1986)
  10. Harold J. McGee (1986-1999)
  11. William A. Meehan (1999-2015)
  12. John M. Beehler (2015-2019)
  13. Don C. Killingsworth, Jr., (2019-present)

Mission Statement

Jacksonville State University, a learning-centered community, provides distinctive educational, cultural and social experiences to prepare students to be competent, ethical professionals and engaged, responsible, global citizens.

2022 Strategic Plan Framework


As educators, we do not provide the answers. We provide the experiences, environments, and expectations that allow learners to discover the answers.

Commitment 1

In an age of rapid educational change and innovation, we will continue to advance our capacity for creating diverse, meaningful, and accessible learning opportunities that prepare all learners for success.


1. Experiences

    Provide learning experiences that connect learners with real-world knowledge, skills, and opportunities.

2. Environments

    Create and provide new learning environments characterized by modern facilities, technological enhancements, active learning, and engaging instruction.

3. Expectations

    Promote and assess critical thinking, essential employability skills, diversity and inclusion, and successful degree completion in all learning experiences and environments.


As a university, we ensure the vibrancy of our campus, community, and region through the benefit of belonging, mutual relationships, and power of place.

Commitment 2

Create symbiotic partnerships that impact the university learning environment, providing additional opportunities for the exchange of ideas, experiential learning, and community engagement, while allowing university members to give back to the community.


1. Benefit of Belonging

    Improve the accessibility of a safe, equitable, diverse campus supportive of all campus and community members.

2. Mutual Relationships

    Strengthen partnerships to improve quality of life through collective impact.

3. Power of Place

    Ensure a vibrant and successful campus and community that will be attractive to a diverse population.


As a thriving learning community, we depend on a strong financial foundation based on diverse student enrollment, a spirit of generosity, and a culture of accountability.

Commitment 3

As the higher education landscape is challenged with access and competition, we will commit to advance JSU’s financial strength, enrollment goals, and the overall success of students.


1. Inclusive Enrollment

    Attract, enroll, and support undergraduate and graduate students with unique experiences from across the region, state, and globe.

2. Spirit of Generosity

   Create a dynamic culture of philanthropy to inspire generosity.

3. Culture of Accountability

    Cultivate an environment that promotes and encourages effectiveness, efficiency, innovation, informed practices, optimization, value communication, and transparency while continuously measuring our progress and seeking to expand our financial resources.

More information can be found at https://www.jsu.edu/president/strategic-plan/index.html.