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Inez Graybeal Roop ('35)

James Madison University benefactor
1913-2010

Photo: Inez Graybeal Roop

In 1931, Inez stepped onto campus as a student and began a steadfast involvement with the university that made her a Madison legend. After graduating from the Harrisonburg State Teachers College in the midst of the Great Depression, Inez maintained a day-to-day involvement in the life of the university, offering leadership, friendship, and financial and moral support. All five JMU presidents, including the first, Julian Burruss, counted her among their friends; and she's the namesake of JMU's Roop Hall, dedicated in 1995. In addition to serving on the board of visitors for eight years, Inez was an active participant in her class reunions, and an Emeritus Member of the Alumni Association Board. In 1977, this Distinguished Alumnae Service Award winner made the motion petitioning the State Legislature to change the name of Madison College to James Madison University. Her involvement in almost every milestone in JMU's history and every facet of the Madison Experience provides overwhelming evidence of her ability to generate positive change. Inez and her husband, the late Ralph Roop, also demonstrated their commitment to JMU through a lifetime of giving, providing funds for student scholarships and faculty advancement. She said she was most proud of the Charles and Bertha Mast Graybeal Scholarship, named in honor of her parents, which aids foreign students to come to the university, enriching the Madison Experience for the whole campus.

"Our parents felt it was a No. 1 priority for us to earn our education and to be generous. They put us through school during the Depression, and they would be pleased if they knew that we have benefited so much from our education. They would also be pleased that we are giving back so that others might have the opportunity to study for a college education."