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The history of JMU begins in 1908. What started as a teachers’ college has become one of the leading schools in the country when it comes to providing a world-class education while retaining an air of genuine friendliness.

You will love it here

Hands down, this is our best tradition. We see it every day. The connection begins on your first tour of campus and it never leaves you.

Our freshman retention rate is tops in the nation because this place draws students in and they don’t want to leave. Maybe that’s why JMU is the #1 most recommended university in the country. Maybe that’s why 97% of our graduates would do it all again. No hesitation.

“If I had it to do all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat.” - Jewel Hurt, Class of 2019

There is no single formula for the JMU student. The Madison Experience is what you make it. The feel of this place is unique. The people – students, professors, staff – make it special. The people here love JMU. And so will you.

Show your colors, proud and true

In case you didn’t already know, this campus bleeds purple and gold. So get your wardrobe ready. On Fridays, especially, we wear purple.

We are the Dukes and our beloved mascot is Duke Dog. The name comes from past president, Samuel Page Duke. And if you’d like to get your photo with the mascot, you’ve got three options:


A typical JMU game day

On fall Saturdays, you will definitely find yourself at a Dukes football game. Not only because of a recent 2017 national title, but because being spirited is a JMU tradition in itself. You may have noticed this on a campus tour.

  1. When someone shouts “J-M-U,” always respond with “Duuuuukes” while simultaneously stepping forward with arms extended and sweeping to the outside.
  2. When the football team scores a touchdown, grab a purple or gold streamer (distributed before the game) and throw it into the air.
  3. When the Marching Royal Dukes take the field at halftime, be prepared to shout the Fight Song at the top of your lungs.

Let me get that for you

You will quickly notice how friendly the JMU community is. Someone may have even held a door open for you as you entered a building. That is a long-standing tradition here. It’s about looking out for your neighbors. Supporting one another. It’s a constant reminder that acts of kindness are a responsibility of people who want to make the world a better place.

No filter needed

Once you step foot on campus, you will understand why JMU is the most Instagrammed landmark in Virginia. Walking around this beautiful setting will give you butterflies. It’s had that effect on students for over 110 years. When alumni return to the picturesque JMU campus, they can’t help but feel an immediate sense of home. You’ll know what we mean.

#1 most Instagrammed landmark in Virginia

A beautiful place to learn

A number of historical landmarks make our campus unique and special. Here are a few highlights.


The Quad

The oldest spot on campus is covered in green, lined with Bluestone buildings and capped by Wilson Hall. The Quad has been a popular gathering space for more than 110 years. The best days are filled with lush grass, bright sun and bustling students.


James Madison

Affectionately nicknamed “Little Jimmy,” this favorite statue for photos recognizes our namesake and Father of the Constitution, James Madison. You’ll notice the statue is perfect to scale – 5’ 4” – the exact height of our nation’s 4th president.


Spirit Rock

Installed by The Madison Society, the Spirit Rock is a canvas to any artist on campus. Depending on the day, you might see an event being advertised or perhaps an inspirational quote. The rock is covered in layers of paint from years of expression.


Seal on the quad

Don’t step on the seal! This landmark, inscribed with JMU’s Alma Mater, is embedded in the sidewalk leading up to Wilson Hall. Students walk around the seal as a sign of love and respect for their Alma Mater.


Big Jimmy

On the other side of campus, “Big Jimmy” stands in front of the ISAT building with a quill in one hand and drafted U.S. Constitution in the other. This larger than life depiction of Madison was donated to the university in 2008, during the Centennial Celebration.


Duke Dog Statue

Guarding the outside of Bridgeforth Stadium and Newman Lake, the Duke Dog statue greets fans every day. A miniature version of this statue even travels around the country to alumni events and weddings.

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