BOV’s Fiorina challenges JMU community on Giving Day

JMU Headlines

SUMMARY: The Giving Day challenge will honor JMU VP Donna Harper (’77, ’81M, ’86Ed.S.), right, and raise funds for Valley Scholars.

On Giving Day (Feb. 22), the JMU community will honor the 47-year career of Donna Harper (’77, ’81M, ’86Ed.S.) with a challenge to establish an endowed scholarship in her name. The scholarship will benefit JMU students from the Valley Scholars program.

When 100 people give to support the Donna L. Harper (’77, ’86) Scholarship Endowment for Valley Scholars, philanthropist and JMU Board of Visitors member Carly Fiorina and Frank Fiorina will add $50,000 to the total. Giving to the endowment means making a difference for future Valley Scholars forever. The JMU community will have 24 hours on Feb. 22 to rally 100 donors.

“Donna Harper has meant so much to our family and to so many other JMU families,” said Carly Fiorina. “She exemplifies the very best of JMU: commitment, service to others and leadership. It is our hope that the Donna Harper Scholarship we are establishing will allow many other students and their families to benefit from Donna’s example and all that the JMU experience provides.”

The choice of a Valley Scholars scholarship to honor Harper is especially appropriate. In her position as vice president of Access and Enrollment Management, Harper spearheads the recruiting of all prospective students to JMU. Her most recent priorities (and growing successes) are attracting Pell-eligible and first-generation students to JMU. It is a need she understands as she was once a first-gen college student herself.

The Valley Scholars program is uniquely successful. The first cohort of Valley Scholars grabbed hold of the JMU dream and became the first in their families to graduate from college in 2023. They have landed successful jobs and graduate school admission. The second cohort will graduate this year. Meanwhile, JMU freshmen, sophomores and juniors are excelling across the board. Like their pioneering predecessors, there are middle school and high school students immersed right now in the intensive five-year Valley Scholars preparatory program.

As Harper knows better than anyone, it takes scholarships to make JMU affordable for students who face financial barriers. Harper has been pivotal in building and supporting the Valley Scholars program and advocating for scholarships for those who attend JMU. She has also been an active voice for Centennial Scholars and for Women for Madison Scholarships. Harper supports Women for Madison as an Amethyst Circle Founder and serves as a member of the Women for Madison Executive Advisory Council.

Harper has announced her plans to retire at the end of this school year. 

Celebrate the 47-year career of JMU's current Vice President of Access and Enrollment — and help secure the future of Valley Scholars! Make a big impact with a gift to provide these JMU scholarships in perpetuity. When 100 people participate, philanthropists Carly Fiorina (member of the JMU Board of Visitors) and Frank Fiorina will add $50K to the total. Giving to the endowment means making a difference forever. Just like Donna. GIVE NOW

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by Pam Brock

Published: Friday, February 16, 2024

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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