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Mary Ellen Chewning graduated from Mary Washington College in 1963 and started teaching second grade in Alexandria, Virginia. After marrying her husband Brad in 1964, she taught three years in Danville.  She then was a stay at home mom to daughter Stephanie and son Russell.

Mary Ellen graduated with a Master of Education from JMU in 1977 after being a graduate assistant in the reading center under Dr. Shirley Merlin. The last 28 years of teaching were in Augusta County as a Title I reading specialist or elementary classroom teacher. After retiring from teaching, she worked as Executive Director of The Arc of Harrisonburg and Rockingham.

Mary Ellen was active for many years in the Shenandoah Valley Reading Council (Chair of the Young Authors’ Celebrations, President), The Arc (local and state President, National Volunteer of the Year, National Board member), Special Olympics (Area 4 Coordinator), and Still Meadows Enrichment Center and Camp (founding member, treasurer).

Retiring has made it possible for Mary Ellen to devote time to JMU’s Lifelong Learning Institute Advisory Board (Secretary) and the JMU Crown Club (President). She and her husband have endowed two JMU scholarships – one for an athlete and another for a student pursuing a degree in special education. She and Brad attend all men’s and women’s basketball games and as many football games as possible. They have gladly supported the Duke Club and the capital campaign for the new Atlantic Union Bank Center.

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