Meehan’s legacy: the secret behind the “Friendliest campus in the South”

Steve Latham/JSU

Several things set Jacksonville State University apart from other universities—Cocky, our chipper Gamecocks mascot, “The Friendliest Campus in the South,” our honest motto and President Bill Meehan, our fearless leader.

After the announcement of his retirement this July, things around campus are not going to be the same.

Meehan has been a part of the Gamecock family for almost fifty years, joining in 1968 as a freshman here on campus. In the beginning, he earned his bachelor’s degree in biology. This led him to come back again to get his master’s degree in biology in 1976. Just one year later, Meehan found himself on the other side of the classroom as an instructor in the biology department at JSU.

Meehan went on to get his doctoral degree in higher education administration from the University of Alabama in 1999, only to return to Jacksonville State the same year and become the President of JSU.

Meehan has remained here ever since, carrying out each and every single one of his presidential duties to the best of his ability.

Today, Meehan lives on campus with his wife, Beth Meehan. They have twin sons, Drew and Will, who attend Auburn University. Their daughter, Carol Grace, attends Jacksonville High School. Students have always been welcomed with open arms into the Meehan residence, no matter the occasion.

One of the most commendable things about Meehan is simple: he cares for the individual students that call this campus home.

This year during move-in, volunteers, workers and instructors could be seen all across campus at any given dorm unloading cars, carrying bags, and helping students find their way into their new homes. Among them? Meehan himself.

During the mad dash that is final’s week, Meehan can often be found in the library, on the quad, and all around campus equipped with snacks and nourishment for those who find themselves caught by crunch-time.

No matter what the case may be, it is evident that President Meehan is so much more than an administrator—he is a father, a caregiver, a helping hand, a support system, a teacher and a friend.

Perhaps this is why news of Meehan’s retirement came as such a surprise to faculty and staff, members of the Board and students alike.

“I could not have been more blessed by God to have this opportunity,” said Meehan at the Board of Trustees meeting earlier this summer after announcing his retirement. Meehan’s last official day will be July 1, 2015.

Regardless of what the future holds for all of us here at Jacksonville State University, one thing is for certain—President Meehan has been full of dedication, helpfulness and genuine care for each and every student that has passed though the doors of this institution and his contributions to this university will never be forgotton.

Alex McFry
Associate Editor

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