Montpelier: James Madison University Magazine

Alumni Center Design Reveals 'A Room With a View'
Montpelier Winter 1999

JMU and the JMU Alumni Association last fall unveiled the design of the future $3 million, two-story Alumni Center, which will be built east of Interstate 81. Construction is tentatively due to be completed by Homecoming 2000.

The focal point of the design is a multipurpose great room with a bluestone fireplace, display space for revolving exhibits of Madison memorabilia and an adjoining terrace. The fireplace, made of the same bluestone from which the Quad buildings are constructed, will serve as a visual bridge from Madison's past to JMU's future. Two of the great room's exterior walls and one of the interior walls will be made primarily of glass.

"The view will be terrific," says Hugh Lantz ('73), president of the JMU Alumni Association. "From the terrace side, alumni will look out over rolling hills and meadows to the west, and from the other they'll look straight into the interior of student and academic buildings. Both perspectives will offer a view into the heart of bustling campus life."

"I am excited about the Alumni Center because of all that it represents for our graduates and our future," says JMU President Linwood H. Rose. "The building will be connected to the new College Center, affording us many opportunities for exciting programs and services for both alumni and students. Alumni will be hosted, entertained and educated in state-of-the-art facilities. Additionally, their involvement with a variety of programs, such as mentoring and networking, will provide a long-term, meaningful impact on the lives of our students."

The great room and the adjoining terrace will offer gathering places for alumni to meet with one another and take part in programs designed especially for them, like reunions, career counseling, chapter programs, continuing education and special festivities. Situated on the top floor, the great room will incorporate state-of-the-art technology so that groups can participate in multimedia presentations, teleconferencing and watch sporting events.

In addition to two meeting rooms, the top floor will feature two large conference rooms that share a dividing door, which will slide open to create an even larger board room. The center's lower level will house offices for the alumni and development operations.

Alumni Center

Outside of the reception area on the top floor will be the entrance gallery, which will also serve as part of an indoor concourse that connects the Alumni Center with an academic building on one side and the student-oriented College Center on the other. Construction of the Alumni Center will occur in conjunction with Phase 2 of the College Center. Phase 1 of the student building is already complete and in use.

"JMU decided to locate the Alumni Center right next to the College Center to enhance and encourage interaction among alumni and udents," Lantz says. "Alumni are in a position to assist students with career mentoring and programs, and by the time students graduate they already will feel welcome in the Alumni Center."

The academic buildings, Alumni Center and College Center have been designed along intersecting axes that will allow free flow among them for students, professors and alumni alike.

"Students and alumni will be able to enter the first academic building and reach the student services building along an indoor concourse," Lantz says.

Alumni Center Program Fund to raise $1.5 million from JMU's 62,000 alumni

The $3 million cost of the Alumni Center will be funded through a partnership between JMU and gifts from alumni.

A fund-raising project, called the Alumni Center Program Fund, is under way now to raise $1.5 million. During the two-year effort, JMU's 62,000 alumni will be asked to make a gift in support of their future home and headquarters.

"This is a very special fund-raising effort," says Hugh Lantz ('73), president of the alumni association. "The Alumni Center Program Fund is a fund-raising effort over and above the university's traditional fund raising for academics. We will ask alumni to make their usual gift to support JMU academics and an additional gift just for the Alumni Center Program Fund."

"The fund will provide an opportunity for every graduate to feel a sense of ownership in the creation of the Alumni Center as well as the programs and services that will be held there," says Nancy Bowman Lantz ('71).

The Lantzes head the fund's Volunteer Leadership Committee. Other members are Michael Beahm ('77), Byron Bullock ('89), Jean Parrish Copeland ('58), Herman W. Hale ('73), Alice Munkasey Julius ('65), Dr. Lynn Zirkle Lang ('64), Daniel E. Lynch ('84) and Dennis Joseph Tracz ('78).

"We began last fall to help identify key alumni and provide some focus and support for JMU's development officers, who are making presentations this spring to individuals and groups of alumni," Nancy Lantz says. "We urge alumni to learn about the alumni center and the alumni program and then promise their financial support."

The class of 1949 has already responded by agreeing to raise $50,000, which has been designated to name the Alumni Center rooftop terrace.

With the leadership phase of the campaign already in progress, JMU has set a ceremonial groundbreaking for this summer. Homecoming 1999 will kick off the public phase of the Alumni Center Program Fund campaign. During this year-long phase, JMU will ask all alumni to make a gift for the center, which is tentatively scheduled to open in September 2000 and to be dedicated at Homecoming 2000.

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