On Fire: Softball, Amethyst Circle and Scholarships


SUMMARY: This story was sent as an email to Unleashed donors on July 1, 2021.

Dear Unleashed Donor,

Wow! Just WOW! Unless your internet connection died, you already know our Dukes lit the softball world on fire when they reached the semifinals of the 2021 Women’s College World Series last month. Who can forget Odicci Alexander’s diving tag at the plate? Lynsey Meeks' spirit? and Kate Gordon’s clutch hitting?

As donors who helped build our academic and athletic excellence with your philanthropy, you can delight in the success of these amazing JMU ambassadors. Their talent, teamwork, spirit and humility raised national awareness of the caliber of the entire university. President Alger called their performance true grit.

It’s a pleasure for the four of us to collaborate on this Unleashed message to you because we are all about amazing women. As both campaign steering members and Amethyst Circle Founders, we rejoiced in the success of the online Women Who Amaze Summit weekend in May, which drew more than 300 attendees. That’s when Women for Madison announced the launch of the Amethyst Circle and our goal of 200 women giving a combined $1 million for scholarships.

Yesterday we heard that more than 50 of you have signed on with us as Founders to seed the Amethyst Circle effort, surpassing our original goal of 10 Founders. Talk about on fire! Your commitment means more scholarship funds for Future Dukes.

Right now JMU must turn away so many promising students because of our lack of scholarships. Donna Harper (’77, ’86M), vice president for access and enrollment, explained how an annual, renewable $5,000 award is the magic number that will allow students with the greatest financial need to make JMU a practical choice. You can watch the program to learn the whole story and hear from students, including rising junior and Honors College Witherspoon Scholar Deaquan Nichols, about how scholarships are making the Madison Experience possible for them.

As summer orientation gets underway on campus, excitement is rising over the return to the traditional Madison Experience this fall. Most of our 4,750 incoming freshmen for 2021 ranked in the top third of their high school class and earned mostly A’s and B’s in their core academic classes.

It is a shame that so many high-achieving peers of our incoming freshmen cannot afford to be here. That’s why it’s so important to fulfill our Amethyst Circle initiative and continue the Unleashed campaign through 2022 with our continued focus on scholarships. We hope you will share this news with your JMU networks and encourage them to invest in scholarships at JMU.

Today, giving to the Unleashed campaign stands at more than $212 million, and the JMU Foundation reports our endowment at $147.5 million. This news is because of your commitment to JMU combined with that of more than 58,000 campaign donors. Our goal is still to surpass the 60,000 donor mark by the end of the campaign next June, so if you know someone who has not given yet, please invite them to join us in this winning effort.

We are proud to be Dukes with you and contribute to JMU’s success. It’s because of you that all this and so much more are possible. You are amazing! Thank you.

Go Dukes!


Amethyst Circle Founders, Women for Madison

Steering Committee Members, Unleashed: The Campaign for James Madison University

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Published: Friday, July 2, 2021

Last Updated: Friday, October 8, 2021

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