7 Questions for President Jonathan Alger

What’s the biggest change you’ve made at JMU so far?

I’ve spent a lot of my first year listening, specifically with the listening tour on and off campus. I thought it was important to signal to the JMU community that the administration is open and accessible. We are also working to develop a culture of philanthropy within the JMU family both on and off campus.

What was your favorite part of inauguration week in March?

Every event was different and special. My family and I participated in a lot of events. I liked the fact that it was inclusive, the fact that we interacted with our entire community on campus and off. Being able to share that overall university experience with the Madison community and the inclusive community feel is what stood out to me.

Where’s your favorite place to be on campus?

I don’t have one favorite because I like to be where the students are. Their energy and passion for the future is inspiring. I often tell people if you’re having a bad day to spend some time around our students.

What is your favorite JMU tradition?

Opening doors. It’s so symbolic of what we do as a university. We care about our community and have respect for each other. It’s also symbolic of what the university does as an educational institution; we are opening doors for our students’ futures.

If you could live in any dorm, which would you choose?

I don’t think there is one answer to this question. I think it’s great that we have the historic Bluestone side, the Village, which is in the middle of everything, and then also the dorms on the north side with the new bioscience building. What I really like is the variety we have to offer.

What advice do you have for freshman?

To get involved. Get involved in activities on campus because you will get more out of your education if you get engaged. Also, get to know faculty and be proactive and start making connections with the alumni.

Do you have any exciting long-term plans for JMU?

A national model of what I call the engaged university: engaged in the classroom but also engaged with our communities and the world around us. That to me is an exciting long-term theme.

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