Dr Ronald E. Carrier: Introduction

Announcement of selection of Dr. Carrier as Madison College's new president. JMU Special Collections.

Announcement of selection of Dr. Carrier as Madison College’s new president. JMU Special Collections.

In his foreword to “Rooted on Blue Stone Hill: A History of James Madison University”, Dr. Ronald E. Carrier states why he accepted the president’s position and came to Madison College in 1971. Carrier states that he “saw an institution with a potential that mattered more than the reality” and that it “stood on so solid a foundation that it could carry unlimited change into the future” (Jones, viii).

No one can say that Dr. Carrier’s presidency, especially during the decade of the 1970’s, did not leave a mark on the James Madison campus. During the 1970’s, “yearly applications [had] soared to 12,000, enrollment [had] boomed, faculty numbers [had] risen to more than 500, and budget allocations [had] increased from $9 million to $42 million” (Jones, 172).  Carrier also started the men’s football program, which greatly increased the number of male students and provided entertainment for students on the weekends. The most prominent change that occurred was the change from Madison College to James Madison University, which enhanced the prestige of the school and placed it on the same level as many of the other top-performing colleges in Virginia.

Click on link, below, to hear a portion of Dr. Carrier’s interview:

Regional Institution

All of these changes that occurred on campus were a part of Carrier’s dream: to turn Madison College into a comprehensive, regional university. The ways in which to achieve this goal was to modernize the student life, reorganize and expand the academic curriculum, establish a football program, breath new life into the faculty and administration, and completely change the philosophy of Madison from that of an all-girls’ teaching school to a coeducational, liberal arts institution. The culmination of all of these changes and the realization of Carrier’s dream came on March 22, 1977 when Madison College was changed to James Madison University.


Works Cited:

Carrier, Ronald E. Interview by Amanda Castellano. Personal interview. Harrisonburg, VA, April 2nd 2013.

Jones, Nancy. Rooted on Bluestone Hill: A History of James Madison University. Santa Fe, NM: Center for American Places, Inc, 2004. Prin