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Giving makes the difference

Checking in with Madison For Keeps scholarship recipient and IT recruiter Ashley Gregory (‘11)
By Carrie Combs (‘07, ‘09M)

Madison For Keeps scholarship recipient and IT recruiter Ashley Gregory (‘11) takes a stroll with her dog Sully.

Madison For Keeps scholarship recipient Ashley Gregory (‘11) takes a stroll with Sully. Gregory wishes to thank Madison Forever donors whose gifts help students suffering financial crises to stay in school and finish their JMU education.

In the last few years, numerous universities across the nation have experienced unprecedented numbers of students with urgent financial needs resulting from unforeseen changes in family income. Acting without hesitation, JMU deployed Madison For Keeps in 2009, an emergency fundraising campaign, to aid students with the greatest financial need. Thanks to a host of JMU alumni and donors, more than 100 students were able to finish their Madison Experiences. Now JMU has created Madison Forever, a permanent program that enables JMU financial aid officers the flexibility to help students with the greatest need. Madison checks in with Ashley Gregory (‘11), who says alumni giving had a lasting impact on her Madison Experience.

Madison: What have you been up to since graduating?

Ashley Gregory (‘11): After graduating from the College of Business as a management major, I started my full-time job three weeks later working as a recruiter for an IT staffing agency. In my first three months, I learned that my education benefitted me more than other young colleagues. I could apply concepts and knowledge much more quickly.

As a student in financial need, how did you learn about Madison For Keeps?

Gregory: My accounting professor Paul Copley told me about Madison For Keeps. I applied for the emergency funding, which allowed me to return for my junior year. Without Madison For Keeps, I would not have been able to finish my education.

What changed in your life that put your Madison Experience at risk?

Gregory: My father passed away from pancreatic cancer. Losing the breadwinner of the family made it nearly impossible to return to JMU. Between the out–of–state tuition, cost of living and travel expenses, the money just wasn’t there. The Madison For Keeps program was so fast and the need was so urgent. The financial aid office took that into consideration and turned it around to make an immediate impact. I now have my dream job in Boston working for an IT staffing agency.

Madison For Keeps helped students with situations like mine. It’s important to help others in their time of need. Some people feel it’s kind of embarrassing to talk about not having enough money, but that’s just not the case. I’m not going to turn down any help that allows me to continue my education. That is something my dad would have wanted me to do.

What would you tell Madison Forever donors?

Gregory: Their generosity allows students like myself, who have either gone through personal troubles or have been affected by our country’s economic downturn, to continue their education. A JMU education is proven to be more valuable in a student’s future than any sum of money. Anyone who is considering donating to Madison Forever should do so without any hesitation. Their donation will truly have a positive impact on the future of deserving JMU students. Because of the generosity of Madison For Keeps donors, I will be in a position to donate myself one day.

Learn more about Gregory and give to Madison Forever at www.jmu.edu/madisonforever.