This website is a snapshot in time of the James Madison University through the Centennial year, 1908.
Julian Ashby Burruss – President, 1908-1919 Julian Ashby Burruss was named president of the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg in 1908, shortly after the institution was founded by the Virginia General Assembly. The school opened its doors to its first student body in 1909 with an enrollment of 150 students and 15 faculty members. The first 20 graduates received diplomas in 1911. President Burruss’ administration changed the name of the school to the State Normal School for Women at Harisonburg in 1914 and the school received authorization to award bachelor’s degrees in 1916. During this initial development of James Madison University, President Burruss established the campus plan and oversaw the construction of six buildings. He left the Normal School in 1919 to become president of Virginia Tech.
Dr. Samuel Page Duke – President, 1919-1949
During the 30 years of Dr. Samuel Page Duke’s presidency, enrollment at the institution grew from 300 to around 1,400. Nine major campus buildings were constructed during his administration. In 1924, the institution became the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg and continued under that name until 1938 when it was named Madison College in honor of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. In making his argument for the name change, President Duke pointed out that no other college honored Mr. Madison and the name would be appropriate if the institution ever became coeducational. In 1946, Dr. Duke’s administration admitted men to Madison College as day students in regular sessions. Men had always attended summer sessions at the school, but this marked the first time men attended regular session classes.
Dr. G. Tyler Miller – President, 1949-1971
President G. Tyler Miller successfully convinced the Virginia General Assembly in 1966 to allow Madison College to build residence halls for men so the institution could become fully educational. He had first expressed the wish for Madison to become coeducational in the early 1950s but he was unsuccessful in that effort. Dr. Miller enlarged the institution’s campus by 240 acres and constructed 19 major buildings. The Miller administration revamped the institution’s curriculum, developing a full liberal arts program to join the teacher education program. In 1954, the expanding school received authorization to award master’s degrees. During Dr. Miller’s presidency, enrollment grew from 1,400 to 4,000.
Dr. Ronald E. Carrier – President, 1971-1998
During the presidency of Dr. Ronald E. Carrier, the institution changed from a 4,000-student, predominantly female teachers college to a major comprehensive university with 14,000 students. The school changed its name to James Madison University in 1977, following a unanimous vote of the Virginia General Assembly. During Dr. Carrier’s presidency, JMU received national acclaim as one of the nation’s finest comprehensive public universities. The institution received authorization to offer the educational specialist degree and the doctoral degree. A major athletic program was developed. The size of the campus was enlarged by more than 100 acres and the university spread to the east side of Interstate 81. During Dr. Carrier’s administration, some 40 major buildings with the value of $210 million were built. Applications for admission rose from 3,800 a year to 15,000 a year and SAT scores for entering freshmen rose from 987 to 1,174.
Dr. Linwood H. Rose – President, 1998-Present
Under the leadership of Dr. Linwood H. Rose, JMU has solidified its position of national prominence and established itself as a leader in institutional performance measurement, accountability and assessment of student learning. Some $175 million in new facilities will have been constructed or added to the JMU campus by the end of the first decade of the 21 st Century. In addition to the new construction, JMU purchased the Rockingham Memorial Hospital complex and the old Harrisonburg High School building to help meet current future space needs. Dr. Rose has led an effort to expand JMU's funding sources. In recent years, the University has received 15 private gifts of $1 million or more, established new records for private giving and expanded sponsored program activity to almost $25 million annually. Efforts of Dr. Rose have resulted in JMU aligning itself more closely with the legacy of President James Madison. JMU is the only university in America named for the fourth U.S. president and primary author of the U.S. Constitution. Since Dr. Rose became president in 1998, enrollment has increased from 14,400 to 17,000.