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"...almost too perfect to be believed."

Untitled Document
George W. Bush
President George W. Bush, in a May 16, 2005, speech on alternative fuels, included James Madison University as an operator of major vehicle fleets using biodiesel.

In 2002, The Unofficial, Unbiased, Insider's Guide to the 320 Most Interesting Colleges said, “JMU is almost too perfect to be believed.”

Is it hyperbole? Exaggeration? Hype?

Not according to the long list of accolades coming JMU's way. The recognitions that began piling up during the Carrier years have reached even higher levels in the Rose administration.

In 2007, U S News and World Report – for the 17th time - ranked JMU as the top public, master's level university in the South. And JMU's graduation rate – 80 percent – was highest among all public and private schools in the South.

JMU has also been lauded for the value it provides to students. In 2007, Kiplinger magazine cited the university as one of the best values in college education. JMU ranked 21st in the nation among schools cited for “their combination of top-flight academics and affordable costs.”

The Princeton Review's 2007 America's Best Value Colleges also cited JMU.

And though the whole school has received many laurels, many of its individual parts have as well.

Accounting majors taking the Uniform Certified Public Accounting exam – the grueling five-part professional test – ranked nationally in passing on the first try. Among students without graduate degrees, JMU ranked 25th, placing it in the company of Michigan , North Carolina – Chapel Hill and Texas. The only other school to make the top 25 was the University of Virginia. U.Va.'s first time pass rate of 47.8 percent was only slightly higher than JMU's 46.3 percent.

MacArthur Award

In 2005, JMU's Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) program earned the MacArthur Award as the best large battalion in the eastern United States. The 30-member JMU Brass Band, in April 2006, took second place in the championship division of the American Brass Band Championships. In the two years prior, the band had been selected the top band in the honors division.

A Madison senior, Casey Templeton, was named 2005 College Photographer of the Year, an award including an internship with National Geographic. Graphic design senior Kristie Kinch won the grand prize in an international poster competition.

And, not to be outdone by the successful athletics programs of earlier years, JMU's football team took the 2004, Division I-AA national championship.

Other significant – and perhaps world changing - accolades have come from the university's commitment to service. JMU was distinguished as Virginia's only listing in the Princeton Review and Campus Compact's 2005 book, Colleges With A Conscience , a listing of 81 schools throughout the country selected for “both an administration committed to social responsibility and a student body actively engaged in serving society.”

-- Martha B. Graham