Constitution Day, Sept. 17, 1999, had extra special meaning this year, as JMU installed its fifth president, Linwood H. Rose, in a ceremony that also honored fourth U.S. president, "Father of the Constitution," and JMU eponym, James Madison.
Rose captured the emotion of the day when he stepped to the podium saying, "Thank you for seeing this inauguration for what is should properly be: not the recognition of one person's achievement, but instead the celebration of our institution's proud heritage and promising future."
In his speech, Rose outlined many presidential and institutional goals, including making JMU the "gold standard" for the undergraduate educational experience. He also spoke of aligning JMU with President James Madison's legacy. "The principal author of the Constitution was a true champion of education. He viewed it as an essential ingredient to democracy. "In discussing our freedom he pointed to 'Liberty and learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support.' I believe we should closely associate JMU with Madison the man. I am especially pleased that Constitution Day and this inaugural are being celebrated simultaneously."
More than 3,500 students, faculty and staff members, alumni and friends gathered on the Quad to witness the installation of President Rose. The ceremony took place in front of Wilson Hall and against a kaleidoscope of colorful flags from 95 nations representing the homelands of the university's international students and professors.
Fifty members of the Marching Royal Dukes, regaled in purple, white and gold uniforms, accompanied the processional with he sounds of herald trumpets, used formerly in opening ceremonies for the Olympics and on loan from Yamaha Corp.
The processional included JMU faculty members and delegates from other institutions of higher education adorned in academic regalia; international students and professors in native dress; the JMU ROTC Color Guard; members of JMU advisory committees and boards, representatives of student organizations, faculty emeriti; the JMU Board of Visitors; and local and state political leaders.
George A. Wead, media arts professor, welcomed participants and guests, and music professor In Dal Choi led the singing of the national anthem. Henry H. Harrell, rector of JMU's Board of Visitors, served as master of ceremonies.
Student participation in the ceremony included performances by the JMU Chorale and an inaugural reading by Student Ambassador President Scott Rogers. "Mr. Madison played a major role in supporting his good friend, Thomas Jefferson, in establishing and sustaining the University of Virginia," said Rogers. "He spoke out frequently and forcefully on the importance of an educated citizenry - asserting many times that freedom and knowledge are inseparable. James Madison's devotion to education is summarized in the following excerpts from a letter he wrote to a friend in Kentucky, W.T. Barry, in 1822:
"Learned institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty. They are the nurseries of skillful teachers for the schools distributed throughout the community. They are themselves schools for the particular talents required for use of the public trusts… They multiply the educated individuals from among whom the people may elect a due portion of their public agents of every description; more especially of those who are to frame the laws…
"Throughout the civilized world, nations are courting the praise of fostering science and the useful arts, and are opening their eyes to the principles and the blessings of representative government. The American people owe it to themselves, and to the cause of free government, to prove by their establishments for the advancement and diffusion of knowledge, that their political institutions, which are attracting observation from every quarter, and are respected as models, by the new-born states in our own hemisphere, are as favorable to the intellectual and moral improvement of man as they are conformable to his individual and social rights…"
As part of the inaugural ceremony, the JMU Wind Symphony presented the premiere of Madison, James Madison, a composition written by Larry Clark ('90) and commissioned especially for the ceremony. The Wind Symphony was directed by John Patrick Rooney, who also directs the March Royal Dukes.
Clark earned the first master's of conducting degree given by JMU. He is vice president of Carl Fischer Music and he lives in New York City with his wife Jill, also a JMU graduate. Clark says he chose the title Madison James Madison because it is the first line of both the JMU fight song and the school song. The work was inspired by the writings of fourth U.S. president James Madison.
Theater Professor Roger Hall, dressed as James Madison, and ceremony narrator George A. Wead performed the dramatic spoken portions of Madison James Madison. The spoken sections of the piece described James Madison's life, characteristics, political work, writings and ideas.
William Thomas, professor emeritus of philosophy and religion, delivered the invocation for President Rose's inaugural.
Formal greetings came from Lt. Gov. John T. Hager and Virginia Secretary of Technology Donald W. Upson, who represented the Commonwealth of Virginia and the governor's office; Paul E. Torgerson, president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Rodney L. Eagle, mayor of Harrisonburg; Charles W. Ahrend, chair of the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors; Patrick A. Julius, president of the JMU Alumni Association Board of Directors; Austin F. Adams, president of the Student Government Association; John and Emily Cocowitch, chairs of the JMU Parents Council, James V. Couch, professor of psychology and speaker of the JMU Faculty Senate; and Christina B. Updike, chair of the JMU Employee Advisory Committee.
As a special part of the investiture, JMU Board of Visitors Rector Henry Harrell presented a chain of office to Rose. The gift was commissioned by the Parents Council and crafted this summer by JMU art professor Ronald Wyancko.
The audience welcomed Rose with a standing ovation before his speech and interrupted him several times with cheers of approval. Throughout his address, Rose repeated the inaugural theme - all together one - a concept similar to the U.S. motto, e pluribus unum, "out of many, one." He spoke of the dichotomy of a university, which allows for diverse viewpoints while seeking common objectives. "I want us to pursue a shared vision for James Madison University. While respectful of individual aspirations and dreams, and ever mindful of the strengthening qualities of diversity, the university community needs a common purpose… to make JMU the gold standard for the undergraduate educational experience, and to build a national reputation that will attract the best faculty and students to our program."
His "principal ambition," Rose said, is to help exceptional teachers "work their special magic with students… When asked who influenced their life the most, former students never say, 'the president.' They name a professor. … Rather than 10 buildings, $10 million or 10 new programs, I would prefer to be responsible for creating the conditions for 10 faculty to flourish at JMU and to alter the lives of students they teach. If that can be done, then I will feel gratified with what has been accomplished."
To close the ceremony, Sonya G. Baker, assistant professor of music, sang JMU's Alma Mater, followed by the wind symphony and chorale's performance of America the Beautiful. Carl D. Swanson, professor emeritus of psychology, offered the benediction.
The platform party exited to the recessional arrangement, President Madison's March, which was written for the 1809 inauguration of James Madison as fourth president of the United States.
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