President Jon Alger presented keys to the university to Harrisonburg Mayor Ted Byrd and Chairman of the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors Fred Eberly following a brisk walk from campus to the city’s Court Square Thursday afternoon. The ceremony represented President Alger’s desire for a new era of even stronger engagement between JMU and the community.
Approximately 200 students, faculty, staff and community members braved breezy spring weather to hike the half-mile to the cadence of drummers from Harrisonburg, Turner Ashby, Spotswood, East Rockingham and Broadway high school bands.
“This walk symbolizes solidarity between JMU and the community,” said President Alger from the sundrenched steps of the courthouse. The presentation of keys was intended to “make everybody feel welcome to come to campus and be part of our university.”
“Today marks an important day in the history of JMU and in the history of the community,” said Eberly. “Our community benefits from JMU’s success and we thank you.”
“Doesn’t purple and gold look good on Court House Square?” said Mayor Byrd. “This event represents the partnership we share that enables us to achieve our goals together. “
Local alumnus Scott Rogers emceed the ceremony, which was followed by a shift indoors to the Court Square Theater for an a cappella vocal performance by JMU singing group Note-Oriety and a lecture, “Beyond the Marble Man: Who Was James Madison?” by David Mattern, Associate Editor, The Papers of James Madison, University of Virginia.