Jacksonville University, Northeast Florida’s oldest private masters university, celebrates 80 years on Wednesday with a host of events, including a look at its new River House entertainment/meeting complex and a Global Toast in honor of its Charter Day.
On April 16, 1934, Jacksonville University, originally known as William J. Porter University, signed its charter. In those early days, students were schooled in practices of law, arts and sciences, literature, language and commerce.
In a sign of progress and new amenities designed for JU’s growth, Wednesday’s daylong celebration will be highlighted by the dedication of the newly refurbished River House, a major investment for students, faculty, staff and the JU community. In addition, local alumni and those across the country and around the world will host a series of “Global Toasts” celebrating JU’s 80th birthday.
JU’s on-site Global Toast is at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday at the River House on campus, while alumni from nearly two dozen outposts ranging from Austin, Texas, to Stockholm, Sweden, will hoist their glasses during the day as well, many during Happy Hour in their parts of the world.
The founders’ original charter envisioned “the study of the principles and practices of law,” as well as four degrees: bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of science in commerce, and bachelor of laws, according to “Our Place in the Sun” by JU historian George Hallam. Plans were scaled back to a two-year program as a junior college, and the school began its second year as Jacksonville Junior College. It received initial accreditation as a four-year university in 1961.
Those taking part in the festivities and the Global Toast are encouraged to take photos of their toasts and use hashtag #JUCHARTERDAY or #JUTOAST when posting to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, in order to get their picture in a future collage of the 2014 JU Global Toast.