Be the Change: Citizenship

Photo: Katrina relief group There's something deliberate and compelling about a JMU education that attracts extraordinary people and fosters in them a commitment to something even bigger. Madison students, professors and alumni commit themselves to the ultimate societal benefit of education — an enlightened citizenry ready to build a better future. They lead, innovate and collaborate in the spirit set forth by President James Madison's vision that liberty and learning are inextricably entwined. They reach beyond themselves and help change the world.

The Stories ...

Operation Purple Pride

Operation Purple Pride Building educated and enlightened citizens is JMU's mission. Members of the Madison community involved in the armed forces exemplify enlightened citizenship in a very special way. Operation Purple Pride is their forum. … Read More

A passion for politics

Rusty Carlock works to improve education in El Salvador JMU's Washington Semester can provide students with some of the best job experience, friendships and career preparation imaginable. Participant Lisa Maurer ('09) describes her experience in the nation's capitol … Read More

The People ...

  1. James Madison

    James Madison

    Fourth U.S. President

    James Madison, soft-spoken and unimposing in appearance, employed his considerable learned intellect and civility to convince a fledgling nation to accept a document — the Constitution of the United States and its Bill of Rights …Read more

  2. Shelby Brown ('93)

    Shelby Brown ('93)

    CBS WTVR-TV Chesterfield beat reporter

    For journalist Shelby Brown, a story has a lot of power. During one sweltering summer, the CBS WTVR-TV Chesterfield, Va., beat reporter found out just how much. As part of a piece about a Chesterfield … Read More

  3. Kai Degner ('03, '05M)

    Kai Degner ('03, '05M)

    OrangeBand Initiative Executive Director

    In February 2003, spurred by a classmate's deployment to Kuwait, undergraduate Kai Degner hatched an idea: Get students talking. Not Bickering. Talking, and listening. Degner's original vision of a visual … Read More

  4. Lt. Col. Mike Dillon ('81)

    Lt. Col. Mike Dillon ('81)

    Military officer, football coach, mentor

    For some, the game of football is a metaphor for life. Mike subscribes to this philosophy, and is also trying to pass the game's positive values to youth all over the world. Stationed for six years at the … Read More

  5. Linia Duncan ('07)

    Linia Duncan ('07)

    Student leader and advocate for diversity awareness

    As a graduating senior, Linia Duncan knows it's never too early to start giving back. For Linia, this means continuing to help JMU increase in diversity through organizations such as Students for Minority … Read More

  6. Vanessa Evans ('93,'97M)

    Vanessa Evans ('93,'97M)

    President, JMU Black Alumni Chapter

    Vanessa has a passion for working with young people who want to advance themselves and their communities. She's associate director of the Ron Brown Scholar Program sponsored by the CAP … Read More

  7. Bruce and Lois Cardarella Forbes ('64)

    Bruce and Lois Cardarella Forbes ('64)

    JMU benefactors

    In their quest to accentuate the connection of James Madison University with the intellectual legacy of President James Madison, Lois Cardarella Forbes ('64) and her husband, developer Bruce Forbes, … Read More

  8. Elizabeth Gauldin ('50)

    Elizabeth Gauldin ('50)

    Space Scientist and Pioneer, 1928-2008

    When chemistry graduate Elizabeth Gauldin first went looking for a job as a chemist, prospective employers asked her whether she could type. Undaunted, she became one of the first female scientists in the U.S. space … Read More

  9. Jennifer Griffith ('09)

    Jennifer Griffith ('09)

    JMU marketing major and volunteer

    In 2007, Jennifer organized 45 James Madison University students in a caravan headed to New Orleans. There the group worked with Habitat for Humanity in the Musicians' Village building homes for … Read More

  10. Derwin Henderson ('83)

    Derwin Henderson ('83)

    LAPD Officer and Kids' Hero

    Convinced that every kid deserves a chance, Derwin Henderson went beyond his role as a Los Angeles police officer and began a youth-league football team to channel aimless, vulnerable kids … Read More

  11. John Horigan ('04)

    John Horigan ('04)

    Pairing science and ethics

    John Horigan set out to study international business and foreign languages, dreaming of fine suits and life in France. Instead, he says he wound up wearing torn jeans, flannel shirts and studying birds in early … Read More

  12. Mike Hoss ('84)

    Mike Hoss ('84)

    News Anchor, WWL-TV New Orleans

    For Mike Hoss, the 10 p.m. News Anchor at WWL-TV in New Orleans, reporting the news met a new obstacle in late August 2005. When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast region, WWL was the … Read More

  13. Emily Lewis Lee ('43)

    Emily Lewis Lee ('43)

    World War II Veteran

    For Emily Lee, collecting tin or knitting wool squares for the war effort was not enough. Emily rushed to earn her American Dietetics Association registration, then Lt. Lee supervised hospital-kitchen … Read More

  14. Dolores Phalen Lescure ('38) (1916-2006)

    Dolores Phalen Lescure ('38) (1916-2006)

    Community leader, former president of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation

    In the year 1916 when Dolores Lescure was born, Woodrow Wilson was finishing his first term as president of the United States. More than 50 years later, she would become indelibly linked to Wilson's name … Read More

  15. Nathan Marsh ('01)

    Nathan Marsh ('01)

    JMU Video Producer

    After starting his career in the freelance world, radio industry and the advertising business, Nate returned to JMU in October 2005 as a video producer for university marketing. The School of Media … Read More

  16. Maj. Gen. Raymond Mason  ('78)

    Maj. Gen. Raymond Mason ('78)

    American soldier and JMU ROTC pioneer

    In 1974, Ray came to JMU ready to continue his family's military tradition -- his father was a 30-year Army veteran who served in World War II and the Vietnam War — but at the time, the university did not … Read More

  17. Roger Myers

    Roger Myers

    Bus driver, volunteer

    Recently retired yet still wanting to keep busy, Roger looked for employment in human services to make the connections with people that were so important to him. He found the perfect position at JMU … Read More

  18. Tracey Neale ('89)

    Tracey Neale ('89)

    Emmy Award-winning news anchor/reporter

    In the nation's capital, where news is made at a break-neck pace, nine-time Emmy Award-winner Tracey Neale is a proven television news anchor and a thorough reporter. Her stories about AIDS in … Read More

  19. Dee Nilsen ('00)

    Dee Nilsen ('00)

    JMU staff member and relief worker

    It's second nature for Dee Nilsen to be the change. This integrated science and technology graduate and computing support specialist has a busy work schedule, and she doesn't slow her pace outside of … Read More

  20. Dr. John B. Noftsinger Jr.  ('85)

    Dr. John B. Noftsinger Jr. ('85)

    Vice Provost for Research and Public Service

    Since his undergraduate years at JMU when he was the first student appointed to the JMU Board of Visitors, John has shown a keen interest in the inner workings of the university, an innate talent for … Read More

  21. Joy Petway ('07)

    Joy Petway ('07)

    Social worker, past president JMU Black Student Alliance

    When the Phoenix Project chose participants for their 2007 Nonprofit Leadership Program, Joy was one of 30 top students from 14 universities selected — "the best of the best in Virginia," according to … Read More

  22. Richard M. Roberds

    Richard M. Roberds

    Silver Star recipient, founder of College of Integrated Science and Technology

    Richard Roberds clearly remembers the guy sitting next to him, the guy who kept throwing up his hands in front of his face as the tracer bullets darted past their cockpit. "You don't forget things like … Read More

  23. James Robinson

    James Robinson

    Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and JMU sports fan

    When James Robinson joined the JMU staff several years ago, he brought with him an unflagging focus on the positive. One of his first efforts was to make sure his office became known as a resource … Read More

  24. Inez Graybeal Roop  ('35)

    Inez Graybeal Roop ('35)

    James Madison University benefactor

    In 1931, Inez stepped onto campus as a student and began a steadfast involvement with the university that has made her a Madison legend. After graduating from the Harrisonburg State Teachers College in … Read More

  25. Dave Sanderson ('83)

    Dave Sanderson ('83)

    Miracle worker

    Most people would call it bad luck — being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sitting aboard U.S. Airways Flight 1549 was probably the last place anyone wanted to be on Jan. 15. But Dave … Read More

  26. Lisa Shull ('85, '91M)

    Lisa Shull ('85, '91M)

    Dream builder

    Lisa Shull ('85, '91M) makes dreams come true for thousands of Harrisonburg children. Seven years ago Lisa inspired a cadre of volunteers who together started Harrisonburg Children's Museum. The … Read More

  27. The Rev. Charles Douglas 'Doug' Smith ('93)

    The Rev. Charles Douglas 'Doug' Smith ('93)

    Executive director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

    While an undergraduate, Doug Smith ('93) found "There was a whole series of sociology professors — including Mary Lou Wylie, Gail Funke and Cecil Bradfield — who really raised up a generation of us … Read More

  28. Sister Glenna Smith  ('04M)

    Sister Glenna Smith ('04M)

    Director, Benedictine Counseling Services

    This Benedictine Sister speaks eloquently of her love for God and neighbor, but her actions are even more powerful. Sister Glenna helped launch Benedictine Counseling Services, which provides … Read More

  29. Wesli Spencer ('06)

    Wesli Spencer ('06)

    Former Student Government Association President

    Immediate past SGA president Wesli Spencer continues to put his ideology "leadership through service" into action. Wesli addressed leaders, peers and participants at the 2006 National Association … Read More

  30. Stanley Stewart ('78)

    Stanley Stewart ('78)

    2007 Virginia Administrator of the Year

    In true JMU-Be the Change spirit, Stanley Stewart is giving back to Virginia's youth — one juvenile at a time. Stan began service as a probation officer for the Loudoun County, Va., court system 29 years … Read More

  31. Levar Stoney ('04)

    Levar Stoney ('04)

    Former executive director, Democratic Party of Virginia

    Levar Stoney's life symbolizes one of the most important changes in American history. He is the descendant of slaves from the Rice Coast, an area on Africa's west coast; he also has served as the executive director of Virginia's Democratic Party … Read More

  32. Samantha Terry ('05) ('08M)

    Samantha Terry ('05) ('08M)

    Social entrepreneur

    Searching for a hands-on experience in nonprofit studies, Samantha spent her summer in the Phoenix Project's 2008 Nonprofit Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Program. The program seeks … Read More

  33. Carolyn Copley Wake ('52)

    Carolyn Copley Wake ('52)

    A lifetime of service

    In an era when many women devoted themselves exclusively to raising their families, Carolyn Copley Wake ('52) was a networker. You can almost hear her Southern drawl: "Come on." But her intent was far more … Read More

  34. Brittany Williams ('05)

    Brittany Williams ('05)

    Miss United States 2008

    Once upon a time Brittany Williams was a tomboy. Today she's Miss United States 2008 with a platform and a passion to empower other young women. Her conversion from tree climber in rural … Read More

  35. J. Craig Williams ('79)

    J. Craig Williams ('79)

    Attorney and lecturer

    J. Craig Williams never forgot the Madison vice president who taught him the importance of "paying it forward." Dr. Ray Sonner, for whom Sonner Hall is named, made the phone call that helped Williams … Read More

Be the Change! sectors ...

Be the Change
in Citizenship

Shelby Brown ('83)
CBS WTVR-TV Chesterfield beat reporter

Kai Degner ('03, '05M)
OrangeBand Initiative Executive Director

Lt. Col. Mike Dillon ('81)
Military officer, football coach, mentor

Linia Duncan ('07)
Student leader and advocate for diversity awareness

Vanessa Evans ('93, '97M)
President, JMU Black Alumni Chapter

Bruce and Lois Cardarella Forbes ('64)
JMU benefactors

Elizabeth Gauldin ('50)
Space Scientist and Pioneer

Jennifer Griffith ('09)
Marketing major and volunteer

Derwin Henderson ('83)
LAPD officer and kids' hero

John Horigan ('04)
Pairing science and ethics

Mike Hoss ('84)
News Anchor, WWL-TV New Orleans

Emily Lewis Lee ('43)
World War II veteran

Dolores Phalen Lescure ('38) (1916-2006)
Community leader and former president of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation

James Madison
Fourth U.S. President

Nate Marsh ('01)
JMU Video Producer

Maj. Gen. Raymond Mason ('78)
JMU ROTC pioneer

Roger Myers
Bus driver, volunteer

Tracey Neale ('89)
Emmy Award-winning news anchor/reporter

Dee Nilsen ('00)
JMU staff member and relief worker

John B. Noftsinger Jr. ('85)
Vice Provost for Research and Public Service

Joy Petway ('07)
Social worker

Richard M. Roberds
Silver Star recipient, founder of College of Integrated Science and Technology

James Robinson
Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and JMU sports fan

Inez Graybeal Roop ('35)
JMU benefactor

Dave Sanderson ('83)
Miracle worker

Lisa Shull ('85, '91M)
Dream builder

Charles Douglas 'Doug' Smith ('93)
Executive director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

Sister Glenna Smith ('04M)
Director, Benedictine Counseling Services

Wesli Spencer ('06)
Former Student Government Association president

Stanley Stewart ('78)
2007 Virginia Administrator of the Year

Levar Stoney ('04)
Executive director, Democratic Party of Virginia

Samantha Terry ('05) ('08M)
Social entrepreneur

Carolyn Copley Wake ('52)
A lifetime of service

Brittany Williams ('05)
Miss United States 2008, hospitality and tourism management major

J. Craig Williams ('79)
Attorney and lecturer