PHOTOS: Welcome back and welcome home

Class of 1974 raises funds for Valley Scholars


SUMMARY: The Bluestone Society grew again. Members of the Class of 1974 returned to campus to celebrate their 50th reunion and their induction into the Bluestone Society. Altogether, the class raised more than $1 million dollars in lifetime support of JMU and $11,700 for Valley Scholars.

Every spring, members of the Bluestone Society who graduated 50 years ago or more return to campus for a weekend of sharing their Madison memories and making new ones together.

Alumni laughing at check-in
Robin Farmer Phillips (’74) greets friends at Friday check-in.
Bluestone check-in
Gary Watson and Jane Ziegler Watson (’74) chat with other alumni while awaiting tours.
Paula Polglase greeting alumna
JMU Alumni Director Paula Polglase (’92, ’96M) welcomes Anne Dervishian Perdue (’74) to her 50th reunion.

Some alumni brought memories with them. Pat (’74) and Doug Dickey (’76) met as students through their involvement with the Bluestone yearbook. Pat served as the editor, and Doug was a photographer.

Pat and Doug Dicket
The Dickeys remember developing film together in the dark room under the stage in Wilson Hall. 
Photo of the Quad
The memory inspired them to create a dark room to develop film in their Annandale home.

Alumni toured the Atlantic Union Bank Center, where a panel of student-athletes shared their JMU experiences. 

Alumni in AABC
JMU student athlete
Joseph (74) and Janice Frye (76) listen to student-athletes Seth Noatala and Sierra Puleo.

At class dinner, the Class of 1974 Reunion Planning Committee unveiled a check for more than $1 million to support JMU. The committee directed its class gift of $11,700 to the Valley Scholars Scholarship, which enables deserving future Dukes to become the first in their families to earn a college degree. 

Class of 1974 with check
Cannie Campbell joins the Class of 1974 Reunion Committee in celebrating their class’ extraordinary gift. (L-R): Cannie Campbell, Jim Lee (74), Elliott Boyd (74), Fran Mirabella Moore (74), Jeff McEnteer (74) and Donna Schramm Marshall (74)
Alumna clapping
Diane Stoneman Davis (74) applauds the milestone class gift. 
Alumnus smiling
Conrad Helsey (72) returns to campus for his 52nd class reunion.

Intergenerational connection and learning has long been a Madison hallmark. On Friday evening, the Bluestone Induction Class of 1974 and the JMU graduating Class of 2024 participated in one of Madison’s oldest traditions, the Senior Candle Lighting and Toast.

Candle lighting
Student Nate Hazen ('24) shields the wind as Fran Mirabella Moore ('74) lights the Bluestone Candle.
Seniors toasting
JMU seniors toast their transition into the JMU Alumni Association.
Bluestone alumni toasting
Bluestone alumni raise their glasses in celebration of the Class of 2024.

On Saturday, alumni were led through an interactive tour of the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. 

Forbes tourForbes tour

During Saturday's lunch, alumni answered trivia questions to win JMU swag and enjoyed a performance by the Madison Singers.

Madison Singers
Madison Singers spread throughout the room to sing a moving rendition of "Oh Shenandoah." 
Alumnus with Madison Singers
Jim Johns ('72) joins the Madison Singers in the JMU Alma Mater.
Alumni talk to Madison Singers
Madison Singers listen to Susan Armentrout Pollard ('74) and Bill Pollard ('71, '76M) share about their Madison Experience.
Alumnae talk to Madison Singers
Wendy Byrd ('74) and former suitemate Barbara Ellinghause Gurne ('74) talk to a student in Madison Singers.

Alumni entered the weekend eager to re-experience campus and connect with former classmates.

Sherry Cox
 "You get up, you do your makeup, you do your hair in the seventies, and then you go to swim class?" said Sherry Cox ('74) of Madison's infamous swim requirement, which was protested by the Class of 1974 and ultimately done away with. "Your whole day was shot!"
Tri Sigma sisters
Fourteen Tri Sigma sisters group together for the first time in 50 years.

The weekend culminated in the Bluestone Induction Ceremony, during which the Class of 1974 were officially inducted into the Bluestone Society.

Jim Lee lights candle
To begin the ceremony, Jim Lee ('74) lights the Bluestone Candle, the JMU candle that represents all Madison and JMU alumni.
Alumnus lights Memorial Candle
Elliott Boyd ('74) lights a memorial candle to represent members of the Class of 1974 who have passed away before reaching this milestone.

To be inducted into the Bluestone Society, members of the Class of 1974 were escorted to the front of the room to receive their Bluestone Medallions from President Alger and JMUAA President Tripp Hughes.

Bluestone Induction
Escorted by JMU Vice President for Student Affairs Tim Miller, Brenda Ausberry ('74) is the first member of the Class of 1974 inducted.
Bluestone Induction
David Grimm ('74) celebrates on the walk to receive his Bluestone medallion. 
Bluestone Induction
Susan Armentrout Pollard ('74) shakes hands with President Alger.
Suite mates gather together
Barbara Belote German ('74), Marilyn Mohn Callahan ('74), Kathy Kurz Damiano ('74), Wendy Byrd ('74) and Barbara Ellinghaus Gurne ('74) “hit it off” at Madison. The fivesome were suitemates and continue to reconnect twice a year.

In addition to the Class of 1974, four other classes came to campus to celebrate Bluestone Reunion Weekend 2024.

Class of 1964
L to R: ---, ----, Rebecca Shinaberry Campbell, Marlene Mathews Whitney, Christine Woods ---.
Class of 1969
Dawn Schuyler Engen, Darlene Danstrom Swanson and Judy Hyde Hevener. 
Class of 1971
Betty Arehart Bennett and Ava Ireson Barrett.
Class of 1972
In the afternoon, members of the Class of 1972 visited Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, where they donated a bench and tree, to take a photo in honor of their late classmates.

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by Ciara Brennan

Published: Friday, May 3, 2024

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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