Alumni board unifies college

Liberal Arts Alumni Board becomes first college-wide alumni board

by Ciara Brennan ('17)

CEO and board president April Armstrong ('92) graduated with a degree in French and communication studies from JMU.

SUMMARY: Led by board president April Armstrong ('92), the School of Liberal Arts Alumni Board has evolved into the first college-wide alumni board in Arts and Letters history.

A decision that was months in the making became official at October’s virtual alumni board meeting. The School of Liberal Arts Alumni Board, which held its first meeting 11 years ago this month, will now officially represent the entire College of Arts and Letters.

According to associate dean Chris Arndt, who serves as the college’s liaison to the board, “the School of Liberal Arts Board was created when there were three distinct schools [in the College of Arts and Letters] that were possibly going to become separate and distinct colleges.” Since these colleges never came to pass, retaining the artificial distinction of schools made less sense, leaving the board in an ideal position to become something more: a consolidated representation of a now-unified college.

Board president and CEO of AHA Insight April Armstrong (’92) believes this change will only benefit her fellow 40,000 CAL alumni. As one of JMU’s largest colleges, offering 13 diverse majors and over 50 minors, “the variety of departments [in CAL] can make it difficult for alumni to know how to plug back into JMU, even if they would like to,” Armstrong said. “Many alumni are not aware of the emerging unity and focus we are now bringing to engage and connect CAL alumni."

Armstrong, Arndt, Dean Robert Aguirre and the board members hope the shift to a college-wide board will streamline communication to alumni about the various ways they, too, can give back to JMU through their time, talent and financial support. Beyond giving to the Arts and Letters Opportunity Fund, which supports first-generation students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, and the Liberal Arts Legacy Fund, which supports the academic endeavors of outstanding faculty, alumni can also offer their time and expertise through virtual mentoring events and department advisory boards.

“Getting involved with JMU again not only benefits the students immensely, it’s also really fun and rewarding” said Armstrong, who believes any Duke can find an avenue to reconnect with the JMU community that helped them move forward in their lives and careers.

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Published: Friday, October 23, 2020

Last Updated: Friday, October 23, 2020

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