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### Recap of BoV: Latest Developments in Education Program, JMU Rankings, and Economic Influence

President Alger Highlights JMU’s Achievements in Various Areas

In his recent address to the Board of Visitors (BoV) at JMU, President Jonathan Alger commended the university’s advancements in academics, research, and athletics during the current academic year.

President Alger announced that JMU had received its most substantial monetary donation to date, a generous $6 million contribution from an esteemed 1949 Madison College alumna. Notably, the donor, a trailblazer in American military history, was the first woman to lead a brigade-sized male unit in the U.S. armed forces.

Regarding admissions, President Alger shared that JMU witnessed a remarkable surge in freshman applications for the fall of 2024, surpassing 40,000 submissions. This marked a substantial 67.5% increase compared to the previous year. He underscored that this surge defied national enrollment trends, particularly among public universities, where many institutions are grappling with declining numbers.

President Alger also highlighted JMU’s recognition as a national research university, attracting a significant influx of out-of-state applicants. He emphasized the university’s diverse student population, including a substantial representation of first-generation and minority students historically underrepresented in higher education. Notably, 74.3% of JMU’s student body comprises such individuals, a figure slightly lower than in 2013 but reflective of the state’s demographic composition.

Moreover, President Alger noted a rise in international applications, indicating a positive recovery post-COVID. Transfer applications continued to pour in, with the number of applicants surpassing 800.

In a bid to enhance student engagement and leadership skills, President Alger announced the launch of a new civic leadership minor scheduled for the upcoming fall semester. This program will focus on cultivating foundational leadership skills, civic sciences, and technology, coupled with active participation in community-based leadership initiatives.

Recognizing the university’s athletic prowess, President Alger lauded JMU’s exceptional performance in various sports, notably in NCAA soccer tournaments. ESPN’s selection of JMU as a host site for their program garnered record-breaking attendance, showcasing the university’s athletic prominence on a national scale.

President Alger also introduced significant academic initiatives, including the approval of the JMU Doctor of Education (EdD) degree by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Additionally, the establishment of the JMU Lab School for Innovation and Career Exploration in collaboration with Rockingham County Public Schools (RCPS) and Blue Ridge Community College will provide high school students with unique career-focused learning opportunities.

Amid accolades for JMU’s online education programs, President Alger highlighted the national recognition received by several online programs, with the MBA program ranked 18th nationally. Noteworthy rankings include the 34th position for the MBA program for veterans, 41st for the Masters in Computer Information Technology, and 97th for the Masters in Nursing program.

President Alger also shed light on JMU’s substantial economic impact, despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The university’s fiscal contributions in 2022 amounted to \(363 million in the Harrisonburg area, \)488 million statewide, and generated $22.7 million in local tax revenue. These investments not only bolstered the local economy but also created numerous job opportunities within the community.

In conclusion, President Alger emphasized JMU’s pivotal role as a significant economic driver in the Shenandoah Valley and across the Commonwealth. The next BoV meeting is scheduled for April 18 at the Festival Student and Conference Center.