Why do you give to the Duke Club?
Outside of truly believing in the mission of the Duke Club, I give to the Duke Club because I want to give back to a program that has given me so much. Some of my best memories during and after college have centered around JMU Athletic events. I have met some of my closest friends through the Duke Club and I want to do everything I can to help ensure that JMU has the resources necessary to continue to field athletic teams that are competitive on the field and in the classroom. I know that if this happens, I will continue to have opportunities to make new memories and friendships for years to come.
What have you personally gotten out of being in the Duke Club?
I am always amazed by how much I have gotten through my membership in the Duke Club. In addition to memories that will last a lifetime, I have made friends and business contacts that I would have never had the opportunity to connect with if it weren't for the Duke Club. Our Richmond Chapter meetings truly are a blast to attend. Not only do we do a lot of great work for JMU, but we also have an opportunity to talk sports and just hang out. It really is something I look forward to each month.
I have also been provided with an opportunity to meet coaches and players who have benefited from my donation. The Duke Club is great about putting a face to my donation and it feels great knowing that not only do my donation dollars give athletes a chance to compete on the field/court, but they also give the student athletes the tools necessary to achieve their goals when they leave JMU.
What role do you see athletics serving as part of JMU?
I personally believe that athletics in many ways are the face of your university in the community. When JMU teams perform around the country, they expose JMU to audiences that potentially may have never heard of the university. The teams represent our universities values and culture and serve as ambassadors for our students, faculty and alumni. As a result, it is important that they have the tools necessary to present a positive image to those they interact with. That is another reason why the Duke Club is so important.
What does Duke Dog Pride mean to you?
Duke Dog Pride is the feeling I get on a Saturday afternoon during football season when I Look out as alumni and students of all ages come together to not only cheer on the Dukes, but also to celebrate why JMU is such a special place. I hope that this campaign serves as a vehicle to expose a whole new group of people to experiences like this.
What advice would you give to recent graduates and current seniors about getting involved with the Duke Club/Graduate Duke Club?
Get to know who the local Duke Club reps are in the area you will be moving. Chapters are successful when they are able to continuously bring new energy and ideas to the table. As a young grad you may think you are not valuable to a chapter, but the truth is you are vital to that chapter's success. I can assure you that you will be welcomed with open arms.
Graduate Duke Club membership will not only provide you with an outlet to stay connected with JMU, but it will also provide you with valuable networking opportunities. JMU grads are known for helping each other out when it comes to identifying job opportunities and the Duke Club allows you to interact with grads from a variety of industries. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people get a job or a lead through a conversation that happened at an event.
I would just invite those who have not been back to Harrisonburg, or JMU in a while to come back. JMU has upgraded not only our athletic facilities (Upgraded Bridgeforth Stadium, New Baseball and Softball complex), but facilities across the university spectrum. From the new Performing Arts Center, to E-Hall and the new campus library, we are building facilities that rival any in the country. Couple this with new restaurants and attractions in Harrisonburg and there really have never been a better time to reconnect with JMU.
To anyone who is considering joining for the first time, or renewing a membership that may have lapsed, I would encourage you to give the Duke Club a try. Outside of the tangible benefits you receive, you can feel great knowing that your support is playing a major role in the success of our university. I always hear that over 90 percent of JMU grads say they enjoyed their JMU experience, yet the percentage of those who give back is far less. If our university is going to reach its true potential, we must change this dynamic. Remember that every little bit counts. Whether you are a $25 donor, or a $25k donor, your gift gives sends a message that you care about your University and the experience it provides.