Highlights from the Past Year

April 28, 2014

To the JU Community,

It is an honor to invite you to our Spring 2014 Commencement this Saturday, May 3, after a remarkable year of progress for our University.

The celebration, in this, our 80th year, will take place at 9:30 a.m. on our beautiful Science Green. Our highest compliments and congratulations go out to our graduates, their families and our faculty. We are pleased that 11-time Emmy Award-winning journalist Armen Keteyian of Showtime's "60 Minutes Sports" and CBS News' "60 Minutes" will be our keynote speaker.

We’ve made tremendous strides and improvements this year, thanks to all of you, working together to create the best learning experience possible for our students.

Just a few highlights include:

  • Educating The Largest Student Body In Our History (Now More Than 4,200);
  • A Significant Rise In The Average GPA And College Test Scores Of Students Seeking Entry To JU;
  • A successful 10-year re-accreditation of JU from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS);
  • An exciting Charter Day celebration of our 80th anniversary, featuring dedication of the newly renovated River House campus gathering spot and a "Global Toast" shared by hundreds of alumni worldwide;
  • Our Top 1% Rank Among All Florida Colleges For “Return On Investment” For Our Graduates;
  • Near-Completion Of The New College Of Health Sciences Building, On-Schedule For August 2014;
  • An outstanding No. 14 global ranking for our MBA program, earning a Tier One spot in CEO Magazine’s prestigious listing of “value”;
  • More Than $1.2 Million In Research Grants Awarded To The JU College Of Health Sciences, With Much Of It To Help Veterans In Our Nursing Program;
  • Dedication Of A New State-Of-The-Art Floating Classroom At The JU Marine Science Research Institute;
  • Our 10th Straight Appearance As One Of “America’s Best Colleges”;
  • National recognition for JU for becoming the first Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation partner school in the U.S. to offer scholarships to family members of deceased veterans;
  • SACS and AACSB accreditation of the new JU Doctorate in Business Administration, the first DBA in the region;
  • Accreditation for JU’s Speech-Language Pathology master's program to enroll students for fall 2014;
  • Nearly 60 Extraordinary Performances During Our College Of Fine Arts Season This Year;
  • The hirings of Tony Jasick, Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year, as our new Men’s Basketball coach; Julie Darty, former Associate Head Coach of 30-game winner South Carolina and an American Volleyball Coaches Association "Thirty Under 30" rising star, as Volleyball Coach; and Mauricio Ruiz, former Associate Head Coach of nationally ranked soccer powerhouse UCF, as Men’s Soccer Coach;
  • A Completely Overhauled Riverview Café And New Chick-Fil-A On Campus, Plus A New Dining Deck Underway At The Riverview Café, Overlooking An Upgraded Sessions Baseball Stadium;
  • Work Soon To Start On An Expanded Football/Lacrosse Stadium;
  • A Record Number Of Honors Students – More Than 40 – Accepted To Present Their Research Work At Regional And National Conferences, Including, Among Others, The Annual National Conference On Undergraduate Research And The Florida Collegiate Honors Conference;
  • Tremendous Progress On Our ASPIRE Comprehensive Campaign, With More Than $56 Million Raised Toward An Increased Fund Goal Of $120 Million To Meet Expanded Priorities;
  • Dedication Of The Student Veterans Of America (SVA) Study Center In The Founders Building;
  • Our SVA Chapter Being Named December "National Chapter Of The Month";
  • A bold move downtown by the JU Davis College of Business as it establishes a strong presence at the CoWork Jax incubator;
  • Beautification Upgrades To Our Historic Swisher Gymnasium;
  • The JU Public Policy Institute Hosting The Region’s Premier Healthcare Policy Conference, Along With Summits And Top Speakers On Education, The U.S. Debt, Alternative Fuels And More;
  • National Media Attention For Our Top-Scoring Women’s Lacrosse Team, Which Also Has The Nation’s Second-Highest GPA; And
  • Six Conference Titles In 2013-14, The Most Ever In A Single Academic Year: Women’s Lacrosse (Regular Season), Women’s Soccer (Tournament), Volleyball (Regular Season And Tournament), Women’s Indoor Track And Women’s Rowing.

These developments highlight a renaissance underway at Jacksonville University, as we pursue aggressively our unprecedented opportunity for improvement. Every day, the cultural and learning environment for our students is brightening as we offer personalized education, great value, the best of liberal arts plus close-to-market professional programs.

We know we have a great deal of work ahead to achieve our goal of true excellence. I know we are up for the challenge. More investment, upgrades and expansion are planned as we truly become a “university without borders.” Look for more news on these initiatives in the coming months.

My personal thanks to our faculty and staff for their dedication and effort. I invite you all to join me as we celebrate our students’ success this Saturday. It is a great time to be a Dolphin.


Tim Cost
Jacksonville University
Class of 1981