Homecoming 2011 Blog

Thursday, Sept. 29: What we all have in common

The smell of cotton candy and hot dogs waft through the autumn air, up the stairs of the Commons and past Carrier Library where the scent drags me to Commons Day, an event hosted each year to hand out JMU swag and free food to students. This year the sun is shining and students are enjoying a break from classes to listen to live bands (Adam in America and Arches) and eat delicious food — including baklava (JMU, keepin’ it classy!).

Dr. Rose even made an appearance, donning an apron and handing out hot dogs to students. “It’s Homecoming week. We ought to celebrate!” he said, with just as much (if not more) pride and gusto than every JMU student crossing the Commons right now.

Senior Logan Kendle has been leading Commons Day for two years now, and has been a part of the Homecoming Committee for four years. For the past two years they’ve avoided a certain theme and opted for a Go Dukes! theme. "Students can just come out here and support JMU and bleed purple,” Kendle said.

Kendle's favorite day of homecoming is "Saturday. Love the game. Love the tailgate. Love the purple." And most folks would agree that's where the spirit of JMU students, parents, alums and friends all comes together.

New to Homecoming, freshmen Annie Dankos from Goochland, Va. and Sarah Golibart from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, sit on the Commons watching the madness of purple and gold unfold. Coming from small high schools, both girls didn’t know what to expect from Homecoming. “It’s pretty cool. There is a lot of spirit! And a lot of free food. It definitely makes us feel more welcome,” they said.

I explain to them the expansive yet close-knit family they have just become a part of by attending JMU and they agree wholeheartedly, expressing that this event only helps to solidify that feeling of belonging so familiar to all Dukes.

Later tonight, I'll be at Late Night Breakfast at E-Hall. Look forward to seeing you all there and posting more updates on Homecoming 2011!

Dukes Love,


Tuesday, Sept. 27: Kicking off Homecoming Week

It's that time again Dukes: Homecoming 2011, and we're celebrating 100 years of wonderful and active alumni like yourselves! I'm happy to be covering Homecoming for the third year and soaking up purple and gold spirit with all of you this week and weekend. 

I hope you're all revved up and have either planned to make an appearance at JMU for the festivities or, if you can't make it, will be following this blog as well as our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Today kicks off Banner Contest voting for the annual student and alumni group banner contest as well as the Downtown Spirit decorating. Check out downtown businesses this week all dressed up in their best purple and gold JMU spirit! Also, judging begins tomorrow for the Faculty and Staff Door Decorating Contest. I will update you all on the winners as they're chosen.

I look forward to seeing a lot of you this weekend and I hope you've all signed up for the Centennial Celebration on Saturday — it's going to be a rockin' time with the Skip Castro Band playing all our favorite '80s tunes! For more info and to sign up click here.

Dukes Love,

Jackie Walsh


Thursday, Sept. 29 & Friday, Sept. 30: Friday in Full Swing

Students flocked to the Late Night Breakfast last night for some nighttime nutrition, fun and games! Finishing up next door in the Festival Ballroom was the JMU Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Dinner. The 24th annual induction dinner honored the JMU Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2011, whose inductees will also be honored at Saturday's football game.

The 2011 Hall of Fame Inductees were:

Eileen F. Arnaldo (’96), health sciences major from Virginia Beach, Va.,   

Field Hockey

Mike Cawley (’96), finance major from Verona, Pa.,



Megan Riley Clark (’00), kinesiology major from Goodlettsville, Tenn.,  



Curtis Keaton (’00), kinesiology major from Metairie, La.

Football (He went on to play for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints)


Jason Long (’01), marketing major from Woodstock, Va., (posthumous)

Track/Cross Country


Aimee Vaughn Sharpe (’98), accounting major from Cockeysville, Md.,



This morning alumni gathered for the annual Homecoming Alumni Golf Tournament at Lakeview Golf Course sponsored by the Harrisonburg Alumni Chapter.  Alumni look forward to this each year as a way to kick off the homecoming weekend and take part in a little friendly competition.

As the sun set on the quad, the pep rally was turning into a dance party – featuring the Duke Dog, student organizations and performances by a capella groups and dance groups Madison Dance and Mozaic.

As president of the Student Ambassadors, senior Claire Austin has been planning the pep rally since spring semester with the help of fellow Student Ambassador who are part of the Homecoming Committee. They also have an alumni board and a committee within student ambassadors that helped out with the successful event.

“We’ve all just been working really hard this semester,” said Austin. “While the pep rally is my favorite event of Homecoming, my favorite part is just the whole spirit of the week and everyone coming together to bleed purple a little extra.”

The Duke Club Scholarship Auction also took place tonight at 6:30pm on the Bridgeforth Stadium Club Level. This was the fourth annual silent auction but the first to take place in such an amazing spot from our brand new addition to the stadium! Alumni and Duke Club members joined up for heavy hors d’oeuvres to bid in a silent and live auction for some pretty cool JMU memorabilia.

Tomorrow is a big day and I’m looking forward to all the awesome events! See you all out there!


Dukes Love,



Saturday, Oct. 1: Game Day!

This morning the UREC Dukes’ 5k Run/Walk took place as a healthy kick off to a day of food and football!  There are also multiple reunions going on today as well as the alumni tailgate on Godwin Field at 1 p.m. The game against Richmond kicks off at 3:30 pm.

Tonight, presented by the CMSS Inter-cultural Greek Council, the annual Homecoming Step Show in Wilson Hall will take place at 8 p.m. (Doors open at 7 p.m.).

At Commons Day I met Brittany-Dale Wilson, a junior who recently transferred to JMU, Jiggs, a senior who will be performing in the step show as part of his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, and Taylor Ballard, a sophomore. All were looking forward most to the step show event.

Jiggs, as he is known, recommends that people come out to the step show because “it educates people on the minority greek life, it’s really fun and it’s entertaining.” His chapter has been practicing since the beginning of the semester and as Jiggs went to catch the bus for class, another member of Omega Psi Phi and performer in the step show came over. Adrian Cavanaugh, a junior, also happens to be a defensive end for our football team playing Richmond today. His prediction for the game? “We’re gonna win.” Let’s hope he’s right!

The big event tonight is the Alumni Centennial Celebration in Festival at 7 p.m. starring the Skip Castro Band! It should be a blast and I’ll be posting later today with updates on today’s events.



Saturday, Oct. 1: Squashing the Spiders

With a big win over Richmond (31-7), alumni, parents, students and all Dukes fans were in a pretty great mood! Despite the rain and the cold, everyone had a blast tailgating, catching up with old friends and cheering on our team. It was an overwhelming consensus for the best part of the day: “The win!” Among others this was Kevin Kelly’s (‘89) most exciting part. Him and Pete Ragone (’90) hung out at the main event of the evening: the Alumni Centennial Celebration in Festival. Both alumni agreed that catching up with old friends and classmates was a highlight of the weekend thus far.

The main event featured the Skip Castro Band who really rocked out and kept the dance floor crowded throughout the night.

Lining the hallway leading into the Festival Ballroom were all the painted miniature Duke Dogs. My favorite one was the Centennial Duke Dog by artist Briton Camphouse – the cape has a collage of photos illustrating the history of JMU – very cool!

The event featured a photography station with a green screen where people could get their picture taken on various JMU “backdrops”, infamous Kline’s ice cream, an amazing display of cupcakes that spelled out “James Madison University Alumni,” and lots of great food and friends.

One of the most intriguing parts of the celebration was the photography exhibit Full Frame 100 that was displayed. It recognized works by various JMU Alumni and local Harrisonburg residents. There were some really fabulous photos of everything from our very own JMU Dukes tackling a Richmond player in a previous year's game to moving family portraits.

Ashley Templeton (’07) came with her husband Casey Templeton (’07), one of the featured photographers of the exhibit. “We’ve had a great time this weekend,” said Ashley. “We met at JMU so it’s kind of fun to come back. We did the whole tailgating thing and the new stadium is amazing. It’s been neat to see how things have changed. Even since we left, school spirit has increased.”

Everyone seemed thrilled with the celebration and with the outcome of the game, making for a very successful Homecoming 2011! I hope you all had a great time as well. Look for my full article on Homecoming 2011 in the next Madison magazine issue.

Dukes Love,



Sunday, Oct. 2: Alumni Assoc. – 100 Years of Giving Back

Because this was the 100th birthday of the James Madison University Alumni Association they generously made a gift commitment of $100,000 to the JMU Foundation.

“The alumni association is delighted to celebrate the alumni centennial with this gift on behalf of our 100,000-plus alumni,” said alumni association president AJ Fischer during JMU’s quarterly Board of Visitors meeting.

The financial commitment will help fund three endeavors: to develop the James Madison University Alumni Association Centennial Scholarship Endowment, commission the official portrait of university president Linwood H. Rose after his retirement in 2012, and dedicate and improve Alumni Centennial Park — located on the grounds between the Leeolou Alumni Center and East Campus Library.

The Alumni Centennial Park was dedicated this morning on Homecoming weekend, their 100th anniversary!

“Alumni Centennial Park will be a new JMU tradition for all alumni, now and in the future,” Fischer said. “We are also honored to thank President Rose for all of the progress alumni have witnessed during his tenure. Lastly, and most importantly, the endowed scholarships will help students become alumni and realize the success of graduation.”

Congratulations to the Alumni Association for such a huge gesture and thanks to all my fellow alumni in their continuing support!

Dukes Love,