Jackson State ranked among Top 50 Best Colleges in the U.S., higher than ALL other schools in the state!



Washington Monthly Magazine has ranked Jackson State among the 2010 Top 50 Best Colleges in the U.S. for its contribution to the public good, a higher ranking than ALL other schools in the state of Mississippi.
See Rankings by Clicking here





U.S. News and World Report ranks Jackson State among the Top-20 HBCUs in the country!


Freedom School praised by U.S. Secretary of Education (from Clarion-Ledger)

By Marquita Brown • mbrown13@clarionledger.com • August 28, 2010

Applause erupted Friday during a roundtable discussion at Jackson State University, and some of it was for the visiting national education secretary.

But much was for JSU students interning at the university’s Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School, who spoke about the importance of teachers and teaching.

The perception about teaching should change, former intern Rodney Phillips said to applause. After suggesting a national media campaign to “express the dire need to educate our youth,” he received more applause.

“I couldn’t agree more,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

Duncan was at JSU as part of an eight-state, two-week bus tour to honor teachers. The tour began Thursday in Little Rock, Ark.

Friday’s event was a way for Duncan to learn more about the Freedom School, an after-school program that is part of Kids Kollege and an initiative of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Marian Wright Edelman, fund president and founder, also sat on the panel.

“The future belongs to those who give the next generation hope,” Edelman said.

Duncan heard testimonies from students about their passion for teaching and their views on the Freedom School.

Tramell Tillman said he started college at Xavier University in New Orleans, but transferred to JSU at his parents’ request after Hurricane Katrina. He was trained at the Freedom School, and told Duncan and the audience that words couldn’t describe “the impact that that training had on me.”

Five years ago, Tillman read to students at Barr Elementary School in Jackson, said Carolyn Coleman, director of the Kids Kollege. Coleman said the school principal told her, “It was one of the first times some of those children had a black male read to them.”

Duncan and the students talked about the need to have more men, including those who are black or Hispanic, teach.

Recruiting of male teachers, particularly black males, should begin before college, said Allison Warnesley, a JSU sophomore and Freedom School intern.

“If you have a bad experience before college, you’re not going to want to be a teacher,” she said.

Duncan noted the Freedom School children were loud – they clapped and chanted for him at the beginning of the visit – but were some of the best-behaved children he had seen.

The interns attributed the good behavior to the structure of the Freedom School, where the ratio of students to teachers is 10 to 1.

The children are called “scholars.” Instead of being told what not to do, they sign a cooperation agreement and are told about the expectations of the program, said Nolan Carr, who is now a teacher and trains Freedom School interns.

In Freedom School, “scholars” have fun while they learn, he said. Carr said when he was in school, he didn’t have fun, “so I got in trouble.”

Interim President Leslie Burl McLemore introduces new University motto

Aug. 27, 2010

Dear JSU Faculty, Staff and Students:

For more than 130 years, Jackson State University has provided a path to success for thousands of students. We’ve welcomed students who may have arrived underprepared and watched them soar. We’ve welcomed students who may have been unsure about their futures and watched them exceed their own expectations. We’ve taken the brightest students and turned them into global leaders in their respective fields.

In keeping with that long-standing tradition, we introduce a new motto: Bridge to a Brighter Tomorrow. The motto reflects Jackson State University’s commitment to making this world a better place for all.

To that end, all University websites, broadcasts, and printed materials should reflect the University’s new motto. Let’s continue to work hard together, play hard together and be that bridge to a brighter tomorrow that this world needs.


Leslie Burl McLemore, Ph.D.
Interim President

Memo from Interim President Leslie Burl McLemore regarding the start of the academic year

Aug. 20, 2010

Dear JSU Administrators, Faculty, Staff and Students:

As the Fall 2010 semester begins, I wish each of you a successful, enjoyable and productive academic year. Jackson State University has never been as great as it is right now, and I look forward to working with each of you to collectively move the University to new heights.

As we continue to provide quality education and research opportunities for our students, please keep the following in mind:

     –  Our primary commodity is service to our customers (students, parents, colleagues, visitors, etc.), and they come first at Jackson State University. All of us must work together to ensure that we maintain their trust and continued desire to do business with us. Good customer service is a must!

     –  I expect our world class faculty to show up prepared to teach on the first day of class, and our students are expected to come to class on Day One and every day thereafter!

    –  We are going to put forth our best effort in everything we do with the understanding that the conversation is about Jackson State University.

Let’s work hard and play hard. Can I count on your cooperation and team spirit?



Leslie Burl McLemore, Ph. D.
Interim President


Long road for 79-year-old Jackson State grad

(From Clarion-Ledger.com – 8/7/10)

Evelyn Bush promised herself more than 60 years ago that she would graduate from college.

Her time has finally come. The 79-year-old early childhood education major will be among 360 Jackson State students to receive degrees at the university’s summer commencement ceremony today (8/7/10).

“I really wanted to graduate before I turned 80 years old,” Bush said with a slight laugh. “It hasn’t been easy.”

Over the years, she has worked as an egg inspector, a catalog distribution center employee and a clothes maker. She spent decades sewing seat cushions at an auto plant in Michigan. She had her colon removed because of cancer, and she separated from her husband.

“I have seen a lot of sad times in my life and a lot of glad times,” Bush said. “It could have been worse and it could have been better.”

Jackson State University

Rodney Washington, chairman of JSU’s early childhood program, said Bush has been an inspiration to him personally as he’s watched her progress through school over the past four years.

“It’s just a joy to see her complete,” he said. “It’s well deserved.”

Bush said she’s made good friends along the way and had the support of her family. Several family members are in Jackson to see her graduate. Jackson resident Cathie Moore said she sees Bush as a foil for those who think they’re too old to return to school.

“If there were more people in the world like Evelyn, it would be a better place,” Moore said.

While others say they are impressed by the accomplishment, Bush often downplays the significance and has to be prodded to talk about the hurdles she has overcome.

“I’ve heard of people in their 90s getting doctorate degrees,” she said. “I know I heard about a woman who was 94 years old getting a high school diploma – that was years ago, before I went back to school.”

Born in Mississippi, Bush spent most of her life in Tennessee, Illinois and Michigan. Growing up, her family had little money for things such as books, but education was always a goal, she said. At age 16, she moved in with relatives in Chicago, hoping to go to school. She promised herself she would earn that college degree – a feat no one else in her family had ever accomplished.

“When I got to Chicago, I realized that they were struggling, too – my cousins would be fighting over a piece of bread,” Bush said. “I knew I couldn’t go to school. I’d have to go to work.”

She recalls holding eggs up to a candle to see if they were rotten, lying about her age so she could work for Montgomery Ward and finding an ad in the newspaper for a job at Chrysler that made her so anxious she couldn’t sleep.

“I had five kids and it paid more than I had ever made in my life,” Bush said about Chrysler. “Even without a degree, I could make decent money, and they had excellent benefits.”

She didn’t score high enough on Chrysler’s written exam, but she had learned how to use just about any kind of sewing machine while working for a clothes maker in Chicago.

“They saw I could sew, so they gave me the job,” she said.

During a brief layoff from the auto plant in the 1970s, Bush earned her GED. She mentions she “barely passed it” – scoring one point above required.

“I didn’t want to cry, but tears kept streaming down my face,” she said.

The Chrysler plant called her back to work before she could start college. She eventually took an early retirement from Chrysler, but she waited until her grandchildren were older before starting community college in Phoenix at the age of 73. She said she transferred to Jackson State because it was the first four-year school to send her an acceptance letter.

“I did not try to linger around, waiting to see if I was accepted anywhere else,” she said. “I packed up the few things I had and came to Jackson.”

Moore first noticed Bush in line for communion at St. Richard Catholic Church. Driving home, Moore spotted her walking.

“It was August, so it was hot,” Moore said.

When she asked if the then-76 year old needed a ride, Bush told her she lived too far away and would be an inconvenience.

“She was walking two miles to Mass and two miles home,” Moore said. “I told her that’s too far.”

The two worked out a schedule and Moore started driving her to church regularly. When Bush was being treated for colon cancer, Moore often drove her to her doctor’s appointments.

“She takes nothing for granted,” Moore said. “I’ve never heard her complain.”

If there’s one frustration Bush will vent, it’s that she wasn’t able to graduate at the spring commencement in May. The delay was because of her cancer treatment.

“I’m angry over that,” she said.

Washington said he’s impressed Bush has been able to make it through this soon. Many nontraditional students take time to readjust to school.

“She was taking a full load – sometimes 16 or 17 hours,” he said. “She held her own.”

Now that she has her degree, Bush wants to put it to use. Though she’s well past retirement age, she’ll be entering the job market alongside her peers.

“I have to work so I can pay back my student loans,” she said.

Her goal is to help children learn to read.

“My father could not read or write, so that is something very special to me,” she said.

To comment on this story, call Elizabeth Crisp at (601) 961-7303.

Dr. Leslie B. McLemore’s Recommended Reading List

The Souls of Black Folk

Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co.; [Cambridge]: University Press John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A., 1903; Bartleby.com, 1999.

 ISBN: 1-58734-008-9.


 The Mis-Education of the Negro

Carter Godwin Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Nego, The Associated Publisher, 1933. And Africa World Press; 1990 Africa World Press Inc ed edition (July 1, 2006)

ISBN-10: 086543171X


Before the Mayflower

Lerone Bennett, Jr. Before the Mayflower: A History of the Negro in America 1619-1966 by Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., rev. ed.1966.   

Publisher: Johnson Publishing Company (IL) (April 2003)
ISBN-10: 0874850916


From Slavery to Freedom

 John Hope Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom; Knopf, Alfred Publisher-a

ISBN-10: 0375406719



Local People

John Dittmer, Local People; University of Illinois Press, 1995

ISBN-10: 0252065077



I’ve Got the Light of Freedom

Charles Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom; University of California Press, 1997.

ISBN-10: 0520207068


 Coming of Age in Mississippi

Ann Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi; Bantam Dell- a division of Random House, Inc. New York, NY. 1968 (Moody)

Publisher: Dell (January 4, 1992)
ISBN-10: 0440314887


In struggle the Story of SNCC

Clayborne Carson, In Struggle the Story of SNCC, Harvard University Press, 1995.

Publisher: Harvard University Press (April 3, 1995)
ISBN-10: 0674447271


Where do we go from HERE:  Chaos or Community

Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community; Beacon Press; 1968.

Publisher: Beacon Press; 3rd Printing edition (1968)
ISBN-10: 0807005711


So the Heffners left Mccomb

William Hodding Carter, II, So the Heffners Left McComb; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965.


Jackson State, Spelman to Study Origins of Life on Earth

From HBCU Digest.com……..

Jackson State University and Spelman College are part of a national research team that will study the chemical and biological processes that will better explain the origins of life on Earth. Headed by the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Center for Chemical  Evolution will be funded by a $20 million grant awarded by the National Science Foundation and N.A.S.A. From NewsWise.com:

“Our research team seeks to understand how certain molecules in a complex mixture can work together to form highly ordered assemblies that exhibit chemical properties similar to those associated with biological molecules,” said Nicholas V. Hud, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Such a process was likely an essential and early stage of life, so we are also working to understand what chemicals were present on the prebiotic Earth and what processes helped these chemicals form the complex substances ultimately needed for life…”

All of the researchers will work together to accomplish the Center for Chemical Evolution’s three main research goals:
• To identify potential biological building blocks among the products of model prebiotic reactions,
• To investigate the chemical components and conditions that promote the spontaneous assembly of increasingly complex multi-component structures, and
• To prepare and characterize highly-ordered chemical assemblies, and to study their potential to function like biological substances.

Read this article at http://www.hbcudigest.com/2010/08/jackson-state-spelman-to-study-origins-of-life-on-earth/