JMU Madison Winter 2012 : SpreadB

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW unique opportunity to model these principles in action. They are relevant and important more than ever in the 21st century. Madison: You feel a strong personal con-learning and in fostering opportunities for alumni to interact with current and pro-spective students. It is important to learn Alger: I do feel a strong connection. As a from one another, and alumni should quite lawyer who has worked extensively on con-visibly act as mentors and role models. stitutional issues such as free speech and Engaged alumni will help take JMU to the access, I find that the values James Madison — President-Elect Alger next level of success and prestige. Fostering espoused really resonate with alumni relationships will me. The whole world today constitute a major initiative is talking about how to make of mine. For 100 years now, democracy solve big and alumni have been rippling pressing problems, and about outward, taking JMU’s Be how government can foster the Change values into the and value human connec-world. It is critical now for tions and create caring com-alumni to turn their atten-munities who are concerned tion back to the university, beyond themselves. Given and I will be calling on Madison’s Be the Change alumni to reach back and culture and the strong tra-help students. It is really In the wings before the announcement at the Forbes Center: future dition of student-centered important in society that first lady Mary Ann Alger and daughter, Eleanor, 13. learning, we have the oppor-people in different stages tunity to really project these of their lives and careers values outward. Everyone — faculty, stu-clear that JMU prides itself on student-interact with and learn from one another. dents, alumni — can reflect and enhance centered learning in a unique environment, Alumni can help students see what they can those values out in the world through the and I am devoted to continuing and deep-do with their lives and inspire them in ways choices they make in their lives. ening that tradition. It is an ingrained part no one else can. I want to be very inten-of the Madison Experience. The university tional about fostering those interactions. Madison: What should parents know combines the very best of the liberal arts about the impact on their students of “the Madison: Do you see further promise for tradition — along with interdisciplinary engaged James Madison University?” learning, undergraduate research, individual James Madison’s intellectual legacy at JMU? attention from faculty members — as well Alger: As a parent of a daughter who will Alger: Another theme of mine for JMU soon be headed to college, I understand the as the opportunities associated with a large will be making sure that the university is a parent perspective. When parents send their research university — exposure to great beacon for access and opportunity. Foster-minds in a wide variety of disciplines. It is a children to JMU, they can be sure their ing diversity and inclusion among students, dynamic and rare combination. students will learn how to think beyond faculty and staff will help us compete in themselves, live as part of a community Madison: In your acceptance remarks, you the global environment and allow people and prepare themselves for lifelong learn-of differing backgrounds, challenges and said you would conduct a listening tour of ing. Naturally we want students to engage aspirations to fully develop their potential. JMU. Will that include alumni? with ideas in the classroom — to acquire James Madison, the man, established those the knowledge accumulated throughout Alger: Yes, it is very important to me to principles in the abstract in the Constitu-human history. But they are not just pas-meet with alumni all across the country. tion. It is a tribute to his genius that this sive recipients of knowledge; they are active I want to hear from alumni about their living and breathing document continues learners solving problems and tackling big hopes and dreams for the future — to hear to evolve and in turn become even more issues, inside and outside the classroom, what Madison has meant to them and how enlightened with diversity and inclusion in and acquiring the values of public service. they feel they can be involved in helping to the 21st century. M As educators, we are arming students with further JMU’s goals. I want to make sure knowledge, skills and abilities and the cour-alumni feel engaged with what’s happening age to use them. To me, that is preparing for at Madison, to know the ways in which they MORE ABOUT PRESIDENT-a rewarding kind of life in a democracy. can be resources — certainly financially — ELECT JONATHAN ALGER but also as role models and mentors to stu-Madison: It sounds as though you are a ■ Nov. 28 Webcast/ ■ Acceptance dents and to help the university community Announcement speech believer in JMU’s student-centered culture. think about its impact on the world. I want ■ Biography ■ Photo gallery alumni to feel connected to a Madison that Alger: It is really important to think of the ■ Curriculum vitae ■ News coverage cares about them and that will serve them university as an extended family. When in important ways and who will also benefit students enter, they become part of that www.jmu.edu/newpresident from relationships with other alumni. community for the rest of their lives. It is nection to James Madison, don’t you? PHO T O GR APH B Y HOLLY MARCUS ( ’ 0 3) ‘Alumni can help students see what they can do with their lives and inspire them in ways no one else can.’ Madison: What is the next step for alumni in the life of JMU? Alger: I’m a big believer in intergenerational WI N T E R 2 012

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