JMU President Jonathan Alger recognized for civic engagement leadership

by Caitlyn Read


The All IN Campus Democracy Challenge recently recognized James Madison University President Jonathan Alger as a Standout President for his leadership in cultivating a culture of democracy and voter participation on campus and beyond. The Challenge is a nonpartisan, national initiative recognizing and supporting colleges and universities’ efforts to make democratic participation a core value on campus and foster generations of engaged citizens.

“It’s crucial that colleges and universities assume a leadership role in efforts to enhance our democracy, and graduate civic-minded students capable of solving tomorrow’s challenges,” said President Jonathan Alger. “This award reflects the work being done by many faculty and students here at JMU. I am honored to accept the award on their behalf and look forward to working with countless partners across campus to continue the good work focused on civic engagement. James Madison University, named for the Father of the Constitution, has an important role to play in preparing people for active and responsible political engagement.”

Under Alger’s leadership, the university’s strategic plan pays special attention to civic engagement with the goal of educating and inspiring people to address public issues and cultivate a just and inclusive democracy. A constitutional law expert, Alger serves as an important voice in the national dialogue about the role colleges and universities should play in preparing students to be active and informed participants in civic life.

Alger led the creation of the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement as an administrative infrastructure to coordinate year-round, nonpartisan, campus-wide voter education and engagement. Alger also oversaw the development of a voting precinct that gives students the opportunity to vote on campus, hosted the Engagement for the Public Good Conference at JMU and developed the Madison Vision Lecture Series, honoring James Madison's conviction that cultivating an informed and educated citizenry is essential to the health of a democracy. JMU’s current capital campaign, Unleashed, also has a distinct focus on raising funds to support the renewal of civil society through programs such as community service learning, study abroad and ethical reasoning.

In addition to the Standout President award, JMU was recognized with ALL IN’s silver seal for voter participation during the 2018 midterm elections, representing a dramatic improvement in student voter turnout from the previous midterm election.

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Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Last Updated: Saturday, January 2, 2021

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