Jacksonville University is an especially impressive educational center when
one considers its modest beginnings. Created to “furnish an opportunity for
citizens of Jacksonville and vicinity to obtain a standard collegiate education
without leaving the city’’ and “to fill the need for a center of culture and
cultural background for Jacksonville,’’ William J. Porter University opened its
doors in 1934 as a two-year community college. Within a year, the institution
was renamed Jacksonville Junior College to identify more accurately its ties to
the city and its two-year program.
The College’s first ten years were a continuing struggle for survival; but,
by 1944, the first full-time president and faculty had moved into the Kay
Mansion in Jacksonville’s fashionable Riverside area. With returning World War
II veterans swelling the student ranks and projected enrollments increasing,
plans for another move were soon underway.
In 1947, the Board of Trustees commissioned a master plan for development of
a new campus in suburban Arlington. In 1950, the College relocated to its
present site in its first permanent structure, the Founders Building.
With the decision to expand to a four-year program, Jacksonville Junior
College became Jacksonville University in 1956. Shortly thereafter, the
Jacksonville College of Music merged with the University. In 1961, JU was
accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the College
of Music was renamed the College of Fine Arts due to the addition of programs in
drama, art and fine arts.
In May 1967, the College of Arts and Sciences was established by combining
the academic divisions of business administration, education, humanities,
science and mathematics, and social sciences.
The Davis College of Business opened in 1979. Graduate studies leading to the
Master of Business Administration degree were initiated the following year.
In February 1982, the nursing program was approved by the Florida Board of
Nursing. Today, it offers The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Emergency
Nurse Practitioner (ENP) sub specialization program, which is the sixth of its
kind in the United States and the first in Florida.
In 1983, JU established its Division of Aeronautics. The division now offers
careers in aviation management or aviation management and flight operations.
The Davis College of Business added the Executive MBA program in 1984. An
adult studies program was established in 1986 as the College of Weekend Studies
under the administrative supervision of the Davis College of Business. This
program is now the JU Accelerated Degree Program.
The School of Orthodontics was established in 2003. The two year Advanced
Education Program in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics received full
accreditation without reporting requirements from the Commission on Dental
Accreditation in August of 2006. Upon successful completion of the program
graduates receive a C.A.G.S., Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies. Students
may also opt for a combined program with the Davis College of Business which
leads to being awarded an M.B.A. in addition to the C.A.G.S after an additional
year of specialized study.