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Introduction to James Madison University

Mission Statement

JMU provides quality comprehensive educational, cultural and social experiences for students. The university offers outstanding undergraduate instruction and supports quality programs at the graduate level. JMU seeks to address the economic, social and cultural needs of the region.

The university is committed to maintaining and enhancing an environment conducive to the highest level of individual empowerment by fostering a community that values innovation, human dignity, public service and diversity.

The university is a selective institution committed to superlative teaching. JMU is composed of students who can contribute to and benefit from the university's programs. The university gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to develop broad skills and in-depth knowledge. Academic programs are designed to contribute to useful and satisfying lives for students by preparing them for professional and career success and giving them an appreciation for lifelong learning and community involvement.

The university recognizes the importance of raising expectations of students and of a proper balance between challenge and support. Talented and dedicated faculty and staff members present programs in an environment that facilitates the cognitive and affective development of a diverse student body.

In carrying out this mission, JMU is committed to the following interrelated goals:


JMU is authorized to confer the following bachelor's and master's degrees:
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of General Studies
  • Bachelor of Music
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Educational Specialist
  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Education
  • Master of Fine Arts
  • Master of Music
  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Science
  • Master of Science in Education
  • Accreditation

    JMU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the bachelor's, master's and educational specialist degrees.

    JMU is also accredited by the

  • Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration
  • .American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Dietetic Association
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • National Association of Schools of Theatre
  • National Athletic Trainers' Association
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • National League for Nursing
  • Educational Standards Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Society for Public Health Education
  • Virginia Board of Nursing
  • Virginia State Board of Education.
  • It is a member of the

  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
  • American Association of State Colleges and Universities
  • American Council on Education
  • Association of American Colleges
  • Association of Virginia Colleges
  • Council of Graduate Schools in the United States
  • National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
  • an institutional and educational member of the

  • Association of Computing Machinery
  • and a corporate member of the

  • American Association of University Women.
  • History

    In its 86-year history JMU has grown from a state normal and industrial school for women to today's coeducational comprehensive university with a fall, 1993, enrollment of 11,354.

    Dr. Ronald E. Carrier, JMU's fourth president, has headed the institution since 1971. During Carrier's administration, student enrollment and the number of university faculty have both doubled, more than 20 major campus buildings have been constructed, and the university has been recognized by many national publications.

    The university was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg.

    In 1914, the name of the university was changed to the State Normal School for Women at Harrisonburg. Authorization to award bachelor's degrees was granted in 1916. During this initial period of development, the campus plan was established and six buildings were constructed.

    The university became the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg in 1924 and continued under that name until 1938, when it was named Madison College in honor of the fourth president of the United States. In 1977 the university's name was changed to James Madison University.

    The first president of the university was Julian Ashby Burruss. The university opened its doors to its first student body in 1909 with an enrollment of 209 students and a faculty of 15. Its first 20 graduates received diplomas in 1911.

    Dr. Samuel Page Duke became the second president of the university in 1919 upon the resignation of Burruss, who became president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. During Duke's administration, nine major buildings were constructed. In 1946 men were first enrolled as regular day students.

    Dr. G. Tyler Miller became the third president of the university in 1949, following the retirement of Duke. During Miller's administration, from 1949 to 1970, the campus was enlarged by 240 acres and 19 buildings were constructed. Major curriculum changes were made and the university was authorized to grant master's degrees in 1954. In 1966, by action of the Virginia General Assembly, the university became a coeducational institution.


    JMU is located in Harrisonburg, a progressive city of 30,000. The area, located in the heart of Virginia's historic Shenandoah Valley, is flanked by the Blue Ridge Mountains on the east and the Alleghenies on the west.

    Harrisonburg is at the intersection of three major highways: Interstate 81, U.S. 33 and U.S. 11. The JMU campus entrance is located just off Interstate 81 and is only a two-hour drive from Richmond, Roanoke and Washington, D.C.


    The general responsibility for the administration of the university has been assigned to the president, who is appointed by the JMU Board of Visitors. When the board is in recess, its executive committee may exercise the power of the board.

    Assisting the president in the administration of the university are an executive vice president, who is also responsible for the university's administration and finance division; divisional vice presidents for academic affairs, student affairs, advancement, sponsored research and external programs; a provost for the College of Integrated Science and Technology; and an executive assistant to the president. Appointment to these positions, to other administrative offices, and to the university's faculty and staff are made by the board of visitors upon the recommendation of the president.

    In addition to the Graduate School, there are five undergraduate colleges at JMU:

    Deans, department heads and the university's nearly 600 faculty members (79 percent hold doctoral degrees) are responsible to the vice president for academic affairs in all matters pertaining to instruction.

    Campus and Buildings

    The JMU campus contains a total of 472 acres, including 31 acres at the University Farm about nine miles from the campus. The main campus faces on Harrisonburg's Main Street and extends in an eastward direction past Interstate 81.

    Buildings on the western portion of the campus - "front campus" - are constructed of blue limestone. Stone for the university's original buildings was taken from the campus itself.

    The newer buildings on the eastern portion of the campus - "back campus" - are constructed of red brick. All these buildings have been constructed since the mid-1960s.

    Major Buildings and Facilities

    Alumnae Hall, completed in 1922, was built largely through contributions of alumni and friends of the university. It houses offices relating to the Division of Student Affairs, including the Counseling and Student Development Center and Office of Residence Life.

    Anthony-Seeger Hall, completed in 1958, was named in honor of Katherine M. Anthony and Mary Louise Seeger, both former directors of the training school of the university. It contains offices, classrooms and laboratories for the School of MediaArts and Design and the School of Speech Communication; an auditorium that seats 228; WMRA, the central Shenandoah Valley's National Public Radio affiliate; and student radio station WXJM.

    Ashby Hall, a residence hall completed in 1911, was named after Confederate General Turner Ashby, who was killed less than two miles east of today's campus.

    Baker House was built for Bessie Stokes Spitzer Baker in 1925 and later sold to the university. It now houses the Center for Mediation.

    Bell Hall, a residence hall completed in 1982, was named for Francis Bell Jr., former rector of the JMU Board of Visitors.

    Bridgeforth Stadium has approximately 12,500 permanent seats and contains an artificially surfaced track and field. Built in 1975 and enlarged in 1981, it also contains racquetball courts and houses the military science department (Army ROTC). Originally named JMU Stadium, it was renamed in 1990 for William E. Bridgeforth, former member of the JMU Board of Visitors.

    Burruss Hall, completed in 1953, was originally named Burruss Science Hall in honor of Julian A. Burruss, JMU's first president. Burruss underwent an extensive renovation and addition, completed in 1991. It houses classrooms, the mathematics department, and the biology department.

    Carrier Library is named for the fourth president of James Madison University, Dr. Ronald E. Carrier, and his wife, Edith J. Carrier. The original building was constructed in 1940 and named Madison Memorial Library. A major addition to the library was completed in 1982. Work on an additional floor will begin soon. The library was renamed in honor of the Carriers in 1984. The library contains more than 514,000 books and government documents. Each year, the library adds a significant number of volumes.

    Chandler Hall was named for Wallace L. Chandler of Richmond, a former rector of the JMU Board of Visitors. It was completed in 1974. Chandler is a residence hall and also has a conference center and dining facilities.

    Chappelear Hall, a residence hall completed in 1968, was named in honor of George W. Chappelear, a former professor and head of the biology department.

    Cleveland Hall, a residence hall completed in 1936, was formerly called the Junior Hall, but was later named after Elizabeth P. Cleveland. Cleveland, a member of the original faculty in 1909, headed the areas of English language and literature.

    The College of Education and Psychology Building was completed in 1980. It houses the departments of communication sciences and disorders; early and middle education; secondary education, library science and educational leadership; and special education. It also contains classrooms, a large educational media center and clinical components of the College of Education and Psychology.

    The College of Integrated Science and Technology Building and Laboratories have housed, since January 1994, the offices of the provost and associate provost, the faculty for both the integrated science and technology and computer science programs, as well as classroom and laboratory space.

    Converse Hall, originally the Senior Hall, later was named after Henry A. Converse, a former professor and head of the mathematics department and registrar. Converse, a residence hall completed in 1935, also houses a microcomputer laboratory.

    Dingledine Hall, a residence hall completed in 1969, was named in honor of Agness Dingledine, former executive secretary of the Alumni Association.

    Duke Hall houses the School of Art, classrooms, Latimer-Shaeffer Theatre and the Sawhill Gallery and was named in honor of Dr. Samuel Page Duke, second president of the university. Duke Hall was completed in 1967.

    Eagle Hall, a residence hall completed in 1970, was named after Alfred Eagle, former director of guidance, counseling and placement and a professor of education.

    Eastover House, 1241 Paul St., was acquired in 1993 and houses facilities planning offices.

    Frederikson Hall, a residence hall completed in 1967, was named after Dr. Otto F. Frederikson, a former professor of history.

    Frye Building, completed in 1962, houses printing services, the Media Technology Lab and the Office of Information Technology's technical and networking services. It is named for Lucius C. Frye Sr., a former supervisor in the university's physical plant operations.

    Garber Hall, a residence hall completed in 1969, was named in honor of Dorothy Garber, former dean of women.

    Gibbons Hall, the campus dining hall, serves 1,700 persons in one sitting. Completed in 1964, it was named after Howard K. Gibbons, former business manager. It was the first red brick building constructed on campus.

    Gifford Hall, a residence hall, was constructed in 1958 and named in honor of Walter J. Gifford, a former dean and department head in education.

    Godwin Hall was authorized by the Virginia General Assembly when Mills E. Godwin Jr. was governor of Virginia. It was completed in 1972 and named for the governor and his wife, Katherine, a JMU graduate. Godwin Hall contains the Sinclair Gymnasium, the Savage Natatorium, the kinesiology department office, dance offices, intercollegiate athletics offices and classrooms.

    Grafton-Stovall Theatre, completed in 1979, contains seats for 630. It was named in honor of Martha S. Grafton, a former member and vice rector of the board of visitors and David H. Stovall, former member of the board of visitors.

    Greek Row, for fraternity and sorority housing, is a series of attached units completed in 1978 and expanded in 1987.

    The Greenhouse is adjacent to Burruss Hall. It is used to grow and supply plants for teaching purposes in biology and botany classes. It was completed in 1953.

    Hanson Hall, a residence hall completed in 1968, was named in honor of Raus M. Hanson, former professor of geography.

    Harrison Hall was originally built in 1915 as a student building. It was named after Gessner Harrison, a native of Harrisonburg, who served as professor of Latin at the University of Virginia for 20 years. Harrison houses the department of human resource development, academic support labs, the Media Production Center, and the office of the dean of the College of Communication and The Arts.

    Harrison Hall Annex, completed in 1921, houses the departments of nursing and social work.

    Health Center, completed in 1959, houses modern medical facilities and is fully staffed by physicians and nurses. Originally the center was named after Walter Reed, known for his research on typhoid and yellow fevers.

    Hillcrest was completed in 1914 and used as the president's home until 1977. It now houses the Office of Employee Relations and Training, sponsored programs, and Honors Program office.

    Hillside Hall, a residence hall, was completed in 1987.

    Hoffman Hall, a residence hall completed in 1964, was named in honor of Margaret Vance Hoffman, a member of the English department faculty for 43 years. The building also houses the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment.

    Huffman Hall, a residence hall completed in 1966, was named after Dr. Charles H. Huffman, former professor of English.

    Ikenberry Hall, a residence hall completed in 1972, was named after Dr. J. Emmert Ikenberry, former vice president for academic affairs, dean and head of the mathematics department, and his wife, Katherine, a former member of the English faculty.

    Jackson Hall was the first residence and dining hall at the university. It was built in 1909 and named after Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. It now houses the history department and classrooms.

    JMU Arboretum, opened in 1987, is an outdoor living plant museum. The arboretum contains a wide variety of trees and plants that are native to Virginia. It is located on a 125-acre site near the JMU Convocation Center.

    JMU Convocation Center, completed in 1982, is used for intercollegiate basketball games, concerts and large meetings. The building, seating 7,600, was the first to be constructed across Interstate 81 from the original campus.

    Johnston Hall houses the department of psychology. Completed in 1929, it was named after James C. Johnston, former professor of chemistry and physics, and his wife, Althea Loose Johnston, former department head in physical education.

    Keezell Hall was originally named Reed Hall after Walter Reed. Later the infirmary was named in Reed's honor and the building was renamed for Virginia State Sen. George B. Keezell, who was instrumental in having JMU located in Harrisonburg. It houses the foreign languages and literatures department, the English department and classrooms. It was built in 1927 and renovated in 1987 to add classrooms and offices in the original natatorium.

    Lincoln House, built in 1910 and leased to JMU, was named after the E. E. Lincoln family, who last lived in the house. It contains the theater program's costume shop.

    Logan Hall, a residence hall completed in 1951, was named after Conrad T. Logan, former head of the English department.

    J. Ward Long Baseball Field, built in 1974, was named in honor of J. Ward Long, a former assistant professor of physical education who coached golf, basketball and cross-country teams.

    Maintenance Center, completed in 1969, houses shop areas and a storeroom.

    Mauck Stadium was named after J. Leonard Mauck, a former member of the JMU Board of Visitors. The baseball stadium, with 900 permanent seats, was completed in 1978.

    Maury Hall, originally called the Science Hall, was the university's first academic and administrative building. It was completed in 1909 and named in honor of Matthew Fontaine Maury, Virginia scientist and oceanographer. It houses the political science department and the office of the dean of the College of Letters and Sciences.

    McGraw-Long Hall, a residence hall completed in 1984, was named for Walter J. McGraw, former rector of the board of visitors and Nellie L. Long, an alumna and former member of the board of visitors.

    Miller Hall, completed in 1975, was named after JMU's third president, G. Tyler Miller. It houses academic computing services; the departments of chemistry, geology and geography, and physics; Wells Planetarium, classrooms, laboratories and the Wilbur T. Harnsberger Auditorium.

    Moody Hall, completed in 1961, contains facilities for the health sciences department and Blackwell Auditorium. It was named in honor of Pearl P. Moody, former department head in home economics. The Music Building, was completed in 1989 and houses classrooms, faculty offices, a listening laboratory and studios for the music department.

    Newman Lake was named after the Henry D. Newman family. The Newman farm, which consisted of 235 acres and several buildings, was purchased in 1952 by the university.

    Nicholas House, completed in 1909, was first used as a sorority house and now houses the publications office. The house was named after the Dr. C. E. Nicholas family, who last lived in the house.

    Oakview, the home of JMU's president, is located in the Forest Hills section of Harrisonburg near the JMU campus. The home was presented to the university as a gift from the JMU Foundation, Inc.

    Paul Street House, located at Paul Street and Duke's Drive, is a former residence which now houses the Office of Continuing Education and External Programs and the Office of International Education. JMU purchased the property in 1989.

    Phillips Hall is a meeting and conference center which opened in 1985. The building, named for Col. Adolph H. Phillips, former vice president for business affairs, also contains a food service facility.

    Power Plant, completed in 1940, provides steam heating for the front campus.

    Roop House, acquired by the university in 1986, is named for lnez Graybeal Roop, an alumna who is a former president of the Alumni Association and a former member of the board of visitors. The building houses the student assessment office.

    Sheldon Hall, completed in 1923, was named after Edward A. Sheldon, a leader in the normal school movement of the 19th century and founder of the Oswego training school in New York. It houses the departments of philosophy and religion, and sociology and anthropology; affirmative action office; and office of the dean of the College of Education and Psychology.

    Shenandoah Hall was privately built in 1922 and leased to the university for use as a residence hall. JMU later acquired the building which now houses the Office of Public Safety.

    Shorts Hall, a residence hall completed in 1968, was named in honor of Clyde P. Shorts, former professor of education.

    Zane Showker Hall, completed in 1991, houses classrooms and faculty and administrative offices for the College of Business. The building is named for Zane D. Showker, a Harrisonburg businessman, civic leader and long-time friend of JMU.

    Sonner Hall, completed in 1990, houses the Division of University Advancement, including alumni relations, the annual fund office and the JMU Foundation; and the Office of Career Services. The building is named for Dr. Ray V. Sonner, former senior vice president and vice president for university relations.

    Spotswood Hall, a residence hall completed in 1917, was named in honor of Alexander Spotswood, a Colonial governor who led the first English expedition into the Shenandoah Valley.

    Steele House, completed in 1921, was named after the Edgar Steele family, who last occupied the house.

    Taylor Hall, named for former JMU Board of Visitors Rector Dr. James H. Taylor Jr., was completed in 1993. The building, part of the JMU Campus Center, houses student clubs and organizations, meeting rooms, lounges, recreational facilities and student services such as leadership, service-learning and off-campus living.

    Theatre II, completed in 1922, was formerly occupied by Wampler Foods Inc. JMU began using the building in 1974. It houses the Experimental Theatre, theater offices and classrooms. The university's buildings and grounds department also uses a portion of the building.

    The University Farm, comprising 31 acres located nine miles south of campus, was obtained by the university in 1929. The property, which includes a pavilion, is used for recreational and organizational meetings.

    Varner House was originally a home economics practice house and called the Home Management House. Later it was named in honor of Bernice R. Varner, former dean of women. It was completed in 1929 and houses the admissions office.

    Wampler Hall, a new residence hall named for Charles W. Wampler Jr., a former rector of the JMU Board of Visitors, was just completed in 1994.

    Warren Hall was named in honor of former dean of the college, Percy H. Warren. Completed in 1971 as a center for student activities on campus, it contains a bookstore, cafeteria, post office, recreational rooms and meeting rooms.

    Wayland Hall, a residence hall completed in 1958, was named after John W. Wayland, a member of the first faculty and former department head in history and social science.

    Weaver Hall, a residence hall completed in 1971, was named after Russell M. Weaver, former rector of the JMU Board of Visitors.

    Wellington Hall was privately funded by Dr. E. R. Miller, a Harrisonburg physician, in honor of his daughter. It was completed in 1924 and first used as a dormitory for 68 students. It currently houses the facilities management and procurement services, and materiel management offices.

    White Hall, a residence hall completed in 1973, was named in honor of Helen Mugler White, former vice rector of the JMU Board of Visitors.

    Wilson Hall, completed in 1931, was named after President Woodrow Wilson. It houses the president's office, major administrative offices, the Graduate School and an auditorium with seating for 1,372.

    Wine-Price Hall was originally built for the school of nursing at Rockingham Memorial Hospital. It was completed in 1959 and named after Edgar C. Wine, former president of the board of trustees of Rockingham Memorial Hospital, and C. Grattan Price Sr., former secretary of the board of trustees of the hospital. It houses the Young Children's Program.

    Wise Hall, a former motel, is a residence facility located on South Main Street 11/2 blocks north of the main campus.

    Zirkle House, completed in 1920, was acquired from the Lewis A. Zirkle family and houses art studios and the Artworks Gallery, New Image Gallery and The Other Gallery.

    JMU Alumni

    JMU benefits from an active, enthusiastic and supportive alumni association. With 56,591 degrees conferred since its founding in 1908, the JMU Alumni Association strives to develop and stimulate a continuing interest in the university by providing opportunities for service, fellowship, networking and loyalty for our alumni, parents of current students and friends of the university.

    Twenty alumni chapters and 15 clubs across the country sponsor events and newsletters. Class reunions are hosted annually for alumni commemorating their fifth, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th and 50th reunions, in addition to the celebrated Homecoming festivities. Appointed volunteers on the Alumni Board of Directors advise the alumni office in the implementation and management of affairs of the Alumni Association.

    The Greater University Fund and the Duke Club, under the direction of the Division of University Advancement, seek the financial support of alumni, parents and friends for scholarships, academic programs, athletics and equipment for the university. JMU ranks among the top five public undergraduate institutions in the percentage of voluntary support from alumni and parents.

    The quarterly newspaper, Montpelier, provides information about the university to all alumni, parents of currently enrolled students, friends and businesses, corporations and foundations associated with JMU.

    For additional information regarding JMU alumni, contact the alumni office at (703) 568-6234.

    JMU Foundation

    The James Madison University Foundation, Inc., founded in 1969, seeks funds from all available sources to provide the highest level of excellence possible for JMU.

    The foundation, in coordination with the Division of University Advancement, seeks gifts for the university from alumni, parents of students, faculty and staff members, state and national corporations and foundations. A planned giving program is also offered to potential donors as a means of supporting the university.

    Funds raised by the foundation are used in a variety of ways to assist the university, such as

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    Last reviewed: Sept. 10, 1994
    Information Publisher: Academic Services