5 Places That Existed Then That Are Better Now

January 28, 2015 4 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Here are five historic sites in Jacksonville that have gotten better with age.

2. Jacksonville University

Model of plan for Jacksonville University's campus in 1961. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/42275
William J. Porter founded Jacksonville University as a two-year junior college in 1934. 60 students were enrolled in the program during the first year. A year later, the institution changed in name to Jacksonville Junior College, where it switched locations three times before finally settling into its current location in 1950.

In 1958, the institution would merge with the Jacksonville College of Music and officially change its name to Jacksonville University (JU). JU became a four-year school shortly after, and had its first four-year class graduate in 1959. The 1960s helped JU see a huge growth, as enrollment increased, dorms were built, the gym was built, and two additional buildings were added to the campus.

JU would face hard times, however, with the opening of UNF in 1973. Enrollment at JU dropped and they lost a significant portion of their funding.

In 1990, JU embarked on a transformation—reconfiguring itself as a primarily liberal arts college and beginning a large fundraising campaign. As a result, the campus was able to renovate, construct, and revise its master plan.

Today, JU has 6 different colleges, which offer over 70 majors and programs at the undergraduate level, as well as several Master’s programs. JU has teamed up with the Florida Coastal School of law to offer a joint MBA/law degree, and has also teamed up with the Aerosim Flight Academy to offer flight training to aviation students. JU’s athletic program has had an array of successes, particularly with its basketball and football programs, and has recently added lacrosse to their repertoire. JU’s “extracurricular” scene has grown extensively, too, as they now offer Greek life opportunities, ministries, clubs, and media organizations. Current expansion plans include the ongoing construction of a $12 million, 277-bed residential hall.

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