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Bruce and Lois Cardarella Forbes ('64)

JMU benefactors

Photo: Bruce and Lois Forbes

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, have transformed the face of campus. Moreover, they have probably done more singlehandedly than anyone else to call popular attention to this underappreciated founding father, except perhaps his birthplace, Montpelier. While there are no statues or memorials in the nation's capital to pay homage to the Father of the Constitution and Fourth President, James Madison is now a fixture on campus. The Forbes' contribution of not one, but two statues of James Madison, has changed the face of the campus by situating the founding father's image in two prominent spots. One, unveiled on Constitution Day in 2002, stands near the Quad. It has become a student tradition to pose for photos with the life-sized "Jemmy" and festoon him with the frills and trappings of student life. The newest statue, a heroic 10-foot-tall image of a youthful, striding James Madison (already affectionately christened "Big Jim"), was erected on the east side of campus during the university's Centennial Celebration. The Forbes' impact stretches beyond symbolism, however. Their influence is seen and felt all over campus through their gifts to the Plecker Athletic Performance Center, men's and women's golf, the College of Business and their own Forbes Family Scholarship. They also have given time as generously. Lois, currently a member of the Board of Visitors, has served on the JMU Foundation board, the Madison Day planning committee, and the Duke Club board. Both are committed Dukes fans. In one more grand magnanimous gesture, this spring the Forbes made the single largest gift in the university's history to transform the future Performing Arts Center from promise into reality. It also makes the Forbes' financial devotion to JMU second to none.