Now that it’s the second week of school, you’ve hopefully settled into your routines for the semester and are actually back in the mindset to learn (if not, check out Kali’s post on how to start your year off right). Your textbooks have probably all been purchased, you now have some studying to do during class breaks, and you see the friendly familiar faces by the food trucks every day. So what’s next?

University Program Board’s motto is: “College is more than just classes” and I firmly believe in that statement. Not to downplay the aspect of academics in college–I have had great professors at JMU and learned a lot in all of my classes — but I know that JMU offers so much more.

In yesterday’s blog post, I talked about how to get involved on campus. Today, however, I’m not just talking about joining clubs. I’m talking about professional growth and learning.

232108 Class of 2015 Ring Presentation Ceremony-1006

One of the best ways to grow intellectually and professionally is through listening to those who have more experience than you do. JMU offers a multitude of phenomenal guest speakers throughout the year, that are free! Listening to a guest speaker is a great way to broaden your knowledge in your area of study, or about anything in general.

232272 Cynthia Cooper - Madison Vision Series-1007

Madison Vision Series is a lecture series with topics ranging from diversity, education, technology, ethical citizenship and more. A few lectures are held each semester and all students are sent an email before the event informing them of the speaker, topic, time, and location.


Last year, JMU students created the first ever TEDx eventThis event was affiliated with the popular company TED; the x indicates that it was an independently organized TED event. This event featured six different speakers with topics ranging from the secrets of success to the mechanisms of disease. Vice President Mark Warner also spoke at this conference, with a talk entitled “It’s Not About The Power!” There will be a second TEDx event on March 30th, 2017. Applications to be a part of the TEDxJMU team who helps execute this event are open now, here!


Another place where I have heard guest speakers is at the Leadership U conference, which is held each January. This day-long event focused on leadership growth gives you the opportunity to chose from different sessions and speakers that most interest you.


Different colleges or majors across campus may also have speakers related to their areas of study. Going to guest speaker events not only helps you learn but can also give you an opportunity to network with professionals. For example, the College of Business has a C-Suite Speaker Series that brings corporate executives to campus each semester.


This Thursday, the C-Suite Speaker will be JMU alumn Jason Harris, who is the President and CEO of Mekanism, an award-winning advertising agency. Jason’s presentation is entitled, “Make Stories, Not Ads.” Jason will be speaking Thursday, September 8th at 6:30 p.m. in Festival Ballroom B. You can learn more about Jason here.

You’ll definitely find me at Jason’s talk since I’m a marketing and creative advertising student! However, this is a great opportunity for any major, such as graphic design, PR, computer science, or WRTC.

So what are you waiting for? Go to a speaker; educate yourself and enrich your mind. JMaddy said it best himself, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance.”


Who have been some of your favorite guest speakers at JMU? What are other places have you heard guest speakers at JMU?


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