HARRISONBURG — As Jonathan Alger removed his hand from the Bible in the Convocation Center Friday, More than 3,000 people stood to applaud an event that hasn’t been celebrated for more than 14 years — the inauguration of a James Madison University President.
Alger was sworn into JMU’s top position next to wife Mary Ann and daughter Eleanor as students, faculty, staff, university and community leaders, and others looked on.
“As only the sixth president to be installed as president in the 105-year history of James Madison University, I am especially grateful to those who have come before me and opened the doors of opportunity for future generations,” Alger said during his inaugural address.
The inauguration was woven into a nearly 2 ½-hour-long ceremony that began late Friday morning and included multiple music performances and greetings from area and state leaders, including Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Two more events will close out the fifth day of inaugural activities this evening. Starting at 5:30 p.m. MadisonFest, the final inaugural celebration and a birthday bash for James Madison, will start on the Quad. The event, which features carnival games, music and food is open to the public.
At the close of the event around 8 p.m., a 15-minute fireworks display will take place above the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts.
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