JMU to honor leaders for their tenure

JMU News
2024 street renaming lead

HARRISONBURG, Va. — The James Madison University Board of Visitors voted today to name two streets on campus in honor of long-time employees who are retiring this spring and to rename one building in honor of JMU’s sixth president.

Bourne-Harper-celebratedDonna (Warner) Harper (’77, ’81M, ’86Ed.S.), vice president of access and enrollment management, and Jeff Bourne, director of athletics, will retire at the conclusion of the spring 2024 semester.

Maribeth Herod, the rector for the Board of Visitors, said, “It is an honor to be able to name streets after Jeff Bourne and Donna Harper. Jeff's visionary leadership and Donna's unwavering dedication have been instrumental in shaping the university. Both leave a legacy of excellence and inspiration. On behalf of the Board of Visitors, we express our deepest gratitude for their exemplary service and wish them continued success in their future endeavors.”

Donna Harper Lane

Donna Harper Lane will now be the pedestrian path that runs the length of Greek Row, near Newman Lake. Greek Life has always been a passion of Harper’s and reflects the many years of service she has given to JMU’s panhellenic life on campus. Harper served as a sorority advisor for more than 40 years and started her career at JMU in Greek Life.

Harper is retiring having served JMU for 47 years, most recently as the vice president of access and enrollment management. She is an alumna from the class of 1977 and was part of the women’s field hockey team while she completed her undergraduate degree. In her current role, Harper oversees the Office of Admissions, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, University Events, Access and Educational Outreach, Title IX, First Generation Student Success and the Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World. She also serves as the secretary to the Board of Visitors.

Jeff Bourne Way

East Campus Drive, which serves as the primary entrance to the Atlantic Union Bank Center, will be renamed Jeff Bourne Way. AUBC was the most recent athletics capital project that was overseen and championed by Bourne.

Bourne is retiring as the director of athletics, a role he has served for 25 years beginning in 1999. The athletic department has grown immensely since his tenure began and has emerged on the national stage with numerous noteworthy achievements. Bourne prioritized a full overhaul of the department’s facility profile, pushing for each student-athlete to be able to maximize performance with first-class competition and training venues. This work continues in Bourne’s final year as the department embarks upon its next wave of master planning.

Bourne lead athletics to join the Sun Belt Conference, which coincided with the football team beginning the reclassification from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2022. Under his leadership, the athletic department has three NCAA national championships, 77 conference team championships, 60 regular season titles and many other performance and academic accomplishments.

The permanent street signs will be placed in the coming weeks.

Alger Hall

In honor of Jonathan Alger, who has served as JMU’s president for the past 12 years, the board has voted to rename Spotswood Hall to Alger Hall. While these changes will not be seen immediately, the concept is tied to Alger’s passion and commitment toward civic learning and engagement. Spotswood Hall is located on JMU’s historic Quad.

This hall will undergo significant renovations and the building will be repurposed into the future home of the Madison Center for Civic Engagement. Upon opening, the newly renovated facility will be named Alger Hall and will also become a civic learning and living community, where students interested in this field of study will have the opportunity to reside in the residence hall and learn through the Madison Center.

“Jon has really grown the prominence of the Madison Center and prioritized a culture of civic learning at JMU,” explained Herod. “This honorary naming couldn’t be more fitting to Jon’s passions and provides a natural opportunity to recognize his wonderful years of service and dedication to our university and celebrate the positive trajectory the university has seen under his leadership.”

While the detailed timeline is not finalized, it is anticipated that Alger Hall will open toward the end of 2026. At that time, a celebratory event will take place. 


Contact: Mary-Hope Vass,

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Published: Friday, April 19, 2024

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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