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The James Madison University Board of Visitors held a two-day retreat meeting June 18-19 at The Homestead in Hot Springs. (The cost of the meeting was covered privately and at no cost to the state or the university.) Following is a summary of actions taken by the board and of key areas of discussion at the board meeting:

  • Henry H. Harrell, a Richmond business executive, was re-elected rector of the board. Harrell, chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Leaf Tobacco Co. and Universal Corp., has been a member of the JMU board since July 1, 1994. He was first elected rector in 1998 and had been vice rector from 1996 to 1998.
  • Zane Showker, a retired Harrisonburg businessman and philanthropist, was re-elected vice rector. Showker has also been on the board since July 1, 1994 and was first elected vice rector in 1998. Showker founded Harrisonburg Fruit and Produce, now part of Sysco Food Services of Virginia. JMU's College of Business building is named for Showker, who was instrumental in raising and donating money for the building.
  • Barbara P. Castello of Harrisonburg, vice president for university relations and external programs at JMU, was re-elected board secretary.
  • The board voted to award an honorary doctor of humanities degree to Dr. Harold J. McGee at the July 30 graduation. McGee, who is retiring this summer as president of Jacksonville State University in Alabama, will be the graduation speaker. McGee had served at JMU as both vice president for administration and vice president for student affairs before taking the Jacksonville State presidency. He also was the founding president of Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville.
  • The board held an extended general discussion of operational plans for JMU in the future. No action was taken following the informal discussion.