JACKSON, MS – The Division I Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) has selected Ashley Robinson, vice president and director of athletics at Jackson State University (JSU), to serve as President for the 2020-21 membership year.

Robinson is the first African American to serve as FCS ADA President. He takes over for Kent Haslam, director of athletics at the University of Montana, who served for the 19-20 year and will transition to Immediate Past President. In addition to Robinson, the following athletics directors will serve as FCS ADA Officers for the 2020-21 membership year: 1st Vice President Nicki Moore, director of athletics at Colgate University; 2nd Vice President Tom Michael, director of athletics at Eastern Illinois University and 3rd Vice President Milton Overton, director of athletics at Kennesaw State University.

“It’s an honor to serve as the President of the FCS ADA for the upcoming year,” said Robinson, who begins his second year at the helm at JSU. “Our highest priorities remain giving voice to our membership while supporting both the incredible sport of football and the FCS brand. We are dedicated to building upon the outstanding work of the FCS ADA and ensuring our student-athletes have the first-class academic and athletics experiences they so deserve.”

Robinson is a Mississippi Valley State University graduate. As a four-year letterman in basketbal at MVSU where he is the single-season and career record-holder in assists after playing point guard for the Delta Devils. An MVSU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee in 2011, Robinson also was named MVSU Athlete of the Year in 2002, receiving the President’s Scholar Award in that same year. He served as the Athletic Director for MVSU during the 2012-13 academic year.

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About the FCS ADA

Now in its 27 year, the Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association’s mission is to enhance Football Championship Subdivision football. For more information on the FCS ADA, please visit www.fcsada.com. The FCS ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 56th year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.

MEMPHIS, TN – The 31st Southern Heritage Classic (SHC) has announced its cancellation of events due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to cancel all events was made after SHC’s management reviewed a copy of the Shelby County Health Department’s Health Directive No. 6 detailing emergency management relief efforts put in place to address COVID-19, specifically those regarding recreational or athletic activities. On average, over 75,000 people attend the SHC annually and individual events such as the tailgate in Tiger Lane, the football game between Jackson State University and Tennessee State University, the parade in Orange Mound, and others draw massive crowds which have the potential to increase the spread of the novel coronavirus. After careful consideration, all Southern Heritage Classic events that were scheduled for September 10-12, 2020 will no longer be held. Those who have purchased tickets for the football game can receive refunds at the point of purchase.

“I know this is a great disappointment to many who consider the SHC as one of the major highlights of the year. The health and safety of our attendees along with that of our staff, sponsors, and others is a top priority. I encourage everyone to keep practicing recommended safety and social distancing measures so that we can return to our social activities as soon as possible,” said Fred Jones, Founder of the Southern Heritage Classic.

SHC is grateful for Jackson State University, Tennessee State University, the fans, sponsors, and the SHC ambassadors, who have supported the classic throughout the years, and looks forward to your continued support. This isn’t the first challenge faced by SHC, and will overcome this one as have the others.

For more information, contact the Southern Heritage Classic Headquarters at 901-398-6655, 1-800-332-1991, or smc@smcentertainment.net.

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JACKSON, MS – ValueColleges.com has named Jackson State University one of the best online colleges in Mississippi for 2020, according to the University.

Offering five online bachelor degree programs – criminal justice, childcare and family education, healthcare administration, technology (emergency management technology) and professional interdisciplinary studies, JSU’s online program is designed to accommodate non-traditional students. JSU touts itself as being committed to making education accessibility to all.

The rankings are based on cost, reputability, and return on investment. According to the rankings website, their goal is to help college-bound individuals choose an institution that fits their academic needs.

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About Jackson State University

A Historically Black Carnegie Doctoral/Research Intensive public institution of higher learning located in the metropolitan area of Jackson, Mississippi, Jackson State University educates a diverse student population from Mississippi, most other states and many foreign countries by providing a broad range of baccalaureate programs and a variety of masters and doctoral programs in its six Colleges: Business; Education and Human Development; Liberal Arts; Lifelong Learning; Public Service; and Science, Engineering and Technology. The learning process at Jackson State is enhance through experiential learning in urban and rural areas throughout the city, state, nation, and global communities. Jackson State is a learning community for highly capable, as well as capable but under prepared students who require a nurturing academic environment.

For more information about Jackson State University, visit www.jsums.edu.

The campus of Jackson State University. Photo by Demetrius Johnson, Jr.

JACKSON, MS – Jackson State University’s out-of-state fees will be “significantly reduced” to $500 per semester starting in fall 2019 after approval from the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL).

Associate Vice President and Dean of Enrollment Management Warren B. Johnson said JSU’s flat fee amounts to $1,000 per year. Previously, the out-of-state fee was $11,228 per year, and then students had to apply for a possible fee wavier.

Johnson said, “Because there is a flat fee, our out of state students will be charged $500 per semester. There is no application or wavier process anymore. The reduced amount will be automatically address for all out-of-state incoming and returning students – grads and undergrads – beginning in fall 2019.”

Other officials at JSU say admitted out-of-state students will now be able to persist through graduation, with the goal that many of those graduate will reside in Mississippi to help boost economic and workforce development initiatives by filling professional jobs.

Meanwhile, JSU hopes the new fee will help mitigate financial issues with affordability by reducing financial impediments and help the institution retain more students.

JSU students who enroll in summer classes in May and June will not receive the reduced fee since the new change won’t take effect until fall 2019.

In addition, the reduced fee does not apply to JSU Online program participants, since they are not charged the out-of-state fee.

About Jackson State University

A Historically Black Carnegie Doctoral/Research Intensive public institution of higher learning located in the metropolitan area of Jackson, Mississippi, Jackson State University educates a diverse student population from Mississippi, most other states and many foreign countries by providing a broad range of baccalaureate programs and a variety of masters and doctoral programs in its six Colleges: Business; Education and Human Development; Liberal Arts; Lifelong Learning; Public Service; and Science, Engineering and Technology. The learning process at Jackson State is enhance through experiential learning in urban and rural areas throughout the city, state, nation, and global communities. Jackson State is a learning community for highly capable, as well as capable but under prepared students who require a nurturing academic environment.

For more information about Jackson State University, visit www.jsums.edu.

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MEMPHIS, TN – Tickets for the 30th Annual Southern Heritage Classic presented by FedEx football game go on sale this Friday, February 1st. The highly-anticipated game between the long-time rivals Tennessee State University and Jackson State University will take place on Saturday, September 14th at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. Fans are encouraged to get their tickets early. The prices are $53, $38, and $23 plus service charges. They can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or charged by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

The Classic30 activities will take place September 11-14. The festivities include the vents fans know and love such as the Classic Tailgate, Classic Parade, and the Classic Fashions and Brunch along with a few extras that will be announced at a later date. According to SHC Founder, Fred Jones Jr., it will be a time to remember.

“For an event like the Southern Heritage Classic to exist 30 years is a blessing. As always, the Classic Football Game is at the center of it all. That’s why we are putting those tickets on sale first,” said Jones. “I am grateful for 30 years of support from our dedicated fans and sponsors. Everyone is invited to come enjoy another fun-filled Southern Heritage Classic.”

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About the Southern Heritage Classic

The Southern Heritage Classic, founded in 1990 by Fred Jones Jr., brings fans from across the U.S. to watch football rivals Jackson State University and Tennessee State University play every September at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis. The greatness of the Classic rests on how it connects kindred spirits – young and old – in celebration of the beauty of cultural diversity and the richness of the city’s heritage. For tickets and more information, visit www.southernheritagelcassic.com.

Providing research on the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in its today’s role in higher education and various research methods addressing student retention rates, success levels, and engagement.

IGI Global announced the release of “Examining Student Retention and Engagement Strategies at Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” edited by Samuel L. Hinton, Ed. D., an independent researcher and South Carolina State University graduate, and Antwon D. Woods, Ph. D., Department Chairman & Assistant Professor of Sports Management at Belhaven University and Jackson State University graduate.

While highlighting topics such as enrollment management, student engagement, and online learning, this publication explores successful engagement strategies that promote education quality and equality as well as the methods of social integration and involvement for students, according to an article by The Times & Democrat.

This book is designed for researchers, academicians, scholars, educational administrators, policy makers, graduate students, and curriculum designers.

The book is available on the IGI Global Bookstore or Amazon.

Dr. Annie Rene Harris Slaughter is a JSU alum and Yazoo County native who now lives in Atlanta. She wants to make sure every student has an opportunity to succeed. Her endowment aims to help undergraduates with college expenses.

JACKSON, MS – Dr. Annie Rene Harris Slaughter earned three degrees from Jackson State University, and now she established a $100,000 endowment in memory of her mother – also an alum – to help undergraduates pursue their academic dreams at their alma mater. Funds will be matched by Title III, according to a press released by the university.

Harris Slaughter, a native of Yazoo County, currently resides in Atlanta. She said Rosetta Tolbert Harris Endowed Scholarships would help defray expenses for eligible candidates. Funds will pay for tuition, textbooks, supplies and other fees included in the cost of education.

“My mother started teaching around 1928. She liked school a lot. She felt that you should have a college education even if you don’t use it for anything but to fall back on. She was particularly concerned about children who lived in rural areas, where she chose to teach,” said Harris Slaughter, who recalled a doctor’s attempted to persuade her grandmother to keep her daughter (Harris Slaughter’s mother) from going back to school.

“He told my grandmother that going to school was the reason my mother head kept hurting,” said Harris Slaughter. “But my mother preserved.” Her grandmother would eventually support her daughter’s decision to go back to school.

Harris Slaughter earned her bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree from JSU and her doctorate from Indiana University in elementary and early childhood education. She was a longtime elementary teacher in Jackson and taught briefly at IU, Kentucky State and Western Kentucky University. She retired from Atlanta Public School in 2004. She said the endowment is a fitting tribute because her mother “loved helping children and parents in rural areas that other neglected. She was “no nonsense,” but some of her students were household names because her mother spoke about them so often.

Early on, Harris Slaughter described JSU as the “best state school in Mississippi.” She said, “JSU laid the foundation for everything that I w as to become.” She added, “At this point in my life, I want to assist some high school graduates who would not otherwise consider college an an option. I want to make sure young people have an opportunity.”

Also, she said, “When they become actively involved in campus life they will be more apt to go out in the world and become leaders.”

She said her life can be summed up in the words of a song by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson: “If I can help somebody… my living shall not be in vain.”

To be eligible, scholarship candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an undergraduate student attending Jackson State University
  • Reside in a residence hall on campus
  • Participate in one or more campus-life organizations
  • Maintain a 2.00 GPA or above
  • Be an African-American first-generation college student
  • Be a resident of Yazoo County in Mississippi (priority will be given to students who attended Linwood Elementary School)

Harris Slaughter’s desire now is to see more people support JSU through endowments and scholarships – especially since many African-American leaders graduated from HBCUs.

“People don’t need a handout as much as they need a hand-up,” she said.

JACKSON, MS – During Jackson State University’s homecoming pre-game show, the National Alumni Association publicly launch the Millions of Eyes on Excellence Fundraising Campaign with the anticipation of raising $5 million within two years.

Jackson State President William B. Bynum, Jr. challenged the alumni to raise $5 million after they collaboratively raised $1 million by June 30, 2019, for the Millions of Eyes on Excellence Fundraising Campaign, according to a press release by the university.

“The Millions of Eyes on Excellence Fundraising Campaign is an excellence opportunity for the JSUNAA and Institutional Advancement to work collaboratively to raise the bar on alumni giving,” said Gwen Caples, assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs.

The co-chair of the campaign further explained that the alumni participate rate (APR) is often used by corporations and foundations to determine the amount of financial support to give to a college or university. This average APR for HBCUs is 11.2 percent.

“Currently, our APR is 3.8 percent. Our goal is to reach 10 percent in alumni giving by June 30, 2019. We can accomplish this by making monthly contributions to JSU,” she said. “In this way, we will display consistency and loyalty in giving and demonstrate to corporate American that JSU alumni are unequivocally vested in the future of Jackson State University.”

In working with alumni nationwide, the JSUNAA plans to raise $2.5 million annually over the next two years to reach the $5 million goal by 2020. Through collaborative efforts, JSUNAA and Institutional Advancement are asking all alumni to give $10.40 monthly or $125 or more by June 30, 2019, and repeat the financial commitment during the next fiscal year.

Tarita Benson-Davis, first vice president for JSUNAA, Inc. and campaign co-chair, said, “It’s really important for our alumni to give to THEE institution that has given so much to us. As first vice president of JSUNAA, it it my hope that all alumni value the importance of investing in the future of JSU by donating to the Millions of Eyes on Excellence Fundraising Campaign.”

Funds raised from the campaign will support student scholarships that will benefit priorities such as athletics, the excellence or gap fund, the Sonic Boom, etc. Each donor will have the option to specifically designate their gift to a JSU college or department, student fund, annual or endowed scholarship or academic program.

Benson-Davis explained that donating to JSU helps to give back to the next generation of students. The money often goes to new scholarships and to help fund new programs.

“It is wonderful to think that donating can have a lasting impact on future generations long into the future. If we don’t take care of our university and future generation, who will?” she said.

To make a donation to the Millions of Eyes on Excellence Fundraising Campaign, visit www.jsums.edu/giveonline.

Checks should be made payable to the JSU Development Foundation, P.O. Box 17144, Jackson, MS 39217. Please note “Millions of Eyes on Excellence” on the memo line.

JACKSON, MS – Jackson State University, a historically black university, located in Jackson, Mississippi is among four Mississippi universities where a $20 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation will spur creative discovery and economic opportunities through Mississippi’s research universities.

According to a new release by the University, the state of Mississippi will establish the Center for Emergent Molecular Optoelectronices, an inter-disciplinary, multi-institution materials research program. Mississippi State University (MSU) will serve as the project’s administrative lead, and the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) will serve as the science lead. Along with MSU and USM, Jackson State University (JSU) and the University of Mississippi (UM) will be a part of the new center, which will facilitate the development of research capabilities and educational opportunities in the growing optoelectronic, energy and biotechnology research field.

The NSF grant comes through the organization’s EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) program, which enhances the research competitiveness of states and jurisdictions by strengthening STEM capacity and capability.

“This initiative will be a tremendous benefit to the people of Mississippi and to our research universities,” said Mark E. Keenum, MSU President. “Increasing our university research capabilities makes our state and our institution more competitive, increases educational opportunities and keeps us at forefront of emerging technologies. This new center and its focus on organic semiconductors will make existing Mississippi industries more competitive and help the state attract new companies. I am proud that MSU is playing a lead role in this endeavor.”

MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw is the principal investigator and project director for the grant. Sarah Morgan of USM is the science director. Co-principal investigators include Jason Azoulay from USM, Jared Delcamp from UM and Glake Hill from JSU.

“I am so pleased that the National Science Foundation selected our faculty as the science lead for this important project,” said Rodney D. Bennett, University of Southern Mississippi President. “With USM’s Center for Optoelectronic Materials and Devices serving as the mission center for this grant, our internationally-renowned polymer science and engineering experts look forward to partnering with Mississippi’s other research institutions as they examine far more complicated processes than ever before. I am confident their work will impact our communities positively for many years to come.”

The Center for Emergent Molecular Optoelectronics will develop new, unified research methodologies an organic semiconductors, an area that is vital to the advancement of diverse areas such as technology, electronics and biomedicine. To facilitate the research, the center will establish state-of-the-art research instrumentation for common use across the state and support collaborative research among institutions. The new scientific infrastructure will fill a void for the state and facilitate advanced basic and applied research.

“The University of Mississippi is pleased to be a member of this dynamic, multi-institutional team for the Center of Emergent Molecular Optoelectronics and help develop pivotal research capabilities that will be benefit Mississippi, our nation and the world,” said Jeffrey S. Vitter, UM Chancellor. “This initiative will bolster collaborative research efforts and continue pioneering STEM workforce development, which is critical for attracting high tech industry to the state.”

New optoelectronic functionality developed by center research will support the basic knowledge necessary to bring new technologies to reality, resulting in new intellectual property and potential job creation.

“Jackson State University is elated to be a partner of this groundbreaking venture for the state of Mississippi and Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Dr. William B. Bynum Jr., president of Jackson State. “It is my hope that we continue to expand on these opportunities to spur economic growth for Mississippi and enhance opportunities for our students.”

The new center will benefit from connections to national laboratories, NSF Top 100 research universities, state development officials and representatives from industry. The grant will also fund K-14 outreach efforts aimed at creating a stronger, more diverse pipeline of STEM students.

“The grant from the National Science Foundation demonstrates the incredible capabilities housed within our research universities,” said Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., Commissioner of Higher Education. “Working together, these capabilities are amplified. The research conduced through this grant will put Mississippi on the forefront of emerging technologies.”

MEMPHIS, TN – After more than three hours of lightning delays in Memphis at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, the Southern Heritage Classic football game between Tennessee State and Jackson State was canceled.

“We went through all the options and checked both of the schedules, and there was no other way to play this game,” said Fred Jones, founder of the Southern Heritage Classic. “The next game between Jackson State and Tennessee State will be in 2019. It’s a very unfortunate situation, and everybody wrestled with the decision.”

According to the Commercial Appeal, Jones and the presidents of both Jackson State and Tennessee State looked into rescheduling the game for Sunday, but the forecast is equally as ominous. The idea of playing the game further down the line was also proposed, but the schedules were too conflicting.

The Southern Heritage Classic released a statement from the founder Fred Jones Jr., which stated the following:

“As you know, inclement weather, which included lightning, caused us to cancel last night’s Southern Heritage Classic football game between Jackson State University and Tennessee State University. The game was initially delayed several hours in hopes that the weather would improve and the teams could play. Unfortunately, that did not happen. This is not only a huge disappointment to the fans but to myself and the Classic staff, both universities, and the many Classic ambassadors (volunteers) who work hard to organize it each year. In our 29 years of hosting the classic, this is the first year the game was not played. Many people still have questions, and we have provided some information that we hope will answer the most pressing ones.

  • The game will not be rescheduled. Conflicting schedules for Jackson State and Tennessee State’s football teams prevent being able to play in 2018
  • Ticket holders who would like a refund can receive it at their point of purchase
  • The next football game between Jackson State and Tennessee State will be played during the 30th Annual Southern Heritage Classic. We are planning an exciting 5-day celebration that we know the fans will enjoy

We thank everyone who has supported the Southern Heritage Classic throughout the years. Each person is an invaluable part of what has become a time-honored tradition, and we look forward to having that support for many years to come.”

Though Jones stated that fans can receive a refund of their tickets for the game. President Glover and Bynum, however, suggested that ticket holders will use their refund to make financial contributions to the universities instead.

“The discussion is that individuals would recommend that their refund is used to go to Tennessee State or Jackson State universities – two historically black colleges – because HBCUs are in need of financial support,” said Dr. Glenda Glover, President of Tennessee State University. “This would be one way to assist two prominent HBCUs.”

A photo of fans patiently waiting in hopes that the weather clears up to witness another year of HBCU football at the Southern Heritage Classic – Jackson State vs. Tennessee State at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, TN. Photo courtesy of the Southern Heritage Classic.

The NCAA mandates that after each lightning strike at a certain distance, the game must be delayed for 30 minutes. The Jackson State band and the rest of the fans were asked around 5:15 p.m. The storms in the area prevented anyone from returning to their seats the rest of the night.

The game was officially canceled as of 9:30 p.m. Saturday night.

Despite the rain, Classic fans had an amazing time as usual at the tailgate — which is one of the biggest among an HBCU classics. The Classic celebrates historically black universities as well as the Memphis culture. The Classic parade is held in Orange Mound, which is the first residential community for African-American’s in the South. Along with the parade, the Classic with the City of  Memphis Youth Services presents a College and Career Fair which brings representatives from various corporations, colleges and organizations in providing career and college readiness to the youth in the city.

REFUND INFORMATION

Ticket holder’s who wish to receive a refund, can bring their tickets to their point of purchase. Refund information is listed below for each location.

TICKETMASTER

Refunds will be issued beginning Monday, September 10th. For more information, visit www.ticketmaster.com or call 1-800-725-3000.

LIBERTY BOWL MEMORIAL STADIUM

Refunds will be issued at the stadium box office Tuesday, September 11th – Thursday, September 13th from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. CST. Those who cannot return to the box office, must mail their tickets to the following address to received a refund:

Pat Agnew
c/o Southern Heritage Classic
4466 Elvis Presley Blvd., Ste. 248
Memphis, TN 38116

For more information, contact the Southern Heritage Classic at 901-398-6655 or 1-800-332-1991.

JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY TICKET OFFICE

Refunds will be issued beginning Tuesday, September 11th. For more information, contact the Jackson State University Ticket Office at 601-979-2420.

TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY TICKET OFFICE

Refunds will be issued beginning Tuesday, September 11th. For more information, contact the Tennessee State University Ticket Office at 615-963-5841.

Save the date for the 30th Annual Southern Heritage Classic September 11-15.

For more information, visit the Southern Heritage Classic website at www.southernheritageclassic.com.