James Madison University Commencement Programs, 1910-2019 *JMU Records*

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Summary Information

Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
James Madison University
James Madison University Commencement Programs
Collection No.:
UA 0050
4 boxes, 1.6 Cubic Feet
Language of the Material:
English .
The James Madison University Commencement Programs, 1910-2019, consist of four boxes (1.6 cubic feet) of commencement programs and supplementary materials for graduation ceremonies held at James Madison University.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [box #, folder #], James Madison Universtiy Commencement Programs, 1910-2019, UA 0050, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

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Bio/Historical Note

The first commencement program at the State Normal School for Women was held from June 7-14, 1910, as the first commencement programs were held over a period of days with events spread out over the course of the ceremony. The first commencement program began with a play by the senior class, continued throughout the week with a recital by the music department, commencement services and sermons led by local clergy, and ended with an address by the then-governor of Virginia William Hodges Mann and the presentation of diplomas by Samuel P. Duke at the local courthouse assembly hall.

In subsequent years, the commencement ceremonies followed a similar format (a sermon on the first day, activities in the subsequent days, and diplomas handed out on the final day) over a shorter span of time. For a period of time, all events took place during a single day, until 2011 when commencement ceremonies were held over the course of multiple days during the first weekend of May. All commencement ceremonies that follow 2011 adhere to this three-day format: the Graduate School commencement occurs on the first day, the University Program commencement begins the second day ceremonies, and College/Departmental commencement programs occur on the second and third day. These ceremonies take place in a variety of locations on campus, including the Quadrangle, Bridgeforth Stadium, the lawn of Duke Hall, Alumni Centennial Park, and the Festival Ballroom.

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Scope and Content

The James Madison University Commencement Programs, 1910-2019, consist of four boxes (1.6 cubic feet) of commencement programs and supplementary materials for graduation ceremonies held at James Madison University. Some items of note include programs from the very first commencement ceremony held by the university when it was still a State Normal School and programs from the 2019 Nursing School Spring commencement ceremony.

Commencement programs typically document graduates' names, their major or program of study, students graduating with honors, other honors and awards, and speakers.

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The collection is arranged chronologically.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

Copyright for official University records is held by James Madison University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Acquisition Information

Commencement programs have been collected from multiple sources over time, including official university affiliates and alumni collections.


The most recent commencement programs are added to this collection every semester.


Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

880 Madison DriveMSC 1704Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807library-special@jmu.eduURL: https://www.lib.jmu.edu/special/

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Index Terms

Genre and Form

  • Programs (documents)

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Collection Inventory

Title/Description Instances
Commencement Programs, 1910-1920 box 1 folder 1
Commencement Programs, 1921-1930 box 1 folder 2
Commencement Programs, 1931-1940 box 1 folder 3
Commencement Programs, 1941-1950 box 1 folder 4
Commencement Programs, 1951-1960 box 1 folder 5
Commencement Programs, 1961-1970 box 1 folder 6
Commencement Programs, 1971-1980 box 1 folder 7
Commencement Programs, 1981-1984 box 1 folder 8
Commencement Programs, 1985-1988 box 2 folder 1
Commencement Programs, 1989-1990 box 2 folder 2
Commencement Programs, 1991-1993 box 2 folder 3
Commencement Programs, 1994-1995 box 2 folder 4
Commencement Programs, 1996-1997 box 2 folder 5
Commencement Programs, 1998 box 3 folder 1
Commencement Programs, 1999-2000 box 3 folder 2
Commencement Programs, 2001-2002 box 3 folder 3
Commencement Programs, 2003-2004 box 3 folder 4
Commencement Programs, 2005-2006 box 3 folder 5
Commencement Programs, 2007-2008 box 3 folder 6
Commencement Programs, 2009-2011 box 4 folder 1
Commencement Programs, 2012-2013 box 4 folder 2
Commencement Programs, 2014-2015 box 4 folder 3
Commencement Programs, 2016-May 2018 box 4 folder 4
Commencement Programs, December 2018-2019 box 4 folder 5