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Ramona Messenger, Director

Ms. Messenger has 30 years experience in event management and marketing compiled of non-profit, higher education, corporate and sponsorship agency work.  Ramona uses her trademark skills of problem solving, creativity, and flexibility to produce corporate events and meetings. She excels at logistics and operations, and her attention to detail means that events and meetings go smoothly from concept to completion.

Ramona came to James Madison University 22 years ago to work on the event team planning the inauguration celebration of the new president, Dr. Linwood Rose, and stayed to manage events for the office of the president. She and the university events team plan and manage 12 commencement ceremonies for over 5,000 graduates each year, plans building groundbreaking and dedication celebrations, historic anniversary projects and many other events. She is skilled at handling décor and venue transformation, event production, transportation logistics, academic protocol, menu planning, and is obsessed with details and believes that the details are what set apart ordinary events from extraordinary ones.

She also co-owned a floral design business in the Washington, D.C. area, named Ramona Lisa, which specialized in corporate and sporting events along with weddings. In her spare time, she enjoys landscaping, gardening and DIY projects at home.

Ms. Messenger’s private sector marketing experience comes from eight years of work in the Washington, D.C. area with an advertising agency, a sponsorship agency, and a sports marketing agency.  Her duties included event management for properties such as the National Hockey League, U.S. Rowing, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and for corporate clients including Chrysler, Mazda, Frito-Lay, and Pepsi Co. among others. She has held marketing director positions at two national and one international non-profit. Where she worked with corporate partners including Bank of America, BMW, the Walt Disney Company, Ford Motor Company, Discovery Communications, American Express, Target stores and Frito-Lay.

She is passionate about animal welfare and is dedicated to rescuing and fostering animals, volunteering to find homeless animals “forever” homes and is adamant about TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) programs at JMU and in the Harrisonburg area.  She currently serves on the Board of Anicira Veterinary Services.

Sarah Ciccone, Associate Director

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Sarah Ciccone joined the University Events team in December of 2016 as Event Manager. Sarah has been working at James Madison University since 2012. Her experience began in the Center for Global Engagement, formally Office of International Programs. She started as an Administrative Assistant, but was promoted to a Coordinator within the department.

In June 2019, Sarah was promoted to Associate Director. Prior to joining JMU, Sarah worked at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community as Life Enrichment Coordinator for over five years. She planned activities and events for supportive living residents, working with many dementia residents. Some activities that she coordinated included outings, recitals and socials. 

In University Events, she is the co-planner of commencement operations, plans and executes presidential events on campus, manages our finances and website. In addition, she oversees the commencement volunteer program and student internership program. Sarah plans the Annual Faculty Service and Employee Service Recognitions in the fall with partnering departments, Human Resources and Academic Affairs. She manages the Presidential Suite for home Football games, supports Board of Visitor events, Grad Fair and student events.

Shortly after beginning her time at JMU, Sarah joined the Adult Degree Program as a part-time student while working full-time. She continued her studies and graduated with her Bachelor's in Individualized Studies in May 2020. Her concentration is Business Management and Human Resource Management. Her goal is to start Graduate School in a few years. 

She has served on the JMU Campus-Wide Accessibility Committee during academic years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. In addition, she has served on many Request for Proposal committees through Procurement and search committees. She serves as the Advisor for the Student Group, CHAARG (Changing Health, Attitudes, + Actions To Recreate Girls) for the Academic Year 2021-2022. 

In Sarah’s free-time, she enjoys spending time with her two daughters, husband, family and friends. She enjoys camping, being outdoors, cooking, baking and crafting. Her favorite season is Fall because she enjoys the cooler weather and fun activities with her daughters. 

Andrea Walker, Event Manager

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Andrea Walker joined the University Events team in July 2019 as the Event Manager. Prior to joining JMU, Andrea worked as the Event Coordinator at Bluestone Vineyard. At Bluestone she coordinated many events including weddings, company hosted receptions and quinceañeras. She has experience working directly with prospective and active clients and vendors.

In addition, Andrea has experience in catering and food service. She worked for Hank’s Grill & Bar for seven years as one of their bakers and catering leads. Furthermore, she worked in the bakery at Martin's for two years. Her love for food and planning events is evident. Her signature dessert is cheesecakes. 

As a young adult, Andrea joined the Adult Degree Program at Eastern Mennonite University in 2015. She continued her studies as a part-time student and graduated with her Bachelor’s in Business Management and Organizational Behavior in 2017. After receiving her degree, she decided to continue to build on her love for working in the hospitality and event fields. 

In her role as Event Manager, Andrea manages events for President and Mrs. Alger at their home. In addition, she oversees the Annual JMU Faculty and Staff Picnic, student events and the Madison Vision Series. She will also assists with the Presidential Suite at home football games, dedications/grand openings and commencement ceremonies managed by University Events.

Andrea was born in Pennsylvania, however grew up in the valley. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family. She appreciates hiking, gardening, crafting, biking, baking, cooking, DIY projects and attending concerts. 

Meet our Interns

Nicole Anderson (’22)

Nicole is a Marketing Major from Fairfax Station, Virginia. Within the Marketing major, Nicole is following a Digital Media emphasis and pursuing a minor in Computer Information Systems. After graduation, she has plans to pursue a Digital Marketing or Professional Sales career. Nicole joined the University Events team in Fall 2019. Nicole is on the executive team for CHAARG at JMU. As VP of Membership, she focuses on recruitment, retention, and member engagement.

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Hadley Bezanson (’24)

Hadley is an Elementary Education major from Hagerstown, MD. After graduating, she hopes to become a teacher. She plans to further her education to become an administrator within the education system. During her time at JMU, she has joined a sorority Gamma Phi Beta, served as a First Year Orientation Guide, participated in Make Your Mark on Madison, and have now has joined the University Events team as an intern during her sophomore year. She is very excited to have become a part of such an amazing team and looks forward to working events and commencement. 

Adam Board (’22)

Adam is a Senior from Virginia Beach and is a Health Services Administration major. On campus, Adam serves as a Student Ambassador in the Office of Admissions where he provides tours of campus to prospective students and their families. After graduation, Adam hopes to attend graduate school and become a hospital administrator.

Layne Rexrode (’23)

Layne joined the University Events team as an intern her Freshman year. She is a Hospitality Management major with a general business minor from Glen Allen, Virginia. She plans to graduate in 2023, and after that she hopes to dive into the world of event planning, be it at a vineyard or a Fortune 500 company. Layne looks to find a place to balance creativity and team management. When on campus, she proudly represents SafeRides and InterVarsity. You can always count on finding her doing her doing schoolwork on the Madison Union patio with a coffee from Market 64.

Julia Yeager (’23)

Julia joined the University Events team as an intern her Junior year. Julia is a Media Arts and Design Major from Mechanicsville, Virginia. Julia is concentrating in Interactive Design and is working towards a minor in general business. She is involved in multiple organizations on campus and serves as the Design Editor for The Bluestone, JMU’s Yearbook, works as a Creative Intern for Bluestone Communications, a student-run public relations firm at JMU, and is on the Executive board for her sorority, Tri Delta.  This is Julia’s first semester interning with University Events and she is very excited for what is to come.

Contact us!

Contact Us

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We welcome your phone calls and emails regarding event planning or past and present events.

To submit an RSVP or for general questions, please call 540-568-RSVP (7787)
or email University Events.

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