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Jackson, A. George

Published onAug 18, 2021
Jackson, A. George

( — July 3, 2016)

Quick Facts

George Jackson’s work as director of minority student affairs was crucial for minority students, creating financial, academic and social support and increasing enrollment.

George A. Jackson was director of minority student affairs office when he came to Iowa State University in 1978. Jackson created numerous financial aid and academic support programs for minority students. He received his doctorate from Michigan State University (1976), master's degree from North Carolina A&T University (1968), and bachelor's degree from Bethune-Cookman College (1963). Jackson taught history and sociology at Oakland University for three years, served as a teacher and counselor in Pontiac Central High School for two years (Pontiac, MI), and five years at Howard High School (Ocala, FL). Jackson worked as assistant dean and director of special programs at Oakland University in Rochester, MI prior to accepting a position at Iowa State University. In 1994, Jackson accepted a position as special assistant to the provost. His duties included dealing with recruitment, budget, and curriculum. In addition to his new responsibilities, Jackson continued as an adjunct professor in the department of professional studies in the College of Education.

George Jackson grew up in Florida's panhandle where he worked in the long cotton rows with his father. He met and married wife Clemmye Jackson from Ocala, FL. Clemmye worked as the director of the Ames Community School District's accelerated learning program to help high-risk students. Both the Jackson’s spent their careers helping Ames education. Jackson and his wife have two daughters, Terri and Toni. Jackson recalled that Ames was a great place to raise his family.

Jackson was the president and chairman of the board of the Black Cultural Center. He was a member of myriad organizations including American Personnel and Guidance Association, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Michigan Personnel and Guidance Association, American Association of Higher Education, United States Office of Education Task Force for the Evaluation of Technical Training Provided by Region Five for Program Directors and Staff (1977-1978), National Council of and Educational Opportunity Association. Additionally, he was President of Mid-American Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel, Michigan Council Educational Opportunity Programs, and Iowa State University Black Cultural Center. On top of these programs, Jackson also founded the Journal of Equal Educational Opportunity and Iowa Association of African American Men and Concerned Citizens and was editor of the Mid-American Association of Educational Program Personnel Journal. (Curriculum Vitae, George A. Jackson) Major works include "Characteristics of Successful Minority Students" Journal of Educational Opportunity, summer 1986; "Why They Continue to Fail" NCEOA Journal, 1992; Helpful Hints for Advising and Counseling Minority Students in Predominantly White Institutions (Iowa State University, 1980); and A Teacher Guide, What is your ACT Score? (Iowa State University, 1988). (George Jackson, 1993)

Jackson coordinated the "Summits on Black and Brown Education" in 2005-2006. Jackson and the Ames Community School Board were concerned with meeting the needs of a growing diverse population of students. The Ames Community School District found that minority students represented 20 percent of student population, but only 4.5 percent of the district's faculty and staff accounted for minority groups. The breakdown of the district was 80 percent White, 10 percent Asian, 7 percent Black, and 3 percent Hispanic. (The Tribune 8-17-2006)

Jackson strived for promoting diversity within teaching positions and school leadership population. He encouraged parents to be involved within minority communities. His primary research interests were studying characteristics of successful minority students in predominantly white institutions, learning styles of minority students in white institutions, and measuring noncognitive factors for minority success. (George Jackson, 1993) Jackson worked to combat racial insensitivity, such as the April "racial" incident in which students used black face during a lip synched activity at a fund raising event. Jackson asked "Do you think that's appropriate behavior?" ("Racial 'insensitivity's is forum topic" by Shana Gillette, Daily, 5-3-1989) Jackson and other members of the Ames School Board held a forum to discuss and rectify racial insensitivity.

While working at Iowa State University, Jackson increased minority student enrollment from 500 students to 1450 students (290 percent). He created Financial Aid Reserve fund for low-income students, scholarship funds and emergency loan funds for minority students, and a results-oriented admission and retention program. He also established the Graduate Minority Assistantship Program (GMAP) and a Minority Student Leadership Program. (Curriculum Vitae, George A. Jackson) In 2003, Jackson received the Presidential Service Award for his devoted career to diversity at Iowa State University and his actions with NAACP. The Presidential Service Award recognizes faculty that show exemplary service to Iowa State University, choosing Jackson for his effort to start federal TRIO programs at the university for disadvantaged students and helped establish the Minority Liaison Initiative in each of the colleges. (Presidential Service Award, 9-26-2003)

Dr. Jackson retired in June of 2009 after 31 years of service to the university. Jackson passed away in 2016 at the age of 75.

On May 20, 2017, the Black Cultural Center was renamed in honor of Dr. George A. Jackson. The George A. Jackson Black Cultural Center (BCC) serves as a foundation for African American cultural identity, education and understanding between diverse communities at Iowa State University.  “This cultural center, located at 517 Welch Avenue, a great place to explore and debate ideas, hold study groups, plan and host meetings and events, have a dinner, read a book, write a paper, or just relax.”[1] 

Selected Sources


George A. Jackson Black Cultural Center

“Dr. George A. Jackson joins ranks of Trice, Carver in ISU history” by Maggie Curry, Iowa State Daily. May 20, 2017.

Cardinal Tails, blog post. “Giving Thanks for the Life and Legacy of Dr. George Jackson” Nov. 23, 2016.

“Crowdfunding effort honors minority student advocate George Jackson” by Anne Krapfl, Inside Iowa State. June 03, 2021.

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