A Letter to my Fellow Seniors — Meredith Wood


Dear Class of 2013,

As January comes to a close, our final semester as undergrads at JMU has officially gotten on its way. It seems like yesterday we were returning from our first winter break, eager and anxious to experience our first spring at Madison. Can you believe now Graduation is so close? Lately, I find myself reminiscing more often than ever over our past four years here. From an amazing snowball fight on the Quad to our victory over Tech in Blacksburg, I can easily say my time at James Madison University has been full of great memories and unforgettable people and I know you all can confidently say the same. This semester, your senior class council is working hard to create multiple opportunities to celebrate your accomplishments at JMU as well as ensure that you have all of the details you need for the big day.

As many of you have heard, there will be some exciting changes to Graduation this year. In lieu of the previous commencements in Bridgeforth Stadium on graduation morning, a Senior Convocation Ceremony will be held in the Convocation Center on Thursday, May 2nd. Senior Convocation is meant to unite our class one last time, limiting attendance to only those who will be honored to call themselves members of the JMU Class of 2013. The night will be filled with celebrations and commemorations of various kinds. This event is one which has not happened in quite some time and therefore will release us from the mundane, repetitive structure which comes from the traditional ceremonies and will allow us to celebrate in a fashion as unique and valuable as the Class of 2013 itself. Your Senior Class Council– partnered with the Alumni Association– is also in the beginning stages of planning an event to follow the Convocation to ensure that it is a night to remember for all involved.

Formal graduation on Saturday, May 4th, is our time to be individually recognized at college ceremonies. The times and locations for these are still to be determined; however, you will be notified well before the day arrives.

While this may seem like a big change in the commencement schedule, it has all been based upon reviews of past commencements. After many surveys and focus groups it was determined commencement ceremonies needed to be reorganized and streamlined to place the focus of the day back on the graduates and not on the showy, flashy nature of the day itself. Logistically speaking, it was difficult getting attendees to and from different events across campus, and the graduates were leaving James Madison University on an unhappy, stressed out foot (and that’s saying a lot knowing the stress we all face during finals week). The location of a commencement event should have no bearing over your happiness with the past four years at our amazing university. If anything, we should all feel honored and privileged to receive a degree from this incredible institution, regardless from what building or outdoor location we assemble in. The events which comprise your commencement ceremonies are a small fraction of your JMU experience. Do not let them overshadow all the things you’ve worked so hard for over the last seven semesters.

American guitarist Tom Petty once said “…The work never ends, but college does”. Before we know it, graduation day will be here and the rest of our lives will be upon us. Let’s spend these next few weeks making memories, preparing for the next chapter and cherishing all that JMU has given us so far. There’s no denying we as a class have made a Mark on Madison, but let’s not forget the mark that Madison has forever, and will continue after graduation, to make on us.

It has been an honor to be your president thus far. I am more than willing to answer any questions to the best of my ability, and urge you to visit www.jmu.edu/commencement/ to find out more.


Best of luck, and GO DUKES!

Meredith Wood





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