JMU in the Community

Inauguration honors Presidents Alger and Madison

Image Placeholder

New administrative era for JMU

James Madison University will observe the March 15 inauguration of its current president, Jonathan R. Alger, with a full week of events to celebrate an occasion that is both rare and symbolic in the life of the Harrisonburg school.

In its 105-year history, JMU has been led by only six presidents, with President Alger taking the helm on July 1, 2012. Not since Sept. 17, 1999, when former President Linwood H. Rose was officially inaugurated, has the university had the opportunity to commemorate the beginning of a new administrative era.

Inauguration ceremony March 15

President Alger's formal inauguration ceremony will begin at 11:15 a.m. in the JMU Convocation Center. Doors open at 10:15 a.m. for the public event, in which he will assume the powers and responsibilities of the presidency. Local and state political leaders and delegates representing other academic institutions will join JMU officials and representatives in the procession and JMU student and faculty musicians will present patriotic selections and "The Prayer," a piece taken from a prayer by Mother Teresa.

Joe Funkhouser, rector of the JMU Board of Visitors, will conduct the investiture of Alger immediately prior to the new president's formal address.

Free events open to public focus on President Madison's life and times

Many of the special events of Inauguration Week focus on James Madison, the man the university honors for his contributions to the crafting of the U.S. Constitution and for legislative leadership to Virginia and presidential leadership to the young United States of America. The public is welcome to the many free presentations, which all will be held in Room 1301, Health and Human Services Building. They include JMU professors Kevin Hardwick, Howard Lubert and Bill Hawk discussing "The Political Thought of James Madison" (March 12, 4:30-6 p.m.).

Holly Shulman, editor of the Dolley Madison Digital Edition at the University of Virginia, will examine how and why Mrs. Madison created the role of the first lady (March 12, 6-7 p.m.) and JMU faculty members Bruce Brunton, Pam Johnson, Matt Rebhorn and David Owusu-Ansah will offer their interdisciplinary expertise on the Madisons' life and time with a focus on the economy, literature and dress of the era (March 13, 4:30-6 p.m.). David Waldstreicher of the Department of History at Temple University will examine Madison's pivotal role in framing the Constitution and the dilemmas posed by the institution of slavery (March 13, 6-7 p.m.).

Presidential Walk from campus to Court Square

The public is invited to gather at 4:30 p.m. March 14 for a Presidential Walk from the Quadrangle side of the Main Street tunnel to Court Square where Alger will receive a welcome from Harrisonburg and Rockingham County representatives. After a brief program, participants will come together inside Court Square Theater for a 5:15 p.m. public lecture, "Beyond the Marble Man: Who Was James Madison?" by David Mattern, associate editor, The Papers of James Madison, University of Virginia.

Other events include campus tour

Other Inauguration Week events include a citizenship forum for consideration of higher education's responsibility to society, a panel discussion about JMU's new ethical reasoning plan to enhance student learning, a campus tour to highlight resources available to the community, and a JMU Debate Team recreation of the tension surrounding the debate over whether or not the Constitution should be ratified.

MadisonFest features games and fireworks

On Inauguration Day, MadisonFest on the Quadrangle will offer a party atmosphere to celebrate JMU's special week and the eve of James Madison's birthday. Performances, carnival-like games and fireworks are part of the 5:30-8 p.m. celebration.

To see the complete Inauguration Week schedule, check

Members of the news media who plan to cover Inauguration Week events should contact Bill Wyatt, media relations manager, at (540) 568-4908 or to secure credentials.

Back to Top

Published: Monday, March 11, 2013

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Related Articles