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The All Together One Award is a symbol that embodies the spirit of James Madison University.  This spirit is more than a collective sense of belonging, but rather a dedication to the betterment of JMU that strengthens the solidarity of our community.   All together at JMU we work as one toward this common goal, and I am proud to recognize an inspiring member of our community today for her outstanding achievement and commitment to our school.  I am pleased to introduce Mrs. Betty Hoskins, founder of the University Writing Center, and recipient of this year’s All Together One Award.

Over thirty years ago, Mrs. Hoskins helped meet a need at Madison and has worked tirelessly since then to achieve her goal of empowering students and faculty alike.  In those early years, she collaborated with Nancy Farrar and Mary McMurray to begin what is now called the University Writing Center.  The goal was to develop reading and writing skills throughout James Madison’s population by providing individually structured guidance. The Center actively supported the academic mission of the University.  Mrs. Hoskins continues to play an integral role in that mission by assisting those who need support in the writing process.  Through educating students and faculty across all scholastic disciplines, Mrs. Hoskins inspires others to achieve academic success.   

Since the Writing Center’s implementation, Betty Hoskins has not only counseled hundreds of students and faculty members in her office, but has also reached outside of the Writing Center to assist students and faculty in other ways.  She has led academic workshops, lectured classrooms of students, and designed writing assessment tools to ensure the success of those who sought her assistance. In 2001 she was recognized with the University Service Award for her ongoing work with the Adult Degree Program. Even though Mrs. Hoskins is not a traditional professor at Madison, many of those who sought her guidance remember her as a prominent figure in their collegiate success.  One of her colleagues recalls, “Several of the alumni in my classes have subsequently told me that [she] was one of the most helpful and inspirational teachers they encountered at JMU.”  In so many ways, Betty Hoskins has helped to build a more educated community of students and faculty alike.

Many remarkable parts of Betty Hoskins’ work lie outside of her specific role of writing specialist at James Madison.  She co-edited an engaging, award-winning historical account of her hometown in Iowa entitled "Rembrandt Remembers".  In addition, Mrs. Hoskins assists those in areas outside of her normal academic reach.  She has spent many hours working with disabled persons to ensure their ability to overcome challenges and succeed in a higher learning arena.  Upon recalling this commitment of Mrs. Hoskins’, one of her nominators noted that “this involved enormous amounts of time, and she did this cheerfully and agreeably.”  Mrs. Hoskins has spent a large portion of her career working for the common good of all those involved at the University. 

Not only has Betty Hoskins improved the academic welfare of James Madison, she has also strived to build strong collaborative relationships with the faculty, staff and students.  As one of her nominators asserted, “[Mrs. Hoskins] serves with the attitude of creating a safe place where a student can talk about more than just a writing assignment.”  She is repeatedly invited to weddings, graduations, and other life-defining events of those she has connected with at Madison.  Mrs. Hoskins was described by several of her nominators as a motivational figure in her willingness to help and her unwavering acceptance of others. 

Because of her concern and dedication, Mrs. Hoskins has helped JMU students become better educated and the university better connected. She has turned what began as a small service to students and faculty into a stepping stone in many lives of the Madison community, and her presence on our campus will be felt for years to come.  It is my honor today to recognize Mrs. Hoskins for over 30 years of hard work and dedication to the James Madison community.  On behalf of Omicron Delta Kappa, James Madison, and all those she has impacted in her years at our university, I am pleased to present Betty Hoskins with this year’s All Together One Award.

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