Atlanta, Georgia is home to Jackson State University’s largest Alumni Chapter outside of the Jackson metropolitan area. The leaders and members of the Atlanta Chapter enthusiastically greeted the College of Public Service Dean, Dr. Ricardo Brown and Development Officer, Mr. Charles King on the evening of June 11, 2014. The group was lead by local chapter President, Mr. Dominic Jefferson as well as JSU National Alumni Association (JSUNAA) President-Elect Ms. Yolanda Owens. Dean Brown was in Atlanta for an international meeting on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) sponsored by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention.
The Atlanta chapter prides itself on its ability to attract and recruit students to the JSU campus. Each summer they sponsor a group of prospective students to visit the campus as they are making their decision on which university to attend. The Atlanta alums also expressed great interests in seeing more of the university staff and faculty visiting alumni in the Central Georgia area. According to one member, visits such as the one Dean Brown and Mr. King made to Atlanta demonstrates that the university is willing to reach out to alumni and assist with recruitment and enabling open communications and transparency.
The meeting in “Hot-Lanta”, as many referred to it, was at a restaurant in the trendy Atlantic Station area. Dean Brown encouraged them to use their positions and responsibilities as an opportunity to open doors for internships, future employees, and business collaborators. He continued by referencing some of the advancements the university has and continues to make to better serve current students, future students and alumni. Chief among the forward steps are the investments in students success, the Madison campus expansion and increased on-line program offerings. Dr. Brown took pleasure in sharing the planned development of an accredited School of Public Health, which will be the first of its kind in Mississippi and among all other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Mr. King shared with the audience the structure of the JSU Foundation and Office of Development. He commented that each college has an assigned Gifts Officer which allows alumni to build a closer, more personal relationship with someone that can help plan and execute a healthy plan of giving back to the university. King went on to thank those who were current donors and identified many ways that one can become a donor and or increase their current level of support. The group in turn committed to more local fundraising while becoming greater supporters of the university’s endowment. They were excited to know that current gifts to the endowment have the opportunity to be matched with Federal Title III funds. The match has a life span, so any gifts to the endowment should be made as soon as possible to increase the likelihood of a match.
The evening can best be summed up by Alumni Deborah Taylor, a Luxury Homes Realtor, who simply said, “I just love Jackson State University and all it has afforded me”.