What is Madison Week?

Posted 14 March 2017
Madison Week 2017

This week James Madison University (JMU) celebrates Madison Week 2017 – an event to honor the university’s mission and legacy of James Madison. He was the fourth president of the United States and known as the Father of Constitution. This blog post will look into the university’s history and how the students celebrate its legacy during Madison Week.


The university is celebrating its 99th anniversary this year. Its history goes back to 1907 when the citizens of Harrisonburg, VA campaigned to bring a new school to the region. The campaign ended successfully with the founding of the State Normal and Industrial School for Women in 1908. In 1938 the institution was renamed Madison College and then James Madison University in 1977. JMU was named in honor of James Madison (1751 – 1836), one of the founding fathers of the United States. He played a pivotal role in drafting and promoting the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The university opened the doors to its first student body in 1909 with an enrollment of 209 students and a faculty of 15. Its first 20 graduates received diplomas in 1911. At first, academic offerings included only today's equivalent of technical training or junior college courses. The authorization to award bachelor's degrees was granted in 1916.


There are many events happening around the campus during Madison Week to celebrate the university’s history. The most important one of them is the Giving Day that is taking place on March 14. It is a 24-hour fundraising event that gives a chance to students, alumni, family, faculty and staff to give back and support the university. The Giving Day kickoff took place last night outside Room 1075 in Student Success Center and was broadcasted live on Facebook.

During Madison Week you can also vote for your favorite campus library, participate in a residence hall challenge or other activities on campus. Stop by Carrier or Rose Library to cast your vote on your preferred library because your participation in JMU Giving Day will be rewarded. The winning library will receive a $1 off specialty drink discount at Starbucks on March 15th. In addition, there will be a chef showcase during dinner time at E-Hall on March 16th.

Conveniently, St. Patrick’s Day falls at the end of Madison Week this year. Make sure to stop by to the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum for a free Celtic concert taking place on March 17th at 5:00-6:00 pm. You can bring your own lawn chairs and picnic dinner to enjoy a fun evening with dancing and music.

As you can see this is going to be a fun week on JMU’s campus. So connect with your friends, participate in Giving Day and enjoy all of these planned activities.


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