First-rate, first-gen students impress donors

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JMU donors, scholarship recipients and university leaders gathered to celebrate the impact of giving at the Annual Stewardship Luncheon in March. Nick Langridge, vice president of University Advancement, welcomed more than 400 guests, who gathered in the Festival. President Jonathan Alger gave the keynote, focusing on JMU's ongoing efforts to recruit and support first-generation students at JMU. Highlights included presentations by students, faculty and donors.
Watch their stories below:

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Aiming for the Top

Turning down a full scholarship to Princeton, Deaquan Nichols (’23) chose JMU for the relationships with faculty mentors like Phil Frana and Oleksandr Kokhan. He also sought research opportunities and the chance to create an individualized academic path — which leads him next to VCU Medical School.


Celebrating Virginia’s Finest

Marking the 50th anniversary of the Marching Royal Dukes, Drum Major Katie Presutto (’23) and Assistant Band Director Nieves Villaseñor share highlights of JMU’s largest student organization and reflect on their New Year’s trip to the Vatican while the JMU Pep Band plays some favorites.


Cherishing This Moment

The first students from JMU’s groundbreaking Valley Scholars Program, including Ayam Ali (’23) and Kaitlyn Good (’23), will graduate with the Class of 2023 this May. They have built their success on a foundation of early opportunity, support from 1,435 donors and their own dreams, talents and resilience.


Making a Home

The joys and challenges of being first come to life through the experiences of donors Angela (’90) and Carl “Pete” (’88) Reddix and JMU students Syd Jones (’24) and Janaiya Hill (’24). They highlight JMU's emphasis on welcoming students from all walks of life through the Reddix Center for First Generation Students.


Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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