James Madison University

History

  • 1908.  JMU opens it’s doors as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women. Althea Loose teaches  physical education courses, but there is no physical education major.
  • 1926. A Physical and Health Education major is established to prepare physical and health education teachers for Virginia’s public schools. For many years the institution prepared more physical education teachers than any other college in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • 1950-1970 JMU produces many young women faculty members who would go on to become national leaders in physical education, including Celeste Ulrich, Mary K. Beyrer, Dorothy Harris, Caroline Sinclair, Marilyn Crawford, Lee Morrison, and Patricia Bruce.
  • 1970’s.  An academic track is established for students who were interested in physical education, but did not want to teach in public/private schools.  Later, this non-teaching track morphed into the academic concentrations of exercise science, athletic training, sports administration, recreation, health science, and dance.
  • 1991. The department changed its name from Physical Education and Sport to Kinesiology. At that time the Department of Kinesiology at JMU had about 70 undergraduate majors, 15 graduate majors, and 11 faculty members.  During the 1990’s a General Education course was developed and implemented to provide education to the JMU community on safe and effective exercise.  To the present day, instructors of GKIN 100 serve thousands of students each academic year.
  • 2006. JMU established the Morrison-Bruce Center to develop and provide activities to promote physical activity for girls and women and enhance their knowledge of health issues. Named in honor of retired faculty members Lee Morrison and Patricia Bruce, the MBC offers regular programs and services for the JMU community and the Commonwealth of Virginia.  This active center also supports research efforts of faculty and students.
  • 2010.  Programs and majors that were part of Sports and Recreation Management leave Kinesiology to form a new School with the Department of Hospitality and Tourism.  This leaves the undergraduate Kinesiology programs with two major programs: Physical and Health Education/Teacher Education and Exercise Science.  Despite the split, the department currently supports about 450 undergraduate majors, 40 graduate majors, and 14 faculty members.