JMU President Linwood H. Rose


From the President

Looking back on the high points of last year

 

A new academic year is an appropriate time to look back at some of the high points of JMU’s 2001-02 academic year. I’ve briefly described here what we found in our look back. My more in-depth review of the year is available at http://www.jmu.edu/president/sept2002_letter.html.

National Recognitions Continue:
Independent studies again cited JMU repeatedly as one of America’s finest colleges or universities. U.S. News & World Report has cited — for nine years in a row — JMU as the best public master’s-level university in the South. It was one of many national publications to praise JMU’s quality. The author of one guidebook summed things up nicely when he wrote: “JMU is almost too perfect to be believed.”

Enrollment Stabilizing:
At my inauguration in 1999, I announced that JMU’s enrollment would stabilize after reaching previously agreed-upon state enrollment projections. With relatively modest increases during the last few years, our current enrollment is slightly more than 15,000. While our enrollment has been relatively stable, current demand for admission to JMU continues to grow, and we find ourselves in the difficult position of having to decline many outstanding applicants. This past year, we received more than 16,000 applications for an entering freshman class of around 3,300.

Budget Shortfall:
A variety of factors have combined to create a major budget shortfall in Virginia. This necessitates budget cuts in public universities and colleges as well as all other state agencies. At this time, the state budget picture remains increasingly pessimistic for the 2002-04 biennium, and we are dealing with cuts in our budget in a manner designed to minimize the effect they will have on our academic programs. It is certainly our hope that the state’s revenue picture will improve. However, no immediate end to the budgetary problem is in sight.

Academic Excellence:
In addition to JMU’s being recognized in national publications, there have been many other activities and recognitions that illustrate the excellence of JMU’s academic programs.

JMU has quickly become a national leader in technology and is one of 36 universities in the nation recognized by the National Security Agency as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. JMU’s first Ph.D. program — a research doctorate in communication sciences and disorders — began this fall. Faculty members from throughout the university community received a multitude of individual honors and recognitions during the past year. I have listed the major awards in my year-end review on the Web at http://www.jmu.edu/president/ sept2002_letter.html.

Student Involvement:
As always, JMU students demonstrated that the learning process continues outside the classroom. U.S. News & World Report recognized JMU’s service-learning program as one of the nation’s 25 best. More than 1,500 JMU students volunteer their time and energies each year to more than 100 area civic clubs and agencies.

New Facilities:
Shortly after the 2001-02 year began, we opened a new facility that has been high on the wish list for faculty members and students for many years — a 500-vehicle parking deck. A major addition containing a conference center was added to the College Center with the opening of the Leeolou Alumni Center, giving our alumni association — for the first time ever — a major facility to call its own.

Private Giving Increases:
The need for private funding has become even more critical for JMU, and the past year was characteristic of our increasing efforts to raise private funds. Total private giving to the university in 2001-02 increased by 7 percent over the previous year — from $5.6 million to a record $6 million. Annual private support for JMU has more than doubled in five years.

A Bright Future:
I have been a part of James Madison University since 1975, and I remain excited about the university’s past, present and future. Still, it is not a perfect world. Our funding is far less than it should be. We need additional faculty members, staff members and facilities to fully support top-quality programs for our outstanding student body. Even with the needs that we have, I am extremely optimistic about the future of our university. I continue to have great pride in JMU and all the people associated with it. We are confident this will be another wonderful year for the university.


Linwood H. Rose
President


Publisher: Montpelier Magazine For Information Contact: montpelier@jmu.edu