WARDENS LEAD THROUGH GENEROSITY8 ALUMNA’S SWEET BUSINESS 28 PIPPERT’S PAIRINGS 34
CELEBRATING & EMPOWERING WOMEN
THE MAGAZINE OF JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY
The larger impact of JMU softball capturing the nation’s attention
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INSIDE: COMMEMORATIVE JMU FOOTBALL POSTER!
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PH OTO G R A PH BY C AT H Y K U S H N E R ( ’ 87 )
The tag heard ‘round the world
Odicci Alexander (‘21) makes a diving tag at the plate against Oklahoma State in the Women’s College World Series. The headsup play was No. 1 on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10. The Dukes came through in the clutch and won thousands of new fans during their remarkable 41-4 season.
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JMU women create ripples of success
write this with a cold beverage in my hand— inside a JMU koozie, natch—while watching a gorgeous sunset over Smith Mountain Lake. The day’s final beams of sunshine are glistening over the crystal-clear water as a cotton-candy sky gives me a sense of tranquility. A speed boat creates ripples across the lake before a pontoon boat cruises past, generating ripples of its own. Before long, the ripple effect has covered this entire beautiful haven at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It reminds me of the ripple effect that the success of the JMU Softball program has had. Seemingly the entire nation hopped aboard our bandwagon during the Women’s College World Series. The @JMUSoftball Instagram account grew by nearly 22,000 followers during June. @JMUSoftball on Twitter grew by 13,000 followers from mid-May to the first week of July. The JMU Athletics website had 839,520 visits in a five-day window of the WCWS compared to roughly 50,000 for the same week during a normal year (a 1,700% increase). The Dukes made history! Relive their magical run through striking photography on Page 20 and President Alger’s reflections on Page 30. But softball is far from the only sparkling gem in JMU Athletics. In 2020-21, four teams finished ranked in the top 20 of their sport’s final national polls. A school record .682 winning percentage coincided with the department’s best cumulative GPA in at least 10 years (3.181). For a deeper dive, check out the 2020-21 yearly sports wrap-up on Page 26.
Khalil Garriott (’04) executive editor, Madison magazine @khalilgarriott
UNLEASHED SOARS PAST GOAL 9 BLACK REPRESENTATION IN COMICS 36 RELAY FOR LIFE 44 M A D I S O N
Letters to the Editor
The theme of this issue is “Celebrating and Empowering Women.” The momentum around Women for Madison is palpable and ascending, with the number of Amethyst Circle founders soaring past the initial goal (Page 10). JMU is lucky to have women at the helm of both The Graduate School and the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship (Page 13) as well as a music professor working to combat racism (Page 27). Madison also tells the story of a Double Duke alumna whose new book depicts her journey as a trauma-informed advocate (Page 38) and an oncampus display of women’s clothing that chronicles a history of women’s rights at JMU (Page 40). We think you’ll enjoy reading about an alumna who quit her job to travel with her family on a pink school bus for 15 months (Page 55). And don’t forget to flip to the back cover for a piece about an alumna helping women climb the rungs on the professional ladder. Let’s all applaud women’s achievements and give them the opportunities they deserve. Go Dukes! Sincerely,
THE MAGAZINE OF JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY
Spring/Summer 2021 magazine
SPRI NG/SUM M ER 2021
A year unlike any other
May graduates walk with hope as pandemic wanes
S P R I N G / S U M M E R
I found it interesting that many of the features of the latest edition focused on underrepresented groups such as the Unity March, the vintage Black comic books, etc. However, when I look at the Class Notes and especially the Celebrations, there are no people of color represented (well, one in Class Notes based on pictures). Are our POC alumni not getting married or having children or just not sharing? How can we better promote and support that? Best regards, 2 0 2 1
— Pam Thompson Flake (’91) EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s just how it played out in that specific issue. Madison prints as many Class Notes and Celebrations submissions as we can—from anyone, irrespective of skin color. Hopefully, more of our alumni of color will proactively share their life updates with us for future issues. Anyone can do so by emailing email@example.com. 2
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M AG A Z I N E
5/13/21 7:30 AM
Hi. I receive copies of Madison regularly and have for a long time. I really enjoy reading about what is going on at JMU. It is awesome what the young people are doing to contribute to so many areas of life. I certainly am proud of my experiences at thenMadison College, and hope I made a contribution for the many students who were in my science classes. Thanks!
FA L L 2 0 2 1 Vol.44, No. 3 EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Khalil Garriott (’04)
S E N I O R E D I T O R - AT - L A R G E
MANAG I NG E DITOR
Jim Heffernan (’96, ’17M) EDITOR
Amy Crockett (’10) C R E AT I V E D I R E C T O R
Carolyn Windmiller (’81) A D M I N I S T R AT I V E A S S I S TA N T
D E S I G N A S S I S TA N T
C R E AT I V E M E D I A T E A M
Steve Aderton (’19) Justin Roth Cody Troyer Julia Weaver (’21)
AT H L E T I C S P H O T O G R A P H Y
Cathy Kushner (’87)
Alumni Relations Athletics Donor Relations Parent Relations University Communications and Marketing F O R A D D R E S S U P D AT E S , E M A I L :
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-855-568-4483
C O N TA C T T H E M A D I S O N S TA F F :
Email: email@example.com or call 540-568-2664
Madison magazine, JMU, 127 W. Bruce St., MSC 3610, Harrisonburg, VA 22807 For Class Notes, go to jmu.edu/alumni. Madison is an official publication of James Madison University and is produced by the Division of University Advancement for alumni, parents of JMU students, faculty, staff and friends of JMU. Editorial office: JMU, 127 W. Bruce St., MSC 3610, Harrisonburg, VA 22807 NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: James Madison University does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, race or color, height or weight, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation or belief, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, parental status (including pregnancy), marital status, family medical or genetic information, in its employment, educational programs, activities and admissions. JMU complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination, affirmative action, and anti-harassment. JMU prohibits sexual and gender-based harassment, including sexual assault, and other forms of inter-personal violence. The responsibility for overall coordination, monitoring and information dissemination about JMU’s program of equal opportunity, non-discrimination, Title IX, and affirmative action is assigned to the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX. Inquiries or complaints may be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX: Amy Sirocky-Meck, Title IX Coordinator, 540-568-5219, www.jmu.edu/oeo, firstname.lastname@example.org. (REVISED JANUARY 2020)
— Bonnie Mason (’61) G A R R I OT T ( ’ 04) BY H A LLE FO R B E S (‘ 1 9)
CELEBRATING & EMPOWERING WOMEN
Hart School hospitality students benefit from chef Tassie Pippert’s (‘11, ‘13M) knowledge of food and wine, which she also shares on her weekly TV show on Virginia’s Home for Public Media.
BY CATHY KUSHNER (‘87)
Letter From the Editor
Odicci Alexander’s (‘21) game-saving tag at the plate during the College World Series
The ripple effect of JMU women’s success BY KHALIL GARRIOTT (‘04)
Contributors, Staff Soundbites
Wendy Ewald leads effort to photograph immigrant experiences.
Get to know the people behind the stories
Honors student Corinne Martin’s major is allowing her to explore her Native American ancestry.
A team of CIS students finishes second in a design thinking competition at the annual AIS Student Chapter Leadership Conference.
President Alger on the process of becoming
Wardens challenge donors to make the Madison Experience more accessible; a record year for fundraising; Native American student exploring her family’s legacy as a Centennial Scholar
11 Brag Sheet ”Talking points,” a way to brag about JMU 12 News & Notes
Documenting local immigrants’ resettlement experiences; computer science majors gain path to graduate school; JMU faculty member tapped to lead The Graduate School; Gilliam Center hires new director; rewriting Virginia’s Constitution; student team takes second place in national competition
Linda Thomas is the new director of The Graduate School.
PI PPE RT PH OTO G R A PH CO U RT E SY O F TA S S I E PI PPE RT ( ’ 1 1 , ’ 13 M ); T H O M A S BY E LI S E T R I S S E L
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16 JMU Nation + football poster
Celebrating 50 seasons of JMU football; softball Dukes’ magical run through the Women’s College World Series in photos; women’s tennis player’s personal struggles; Black student-athletes represent James Madison at virtual summit; the most successful year in department history
28 Bright Lights
JMU photographer captures the excitement of the softball team’s epic run during the Women’s College World Series.
BY BRITTANY BELL (‘21)
30 True grit
Vine Adowei (‘17, ‘19M) epitomizes JMU’s call to action, Being the Change, as an advocate, poet and “solution-maker.”
Alumna’s cakes taste as good as they look
Softball team represented this institution well, both on the field and off BY PRESIDENT JONATHAN R. ALGER
34 Tasting success
Tassie Pippert (‘11, ‘13M) shares her passion for food and wine in classroom and on small screen BY STEPHEN BRIGGS
38 ‘How can I be a solution?’
One Double Duke’s ‘Beautiful Voyage’ toward advocacy and healing BY JESSICA NICKELS (’21)
40 Storytelling through clothing
Willis Landon (‘20) aspires to be an ambassador of inclusive hip-hop education.
Collaborative exhibit helps tell the history of women’s rights at JMU BY EMILY BLAKE
44 ‘Learning every day’
Student pinpoints gap in Marines’ stress inoculation
BY CIARA BRENNAN (’17)
46 Inclusivity through hip-hop
Willis Landon (‘20) cultivates self-expression, cooperation and life skills with community-based music education
BY PHILIP L. FRANA
48 Alumni for Life
Dukes Hike; Cynthia Coolbaugh (‘70) tribute; Alumni Association board member letter; Triangle Dukes chapter; Mixed Media; Social Justice Movie Club; Kaitlin Porter (‘06) and family hit the road to unplug and reconnect
56 Class Notes
Women’s history at Madison includes 1920s students “bobbing” their hair, inspired by Dean Bernice Varner.
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Staff Emeriti Association update; scholarship thank-you letters; Faculty Emeriti Associaiton news; Vad Lee’s (‘15) new chapter
64 By the Numbers
Food insecurity at JMU
S O F T BA LL PH OTO G R A PH BY C AT H Y K U S H N E R ( ’ 87 ); PA LM Y R A BY TA D D I C K E N S/ TH E ROAN O KE TI M ES; 1 920 s ST U D E N TS CO U RT E SY O F J M U S PEC I A L CO LLEC T I O N S
JOIN THE AMETHYST CIRCLE NOW
Power up with other JMU women to do our most urgent work together
want women to step forward to become a significant philanthropic force for JMU. Women are doing important work in the world. We are the CFOs and philanthropic decisionmakers for our families. So think about the impact we can have on our university when we give together.” — Beth McConnell Bliss (’84) Amethyst Circle Founder*
he Amethyst Circle is new. It’s created by women for women to support what’s needed most — scholarships for students who can’t afford to come to JMU without our help. I really like that I’m investing myself and my financial support in league with other women. I urge more women to join our cause.”
Provide scholarships for aspiring Dukes who need our help to attend JMU. Invest $5,000 now or fulfill your membership pledge in multiple installments by June 30, 2023. Help shape the future of women’s philanthropy at JMU.
— Dawn Smith Barnes (’93) Amethyst Circle Founder* *See all the Founders at https://j.mu/acfounders
Find out more by visiting https://j.mu/ac Join us and invite your friends Questions? Call the Women for Madison office at (540) 568-8831.
C O N T R I BU T O R S
Staff SOUNDBITES The theme of this issue is celebrating and empowering women. What’s one way all Americans can applaud women’s achievements and give them opportunities they deserve? “I believe that women should be actively involved in the decision-making process in the professional world, and in all facets of life. Having equal opportunities to be heard and represented in this loud and fast-paced world is so important.” EMILY DODGE design assistant
“Women have literally earned a standing ovation. The best way all Americans can celebrate women’s achievements and empower women is to make a conscious effort in how they view and treat women on a daily basis.” HALEY GARNETT administrative assistant
“One way? I’ll give you five: Donate to a woman-run charity. Buy from a womanowned local business. Hire women if you can. Share womenfocused content on social media. Take political action.” KHALIL GARRIOTT (‘04) executive editor
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Melinda Adams is an associate dean in the College of Arts and Letters and a professor of political science. As an administrator, she supports and promotes faculty research, scholarship and creative activities. She also teaches courses on African politics and the politics of development and conducts research on women’s political representation, particularly in West Africa. For this issue, Adams wrote about five CAL professors being awarded research grants for Faculty Focus on Page 27.
BOA R D O F V I S ITO RS 202 1 –22
Emily Dodge, a design assistant in University Communications and Marketing, is a rising senior double majoring in graphic design and studio art. She is actively involved with Alpha Delta Pi and loves attending arts events on campus. She will puruse a career in graphic design after graduation. Dodge designed this issue’s By the Numbers, found on Page 64.
Craig B. Welburn (’96) Xavier Williams, Student Member Donna L. Harper (’77, ’81M, ’86Ed.S.), Secretary
Sarah Featherstone (’13, ’19M) received her bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in writing, rhetoric, and technical communication before transitioning to the worlds of copywriting and life coaching. She owns a brand messaging studio in Harrisonburg and is a leadership coach. Featherstone wrote the story about the Warden Match scholarship drive, found on Page 8. Meghan Long, a student writer for the College of Integrated Science and Engineering, is a senior double majoring in communication studies and writing, rhetoric, and technical communication. She is an active member of Phi Sigma Sigma sorority. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in writing and media because of her love for storytelling. Long wrote about JMU’s partnership with Virginia Tech that will provide graduate-level opportunites for our computer science students, found on Page 12. Gary Michael (’77) was part of Madison College’s last class, majoring in communication arts. He joined the Athletics Communications staff in 1980, serving as director from 1985 until his retirement in 2010. This stat makes Michael proud: Beginning in 1980, he missed working only one home football game—because he ran the 20th of his 26 career marathons that day. Michael wrote the feature story on 50 seasons of JMU football, found on Page 16.
Lara P. Major (’92, ’20P), Rector Deborah T. Johnson (’78), Vice Rector Vanessa M. Evans-Grevious (’93, ’97M) Christopher Falcon (’03) Frank T. Gadams (’93) Jeffrey E. Grass (’92) Matthew A. Gray-Keeling (’05) Maribeth D. Herod (’82) Lucy Hutchinson (’06) Maria D. Jankowski John C. Lynch (’91) Maggie A. Ragon (’82) John C. Rothenberger (’88) Kathy J. Warden (’92)
Jonathan R. Alger PRESIDENT’S CABINET
Vice Provost, Faculty and Curriculum (interim)
Director of Athletics
Special Assistant to the President, Strategic Planning and Engagement
Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs
Executive Advisor to the President
Arthur Dean II (’93, ’99M)
Executive Director, Campus and Community Programs for Access and Inclusion
Donna Harper (’77, ’81M,
Andy Perrine (’86)
Associate Vice President, Communications and Marketing
Caitlyn Read (’10, ’18M) Government Relations
Anthony Tongen Research and Scholarship
Director, Communications and University Spokesperson VICE PROVOSTS
Faculty and Curriculum (interim)
Linda Cabe Halpern University Programs
Rudy Molina Jr.
Student Academic Success and Enrollment Management
Anthony Tongen Research and Scholarship DEANS
’86Ed.S.) Vice President, Access and Enrollment Management
Charles King Jr.
Arts and Letters
Senior Vice President, Administration and Finance
Visual and Performing Arts
Senior Assistant Attorney General and University Counsel
Nick Langridge (’00, ’07M,
’14Ph.D.) Vice President, University Advancement
Integrated Science and Engineering Education
Sharon Lovell (’85)
Health and Behavioral Studies
Associate Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Dean, Professional & Continuing Education
Associate Vice President, Wellness, Orientation and Multicultural Engagement
Professional & Continuing Education Honors
Bethany Nowviskie Libraries
Science and Mathematics (interim)
Tim Miller (’96, ’00M)
Vice President, Student Affairs
The Graduate School
Rudy Molina Jr.
A L U M N I A S S O C I AT I O N OFFICER
Vice Provost, Student Academic Success and Enrollment Management
Associate Vice President, Business Services
David Owusu-Ansah Associate Provost, Diversity
Dave Urso (’03, ‘05M) President
PA R E N T S C O U N C I L CHAIRS
Jim (’89) and Cathy (’89) Dotter (’21P)
P R E S I D E N T I A L
P E R S P E C T I V E
Constantly and optimistically becoming
Jenny’s message to CVPA graduates was that they should give or the sixth year running, JMU ranked No. 1 in institutions of its type for student participation in study abroad themselves permission to accept a constant state of “becoming.” programming, according to the 2020 Open Doors Burden closed her address with, “Just remember, like Michelangelo’s Report issued by the Institute of International Educa- unfinished marbles, it’s not about the ‘polished’ David; it’s about tion. While the COVID-19 pandemic has halted all of ‘becoming’ the David. And just like those marbles, you are magour in-person international operations since mid-Spring nificent!” What a gift her message was to those young artists and 2020 semester, our Center for Global Engagement is hopeful that a hand- performers on the cusp of their journey’s next phase! In conversations with friends, colleagues, students and associates ful of our programs can return this fall despite continued uncertainty. of all sorts about our collective experiences durSince becoming JMU’s president, I have vising the pandemic and social upheaval, I often ited many of our international partners and study hear the theme of “becoming.” Disorienting abroad locations. From Beijing to Malta and at interruptions to our lives, experiences of loss and points in between, I have met with students and a gripping sense of uncertainty have caused many heard their stories of experiencing personal awakof us to reconsider our perspectives and priorities. enings as their perspectives were broadened by Some of us hope to become someone new. And living in another culture. I have also enjoyed the despite the pain of the last 18 months, optimism privilege of accompanying them and their faculty can spring from focusing on a sense of becoming. guides through museums, historic sites and natuAs you read this issue of Madison, I hope you will ral wonders. feel this optimism. In just about every story in these One experience I will never forget was in pages, some person, some thing or some effort is in Florence, Italy, at the Accademia Gallery where the process of becoming. Building on our history Michelangelo’s David is exhibited. If you’ve as a women’s institution, this issue also features, ever been in the presence of this masterwork, in particular, celebrations of women leading and you know that it represents a pinnacle of artistic becoming. If you’re like me, you can’t get enough expression and human achievement. of the JMU Softball program becoming a national But what really intrigued me at the Accademia “Just remember, sensation during its magical run in the World were four other lesser-known works by Michellike Michelangelo’s Series. Their grit, talent and palpable fondness for angelo. They were unfinished sculptures referred to as Michelangelo’s non-finito. Each one is a unfinished marbles, each other as fellow Dukes still inspires me. You’ll also meet current JMU student Corinne Marhuman form partially emerging from marble. Art it’s not about the tin, one of six children who was told her parents historians interpret these works in many ways, ’polished’ David; couldn’t afford to send her to college. She applied and each piece evokes just how brilliant Michelfor a Centennial Scholarship, received a full ride angelo’s artistry was by revealing his process. it’s about ‘becomto JMU, is exploring her Native American heritage Some interpretations claim that Michelangelo ing’ the David.” through her writing, and plans on becoming a publeft the pieces unfinished purposefully to depict — JENNY BURDEN, lished author by the time she graduates. And there humans’ unending struggle to free themselves executive director, are many more such examples. from this corporeal realm. In any case, it was a Arts Council of the Valley As I write this, campus is gearing up for the Fall memorable experience. A few years later, Jenny Burden, executive director of the Arts 2021 semester while the Delta variant is causing surges in COVID-19 Council of the Valley, delivered an inspiring Commencement infections. Uncertainty continues, and we are planning for all continaddress to Class of 2019 graduates from the College of Visual and gencies. Despite this, we’ve set our sights on constantly and optimistiPerforming Arts. She invoked Michelangelo’s non-finito sculptures in cally becoming. a most remarkable way. Describing her visit to the Accademia Gallery as an undergraduate studying abroad in Florence during the 1980s, she said, “But, it was not the ‘polished’ David that made the biggest impression on my 20-year-old self. It was Michelangelo’s unfinished marbles lining the corridor that led to David that stayed with me. The four carved figures in various stages of completion are in a state Jonathan R. Alger of becoming, and they are magnificent!” president, James Madison University
N O N - FI N ITO PH OTO G R A PH BY S COT T DAV I S/D C PH OTOA RT I ST.CO M ; A LG E R BY M I K E M I R I E LLO ( ’ 09 M )
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Opening doors for deserving students
Warden Match kickstarts $2.5 million scholarship movement
he realities of JMU’s scholarship deficit recently hit home for Kathy Warden (’92), a member of the Board of Visitors who has risen from first-generation college graduate to chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman, a Fortune 100 aerospace and defense technology company. “In the School of Business at JMU, I learned not only what I needed to perform in my career, but also how to work with others, the concept of working as a team, understanding the values one should have in the way they go about engaging in their work,” Warden said. “It was a broad the university,” said Eric, retired senior Kathy (‘92) and Eric (‘93) educational experience that prepared me for my career post-graduation.” managing director at Accenture. “We’ve Warden want to help more students access A board meeting discussion made Kathy realize that many promis- been very fortunate with opportunities the Madison Experience. ing and deserving students were missing out on JMU’s superior edu- we’ve had in our careers, and I think a lot cation only because they can’t afford to attend. of it is based on the educational experiences we had as students at JMU. “I couldn’t help but think about people not having the opportunity “The more you can do to help a young person who doesn’t have to come to JMU purely because of financial reasons—and how much everything they need—from a financial standpoint, family support or other resources—if you can help plug some of those gaps … it the education at JMU had meant to me,” she said. Kathy came home from that meeting with an idea: that she and her hus- just increases the likelihood that they’re going to be on a better path band, Eric (’93), could start a scholarship movement to support students who for the rest of their life,” Eric added. need financial assistance in order to make their Madison dream a reality. He said he hopes JMU alumni and parents will join in the WarThe Wardens decided to make a leadership investment of $1.25 den Match to close some of those gaps for aspiring Dukes. The match, Eric said, “is a very simple but impactful and powermillion to help do just that. Together, they have announced they will match, dollar for dollar, ful way to give back to the university while also making an investnew gifts of any amount designated for immediate, renewable, need- ment in a young person.” Kathy said she hopes this scholarship movement helps JMU open based scholarships pledged during this calendar year. Their investment will double the number of new gifts and help JMU recruit and doors to an even more diverse student population. retain 100 aspiring Dukes. “The Warden’s gift is in perfect alignment with our energies on the “We decided this was something we wanted to do together, to give financial aid front,” said Nick Langridge, vice president of university back,” Kathy said. “As a first-generation college graduate, I understand the advancement. “When combined with our private philanthropy match, impact a JMU education can Federal Pell grants and/or have on a student’s future. This “It’s so important that we create pathways state aid, their match has the Madison Experience must conpower to make the Madison for more Dukes to come to JMU. So, we tinue and expand to welcome Experience accessible for 100 students from all walks of life.” encourage everyone … to think about what’s future Dukes who could not right for you and what your commitment have afforded to attend othAs JMU continues to grow in stature, securing this $2.5 can be to help someone else get the same erwise. This is a smart investment with a team approach.” million goal for scholarships great JMU experience that you received.” will help bridge the oppor— KATHY WARDEN (’92) C-suite execs pay tunity gap, open our doors it forward to more students and also n Help recruit 100 new Dukes improve JMU’s competitiveJohn Hinshaw (’92) knows n Goal: $2.5 million firsthand how important ness in student recruitment. scholarships can be. The son of “Kathy and I really embrace For more about this opportunity, two school teachers, he knew this opportunity to give back to visit https://j.mu/warden.
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WA R D E N S PH OTO G R A PH BY E LI S E T R I S S E L
UNLEAS H E D
his parents couldn’t afford to pay for his tuition. Hinshaw juggled multiple jobs while at JMU, including a student position at Carrier Library. But it was a Pell Grant—a federal grant still given today to undergraduate students with great financial need— that helped make his Madison Experience possible. Hinshaw, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in computer information systems, went on to a successful career at Verizon Wireless, Boeing and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He is now the group chief operating officer and group managing director at HSBC in London, England. Today, however, Pell grants are not enough. In fact, JMU loses one-third of Pell-eligible students because they can’t afford to John Hinshaw come here without scholarships, (’92) according to Donna Harper, vice president for access and enrollment. “And JMU does not have the scholarships that other schools have,” she said. “Bottom line: Our national reputation as an academic institution has outpaced our resources, and it will take philanthropic funds to change that.” That’s why Hinshaw has pledged $125,000 toward the Warden Match by starting a Dukes Pay It Forward scholarship. He joins former co-CEO at SAP, Jennifer Morgan (’93), who first told Hinshaw of the opportunity and has started her own DPIF scholarship with a $125,000 investment. “I think we were given a lot by the education here and can really help the next generation as well,” Hinshaw said. “And so I think as we compete for students on a national basis, the ability to give them a scholarship makes a huge difference.” Both realize their investments carry double the impact during the Warden Match, and they want to inspire others to make scholarship gifts, of any amount, to reach $1.25 million and ultimately help secure $2.5 million for scholarships.
Donors break annual fundraising record in FY21 despite pandemic
t a time when receptions, events and meetings were either canceled or held virtually because of COVID-19, JMU donors stepped up to support the university more than ever before. JMU finished the fiscal year that ended on June 30 at $23.2 million in private gifts, returning to the year-over-year increases seen since Unleashed: The Campaign for James Madison University began seven years ago. Lockdowns triggered by the spread of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 caused many prospective donors to pause and reflect while dealing with the uncertainty, which slowed the year-over-year rise in fundraising totals last fiscal year. But then JMU donors came roaring back. “Such generosity during a time of great need and uncertainty is what you would expect of the JMU community,” said Nick Langridge (‘00, ‘07M, ‘14Ph.D.), vice president for university advancement. Powerful new initiatives for scholarship giving were a growth area in 2021. After reaching the $200 million goal for Unleashed 18 months ahead of schedule in March, fundraising priorities centered on scholarships, and donors responded. “We put the right investment opportunities in front of our community, and our donors
recognized not only the need, but the high return potential on their investment,” Langridge said. New initiatives include the Warden Match (read more on Page 8), aimed at raising scholarships for students and families who might not otherwise be able to afford access to the exceptional Madison Experience. Initiated by Kathy (‘92) and Eric (‘93) Warden with the goal of inspiring fellow Dukes to match their $1.25 million gift to create a $2.5 million scholarship fund for 100 deserving future Dukes, the Warden Match already is more than halfway toward its goal. Also, the Amethyst Circle initiated by Women for Madison, which is also aimed at funding scholarships to open our doors to more students, set a goal to attract 10 founding members at $15,000 each and zoomed past 50 in no time. During a year of so many disappointments, JMU donors didn’t disappoint. In 2020’s end-of-year giving report, Langridge was quoted as saying, “As we head into fiscal year 2021, frankly, we are counting on the philanthropy of our faithful to serve as a stabilizing force and bolster our rise above the chaos of this pandemic,” and that’s exactly what is happening. Go Dukes! — Andy Perrine (‘86)
— Sarah Featherstone (’13, ‘19M)
DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT NOW n
$25K scholarship can recruit one Pell-
eligible student n
Give to the Dukes Pay It Forward scholarship fund. Visit https://j.mu/wardengive. Or call 800-296-6162 now to start your own DPIF scholarship Pledge by Dec. 31
H I N S H AW ( ’ 92) PH OTO G R A PH BY M I K E M I R I E LLO (‘ 09 M )
After a period of uncertainty triggered by COVID-19, JMU donors stepped up last year to support the university more than ever before.
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Scholarship paves Honors student’s path
Scholars Program, which provides financial orinne Martin’s family hisassistance, academic support, and personal tory is paving the path for and professional development to underher future. That path hasn’t represented students. During the interview, always been clearly marked, Martin said, “I felt very seen, and I felt like and sometimes it veered into they were seeing the potential in me. And the unknown or unexpected. But as a big they were seeing all this hard work I’d put in, believer in fate, she trusted her father when and I was talking about all these things I was he told her that she would end up where she passionate about. I was like, wow, all the stuff was meant to be. I’ve been doing seems like it’s paying off.” Martin always knew she wanted to attend She was awarded a full scholarship, which college, but with six siblings, she was also immediately allowed her to focus on what aware that her family wouldn’t be able to she wanted to do with her opportunity help her pay for it. With that in mind, she Corinne Martin is honoring her family’s lineage by exploring her Native American roots. rather than how she would pay for it. It also dedicated herself to a strong work ethic and took advantage of her county’s Advance College Academy program, brought others into her life who would guide her along a path toward which allowed her to earn college credit for her high-school classes. After defining her passions and goals. She was able to concentrate on choospicking up an associate’s degree along with her high school diploma— ing a major and making the most of her Madison Experience. “I want to be in a college setting, to teach people who might not be familand still worried about how to pay for two years of college without going into debt— iar with Native people about Native people,” Martin said. “Also, to hopeTo hear Corinne fully be a role model to any Native students who might come to me like, she started applying for scholarships. Martin’s story ‘Oh, you have a place here. You can do this, you’re represented here.’” Her high school guidance counselor in her own words, visit https://j.mu/martin. urged her to apply to JMU’s Centennial — Elizabeth Nesselrodt (’84)
Women for Madison launches Amethyst Circle
ith more than 300 people in attendance, the “Women Who Amaze” online summit in May featured powerful speakers, serious advice, warm camaraderie and a bold new initiative called the Amethyst Circle. Announcing a goal of 200 women giving a combined $1 million every two years, Women for Madison launched the Amethyst Circle to encourage women to each give $5,000 and band together to help meet JMU’s urgent need for scholarships. Research has shown that an annual, renewable $5,000 award can help a future Duke with high financial need make JMU a practical choice for all four years of the Madison Experience. “Imagine the power of your philanthropy combined with that of everyone here with us today,” Women for Madison Executive Advisory Council member and
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Amethyst Circle Founder Dawn Smith Barnes (’93) announced at the event. “Imagine the doors you can open for students.” At press time, 10 women had come aboard as members, joining 55 who signed on as Founders to get the circle going, said Cannie Campbell (’95, ’20M), executive director of Women for Madison. “I am so moved by their commitment, and I encourage more women to join so we can roll up our sleeves and do this important work together,” Campbell added. The launch was part of a weekend of online activities and presentations from dozens of JMU alumni and parents who shared their experiences and wisdom about leadership, empowerment, career planning, mental health, self-care and more.
“So many powerful and influential JMU women gave of themselves to inspire personal, professional and philanthropic growth,” Campbell said. The weekend was designed by the volunteers and donors of the Women for Madison Executive Advisory Council and led by Tiffanie Rosier (’95), Stephanie Forbes (’92, ’93M), Karen Rothenberger (’93) and Mary Margaret Prange (’01). Learn more about the Amethyst Circle at www.jmu.edu/womenfor madison/amethyst-circle.shtml.
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Talking points As loyal Madison readers, you are also brand ambassadors for James Madison University. This feature is a one-stop shop of JMU’s recent rankings and recognitions. Use it to brag about JMU and help spread the word!
EXEMPLARY CONTRIBUTOR TO SCHOLARSHIP
ames Madison University is the recipient of a 2021 Student education institution and its exemplary contributions to scholarship Engagement Scholarship Consortium Award of Excellence and the practice of engaged scholarship. This recognition comes with a monetary award in the amount of $3,000, in Engaged Scholarship. After a “This is a great example as well as an engraved commemorative national review/selection process, of putting our vision state- award and two complimentary registrations James Madison has been selected for this ment into practice.” for this year’s conference. It’s the first time award for Student Engagement Mini Grant JMU has won an ESC award. Program. This award recognizes a higher — JONATHAN R. ALGER, JMU president
No. 1 again in study abroad
For the sixth year in a row, JMU ranks No. 1 among institutions of its type for participation in all types of study abroad programming, according to the 2020 Open Doors Report. JMU also ranks No. 1 in participation in short-term study abroad programs according to the report. JMU boasts, on average, 70-plus short-term programs during summer, spring break and winter terms; five semester programs dur-
ing fall, spring and summer terms; more than a dozen exchange partnerships with universities around the world during the fall and spring semesters; and opportunities for external programming year-round.
Best College for Veterans
JMU was No. 14 in College Consensus’ ranking of the Best Colleges for Veterans. The methodology combines rankings from publishers like the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report,
Antwerp is one of five semester abroad programs at JMU.
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WalletHub and Money to form the Publisher Rating. Verified student reviews from sites such as Niche, Cappex and Unigo combine to form the Student Review Rating. The average of these sources forms the Consensus ranking.
Alger wins ACE Mentor award
President Jonathan R. Alger is the winner of the 2021 ACE Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award. The award acknowledges the substantial role of mentors in the success of ACE Fellows Program participants. Alger has mentored an ACE Fellow every year for the past six years. “Dedicated, authentic, and willing to help are just some of the words of praise from President Alger’s mentees,” said Sherri Hughes, assistant vice president of professional learning at ACE. “We greatly appreciate
his commitment to strengthening the higher education leadership pipeline and are honored to celebrate him with this year’s Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award.”
Post-graduation outcomes strong
A whopping 98% of 2019 JMU graduates reported being employed, in graduate school or involved in other career endeavors within six months of graduation. In 2018, the figure was 96%.
Connect with us
For a complete list of all university social media links, please visit https://j.mu/socialmedia. JamesMadisonUniversity @JamesMadisonUniversity James Madison University JamesMadisonU @JMU Madison magazine jmu.edu/madisonmagazine
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Institute to illustrate immigrant resettlement in Harrisonburg
he Institute for Creative Inquiry in the College of Visual and Performing Arts received a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to capture the resettlement experiences of 10 immigrant families in Harrisonburg through a five-week collaboration with acclaimed photographer Wendy Ewald. “The support of the NEA will enable us to connect this world-class artist with the Harrisonburg community at a scope and scale that would not have been possible otherwise,” said Daniel Robinson, associate director of ICI. “It shows a real commitment to the positively transformative power of art.” For more than 50 years, Ewald, whose career has been focused on portraiture and social justice, has worked with children and marginalized communities worldwide, enabling them to illuminate their experiences to larger audiences. Ewald teaches her collaborators to use cameras to record themselves, their families and their communities. She also takes photographs within these communities and asks collaborators to mark or write on her images, challenging the distinction between The re-release subject and creator. of photographer Wendy Ewald’s ICI has partnered with Church World book Portraits Service, a faith-based nonprofit resettleand Dreams ment organization, to develop the immigrant (2020) includes resettlement project and to identify and supa self portrait of port participating families, who will be drawn Janet Stallard on the cover (right). from speakers of the city’s most prevalent for-
Pact provides a head start on graduate school
new program will enable undergraduate computer science students at JMU to apply early and earn graduate credits in master’s degree programs at the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia
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eign languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Kurdish, Tigrinya and Swahili. The families will range from well-established to recent arrivals in order to explore how different generations have experienced the challenges of resettlement. The co-created works will be the focus of a wide range of public programming beginning in Fall 2021.
and the Blacksburg campus. The goal is to create a more robust graduate program with students equipped to become leaders in the field. Participants will be on the path to secure graduate admission to Virginia Tech as soon as the spring of their junior year. For many, the opportunity could mean their graduate education coursework may only take up to one additional year. A key goal of the partnership is to
— Jen Kulju (’04M)
address the state’s Tech Talent Investment Program. JMU and other universities have committed to graduate approximately 31,000 new computer science graduates over 20 years to help fill a critical workforce need in Virginia. “This new partnership is a wonderful opportunity for our JMU students,” said Sharon Simmons, head of the Department of Computer Science. “They can complete their CS Bachelor of Science degree at JMU and trans-
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Thomas takes reins of The Graduate School
create a strong graduate community at trong teaching is a hallJMU, and she will look to encourage mark of undergraduate more collaboration between undereducation at JMU, and graduate students should graduate and graduate students. expect nothing less, says the new dean “My dream is to have teams of undergraduates and graduate students workof The Graduate School. Linda Thomas took the reins on June ing together,” she said. “That’s what got 1 after having directed JMU’s School of me interested in graduate education.” Integrated Sciences since 2018. Thomas came to JMU from Stevens Institute of Technol“I think graduate eduogy in Hoboken, New cation is the future, and Jersey, where she served I see a lot of potential as interim chair of civil, at JMU because we are environmental and a teaching university,” ocean engineering, and Thomas said. “Faculty head of the construction cannot succeed here engineering program. unless they are great She has also taught at teachers. I think we can Georgia Tech and was add the JMU brand to in charge of constructgraduate education and Thomas is the former ing the athlete’s village also expand our internadirector of the School for the 1996 Summer tional student base.” of Integrated Sciences. Not that great teachOlympics in Atlanta. ing is not already happening, Thomas JMU Provost and Senior Vice said. The Graduate School is home to President for Academic Affairs Heather strong programs in business, educaColtman said, “Linda has an incredible tion, the arts and sciences, including breadth and depth of leadership experiseveral programs that have to turn ences that will be invaluable to the continaway applicants. ued success and growth of graduate studWith engineering degrees from ies at JMU. I’m looking forward to seeing Georgia Tech and the University of her implement her vision for strengthenFlorida and a law degree from the ing our graduate programs.” University of Miami, Thomas wants to — Eric Gorton (’86, ’09M)
fer up to 12 hours of upper-level courses to VT’s graduate program. Our students will be prepared to complete their fifth year at VT to earn a master’s degree. “Establishing this partnership with VT has happened at an impor-
tant time for the commonwealth,” Simmons added. “The need for more computer scientists in the state continues to grow, and with the universities working together, we can help fill in this gap.”
— Meghan Long
“The need for more computer scientists in the state continues to grow.” — SHARON SIMMONS, computer science department head
T H O M A S PH OTO G R A PH BY E LI S E T R I S S E L ; B E RG M E I ST E R BY ST E V E A D E RTO N (‘ 1 9)
Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship hires new director
he Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship has tapped Suzanne Bergmeister as its new executive director. An entrepreneur with both a venture capital and a military background, Bergmeister has served as the fulltime entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of Louisville’s Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship for the past 15 years, and concurrently as assistant director for the past four years. At Louisville, she taught courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and mentored MBA teams that won more than $1 million in competition prize money and two global championships. Her track record at the university and within the broader entrepreneurial community earned her a graduate teaching award twice and Greater Louisville Inc.’s EnterpriseCorp Entrepreneurial Leadership Award. “I am very excited to work with the amazing team at the Gilliam Center and the College of Business to build on the momentum and success they’ve already achieved,” Bergmeister said. “I’m really looking forward to leading the center to increase entrepreneurship across the JMU campus and throughout the region.” Suzanne Bergmeister College of Business Dean Mike Busing said her prior experience with securing grant funding and mentoring students, veterans and lower-income entrepreneurs will serve JMU well and support economic growth in the region. “Her deep understanding of both the entrepreneur and venture capitalist is critical as the center evolves and achieves national recognition for excellence.” — Stephen Briggs
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Rewriting Virginia’s Constitution
n April 8, JMU, in partnership with Norfolk State University, hosted “Looking Back, Looking Forward: The 50th Anniversary of the 1971 Rewriting of the Virginia Constitution.” The virtual Madison Vision Series event featured A.E. Dick Howard, the Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law at the University of Virginia, and retired Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth A. McClanahan, dean of the Appalachian School of Law. The discussion centered on the 1971 Virginia Constitution and its impact, both at the time of the rewriting and in the five decades since. In the wake of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the Virginia General Assembly created a commission to review the state’s Constitution. Howard, then a 34-year-old law professor at U.Va., was appointed the commission’s executive director. “The previous Constitution had been adopted in 1902 … “Although and was steeped in racism and white supremacy,” he said. we’ve seen Decisions coming out of Washmuch progress ington, such as the U.S. Supreme over the last Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the “one per50 years, the fight for equal- son, one vote” principle invoked by the Warren court throughout the ity and justice 1960s further prompted the rewritrages on.” ing. The high court had also struck down Virginia’s poll tax—designed — JAVAUNE ADAMSGASTON to disenfranchise Black voters in the
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commonwealth—and Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed discriminatory voting practices in many southern states. In order to “refresh” Virginia’s Constitution, “they put education in the Bill of Rights, they drew from Thomas Jefferson’s Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge,” and they made education more accessible for school-aged children around the state, Howard said. Howard fielded questions from McClanahan, then from JMU President Jonathan R. Alger and NSU President Javaune Adams-Gaston about the longevity of the 1971 revision, the relationship between Virginia’s Constitution and the U.S. Constitution, and how the 50th anniversary of the 1971 The event featured remarks rewriting of the Virginia Constitution can be an from A.E. Dick opportunity for civic engagement and discussion. Howard and JMU student Xaiver Williams and NSU stu- retired Justice dent Maleik Watkins asked questions of How- Elizabeth A. McClanahan. ard, including whether he would make changes to the state Constitution, what limits the Constitution presents and how the commission performed its work. The event concluded with Adams-Gaston’s reminder about the significance of the anniversary. “Although we’ve seen much progress over the last 50 years, the fight for equality and justice rages on, both here in Virginia and across our country.” — Jessica Nickels (’21)
1 9 64 R I C H M O N D VOT E R R EG I ST R AT I O N LI N E PH OTO G R A PH BY R I CH M O N D TI M ES - D I S PATCH ; V I RG I N I A’ S 7 T H D I ST R I C T VOT E RS BY W I N M c N A M E E /G E T T Y I M AG E S; H OWA R D BY M I K E M I R I E LLO ( ’ 09 M ); M c C L A N A H A N CO U RT E SY O F A PPA L AC H I A N S C H O O L O F L AW
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CIS student team takes second place in national competition
team of JMU computer that we could indeed be better than Zoom in format ion s y stem s and our competitors, and prove that to the majors took second place judges,” Nguyen explained. “It was also diffiin the HP Design Think- cult to come up with the technical infrastrucing Competition track ture as we have limited knowledge about AWS at the Association for Information Systems and other concepts. We had to do additional 2021 Student Chapter Leadership Confer- research to make our solution plausible.” ence Competitions. Sophomores Alonso Ralat and Evan Peek joined juniors Robbie Gomes and Megan Nguyen to design a cloud-based, customizable virtual meeting platform targeted at educators in K-12 and higher education using AWS infrastructure. The students were tasked with designing an alternative to Zoom that would support a team working on a project where communication and document sharing (L-R) Alonso Ralat, Evan Peek, Robbie Gomes are vital but also context-specific. and Megan Nguyen celebrate their win at the AIS 2021 Student Chapter Leadership Conference. The brief asked students to subOverall, the competition was “a great mit three items: wireframe mockups that show important aspects of their solution; a experience,” according to Nguyen. “We vision of the architecture of the design; and also had immense support from our AIS a perspective on how diversity and inclusion Chapter advisers, professors Carey Cole would be supported. and Shawn Lough, who gave us feedback The JMU team began by doing research, throughout the process. We learned a lot sending out 50 surveys to students and full- from watching the other finalists’ video pretime workers as well as interviewing four sentations and made great connections.” industry professionals to help generate ideas Lough and Cole are proud of the team’s for a unique solution. They accomplishment. “I was “We had to be extremely impressed with decided to name their product “Kaigi,” a Japanese word this team,” Cole said. creative and for meeting, assembly or “They spent the time necshow that we convention. Nguyen said essary to create excellent could indeed their logo design “is inspired deliverables and meet the by wolves because they are be better than competition’s requireanimals known for their loyments. Their presentation Zoom.” alty and teamwork, living in skills were great as well, — MEGAN NGUYEN tough environments and are and I am thrilled that their expert communicators.” hard work paid off and they were able to repArmed with their research and concept, resent the CIS major and the College of Busithey quickly discovered the challenges they ness at JMU in such a positive way.” — Stephen Briggs would face. “We had to be creative and show
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New school to elevate existing programming
he newly designated School of Professional and Continuing Education will build on JMU’s successful efforts to provide education, programming and experiences to students of all ages. “I’m thrilled about the new opportunities this designation will provide to empower nontraditional learners, meet community needs and craft new workforce development partnerships,” said the school’s dean, Melissa Lubin. The School of Professional and Continuing Education will serve as a strategic partner to local and regional businesses and government-supporting initiatives for economic and community development. Certificate, credential, bachelor’s degree completion and professional development programs will form the core of the school’s offerings. The school will also focus its efforts along the continuum of learning to include youth programs, the Lifelong Learning Institute and testing support for those hoping to enroll in graduate school. — Ginny Cramer
The Lifelong Learning Institute is part of the new school.
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‘You’ve come a long way, baby’
Dukes celebrate 50 seasons of football this fall
rom a makeshift field with school administrators watching on lawn chairs to boisterous capacity crowds at a modern, on-campus stadium. From a scoreless season to winning two national championships and annually competing for others. From a roster recruited from class registration lines to a long list of professional standouts, including Super Bowl winners. All are parts of JMU football, which will play its 50th season in 2021, and to borrow a phrase from the era of its beginning, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”
BY GARY MICHAEL (‘77)
The Dukes have gone from a nonscholarship team to an elite NCAA Football Championship Subdivision program, one that has appeared in several national telecasts and twice hosted ESPN’s College GameDay. JMU’s 2004 and 2016 teams won FCS championships, and the Dukes were 2017 and 2019 national runners-up. They’ve reached the FCS playoffs in each of the last seven seasons, 12 times since 2003 and 17 times overall. Numerous Dukes have had prominent pro careers, including Charles Haley, the first five-time Super Bowl winner and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and three members of Tampa Bay’s 2021 title team.
In the early years, Madison College’s football team played its games on Godwin Field, with fans sitting in folding chairs or standing along the sidelines.
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CELEBRATE 50 SEASONS OF JMU FOOTBALL
PROUDLY DISPLAY THIS COMMEMORATIVE DOUBLE-SIDED POSTER!
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PROGRAM KICKOFF AND EARLY SUCCESS
Few people in 1972 could have envisioned JMU football’s development. But creating widespread enthusiasm and demonstrating that then-Madison College was no longer a small, mostly women’s school was the goal. Then-President Ronald Carrier, assisted by longtime athletic director Dean Ehlers, pushed football. In his book Building James Madison University, Carrier wrote: “To truly transform Madison College’s image with students, faculty, and the larger public, especially in the Central Shenandoah Valley, we needed to field a football team, a sure way to project that we now operated as a coeducational institution. Football could provide needed campus activities on autumn weekends and counter the mass exodus of students each Friday who perennially complained about dull, boring weekends at Madison, earning the college the unenviable reputation as a suitcase school.” Because many opposed football, believing Madison’s image would change and resources would shift away from academics, the program’s launch was delayed until July. That left coach Challace McMillin just three months to prepare—and without players. The original members were recruited while registering for classes at the start of the 197273 school year, and many disappeared before the initial practice. The first schedule included one varsity and two junior varsity opponents and two military school teams. The opener was set for Oct. 7 at Harrisonburg High School—now Memorial Hall—but rain left the field unplayable. Madison’s staff arranged a practice area beside Godwin Hall for play, with fans sitting in folding chairs or standing along the sidelines. JMU lost 6-0 to Shepherd College’s junior varsity team and remained scoreless throughout its 0-4-1 inaugural season. The team improved to 4-5 in 1973 while playing two varsity programs and securing its first victory, 34-8 over Anne Arundel Community College. The 1974 team faced a full varsity slate and finished 6-4, setting up one of Madison College’s more memorable campaigns. The 1975 Dukes opened with a scoreless tie
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RECRUITING A TEAM
The inaugural team’s players were recruited from the class registration lines at the start of the 1972-73 school year.
at Glenville State but then ran off nine wins to finish 9-0-1, the program’s only unbeaten season. Madison allowed a paltry 75 points, and no game was decided by more than 11 points. Seven wins were by seven or fewer points, with most outcomes in doubt until the final horn. Madison won the College Division Virginia College Athletic Association with a 5-0 record. The winning streak reached 12 early in 1976 when the Dukes were tied for first in the NCAA’s initial Division III poll. That week, they played at Hampden-Sydney in the first D-III game televised by a major network (ABC). JMU remained a D-III program through the 1978 season before award-
Before Charles Haley (‘87) became a Pro Football Hall of Famer, he was an All-American defensive lineman at JMU.
ing scholarships and moving to Division II in 1979 and Division I-AA (now FCS) in 1980.
TRANSITION PERIOD AND LONG-TERM SUCCESS
The move to I-AA was challenging—backto-back 4-6 records in 1979 and 1980, and 3-8 in 1981—but with four classes of scholarship players, the 1982 Dukes finished 8-3, including a 21-17 win at Virginia, where JMU’s seniors had lost 69-9 in 1979. Haley had an immediate impact in 1982 as a freshman defender, and the team also featured future Washington Redskins wide receiver Gary Clark and JMU’s career rushing leader in freshman Warren Marshall (4,168 yards). Clark had an 80-yard touchdown catch in 1982 at Virginia and punt returns of 89 and 87 yards for scores there in 1983. JMU first reached the NCAA playoffs in 1987 after a 9-3 campaign under coach Joe Purzycki. Rip Scherer led the 1991 and 1994 playoff teams, while Alex Wood, Mickey Matthews and Everett Withers directed the Dukes to postseason play in 1995, 1999 and 2014, respectively. All were first-year college head coaches. (More recently, Mike Houston (2016) and Curt Cignetti (2019) led the Dukes to the playoffs in their first seasons in Harrisonburg.) JMU won at Division I-A Navy in 1989 and 1990, and Scherer’s 9-4 team in 1991 secured JMU’s first playoff win, 42-35 in double overtime at Delaware. The Dukes returned to the playoffs in 1994 and 1995 behind quarterback Mike Cawley, and the 1994 squad notched 10 victories—then a program record—and a playoff win.
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The 1999 Dukes tied for the STAR POWER 2004 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM Atlantic 10 conference title— The names Charles Haley, Gary Mickey Matthews’ squad won three road playoff JMU’s f irst I-A A crown—and Clark and Scott Norwood are most games before taking down Montana, 31-21, for returned to postseason play. JMU often mentioned in discussions of the program’s first national title. opened at Division I-A national JMU football, but 49 seasons have runner-up Virginia Tech and then produced numerous other standouts. won seven straight games behind Quarterback Les Branich and Matthews, The Sports Network’s offensive lineman Jeff Adams were I-AA Coach of the Year. Matthews early cornerstones and lettered also was the A-10 Coach of the from 1972-75. Defensive lineman Year, and Curtis Keaton and Chris Woody Bergeria and linebacker Morant were the league’s offensive Dewey Windham were early Alland defensive players of the year, Americans, and tailbacks Ron Stith respectively. It marked the first and Bernard Slayton compiled time that one program received the remarkably similar statistics from league’s three major awards. 1973-76, both rushing for more Matthews’ 2004 national chamthan 2,000 yards. pionship squad was the first in I-AA Norwood enrolled in 1978 and history to win three road playoff became a leading I-AA placekicker; games en route to a 31-21 victory Clark arrived in 1980; and Haley over Montana in the title game. His 2006, ON THE HORIZON and Marshall, who became the top rusher 2007, 2008 and 2011 teams each reached The level at which the team competes is a in Virginia college history, arrived in 1982. the playoffs, and his 2010 squad received topic of conversation. Compete where you Haley was JMU’s first Associated Press Firstwide acclaim for its 21-16 win at nationally have been successful or transition to what Team All-American in 1985 and the followranked Virginia Tech. some consider a more appropriate level? The ing year became its first NFL draftee (San Few JMU home games can rival the answer is never easy. But considering the Francisco, fourth round). Clark was chosen excitement of the 2008 team’s under-the- development and success of the program sixth in the 1984 United States Football lights rally from a 21-0 halftime deficit since 1972, JMU is well positioned for what- League Draft and later won two Super Bowls for a 35-32 win over three-time defend- ever the future holds. as a Washington Redskin. ing national champion Appalachian State. Those Dukes had a 12-game winning streak and were the top playoff seed, and Matthews received The Sports Network’s Coach of the Year honors a second time. Withers’ 2014 and 2015 teams reached the playoffs, and Mike Houston in 2016 led JMU to its second national crown, defeating longtime FCS power North Dakota State on the road, 27-17, before taking down Youngstown State, 28-14, in Frisco, Texas, for the title. The Dukes returned to the FCS title game under Houston in 2017 and again in 2019 under Cignetti, and remain an FCS powerhouse. JMU has a 76-16 record during the last seven seasons, including 58-9 during 2016 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS the last five, and is 45-6 in conference play Purple-and-gold confetti rained on members of the 2016 team during that span. The Dukes have won or after their win over Youngstown shared their league title eight times since State in Frisco, Texas. 1999, including five of the last six seasons.
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ESPN came to campus twice, creating unforgettable moments for students and other members of JMU Nation to revel in.
Cawley threw for 6,482 yards and 42 touchdowns in three years for the Dukes, and Eriq Williams, a top performer on the 1991 playoff team, threw for 5,356 yards and 40 scores and had 7,678 career yards of total offense. Safety Tony Booth, return specialist Delvin Joyce and Keaton were late-1990s standouts. Booth twice received All-America honors and had a 122-tackle, eight-interception season in 1997. Joyce surpassed 1,000 career yards for rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns and had a successful career with the New York Giants. Keaton ran for 2,783 yards in two JMU seasons and was a fourth-round NFL Draft choice. Linebacker Derrick Lloyd led the nation in unassisted tackles in 2001, winning The Sports Network’s Buck Buchanan Award as I-AA’s top defender after compiling 157 overall stops, 7.5 quarterback sacks and five fumble recoveries. Safety Tony LeZotte, in 2005 and 2007, and linebacker Akeem Jordan, in 2006, were league Defensive Players of the Year, and quarterback Rodney Landers and return specialist Scotty McGee were 2008 league Offensive and Special Teams Players of the Year, respectively. LeZotte was JMU’s first four-time AllAmerican, and center Scott Lemn won the 2008 Rimington Award as FCS’s best center. Defensive end Arthur Moats won JMU’s second Buchanan Award in 2009 after leading the FCS in tackles for loss and its down
linemen in tackles. He and Jordan, the 2006 College Sporting News Defensive Player of the Year, enjoyed extended NFL careers. As JMU has dominated as a program during the last decade, individual accolades have flowed in. Dukes receiving league Defensive Player of the Year honors have included linebacker Stephon Robertson (2012, 2013), lineman Andrew Ankrah (2017), cornerback Jimmy Moreland (2018), lineman Ron’Dell Carter (2019) and lineman Mike Green (2020-21). Ankrah won FCS 2017 Defensive Player of the Year plaudits by the FCS Athletics Directors Association. Quarterback Vad Lee, who in 2015 at Southern Methodist became the first D-I player to rush and pass for 275 yards in a game, was league Offensive Player of the Year that season, and Bryan Schor and Ben DiNucci won the award in 2016 and 2019, respectively. Kick returners Rashard Davis in 2016 and John Miller in 2017 and placekicker Ethan Ratke in 2020-21 were league Special Teams Players of the Year. Davis (Philadelphia), D.J. Bryant (Baltimore), and Aaron Stinnie, Josh Wells and Earl Watford (Tampa Bay) have been on recent Super Bowl winners.
JMU was a 1974 and 1975 VCAA member and then an independent until playing its first game in the Yankee Conference in 1993.
The Atlantic 10 assumed the Yankee’s operations in 1997, and the teams transitioned to the Colonial Athletic Association in 2007.
After the local high school field was too wet for JMU’s first game, it was the team’s home for the remainder of 1972 and 1973. Play moved to Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field in 1974 on the first synthetic football surface in Virginia and with temporary seating. The current stands adjacent to Godwin Hall were added for the 1975 season and a similar arrangement across the field for 1981. The stadium’s first video board was installed in 2004, and the Robert and Frances Plecker Athletic Performance Center opened in 2005 and the current Lakeside stands in 2011.
FORMER JMU COACHES
McMillin coached JMU for 13 seasons (197284) and remained with the university as a faculty member and with athletics in a sports psychology role. Purzycki (1985-90) became a successful business executive. Scherer (199194) left to coach Division I -A Memphis, and Wood (1995-98) went on to become the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterbacks coach, Withers (2014-15) departed to coach Texas State, and Houston (2016-18) left to coach East Carolina. Matthews recently has worked as a college assistant and remains JMU’s winningest coach with a 109-71 record.
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Belles of the ball
Softball Dukes dazzle in College World Series
JMU softball’s epic run to the national semifinals of the Women’s College World Series will forever be etched in institutional lore. Despite being a varsity program for fewer than 20 years, the Dukes left no doubt they have one of the best teams in the nation.
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The JMU faithful will never forget the magical ride of 2021. “We wouldn’t be where we are without you,” head coach Loren LaPorte told fans at the team’s welcome-home celebration in June. “Thank you so much, JMU Nation!”
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Women’s tennis standout opens up about her eating disorder, anxiety, depression
BY AMANDA NORD
f you would’ve told the 15-year-old girl who sat on the couch eating an entire bag of Doritos that five years later she would be in her junior year of college, competing as a Division I athlete, all while battling three mental health issues, I think she would’ve stuck her middle finger up at you and walked away. I would be lying to myself if I sat here and told you growing up on the tennis court was enjoyable. I don’t remember those years of my life because in my head they were classified as nightmares. I am not your typical athlete who loves playing their sport. I am not the girl who loves picking up a racket and hitting tennis balls for two hours every day. It has taken me the last 15 years of my life to realize what the sport of tennis truly means to me. Take it from me: My journey of becoming the strong, young woman that I am today was far from easy. The summer before my senior year of high school, my life changed for what I thought would be forever. Did I ever think it was possible for me to wake up one morning and decide not to eat? Everyone’s eating disorder story is different, and unfortunately that morning became the start of mine. Little did I know, the next four years of my life would be spent battling a series of mental health struggles. It started with not eating, then it progressed to depression, then extreme panic attacks and anxiety decided they wanted to join the other two. Athletically, that same summer was
probably the most important in my path to becoming a D-I college athlete. I was training three to four days a week, exercising any chance I got. I have not gone a single day without any of these three illnesses controlling some aspect of my life. I would go to school every day not being able to focus on what my teachers were saying. My thoughts were geared toward food, navigating around my next meal, body image, and how I muster up the energy for practice later that day. To this day, I don’t know how I did it. I don’t know how I managed to keep breathing, keep fighting and continue working hard
to one day play Amanda Nord’s journey tennis in college. has made her an advocate for mental health I had an easy among college athletes. time blocking out the horrific days of growing up on the tennis court, but the days where my legs would shake uncontrollably and my vision would go blurry from starving myself, those days I can’t seem to escape. I will never forget the moment during my freshman year when I looked into the eyes of my coach and shamelessly lied as I told her I had eaten lunch that day. A two-hour practice with conditioning afterward and I thought I would get through it with no food
You should never feel weak or ashamed to ask for help. In fact, one of the strongest qualities one can have is the power to realize what you are going through and asking for help. 22
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J M U in my system? I nearly passed out at the end and had to remove myself from my team because I was so embarrassed. Freshman year of college was everything from new experiences to hard work paying off to figuring out it wasn’t acceptable to not eat before practice. Looking back, I know I’ve matured in my eating disorder because I can remember this moment and realize how far I have come in my recovery. I was exerting far more energy than was in my body, and that was a result of the monstrous voice in my head telling me, if I ate before practice, I would gain weight. You might be reading this and wondering how? How could someone who didn’t even know what a calorie was five years ago think like that? You’re guess is as good as mine. I want to pause for a second and remind you it’s OK to not be OK. Those words have been repeated to me thousands of times before, but I never had the strength inside of me to believe it. You should never feel weak or ashamed to ask for help. In fact, one of the strongest qualities one can have is the power to realize what you are going through and asking for help. I didn’t want my teammates to think I was weak or making things up. I kept telling myself that it doesn’t matter what anyone says or thinks about my situation, I had to be true
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to myself for myself. It pushed me to get the help that I needed and help lift the biggest weight off my shoulders that day. I felt free and hopeful that I might have the slightest chance of saving myself. Now is the time I tell you just how important it is to surround yourself with the right people, especially through a time like this. Words can never describe how thankful I am to have had the people that I did constantly check up on me, ask me if I needed anything and, most importantly, never give up on me and my journey. To me, tennis means family. Tennis does not mean picking up a racket and hitting forehands and backhands. Because of this sport, I have gained sisters, friendships and unforgettable experiences that will last me a lifetime. How could I ever give that up? My recovery process has been nothing short of challenging. Every day I wake up and choose to keep fighting for a healthy life. I am gentle with myself in recovery. No matter how many times I “start over,” I try again and continuously build upon the times before. My bad days are simply full of nothing but gratitude. I have learned to appreciate the little things in life. I take my bad days and turn them into a selfless 24 hours of appreciating the people who have helped shape me into who I am. With that being said, I am still
a college athlete battling an eating disorder, anxiety and depression more than half of the days out of the week. You might still be wondering how exactly I do it? My secret is that there is no right or wrong answer. My strength is what’s gotten me this far in life. My fight every single day has allowed me to never give up. I’ve learned how loved I am by everyone around me and how many people truly smile through my presence. I am grateful for that and I am grateful to be alive today to witness it. My life has truly been a roller-coaster full of the craziest ups and downs you can think of. You can overcome anything you set your mind to. I never believed I was strong enough to do so until I had the best support system constantly telling me I was. Surround yourself with the people who uplift, motivate and inspire you in everyday life. Mental health among college athletes can never be talked about enough. It’s real, it’s overwhelming and it’s destructive. My “why” of sharing my story is simple: to bring awareness to the parts of my journey that ultimately led me to who I am today. If I have the opportunity to help just one person in their journey, then all of this has been worth it. I didn’t come out on the other side by myself. I didn’t believe it was okay to not be okay. I truly thought everyone in my life was going to give up on me and I wish I had someone in a similar situation to tell me everything you have just read above. Connecting someone else’s journey to your own is crucial. If my strength in getting the help I needed has the potential to help someone else find their own inner strength, then by all means, I will never stop sharing my story with others. Keep fighting and keep smiling. If you feel like no one else has your back through times like this, just know I do and I always will.
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(L-R): Dallas Jackson and Michael Johnson
Education and empowerment Dukes draw lessons from Black Student-Athlete Summit
allas Jackson of James Madison baseball and Michael Johnson of JMU football represented JMU Athletics at the 2021 Black Student-Athlete Summit, hosted virtually by the University of Texas, Jan. 6-8. The two Dukes were the first student-athletes from JMU to attend the summit, having been chosen for their extensive involvement in diversity and inclusion efforts within the athletics department.
What was the mission or the goals of the summit?
Jackson: It was based off two different tracks: a professional track and a studentathlete track. The professional track was more staff and sports administrators—ADs, coaches, academic advisors. For studentathletes, it was more ways of bettering yourself as a leader on and off the field. I think the biggest thing was just really building your toolkit and your leadership skills to bring back to whatever school that you attend. Johnson: Yeah, their mission statement was to come together and engage in solution-focused dialogue around the challenges and opportunities associated with Black student-athletes. What kinds of things is JMU doing, ahead of the curve, that are helpful and beneficial? 24
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Johnson: For one, we are trying to get out there and talk about it—like the unity statement we released. Another thing is, we had a meeting with a few administrators and we talked about ways we could get that out there. We also mentioned that there could be a class that people could take to understand diversity and issues of race and Blackness and things like that, just to educate the community and the student body more. I feel like we are getting toward that, and there is evidence of that. What do you think are the best or next opportunities for JMU Athletics to continue making progress and keep pushing forward in this area? Jackson: We’ve already implemented some things. For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, each team did MLK quotes, and that was something that we got straight out of the
Black Student-Athlete Summit and brought back. Honestly, it’s huge having the resources and the network to reach out to other studentathletes at other schools to help branch ideas, because I think all the ideas are not going to come from the administration. As student-athletes, we see a lot of different things through social media and through other athletes at other schools, and I think that is where it starts. So I think it all comes down to us networking with other student-athletes within our conference and the NCAA and working with our administrators to bring new ideas to fruition. Johnson: I think there should be a board of students. I don’t think faculty can see what we see. Being in the locker room, you talk to your peers about the things that go on, and there are issues that you encounter all the time that faculty just will not see being in their office and not being in the trenches.
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J M U Another thing is that I feel like there should be a course that helps educate everyone on diversity and inclusion. I do not know what that would specifically entail, but I feel like some type of direct education can only benefit.
It sounds like everything you guys are saying is about education and empowerment. Is that a good way of characterizing it? Both [emphatically]: Yes. What are you guys hoping your next steps are going to be as you help JMU Athletics get better in this area? Jackson: For me, you just said it: educating. I know, with baseball, I am always looking to educate and help those guys if they have any questions about diversity and inclusion and with any ideas they might have to implement here at JMU through the [Student-Athlete Advisory Committee] or Dukes Lead or Dukes Let’s Talk. I’m open to all ideas, from any athlete. Just keep the conversation going, keep educating yourself, and the biggest thing, which I have told many student-athletes, is do not be afraid to ask a question. You are not going to get jumped or yelled at for just asking a question. It shows that you are willing to educate yourself and step out on a limb and be uncomfortable.
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Johnson: I guess I’m trying to reiterate where we’ve come from and, being that I am in [Student Coalition Against Racial Injustice] and helped found SCAR, education is one of the things that I preach and do, mostly on our social media and our GroupMe. I’ll occasionally talk about it with a few teammates and my roommates, especially, because they are white, and I try to educate them on certain things that they hear. What would be your biggest recommendation for both studentathletes and staff who are pushing to get involved with this stuff more in the future and wanting to take steps to help with diversity and inclusion? Jackson: Honestly, I’d say send student athletes to the Black Student-Athlete Summit—and it does not have to just be Black student-athletes! There were athletes of all races there, which was great to see. We encourage schools to send staff or a coach or anyone who’s in sports administration. Johnson: I’d say keep doing the summit every year. I know it is a little expensive, but send two student-athletes and two faculty. I really feel like the faculty is the most important part from a university standpoint. What have you guys learned and gained that you can take with you out into the world?
Jackson: For me, I’ve done a lot of things in my community back at home, and I have been involved here. The biggest thing I am bringing is my voice. I’m not afraid to voice my opinion in a good or a bad way. I think that having these uncomfortable conversations is what is going to make our world grow. If more people have a voice and voice how they feel and jump into the conversation with an open mind to hear other people and what they have to say, I feel that is where progression starts. I also continue, to this day, to educate myself. Listening to different speakers or what my teammates have to say or how the way they grew up or where they come from affects things. I always need to see other perspectives like that. Johnson: Yeah, pretty much the same thing for me. I just call mine “uncomfortable education.” My entire life, I’ve been in majority-white schools, white areas and things like that. My roommates are white, like I said, and we have conversations a lot. They are not afraid to talk to me about this stuff, and they will straight-up say what is on their minds and it will be uncomfortable sometimes, but we will just talk about it. That’s just the way it is at home, too. I’ve had to just stop certain people and it’s uncomfortable, but you just have to educate them because they won’t know otherwise. It’s just how they were raised and all they know, because they don’t understand it and haven’t lived it.
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The lacrosse Dukes won the 2021 CAA championship in an overtime thriller.
A banner year
2020-21 continues upward trajectory for JMU Athletics BY KEVIN WARNER (’02), assistant athletic director for communications
n a year extensively impacted by COVID-19 protocols, safety measures, reduced competitive schedules, attendance restrictions and unprecedented hurdles, James Madison responded with arguably its most comprehensively successful Athletics year in department history. JMU matched a CAA all-time record of seven championships by one institution, highlighted by softball’s epic run to the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series. Football advanced to the FCS national semifinals while claiming a share of the league title. Swimming and diving and lacrosse each won their fourth consecutive CAA crowns. Men’s soccer claimed its third straight, women’s tennis its second in a row, softball its fifth in seven seasons, and women’s golf its first since 2013. The all-sport success reached even further as JMU also claimed regular-season titles in men’s basketball and field hockey plus a CAA South Division title in volleyball during the league’s one-year divisional format. The Dukes also set a department record with a .682 combined winning percentage across all sports (162-65-5). That lifted JMU to a sixyear overall mark of .656, ranking among the top 15 of all NCAA Division I institutions. On the men’s side, JMU went 44-34-3 (.562) to go with a 98-31-2 (.756) mark on the women’s side. Overall, eight teams achieved NCAA postseason competition (football, men’s soccer, lacrosse, softball, swimming and diving, women’s
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tennis, women’s golf and track & field). Four teams finished ranked in the top 20 of their sport’s final national polls—football third, softball fourth, lacrosse 12th and men’s soccer 18th. The Learfield Director’s Cup, which measures departmental achievement in NCAA postseason competition, ranked JMU 67th in the nation. JMU led the CAA for the fourth consecutive year (no ranking in 2019-20 due to COVID-19) and had its best finish since 2000 and fourth-highest in department history. It was the fifth straight top-100 finish and 14th overall (more than 350 Division I schools) and the fifth time to rank in the top 75. The individual accolades were just as exceptional as the team honors. Eleven student-athletes garnered All-America honors, highlighted by Odicci Alexander winning Softball America’s National Pitcher of the Year and D1Softball’s Woman of the Year. Alexander was also invited to the ESPYs awards event as one of four finalists for Best Female Athlete, College Sports. Nine James Madison coaches won CAA Coach of the Year, a record for any school in a single competitive year. Ten Dukes were named to some variation of CAA Player of the Year (Player, Defensive Player, Pitcher, etc.), and JMU tied a league record with seven Rookies of the Year. Impressively, the landmark competitive success happened in conjunction with the department’s best cumulative GPA in at least 10 years at 3.181. JMU’s approximately 450 student-athletes combined to post 725 instances of a 3.0 GPA or better across the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters.
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FACULTY FOCUS Spotlighting JMU professors through the lenses of scholarship, awards and service Suzanne Fiederlein
CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL STABILIZATION AND RECOVERY
Fiederlein, with grant funding of $562,624, is leading a team of JMU faculty and staff on a two-year project in partnership with the American University of Kurdistan. The project is part of a U.S. Department of State initiative to increase the institutional capacity of American-style institutions of higher education in Iraq and enhance partnerships with U.S. and regional higher education.
Diana Galarreta-Aima, Carlos Alemán, Andrea Martinez Gonzalez and Tobias Reynolds-Tylus COLLEGE OF ARTS AND LETTERS
The researchers received a 4-VA grant for their project “COVID-19 and Central Shenandoah Valley Spanish-Speaking Communities: Exploring Impact and Perceptions of COVID Toward Enhanced Rapid Response Health Communication and Care.” They are collecting survey data locally regarding perceptions of COVID, the vaccines and access to information on the pandemic. The data from these initial studies, together with subsequent research, will
provide useful information about health disparities within Virginia’s Latino communities and provide a basis for recommendations on how to improve the health of these populations and promote collaborative communication among government agencies, community organizations and health care providers.
Alleyn Harned VIRGINIA CLEAN CITIES
Harned received $262,070 from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to support and foster a regional electric vehicle ecosystem in Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and West Virginia.
Lewis’ journey toward a Ph.D. started one afternoon as she was listening to the radio while driving home from work. The hosts of a popular Chicago-area show were interviewing Trayvon Martin’s mother about her son’s shooting, and Lewis described her reaction to the story as “visceral.” The next day at work, she expected her fellow educators to be livid, but “they didn’t seem to know about it.” In a staff meeting that occurred after another violent attack, Lewis asked her colleagues to process what was happening to better help their students do the same. Her suggestion was
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met with uncomfortable silence. Motivated by the growing national dialogue on race and the rise of social justice movements, Lewis enrolled at Michigan State University, where she became actively involved in Black Lives Matter. She also was immersed in critical race theory, a framework that examines the effects of race, politics, the law and other metrics of sociocultural power. Her dissertation followed a professional learning community made up of four music teachers, with Lewis facilitating critical race theory education. JMU’s Office of Access and Inclusion brought Lewis to campus as a Preparing Future Faculty Program fellow. She credits the Center for Inclusive Music Engagement as well as extensive curricular and pedagogical updates being made within the School of Music. Still, Lewis believes JMU has the chance to do more to address racism and other hierarchical systems of oppression, with critical race theory “providing a pathway of questioning.”
Colleen Moore HISTORY
Moore was awarded an American Council of Learned Societies Project Development Grant for “At War with the State: Russian Peasants, Mass Mobilization, and the End of the Autocracy.” The project explores how the mobilization of the Russian peasant population during the First World War undermined peasants’ faith in the autocracy and transformed their understanding of state power. Moore was one of 14 awardees. ACLS Project Development Grants support faculty at teaching-intensive universities whose research projects will advance humanistic studies and interpretive social sciences. Grantees receive $5,000, which may be used for any costs that support their research project. Moore plans
to use her award to support the completion of her book manuscript and offset conference travel and research costs.
Mark Rankin ENGLISH
Rankin was selected as the 2021 Provost Award Winner for Excellence in Research and Scholarship. The award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated achievement in research, scholarship and/or creative work. Rankin’s research focuses primarily on literature produced during the era of the Tudor monarchs (1485-1603) in England. He has received more than $1 million in external funding in support of his work, primarily from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the principal investigator of a major NEH-funded project to produce new scholarly editions of the writings of William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536). He has co-directed three NEH Summer Seminars for university faculty and will direct a fourth in 2022 on “Printing and the Book During the Reformation: 1450–1650.” In addition to his ongoing editorial work, he has published 35 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters or essays and an edited collection of scholarly essays (with another under contract and a third in progress). He is editor of the peer-reviewed journal Reformation and holds an appointment to the Editorial Board of Renaissance Studies and a seat on the governing Council of the Renaissance English Text Society.
George Vidal BIOLOGY
Vidal received $210,600 from the National Institutes of Health to understand the mechanism and behavioral consequences of integrin beta 3 in regulating the development of excitatory cortical circuitry in vivo.
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Bright Lights A sweet treat
Clients want a piece of alumna’s cake business
BY BRITTANY BELL (’21)
lexis Cosby’s (’18) passion for baking has made her a go-to source for specialty and wedding cakes in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland. Her business, A Sweet Confession LLC, is taking the capital region by storm with its tasty and professional-looking creations. Cosby has always loved baking, but it wasn’t until she took a cake decorating class at a local Michael’s store in high school that she really delved into the craft. While at JMU, she practiced her baking and decorating skills, making cakes for her friends and even baking a few for her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and a fraternity for Founder’s Day. Cosby continued to hone her confectionary skills after leaving JMU. “When I graduated, I just really took that time to perfect my craft and learn even more techniques,” she said. In February 2019, after months of planning, researching and establishing her brand, Cosby launched A Sweet Confession in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia. “I kind of turned my dining room space into my workstation,” she said. After relocating to Rockville, Maryland, earlier this year, Cosby continues to operate the business out of her home. Her long-term goal
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is to have a studio space where she can bake her cakes and also meet with potential clients for consultations. “When I make someone’s cake, I want to make sure that it’s quality and I’m not rushing,” she said, “or something that I have going on is going to be put on the backburner.” Cosby makes all sorts of specialty cakes—for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, baby showers, events and more. Her most popular flavors are vanilla and strawberry, though her personal favorites are chocolate and cinnamon swirl. Cosby also gets a lot of requests for Oreo and chocolate drip cakes, which are featured on her social media pages. As popular as her event cakes are, Cosby has a different idea for where she wants to take her business. “I want to eventually get to the place where I am just focused on wedding cakes, because that’s the avenue that I really enjoy the most,” she said. One of her favorite techniques involves arranging fresh florals on a wedding cake. On the day of the ceremony, the florist will hand over any extra f lowers, which Cosby uses as decorations. She loves the creativity, uniqueness and personal touch that come from this technique.
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While she had to stop Alexis Cosby taking orders in the spring (‘18) launched her business, A of 2020 because of the Sweet ConfesCOV ID-19 pandemic, sion, in 2019. business began to pick up soon after, and today the venture is doing quite well. Most of Cosby’s business comes from people who see her work on social media and through referrals. Some of her clients have been to events where she provided a cake, and they follow up with their own events. She admits that her favorite part of the job is receiving positive reviews and referrals because it shows that her clients are satisfied with her creations. “When you get that confirmation from the client that they were happy with the design and taste, it just makes it all worth it,” Cosby said. “It really gives me affirmation that I’m doing the right thing and I am capable of growing this business.”
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CELEBRATING & EMPOWERING WOMEN
TRUE A Reflection from President Jonathan R. Alger
JMU softball captured the nation’s attention, winning new fans along the way
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n June 8, I had the chance to join hundreds of members of our JMU community as we greeted the JMU women’s softball team after their historic run to the semifinals of the NCAA Division I Women's College World Series. With repeated wins on the road in Tennessee, Missouri and then Oklahoma against seeded teams from highly resourced “Power 5” conferences, the unseeded Dukes from the Shenandoah Valley captivated the heart of a nation with their spirit, courage and resilience. They logged thousands of miles of travel over an extended period, only to face two powerhouse teams from Oklahoma who had not had to venture more than an hour or so from their home campuses throughout the NCAA tournament. Those miles were an apt metaphor for the odds the Dukes overcame to reach the sport’s pinnacle. This story was about much more than softball, however. What we saw during those magical few weeks was a group of determined young women who exemplified teamwork and the very best of humanity after a difficult year, at a time when we all needed signs of hope and inspiration. They were not the biggest, strongest or most highly recruited athletes at the World Series. But they had something else altogether—true grit. They literally gave it all on the field, as exemplified by pitcher Odicci Alexander’s national highlight-reel diving tag at home plate to preserve a victory against Oklahoma State, and by 4-foot 11-inch infielder Lynsey Meeks’ dramatic throw on her knees for a crucial out at first base. The team played through significant injuries and the challenges brought forth by COVID simply to have a season at all. I remind people The special moments were not just on national TV and on the ballfield, however. that this kind I had the privilege of watching in our hotel lobby in Oklahoma City as a small crowd of competition of young girls and their families gathered to greet the team after one of their astounding World Series wins. Tired, not yet fed, and still in uniform, the players took that involves educamoment to pose for selfies and sign autographs while encouraging little girls to follow tion both on and their dreams. It wasn’t just the little girls who were captivated, of course—I have heard off the field. from grown men and women all across the country who found inspiration and joy in watching this team show what it means to strive for your fullest potential when the stakes are high and the obstacles seem overwhelming. As a university president, I’m often asked why our institutions invest in athletics. I remind people that this kind of competition involves education both on and off the field. The players develop crucial skills like teamwork, leadership, communications, problem-solving, time management, work ethic and emotional intelligence that prepare them for success in careers and in life. Indeed, these extraordinary student-athletes have distinguished themselves in the classroom and on the diamond. And at an institution where 60% of our students are women, this Women’s College World Series reminded us all that young women can, and must, be given the same opportunities and encouragement as men to compete at the highest level. Going forward, my colleagues and I will continue to advocate for opportunities for gender equity in athletics and in all aspects of our educational mission. We owe it to those little girls in the hotel lobby, and the millions like them who are our daughters and granddaughters. And we just might be surprised by the source of that next spark of inspiration when we need it the most. Go Dukes!
(Left): JMU softball players were the breakout stars of the WCWS. (Right): President Alger helps welcome the team home on June 8.
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Not your average Cinderella
By Kevin Warner (’02), assistant athletic director for communications
Over the course of a few weeks in the spring, the softball world— to say nothing of sports fans in general—discovered what we at James Madison already knew: This team was special. America fell in love with Odicci Alexander and a team playing with toughness, grit and talent above what the traditionalists in the sport think they should have. Forgive us, but JMU fans and those of us who work behind the scenes for our student-athletes have come to expect this from our Dukes—not just in softball, but in every sport. Fans love the “David vs. Goliath” storyline—the little school that punches up against the big dog. Pardon our purple-colored glasses, but this isn’t some little bulldog and not your typical David. These Dukes have been here before and—news flash —they expect to be here again. They knew it was a matter of when, not if, they would reach Oklahoma City. JMU entered the Women’s College World Series at 39-2. The only record better belonged to its first-round opponent, No. 1 Oklahoma, at 50-2. The Dukes had a 28-game winning streak, longest in the nation, before dropping the middle game of their Super “These Dukes Regional. JMU also dominated have been here the conference tournament to the tune of 32-0 in just 17 innings. before and The JMU softball program —news flash— hasn’t even existed for 20 years. they expect to The first season came in 2002, but be here again.” the program seemed destined for
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greatness from its inception, given JMU’s picturesque campus, academic stature, history of success in women’s sports and ideal location in the Mid-Atlantic, surrounded by good softball talent. A new facility injected life in 2010, and when Mickey Dean took the helm in 2013, JMU immediately became a team to be taken seriously. Dean passed the torch to his assistant, Loren LaPorte, and the success has hit even greater heights. Beginning with Dean’s first year, the Dukes have been to nine consecutive NCAA tournaments (they had one before that). n 383-88 record in 8.5 seasons (played just 19 games in COVID-shortened 2020). n Three Super Regionals, one of just 13 squads to make three of the last five, with the others all hailing from the Power 5. n First Women’s College World Series participant from outside the Power 5 since Louisiana in 2014 and first unseeded team since USF and LSU in 2012 (joined by Georgia this year). n
Many great accomplishments have occurred for JMU softball in a short time, but great accomplishments are nothing new to JMU Athletics. While JMU has established itself as one of the nation’s best outside of the Power 5 in softball, the same could be said for the department as a whole. In the COVID-impacted 2020-21 year alone, JMU won 68.2%
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of its games in all sports, with 10 of its 18 sports either winning a conference championship (7) or a regular-season title (3). Nine JMU coaches have been named CAA Coach of the Year in a single sports year. And that’s just the last year. Overall JMU has won 65.6% of its games in all sports over the last six years. We’ve done the research; that puts the Dukes among the top 15 in the country over that stretch, a field composed of—you guessed it—all Power 5 programs. When you look at JMU’s other accomplishments, this WCWS appearance is nothing new: n
Since 2004, two national championships in FCS football along with two runner-up and two semifinalist appearances A 2010 football win at Virginia Tech, the second ever by an FCS program against a ranked FBS squad—and a 1982 win at Virginia Before the term “Cinderella” even hit March Madness, there was JMU winning first-round men’s basketball games in three straight years (1981-83). JMU women’s basketball was the first in Women’s NCAA tournament history to hand the No. 1 seed a loss in its first game, winning on Penn State’s court in 1991. The Dukes have the third-most wins in NCAA women’s basketball history, trailing only Tennessee and Connecticut. Lacrosse won a national championship in 2018. It was the first time since 2004 that the champion was not Maryland, Northwestern or North Carolina. JMU baseball made the College World Series in 1983, the first team from Virginia to do so and the only one from
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the state until UVA made it in 2009. JMU is the only program in Virginia to reach both baseball and softball College World Series. Field hockey topped North Carolina in 1994 for a national championship. Men’s soccer has been one win away from the College Cup three times (1994, 1995, 2018). And ESPN has been no stranger to Harrisonburg with a show called College GameDay, a show typically reserved for the Power 5, visiting twice in 2015 and 2017.
TOPARM Alexander wins Softball America’s 2021 NCAA Pitcher of the Year
Softball head coach Loren LaPorte, center, signed a contract extension that will keep her at the helm of the program through 2029.
Suffice it to say, those of us who work at JMU and all of JMU Nation behind us aren’t surprised by our achievements. We don’t have the resources of a Power 5 program, but what we have, we make the most of, and we love representing this institution. So, there’s plenty of room on the JMU bandwagon. Join us for the ride, add more purple to your wardrobe and see what’s so special about James Madison University. Go Dukes!
James Madison redshirt senior Odicci Alexander (’21) won Softball America’s 2021 NCAA Pitcher of the Year. Alexander helped the Dukes in their historic 2021 postseason run, throwing 94 strikeouts in 75.5 innings and finishing with a record of 8-3 in the circle during the run. She picked up wins over four top 10 teams, including 2021 NCAA national champion Oklahoma, and one top 25 team. She earned a spot on the Women’s College World Series AllTournament team for her outstanding efforts in the circle. The Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year finished the 2021 season with a record of 18-3 in the circle with a 1.71 ERA, and 204 strikeouts in 143.2 IP. Alexander finished the season with 10 double-digit strikeout games. She threw a career-high and program single-game record 19 strikeouts in the Dukes’ 10-inning victory over Liberty in the Knoxville Regional. Alexander recorded one perfect game at College of Charleston and one no-hitter against Delaware at the CAA Tournament. In the batter’s box, she finished with 13 runs, 26 hits, 12 RBI and 17 walks.
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he path to success is rarely a straight line. As we move through life, it skims along the horizon, and we continually redefine our goals in order to reach it. For Tassie Pippert (’11, ’13M), a lecturer in the Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management, success once meant getting a college degree. Or following that with a master’s. Or having her food and drink recipes featured in the pages of Virginia Living magazine. Or fronting her Virginia-based wine and cooking show, Un-wine’ d, on VPM: Virginia’s Home for Public Media—and being nominated for an Emmy.
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Tassie Pippert shares her passion for food and wine in the classroom and on the small screen By Stephen Briggs
Pippert prepares For Pippert’s students, success translates a tray of sliders into engaged learning in the classroom for a feature and beyond. spread in Virginia “Bringing technology into the classLiving magazine. room is important, because students learn differently,” said Pippert, a recipient of the Charles Harris Award of Distinction for Teaching with Technology. “Any time you can flip things so that it is a more inclusive environment to learn, rather than just lecturing, is always positive.” Hospitality isn’t a typical classroom-style industry, said Steve PH OTO G R A PH BY M I K E M I R I E LLO ( ’ 09 M )
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“You have to be hands-on with culinary and beverage management, but she goes above and beyond for her students.” — BREE CRUMP (’19)
(Above): Pippert with a group of students at the Cannes Film Festival in France. (Below): Teaching a lesson in wine selection.
Pippert supervises culinary techniques in the Hart School’s demonstration kitchen in Godwin Hall. Over the years, Pippert’s hands-on teaching style has left a lasting impression on her students.
Evans (’20), one of Pippert’s former Hart School students. “Completing classwork and passing exams doesn’t have the same direct impact on a career. In our professional world, experience and creativity carry you, and Tassie’s teaching style targets and caters to those aspects.” Pippert also makes use of her expertise in video production, an effort enhanced by the facilities in Godwin Hall, the home of the
Hart School. Not only does the building feature a demonstration kitchen with a threecamera system and monitors to give students an eagle-eye view of the action, there are also six restaurant-quality cooking stations where teams of students can run through their lessons while Pippert circulates among them and advises them on techniques. For Bree Crump (’19), another of Pippert’s former students, this teaching style leaves a
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lasting impression. “Tassie has a very unique, hands-on learning method,” she said. “You have to be hands-on with culinary and beverage management, but she goes above and beyond for her students. I’ll never forget: On our beverage management final, she invited all of us—about 35 students—into her home for a wine and food pairing like no other, starting with hors d’oeuvres and ending with desserts. That’s a learning FA L L
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experience that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.” But before Pippert became a certified chef, before she mastered the world of wine and winemaking, and before she led her students on trips to Napa Valley, Italy and France to immerse them in the culinary arts, the bar for her success was in a different place. Pippert grew up in nearby Rawley Springs, Virginia, with a father who drove a beer truck before becoming a lineman for Harrisonburg Electric Commission, and a mother who worked for the Expanded Food and Nutrition group of the Virginia Extension Office in Harrisonburg and then in the county schools helping with special-needs children. In those days, JMU was just a spot on the horizon. But as a first-generation college student, Pippert understood the importance of support, which she learned early on from her parents. “My mother and father never made me feel that I could not do what I wanted in life,” she said. “They didn’t quite know how to help us achieve the education we wanted but never stood in the way of us seeking assistance and going for our goals.” Together, Pippert and her two siblings have earned two associate degrees, four
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“When we go to Napa and we are greeted by my former students who are now in the industry ... that is a rewarding experience.” — TASSIE PIPPERT (’11, ’13M)
bachelor’s degrees, four master’s degrees and a doctorate in theology. Hospitality isn’t even Pippert’s f irst career, nor is teaching. In fact, she came to JMU as a development officer in 2005, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees already in hand. But by 2010, she was teaching in the Hart School full-time and on her way to a second set of degrees, this time from JMU. She currently serves as secretary of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education. “I wish I had found hospitality earlier,” Pippert said. “I wish my career in the educational industry had been longer.” But she has no regrets. “When we go to Napa and we are greeted by my former students who are now in
the industry and doing what they love, these are the kinds of proud moments that I have, and that is a rewarding experience.” Evans, who now works in management at a resort property, said of Pippert’s influence, “She was a great mentor to me, treated me as a professional while I was still a student and allowed me to grow outside of the traditional classroom setting. Without [faculty members] like Tassie, hospitality students wouldn’t be ready to take on the professional world after graduation.” Which brings us back to Un-wine’ d. If the show is a measure of Pippert’s success, then she hit that mark in late June, when it was awarded a Capital Emmy in the category Lifestyle : Long-Form Content. She shares the award with her longtime producer, Shari Pennington. So once again, Pippert will enthusiastically scan the horizon to spot her next path toward success.
(Right): Pippert on the set of Un-Wine’d with her longtime producer Shari Pennington. The show, which airs on VPM: Virginia’s Home for Public Media, won a regional Emmy (inset) in June. (Below): Pippert’s parents, Paul and Lorranine La Prevotte, urged her to pursue her passions.
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‘How can I be a solution?’
One Double Duke’s ‘Beautiful Voyage’ toward advocacy and healing By Jessica Nickels (’21)
On April 14, 2014, in the northeast Nigeria town of Chibok, 276 young girls were kidnapped from their boarding school by the militant group Boko Haram. Today, more than 100 girls are still missing. As Vine Adowei (’17, ’19M) watched the events unfold on television, her idea of what she wanted to pursue as a career was solidified. “This spurred me toward the direction of advocacy and the issue of trauma. It was really eye-opening,” she said. Adowei was born in Nigeria, moved around Europe with her family, and by the age of 9, had resettled in her native country. When she was 19, she applied to the U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, a lottery in which people from other nations can apply to be permanent residents and become U.S. citizens after five years. Adowei was selected and came to JMU as an international student.
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Adowei soon found herself experiencing Vine Adowei (’17, culture shock—and from more than just ’19M) says JMU prepared her to be an the differences in cuisine, attitudes and advocate for change. weather. She learned about human trafficking through a television ad promoted by A21, an organization dedicated to abolishing modern forms of slavery. “I didn’t even know such a thing existed,” Adowei said. “It’s a billion-dollar industry. Women are being sold for sex or to produce porn, and that was so horrifying to me, to find out something like that existed in the 21st century.” This shocking introduction to human trafficking and slavery sparked a passion in Adowei’s soul. “I felt so driven to help this cause in any way I could.”
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being able to address that solution.” After earning her undergraduate “JMU gave me access to As the COVID-19 pandemic worsdegree in communication studies, she was persuaded by her faculty mentors opportunities to see the world ened, Adowei turned to a creative outfrom different perspectives.” let she knew she could share with the to pursue a master’s degree in commuworld: her writing. In March 2021, she nication and advocacy. Adowei said — VINE ADOWEI (‘17, ‘19M) published her first book, This graduate school gave her Beautiful Voyage: Poems the tools and knowledge she About Life, Trauma, and the needed to continue her work Journey to Wholeness. in advocacy and trauma, “With the hiatus that and to be able to leave JMU t he ent ire world wa s with a “how-can-I-be-agoing through, the locksolution” mindset. downs, I was just process“JMU gave me access ing more,” she said. “The to opportunities to see the way [the book] came out world from different perwas through creativity. I spectives,” she said. “I got started connecting with access to mentors who really my inner child.” guided me in times where I Adowei had always been wasn’t sure what direction “go, go, going,” and the I was supposed to go in or pandemic offered a muchhow I was supposed to get needed break. to an intended destination.” “Going from underUpon leaving JMU, and graduate studies straight wanting to continue her (Above): Adowei with into graduate school, which is really work with trauma victims, human traffick- members of the Harintense as well, and then straight into ing and advocacy, Adowei interned with two risonburg Redevelworking … this was my first time in organizations, New Creation and the North- opment & Housing years that I was just pausing and slowern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Authority. (Right): Her book, This Beautiful ing down and not having a lot on my New Creation is a nonprofit that creatively Voyage: Poems About plate. That led to a lot of self-reflection.” counteracts human trafficking by rescuing, Life, Trauma and the Adowei also has a blog where she restoring, empowering and employing vic- Journey to Wholeness. shares stories about advocacy, faith and tims of trafficking and those at risk of being trafficked. The organization, which has a provides vouchers to eligible low-income trauma, and posts more of her writing, shop in Harrisonburg, gave Adowei a more families toward their rent and promotes including her poetry. She plans to write global understanding of how human traffick- affordable housing free of discrimination. more books in the future and wants to Adowei’s focus was on the re-traumatization bring value to the world through her words ing operates. During her internship with the Northern of local homeless people as they go from and ideas. “This manuscript, decades from now, will Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, emergency shelters to sleeping on the streets, Adowei completed the first comprehensive and from being served warm meals to having still be here, even when I am gone,” Adowei national study of human trafficking task to search for food. The cycle of receiving help said. “Leaving my imprint in that way, doing forces in the U.S., comprised of 142 local and one day and not the next can have devastat- meaningful work, being able to be a positive state governments, boards of directors, social ing effects, she said. influence and translating that into writing Adowei and her co-workers developed makes it all worth it.” workers and advocates. “There wasn’t anything like this out a system to reduce the number of veteran Adowei epitomizes JMU’s call to action, there in terms of best practices or facilitat- and chronically homeless individuals in the Being the Change. ing collaborations outside of their locality or community. “For me, it means that I go out there in “That was very meaningful for me,” she the world and I am a solution-maker. I am states,” she said. After completing the internship, Adowei said, “because the point at the end of the day perpetuating positivity and bringing my own accepted a position as an administrative is not to say, ‘These are the amazing things unique twists to contributions that are being coordinator with the Harrisonburg Rede- I did.’ It’s about these individuals who have made in the world. I am bringing my own velopment & Housing Authority, which been struggling for quite a long time … and stamp of positive influence.”
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Storytelling through clothing
The 19th Amendment: A History of Women’s Rights at JMU By Emily Blake
In 2008, Pamela Johnson, a professor in the School of Theatre and Dance, had already dedicated many years of work to building the school’s collection of thousands of items of historic clothing. The costume shop held hundreds of these items; the rest, ranging from the 1830s to the 1970s, were tucked away in carefully labeled boxes and totes in the Forbes Center. She wanted others to have the chance to enjoy them, but there wasn’t any secure, museum-quality exhibit space. Out of the blue, Johnson received a call from Julia Merkel, a friend from graduate school working in JMU Libraries, to ask if she could provide clothing for the university’s Centennial Celebration. What followed was a 13-year collaboration and
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a series of six exhibits that told JMU (Above, L–R): Julia Merkel, Paula Green stories through clothing from the hisand Pamela Johntoric collection in Theatre and Dance son assemble an exhibit in the Carand items from Special Collections. rier Library lobby. The most recent of these exhibits celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment being ratified, an event which gave many women in the U.S. the right to vote. The exhibit also offers a window into the student experience at the height of the women’s suffrage movement, when James Madison University was the State Normal School for Women at Harrisonburg, only 12 years into its existence.
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What did you discover about the women on campus during the women’s suffrage movement through research for the 19th Amendment at JMU exhibit? Merkel: One of the stories that I like to tell myself is that there were some subversive or rebellious faculty members in the early years who might have been responsible for choosing purple and gold as the school colors— coincidentally, those are the suffragette colors. Even though the official story is that they took the gold from the Lee Society and the purple from the Lanier Society, I really want to think that there were suffragettes who maybe had to keep a low profile back then but signaled their support with the colors.
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that the students took permission to do it, too. I can’t remember the source of the anecdote, but it was said that the trash cans between the formerly named Jackson Hall and what would have been Harrison were filled with hair, because the students cut their hair in a bob.
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in their biplanes. He was on his little private golf course when a biplane “buzzed” him—it was his Dean of Students, Miss Varner! She was a real force of nature. President Duke respected her, and also she was a force that the students were happy to march behind.
“... I really want to think that there were suffragettes who maybe had to keep a low profile ... but signaled their support with the colors.” — Julia Merkel, preservation officer, JMU Libraries
What other stories would you like to share? Johnson: Apparently, President Duke had forbidden students to ride with the aviators coming out of the local airports
I would love to hear more about the Joan of Arc statue at the entrance of Carrier Library. Merkel: The one we have was a parting gift from President
Julian Burruss and his wife, Rachel, to the students when they were leaving. We’re one of four women’s teachers colleges in the state, and I think all of them have a copy. So, we’ve never been able to find out exactly if it was coincidental, but having a symbol for the suffragette movement around the same time was providential for women pursuing their education when that was not the norm.
This was your sixth collaborative exhibit. What were the others about? Merkel: We did one for the JMU Centennial in 2008 that had fashion from the founding of the school through the 20s, then we did the 30s and 40s through the Great Depression and World War II, then we did
Johnson: The women here were very present in the conversation. They were not cloistered in the way that many people think that women’s colleges were. And that, I think, is kind of confirming and exciting.
What interesting stories have you uncovered while researching for these exhibits? Merkel: Pam, talk about Bernice Varner flaunting President Duke’s rules! Johnson: Varner, the dean of women, went to New York to a conference, and when she came back, she had bobbed hair, which President Duke, by whatever method, had forbidden. He had such respect for her
The 1926 freshman class photo shows a variety of hairstyles. Students were inspired by Dean Bernice Varner to bob their hair, despite school regulations against the style.
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What is your process for creating these exhibits? Merkel: There’s like a year of research that goes into each of these. The glass walls in my office are kind of like a big giant whiteboard when we’re planning these out. We’ll do trips to Pam’s storage area and new sketches of different pieces and try and map out the story, and we’ve got sticky notes just all over the place. You’re trying to design for a 3D space on a 2D surface. We would sip tea and brainstorm what pieces could tell the stories between Special Collections, the historic clothing collection and even our personal collections— an antique sewing machine and typewriter come to mind. Johnson: Julia and I would agonize over which things we had to cut because we didn’t have enough space. Oh, how many times did we wish for more square footage!
Where did funding come from? Merkel: Pam got a Burruss grant. There used to be little research grants in Special Collections for faculty to come and pinpoint an area of campus history that was important. Funding for the exhibits themselves was absorbed into department budgets.
Why is this kind of exhibit so important? 42
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“Material culture seems to be on the extinction list in this digital age. This kind of exhibit is an opportunity for people to experience material culture directly and to recognize the value of it.” — Pamela Johnson, professor of theatre and dance
Merkel and Johnson prepare a dress from the historic clothing collection for an exhibit.
Johnson: Material culture seems to be on the extinction list in this digital age. This kind of exhibit is an opportunity for people to experience material culture directly and, even more so, to recognize the value of it. Merkel: You may not be aware, but the history of fashion is so tied to our material culture. Thinking back to the exhibit we did on World War II, the change in fabric from silk to rayon and the styles that moved through the 50s with these high fins and flares and hemlines changing— there’s so much connected and such a rich, rich treasure trove for telling a story. And some of the garments actually come from local families. So there’s
this other level of connection to the community.
How has this exhibit provided an educational experience for the students you work with? Johnson: As educators, Julia and I have always included— and frankly, rely very much on—the work of students. Inviting them to participate in the installation has been really, really satisfying. Merkel: This is such a handson process. Involving students over the years in actually participating in the curation and the whole process has really given me things to talk about when writing recommenda-
tion letters for graduate school applications or for job placements. I’ve had several students over the years go on to careers in museum and library fields.
How can we keep creating deep learning experiences like this one? Johnson: All of this richness came out of a collaboration. That’s something that I think needs to be explored. Julia and I have sat holding hands and weeping about the richness of this. Efforts need to be made to reach out and find these synapses between people in different divisions. That’s what higher education should be doing—nurturing and creating resources for those discoveries. It’s so exciting. I mean, it’s like going down a hole with a torch and finding something that you never believed was underground. That’s something that I will just treasure so much in my experience here. EDITOR’S NOTE: The 19th Amendment: A History of Women’s Rights at JMU was the final collaboration between Johnson and Merkel. Johnson retired from the faculty of the School of Theatre and Dance this summer. Although the physical exhibit in the west wing of Carrier Library closed in April, visitors can still view the exhibit virtually thanks to the digital projects team in JMU Libraries. The website includes an interactive timeline of women’s rights at JMU, photos of early students, yearbook snapshots and more.
View the timeline and photo gallery and learn more about JMU's history at https://j.mu/clothing.
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Students and staff assemble an exhibit in Carrier Library. (L–R): Fiona Wirth, Matthew Perkins, Renessa Rabenda and Preservation Officer Julia Merkel.
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‘Learning every day’
JMU student pinpoints gap in Marines’ stress inoculation By Ciara Brennan (‘17)
toward a “homeostatic baseline” after a stressSteven Davic was introduced to alternaful experience. tive methods of regulating stress during During the monthlong experiment, Davic his yearlong stint as a Non-Commissioned noticed the positive effects the exercise had Officer Research Fellow at the United States on the Marines. Those who had completed Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. basic training and joined the unit just weeks Corporals and sergeants are “the people before were “laughing and smiling and not [who] are most intimately connected to losing discipline, not being dissident, but the ground level or front line,” said Davic, being comfortable and being happy. … a former Marine now in his senior year at That’s something I had never seen before.” JMU. As the first sergeant to participate in Davic extended his enlistment another six the program, he was tasked with providing a months so he could stay at the lab and help different perspective on various experimen- Davic (right) with fellow members of the Student Veterans Association during the bring up three more waves of sergeants and tal projects that will impact future Marine annual Memorial Day display on the Quad. corporals. From this experience, he threw Corps operations. The experiments on stress regulation struck a chord with Davic, himself headlong into understanding the science behind breathing prowho had previously witnessed the acute effects of stress on his lower- tocols and helping the Marine Corps implement these alternative stratranking Marines. As a leader, Davic had followed the Marine Corps egies. As a JMU student, Davic is close enough to Washington, D.C., model of “stress inoculation”—intentionally creating an exacting and the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, to maintain the professional environment for new Marines to build up tolerance and become relationships he cultivated in the Corps. prepared for the battlefield. But Davic noticed a troubling shift in his junior Marines’ body lan- Battlefield-ready guage and an uptick in simple mistakes in areas where he knew them “[There is a] famous saying, ‘Nothing in biology makes sense except to be capable. He began to question whether there was a better way to in the light of evolution,’” Davic said. “Bodies, virtually across the expose them to stress without compromising their well-being or ability. entire animal kingdom, developed [the stress] response deep, deep back in time as an all-purpose, general response to any type of shortterm physical crisis. To move you away from it or to move toward it.” ‘A suite of tools’ to combat stress When humans experience crisis, the heart rate increases, blood pressure Davic found it at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory: climbs and a fresh batch of glucose is released into the bloodbreathing protocols. “This isn’t something like lighting candles and incense and stream “to get your body primed and ready for action,” Davic meditating,” he said. “[It’s] a suite of tools that people can use in explained. “But just as stress promotes certain body funcreal time to help regulate—and in most cases, downregulate and tions, it also decreases and inhibits other body functions.” Digestion and reproduction are inhibited with few reduce—their stress response.” To demonstrate the protocols, Marine Corps infantry com- consequences, but so are areas of the brain, like the mander-turned CrossFit gym owner David Herron took the prefrontal cortex, responsible for rational and complex plunge, subjecting himself to an ice bath to artificially induce higher-level thinking—crucial functions for military stress in the body. Then he began box breathing, an exercise devel- personnel and professionals working in high-intensity environments, such as nurses, police officers, firefighters oped by former Navy SEAL Mark Divine. “Imagine there’s a box on your chest,” Davic explained. “If you put and paramedics. As a result, individuals are more likely your finger on your bottom right point of the box, that’s kind of where to act impulsively, aggressively or riskily when stressed. The Marine Corps’ method of stress inoculation lacks you’re going to start at, and you’re going to go clockwise.” Herron’s breathing pattern synced with the sides of the imaginary box: a deep the return to a baseline, he said, without which individuinhale going up the right side of the box, holding his breath across the als “start accumulating that stress and building it up over top, a deep exhale going down the left side and another breath hold across time, and it becomes something more chronic, somethe bottom. Davic suggests 10 to 12 cycles to unwind and downregulate thing more serious—a mental health concern.”
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‘ L E A R N I N G “While you can certainly imagine stress might be adaptive on the battlefield and in combat—so you can run quicker or carry more things at a short distance—most things on the battlefield aren’t like that,” Davic said. “You mainly need your brain. The 6 inches between your ears is the best weapon on the battlefield.” By focusing on breathing, the bodily function a person can consciously control, individuals can actually affect the unconscious aspects of stress response, such as higher-level thinking, he said. The “psychological sigh” is a breathing exercise consisting of two inhales through the nose—the first one long and deep, the second one short—followed by a long exhale through the mouth. It is, “as we know now, the quickest way to downregulate your stress,” he said. Parents of young children might recognize the sequence as the final combination of breaths at the end of a hard cry. Davic said this is no coincidence; it’s the body’s innate way of restoring calm. Box breathing and the psychological sigh are “real-time solutions that, say, a firefighter, Marine overseas or frontline nurse in a COVID-19 hospital ... can apply to their day tomorrow,” Davic said.
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“The 6 inches between your ears is the best weapon on the battlefield.” — Steven Davic, JMU senior
support, cultivate and encourage you to have your own individual experience and to make it work for yourself.” After finding a mentor in intelligence analysis professor Timothy Walton, who previously served in the Navy and was a CIA analyst for more than 20 years, Davic chose to triple major in anthropology, psychology and intelligence analysis. For his proposal to shift Marine Corps stress regulation training to include breathing protocols, Davic is one of seven finalists from Virginia for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the premier graduate fellowship in the U.S. for those pursuing careers as public service leaders.
Davic admits the plan is ambitious, and the process will be long. First, there are gaps in the science that must be filled, he said. Then, the protocols need to transition through “the Valley of Death,” a phase where highly anticipated prototypes seem to get stuck indefinitely, before they can get out of the lab and into real-life scenarios. They also must be effective when practiced by increasingly larger groups, he said. And finally there is the arduous task of implementing a new policy in the highly organized military system. If Davic is ultimately chosen to be a Truman Scholar, he will receive $30,000 to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and a doctorate in psychology at Georgetown. If he doesn’t receive the scholarship, his plan won’t change. His personal mantra is “learning every day.” “Truman makes what I want to do a little bit easier, but it doesn’t change any aspect of it at all,” he said. “In life, you’ve got to pick something to put your attention, your focus and your energy behind, and this is something that I found worthwhile to pursue.”
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A Newman Civic Fellow and Hinshaw-Warren Hillcrest Scholar at JMU, Davic likes that Madison isn’t a “cookie-cutter degree factory” but “a university where they really
(Clockwise, from left): Davic with his fellow Marines at the Marine Warfighting Laboratory; running an ultramarathon in Romania; and receiving a meritorious promotion to sergeant. FA L L
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Nurturing inclusivity through hip-hop
Willis Landon (’20) cultivates self-expression, cooperation and life skills with community-based music education By Philip L. Frana
Growing up in Roanoke, Virginia, Willis Landon (they/them/ Music Lab provided, and I was greatly (Above): Landon theirs) reaped the benefits of a public-school performing arts pro- inspired by the administrators and educa- during a performance of Green gram that offered an array of musical activities catering to students, tors in the program,” they recall. Day's American teachers and performers of all ages. Landon (’20) started out playIn high school, they put together a few Idiot at the Forbes ing the cello in the orchestra, then picked up the electric bass in bands, made some records, performed at local Center in 2019. middle school. art centers, theaters Upon discovering the Music Lab at Jefand music festivals, and gigged with a local “I learned so much ferson Center—an experiential learning bluegrass band as well as Latin Clave, a Roaabout music and program for students in grades six-12 with noke-based ensemble that plays upbeat salsa, myself through the cumbia, bachata, merengue and Latin jazz. instruction in music business, technology and performance—they realized that music “When I went to college, I carried so many nontraditional outdid not have to be confined to the four walls important lessons from the Music Lab with lets that the Music of the classroom. me,” they said, “but I still wasn’t quite sure how Lab provided.” “I learned so much about music and myself I could use my education to create an environthrough the nontraditional outlets that the ment like the one at the Jefferson Center.” — WILLIS LANDON (’20)
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At JMU, they pursued theatre, They are grateful for the advice “At the core of teaching music education, jazz studies and music and support of JMU professors Jesse through hip-hop is the industry before discovering the indeRathgeber, David Stringham, Matpendent scholars major. They found thew Chamberlin and Philip Frana. ethos of ‘How am I going formative and significant opportuni“Rathgeber and Stringham, in parto tell you my story, and ties on campus and in the local comticular, asked really good questions, how are you going to tell munity, and joined a jazz/funk hip-hop got me thinking and offered me great band, Gryzzle, which toured along the me your story?’ It goes well resources. Chamberlin and Frana East Coast. They fondly remember understood that I needed to explore a beyond the music.” performing at the Golden Pony in lot of things independently, and sup— WILLIS LANDON (’20) downtown Harrisonburg with families ported the work because they saw how and musicians from JMU’s Center for valid and important it was.” Inclusive Music Engagement. munity music education practice? And, They are currently living in Boston, Landon received a grant from the College what is being done in academia and in the Massachusetts, and are busy with several of Visual and Performing Arts to attend the nonprofit sector to decenter whiteness in projects, including Palmyra, a folk trio with National Association of Music Merchants music education? two roommates, and Sashathem, which trade show to learn more about the music “There are a lot of insensitive ways to has opened for Electric Kif, Chris Bullock business. They also traveled to Canada one teach hip-hop,” they said. “You need to teach of Snarky Puppy and Kung Fu. They also summer to learn from Québec’s rap music it in a culturally aware manner. Whiteness is teach guitar lessons online and are raising artists. One of the contacts they made there central or hegemonic to education. I recall funds for No More Dysphoria, a nonprofit was with Montreal rapper Ashanti Mutinta, learning that the history of music rests on that helps fund transitions for transgender known professionally as Backxwash, who old, dead white men. But that’s not what and nonbinary individuals. had just won the Polaris award, the Canadian music is all about. Landon aspires to become an ambassaequivalent of a Grammy. “Some music educators are discrediting dor of inclusive hip-hop education. They Their focus as an independent scholars hip-hop as this ‘music that won’t last,’” they are inspired by the legacies of artists like major was new music practices and curric- said. “But hip-hop is the most listened-to Toni Blackman and Anjimile, and conulum design, and included a senior project music genre in the world. It is not going to be tinue to learn about hip-hop history and on accessible community music education. peripheral. At the core of teaching through education at ZUMIX, an East BostonAt the heart of the project were three guid- hip-hop is the ethos of ‘How am I going to based nonprofit dedicated to building ing questions: What does it mean to teach tell you my story, and how are you going to community through music and creative “authentically,” meaning in a culturally tell me your story?’ It goes well beyond the technology. They are also learning how to responsible way? What are the best prac- music. So much of my project was about how write grants and build resources for local tices for an effective and sustainable com- to reach students where they are.” nonprofit music labs. EDITOR’S NOTE: This feature story about musician Willis Landon (’20) should have included the individual’s preferred pronouns (they/them/theirs). In addition, the original article contained one inadvertent reference to their musical project as involving “two of his roommates.” The version you see here was updated on Nov. 19, 2021, to reflect the original version published on JMU.edu, which contained their preferred pronouns. Madison regrets these errors and will publish a detailed apology in the Winter 2022 issue.
The Boston-based band Palmyra features Landon (center) on mandolin, bass and vocals.
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For more on Landon’s music, visit https://palmyratheband. bandcamp.com and https://sasha them.bandcamp.com.
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Envision the adventure!
ore than 300 Dukes f rom 24 d if ferent states and three coun t rie s lac ed up t heir hiking boots for the inaugural Dukes Hike, held June 4–13. Hikers picked a location and distance that fit with their lifestyles and then headed outside to enjoy the great outdoors. Col lectively, hikers logged more than 430 miles over the course of 10 days. From the event proceeds and hike donations, we raised $9,424 for the Madi son Vision Fund, which provides flexible dollars that support programs through out the university. In the past, Madison Vision Fund dollars have been used to develop new programs, retain excep tional talent, build strategic partnerships, enhance safety and security around cam pus, and so much more. Thank you for supporting Dukes! Jessica Olivo (’03) and Connecticut Dukes Alumni Club members hike through Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Connecticut.
With #FlatDukeDog in her backpack, Jordan Perlish (’17) says “Go Dukes!” from Douthat State Park in Millboro, Virginia. 48
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(Above): Laura West (’17) treks around the Pyramid of the Moon (Pirámide de la Luna) in Teotihuacán, Mexico. (Left): Shelley Allen Leader (’75) logs nearly 10 miles with her dog Bear. The pair hiked the Cascade Creek Trail in San Juan National Forest, Colorado.
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Cyndy Scholz (’83) takes in the view from the Flat Tops Wilderness Area from Upper Stillwater Reservoir in Colorado. She went there to fly fish for trout at a nearby (and very colorful) lake at the Cold Springs Campground and caught nine rainbow trout!
(Left): Grant Bigman (’12), Sarah Rourke (’13) and Russell Zeltner (’13) take a hike to Buzzards Rock in Roanoke, Virginia. It was a new hike with old friends!
Win (’81) and Debbie (’82) Davis pause for a picture with #FlatDukeDog in front of the Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.
Aleixka Block Macfie (’17) feels “life is better in hiking boots” at Kuliouou Ridge Trail in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Robbie Whitehead (’94), left, hikes with daughter Grace (now a sophomore at JMU). The mother-daughter duo pose at the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail in Roanoke, Virginia.
(Left): It was a great day for a hike with the family at Blue Ridge Tunnel in Afton, Virginia. (L-R): Teresa (’14P) and Ken (’14P) Savoie, Jessica Savoie (’14, ’20M) and Toby (aspiring Duke Dog). (Left): Jennifer Snell (’90) shows JMU spirit in Pretoria, South Africa. FA L L
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Remembering Cynthia Coolbaugh
t Madison College, Cindy Coolbaugh (’70) was involved in many student organiza tions. She was a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha soror ity and the Honors Council, and was vice president of the Student Government Asso ciation her senior year. Originally a home economics major, Coolbaugh was known for her cooking skills. Even after switch ing to psychology, Coolbaugh continued to cook for anyone and everyone. “My memories of her are mostly just happy memories of dorm life, her cooking for us, and then as we got to be grownups, still cooking for us when we would get together for mini-reunions,” said Bar bara Benham (’70), Coolbaugh’s friend and former roommate. Beyond her involvement with school organizations and her passion for cook ing, Coolbaugh was also known for her fighting spirit. The Class of 1970 was witness to the Vietnam War, and Cool baugh, like many college stu dents at that time, protested the war. Having grown up in a mili tary family, her stance shocked her friends and loved ones—even more so when she took it to the next level. Toward the end of her senior year, Coolbaugh took part in a demonstration in which she and a group of students chained them selves to chairs in Wilson Hall. According to Benham, state troop ers had to take the protestors away, and Coolbaugh wasn’t allowed to walk at graduation. Despite the severity of the situation, her friends and class mates couldn’t help but be impressed with her commitment to fight for what she believed in. “She was sort of in-your-face about it,” Benham said. “In some ways, as her friend, I really admired that. I didn’t have the guts, the hutzpah, to do that sort of
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BY BRITTANY BELL (’21)
Cindy Coolbaugh (’70) was involved in many student organizations at Madison College. (Above, seated in front): She served on the legislative branch of the Student Government Association in 1968. (Left): Coolbaugh’s 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, which her son donated to JMU.
thing, even though I, along with our other friends, agreed with her. But she put her self out there. And then down the line as an adult, she parlayed that into a real big peace initiative.” Coolbaugh spent 15 years with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Originally created by the United Nations, the organization works to prevent nuclear
energy from being used for military pur poses and encourages peaceful applica tions of nuclear science to fight poverty and disease. As an events coordinator, Coolbaugh set up international confer ences and gatherings for IAEA. Despite her title, Coolbaugh admitted to Benham there were times when she would climb inside missile siloes in Iran to
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check for compliance with nuclear treaties. “This idea of her just being the hostess for this group … I think it was more of a cover for some other, very intensive work,” Benham said. In December 2005, Coolbaugh’s team, led by Mohamed ElBaradei, won a Nobel Peace Prize. Her award is on display in Wilson Hall. It was donated by her son, David Doane (’97), and family as a way to honor her love for the school and her achievements in atomic energy. Coolbaugh, who died in August 2017, lived her life in pursuit of peace. She believed in fighting for what’s right and doing whatever possible to make it known. Benham said if Coolbaugh could give advice to young people today, she would say, “Learn how to cook a simple meal for yourself,” but then, “I think she’d tell the kids, more in a philosophical way, don’t be afraid to do the right thing.”
Coolbaugh (seated on a suitcase) served as a section editor for the 1970 Bluestone. (Left): Her candid senior yearbook photograph. M AY ( ’ 8 3) PH OTO G R A PH BY CO DY T ROY E R
MY JMU STORY BY CHARLES MAY (’83)
JMU Alumni Association Board of Directors
y route to JMU was not a typical one. Growing up in inner-city Norfolk, Virginia, everyone in my community was African American, lower-income and subject to the trappings of drugs, teen pregnancies and trouble with the law. However, being a good athlete and a decent student provided options for me, which is how I arrived at JMU. What I did not anticipate was how different my view of the world seemed to be from that of my coaches, professors and fellow students. These differences left me angry and confused about how I could make it at a predominantly white university. But three individuals, Coach Challace McMillin and Drs. Eileen and Richard Nelson, saw something special in me. Coach McMillin and I engaged in many after-practice conversations, and the Nels ons took charge of my class schedule to ensure I learned valuable life lessons in the classroom that could be applied to life as I understood it. And because I fell a bit short in the discipline area, Eileen Nelson steered me to the ROTC program. Together, these people formed my earliest and most valued mentorship network and helped me unlock my full potential. Beyond being one of the first scholarship football players at JMU, and being elected captain of the team, I was a four-year letter winner and recipient of the Bob Yetzer Leadership Award, which is given annually to the player who best exemplifies determination, dedication and leadership. My successes continued in the classroom, and I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in communications and was commissioned as an officer in the Army. My early JMU story is reflective of the majority of African American Dukes. Back then, our numbers were small—around 200 out of 8,000 stu dents. As a result, we were a very close-knit group, and we remain so to this day. In 2003, we decided to re-engage with JMU as a group to help inspire greater African American student recruitment and retention, which we felt had not grown with the rest of the student population. Accordingly, the Ole School Alumni Scholarship Group
was formed with the goal of providing annual scholarships to African American students. As the group’s first president, I helped formalize our membership to become force multipliers in recruitment, mentors hip and student and faculty engagement at JMU. Personally, I want to give back to these students in the same way Coach McMillin and and Dick Nelson gave to me. Fast forward to 2019 when I joined the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Now twice retired (NCIS/USAR) and able to focus on giving back personally and professionally as a businessman, mentor, alumnus and family man, I am grateful to finally have time to do what I have always dreamed of. I have found the Alumni Association a great way to engage, both internally and externally, in one of my passions—mentorship. I am hopeful that my 40-year association with JMU and the Ole School Group might help illuminate the value of group giving and engagement. We are proud to have awarded 39 scholarships, built a $100,000 endowment and developed corporate sponsorships that provide internships and employment opportunities for African American students at JMU. JMU Athletics Hall of Famer Derek Steele, our current president, is one of our newest Alumni Board members. In addition to our giving, the Ole School Group populates various JMU boards and task forces, and we serve as guest lecturers, mentors and advisors. The group and its members have also been recognized with the Inez Gray beal Roop Award (2018), the Compass Group Award for Diversity Equity and Inclusion (2020), the National Mentorship Award (2019) and the Compass Catalyst Award (2021). In the end, I hope that whatever I might do individually, or we might do collectively, we do for the students and a better JMU! FA L L
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Chapter spotlight: Triangle Dukes
BY BRITTANY BELL (’21)
orth Carolina’s Research Triangle is a rapidly grow ing a rea encompa ssing the cities of Raleigh and Durham and the town of Chapel Hill. These localities are home to many JMU alumni, who come together to form the Triangle Dukes. When Patrick Gotimer (’14) moved to t he Tria ng le f rom t he Wa sh ing ton, D.C., area last year, there were just four active members in the local alumni chapter. Having come from the MetroDukes, he was determined to help Triangle Dukes increase its membership and their involvement. Working alongside Heather Holston (’13), Corey Davis (’07), Chad Hanna (’12) and Taylor Gustafson (’14), Gotimer has helped the chapter grow, despite COVID-19. One of the key reasons the chapter has been able to stay active during the pan demic is the individual approach its leader ship team takes with members. The chap ter hosts monthly coffee-hour Zoom calls to talk about their needs. “By being personal with them and offer ing love and support and making sure that simple stuff is known, we’ve been able to build out this network that says, ‘Hey, we’re here,’” Gotimer said. This personal connection has made a huge positive impact. At a time when COVID-19 is separating people, the Tri angle Dukes are finding ways to bring them together. One of the many things the chapter’s leadership team does is facilitate conversations between members so they can help each other out. “We have to care about each person as a person, rather than trying to market to the
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Patrick Gotimer (’14) displays JMU swag to share with Triangle Dukes. (Inset): Chapter members gather for a local event.
masses,” Gotimer said. “I think that’s played just this amazing factor in the relationships. The relationships have been the cornerstone of the engagement levels we’ve seen.” Another of the chapter’s approaches is to cater to the diverse demographics of its members. Alumni in the Triangle region are in different stages of life. According to Gotimer, many members have children, so the chapter tries to cater to that generation by hosting kid-friendly events. COVID19 has also spurred a lot of virtual events, which are more accessible to parents with little ones as well as those who might have to travel for in-person events. The chapter also hosts a variety of events for all ages, including beer tastings and watch parties. Beyond helping their members, Gotimer has expressed an interest in wanting to help other chapters as well.
The leadership team has created Google files based on the work they are doing. Each leader chooses events or projects to facilitate and manage on their own, and the others jump in when needed. Once they solidify a process, they hope to share their work with any struggling chapter to help them boost their engagement. Despite the uncertainty of the times, the Triangle Dukes are finding ways to keep the ball rolling. Thanks to the initiative of Gotimer and the leadership team, more members are able to participate in a vari ety of events. They hope to keep this trend up as the pandemic lessens and sporting events draw more people to the area. “When we finally get to a position when we’re able to host people again for events, we want to be the chapter that is welcoming people to the Triangle area,” Gotimer said.
To show your Madison pride wherever you drive and support scholarships for Virginia students, visit www.dmvNOW.com to get your JMU license plate today.
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MixedMedia BOOKS, MUSIC
The Three Little Pigs: A Storekeeper's Story
BY C. BELLE MAYS (’96, ’98M) BookLocker.com ISBN-13: 978-1647190491 This sales wolf presents a panorama of things that little pig customers love, and if they buy things from Hufffff's ... they can enjoy them now and pay for it later. In fact, these wolves will even build your home while they feed you from their all-you-can-eat free food court, treat you to the spa-like atmosphere of Windy Acres that is complete with rooting grounds, mud flat and beach. But Buyer Beware! The Big Bad Wolf is hiding inside and he has plans to eat little pigs! But the sales wolf is so helpful and friendly, little pigs are excited that he and his pack are so eager to serve them with a smile! Hidden hints are in the sales pitch, signs posted around Windy Acres and "wee little clues" throughout the book. Gestures, wolf sounds and a wolf hunt make reading more fun.
This Beautiful Voyage: Poems About Life, Trauma and the Journey to Wholeness BY VINE ADOWEI (’17, ’19M) Self-published ISBN-13: 978-1736827413
In her literary debut, Adowei explores the mindbody-soul disconnection, anxiety, resilience and the power of healing through creativity, silence and self-love. During the hiatus of a worldwide pandemic, she writes, “I started reconnecting with the creative part of me that had never left. I started processing thoughts on life, reflecting deeply on difficult experiences and trauma I had yet to unpack, and acknowledging the pain through writing and inner-child work. I intentionally created space for silence, solitude and self-reflectivity. And I started embracing playfulness, childlike-ness and creativity as tools for inner healing. ... The poems in this book are the result of this reawakening.”
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Conversations with Lorraine Hansberry
EDITED BY MOLLIE GODFREY University Press of Mississippi ISBN-13: 978-1496829641 Spanning from the debut of A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway in 1959 to her early death from cancer in January 1965, Lorraine Hansberry’s short stint in the public eye changed the landscape of American theater. With A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry (1930–1965) became both the first African American woman to have a play produced on Broadway and the first to win the prestigious New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. Resonating deeply with the aims of the civil rights movement, Raisin also ushered in a new era of Black representation on the stage and screen, displacing the cartoonish stereotypes that were the remnants of blackface minstrelsy in favor of complex three-dimensional portrayals of Black characters and Black life. Conversations with Lorraine Hansberry is the first volume to collect all of her substantive interviews in one place, including many radio and television interviews that have never before appeared in print. The 21 pieces collected here—ranging from just before the Broadway premiere of A Raisin in the Sun to less than six months before Hansberry’s death—offer an incredible window into Hansberry’s aesthetic and political thought.
A Still and Awful Red
BY MICHAEL HOWARTH (’99) JournalStone Publications ISBN-13: 978-1950305797 Hungary, 1609. Maria, a young peasant girl, is an accomplished seamstress who dreams of a more prosperous life, away from the constant threat of war, famine and disease. Then an old woman arrives at her cottage, and informs Maria that she has been chosen by Countess Elizabeth Báthory to sew a series of elaborate gowns. Entranced by the nobility, Maria dreams of receiving lavish attention and being invited into Countess Báthory’s inner circle. But upon arriving at the castle, she suspects she is in terrible danger. Servants are beaten and then disappear, the Countess herself is prone to fits of rage, and there are screams in the middle of the night. As Maria explores the castle and unravels its inner secrets, she finds herself a prisoner, as well as an unwilling pawn in Countess Báthory’s murderous plot to retain both her power and beauty.
IT'S TIME TO COME HOME! Join us on campus Nov. 6–7 for Homecoming 2021. Many popular events like Duke Dog Dash and Quadfest will be back this year. H O M ECO M I N G PH OTO G R A PH BY J U ST I N ROT H
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Social Justice Movie Club JMU has partnered with Professional Book Club Guru to create a virtual movie club for students, alumni, faculty and staff. Movie selections are connected to social justice, history and social issues. Participation is free and discussions are held on a convenient platform with a trained facilitator. Visit www.pbc.guru/jmumovieclub and join our virtual community to discuss movies that matter!
How it works The Social Justice Movie Club will connect through a private, textbased forum where all participants can discuss the current movie and network with each other. Joining the club is free, and all movie selections will be available to stream on Netflix or Amazon Prime. The club will discuss a new movie every month.
n Watch movies that matter: Joining our movie club will expose you to impactful and important movies that you might otherwise have missed. The group will watch a range of indepen dent films, documentaries and bigger studio productions, so there will be plenty of variety. n Connect
with the JMU Social Justice Community: Our movie club will introduce you to students, alumni, faculty and staff across generations and geographies, all while gaining dif ferent perspectives on amazing movies. Through discussion of each film, club members will gain fresh insights and learn from each other.
power of film: Movies allow us to experience different cult ures, narratives and ways of life, which can enhance our lives. Films can also help us learn, process difficult life lessons and drive social change.
These are a few examples of the kinds of films the movie club might watch and discuss.
Frequently asked questions How often will movies be discussed, what is the time commitment and what are the expectations? The
movie club will watch a new movie every month. During the month, we will have an ongoing discussion in the forum about the movie and the issues it raises. Will there be any in-person meetings of the movie club? No, the movie
club will be entirely online and the dis cussion will take place on our text-based forum. You can participate anywhere you have Internet access and on days and times that are convenient to you. Is there any cost to participate? No,
the movie club is free to join. How do I get the movies? Movies
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streaming in the U.S. on Netflix and Ama zon Prime Video. You can also check your local library or rent the movies. How do movie club discussions work? During the monthlong discussion
period, you will watch the movie and then engage in the forum. The movie club will have a moderator from PBC Guru who manages the forum. The moderator will pose questions to the club, share relevant articles and facilitate conversations about topics in the movie. Members will be encouraged to post and share as well. This format allows for ongoing conversation and makes it easy for members to connect with each other through the forum. How do I make a forum profile?
We’re using a private forum to host the virtual movie club, so it’s easy to connect with the community. During our sign-up
process, you will enter the information to auto-generate your free profile. After you complete the sign-up, we’ll send you a link to the forum and you can begin to post right away! What exactly is Professional Book Club Guru and what do they have to do with the movie club? Profes
sional Book Club Guru is a book and movie club management company that works with businesses, alumni associa tions, schools and professional societies. We are teaming up with PBC to put this program in place for students, alumni, faculty and staff. You can check out their website at www.pbc.guru if you want to see more of what they do. What if my question isn’t answered?
Feel free to send an email to email@example.com and we will be happy to help. M OV I E POST E RS CO U RT E SY O F PB C G U R U
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Living the dream
t’s one thing to long for a life you’ve always wanted to live, and another thing to actualize that dream. Kaitlin Porter (’06) actually did what ma ny of us drea m about. She quit her job at top-tier consult ing firm Deloitte, left the drudgery and structure of an Outlook calendar-driven da ily routine behind, a nd tack led a bucket-list item: traveling the country. She and her wife, Jennifer Bateman, sold their 4,000-square-foot home, bought a 170-square-foot school bus dubbed “Someday the Bus,” converted it and painted it pink, and embarked on an epic cross-country adventure with their now 14-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter for 15 months. “We had to make so many bold deci sions, and nothing about it felt insignifi cant,” said Porter, who majored in inter national affairs. “We had to uproot our entire lives, including selling our home, quitting a great job, pulling our kids out of school and putting all of our furniture in storage.” Living tiny means getting back to the basics and being supremely attuned to what you need and what you don’t. The family of four had more meals together in more than a year on the bus than they had in the previous eight years. “I will admit, it took me a few months to adjust to days with no agendas, but when you strip all of the busyness away, there is a lot of time to be in the moment and enjoy the small things—especially around a campfire,” she said. They visited 33 states, including dozens of national parks. They also parked the bus and left the country, backpacking through Southeast Asia (before COVID-19) and spending a month in Guatemala. Becky (Porter) Jackson (’03), a fel low College of Arts and Letters alumna, PH OTO G R A PH S BY ST E PH E N G R A N T PH OTO G R A PH Y
BY KHALIL GARRIOTT (’04)
Kaitlin Porter (’06), right, got back to the basics by traveling for more than a year on a school bus her family renovated and painted pink. (Inset): Porter with her daughter.
said her sister’s bold move “turned out to be the best decision anyone could make ahead of 2020.” In a hot-pink script, the words “darling, no regrets” emanates from the back of the bus. A kitchen sign reads, “Follow your envy—it shows you what you want.” Porter’s love of travel and adventure was influenced by her study abroad experience in Salamanca, Spain, while at JMU. She feels most alive when she’s taken out of her comfort zone and forced to adapt to a new way of being. “Studying abroad in Salamanca was my first taste of that kind of experience,” she said, “and I was hooked. Similar to Spain and learning from my host family, I’ve loved traveling around the country
and learning from others who are also nomadic. We spent a week in a desert in Arizona with a family that was living on a bus with six kids and a snake! “It’s eye-opening to see how others live their values and how they earn a living,” Porter said. “There are so many different ways of being.” Porter and her family moved back to Atlanta this summer, as her oldest is set to start high school and her youngest is set to start kindergarten. Porter and Bateman are proof that even if you’re living tiny, you can live large with more quality time as a family. Follow Porter’s family’s journey through their “Someday the Bus” Instagram account, which is approaching 10,000 followers. FA L L
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SCHOLARSHIP THANK-YOUS 58 FACULTY EMERITI 59 STAFF EMERITI 62 ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT 63
In 1983, sorority members gather on the Newman Lake bridge by Greek Row. (Inset): Alpha Kappa Alpha members prepare diversity commitment pledge sheets for MLK Unity Day in 2006. The first two sororities were installed at Madison College in 1939, and currently there are 19 panhellenic and multicultural chapters that provide leadership and philanthropic opportunities for women at JMU.
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(L-R): Eddie Bumbaugh (’73), along with his friends, Andy Huggins and Dick Wettstone, completed the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail in July 2020 after hiking sections of the trail for 20 years.
Bernice Beckner Rexrode is cele brating 80 years since her graduation from Madison College. Her grandson, Dave Rexrode (’01), is a public policy and administration grad uate from the political science department.
of the Valley Perform ing Arts Task Force. n Phillip Updike is an asso ciate broker with Harri sonburg Referral Realty, a division of Kline-May Realty in Harrisonburg. Jacquelyn L. Ragland He also serves as senior (’80, ’96M) consultant to the Harri sonburg Homes Team of KMR. Updike semi-retired in 2015 after Eddie Bumbaugh and working for WHSV-TV for 12 two friends completed years, followed by 30 years as the 2,190-mile Appalachian a full-time Realtor. He and his Trail in July 2020 after 20 years wife, Tina (’73), founded the of hiking sections of the trail Beck Fellowship in the School covering 14 states. Prior to his of Art, Design and Art History retirement last year, Bumbaugh in 2002. served as director of public rela tions for Hotel Madison and Jacquelyn LaFever Shenandoah Valley Conference Ragland ('96M) recently Center. He currently is presi retired from a 30-year career dent of the board of directors of as a school-based speech lan Build Our Park, whose mission guage pathologist. She is very is to create an urban park in excited to be returning to JMU downtown Harrisonburg, and in the fall, this time not as a he serves on the Arts Council student, but as a clinical edu
Bernice Beckner Rexrode (’41) with her grandson, Dave Rexrode (’01). (Inset): Rexrode by the entrance to Wilson Hall as a student at Madison College.
O P P O S I T E : S O R O R I T Y P H OTO G R A P H S BY J M U P H OTO G R A P H Y S E R V I C E S A N D J E N N Y B A K E R
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C L A SS S C H O L A R S H I P T H A N K -Y O U L E T T E R S The Cornelius J. Heatwole Scholarship The scholarship was established in March 1999 by Donald W. and Madeline Heatwole Stewart in memory of Madeline’s great uncle, Dr. Cornelius J. Heatwole. Dr. Cornelius Heatwole was brother to Madeline’s grandfather, Daniel Heatwole. Dr. Cornelius J. Heatwole was an original faculty member at the Harrisonburg Normal School (now James Madison University) and head of the Department of Education from 1908 to 1917. Dear Mr. Stewart, I am writing to thank you for your generous contribution from the Cornelius J. Heatwole Scholarship Fund. I was very happy and appreciative to learn that I was selected as the recipient of this scholarship. I am an elementary education major with a minor in liberal studies. I plan to pursue a career in the education field upon graduating from James Madison University. I am currently a senior and plan to graduate in May 2022. After graduation, I will stay at JMU to earn my master’s degree. Thanks to you, I am one step closer to that goal. By awarding me the Cornelius J. Heatwole Scholarship Fund, you have lightened my financial burden, which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school, learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me. Sincerely, Banan Bagzada (’22) Harrisonburg, Virginia
The Carl L. Harter Scholarship The scholarship was established in 1992 by Mrs. Kay A. Harter in memory of her husband, Carl Harter, associate dean of the College of Letters and Sciences. The purpose of the gift is to provide financial support to students majoring in anthropology or sociology. The Harter Scholarship is awarded to rising juniors or seniors who have a GPA of at least 3.25 and have made important contributions to the academic environment of the department or the university. Recipients are selected by the head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Dear Mrs. Harter, I’m honored and grateful to be this year’s recipient of the Carl. L Harter Scholarship. I am the middle child of a military family and am the first to attend college. Receiving this scholarship is very meaningful to me as it will allow me to continue funding my education and become the first person in my family to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree. My decision to attend JMU was based on the positive and friendly environment as well as its supportive culture. I hope to take this culture with me as I move on to graduate school, where I plan to continue my studies in cultural anthropology so that I can carry them forward into my career as an anthropologist. I am currently involved in the JMU Anthropology Club, where I attend monthly meetings to discuss various activities within the anthropology department as well as build relationships with my peers. This provides me with an opportunity to share my interest in the anthropology of Okinawa, as many U.S military members and their families, like my own, have lived there and impacted modern Okinawan culture. In the future, my goal is to teach how American culture has impacted Okinawan culture and how this cultural exchange affects not only American citizens, but also the native people of the small Japanese islands. It’s thanks to you and your contribution to the anthropology department that I will be able to achieve these goals. Sincerely, Emma Quetel (’22) Midlothian, Virginia
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NOT E S cator in the communica tions sciences and dis orders major. She will be a part-time grad uate student supervi sor at the Audiology and Speech-Language Clinics.
ship. She also pledged to use her platform as president to help com bat misinformation and mistrust of the media, and to keep the focus on Barbara Anto the Press Club’s vital function as an advo netti (’89) cate for press freedom at home and abroad. Matthews has won two Edward R. Mur row Awards and the AP’s Oliver S. Gramling Spirit Award for serv Tracey Jewell ice to clients. The Press Club, founded in 1908, (’91) held an inaugural gala for Matthews on Jan. 30, 2021.
William H. Church is retired from full-time teaching after an incredibly satisfy ing career in higher edu cation. A professor of chemistry and neuro science at East Carolina University and Trinity College, he was blessed to interact with count less incredible students and colleagues. Church Tracey Jewell has relocated to Charles won a Fairfax ton, South Carolina, to County (Va.) Public “use his brain in a dif David Mere- Schools 2021 Outstand ferent way”—and work dith (’93) ing Employee award. on his golf game and his Jewell, director of infor beach tan. mation technology support services at Sprague Technology Center, was recognized as an After nearly 30 years teaching in public Outstanding Non School-based schools in Wisconsin and Utah, Leader. One of Jewell’s col Barbara Antonetti was hired as leagues described her as unflap associate UniServ director of the pable, positive, collaborative Granite Education Association. and resilient, adding “We quite GEA is the local teacher’s asso literally might not have had a ciation for educators in Gran school year in 2020-21 with ite School District, which serves out her.” approximately 67,000 students in Salt Lake County, Utah. David Meredith was named Best CEO by the 2020 Comparably Awards Lisa Matthews, assign for large companies. Meredith is ment manager of U.S. CEO of Everbridge Inc., which video for the Associated Press, also won Best Company Cul was elected the 114th presi ture. A global leader in critical dent of the National Press Club event management, Everbridge on Dec. 4, 2020. Matthews, a received exceptionally high rat 20-year veteran of the Associ ings from its employees, includ ated Press, vowed to continue ing an overall “A” rating for the Press Club’s efforts to ele company culture and a CEO vate marginalized voices and rating of “A+”. recruit a more diverse member
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the government mar Angela Orebaugh ket. The firm has been (’99M), a faculty growing rapidly and member in the Univer over the last several sity of Virginia’s School years has recruited at of Continuing and Pro JMU for both summer fessional Studies, won the school’s Adelle F. interns and full-time Angela Robertson Award for employees. Four 2020 Orebaugh excellence in teaching, (’94, ’99M) JMU graduates joined public service or schol Vertosoft last year. n arship. Prior to join Jennifer E. Michael, for ing the faculty at UVA, mer chief of the Indus she was an executive try Guidance branch in at Booz Allen Hamil the U.S. Department ton for 15 years. “After of Health and Human spending the first half Services’ Office of of my career in industry Jennifer E. Counsel to the Inspec as a cybersecurity con Michael (’95) tor General, has joined sultant, I set the goal Bass, Berry & Sims as to spend the second half of a member of the firm’s health my career in academia,” Ore care practice in Washington, baugh said. D.C. Michael draws on her government experience to help health care providers and life Jay Colavita started science companies avoid poten Vertosoft LLC in tial fraud and abuse hazards 2016 to focus on driving and navigate government emerging technology into
Last year, 2020 JMU graduates Jenna Weltz, Michael DiPlacido, Mary Dawson and Andrew Hinebaugh joined Vertosoft LLC, the company Jay Colavita (’95) started in 2016.
investigations under the False Claims Act.
David Forbes has been promoted to senior
division vice president for sales at ADP. In this role, he will head sales and marketing for ADP’s Smart Compliance Solutions, Employee Finan
Faculty Emeriti Association news Earlynn Miller, 80, died April 19, 2021. She began a 30-year career as a full-time dance faculty member at then-Madison College in 1969. Her hiring inaugurated a dance program with a minor and major and a department of full-time faculty. She retired with faculty emerita status in 1999. In 1988, she was chosen as a National Dance Association Scholar. Her last year of teaching was particularly rewarding for Miller; she received the Distinguished Teacher Award from the College of Arts and Letters for 1999-00 and the Outstanding Professional Award from the School of Kinesiology and Recreation Studies for 1998-99. In retirement, Miller gave generously of her time and finances to the arts at JMU. Her named gift, the Earlynn J. Miller Dance Theatre in the Forbes Center, allows dance students the opportunity to attend class and perform in a state-ofthe-art space. Her establishment of the Dr. Earlynn J. Miller Scholarship for Dance supports students in their pursuit of a dance degree. She came to know the students she supported personally through scholarship luncheons and attendance at their performances. Retired JMU professor Charles Ziegenfus was named the Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley’s 2021 Valley Treasure. He taught more than 800 students how to catch birds and collect data on migratory patterns. “I was overwhelmed when the lady called me. I didn’t know what to say,” he said. The Valley Treasure award recognizes local
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conservationists who have been nominated by community members. For its inaugural award, the Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley received several nominations for Ziegenfus. “I was amazed I could be considered,” he said. Ziegenfus began teaching mathematics and biology in 1961. He taught full time until 2003 and continued part time until 2020. His teaching wings span far— among his students at JMU was Megan Reinertsen Ross (’96), who became the first female director of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. The title of Valley Treasure carries a $500 cash stipend, which Ziegenfus says he’ll use to refurbish some of the bird boxes he put up a decade ago. For more information about the faculty emeriti organization, contact Sherry King, director of parent and faculty emeriti relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 540-568-8064.
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H MECOMING Duke Dog Dash Sharyn Casapulla Zimmerman (’99) Kathy Carls Lawson (’98) Christina Hennigan Cashman (’99) Rebecca Church Carroll (’00) Elissa Adams Hilton (’96)
Five former PC Dukes employees participated in the virtual Duke Dog Dash during Homecoming 2020.
NOT E S Kathy Carls Lawson cial Solutions, Work (’98), Christina HenninMarket Solutions and gan Cashman (’99) and Data Solutions. Forbes Elissa Adams Hilton (’96) joined ADP in 1998 and each participated in has served on the Glo the virtual Duke Dog bal Executive Steering Committee for ADP’s David Forbes Dash during Home coming 2020. Together Business Resource (’98) they contributed 27 miles to Group, Cultivate for African the Alumni Association’s goal. American Associates, and is n Lavely Miller was one of 10 an ally for Women in Sales national finalists for the 2020 Leadership. He sits on ADP’s Bennett Prize, which spotlights D&I Talent Taskforce Execu women who paint in the figu tive Committee and serves as rative realist style. Miller’s the Worldwide Sales & Mar portraits narrate the effects keting (WWSM) executive of trauma, exploring visual sponsor for diversity improve cues that speak to loss, suffer ment in sales. ing, recovery and salvation. A practicing artist with a BFA Rebecca Church Carin painting and drawing from roll and former fellow JMU, she also holds an Ed.D. P.C. Dukes employees Sharyn and M.Ed. in clinical mental Casapulla Zimmerman (’99),
S C H O L A R S H I P T H A N K -Y O U L E T T E R S The James R. Riley Scholarship The scholarship was established in November 1988 in memory of Dr. James Riley. Dr. Riley composed the James Madison University Alma Mater. The purpose of this award is to provide funds for a student studying music at JMU. Dear Mrs. Riley and family, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for the award you have granted me through the James R. Riley Scholarship in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. In the fall, I will begin my sophomore year as a vocal performance major at JMU. Without the financial aid from generous benefactors like you, I would not be able to study my passion, opera, an art form that has been practiced for thousands of years. After graduating from JMU in 2024, I hope to pursue a graduate degree in education so that I may help young singers who face many of the challenges I faced in my formative years. As someone with a rather large, booming voice, it is difficult to find teachers who know what to do with me. Large voices tend to get shoehorned into certain standards that don’t allow us the growth allotted to other voice types. Last semester, I had the pleasure of working with Melissa Sumner, a Wagnerian soprano with a wealth of knowledge and experience. In one semester with her, I saw more growth in my voice than I had garnered in five years of practice with other teachers. Working with someone who understands your voice is monumental, and I hope to make that kind of difference in someone else someday. My ambitions for the future would be impossible without your generosity. I am truly grateful for your kindness and support. Many thanks, Leila Davis (’24) Ashburn, Virginia
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Lavely Miller (’00) was one of 10 finalists from a field of 674 entrants for the 2020 Bennett Prize, an award which recognizes women figurative realist painters. (Left): Miller's portrait God Shot Me in the Face and Then I Saw.
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C L A SS health. She exhibits through out Virginia and Washington, D.C., in addition to group and juried shows across the U.S. Her paintings can be found in the collections of the Univer sity of Virginia, the New Salem Museum, the National Cen ter for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C., and in the Twenty-First Century Fox and News Corp. Building in New York City, among other pub lic and private collections. She lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland. More at www.lavely millerkershman.com
Erin Rafferty Madrinan and Thomas Madri nan welcomed a daughter, Alex andra Joy, on May 5, 2021.
Michelle L. W. Dawson ('09M) was honored with the Louis M. DiCarlo Award for Outstanding Clini cal Achievement by the South Carolina Speech Language
NOT E S Hearing Association. Prior to receiving her award, Dawson published her first book, Chas ing the Swallow: Truth, Science, and Hope for Pediatric Feed ing and Swallowing Disorders. “These events were possible due to the excellent foundation for my career that I obtained at JMU,” Dawson said. “None of it would have been possible without JMU!”
Vine Adowei (’19M) grad uated with a M.A. in Communication Advocacy with a concentration in strate gic communication. When not working on a new post for her blog, SimplyVine, Adowei likes cooking vegan dishes, learn ing to play the guitar, sing ing and taking a challenging step class. She currently resides in Houston, Texas, with her family. n Maggie Williams was a recipient of The Washington Post Star Nurse award for 2021. Williams works at the George
S C H O L A R S H I P T H A N K -Y O U L E T T E R S The Gilda Gay Hinman (’54) Scholarship Endowment The scholarship was established in 2011 by the estate of Ms. Gilda Gay Hinman, Class of 1954. This endowment provides support for students majoring in physical education and health or a related field. Dear Hinman Scholarship donors, I’m writing to express my gratitude for being chosen as a recipient of the Gilda Gay Hinman (’54) Scholarship Endowment. After reading about Gilda Hinman, I consider this scholarship a very honorable award. My decision to attend JMU was somewhat of a “shot in the dark.” I did not know much about the university, but knew it was in close proximity to my hometown, which was very important to me when deciding between universities. I consider it one of the best decisions I have made in my life. My career plans are to teach health and physical education in a public school system in Virginia. I chose teaching because it presents me with the opportunity to impact numerous lives. There is nothing more heartwarming than a child expressing how important you are to them. As for my involvement, I am completing my elementary student teaching placement at John C. Myers Elementary School in Broadway, Virginia. This experience has only reinforced my career decision and made me more eager to teach health and physical education. Thank you so much for allowing me to be the recipient of this outstanding award, Sincerely, J. Hayden Bartley (’21) Buena Vista, Virginia
The Kathleen Lutz Gardner (’59) Scholarship for Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts The scholarship was established in 2009. The award benefits students in the university’s School of Music. The scholarship may be awarded to incoming freshmen who demonstrate an intention to pursue music at Madison and, once a student is named a Kathleen Lutz Gardner Music Scholar, the scholarship may be renewed for up to four additional academic years. The scholarship also may be awarded to students already attending the university, and may likewise be renewed through the completion of the student’s fifth year of study at Madison. Scholarship decisions will be made in a manner determined at the discretion of the dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Mrs. Gardner, As the recipient of the Kathleen Lutz Gardner (’59) Scholarship for Music in the CVPA, I am excited to pursue my next semesters at James Madison University studying flute performance and music industry. After graduating from my undergraduate program, I will pursue a master’s degree in performance. I will audition for ensembles while running a private studio for flute students. Also, I hope to work as a concert promoter for classical symphonies. At JMU, I am a member of the Marching Royal Dukes and the treasurer of the JMU Flute Club. In my work at JMU and teaching students, I hope to inspire young minds to work in the music industry and grow musical interest. With this scholarship, I will be able to work toward my goals to influence the next generation and finish my performance education. I extend my sincerest appreciation for the acceptance of this scholarship.
Vine Adowei (’17, ’19M) is all smiles as she relaxes on the Quad after her 2019 graduation.
Thank you for the consideration! Ariel Collins (’23) Chesapeake, Virginia
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Washington University Hospi tal in Washington, D.C.
Meghan Osborne (’20M) was named Loudoun County (Va.)’s New Second ary Teacher of the Year for 202021. Osborne, who teaches sixthgrade history, works at Stone Hill Middle School, which she also attended. Osborne used memes, videos and digital scavenger hunts to help her students feel like a part of the classroom even when they could not physically be there. Meghan Osborne (’19, ’20M) celebrates being named Lou doun County's New Secondary Teacher of the Year.
JMU a pioneer in offering SEA designation
BY TINA UPDIKE (’73), SEA Steering Committee chair
MU is a leader in many areas, but one that is especially meaningful to longtime employees took place nearly two decades ago. While many of JMU’s peer institutions offer faculty emeriti designations, JMU was in the fore front of colleges and universities when it first offered emeriti status to staff in 2002. That year then-President Linwood H. Rose approved the policy offering the staff emeriti designation to retiring full-time classified staff members who met the established criteria. A current search of the internet uncovers few other educational institutions that bestow the emeritus designation on retiring staff members. That JMU honors the contributions of its staff members to the betterment of the university shows its commitment to recognizing and rewarding these individuals. The 2015 creation of the JMU Staff Emeriti Association made it possible for those with staff
“It's such an honor to be recognized as staff emeritus, and I enjoy the many activities that are available to us.” — ROSEMARY BRENNER,
retired statistical analyst
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emeritus designation to attend social events to reconnect with former staffers and to volunteer at JMU events such as Human Resources’ Retirement Fair, Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day and the admissions office’s CHOICES program for high-school seniors, among other activities. The SEA also spearheaded an effort to increase awareness of the staff emeriti designation, and the number of staff who have earned emeritus/a status has more than doubled in the last six years. As of July 1, 265 retirees have been honored with the staff emeritus designation. After a year of suspended activities due to the COVID pandemic, planning is underway to again schedule events beginning in the fall. SEA Steering Committee chair Tina Updike (’73), retired visual resources curator in the School of Art, Design and Art History, has provided leadership that has helped grow
the organization and (L-R): SEA memincrease participation in bers volunteer at SEA-sponsored events. the JMU Human Support over the years Resources retirehas come from JMU Presi- ment fair and dent Jonathan R. Alger and enjoy a networksenior leadership, including ing luncheon with President Alger. former Director of Human Resources Diane Yerian and current Director Chuck Flick, former Associate Vice President of Constituent Relations Steve Smith, Director of Planned Giving Kathy Sarver, JMU’s Employee Advisory Committee, and JMU’s Faculty Emeriti Association leadership.
For more information about the Staff Emeriti Association and upcoming events, visit jmu.edu/staffemeriti or email email@example.com.
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A journey well written
BY BRITTANY BELL (’21)
Lee’s second book, Purpose Over Passion, tackles a different hen Lavaedeay “Vad” Monlique Lee (’15) graduated from JMU, he was faced with theme. As a faith-based inspirational and motivational book, it the decision every athlete must make at aims to help athletes and anyone else going through a huge transi some point: Do I continue chasing the tion in life find purpose beyond their original plan or passion. game, or do I find a more stable career? Lee uses his own journey as an inspiration for the book. When His journey to the decision led him to become a motivational he got injured his senior year at JMU, Lee had to switch roles from writer and mentor. being a player to a motivational speaker. He began giving speeches Football has a been a passion of Lee's throughout his life. At JMU, to his teammates before games to encourage them. “That was the Lee was the starting quarterback. He took the Dukes to the FCS play greater purpose behind it,” Lee said. “Even though my position as offs in 2014, setting JMU's an athlete is no longer avail able, my purpose as a moti single-game passing, comple vator and inspiration was tion percentage, single-sea still there.” son touchdown, passing, Purpose Over Passion fol and total-offense records, lows his journey through in addition to receiving the out his football career and 2014 Dudley Award and goes into his injury and being named a 2014 Associ transition into the rea l ated Press Third team FCS world. T he book dea ls All-American. His senior year with f inding a new pur was just as successful, until an pose beyond your original injury sidelined him for the passion, and being happy rest of the season. with your path in life. Lee A f ter graduating, L ee originally started writing continued to play football the book in 2017, and after on-and-off. His transition to four years of hard work, he a more normalized career has was finally able to see it in helped him realize and foster Vad Lee (’15) runs with the ball during a print this year. his other passions in life. Lee game against FBS foe Southern Methodist L ee ha s pla ns to write had always loved writing, University in 2015. (Right): Lee and his wife, more books. With the suc but it wasn’t until he had the Khayla, share his first two books: That’s cess of That’s My Friend , chance to sit down and plan My Friend and Purpose Over Passion. a book that he really got to explore his talents. Now, he has two pub Lee wants to write another children’s book based on his younger lished books under his belt, with the desire to continue writing more. daughter. He is also currently writing another inspirational book “I never had dreams to become an author, never thought that that’s geared specifically toward athletes who are transitioning I would be capable. I didn’t think that I would ever do that, but out of their sport. He’s taking his own experiences with the strug some things that you don’t think you’ll do you end up doing it,” gle in order to help others with theirs. “Sports has given me a platform to be able to share messages of Lee said. “That’s the beautiful thing about life, you discover pas encouragement,” Lee said. “I want to encourage people to move sions in your transition.” His first book, That’s My Friend, is a children's book based on his beyond just the jersey, and more walk into the heart of the person oldest daughter, Saraiah, and her friendly and outgoing spirit. It tack with the jersey.” When he isn’t busy writing books, Lee works as a campus les diversity and inclusion, encouraging unity among people and sup porting different cultures. The book was his and his wife, Khayla's, director for Young Life at the University of Maryland. He’s also response to the Black Lives Matter protests last year, written to help a motivational speaker and life coach who mentors middle- and others process their emotions and fears. Despite being a children’s high-school athletes in his free time. Lee enjoys helping others book, it has received positive feedback from people of all ages. along their journey, whether it’s sports-related or professional. “I think that is an appropriate message for us to receive, even as “I’ve been able to kind of redefine success in my life, and it’s adults,” Lee said. “To be able to encourage one another and love been a journey, a journey worth living.” one another despite our differences, despite our backgrounds and our upbringings. If we approach situations where we can love first For more information about Vad Lee's books and work as and figure out later, then I think we’ll be a lot better off.” a life coach, visit his website at www.vadlee.org. P H OTO G R A P H S BY C AT H Y K U S H N E R ( ’ 8 7 ) A N D C O U R T E S Y O F VA D L E E ( ’ 1 5 )
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FOOD INSECURITY AT JMU In Spring 2019, an anonymous survey was sent to students asking about their food and housing experience during college. A total of 1,283 students responded. Nearly 40% of JMU students experience moderate to high rates of food insecurity, which is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of nutritious food.
Graduate students, first-generation students, students receiving Pell grants and sexual minorities also experience higher rates of food insecurity at JMU.
The Pantry at JMU offers food and basic hygiene items to all students—no questions asked.
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8.3 69 6,420
million pounds distributed (6.9 million meals)
partner agencies (food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters)
average number of senior citizens served monthly
Students with higher rates of food insecurity report significantly lower GPAs, are less likely to re-enroll the following year, and report higher rates of stress and depressive symptoms.
Nearly 50% of students experiencing food insecurity rely on friends and family for grocery money.
In the central Shenandoah Valley, the food bank serves the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexi ngton, Staunton and Waynesboro, and the counties of Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge and Rockingham. FY21 stats:
average number of children served monthly
33,290 people served monthly in this service area
I N FO G R A PH I C BY E M I LY D O D G E ; PH OTO G R A PH BY M I K E M I R I E LLO (‘ 09 M )
than 35 alumni chapters located worldwide
and Homecoming programming
Alumni by county 1–5 6–25 26–50 51–200 201–1,000 1,000–6,711 6,712–13,081
through May 2018
map by mymaps.com
To learn more about the JMU Alumni Association, visit alumni.jmu.edu or call 540-568-6234.
Total living alumni JMU Alumni Association
JMU Alumni Association
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CLIMBING THE Alison Kindle Hogan (’03) is invested in lifting women into the middle class. As founder and chairwoman of Rung for Women, she truly believes every woman has the power to transform her life. Hogan’s nonprofit pairs women earning less than $50,000 annually with career coaches who assist in placing them into the workforce in the St.
RUNGS In addition to job opportunities, Rung for Women’s programming runs the gamut, from child care and wellness to personal finance coaching and domestic violence services, just to name a few. “I believe every city needs a Rung, and my strategy over the next five to 10 years is to open more locations in order to reach more women,” said Hogan, who majored in communication studies at JMU. Rung for Women ensures that women who want to make a change have the necessary resources to live better lives. “Our ultimate goal “Our ultimate is to create generagoal is to create tional change, and the best way to do that is generational to help women make change, and the better lives for their children and teach best way to do them about goal setthat is to help ting, hard work and the women make rewards that come from it,” said Hogan, whose better lives for daughters are 6 and 4. their children.” Now based on a new, — ALISON KINDLE $20 million campus in HOGAN (’03) a neighborhood that needed a financial shot in the arm, Rung for Women is poised for continued success.
Louis area. The objective is simple: More women making more money. “My hope is that by helping these women grow in earning potential, confidence and community engagement, they will help other women who are in the position they were once in,” said Hogan, the granddaughter of Enterprise Holdings founder Jack Taylor.
— Khalil Garriott (‘04)
For more about Rung for Women, visit www.rungforwomen.org.
See more inspiring stories at j.mu/beingthechange PH OTO G R A PH BY M I CH E LLE E VA N S