Established as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg in 1908, the university was renamed James Madison University (JMU) in 1977 in honour of the United States’ fourth president and today this public research university is located in the Shenandoah Valley in the state of Virginia.
It started as an institution exclusively for women but after the Second World War JMU began to allow men to enrol as day students. Today there are over 20,000 JMU students studying a range of undergraduate, graduate, educational specialist and doctoral programs.
The main areas of study at JMU are Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Communications, Visual and Performing Arts, and Health and Behavioural Studies.
The university offers 124 degree programs and although more than 90 percent of the student population are undergraduates, JMU boasts the second-best graduation rate in the United States for large master’s-level public schools.
The JMU campus has almost 150 buildings spread over a 721-acre campus that is divided into five main areas.
Home to the 9.7-acre Newman Lake, the 125-acre Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, and the stunning Wilson Hall, the campus has some fantastic facilities available for students. There are 35 residence halls and all freshmen are required to live on-campus.
The campus is located in the city of Harrisonburg, just two hours south of Washington DC.
Notable former JMU students include writer Phoef Sutton, sports anchor Lindsay Czarniak, founding member of the Dave Matthews Band, LeRoi Moore, and country music star Phil Vassar.