The “all together one” theme was originally presented to the JMU Community, by Dr. Linwood Rose, in 1999 on the occasion of his inauguration as fifth president of James Madison University. The All Together One Award was conceived and developed by the Omicron Delta Kappa – Madison Circle during that following year, and first awarded to five JMU community members in the year 2000. The award has been presented to many outstanding candidates over the years. It is our distinct honor and pleasure to present one of the five awards this year to President Linwood Howard Rose.
Dr. Rose holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Virginia Tech, a Master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of Tennessee, and a Doctorate degree in higher education administration from UVA. In the Fall of 1975, Dr. Rose began his career here at JMU. He has spent 37 years working in and with many varied departments of the university. And, as only the fifth leader of this institution in 104 years, Dr. Rose has accomplished many wonderful things on this campus.
During his tenure as President of this University, our budget has more than doubled, over 20 new academic programs have been implemented, 25 major buildings have been constructed, 2.4 million square feet have been added to the campus, enrollment has grown by 37 percent, and the number of admissions applicants grew to over 26,000 per year. Since Dr. Rose has been president, U.S. News and World Report has rated JMU as the #1 public comprehensive university in the South, and among the top 50 in the country as “Best Value,” by Kiplinger and Princeton Review.
President Rose’s personal value of higher education is evident through one of his main goals: to reduce the student-faculty ratio. When he came into office, the ratio was over 19:1, but due to Dr. Rose’s tireless efforts to improve the educational experience for students, the ratio has decreased and is at the current level of under 16:1. Graduation rates from JMU are in the top ten nationally among all public universities. Overall student satisfaction at JMU rates routinely above 90% as JMU is notably “the best place on Earth”.
Dr. Rose also wanted to provide opportunities to deserving individuals in the Commonwealth of Virginia who would otherwise be unable to attend a school like James Madison. For this reason, President Rose made sure to establish a scholarship program called the Centennial Scholars Program so that students who could not pursue a higher education degree otherwise, could and would have this opportunity to do so on this campus. This is another clear indication of his dedication to education.
These focuses of Dr. Rose provide perfect demonstrations of how much he truly cares about the JMU community. He has a passion and desire to better the environment for students, the campus in general, and the institution as a whole. He has ALWAYS supported all divisions of the institution including sports, the visual and performing arts, debate, the chance to speak to students in the classroom, and speaking at special events such as our ODK induction ceremony. These are all things he has greatly enjoyed in his role as our president.
A repeating theme proclaimed by those closest to Dr. Rose is his unwavering commitment to serving the students and providing for the faculty; this has always been Dr. Rose’s first priority. He is a man of strong integrity and holds true to the phrase, “he says what he means and he means what he says”. He has consistently taken his job very seriously and always wants to know all the sides of any situation in order to produce the very best outcome no matter what the case. Many can testify to his great ability to be an excellent mentor; he is known to not only have a talent for guiding others, but also in challenging them to succeed and be the best they can be. He is a man who greatly values ethical leadership, and has truly modeled this in terms of the institution at large, JMU as the school, and also in all organizations and task forces which he has been involved with over the years. This past year when he could have respectfully bowed out as his retirement is coming up, he actually took on the position of Chair of the Council of Presidents in the Commonwealth, a huge task and one more example of Dr. Rose’s ambitions in higher education.
Not only has he clearly been a tremendous advocate of higher education and developing the university administration, but he is also known by those close to him as a man with a wonderful sense of humor. First and foremost, President Rose is an extremely gracious and considerate man. He is a very humble person, who always wants others to get the credit. His goal has always been to do his best work, so that others might be the beneficiaries. As a leader, he has never been known to use the word “I”, and instead, always sheds light on others’ accomplishments. For example at Board of Visitors meetings, he updates the group regarding the newest accomplishments of our women’s basketball team, or an award an engineering student was just recognized for. These are characteristics which have made Dr. Rose the person that people know him to be. His avid dedication to the university is clearly evident from the things he has done here on the JMU campus. Not only do President Rose’s accomplishments on paper demonstrate his absolute dedication to JMU, but the lasting bonds and relationships he has imprinted will remain for years to come on our campus.
President Rose has touched the lives of so many on this campus. He has had an exceptional vision for this institution which he has passionately pursued and has succeeded in his pursuit in many ways. All that he does is about bettering this institution. As the President of James Madison University, Dr. Rose’s service and dedicated activism have gone above and beyond the job description. Look to the president’s nationally leading energy efficiency policies in buildings such as Ashby Hall, Converse Hall, Harrison Hall and Wayland Hall. He has also specifically expanded our campus to accommodate the needs of students and faculty in building the East Campus Library, the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts and the newest project, the Biotechnology building. Without Dr. Rose’s vision to better the JMU experience for those of its future, we would not have the privilege of utilizing these additions. This is what truly makes him a remarkable example of an All Together One award winner.
President Rose recently spoke to a group of students, where he talked about one special person in his life who opened his eyes to the opportunities and possibilities of higher education. This person was his mentor and college dormitory Resident Advisor at Virginia Tech. He concluded this story when he said to them: “you never know who is going to change your life and when”. Well, President Rose, this is exactly the role you have fulfilled on this campus since you came to the university 37 years ago, and the role that you will continue to fulfill even after you have retired. Due to the recent major spike in admissions applications and acceptance rates during his term, President Rose will have overseen fully the graduation of 25% of the entire number of students over time who have sought an undergraduate degree at James Madison University!
Whether knowingly or not, he has been a crucial piece of the puzzle to the overall success of the graduates this university has and will have produced. President Rose, we hope that you realize how grateful this university is to have had you lead it; you are truly an exceptional leader! By honoring you with the All Together One Award today, the JMU community thanks you for all you have done. Congratulations again, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
Amanda Michetti and Rebecca Smith