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By now, you've heard that FY 2015 was a record-setting year for giving to JMU.  Coming on the heels of the president's listening tour, the creation of the Madison Plan, and the president's vision tour, our fundraising success is strong affirmation of JMU's direction from our donors. And, of course, it also speaks to the strong collaboration of our deans, faculty, staff and University Advancement.  Thank you!  Please take a moment to read more on these topics:

A banner year for Madison giving

A record 18.3 million raised in FY2015Last year was a banner year for the Madison community. We all came together to show we believe in the university's vision for the future, making fiscal year 2015 our largest giving year in history. Contributions to JMU totaled more than $18 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

Last year's upsurge in giving can be traced back to President Alger's Why Madison? Listening Tour, when all of us--students, employees, alumni, parents and donors--offered input about what we think what makes Madison great.

As you know, that's where our vision for the future started. Through the listening tour, our entire community informed the work of the 160-member-strong Madison Future Commission, which produced the Madison Plan ( Then we took the Madison Plan back out on the road with the Vision Tour, and showed the greater community how we plan to reach our vision. I am convinced that breaking a new record in private giving is a positive endorsement of the university's direction.

We are seeing a new wave of commitment, one that shows signs of an even greater season of private giving to come. As all who belong to our Madison family reflect back on their relationships and the powerful student experience that exists here on campus, we in University Advancement will continue to help them discover purposes worth investing in.

Our donors, including you--our faculty and staff--have stepped forward to express support for our vision through your contributions. I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude as I remember that individual people, and in fact entire families, are behind each of these gifts, and together side by side we are making an impact on the Madison Experience for generations to come.

Employee and student giving

For the first time, total individual major gifts of $8.2 million surpassed that of JMU's bedrock annual fund giving, which also celebrated a banner year with almost $5.3 million. Organizations gave more than $3.2 million, and estate giving totaled almost $1.4 million. Our giving success is due to the generosity of more than 17,582 alumni, parents, students, faculty and staff, friends, and organizations. Almost 100 donors made gifts of $25,000 or more.

Last year, faculty, staff and students came together under one comprehensive giving effort, the Madison Giving Campaign. Together, more than 2,500 donors participated in the Madison Giving Campaign, demonstrating the strength and commitment this community has to make JMU the best it can be.

Additionally, five of our current and emeriti faculty and staff have created planned gifts for JMU. They are putting the passion of their life's work into financial contributions for JMU, doubling their legacy to the university.

I want to thank our faculty and staff for their belief and passion for JMU. We have something special here, and it is not by accident, but due to your continued commitment. Your work and your financial investments, coupled with that of other donors, will enable us to make JMU a national model. Thank you.

Faculty support triples

Faculty support tripled last year to $1.7 million from $502,000 in fiscal year 2014. A gift from Dick and Shirley Hanson ('56) Roberts led the way. We were honored to hear personally from Dick at the Opening Faculty Meeting about his passion for faculty support.

More alumni are recognizing the connection between the quality of their JMU education and the professors who make JMU's distinctive education happen. They are making private gifts to JMU for faculty support.

Education professor John Almarode with Sarah Miller Luck ('14, '15M)One of them is Sarah Miller Luck ('14, '15M), who established Sarah Miller Luck ('14, '15) Endowed Professorship for Excellence in Education in honor of education professor John Almarode, the inaugural recipient of the award.

Another is the Brown family, including parents Mike and Susan ('84) and daughter Katherine ('13), who established the Dave Pruett Faculty Support Endowment in Teaching Excellence to recognize Katherine's "inspirational" math and honors professor at JMU.

Vanessa Brown ('85) has established the Glenn T. Smith Faculty Support Endowment for Excellence in Teaching to recognize the emeritus CIS professor's significant impact on her life at JMU.

Alison B. Parker Memorial Fund

As you know, there has been an outpouring of support around the country for the family of journalist Alison Parker, our School of Media Arts and Design alumnus, who was murdered along with a colleague last month. Alison's professors, colleagues and fellow alumni have spoken in the media about Allison and her student days in the SMAD program and on the Breeze staff. At the request of Alison's family, JMU has created the Alison B. Parker Memorial Fund that will benefit journalism students in SMAD. More than 900 donors--including alumni, parents, employees, students, organizations and friends--have contributed almost $136,000 to the scholarship.

Alison's family has shared with me how much she loved Madison and has asked us to thank all of those who have contributed to the scholarship in her memory. Her family has said they have drawn comfort from the outpouring of support and the knowledge that Alison's legacy will live on through future scholarship recipients.

Hart School naming Oct. 9 on Godwin Field

G.J. (’82) and Heather Hart

Program support doubled from $2.4 million in fiscal year 2014 to $4.9 million last year with a lead gift from G.J. ('84) and Heather Hart, which also makes the School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management JMU's first named school. I hope you will join us Oct. 9 on Godwin Field for the naming ceremony and celebration of this first for JMU. The Harts' generous gift will create opportunity for students and the Hart School name will elevate the visibility of JMU's program nationally.

Spring Madison Trust deadline for proposals Dec. 1

Madison Trust
Our Madison Trust event was so successful last year--with $170,000 raised for faculty and staff innovations--that we are holding the event once a semester moving forward.

This Shark Tank-like event was designed by alumni Leslie Gilliam ('82) and Don Rainey ('82) and represents a new kind of partnership for JMU. Our investors described faculty and staff and their innovations as "impressive," "top-notch" and "world-changing." They also described their own participation as "meaningful," "intense," "dynamic" and "inspiring."

Faculty and staff have submitted 27 proposals for the fall Madison Trust event on Nov. 13. Investors and JMU leadership will review the proposals and narrow them to 10 by mid-October. For the 10 teams selected to present on Nov. 13, Brian Charette will lead a workshop about making an effective pitch.

The deadline for faculty and staff to submit ideas for the spring May 19 Madison Trust event is Dec. 1. Madison Trust welcomes brand new proposals as well as previously unfunded proposals and funded proposals that have moved into another stage.

For more information, see Or contact Steve Smith ('71) at or (540) 568-3628.

You can download the March 2015 issue of the Madison App to see what happened last year. Or see the Spring/Summer 2015 edition of Madison at

Campus partners contribute to success

I want to thank our campus partners who are increasingly working with us in University Advancement to facilitate giving. For instance, development officer Bill McAnulty mentioned to me how helpful Steve Whisnant was in helping to secure a recent gift to the physics department. Our special gift officer Jason Bourne told me that Jessica Adolino, Chris Blake, and David Jones have been extremely collaborative in efforts to raise funds for political science programs. I appreciate the collaboration that I see growing across campus, because many of our alumni tell us how strongly attached they feel to their academic programs. Outreach from departments is an important step in engaging alumni in the life of JMU. Carrie Combs, our director of Advancement Relations (previously College Engagement), has created a number of programs to help departments work with their alumni. Please read more about some of these opportunities:

Advancement Engagement Grants available
After a successful pilot year in FY15, Advancement Relations, in partnership with Alumni Relations, is pleased to offer Advancement Engagement Grants. Last year, we received 22 proposals seeking approximately $16,000 in assistance. In collaboration with campus partners, seven advancement-related projects were completed.

Thanks to funding provided by the Gift Reinvestment Percentage (GRP), we're able to expand the program this year. We'll be accepting proposals through Sept. 28, 2015. To learn more, please visit the Advancement Resources website. Please direct any questions to
Advancement Workshops for fall
To compliment the Advancement Engagement Grant program, we're also excited to once again offer Advancement Workshops. These workshops aim to invite campus partners to learn about advancement resources available, collaborate with other departments and gain additional insight into Advancement-related topics. For the Fall 2015 schedule, please visit: Please direct any questions to
Homecoming right around the corner
Believe it or not, Homecoming 2015 is coming up fast. We're anticipating a fun-filled weekend catching up with our spirited alumni Oct. 22-24. For the full schedule of Homecoming events, please visit the JMU Alumni Association website. And if you have alumni coming back to campus to participate in your departmental Homecoming activities, we'd love to know about it. Let us know by filling out this form:

New has admissions focus

The new JMU home pageProspective student demography is changing, and the recent redesign of our website is meant to help recruit top students to JMU. The Chronicle of Higher Education has held up our recent redesign as an example of sound online marketing strategy based on research and planning. The Aug. 25 article references the marketing staff's primary consideration of's target audience of prospective students and their families, as well as the use of the JMU psychology department's eye-tracking software to learn where visitors to the home page are looking. According to the research, students were drawn to the redesign's use of statistics ("16:1 student-faculty ratio") embedded in large photographs, a prompt to schedule a campus visit, and a "JMYou" button that lets users create personalized accounts and request specific information about the university. So far JMU has seen a significant increase in the number of requests for specific information.

With this new design, renewed emphasis has been put on our gateways. Faculty and staff can now find relevant links and publications more easily on the faculty/staff gateway, while current students can find information pertinent to their experience on the current student gateway.

A research project by psychology major Andrew Carnes was helpful in making some changes to the JMU website. See more at:

Again, on behalf of all your colleagues and partners in University Advancement, thank you. We will look for additional opportunities to continue our work together in the coming months as we build on the momentum of the past year

Nick Langridge
Vice President of University Advancement

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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