James Madison University is located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Over 700 acres of campus are in the city of Harrisonburg where JMU was founded back in 1908 (as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg; in 1924 it was renamed State Teachers College at Harrisonburg before becoming James Madison University in 1938). Adding male students in 1946, JMU is a public 4-year university that fills the southern portion of the city of Harrisonburg. The school has educated many state legislators and artists and is noted for the John C Wells Planetarium which is used for instruction as well as hosting “Bad Science Movie Nights” also.
JMU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and contained 8 school that confer bachelor’s degrees, post-baccalaureate certificates, master’s degrees, post-masters certificates and doctorates. While not robust, JMU has an online program for nursing and general degree completion for undergrads and master’s programs available online also. The Mission statement is concise and direct: “We are a community committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.” The largest programs are in the Health (Community Health Services and Counseling in particular) and Business fields (evenly divided between Accounting, Management and Marketing majors). JMU has special accreditation for their Nutritional, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Speech/Language, Nursing, Art & Design, Dance, Music, Theater and Teacher Ed programs and has available Internships within Dietetic and Psychology areas. JMU’s slogan “Changing the world since 1908” is ambitious. But to the school, it’s not just a slogan it is an identity, an ambition and a challenge to meet.
Life in one of the most picturesque regions of the county – not too far from busy nation’s capital (less than 150 miles) – can appear idyllic. Indeed, one of the school’s unofficial traditions is hiking up Reddish Knob (among the highest elevations in the region). The 21,000 students are aware of the school’s Vision “To be the national model for the engaged university: engaged with ideas and the world.” In addition to academics, JMU competes in 12 sports in NCAA Division 1-AA and provides several Intramural sporting opportunities as well (some may not consider a Battleship Tournament a true sport, it is on the schedule!). The mascot for the JMU Dukes is a bulldog regally adorned with purple and gold with crown and cape. Amid the activity and beautiful setting, JMU students are charged to live out the Core Values of Academic Quality, Community, Diversity, Excellence, Integrity and Student Focus which is aimed at meeting the aforementioned Mission to produce citizens with productive and meaningful lives.