JSU launches television and radio program ‘An Ounce of Prevention’

(JACKSON, Miss.) – WJSU-FM and JSU TV (Comcast Channel 14) will simulcast the pilot program, “An Ounce of Prevention,” before a live audience from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, at Jackson State University’s Mississippi e-Center @ JSU, 1230 Raymond Road.

During the maiden show, guest physicians and other health and fitness experts will explore Mississippi’s obesity epidemic. They will discuss the dietary and behavioral changes needed to lose weight, chronic diseases and their impact on impoverished areas and cultural demographics.

Getty Israel, a health educator, and Rachel Cowan, director of recreation services at JSU’s Walter Payton Recreation and Wellness Center, are the program’s co-hosts.

– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of the state of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

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JSU’s ‘Jazz on the Plaza’ features Grammy award winning jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson

JSU’s ‘Jazz on the Plaza’ features Grammy award-winning jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson

 (JACKSON, Miss.) – Jazz vocalist and Jackson State alumnus Cassandra Wilson will be the guest musician for Jackson State University’s annual outdoor concert, “Jazz On The Plaza,” at 6 p.m. Friday, April 20 on the main campus, 1400 John R. Lynch St.

Wilson, a Jackson native and 1980 Jackson State University alumnus, earned a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for New Moon Daughter in 1996 and another Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album for Loverly in 2009.

“This is one of our most exciting events of the year,” said Russell Thomas Jr., music department chair and director of jazz education at Jackson State. “We like the opportunity to take our music outside, sharing it with everyone. Anyone can come and enjoy a night of great big band and vocal jazz.”

The event also will feature JSU’s Jazz Ensemble I, Jazz Ensemble II, the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the JSU Jazz Combo.

Jazz on the Plaza is free and open to the public. For more information, call 601-979-2141.

– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of the state of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker addresses JSU graduates

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker urged Jackson State University graduates on Saturday, April 28, to stand up for what they believe and continue their ancestors’ struggle for freedom and justice for all.

“If you stand and tell your truth, you will be the generation that makes real on the promise of this country,” said Booker, who addressed 1,321 graduates at JSU’s undergraduate commencement at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. “You all have an obligation to stand in this world and tell this world who you are.”

Booker spoke about how his parents continued the work of their forebearers by opening doors for the next generation of African Americans. The couple became the first black executives hired by IBM and tested New Jersey’s fair housing law by shopping for homes in an all-white neighborhood.

“You need to understand something about your generation,” Booker said. “You all drink deeply from wells of liberty and freedom that you did not dig. Don’t just sit back. You need to take those blessings to fuel you to continue that conspiracy of love.”

Booker was elected mayor of New Jersey’s largest city in 2006 following a sweeping electoral victory and was re-elected to a second term in 2010. He received a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University, a B.A. in modern history at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and completed his law degree at Yale University.

During the commencement ceremony, Miss JSU Mea Ashley presented JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers with a check for $12,500, which she raised during her Miss JSU Queens Campaign. The donation will be matched by Title III funds to create a $25,000 endowment for scholarships.

The spring 2012 class included Yolanda Perkins, who is the first person to graduate from JSU’s online childcare and family education program.

“I started classes on campus three years ago, but I had to stop,” said Perkins, a mother of two who is a Head Start teacher in Hazlehurst, Miss. “With online courses it was more convenient. I was at home and could help my kids with their homework. It saved me time and gas costs too.”

Fellow 2012 graduate Charles Johnson also is a nontraditional student.

The 61-year-old father of six started his education at JSU in 1974, but didn’t finish due to his struggle with drugs and alcohol. Though he managed to sustain a career as a nurse, he lost his license in 2003 due to his drinking. His next blow came in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina forced Johnson and his family to move from their home in Bay St. Louis, Miss.

“We barely survived,” said Johnson, who relocated to Brandon, Miss.

A year after completing treatment in Mississippi for substance abuse, Johnson signed up for classes at a community college. In 2010, he enrolled at JSU as a junior sociology major.

“Coming back to Jackson State gave me something to live for,” said Johnson, who works as a clinical assistant at a drug treatment center. “I wanted to give back because I was clean and sober.”

Johnson will continue his studies at JSU in the fall when he starts work on his graduate degree in sociology with a concentration in chemical dependency.

JSU held its graduate commencement ceremony on Friday, April 27, at the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center. University of Pennsylvania scholar Marybeth Gasman delivered the commencement address to more than 300 graduates.

A historian of higher education, Gasman’s work explores issues pertaining to philanthropy and historically black colleges, black leadership, contemporary fundraising issues at black colleges and African-American giving. Gasman is the author or editor of several books, including Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College Fund. Gasman received a Ph.D. in higher education from Indiana University in 2000.

– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

Alumni donate record $2.56 million to Jackson State University

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University alumni surprised JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers when they presented her with a record $2.56 million in cash and pledges during the university’s inauguration events in March.

“Along with our students, our alumni are the best ambassadors Jackson State University has,” Meyers said. “When they show such strong support for their university, it fosters a culture of giving.”

The record contributions were the result of JSU’s “Alumni Challenge,” which launched just six months ago. The campaign aimed to raise at least $1 million from JSU graduates before Meyers’ March 2012 inauguration. To date, alums have contributed $2,561,093 in cash and pledges.

The JSU National Alumni Association took the lead in fundraising efforts.

“Our alumni love their school and are proud of all that is happening at Jackson State,” said alumni association president Terry L. Woodard. “This year they stepped up as never before to show how much they support Jackson State and its students.”

Two alums – JSU graduate Cortez Bryant and an anonymous donor – each made a contribution of $500,000 in gifts and pledges.

Though alumni have already made record donations this year, the fiscal year is still not over, said David Hoard, JSU’s vice president for Institutional Advancement.

“We’re hoping to get to $3 million before the end of June,” Hoard said. “That will really build momentum for next year. Our alumni have proven they want to help the next generation of students.”

University of Georgia music therapist to lecture at JSU – April 18

Matt Whitaker, a music therapist at the University of Georgia, Athens, will give a public lecture at noon Wednesday April 18, in the Jackson State University Dollye Robinson Building LIB166 / 266. The title of his lecture is “Contemporary Topics in Music Therapy.”

Whitaker has presented at numerous conferences on topics ranging from music in suicide prevention to use of guitar in children’s music.  He has also served for two years as the Southeastern Representative on the Student Advisory Affairs Board for the American Music Therapy Association, where he was consulted on policies affecting students pursuing the music therapy degree program.  In addition to his music therapy, Whitaker is a highly sought after music producer and studio musician.

This lecture has been partially sponsored by the National Institute of Health. For more information, call Dr. Taunjah Bell in the Department of Psychology at 601-979-2371 or Dr. David Akombo in the Department of Music at 601-979-2584.

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Jackson State piano majors take top honors in national competition

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(JACKSON, Miss.) – Seven Jackson State University piano majors participated in the 2012 James A. Hefner National HBCU Piano Competition held at Tennessee State University.

The prestigious competition drew talented pianists from seven HBCUs throughout the country including Jackson State University, Tennessee State University, Central State University, Fisk University, Lincoln University of Missouri, Wiley College and Xavier University. 

Jacob Dodd, junior piano performance major, won the first place award of $500 in the overall competition and also received a second award of $350 for best performance of a work by an African-American composer. 

Tiffany Williams, senior piano performance major, and Eddie Crews, junior music education major, both received third place awards and $250 for their performances. 

Other Jackson State students who participated included Amber Jones, junior piano performance major; LaBethani May, freshman music education major; Urshula Patrick, senior music education major; and Carroll McLaughlin, junior piano performance major. 

Judges for the competition were renowned concert pianists Graciella Kowalczyk and Jeni Slotchiver.  Accompanying the students to the competition were piano professors Harlan Zackery Jr. and Dr. Karen Laubengayer. 

The Hefner Piano Competition was created by Dr. James A. Hefner, former Jackson State University and Tennessee State University president who had the vision of providing a national piano competition for students of HBCUs throughout the country.

 

– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of the state of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.