JMU in the Community

Building an alumni network to shape JMU's future

by Jan Gillis ('07)

JMU Senior Vice President Mark Warner at Madison Alumni Conference

Madison Alumni Conference gives alumni opportunities for meaningful involvement with JMU

By James Irwin ('06)

JMU students at alumni conference
In addition to alumni volunteers, the conference also featured students who will make up the leadership board of JMU's Student Alumni Association, set to launch in the fall.

More than 60 alumni leaders returned to Harrisonburg the first weekend of June to attend the annual Madison Alumni Conference, a weekend-long program designed to recruit, train and recognize alumni volunteers.

A partnership-driven conference that brings back JMUAA chapter leaders, Duke Club reps and Admissions Recruitment Volunteers who represent Madison at college fairs throughout the country, MAC is a winner of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education's prestigious Award of Excellence. The conference builds a network of JMU graduates who are informed, involved and invested in shaping the future of James Madison University.

"As an alum, the MAC conference was a great opportunity to gain insight into what's happening around campus," said Heather Cote ('09), a member of the MetroDukes Chapter who served as vice president for membership and outreach from 2011-13. "[It was exciting to] hear more about leadership's vision for the future."

The workshop-oriented weekend featured presentations from JMU President Jonathan Alger, senior vice president Dr. Mark Warner ('79, '81M, '85Ed.S), JMU Alumni Association Executive Director Ashley Privott and Dr. Margaret Sloan from JMU's School of Strategic Leadership Studies. JMU Alumni Association president Jamie Jones Miller ('99) also presented Alger with a $100,000 check from the JMU Alumni Association to the Madison Forever Vision Fund. JMUAA had issued a matching gift challenge to alumni at Alger's March 15 presidential inauguration, pledging to match every $2 raised privately with $1 from the association.

Vision Fund fundraising has raised $340,000 to date thanks to gifts from more than 2,800 donors, including a $25,000 contribution from The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County on behalf of Joe Showker ('79) and his wife Debbie Showker ('78), and a leadership gift from JMU Alumni Association president-elect Larry Caudle ('82) and his wife Barbara Caudle ('81).

"It's time to give back," Barbara Caudle said. "This is an opportunity to elevate JMU and enhance our reputation as a best-value school. By doing things with students, the school, being engaged, giving, enriching the school's reputation—that's how we can stay involved."

Meaningful involvement was a theme Alger returned to frequently during his keynote address to attendees, as he led discussion of James Madison's vision for an educated society, JMU's aspiration to become a national model of civil discourse and the importance of personal interactions, faculty support and student scholarship. In addition to alumni volunteers, the conference also featured students who will make up the leadership board of JMU's Student Alumni Association, set to launch in the fall.

"One of my favorite aspects of the conference this year was the involvement from current students," Cote said. "It was refreshing to see the passion they have for becoming informed, involved alumni, and to see the university nurturing that engagement long before they receive their diploma."

Learn more about the Madison Forever Vision Fund.

Learn more about MAC.

See the event photos.

Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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