The faces of license plate scholarship money: JMU President Linwood H. Rose congratulates Legacy Scholarship winners (l-r): Kasey Fisher, Kendall Helton, Katie Warner, Will Simpkins and Katie Taliaferro.

Purple prides turns into scholarships

The new Leeolou Alumni Center, decked out with purple and gold banners and spreads of delicious food, was the gateway for 77 entering freshmen and their parents at the August Legacy Scholarship Luncheon. The plush center overlooks the newer residence halls east of I-81, and it was a new and welcome sight for Katie Taliaferro and her parents — though her parents are very familiar with the JMU grounds on the other side of I-81.

Linda and Rich Taliaferro, both 1975 graduates, and their daughter, Katie, mingled with other freshmen legacies and JMU President Linwood H. Rose at the Leeolou center.

Though most of the legacies had heard JMU stories from their parents, Katie had a leg up on her classmates. She’s a fourth generation legacy. Her maternal grandmother, Jean Early, graduated from Madison’s secretarial program; and her great-grandmother, Beulah Showalter Early, attended the Normal School. “Katie has cousins and aunts that graduated from JMU, too,” says mom, Linda.

“We’re so honored for JMU to recognize Katie with this scholarship,” adds dad, Rich.

Legacy Scholarships are available each year because of another JMU legacy — Purple Pride. Alumni, who take their school pride on the road each day via a JMU Virginia state license plate, raised $19,500 for 19 Legacy Scholarships. This fall, 17 students received $1,000 each and two received $1,250.

For every JMU license plate purchased through the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles, $15 of the $25 specialty plate fee goes to JMU for scholarships. “The license plate program is helpful to the alumni association on so many levels,” says Justin Thompson, director of alumni relations. “It’s a great way to display JMU pride and provide much needed scholarship support to legacy students.”

To learn more about the Virginia JMU license plate scholarship program, visit To order a plate visit the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles online at

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