Fall 2017: Midterm Update

October 2017

Dear Students, Family, Friends, and Benefactors of Jacksonville University:

Greetings from JU!  Hard to believe classes resumed almost six-weeks ago and we're at the point of mid-term grades being reported. The pace has been energetic, the learning very lively and experiential, and the mood on campus extraordinarily positive. We had an unpleasant visit from Hurricane Irma, which disrupted campus activities for about a week.

That said, you would be proud to know that the staff, faculty, students, and our wonderful Aramark maintenance team went the extra mile to (1) safely care for our students, (2) keep you informed of the weather situation and challenges associated with same, and (3) move promptly to return to the degree of comfort and normalcy we have come to know as the JU experience. Particular attaboys to Margaret Dees and her communications and marketing team for their award winning work in providing frequent, accurate, multi-media updates. Kudos, too, to Dr. Kristie Gover, our outstanding Dean of Students. She runs an outstanding weather related "tactical operations center" that includes a team of experts with across-the-board functionality. She is a pro.

And, just so you know, President Cost weathered the hurricane in his office, on campus, with the kids. So did my wife and I. To lead properly, you have to be where you're needed, and we were proud to ride the storm out with our students and staff.

There are just so many positive things happening academically that I am bursting with pride. Our 237 full-time faculty members are, well, just superb. I am proud of my affiliation with them. Here are some recent accolades, in no particular order:

  • Congratulations to Dr. Kathleen Kavanagh and Professor Amber Santos, of our Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences:  They are the proud recipients of two 2017 Florida Nurses Association awards. Dr. Kavanagh was selected as the 2017 Nursing Innovation and Creativity Award winner for her work with simulation, nurse residency programs, and interdisciplinary education. Professor Santos was selected as recipient of the 2017 Nurse Educator Award for her dedication to the pre-licensure nursing program, serving as the Director and her creative initiatives to support student success.
  • Professor Alex Willemin (Film) had one of his feature screenplays accepted into the Oaxaca Film Festival in Mexico. His screenplay won "Best Break Out Screenplay," outpacing a host of qualified, eager competitors from around the world.
  • Our Professor Sarah Murphy oversees our student publication Aquarian -- a literary and arts magazine. The Associated College Press named Aquarian as one of 32 collegiate student magazines as finalists in its annual Pacemaker competition. "The Pacemaker is the association’s preeminent award," said Laura Widmer, executive director. "ACP is honored to recognize the best of the best." The 32 magazines represent 15 states as well as Canada. Holy cow!
  • US News & World Report continues to acknowledge our quality and scholarship. JU made the "best universities" list for the 14th straight year, and moved up over 10-spots in one year – something only 5% of all universities can claim. According to Robert Morse, chief data strategist for U.S. News & World Report, who develops the methodologies and surveys for the Best Colleges and Best Graduate Schools annual rankings: "Jacksonville University has risen in the rankings over the last 4 years due to gains in academic reputation, financial resources, student selectivity and faculty resources rank."
  • The current issue of Downbeat Magazine, which is still the premier jazz publication in America, has a nice feature on our JU jazz program. Remember that last year our DeAndre Lettsome earned the prestigious "Betty Carter Jazz Ahead" accolade which landed him at the Kennedy Center. Read more about DeAndre’s residency at Wave Magazine Online.

More good news?  Check this out:

In closing, thank you for your continued support of our very vibrant, vital, and student-centered University. You can continue to reach me at dhorner3@ju.edu should you have a question, suggestion, or kudo for me to pass along.

THANKS for all you do to help us make Jacksonville University a learning community we can all be proud of.

With continued best wishes,

Donnie H.

Donald H. Horner, Jr., Ph.D.

P.S. Next time we’ll highlight our GROWING international presence, study abroad opportunities, and expansive relationships with international partners across all disciplines. Exciting!