JMU — Madison Spring/Summer 2012
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Gabrielle Piccininni

$1 million idea Alumnus talks about Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl ” win

Jonathan Friedman (’94) was sitting in his Virginia Beach home when an idea involving a Great Dane named Huff, Doritos and a motif just came to him. What he didn’t know was that his idea was worth $1 million. After becoming a top-five finalist in the 2012 Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” commercial contest, Friedman took the top prize sponsored by USA Today.

With a budget of $20 for a cat collar, some dog treats and a few bags of Doritos, Friedman set out to make his video entry, Man’s Best Friend. Competing against entries that cost upwards of $3,000, Friedman’s commercial was dubbed an underdog.

“You need just enough money so that production values are good,” Friedman says. Shooting for the commercial took five hours, but the editing process took nearly three weeks. “In the end, creativity always wins. Ideas are what win or lose,” says the School of Media Arts and Design graduate.

And sometimes, ideas are so good they need to be kept confidential.

Once his script was set, Friedman called fellow JMU alumnus Derek Leonidoff (’94). Knowing full well the potential success of his commercial, Friedman waited until Leonidoff arrived on set to disclose script details. Friedman knew that the best concept would win.

According to judging criteria, each commercial is evaluated on originality and creativity; adherence to the creative assignment (“Make it action packed. Make it funny. Make it something you’ve never seen before.”); and on overall appeal. Up against 6,100 entries, Man’s Best Friend earned Friedman a $25,000 prize as a top-five finalist before the big payday.

The five finalists — and a chosen guest — were flown to Indianapolis and provided a hotel suite to watch the Super Bowl. They eagerly awaited the commercial breaks. Only two of the five commercials would air. Friedman’s was the first to air. “I just couldn’t believe it,” he says. “I have so much respect for the creators of the other commercials. The win came as a huge surprise.”

Noting that the Doritos commercials have captured the No. 1 spot on USA Today’s ad meter four years running, Friedman said he had great confidence in the originality and creativity of his commercial, but still couldn’t get away from the fact that he was competing against huge brands like Budweiser and Pepsi.

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JMU alumnus to boldly lead university advancement

Nick Langridge (’00, ’07M), who previously served as assistant to the president and director of the Duke Club, has been appointed acting vice president for the Division of University Advancement.

Langridge has already said he plans to move ahead boldly and not act as a caretaker. “We are on the cusp of our institution’s second capital campaign,” he says. “Aspirations of hope and greatness abound in every program and college at JMU. We have compelling stories to tell, and we will rely on visionary leaders who will make gifts that allow us to realize those aspirations. Our student experience is unmatched and our rise in the Commonwealth of Virginia and across the country continues, but we will not sustain our trajectory by standing still.”

In discussing the university’s advancement efforts, Langridge says, “I am a firm believer that the relationship between student and university does not end at graduation. Networking, recruiting, mentoring, guest lecturing, volunteering and most of all contributing financially are ways we can reconnect and reinvest in the university we care so much about. At James Madison we have never had such full ranks of alumni and constituents claiming allegiance to JMU.

Madison allegiance is something Langridge knows well. “As an alum myself, it’s exciting to think of the heights our university can reach when we harness the power of 109,000 alumni actively engaging and pledging private support,” he says. “Together we can take pride in honoring the leadership of Linwood Rose and with the same unity embrace the promising new era of Jonathan Alger’s presidency.”

[Accounting Master’s]

Nation’s No. 1 CPA pass rate

By patricia may

JMU’s Master of Science in Accounting program is No. 1 in the country in pass rate for the Certified public Accounting exam. The CpA exam is a four-part test, and according to the 2011 National Association of State Boards of Accountancy report, Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination, JMU is the school ranked No. 1 for overall pass rate for firsttime CpA candidates with an advanced degree. The report details examination candidate performance from nearly 2,000 universities.

Paul Copley, director of the JMU School of Accounting, says, “To rank higher than numerous Ivy League and Big Ten schools is quite a distinction for JMU. We were ranked No. 4 in 2009. To move to No. 1 in 2011 is a tribute to our faculty and students. The work ethic of our students, coupled with a strong curriculum, helped us achieve this honor. And, since 2005 JMU has offered a boot camp to help students prepare for the exam. This sets our master’s program apart.”

advancement Vp Joanne carr retires

After a career marked by success, the woman who led James Madison University’s advancement efforts and oversaw its major fundraising campaigns has retired. As JMU’s senior vice president for university advancement, Joanne Carr led JMU to record private fundraising levels. In just her second full year at the university in 2005–06, private fundraising reached $13.3 million for the year, about $3 million more than the previous historic high raised in 2003–04.

Carr oversaw the completion of the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign. Under her guidance the effort brought in $70 million, surpassing its $50 million goal by 40 percent.

“My joy has come from seeing so many alumni volunteers and donors working with JMU to produce these important fundraising results,” Carr says.

JMU inducts U.S. House historian into Phi Beta Kappa

Xi of Virginia Chapter welcomes 119 students BY R. ERIC WAGNER (’12)

The JMU Phi Beta Kappa Chapter inducted students and noted alumnus Matthew Wasniewski (’91, ’94M) in its annual ceremony in March. Christopher Fox, professor of computer science and president of the JMU Phi Beta Kappa Chapter, presided over the ceremony and welcomed 119 new students and Wasniewski to the Xi of Virginia Chapter

Wasniewski, historian for the U.S. House of Representatives, is only the second JMU graduate inducted into the JMU Phi Beta Kappa Chapter. Constance Neely Wilson (’70), a boardcertified anesthesiologist and founder of Endacea Inc., was the first alum inducted by JMU. Phi Beta Kappa Society is the oldest and most Renowned academic honor society in the country. The JMU chapter works to promote scholarship and honor intellectual achievement.

In his keynote, Wasniewski told Phi Beta Kappa inductees to be “open to new things.My career has been very nonlinear; if you had asked me 20 years ago what I was going to do my current job would never have come to mind. Networking is extremely important. Put names to faces and get your name out there to boost your career.”

As a freshman journalism major, Wasniewski “found” his passion for history by completing an extra credit assignment. “I came to JMU originally because it had a strong student newspaper and I wanted to write. After declaring journalism, I worked my way up to Breeze sports editor,” he says. “I once wrote about a one-armed fisherman; I really enjoy the people in profiles.”

Despite a strong undergraduate performance in journalism, Wasniewski says his attention shifted to history after “sitting in on a history class to complete some extra credit. I was hooked. I had two roommates who were history majors, and we all loved history.”

History was not an idle hobby for Wasniewski. He spent many Saturdays of his youth visiting preserved Civil War battlefields with family.

“I grew up next to the Manassas battlefield. On weekends we would go to farm fields and hunt for Civil War bullets,” he recalls. “Holding one in your hand, you realize something big must have happened. That interested me.”

Wasniewski followed his passion for history by switching his major and earning a master’s degree in history at JMU. He completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Maryland at College Park and later worked as an associate historian for the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.

He has high praise for the JMU Department of History faculty. “Their commitment is to the highest level of education. JMU professors keep long office hours and are always welcoming to new ideas. Several professors had a strong impact on my academic career, including Raymond “Skip” Hyser. He was always a professor you could drop by and just talk to.”

Wasniewski says the JMU history program gives students real career skills. “Our program teaches you to take a lot of information and synthesize it and articulate your findings,” he explains. “I thought I was going to end up a teacher so I did a fair amount of teaching assistantships at College Park.”

His work with a nonprofit Washington, D.C., organization gave him a historical prospective of the U.S. House of Representatives. His current team of nine works on longterm and cyclical projects, but there is always the unpredictable event. “We are a tight group and enjoy recording the events, members and evolution of the lower chamber,” he says.

On Oct. 20, 2011, then- U. S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Wasniewski as historian, and he earned resounding support from then- House Republican Leader John Boehner. “Matt’s interest in the history of the federal government and his longtime association with the House make him an excellent candidate, who will find innovative ways to not only help the public be better engaged with their House, but to help members better perform their duties by understanding the history of the House.”

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Former business dean takes helm of global association


Former JMU College of Business Dean Robert D. Reid will take over as the chief accreditation officer of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International on Oct. 1. “In the past 10 years, business education has evolved considerably and AACSB has led the way as a global leader in advancing quality and innovation in business schools,” says John J. Fernandes, AACSB president. “Robert Reid’s collaborative spirit and more than 30 years of academic experience in business education will provide AACSB with the leadership to continue our focus on the ever-expanding needs of business schools, business and society.”

During Reid’s 15-year tenure as dean of the JMU College of Business he led the college and many of its programs to consistent national rankings. A longtime active AACSB member, he served as chair of the Maintenance of Accreditation Committee, a member of the Accreditation Coordinating Committee and as a member of AACSB’s board of directors. Reid also is the current president of Beta Gamma Sigma, an international honor society of business school students. “I look forward to working collaboratively with business school leaders across the globe to build on the exceptional foundation and continue to advance the quality of management education and AACSB-accredited business schools worldwide,” Reid says.

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