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 Montpelier Magazine


Letters to the Editor


I have enjoyed receiving Montpelier because it is the only tangible connection I have to JMU. I can appreciate that someone who never has given any evidence of an affinity to the school would be discarded and likely they will not miss the magazine. In my experience, however, many young graduates move often, change jobs, begin families, and it isn't until later that they become more reliable donors. Certainly, without the cultivation of the university magazine, it is even less likely that they will remember JMU. I can appreciate the unfortunate reality that Virginia, like many states, is facing a deficit and being forced to cut funding to valued programs. I still believe JMU is going to hurt itself if it excludes the youngest alumni from the circulation, though, regardless of their giving levels to date.

Christina (LaVarre) Auch ('92), Harpers Ferry, W.Va.


  Thanks for the wonderful Fall 2002 issue - especially the great article in the "Professors You Love" column ["Lynn Fichter: stratigraphic theories and the price of labels"]. I sent out the URL to all the geology majors I know and copied my husband, Lynn. Within hours, he got replies from several of his former students. Let's see, we have the U.K., New Jersey and California for starters. Whoever came up with the idea, it is a great one. Lynn has always been devoted to his students. This public affirmation of the effect faculty have on students is very gratifying. Many thanks.

Julie Clay ('85), Harrisonburg, Va.


I am writing this letter to acknowledge the passing of a special friend of mine and of James Madison University. Nancy Chappelear Baird ('40) passed away on Nov. 3, 2002. She was a special person who made a tremendous difference in the lives of many people she knew and many more people she never knew. During the last four years, Nancy and her husband, Alvin V. Baird Jr., made significant generous donations to the university to support the development of the Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center and the Alvin V. and Nancy Chappelear Baird Professorship. While these were large financial donations, they reflect only part of their gift.

Much of Nancy's gift was the friendship and personal support she gave to those of us providing services, conducting research, and training students in the areas of learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Nancy and her husband have met many of the students involved in the center and even attended meetings with parents and some of the students receiving services. It was wonderful to watch her passion come to encompass the center that she and her husband founded. It is this passion that all of us working in the center will treasure and keep with us as we continue to work in the areas that Nancy found so important.

It is through our work that we always hoped to give back to Nancy and Alvin. Nancy enjoyed seeing those of us working in the center make a difference in the lives of children and families. Nancy once told of a hug she received from a woman whose child received services at the center. Even after some of the limitations of age had reduced what Nancy and Alvin were able to accomplish themselves, they found a way to keep making a difference in the lives of numerous people.

Those of us working in the center are eternally grateful for Nancy's passion and support. She touched the lives of many people and will continue to make a difference after her death through the center. For those of us who knew her, Nancy's laughter, enthusiasm and giving will stay with us, and through our work we will attempt to pass it on to others who never had the joy of knowing her.

Steven W. Evans, Associate professor of psychology, Director, JMU Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center


I enjoyed reading the article about Lucille Jones Clark Smead ('28) in Montpelier [Fall 2002].  She was a classmate of my mother, Virginia Boyd Harvey. I imagine she would know mother. I am also a graduate of Madison College.

Betty Boyd Murray ('52), Hendersonville, Tenn.

Montpelier welcomes letters

about stories and issues raised in the magazine. Letters are subject to editing, and not all letters can be published, nor can they be returned. Letters must include your name, address and daytime phone number or e-mail address. So that we can properly identify you to readers, please tell us your class year or whether you are a parent, professor or student. Anonymous letters will not be published. Send your letters to "22807," Montpelier, 26 Medical Arts West, MSC 5718, JMU, Harrisonburg, VA 22807 or