Commencement Celebrations Abound


James Madison University will confer nearly 3,400 undergraduate and graduate degrees during commencement exercises on campus Thursday through Saturday, May 5-7. 

JMU's Senior Convocation, on Thursday, is the first of graduation programs and celebrations. Laren Poole, co-founder of Invisible Children, a nonprofit organization that uses the power of the media to inspire young people to help end the suffering of children in war-torn Uganda, is the guest speaker for the 7 p.m. program in the Convocation Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. for graduating seniors, who will wear their academic gowns. Immediately following the convocation, the Senior Candlelighting Ceremony will begin on the steps of the ISAT/CS Building. AJ Fischer, president of the JMU Alumni Association Board of Directors, and Kathleen Lee, president of the Senior Class Council, will speak at the ceremony. 

The Graduate School will award 482 degrees at its commencement ceremony Friday, May 6, in the Convocation Center. A total of 461 students will receive master's degrees at the 7 p.m. program, while 11 students will earn educational specialist degrees and 10 students will earn doctoral degrees. 

Undergraduate commencement ceremonies, where 2,910 degrees will be conferred, will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at various campus sites. 

  • College of Arts and Letters, JMU Quadrangle 
  • College of Business, Convocation Center 
  • College of Education and University Studies, Godwin Hall 
  • College of Integrated Science and Technology, Soccer/Lacrosse Complex 
  • College of Science and Mathematics, East Campus Library lawn 
  • College of Visual and Performing Arts, Duke Hall lawn 

For more information about the ceremonies, check the JMU Commencement website at

Separate ceremonies for nursing and military science graduates are part of the celebratory weekend. 

The traditional Nursing Pinning Ceremony for 64 graduating students will begin at 2 p.m. Friday, May 6, in the Festival Conference and Student Center Ballroom. Dr. Erika Metzler Sawin, an assistant professor of nursing at JMU, is the student-selected speaker for the pinning ceremony, which concludes with graduates reciting the Nightingale Pledge, named in honor of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. 

Twenty-two cadets will receive their commissions as second lieutenants at the ROTC Commissioning Ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, in Memorial Hall. Brig. Gen. Randal A. Dragon, who graduated from JMU in 1980 and currently serves as a deputy commanding general for the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan., is guest speaker for the ceremony. Dragon is the recipient on numerous awards and decorations, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal. 

Graduating cadets will take their oath of office and accept rank pins and first salutes at the traditional ceremony, which is followed by a reception in the Memorial Hall Forum. 

Published: Thursday, April 28, 2011

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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