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Presidential Timeline

Presidents Through History

In 1908 slightly over 42 acres of farmland fronted on Harrisonburg’s South Main Street. The land was marked by a gradual rise that crested a hill to the east. Observers noted that any school built on the site would be in full view of the surrounding area, its turnpike and railroads. It was the spot chosen to build the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg—a school that, a century later, would be known as James Madison University and recognized as one of the top universities in the country.

How do you go from an open field to an institution with award-winning programs, faculty and students? What happened in Harrisonburg would not have been possible without the men appointed to lead the institution, each possessed of his own unique blend of traits that proved to be the right thing at the right time. And common to all were the gifts of purpose, imagination, drive and vision.

Please explore the timeline by clicking on the name or year to learn more about the legacy of each of the presidents and each photo to experience the contributions each man made to James Madison University. And be sure to check out the extended version of this article in Madison Magazine, coming spring 2013.