Where There's Algae, There's Promise for Petroleum Alternative

Student researchers hold beakers with algae water

Jackson Adolph and Mike DePaola are looking forward to a future full of green—algae, that is.

The two integrated science and technology majors have been working since last spring researching the most efficient and economical ways to grow and harvest the oil-rich plant, which shows promise in reducing America's dependence on petroleum.

With Exxon Mobil sinking $600 million into algae-based biofuels in 2009 and the U.S. Navy consistently increasing its use of algae-based fuels, there's reason to be excited about its future.

"No doubt this is what I want to do," Adolph said. "You always have to be optimistic. We've learned a ton about how to do this."


Published Oct. 26, 2011


Making Toothpaste for Elephants Can Spark Interest in Chemistry

Screen shot of ChemDemo website.

Casey Rogers tells the story something like this: "I have a pet elephant and he uses a lot of toothpaste so I make my own so it's not so expensive."

It's a story that enchants elementary-school-aged children, especially when combined with her visual: A colorful, foamy substance that overflows a graduated cylinder and spirals into a tray. It's not magic, it's basic chemistry in action. A simple chemical reaction using liquid dish soap, potassium iodide and hydrogen peroxide that is both educational and fun. It's also a safe and inexpensive experiment teachers can do in their classrooms.

Published Sept. 9, 2011

Dateline URBINO, Italy

Five hundred years after the Italian painter Raphael walked the streets of Urbino, James Madison University senior Grant Bell explored the halls of the fine arts academy in the Renaissance master's hometown to hear and write about the struggles of today's emerging artists, including Elvis Spadoni.

Bell, who is majoring in media arts and design with a concentration in digital video and cinema studies, was one of 13 JMU media arts and communication students and two faculty members participating in an intensive storytelling experience set against the backdrop of the Italian Renaissance city in the Marche region. There they joined 13 students from eight other colleges and universities to study with college faculty and media professionals, including two Pulitzer Prize winners.

The Urbino Project, a four-week multimedia reporting undertaking, required the students to be print journalists, photographers, videographers and editors all rolled into one, exactly what the modern world of converged media is demanding of journalists.

Published July 28, 2011

Off on an Adventure

students on adventure trip cross a creek

Going off to college is an adventure for many first-year students. In addition to visiting James Madison University for the one-day Summer Springboard orientation program, some members of the Class of 2015 chose to literally embark on an adventure by signing up for a Madison Orientation Adventure Trip.

According to Sue Lowley, coordinator of adventure and challenge course programs for University Recreation, the program has several goals: to introduce students to UREC, to forge connections between students and to expose students to the areas surrounding JMU. "A lot of times students don't realize the natural recreation possibilities available to them," said Lowley.

From a single trip offered in 2004, MOAT has expanded to nine trips over the course of summer 2011. After attending Summer Springboard during the day, students proceed to UREC to start their adventure trip. Within a couple of hours the group of 10 to 12 first-year students has been issued gear, pitched tents behind the building and headed off to the UREC challenge course.

Published July 22, 2011

Anatomy of a Teaching Tool:
New Bioscience Building Designed to Enhance Learning

bioscience building construction site

It's not easy to generate two-way discussion or collaborative group work amongst 70 to 100 students sitting in an auditorium-style classroom—at least not in classrooms that were built several years ago.

When JMU's new bioscience building opens in fall 2012, it will have some large classrooms, but those classrooms have been designed so students can break into groups and do the type of work that is more common in smaller rooms.

"There were really creative ideas just in designing auditoriums," said Dr. Mark Gabriele, an associate professor of biology and a member of the design team for the new building. Gabriele said the larger rooms in the bioscience building will feature wider tiers and tables between groups of seats. "If you have lectured on something and you want them to break into groups, they can spin around and be at a table with the people behind them rather than being on separate tiers," he said.

That sort of attention to detail will be evident throughout the building that has been designed to enhance the teaching and learning environment.

Published July 15, 2011

Without Comforts of Home, Africa Trip Opens Students' Eyes

students sitting in circle with villagers

They had to deal with illness, insects, wild animals and mud, but a group of JMU students who spent much of May in Africa also reaped some rewards from the experience.

“Living like the local villagers was an experience all its own, and a very humbling one at that,” said senior Ash Alexander. “Making friends with the Cameroonians, people I will never forget, was incredible. A very close friend to Dr. (Josh) Linder even named his daughter after me. She was born the day we left.”

Linder, an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, took six students—four from JMU and two from universities in New York—to Korup National Park in Cameroon from May 9 to June 2. Linder has been researching primate ecology and conservation at Korup since 2003.

Published July 2011

This Game Leaves Student Researchers Little Time for Play

student writing equations on blackboard

The basic object of mancala games is pretty straightforward: Continue moving stones or seeds from pit to pit until you get them in the ruma and win, or until you run out of moves and lose.

Creating mathematical equations to explain the possible moves and outcomes for the games, also known as sowing games, is proving to be anything but clear-cut for four students participating in this summer's mathematics Research Experience for Undergraduates program at James Madison University.

"Deriving things for the first time is much harder than working through a more complicated problem in a textbook," said Benjamin Warren, a senior at Ramapo College of New Jersey who is majoring in mathematics.

Warren and the other students in the program were selected from more than 100 applicants from around the country, said Dr. Laura Taalman, professor of mathematics at JMU.

Published June 2011

Destination ImagiNation Team Continues Global Finals Success

Consistency is a term becoming synonymous with the James Madison University Destination ImagiNation Team.

Twenty-four JMU students traveled to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, May 25-28, to compete in the 2011 Destination ImagiNation Global Finals, where they received high marks again this year. Of the five teams representing JMU, two received second place honors while two others received third place awards.

JMU offers Destination ImagiNation as a three-credit class. Enrollment can be found under both ISAT and engineering course numbers, and is open to any major as an elective. In the future, students may also have the option of counting the class as communication studies credits.

Published June 2011

Investing in JMU's Future

Senior economics and finance major Justin Quaglia "lives" in Showker Hall. He comfortably roams from room to room on the upper floors, chatting with professors and saying hello to fellow students before landing in Finance Assistant Professor Elias Semaan's office. He will repeat this ritual several times each day. Quaglia is equal parts intense and charming, and since freshman year, he has applied his passion and energy to the Madison Investment Fund, a student-led investment fund that serves as a money manager to the JMU Foundation Inc.

His dedication to MIF is paying off in big ways. This spring the club was internationally recognized as the second best student-managed investment fund in the equity value investment style category at the annual Redefining Investment Strategy Education Forum sponsored by the University of Dayton. On April 25, Quaglia, as president and finance sector portfolio manager, presented MIF's annual report to the JMU Foundation. Under his leadership, MIF has focused on its values and its fiduciary responsibility to the university. On all accounts the news is very good.

Published May 2011

The Real Thing: Graduate Student Takes Research to the Galapagos

Julia Stutzman poses with a tortoise in the Galapagos Islands

For the bulk of her graduate career, Julia Stutzman studied plants found only in the Galapagos Islands by looking at photographs and specimens pressed and mounted on paper.

That changed in February when Stutzman was able to spend about two weeks in the tropical islands made famous by Charles Darwin. Among the many highlights of the Feb. 9-21 trip was seeing the plants she's writing her thesis about, Varronia (formerly Cordia), in their natural environment.

"You can't see the flowers very well in a pressed specimen, but to see them alive was really neat," said Stutzman, who will graduate with a master's degree in biology.

Published April 2011

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Students at career fair.

Spring break is over and that means employment decisions lurk for graduating seniors and undergraduates looking for internships. James Madison University students have an advantage in the job market: the resources of the Career and Academic Planning office.

Mary Morsch, associate director of CAP encourages students and even recent graduates to take advantage of JMU's resources while they can. She gives the example of the career fairs and workshops sponsored by CAP and the Resource Center located in Wilson Hall.

CAP serves students from orientation to post-graduation. Morsch said that the guidance they are able to provide to students is greatly enhanced because of their emphasis on both academic and career planning. "In a student's mind it is all part of one big question: 'What should I major in?' leads right to 'What can I do with that major?'" said Morsch.

Published March 22, 2011


Wind Power Education Gets Boost From JMU Center

Wind for schools graphic

Northumberland Middle/High School became the first Virginia school to build a wind turbine through Virginia Wind for Schools on Friday, Feb. 11. Wind for Schools is a federally funded program administered by the Virginia Center for Wind Energy at James Madison University.

The Wind for Schools program works to raise awareness of the benefits of wind energy through 11 university wind application centers. The centers work with public schools and communities to build wind turbines that increase student involvement in wind energy development and raise their awareness of wind energy benefits.

Through a proposal process, JMU was selected as Virginia's wind application center. Drawing on students and faculty in the engineering and integrated science and technology programs, JMU is able to offer a robust Wind for Schools program.—Full Story

Published February 11, 2011


Chinese-American Fusion

Christopher Davis decided he wanted to meet a new group of friends and learn more about the different aspects of his Chinese background as soon as he began his first semester at James Madison University. After joining the Chinese Student Association, Davis not only established a new family away from home, he made it a top priority to share his appreciation of the Chinese culture with the rest of the JMU community.

On the surface, the goal of CSA is to promote Chinese culture and traditions. However, the members of CSA work together to accomplish an even bigger goal of bridging the American and Chinese cultures, and remain dedicated to helping the JMU community understand the differences between the two.

"We want to break any barriers and disprove any stereotypes people have about the average Chinese-American student," said Davis. "CSA works hard to blend in seamlessly with other organizations on campus, and we hope students recognize that."—Full Story

Published February 1, 2011


Creating AdVenture in the Classroom

Student and teacher converse in venture creation class.

James Madison University senior Ashley Kehoe thinks a little differently than most students and, according to her professor Carol Hamilton, this is the goal. Kehoe is the entrepreneur-founder of Rebound, a sticky medicinal hoof-packing product for horses, and one of Hamilton's students in Venture Creation.

Venture Creation (MGT 472), a senior-level management class, offers students with entrepreneurial interest the chance to develop and focus on the first five years of their business plan. As the economy continues to stall, these undergraduate entrepreneurs chose to create their own path in an environment that both challenges and supports their ideas. — Full Story

Published December 20, 2010


Can Archaeologists and Geologists Put A Cemetery Back Together?

Senior Tim Charlton pushes a radar mounted on wheels over a cemetery.

James Madison University faculty and students are combining disciplines to locate graves in an old family cemetery hit hard by erosion and other elements for more than 200 years.

On Dec. 4, a pair of faculty members and six students worked on mapping what they can't see underground by using a ground penetrating radar. The results of the radar study will be compared with observations made by archaeology students at the Landes Cemetery in Weyers Cave, about 20 miles southwest of JMU in northern Augusta County.— Full Story

Published December 16, 2010


How Are You Getting Home This Weekend?

A Safe Rides volunteer puts promotional material in a Safe Rides car.

Twenty thousand is a milestone number. For James Madison University's SafeRides organization, accredited with providing over 20,000 rides to students, this milestone brings recognition and the knowledge that they have not only made a positive impact on students, but have contributed to a safer Harrisonburg community as well.— Full Story

Published November 2, 2010


Freshman Research Course Proving to be a Good Model

Assistant Professor of Biology Steve Cresawn and ISAT professor Louise Temple check a student's experiment

A class that has James Madison University freshmen doing original research in large groups is beginning to become a popular model in academia, says Dr. Louise Temple. For the past three years, Temple, a professor of integrated science and technology, and Dr. Steve Cresawn, an assistant professor of biology, have been teaching freshmen how to isolate viruses from soil. The class features hands-on laboratory work that college freshmen rarely get to do and discoveries they rarely get to make.— Full Story

Published October 20, 2010


International Student Population Growing at JMU

President Rose shakes hand of an international student at ceremony

Efforts to enroll more international students at JMU are paying off. More than 320 JMU students this year have some sort of temporary visa. That's up from 264 last year.— Full Story

Published October 5, 2010


Renovated Wayland Hall to be Transformed by the Arts

Artist Drawing of Wayland Hall

Imagine entering your residence hall and being greeted by a gallery of art-studded walls. Visualize yourself watching a practice dance rehearsal or catching the faint murmur of the saxophone streaming through the air. Beginning in fall 2011, the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts will not be the only place to witness and hear such talent. Next year, expect this and more in James Madison University's Wayland Hall.— Full Story

Published September 2010


New Biosciences Building On Schedule For 2012 Opening

Artist Drawing of Biosciences Building

A new academic building typically has lots of benefits, like rooms designed to meet specific needs, more space than the previous building and new equipment and furnishings.

The new biosciences building on the east campus certainly will have all those benefits when it opens in 2012, but perhaps the best thing about it won't have anything to do with its amenities.

"Honestly, the thing that I'm looking forward to most is not having to commute back and forth across campus everyday," said Dr. Mark Gabriele, an associate professor of biology who teaches some courses in Burruss Hall, the biology department's current home on the west campus, and others in the Health and Human Services Building on the east campus.— Full Story

Published September 2010


Author Nassim Taleb visits JMU

Nassim Taleb Speaking at JMU

The irreverent, engaging and brilliant author Nassim Taleb spoke at James Madison University Friday, Sept. 17.  Taleb, author of  "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable," delivered the second JIN Lecture in Political Economy for the College of Business.

Approximately 450 students, faculty and members of the public attended Taleb's lecture, "Towards Black Swan-Proofing Society," in Grafton-Stovall Theatre. 

Economics Professor J. Barkley Rosser Jr. invited Taleb to campus and was thrilled with the outcome.  "I think that this is a coup for JMU.  Dr. Taleb does not speak at very many campuses, and these are often more well-known and prestigious ones than JMU.  This was a great opportunity for the JMU community."— Full Story

Published September 2010


The Dance of Art and Science

T-Shirt Patterns

James Madison University freshmen will experience a connection between science and the arts in a unique way this year. Senior orientation peer advisor Jeff Alexander says, “It’s going to be epic!”

On Thursday, Aug. 26, students will join members of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange on the Quad for “The DNA Dance.”  JMU’s 4,000 freshmen will be divided between two sessions, 4:30 to 6 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m., for the dance.

Over the summer, freshmen were charged with reading and writing a reaction to “The DNA Age,” a series of articles written by Amy Harmon for “The New York Times.”  The readings create the framework for Preface@JMU, a focused small-group conversation led by a faculty member to introduce students to JMU’s academic culture. — Full Story

Published August 2010


Freshman Advisers Interested in More Than Class Schedules

Michael Moghtader talks to students.

"What concerns you most during your first year at James Madison University? Is it time management? Living in the residence hall? Doing well academically? Fitting in? Procrastination? The amount of freedom?"

JMU's freshman advisers want to know.

JMU has developed a unique freshman advising program based on the developmental theory of advising. JMU advisers are concerned about more than just scheduling classes, they advise the whole person. In fact, the questions about concerns facing new students are but a few of the far-reaching queries posed by JMU advisers.— Full Story

Published July 2010


JMU Called Role Model For Student Financial Literacy

James Madison University's collaborative approach to teaching financial literacy to students should be a model for other universities, an official with the National Student Loan Program said this week.

Todd Woodlee, vice president of business development for the NSLP, made the remark May 20 while presenting the organization's annual Financial Literacy Leadership Award. The award recognizes higher education institutions that provide outstanding financial literacy education to their students.

The NSLP award committee sought financial literacy programs that are comprehensive and innovative, and that reach students.— Full Story

Published May 2010


Student's Quick Grasp of Horse Riding Leads to National Competition

Bekah Jarzombek trains at Seventh Heaven Farm at Mauzy

It didn't take long for James Madison University sophomore Bekah Jarzombek to learn some of the finer points of competing in horse shows. The Chesapeake native, who took her first horse riding lesson 18 months ago, represented the JMU Equestrian Club May 9-10 at the International Horse Show Association's national competition in Lexington, Ky.

"I have had to learn a lot very quickly because many of these girls have been riding since they were six or seven years old," said Jarzombek, who had ridden casually before coming to JMU but never had any formal training.

Jarzombek competed in individual walk-trot equitation on the flat. The class features competitors who enter a ring at the same time, walk, trot, change direction and finish in the middle of the ring. — Full Story

Published May 2010


Week of Events to Boost Awareness of Disability Services

One of the services performed by the disability services office is converting text to audio files for students who have difficulty reading text.

Disability Services Web site.

Mara Bellino knows how a disability can effect earning a college degree. Bellino also knows that disability services at JMU can be a backbone for success. Now she's hoping Disability Awareness Week—March 29 through April 1—will heighten awareness of disability services across campus.

"Having Disability Awareness Week is about opening the doors, and opening individuals' eyes, that having a disability and disability awareness are just another part of diversity," said Bellino, a senior and a peer mentor in the JMU Office of Disability Services. "JMU stresses diversity a lot on this campus and including disabilities in that category is important."

"We want to celebrate our office in a way that the JMU campus may not see us," said Kendall Meyer, a junior and another peer mentor. "We want to make the campus aware that we are here helping people, and we can help you too if necessary. To make it so that people are OK with disabilities. To show them that it's not something to be embarrassed about, it's something that happens and it's something that the JMU community should be more accepting of."— Full Story

Published March 2010


JMU Chapter of PRSSA Collecting Textbooks for Universities Abroad

Textbooks collected by the JMU chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America will soon be headed to three universities abroad.

Collected this year in academic buildings and at Carrier Library’s Starbucks, the books will be sent to libraries at the University of Ghana, the National University of Vietnam and Universidad Espiritu Santo in Ecuador. PRSSA will continue to collect textbooks throughout the spring semester, specifically the last few weeks before final exams. Books can also be placed in donation boxes at Greenberry’s Coffee & Tea Company, off South High Street.

PRSSA has been working with Green Wheel Books, an organization that recycles the textbooks that cannot be sent abroad. Green Wheel Books donates money from the recycled textbooks back to PRSSA to cover the cost of shipping.

The books to be donated cover the public relations, advertising, telecommunications and journalism fields and will promote communication excellence among students in Ghana, Vietnam and Ecuador.

The book drive—started in fall 2008 with assistance from Dr. Frank Kalupa, professor and faculty adviser of JMU’s PRSSA—takes place each semester.

Published February 2010


Artist's Steel Sculptures on Display at Sawhill Gallery

Dalya Luttwak

James Madison University's Sawhill Gallery and the School of Art and Art History are hosting "Roots: The Hidden Half in Black and White," a site-responsive exhibition featuring seven large-scale works by the acclaimed Israeli-American sculptor Dalya Luttwak. The exhibit runs through April 2.

Luttwak, who currently works and lives in Chevy Chase, Md., was born in Israel's northern Galilee and moved to the United States in 1972. Her work, ranging from metal jewelry, Judaica and small sculpture to large-scale welded steel sculptures, has been featured all over the world. With her current exhibit in Sawhill Gallery, Luttwak recreates the natural configuration of plant roots through the medium of mild steel. The ideas for the structures of each piece are based on actual roots that the artist digs out of the earth and then examines and recreates. Luttwak's 30-year experience working with metal has allowed her to see the beauty of the structures and shapes of the plants in order to "explore the differences and relationships between the parts above ground and parts below." — Full Story

Published February 2010


Select Students to Receive Invitations to Join Prestigious Honor Society

Phi Beta Kappa logo

A select group of students who have senior status—having completed 90 credits or more—will soon be receiving invitations that could bolster their resumes for job hunting or graduate school.

The invitations, to be mailed in the next week or two, will ask the recipients to join JMU's newly established chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. 

Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest and most widely known academic honor society. Only about 10 percent of the country's colleges and universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. JMU was one of four colleges and universities nationwide granted new Phi Beta Kappa chapters in October 2009.— Full Story

Published February 2010


Lawson Lecture Concludes Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week

Rev. James Lawson lectures on nonviolance

Standing up for truth and justice in nonviolent ways can be difficult and even painful, but the end result makes for a better world, the Rev. James Lawson told students and others Tuesday during the final event of James Madison University's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week.

Lawson, a friend and colleague of King, discussed “Nonviolent Action for Civil Rights” in front of a packed lecture hall in the Health and Human Services building. The event was sponsored by JMU’s Center for Multicultural Student Services and Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence.— Full Story

Published January 2010


JMU Professor 's Goal: Ease Shortage Of Physics Teachers

Teacher Lynn Lucatorto instructs students

It's not uncommon for high-school physics teachers to have little or no background in physics, especially in rural school districts such as those in the Shenandoah Valley.

If you find that alarming, you're not alone.

"There is an extraordinary dearth of physics teachers and physical science teachers in this country and there have been congressional reports lamenting the fact that there aren't enough out there to keep the United States scientifically, technologically competitive in the coming years," said Mark Mattson, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at JMU. — Full Story

Published October 2009


JMU is Home of New Campus Suicide Prevention Center

Suicide Prevention Center logo

Most people who think about suicide don't really want to die. That's one of the things Jane Wiggins learned during her 18 years as a crisis intervention counselor for Rockingham County Schools.

"They need something. They need a change. They need relief," Wiggins said. — Full Story

Published October 2009


"We The People" Curriculum Boosts Understanding of Democracy

Students reading books

Talk about a natural connection. James Madison University, named for the Father of the U.S. Constitution and renowned for 85 years of teacher preparation, draws from both proud traditions to carry on important civics education.

Since 2001 when it served as the site of the "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" Institute for fifth-, eighth- and 12th-grade teachers from throughout Virginia in partnership with Montpelier, the Orange County home of James Madison, JMU has developed increasingly strong links with the Center for Civic Education. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the "We the People" curriculum fosters understanding of the history and principles of American constitutional democracy.— Full Story

Published September 2009


Carrier Library gets green facelift with new Starbucks location

New StarbucksWhen James Madison University Dining Services surveyed students while developing its master plan last year, they were told a few things were top priorities. One was a service location in Carrier Library. Another was increasing environmental stewardship.

With the opening of a new Starbucks coffee shop on the first floor of Carrier, JMU students can now enjoy the state's first expected LEED-certified Starbucks on a college campus. — Full Story

Published August 2009


New Dining Hall Serves Up Sustainability, Restaurant-Style Meals

E-Hall OpensThere's something special about the opening of a new building on campus, maybe even more so when the new building is a dining facility. College students, after all, can't survive on books alone. Students who live on the east campus should be especially pleased this fall with the debut of the new 700-seat East Campus Dining Hall, which will feature all-you-can eat meals just like D-Hall (the round building on the west campus that's officially named Gibbons Hall) . — Full Story

Published August 2009


JMU Programs Bolster Nation's Homeland Security Efforts

IIIA logoJames Madison University is located just outside of the blast zone in the event of an attack on the nation's capital.

But much of the work at the university, says JMU Vice Provost John Noftsinger, is very close to the heart of U.S. national security.

Noftsinger, executive director of the JMU Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance, and his team are leading efforts in areas vital to the nation's security, including information security and assurance, critical infrastructure assurance and intelligence analysis. — Full Story

Published May 2009


New Program Plunges JMU Students Into Real Research

students in biology labFrom isolating bacterial viruses and phages from soil, to annotating and comparing sequenced genomes, to preparing viral DNA for sequencing by using colored dye and electronic waves, JMU freshmen and sophomores are immersing themselves in meaningful research. In the inaugural year of the Science Education Alliance, JMU students are learning the essence of scientific discovery.

"[Experiments] do not always go the way we planned for it to go and that is terrific because that is the scientific process and that is realistic. Students not only see the science, but the process," said Steve Cresawn, an assistant professor of biology who teaches the class with integrated science and technology professor Louise Temple-Rosebrook. "It gives them a flavor for what it is like to do science for a living." — Full Story

Published April 2009


Innovative PR Education Program Earns Kudos

students at Edelman ConferenceEdelman, the world’s largest independent public relations firm, chose JMU as the host for its second-ever Digital boot camp. With JMU’s close proximity to Washington D.C., numerous alumni that work at Edelman and the prestige of the JMU PR program, JMU was an ideal place for the boot camp, said Dr. Corey Hickerson, assistant professor of communication studies.

Edelman Digital 101 spanned the weekend of March 27, led by nine account members of the Edelman Digital Public Affairs team. Two of the presenters, Kate Marshall and Patrick Stinnett, are JMU alumni.

The event introduced students to the expanding world of social media and ways to implement social media successfully into the PR industry. Students separated into seven groups where they worked for mock clients. — Full Story

Published April 2009


Madison Week Commemorates Bicentennial of Fourth President's Inauguration

Madison Week BannerTwo hundred years to the month after James Madison's inauguration to the presidency of the United States, the university that bears his namesake will celebrate his life and legacy during Madison Week, March 16-20.

The celebration will be highlighted by the release of a new book on Madison's legacy by Phil Bigler ('74, '76M), director of the James Madison Center at JMU, a visit by the C-SPAN Civics Bus, a keynote address by Madison scholar and Cornell University President Emeritus Hunter Rawlings and the eighth annual Madison Cup debate contest. (Full Story)

Published March 2009


feature photo - airplane in Hudson

Miracle Worker speaker icon

JMU Alum Dave Sanderson Was in the Right Place for Passengers of Flight 1549

By Dan Armstrong, JMU Public Affairs

Most people would call it bad luck. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A bitter twist of fate.

Sitting aboard U.S. Airways Flight 1549 was probably the last place anyone wanted to be on Jan. 15. But Dave Sanderson ('83) says it was exactly where he was supposed to be. And a lot of the other 154 passengers on board are very glad he was. (Full Story)

Published February 2009


JMU Shines In Student Engagement

Student rescue squad volunteer in ambulance

By Janet Smith, JMU Public Affairs

For the first two years of her James Madison University undergraduate experience, Hilary Jacobson attended classes, studied diligently, completed assignments and generally focused on academics. Then, halfway through her junior year, the self-described shy Jacobson, seized opportunities related to her studies in biotechnology and the pre-physician assistant concentration that dramatically altered her Madison experience.

Jacobson, confident in her expanding healthcare skills, applied to go on a medical service-learning trip to Mexico and to become a peer adviser in the university's orientation office and joined the Harrisonburg Rescue Squad. Jacobson's engagement outside of the classroom, she says, has transformed her classroom experience. (Full Story)

Program Seeks Students Wanting to Hone Leadership Skills

By Tim O'keefe ('10), JMU Public Affairs

Hanging from a wall in Michael McCleve's office is a picture of a flying eagle with the subscript, "leadership is action, not a position." McCleve, JMU administrator of University Unions, will put those words into practice as he directs a new student leadership program called "Kijiji," a Swahili word meaning "village. (Full Story)

Published February 2009


Marching Royal Dukes Shine In Fall 2008

Marching Royal Dukes perform at Bridgeforth Stadium

By Janet Smith
Office of Public Affairs

JMU's outstanding football Dukes weren't the only team to represent the university in fine style on the Bridgeforth Stadium field and in the national arena during the 2008 season. A record-breaking 474 JMU students filled the ranks of the Marching Royal Dukes band to play their hearts out to support the football team and to take their show on the road all the way to New York City.

Band members had to engage in their own form of gridiron competition to earn one of 400 spots in the big halftime show.

"It's the largest band we've ever had," said Scott Rikkers, assistant director of bands and director of the Marching Royal Dukes. The band's history dates to 1972 when JMU established a football program. (Full Story)

Published fall 2008


Musician Sparks Is New Dean For JMU Visual and Performing Arts

George Sparks

By Janet Smith, Office of Public Affairs

While his artistic roots are in the realm of music, Dr. George Sparks, the new dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at James Madison University, considers himself an enthusiastic advocate for all the arts at JMU and beyond.

Sparks is a professional conductor and clarinet player. An opportunity to serve in the faculty senate at Florida Atlantic University, where he worked before joining JMU July 1, whetted his appetite for university administration. Sparks was contentedly serving as the inaugural director of the School of the Arts at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, a role he had filled since fall 2003 within the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, when he was encouraged to apply for the JMU deanship. (Full story)

Published fall 2008


Study Abroad Programs Foster Worldviews speaker icon

International programs feature photo

By Dan Armstrong, Office of Public Affairs

Jessica Novak had a busy spring semester last school year. The senior communication studies major's course load included political science, literature, Italian and art history. Outside the classroom, she maintained a personal blog and found time to write articles for "The Breeze" and a local magazine.

Of course, 'local' is relative. Novak's is a great example of the multifaceted collegiate experience students expect at James Madison University, but when one considers that she did it all in Florence, Italy, it takes on a whole new meaning. (Full story)

Published fall 2008