Be the Change

Eddie Bumbaugh ('73)

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Seeing empty storefronts and lonely sidewalks wasn't how Eddie Bumbaugh ('73) remembered the cityscape he knew growing up around downtown Harrisonburg, Va. But by the 1980s, the city's downtown, like so many other American cities, had succumbed to suburban flight. Harrisonburg needed help. In 2003, Eddie and a group of citizens decided to change the city's fortunes—and future. Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance formed and began a concerted effort to revive the once thriving city center. Over the next decade, with Eddie serving as executive director of HDR, the downtown area began to come back to life. Now the city is enjoying a renaissance. New businesses, restaurants, museums and urban dwellers have streamed into once vacant buildings, making Harrisonburg a model for downtown revitalization.

The social work major, who earned a master's of social work at Virginia Commonwealth University, has a lifelong commitment to the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County community. He epitomizes the kind of citizenship that is at the heart of JMU's mission. "My decision to stay [in the community] is based on my close connections to friends and family, my love of the outdoor recreation opportunities in the area, and the increasing attractions and quality of life that both JMU and the downtown offer."

"My investment in downtown through my job is actually more related to the future than the past. HDR has made significant progress with downtown revitalization; however, I am optimistic that the best is yet to come, and I want to be a part of making that happen."

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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