A native of Hazelhurst, Mississippi in Copiah County, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in 1950. He received his doctorate in Agriculture Education minor in Guidance and Counseling and Sociology from The Penn State University.
Dr. Jackson military and professional career expands over seventy-five (75) years. Willie Fred Jackson was born October 4, 1922 in Copiah County. He began his education at St. Morris Elementary School. After completing third grade, he relocated to Hazlehurst, Mississippi to reside with his aunt. He enrolled in Hazlehurst High School, where nine months schooling was available, unlike four months at other schools.
In his senior year of high school, Dr. Jackson was drafted into the United States Army. He entered the service January 28, 1943. In the military, he was assigned to various locations 1) Camp Shelby in Mississippi 2) Camp Davis in North Carolina, where he was assigned to Headquarters Battery 394th Anti-aircraft and received basic training 3) Fort Bliss, Texas for advanced training 4) Vancouver, Washington 5) Francis E. Warren in Cheyenne, Wyoming 6) Myles Standish in Massachusetts to embark ship in Boston, Massachusetts and 7) Ledbury, England as a staging area until June 6, 1944. Dr. Jackson was a member of the first Army under the leadership of General Omaha Bradley to the following routes: Normandy, northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, Central Europe – somewhere in Germany on VE Day. After VE Day, Dr. Jackson, along with his unit, cleared and guarded multiple areas until Occupational Army took over. On December 2, 1945, Jackson boarded ship in Marseille, France to begin his departure back home to Mississippi. Upon his return, he was discharged on December 20, 1945 as a decorated soldier receiving five bronze stars, and many other medals. All of his stay was not gloom. The time he spent in Brunel Germany, Brussels Belgium and the 21 days in Paris France will be forever remembered as joyful days.
Dr. Jackson entered Alcorn Agriculture & Mechanical College (Alcorn State University) in September 1946, where he completed all requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in January 1950. Jackson enrolled in Cornell University in the summer of 1950 and accepted a job teaching World War II veterans. He returned home the next year and served as a teacher of Agriculture for 11 years and NFA advisor for nine counties in southeast Mississippi.
Consequently, Dr. Jackson returned to his alma mater in 1962, to serve as Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education and Engineering, a position he held for four years. After a two (2) year hiatus to pursue a graduate teaching assistantship at The Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Jackson returned to his beloved alma mater as Associate Professor of Agriculture and was later promoted to Chairperson and Head Teacher Educator. Under his administration, the department of Agriculture received a large grant from the Rockefeller Foundation resulting in rapid growth with new professors, new equipment and eventually, a new building. As facilities and equipment expanded, enrollment gave rise to the need for extension services and more research, the 10th branch experiment station was established at Alcorn during this period. He retired from Alcorn State University in 1986 leaving a lasting memory of the students he recruited and taught.
While employed at Alcorn State University, Dr. Jackson accepted an additional job as state consultant for the Farmers Home Administration, a position he held for six (6) years before resigning in 1988. Dr. Jackson is a proud supported of Alcorn State University who established a scholarship with the Alcorn State University Foundation earmarked for agriculture students. As he approached his golden anniversary, he was appointed Class of 1950 Chairman to raise funds and his class raised and donated $68,500 for scholarships.
Since 1968, the Jackson family has been associated with cattle farming, tree farming and other ventures. They are proud to have traveled to all 50 states, Mexico and provinces in Canada.
Dr. Jackson is married to Lorraine Jackson and they have two adult children: Roderic and Greg. They reside in Ridgeland, Mississippi.