Announcing the 2024 Public Service Awards honorees


SUMMARY: Public Service Awards at James Madison University has announced the 2024 honorees, recognizing four Valley residents for their exemplary public service work.

Harrisonburg, Virginia – The Public Service Awards at James Madison University, sponsored by the JMU Master of Public Administration graduate program, has announced the 2024 honorees, recognizing four Valley residents for their exemplary public service work in regional government and nonprofit organizations. Since 2009, the Public Service Awards at JMU has recognized more than 45 individuals across the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia region for their excellence in public service as part of the national Public Service Recognition Week. Honorees are nominated and selected by their peers and colleagues, facilitated by the JMU MPA program and are recognized at the annual Public Service Reception on the JMU campus. The 2024 Public Service Reception is Thursday, April 25, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with awards being presented at 6:30 p.m.

The 2024 Honorees are as follows:

Career Achievement in Public Service Award

Louise Jennings, director (retired), Kingsway Prison and Family Outreach

Jennings is being recognized for a career of supporting individuals and families working through the often difficult transition from incarceration to thriving in society. Her unwavering support for reintegrating formerly incarcerated community members demonstrates the highest public service commitment.


Excellence in Public Service Award

Amy Snider, deputy city manager, City of Harrisonburg

Snider is honored for her untiring efforts to make the vision of a homeless services center in the City of Harrisonburg a reality. Her ability to fully engage diverse stakeholders and interests in collaboration with one another is a monumental achievement as this project unfolds.


The John B. Noftsinger Alumni Award for Public Service Excellence

Elise Becker (’05, International Affairs), executive director, The Marshall Legacy Institute

Becker demonstrates the core values of the namesake of this award through her work growing The Marshall Legacy Institute, an organization dedicated to educating about and elevating the profile of the dangers of landmines and other explosive remnants of war in conflict and post-conflict societies.


Public Service Student Leadership Award

Kailey Garrett, (’24, Sociology), JMU Community Engagement and Volunteer Center

Garrett, through her work with JMU’s CEVC, has demonstrated public service leadership by engaging her peers in this important work through Alternative Spring Break programs, the Student Sustainability Summit, and Dukes Making a Difference.


Award descriptions are found below and images available upon request. Contact Rob Alexander for Awards program information and Eric Gorton, University Communicationspublic affairs coordinator, for general JMU press and media contact.


Career Achievement in Public Service

This award recognizes an individual with 20-plus years employed by a government or nonprofit organization who has advanced the public interest by actively engaging with the community, strengthening social equity, demonstrating personal integrity, promoting ethical standards of public service, and advancing professional excellence in his/her career serving the Shenandoah Valley, broadly defined. The recipient may be either retired or still active in the workforce.

Excellence in Public Service

This award recognizes an instance of public service project or programming excellence performed by an employee at a government or nonprofit organization in the Shenandoah Valley. This example should demonstrate high public impact that elevates community social equity, the application of skilled professional expertise, and the utilization of a strong public service ethic.

The John B. Noftsinger Alumni Award for Public Service Excellence

This award recognizes a JMU alumnus/an employee in a public service role who shares the same ideals of public and community service as its namesake. The recipient is dedicated to servant leadership, collaborates across organizations and sectors, demonstrates entrepreneurship and forward thinking, and mentors and supports others in pursuit of public service excellence.

Public Service Student Leadership Award

This award recognizes a member of the a Shenandoah Valley college or university undergraduate or graduate student body who has demonstrated commitment to serving the public interest through meaningful commitment to addressing a public need, advanced the public good by creating opportunities for campus and community to actively participate in civic and community life, and developed the public service leadership capacity of their peers.

Back to Top

by Rob Alexander

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Related Articles