April Madison Moments Through the Years
Accompanied by trumpets and cheers, the cornerstone of the school was put in place in the northwest corner of the institution's first building, Science (Maury) Hall, at 11 a.m. on Thursday morning, April 15. A large crowd was present for the 30-minute ceremony, having come to the school in a big parade that left Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg at 10:30 a.m.
On April 6, the United States formally entered the war that had been raging in Europe since 1914. During the month of April, the State Normal School for Women undertook its first war related activities. During this period, students organized classes in first aid training and began making surgical garments and dressings for the Red Cross. For the duration of the conflict, patriotism was felt on campus as faculty and students continuously participated in special war-related classes, held fundraising events, and marched in local parades in support of the war effort.
The Breeze was replaced on April 1 by The Sneeze , as April Fools Day parody of the regular publication, printing nonsense news relating to the school. For example, it was reported that the Student Council had abolished the restrictive rules governing car riding with men, withdrawn the faculty's privilege of smoking on campus and given it to students, and granted all students three class cuts per week. To read all this news, however, one had to repeatedly turn the paper around as many of the articles were printed upside down.
With World War II in Europe turning in favor of the Allies, Madison College suspended its military drill program in April. The program had been implemented in November of 1942.
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy came to campus on April 5 after accepting an invitation from Madison College President G. Taylor Miller to speak to the student body on “The Values of Culture” to culminate the week of festivities at the 1963 Madison College Fine Arts Festival.
Enjoying the most successful year of the team's 13-year history, the JMU Debate Team took its winning words to the National Debate Competition. Throughout the season, the team won over eight tournaments and 69 percent of its individual debates, and its members bragged that they “beat University of North Carolina which the basketball team didn't.” (The Dukes had lost narrowly to eventual national champion UNC in the 1983 NCAA tournament.)
The first sculpture of James Madison located on campus was moved on April 26 outside of Madison Memorial Library (Carrier Library), where it still stands today. The statue had spent eight years in an old wing of the library until it was approved by the Virginia Art and Architectural Review Council as a permanent monument for the school.
Beginning on Sunday, April 17, JMU students were no longer allowed to light up indoors at Gibbons Dining Hall, as the bill passed by the SGA on January 11 took effect. Hank Moody, director of JMU Food Services decided to enact the bill in the spring rather than the fall because of persistent student complaints.