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


32 thoughts on “Interim President Leslie Burl McLemore introduces new University motto

  1. Best you should edit the blog name title Interim President Leslie Burl McLemore introduces new University motto to more generic for your content you write. I liked the the writing even sononetheless.

  2. Someone should ask how much cost this will create, changing a motto early in the fall of a new school year? All materials created for the year have to be redone and for what… so it can maybe be changed again when the next person gets in office… seems like a substantial waste of money we don’t have…

  3. I’m a VERY PROUD alumni of JSU… I believe I wouldn’t have some of the opportunities I have in life if it wasn’t for MY university. HOWEVER, I DON’T like the new motto… Challenging Minds and Changing Lives is what Jstate does and I believe it should STAY as the motto… Besides you are not the official president and you shouldn’t make extreme changes like that…

  4. Neutral on the actual new motto, though I think the previous one was okay. But I think it would have been better to have left such a change, if it were to be made at all, to the new president.

    Having said that, I wish Dr. McLemore luck as a candidate for JSU’s highest position. I was disappointed 10 years ago when Interim President Dr. Bettye Ward Fletcher was passed over in favor of Dr. Mason.

    • They know and everyone should be aware – when a person takes on the role of an interim IEO, that their position is temporary! They can not be considered for the permanent position.

      Pursuant to Policy No. 201.0609 of the MIHL Bylaws – An individual currently serving as the interim Institutional Executive Officer (IEO)
      at a university shall not be considered as a candidate for the permanent IEO position for which he/she serves as interim at the same university. However, an individual currently serving as interim IEO may apply and be considered for a permanent IEO position at a different university. This policy does not prohibit an individual who has completed service as an interim IEO from being considered as a candidate for any IEO positions that subsequently become available at the same university.

  5. Jackson Public Schools motto is Building Tomorrow Today! Sound familiar? We are not an elementary school nor or we a high school. It’s true (and very elementary) that we are the link or to a brighter and better future, but that is because we are an institution committed to challenging minds and changing lives every single day! That’s what we do! Isn’t that what we want folks to know about your institution, your real purpose? Sure we are a bridge, but so is every other college and so is every elementary or secondary school, for that matter. But what does it say about who we really are? Nothing! We are an institution dedicated to challenging minds and changing lives. In a National poll, JSU is the only Mississippi University listed in the Top 50 Colleges and University. That is because of what we do! We are the highest producer of doctoral degrees in the state and amongst all HBCUs. Why is that?, Because we are a bridge? No, I don’t think so. Please change all things necessary. Stop trying to fix, what’s not broken.

  6. Jackson State University is a growing institution that needs great leadership. Yes, there are many problems, as with any university but let us be mindful that Dr. McLemore is only a temporary president and probably want to make his mark. The campus is beautiful and the vast majority of the people working on campus, want the school to excel.

  7. I am not a fan of the new Jackson State motto at all. “Challenging Minds, Changing Lives” is something that has made me a proud Jacksonian. The new motto is visionary, however it is lacking.

    The new motto would be great for a non-profit organization with various supportive services, but NOT for a institution of higher learning. Challenging Minds is the input of JSU and the work of its students…Changing Lives is the output of the mission and core values of the institution. If the motto must change, please consider something stronger with prestige and consider student/alumni input.

    Class of 2006
    BSW Program

    • I must agree. I do not care for the “new” motto at all. Someone stated earlier that it sounded like a middle school program theme. This is an institution of higher learning and at Jackson State University we are –“Challenging Minds and Changing Lives” through higher learning. I have to say that as the Interim President, you must put your energy into something that will make a positive impact. Instead of changes things that need not change. . .

  8. Interim President McClemore,

    I totally agree with the new motto. The one thing I wish you would do is please free up some of the parking for faculty and put them in one lot and let them be shuttled to their destination. I have been late for class several times already just trying to find a place to park. Parking is absolutely ridiculous. PLEASE DO SOMETHING!!!!!

  9. All of you that diassagree with the new motto need to see where Dr. Mclemore is trying to take JSU which is to a greater destiny. We had someone who called himself Dr. without a doctoral degree which shows his intelligents and how he lie. Don’t disagree with a motto when Dr. Liddell came in and change the Sonic Boom. The new interim ,who is from Alcorn, is no better. They sucked when they played at the Tiger Bash. Dr. Mclemore has and is doing a great job. Get rid of that band director exspecially since they want to get rid of the swing and sway and other things that made the BOOM what it was during Dowell Taylor and Harold Haught era.

    • Dr. Mason has a J.D. degree. He does have the right to be called Doctor Mason. Traditionally, lawyers do not use the title here in America. If you are college trained you would have know that. Now, what about the Sonic Boom?

  10. I would suggest that you focus on cleaning up J-State of some of those “lazy parasites” that is drawing a paycheck, conducting classes when they feel like it and diminishing the hopes of so many bright students. I love Jackson State, but it hurts me when recent graduates and seniors come in for job interviews and cannot articulate nor write what it is they need to say. Leave the motto alone and get on with rewarding those positive professors who are doing their jobs, ( we have many) and evaluating those that are not.

  11. I believe that the new motto for our school is terrible. As previous comments stated it does sound old and somewhat cliche. You should stick to Challenging Minds, and Changing Lives and stop trying to have a “Lean On Me” type of approach to your new leadership.

  12. Not a fan of the new motto. It seems really dated and old, much like a motto from 20 years ago. I understand that you want to make your imprint on JSU, but I don’t think you can do it by trying to distinguish yourself from the legacy of Dr. Mason, just does not fly. JSU has operated under the motto of Challenging Minds, Changing Lives for more than 8 years, it works, it visonary and it sticks. Please don’t try to fix something that is not broken. JSU is too advanced to have such an “old” motto. Frankly, I don’t think of JSU as a BRIDGE!! Maybe that is where we were 20 years ago, but we are more than a BRIDGE and I think the motto should reflect that.

    • I totally agree with Anonymous!! The motto, just like other changes you’ve made was NOT broken when you arrived – everything was in working order. Dr. Mason left JSU in good shape, academically and fiscally. Now I worry that the entire University will have to endure the burden of your costly and unnecessary changes.

  13. I’m not trying to be real dramatic but, I love ” Challenging minds, Changing lives!” I’m proud that was/ my school’s motto! The new one seems real generic.. like some corporation’s motto, I hate it! I’m sad.. literally lol! Challenging minds will always be my motto!

  14. I don’t like the new motto. I do not think you should be changing something as substantial as the motto because you are the Interim. There are numerous things you could do to help JSU, motivate the alumni to give, make the faculty adn staff come to work, get the students to be responsible for themsleves and their destiny. There are some things that should be done with input from various groups and your change was done through dictatorship. Best to you and I LOVE JSU!

  15. I know many people are optimistic about change and I agree that the new motto is great but the old one is better. It’s what we’re known for. Is it really fair to just suddenly change a motto that has been working great for so many years?…I say NO!

  16. President McLemore,

    Great Job! I’ve had several persons to walk up to me and state that the new fresh environment around JSU inspires them to work harder. Personally, your approachable personality and fun driven leadership really motivates me.

  17. Don’t like the new motto. Liked “Challenging Minds, Changing Lives” better because it was true for me! This new motto sounds like it could be a motto for a middle school program or something.

  18. Thanks for the thought, Dr. McLemore, it’s admirable. However, for me, “You shall know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall make you free” still rings truer and better. ‘Challenging minds’ from the previous president had a shallow ring because he didn’t bring anything substantive and of value that could challenge what we already had from Dr. Dansby and Dr. peoples. Plus, the previous president was too arrogant to serve the people he was supposed to lead.

    A motto change coming from you, an interim, s admirable, however, will it stick? All I know is that the bridge to the future for Jackson State must bring forward what we have from our rightful past as an institution that served.

  19. President McLemore,
    It was a pleasure to meet you yesterday at the Alumni Conference. I admire you because you had no issue listening to my concerns regarding my university.
    I love the new motto because college is truly a bridge with a brighter tomorrow. The climb seems impossible but the light is what keeps the vision in plain sight.
    The new motto reminds me of the one and only Dr. Loria Brown who says, “the choices you make today affects the choices you will have tomorrow”.
    Again, it was a pleasure to meet you and I look forward to crossing this bridge holding hands with our new president!

  20. Greetings Dr. McLemore!

    I thank you for your service and contributions to JSU.
    I am impressed and pleased with your leadership thus far. Aside from this, I will be very brief and candid. I don’t like the “new” university motto.
    I trust that the motto has not been printed in bulk and circulated.
    I hope that this is only an “interim” effort. I trust that the soon to be university president elect,
    the JSU Alumni Executive Board and other key individuals including the SGA will provide
    sound input for a “motto” that is fully embraced. Again, I don’t like the new motto. And, if I don’t
    like the motto, a multitude shares the same opinion, take and thought. Lastly, I am thankful
    for the opportunity to share my position.

    Alesha K. Russey
    JSU Alumni Life Member
    Chicago Alumni Chapter

  21. Dr. McLemore great motto, I always admire you from time I first thought you were Dr. Peoples. I enjoy when spoke so great about Fannie Lou Hamer. In fact one first projects I help my son do was on Fannie Lou Hamer. I am tired of being sick and tired.

    Bridge to a brighter future.

  22. The IHL needs to keep you in as the president. You have JSU’s best interest in mind and the alumni and fans will love you for it.

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