JMU in the Community

Madison Alumni Conference 2014

by Paula Polglase


Group photo of alumni attending Madison Alumni Conference

Alumni volunteers from all over the United States gathered back on campus May 30–June 1 to participate in the Madison Alumni Conference, a weekend for training volunteers, celebrating accomplishments and reconnecting with Madison. MAC is hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations, the Admissions Office and Athletics. 

“The networking and building of relationships that goes on during the weekend between alumni from all over the country is phenomenal,” said Laura Higgins ('07, '08M) of the Harrisonburg Chapter. “It is a great learning experience and also wonderful display of appreciation from the Alumni Relations staff for what the volunteers do throughout the year." 

President Alger speaking to alumni

Back to the Classroom 

The focus of the weekend is on learning, both about being an alumni volunteer and more about JMU. President Jonathan Alger emphasized that both/and concept in his plenary session with the group, saying a JMU education is both about learning and applying that knowledge.

Alger also emphasized the importance of alumni staying engaged with the university. “I tell the incoming freshmen, ‘You don’t have the support of just the faculty and staff but you have an extended JMU family for the rest of your life and that includes all of the Alumni across the country and across the world.'”

“Being in the loop about new JMU happenings reignited my purple and gold pride in the best way possible.” 

Sessions throughout the weekend focused on developing volunteer leadership and creating great events. There were also update sessions on the Student Alumni Association, Admissions and Athletics. The weekend wrapped up with a tour of some of JMU’s newest facilities and renovation projects including the Bioscience Building, the Student Success Center and Duke Hall.

Chris Palmer (‘11), who traveled from Chicago for the conference said, “Being in the loop about new JMU happenings reignited my purple and gold pride in the best way possible.” 

Charlotte chapter leaders accepting award


One of the overarching themes of the weekend was the sincere appreciation expressed by JMU staff members for the work alumni volunteers do on behalf of the university. “We have had a great year with our chapter program, and I cannot express how thankful I am for everyone who makes what we do possible,” said Amanda Leech, assistant director for Alumni Relations. 

Recognized at the MAC this year were Most Improved Chapter: Harrisonburg, VA; Chapter of the Year: Charlotte, NC; and Volunteer of the Year: Stephanie Marino (’08). 

The Takeaway

The alumni are encouraged to take what they have learned and the connections they have made back to their local chapters and events. Higgins said this is one of the most important parts of the conference. She mentioned the “Building Your Best Team” workshop as a highlight of the weekend. “It allowed us to look at the strengths of each person and really relate that to how we can work better together, as chapter leaders,” she said. “This year I felt more connected to other chapters' leaders and realized that we all do share similar challenges at times.”

“Being back at JMU was a great reminder of the positive energy we all were so attracted to in our years on campus,” said Palmer. “I think it's so important to harness that energy and remind not only fellow chapter members of it, but continue to integrate the JMU spirit into our everyday lives.”

Browse the MAC photo album

By Paula Polglase ('92, '96)

June 16, 2014

Published: Monday, June 1, 2015

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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