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What is the spirit of JMU? Is it in the great academic success demonstrated by the alumni? Is it the beautiful campus that the tour guides boast about? Or is it in the multitude of activities that students participate in? No, I believe the spirit of JMU is found in the people at this university. That was the stimulus behind looking at the nominations for this award and one certainly stood apart from all the rest. Not often do I read about an individual being described as a “saucy” lady and as “Mama Dove.” Her dedication to JMU alone qualifies her for today’s award, but I believe that the love and passion for our school exemplify her true character and the meaning of “All Together One.”

After talking with Mrs. Dove, I learned that she worked with her husband at JMU for 25 years starting in the Personnel Department and working up to Assistant Director of Employee Relations, now Human Resources. She enjoyed dealing on a day to day basis with JMU employees. She proudly boasts that interaction with the people at JMU was the most enjoyable part of her experience here and credits the success of JMU to the dedication of those people. Mrs. Dove’s dedication has kept her here since the time that JMU was a small teachers’ college, when ISAT was not even a dream, and when the current basketball coach was a player. Coming out of retirement to return to the JMU community, today she works in the Cardinal House and takes pleasure in seeing the accomplishments of our graduates in which her son and granddaughter are members. Considering JMU her second home, Mrs. Dove not only works hard at her job, but has been a fervent supporter of JMU athletics within the Duke Club, was a member of the Pilot Club, and stays extremely active in her Church.

It is this dedication, generosity, and faithfulness that people admire when meeting and working with Mrs. Dove. Her supervisor of 20 years, Henry Allen, told me he could not say enough good things about her as she gave “so generously of her time, her talents, and service to James Madison University.” Dr. Carrier spoke of Nancy Dove’s employment and describes her as a woman of dedication to her “family, faith, work, and her friends.” He goes on to say that she has “a disarming smile about her that sets everyone at ease when they are dealing with her that they are dealing with a person that has a high sense of integrity in their interest and well being.” I can say from my experience in meeting her that these qualities are evident as soon as she greets you and her passion eminent when talking about JMU.

Personally, I found Nancy Dove to be all that her colleagues described her as. In fact, when I went to further my investigation I contacted her former supervisor and Dr. Carrier. These individuals, though extremely busy in their own lives, responded to my request immediately. All seem to jump at the opportunity to share with me their magnificent experiences working with Nancy Dove. In fact, everyone I contacted about Nancy did not hesitate a second to tell me that ODK had made a terrific choice in choosing Mrs. Dove. From former to current supervisors all agree she is a “tireless worker” who inspires others.

Nancy Dove provides this inspiration not only through her hard work, but through the advice she gives and follows she says: “students, faculty, and staff, reach out and touch somebody with a word of encouragement or a kind thought or smile.” It was my privilege to meet Mrs. Dove, who openly stated to me that she believes there are people more deserving of this recognition than her, but that no one has loved her job more. She also expressed to me how important the meaning of JMU’s “All Together One” theme meant to her and that the world would be better off taking on this motto. In my opinion, it is not necessarily the motto itself that creates such a positive atmosphere, but people like Nancy Dove who takes it upon herself to make JMU the place we know today. Mrs. Dove we would like to present to you the “All Together One” award because we do not believe that a person could be more deserving than you because of your love for JMU shown through your dedication and spirit.

The JMU community would like to thank Nancy Dove.

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