Wilma Cairns Bowers (’83), who joined the Women for Madison’s Executive Advisory Council in 2017, became its chair in June 2020. She is also a member of the Duke Club and a donor to the Centennial Scholars, College of Arts and Letters, Faculty Success Fund, Furious Flower Poetry Center, Madison Forever, Madison Fund and Parents Fund. Wilma established the Dolley Madison–Dukes Pay it Forward Scholarship by holding a Women for Madison Circle. Now the fund is a signature Women for Madison scholarship and is eligible for ongoing contributions to provide need-based recruitment scholarships.

Wilma has dedicated her philanthropic energy over the years to student health and wellness. She served on the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Council for Fairfax County Public Schools and was a PTA board member for 14 years. She has recently joined the marketing committee for Just Neighbors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing immigration legal services to at-risk immigrants.

Wilma earned her BS in communications with a minor in business from JMU and was recruited into the Verizon management development program, where she rose through the ranks to become the vice president of corporate advertising and brand management. She led the national communications campaign to launch the Bell Atlantic brand after the acquisition of NYNEX. After a 20-year career at Verizon, she joined her husband to grow their small business, Bowers Design Build in McLean, Virginia. Her daughter, Sade, graduated from JMU in 2017 with a degree in health sciences.

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