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2019 WFM Duuuukes

SUMMARY: Top alumni headlined the 2019 Women for Madison Summit, "Women Who Amaze," in May.

Headlined by top alumni speakers and signature events, the Women Who Amaze 2019 Women for Madison Summit drew 130 women to campus in May for a weekend devoted to old and new friends, inspiring stories, and personal and professional development.

Dolley Madison, Women for Madison’s inspiration, was a special guest for the weekend, welcoming attendees and kicking off the group’s Dolley, Dolley! cheer.

“While she is not a perfect role model for us,” WFM leader Cannie Campbell ('95) underscored at the Madison En Blanc Dinner, “Dolley Madison was a power broker in her own right and set the standard for modern first ladies.”

2019 WFM En Blanc
Based on the international dining phenomenon and a big hit at last year's summit, the Madison En Blanc Dinner returned to the 2019 lineup by popular demand.

Women gathered at Oakview for the First Ladies’ Brunch, hosted by Mary Ann Alger and Dolley Madison. They convened a circle based on Dolley’s historic “squeezes” at the White House, where she brought political rivals together to work out the issues of the day. 

The summit luncheon focused on the impact scholarships make on the lives of JMU students and the presentation of the Leslie Flanary Gilliam (‘82) Spirit of Philanthropy Award

May graduate Katrina Shelton (’19) spoke about finding a home at JMU through the Centennial Scholars Program“I made my first gift to JMU to support the Centennial Scholars Program with $25 from my graduation gift,” Shelton said, “so I’m officially a Woman for Madison.”

2019 WFM Katrina Shelton
Katrina Shelton (’19), who spoke about finding a home at JMU through the Centennial Scholars Program, embraces fellow speaker Diane Strawbridge (’80, ’02M), head of the program and anchor to hundreds of Centennial Scholars through the years. 

Karen Rothenberger (’93) told the summit crowd that Shelton’s story had helped inspire the $200,000 gift she and her husband, John (’88), made to support the Centennial Scholars Program.

The Spirit of Philanthopy Award was presented to Kathy Mueller Thomas ('78). Kathy, along with her husband, Mike (’76, ’77M), started the Dukes Pay It Forward Scholarship program. Today, more than 25 other like-minded donors have created these scholarships. As Kathy Thomas once said, “I can’t pay anyone back, but I can pay it forward.”

2019 WFM Kathy Thomas
Julie Thomas (’15) helped engineer a surprise announcement by narrating a video about her mother, Kathy Mueller Thomas (’78), the 2019 recipient of the Spirit of Philanthropy Award.

Throughout the day, keynote speakers dispensed powerful advice and shared challenges and successes.

Jamie Jones Miller (’99) spoke of how she sometimes must remind herself she belongs at the table with the nation’s top defense officials. Jennifer Killi Marshall (’01) told of her traumatic experiences with bipolar disorder and turning it into the international nonprofit This Is My Brave. Entrepreneur and former management executive Tina Fox (’94) closed the event with her keynote, “Living Your Legacy.”

As one alumna said afterward, “It was inspiring beyond measure, and I really encourage anyone to go, because it truly makes you examine yourself in many ways, and how JMU has impacted others. I had no idea how incredibly emotional the whole weekend would be. … I am so proud to be a Duke!” 

Madison banner 2018

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Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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