Our History


Jackson State University has a distinguished history, rich in the tradition of educating young men and women for leadership, having undergone seven name changes as it grew and developed. Founded as Natchez Seminary in 1877 by the American Baptist Home mission Society, the school was established as Natchez, Mississippi for the moral, religious and intellectual improvement of Christian leaders of the colored people of Mississippi and the neighboring states.

In November 1882, the school was moved to Jackson; in March 1899, the curriculum was expanded and the name was changed to Jackson College. The state assumed support of the college in 1940, assigning to it the mission of training teachers. Subsequently, between 1953 and 1956, the curriculum was expanded to include a graduate program and bachelor's programs in the arts and sciences; the name was then changed to Jackson State College in 1956.

Further expansion of the curriculum and a notable building program preceded the elevation of Jackson State College to university status on March 15, 1974. In 1979, Jackson State was officially designated the Urban University of the State of Mississippi. Presently, Jackson State University, a public, coeducational institution, is supported by legislative appropriations supplemented by student fees and federal and private grants.

The National Center for Biodefense Communications ("NCBC") is a strategic initiative to: 1) apply Internet-based technologies for the early detection of significant human and animal health events, 2) issue authorized, secure, non-public alerts and notifications to appropriate policymaker, healthcare and first-responder recipients; and 3) conduct basic and applied research related to Biodefense and disaster preparedness, education, skills training and risk communications for diverse populations in rural America.

With FY03 U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") funding approved by Congress, the NCBC has been organized as a strategic initiative of Jackson State University in cooperation with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Science & Engineering Alliance ("SEA"), and the National Sheriff's Association Pegasus Program. This Briefing Paper outlines NCBCs request for FY05 USDA continuation and expansion funding.