Whether it was Madison College or James Madison University when they attended, many alumni and current students alike agree that Madison gave them an experience unlike any other. In honor of Homecoming, here’s a post dedicated to all the ways JMU has evolved throughout the years. No matter your class year, we hope JMU still feels like home.
JMU started out in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg. Campus encompassed about 50 acres, with only two buildings: Jackson and Maury. Enrollment was 150 students, with 15 faculty members. In 1914, the name of the institution was shortened to State Normal School for Women; it was renamed again in 1924 to State Teachers College. State Teachers College became Madison College in 1938, but it wasn’t until 1966 that MC became fully co-educational and men began to reside on campus as students. Finally, in 1977, the university received the moniker we all know and love: James Madison University. Today, campus spans 785 acres, with 138 buildings, a faculty of 1,448, and 20,779 total students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate studies.
One of the biggest changes many Dukes who graduated in the ’80s and before note is the expansion of campus East of Interstate 81. The Convocation Center was the first building constructed on the new side of campus, and was completed in 1982. Today, there are many buildings on East Campus, including Convo, UREC, Rose Library, four academic buildings, three dorms, two dining halls, and more.
Despite the expansion of campus to the other side of 81, hanging out on the Quad is still a favorite for many students. Activities range from a simple game of frisbee, to hooping and Spikeball.
While some students may say the dorms haven’t changed enough (can we get some AC in the Village and Lakeside?!), decorating styles certainly have.
Along with new academic buildings and the latest technology, many of our original classrooms are still in use, but have received some updates as well.
From the first ever football game in 1972, to undefeated FCS national champs in 2017, our football team has certainly come a long way. The Dukes played their first game on October 7, 1972, and lost 6-0 to the Shepherd College junior varsity team.
As our football team has improved, our stadium has received some upgrades! Bridgeforth Stadium was built in 1975, updated in 1981, and received a large renovation in 2011 that increased capacity to 24,877. Prior to the stadium being built, football games were played on Godwin Field.
Even the JMU logo differs significantly from the ’70s!
And of course, our beloved Duke Dog has undergone some changes through the years, too.
In the past couple of years, students have seen D-Hall rise again (doors open Fall 2018!), the opening of Madison Hall, and the near-completion of Hotel Madison. Plans for the new Union Bank and Trust Center and the updated College of Business building have been released as well. It’s an exciting time to be a Duke!
Happy Homecoming, Dukes!
Comment and tell us what your favorite thing about JMU is!