James Madison University (also known as JMU, Madison, or James Madison) is a public coeducational research university located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, U.S. Founded in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg, the university has undergone four name changes until settling with James Madison University. The university is situated in the Shenandoah Valley, with the campus quadrangle located on South Main Street in Harrisonburg.
The university is also home to the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, the only active publicly-oriented arboretum on a Virginia state-supported university campus, and the student run radio station WXJM, as well as National Public Radio station WMRA. JMU made national sports headlines in 2004 with its first NCAA Division I-AA national football championship.
The university became the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg in 1924 and continued under that name until 1938, when it was named Madison College in honor of the fourth president of the United States. In 1976 the university's name was changed to James Madison University.
The first president of the university was Julian Ashby Burruss. The university opened its doors to its first student body in 1909 with an enrollment of 209 students and a faculty of 15. Its first 20 graduates received diplomas in 1911.
In 1919, Dr. Burruss resigned the presidency to become president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Samuel Page Duke was then chosen as the second president of the university. During Duke's administration, nine major buildings were constructed.
In 1946 men were first enrolled as regular day students. Dr. G. Tyler Miller became the third president of the university in 1949, following the retirement of Duke. During Miller's administration, from 1949 to 1970, the campus was enlarged by 240 acres (1 km²) and 19 buildings were constructed. Major curriculum changes were made and the university was authorized to grant master's degrees in 1954.
In 1966, by action of the Virginia General Assembly, the university became a coeducational institution. Dr. Ronald E. Carrier, JMU's fourth president, headed the institution from 1971 to 1998. During Carrier's administration, student enrollment and the number of faculty and staff tripled, doctoral programs were authorized, more than twenty major campus buildings were constructed and the university was recognized repeatedly by national publications as one of the finest institutions of its type in America. Carrier Library is named for him.
In the 2000s, the university continued to expand, not only through new construction east of Interstate 81, but also on the west side of campus. In early 2005, JMU purchased the Rockingham Memorial Hospital building north of the main campus. JMU is expected to occupy the building following the hospital's move to its new location. Additionally, the university has expanded across South High Street with the finalizing of the purchase of the former Harrisonburg High School building after initially leasing it for a year, operating it as Memorial Hall. The university also received state and private funding to begin construction of a state of the art Performing Arts Complex near the quad in 2007. A second, $30 million library located on the east side of campus, has completed construction. East Campus Library (ECL), is scheduled to open on August 11th 2008, just before the students return for the fall semester.
Currently, James Madison University offers more than 100 degree programs on the bachelor's, master's, educational specialist and doctoral levels. The university comprises seven colleges and 78 academic programs.
On June 24, 2005, the Board of Visitors approved the Madison College Proposal, which created the College of Visual and Performing Arts out of the College of Arts and Letters. The new College of Visual and Performing Arts includes the School of Art and Art History, the School of Music, the School of Theatre and Dance, and the Madison Art Collection.
On January 9, 2007, a new School of Engineering was approved by the Virginia higher education governing body. The school will begin accepting undergraduates in Fall 2008. The theme of the program is sustainability with a large focus on the environmental sciences, and will only offer general engineering degrees with no specializations.
The School of Music is nationally renowned and features degrees in music composition, performance, education, theater, and music industry. Currently, the University is home to over ten ensembles. Among them is The Wind Ensemble, The JMU Brass Band, a Pep Band, several choirs, and The Marching Royal Dukes, a 350 plus member marching band who were the recipients of the Sudler Trophy, the highest honor available for a college marching band. In 2005, the School of Music received an anonymous gift of 65 Steinway Pianos worth $1 million.
The University is also ranked 22nd overall in value for money in the nation amongst public colleges and universities, according to Kiplinger Magazine's 100 Best Values in Public Colleges. According to BusinessWeek magazine in its 2008 ranking of undergraduate colleges of business, JMU's undergraduate business school is ranked 54th in the nation, and 4th in Virginia.
The campus of JMU originally consisted of two buildings, known today as Jackson and Maury Halls. The early campus design was modeled after that of Union College, thus resembling the ideal city of Renaissance. Today, the campus of James Madison University has 102 major buildings on . The campus is divided into six parts: Bluestone, Hillside, Lakeside, Ridge, Skyline, and the Village. The Ridge and Skyline areas are located on the east side of Interstate 81, while the rest of the campus is located on the west side. The two sections are connected both by a bridge and a tunnel underneath the highway (Duke Dog Alley). Other unique features on the campus include Newman Lake, a pond located in the Lake Area next to Greek Row and Sonner Hall, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, and one set of railroad tracks passing directly through the campus.
The campus was originally situated between South Main Street and Interstate 81, but has since expanded across the Interstate with the addition of The College of Integrated Science and Technology (CISAT), the University Recreation Center (UREC), the Festival Conference and Student Center, the Leeolou Alumni Center, several residence halls, and athletic fields since the late-1990's. The Chemistry and Physics Building, which houses the chemistry department as well as the department of Physics and Astronomy, is one of the most recently added building to the east side of JMU's campus.
Several new construction projects on the campus of James Madison University have been included in Governor Tim Kaine's $1.65 billion higher education bond package. Governor Kaine's proposal designates more than $96 million for JMU projects. Among the projects included in the proposal are the construction of a new biotechnology building, Centennial Hall, ($44.8 million) and the renovation and expansion of Duke Hall ($43.4 million). The proposal also includes $8.6 million as the final installment payment for Rockingham Memorial Hospital.
The Princeton Review also recognized James Madison as one of 81 schools in America "with a conscience", and in the latest year ranked behind only the University of Virginia in the number of Peace Corps volunteers it sent from its student body among "medium-sized" universities. Alcohol use on and around campus is prevalent, and The Princeton Review ranked JMU eighteenth for the most beer usage on campus.
The school has 35 residence halls, eight of which serve as sorority houses. While most residence halls are only for housing, several halls are used for multiple purposes. For example, Chandler Hall, located in the Lake area, has a basement dining facility and a computer lab, in addition to upperclass housing. As freshmen must live on campus, a large portion of JMU's housing availability is set aside for incoming students. Consequently, most upperclassmen and graduate students live off campus; those who wish to live on campus must apply for housing each year. While occasional exceptions are granted, generally freshmen are not granted parking permits. JMU's Greek life is less popular than most other public universities, with roughly 12% of the student body participating in related activities.
James Madison University's athletic teams use the name "Dukes" in competition, with the Duke Dog, a gray bulldog dressed in a purple cape and crown, as the school's mascot. "Dukes" is in honor of Samuel Page Duke, the university's second president. Madison competes in the NCAA's Division I (Football Championship Subdivision for football), the Colonial Athletic Association, and the Eastern College Athletic Conference. The Dukes played football in the Atlantic 10 Football Conference until it disbanded after the 2006 season and currently play in the Colonial Athletic Association, which picked up the Atlantic 10's football operations beginning fall 2007 Students compete in football, basketball, soccer, swimming, diving, women's volleyball, baseball, women's lacrosse, field hockey, golf, track and field, and softball. James Madison's two national championships ranks them tied for third most national titles in Virginia. James Madison's baseball team advanced to the 1983 College World Series, the only Division I institution in Virginia to do so. The JMU women's field hockey gave the university their first national title in 1994. JMU football also won the NCAA Division I-AA national title in 2004 and appeared in the playoffs in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, considerable controversy arose after the decision to cut 10 varsity teams (including both mens' and women's teams) was deemed necessary to comply with Title IX restrictions.
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