Dr. Linwood H. Rose has been president of JMU since September, 1998. He is only the fifth president in the university's long history. Before being named president, Rose served as a member of the institution's administration for 23 years, including service as executive vice president and chief operating officer.
The university was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg. In 1914, the name of the university was changed to the State Normal School for Women at Harrisonburg. Authorization to award bachelor's degrees was granted in 1916. During this initial period of development, the campus plan was established and six buildings were constructed.
The university became the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg in 1924 and continued under that name until 1938, when it was named Madison College in honor of the fourth president of the United States. In 1977 the university's name was changed to James Madison University.
The first president of the university was Julian Ashby Burruss. The university opened its 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.
Dr. Samuel Page Duke became the second president of the university in 1919 upon the resignation of Burruss, who became president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. During Duke's administration, nine major buildings were constructed.
In 1946 men were first enrolled as regular day students. Dr. G. Tyler Miller became the third president of the university in 1949, following the retirement of Duke. During Miller's administration, from 1949 to 1970, the campus was enlarged by 240 acres and 19 buildings were constructed. Major curriculum changes were made and the university was authorized to grant master's degrees in 1954.
In 1966, by action of the Virginia General Assembly, the university became a coeducational institution. Dr. Ronald E. Carrier, JMU's fourth president, headed the institution from 1971 to 1998. During Carrier's administration, student enrollment and the number of faculty and staff tripled, doctoral programs were authorized, more than 20 major campus buildings were constructed and the university was recognized repeatedly by national publications as one of the finest institutions of its type in America.
James Madison's sports teams are called the Dukes. They participate in the NCAA's Division I, (Division I-AA for football), the Colonial Athletic Association, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, and the Atlantic 10 Conference for football.