September 2021 Board of Visitors summary of action and discussions

JMU News

by Mary-Hope Vass


The James Madison University Board of Visitors met Friday, September 24 in the Festival Conference and Student Center.

The following is a summary of actions taken by the board and key areas of discussion at the board meeting: 

Approved the June 23-24, 2021 Board of Visitors retreat meeting minutes; the August 24, 2021 Ad Hoc Governance Committee meeting minutes; and the September 7, 2021 Executive Committee meeting minutes.

Accepted committee reports from the Academics & Student Life, Advancement, Athletics, Audit and Finance & Physical Development committees, Ad Hoc Governance, and Executive; 

Tim Miller, vice president for Student Affairs, and Ruben Graciana, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, led an update to COVID-19;

The Six-Year Plan was presented by Brian Charette, special assistant to the president; Donna Harper, vice president for Access and Enrollment Management; Heather Coltman, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs; and Charlie King, senior vice president for Administration and Finance, and approved by a formal vote;

An update on the Graduate School was provided by Dean Linda Thomas; 

A Racial Equity and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion update was provided by Cynthia Bauerle, interim vice provost for Faculty and Curriculum;

A dashboard to present information to the Board of Visitors was presented by Brian Charette, special assistant to the president, and Chris Orem, director of Institutional Research.

Was told by President Jonathan R. Alger during his President’s Report:

Students were greeted with a warm, in-person welcome at the Block Party in the ‘Burg. This is the largest first year class ever with 4,765 students and there are currently 65 Valley Scholars now enrolled at JMU;

The Class of 2020 was celebrated at the Atlantic Union Bank Center on September 3 with in-person ceremonies;

Suzanne Bergmeister has joined JMU as the executive director of the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship;

With a strong record of focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion issues, Melinda Wood has been named associate vice president of Access and Enrollment Management and Director of Admissions; 

A ’95 graduate and retired major from the Fairfax County Police Department, Anthony Matos was recently appointed as JMU’s police chief;

Mary Ramsey was selected to join JMU as the American Council on Education fellow; 

The university’s Economic Development Council is leading the Regional Economic Recovery series and also worked with the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport to initiate a new partnership;

JMU continues to lead efforts nationally on the civic role of higher education with a new collaboration with Partnership for American Democracy and by co-hosting a town hall for presidents in October with AAC&U;

Reengineering Madison is a new initiative to explore integrating university systems and making sharing of information more streamlined;

The Office of Research and Scholarship has expanded the team to include Besi Muhonja as associate vice provost for Scholarship, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Keith Holland as associate vice provost for Research and Innovation;

JMU was named one of America’s Top Colleges by Forbes, which takes into account low-income student outcomes, graduate earnings, student debt, academic success and national leadership positions;

JMU has also been recently recognized as the following: “Best Maker School” by Newsweek and Make Magazine; 3rd most innovative school in the south by US News and World report; best college for getting a job in Virginia; #2 most recommended university in the nation; Money Magazine’s list of “Best Colleges for the Money;” HEED award from Insight on Diversity for the 2nd time in four years; and received the Judge’s Choice Award from the University Economic Development Association;

US News and World Report named JMU Engineering one of the top 25 undergraduate engineering programs in the nation; 

Madison Magazine was selected as the 2021 winner by the Content Marketing Institute; the “Stop the Spread” campaign won the Grand Gold Award; two other awards were earned from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education;

Brad Barnett was selected as the National Chair-Elect for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and will serve as an important voice in financial aid administration nationwide; 

JMU Athletics earned national headlines as the JMU Softball Team was a national semifinalist with players Kate Gorton and Odicci Alexander being named to the All-Tournament Team; in addition, Head Coach Loren LaPorte and her colleagues were named as 2021 NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year; 

Having served at JMU since July 1, 1996, Charlie King will be retiring as the senior vice president of Administration and Finance, he will remain at JMU in a part-time government relations role through the next Virginia General Assembly; 

Towana Moore will serve as the interim vice president for Administration and Finance upon Mr. King’s retirement;

Some upcoming events were highlighted to include: the Forbes Center schedule that was recently released, Oct. 29 Via Mineral Museum grand opening, Nov. 5 Hartman Hall grand opening, and the Madison Vision Series;

This afternoon, three buildings (Darcus Johnson Hall, Gabbin Hall, and Harper Allen-Lee Hall) will be rededicated with tours starting at 3 p.m. and the ceremony to follow at 4 p.m.

Following closed session, the Board of Visitors voted to extend President Jonathan Alger’s contract by five years. The new contract will begin on July 1, 2022; and

Approved the following real estate transactions: 1621 South Main Street for $325,000; 453 Cardinal Drive for $245,000; and 460 Eastover Drive for $290,000.

Back to Top

Published: Friday, September 24, 2021

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Related Articles