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 Montpelier Magazine

Parents Council veterans: Al and Pat Menard ('93P, '96P, '00P), left, and Lane and Rick Witthoefft ('93P, '97P, '01P)

That's the spirit

Lifers serve the Parents Council with a smile

Once you become a parent, you're a parent forever, the saying goes. Even as their children have become adults, the Witthoeffts and Menards can attest that parents never stop worrying - or serving. These couples hold the record for serving the longest on the JMU Parents Council - by sending three kids each to JMU.

Parents Council co-chairs Rick and Lane Witthoefft have served the council since 1993. Their youngest son, Brian, graduates in May, following two older brothers, Jason ('97) and Ned ('01). Both business majors, Jason works for Capital One Bank, and Ned is a mortgage banker.

Rick is an attorney with Hirschler Fleischer in Richmond. Lane is a homemaker and part-time sales consultant for Southern Living at Home.

'We've been consistently impressed with the quality of people and leadership among JMU's administration,' says Rick. 'There's a real commitment to planning and vision.'

Lane adds, 'It's a challenge for a university to meet the needs and strengths of individual students. But all three of our sons did well. I wish every parent could serve on the Parents Council. We've been enriched by many new friendships.'

Holding the record for the most years served on the Parents Council are Aurel 'Al' and Pat Menard of Virginia Beach. The Menards served the council for 11 years (1989-2000) while their three children attended JMU.

Al is vice president of sales for Tidewater Technical Services, an industrial contracting firm. Pat is guidance director at Larkspur Middle School.

Al laughs, 'After our last son graduated, I bought the sweatshirt with the biggest block JMU letters on it that I could find. I tease my family that it's my $150,000 sweatshirt. All kidding aside, it was always an honor to represent JMU. The more we thought we were giving, the more we got in return as far as being informed and feeling a part of the university.'

The Menards chaired the Parents Council's admissions and finance committees, and Pat says, 'This was a wonderful opportunity to meet fantastic people and gifted students, all of whom added to the family atmosphere at JMU.'

Their daughter, Micheline 'Mickey' Menard ('93), is completing courses at JMU (conducting a student-teaching experience this spring) to earn an early childhood education teaching certificate. Business graduate Jim Menard ('96) works for Accenture and is married to Robyn Manuel Menard ('96), a CPA for Navigant Consulting. Joe Menard ('00), also a business graduate, is a project manager for Adamson Development.

For more information on the JMU Parents Council, call Glenda Rooney, associate vice president for university relations and liaison to the Parents Council, at (540) 568-3192.