He reminds me of something…

I am not easily impressed, but today, I was.

Early this afternoon, the James Madison University Board of Visitors introduced the next president of the university, Jonathan Alger, J.D. President-elect Alger is the senior vice president and general counsel at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. And now he is to be the sixth president of James Madison University.

A graduate of Swarthmore, where he earned a liberal arts education he values, and of Harvard Law, he sounds like a Renaissance man. He and his family, his wife Mary Ann and his daughter Eleanor, love the arts and they love sports. And he, a former choral member, resisted the urge to break into song in the Forbes Center where he and his family were introduced.

In addressing the university and the press, it was obvious that the president-elect understands JMU — not an easy task for one coming in from the “outside.” JMU, he said, has a “unique niche” in higher education, citing the best of the liberal arts tradition and the best of a research institution. “For a university this size to be focused on students, they must be doing something right,” he said.

He also recognized that JMU has a “clear sense of identity.” He’s right, and he is excited about leading the exciting next chapter.

If President-elect Alger voiced his vision today, I think it was when he said that JMU will become a “national model for what it means to be an engaged university.”

Engaged. And that seems to be what the new president plans to be from Day One. He wants to hold “listening tours” early in his tenure, to learn everything he can. “I love engaging with students,” he said.

The president-elect spoke with a steady eloquence and an approachable demeanor. I was impressed, mostly because he reminds me of something.

He reminds me of JMU.


About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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