MACRoCk XIV is upon us!

The 14th annual Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference (MACRoCk) will be occurring in Harrisonburg, VA on April 1 & 2, 2011. This year, MACRoCk will be hosting over 90 bands including Bouncing Souls, Capsule, S. Carey, Screaming Females, Turbo Fruits, Algernon Cadwallader,  Timbre, Super Vacations, Invisible Hand, 1994!, Pulling Teeth, US Christmas, Cannabis Corpse, Inter Arma, Pianos Become the Teeth, The Extraordinaires, Snack Truck, Dangerous Ponies, Snowing, Woe, Withered, Brooke Waggoner, Antlers, Gifts From Enola, Ocoai, Eternal Summers, Gringo Star, Air Waves, Arches, Andrew Cedermark, Sacred Harp, Heavy Cream and Pujol. MACRoCk will also host a variety of panelists speaking on topics such as Local Food, Booking in The Music Industry & Screen Printing.

MACRoCk was first put on by the student volunteers at James Madison University’s student radio station, WXJM, in 1997. Today, MACRoCk is an independently owned and organized organization, and is the largest independent music conference on the East Coast. MACRoCk offers a unique opportunity for bands, industry professionals and fans to interact and connect to support the music they love. With all the shows taking place in independently run and operated downtown music venues, MACRoCk was founded on a belief that corporate sponsorship and big business were not part of what makes music great. Through grassroots organization and an all-volunteer staff, MACRoCk strives to promote independent music, thought, art, business, and culture. This is MACRoCk’s 14th year, and it is going to be better than ever before. For more information about the conference, bands and tickets, please visit the MACRoCk website at

The David Mayfield Parade at Clementine

David Mayfield is the “other” voice and lead guitarist, as well as a contributing songwriter for folk rock favorites Cadillac Sky, whose last album “Letters In The Deep” was produced by Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) but his role as a member of the Texas by way of Nashville quintet is just one of the many musical paths this Grammy-nominated artist has journeyed.

Growing up in Kent, Ohio, David was surrounded by Bluegrass music. At the age of twelve he was playing bass for the family band, traveling from festival to festival, along with his younger sister, noted songstress, Jessica Lea Mayfield, singing and absorbing the stories and lessons taught by road hard veterans, all the while picking up tips on how to play a lick on guitar or mandolin. By the time he was a teenager, Mayfield had won several national awards for his guitar and mandolin playing and his reputation was being forged in the world of Bluegrass as a player to watch out for.

In 2008 when Jessica Lea Mayfield was ready to make her debut record, Blasphemy So Heartfelt, she asked David to play bass on it. He did. And over the next year he would tour as her bassist, and as a newly minted member of Cadillac Sky all while writing and performing his own songs.

On the road with Jessica Lea Mayfield and the Avett Brothers, Scott and Seth took notice of Mayfield’s musicianship and the three quickly developed a friendship, leading them to invite David to sit in with them dozens of times including their 2010 Bonnaroo & Merlefest sets. After urging him more and more to make a record of his own, when he took to the studio the Avett’s were quick to lend their voices.

David Mayfield Parade is the culmination of that encouragement. The album reflects the numerous influences that come from a lifetime of being immersed in American music and channeling its unique forms with sincerity and celebration from the howl of early rock-n-roll, to the low lonesome twang of folk and country with a voice that is all at once heartbreaking and inherently hopeful.

The show at Clementine will start at 9:30PM.
It is $8 in advance and $10 at the door.
Joshua Vana will be opening the show!
This will be an all ages event.

Near Misses, Tight Squeezes And Canned Food Catastrophes: Mom’s Motorized Cart Odyssey

By Andrew Jenner

I can’t have been the only child who dreamed of commandeering one of those motorized shopping carts that sit tantalizingly unattended at grocery stores entrances. And I’m surely not the only adult who still, somewhere in his heart of childish hearts, would kill for the opportunity to go joy-riding down the frozen foods aisle, spinning donuts on the shiny waxed floor, veering madly around corners Mario Kart-style. Wouldn’t it be fun?
By age 28, though, I’d pretty much accepted that this wasn’t going to happen, that firsthand knowledge of self-propelled shopping carts will only come once I’m sufficiently withered and broken down to actually need one, that I will probably never be able to muster the necessary chutzpah and disregard for basic decency required to pull off such a stunt.
And then, a fortunate thing happened: my mother developed severe and terrible plantar fasciitis, and in September, underwent an invasive and painful foot surgery requiring many weeks of recovery – and entitling her to full operational privileges of any and all motorized shopping carts throughout the land. Continue reading “Near Misses, Tight Squeezes And Canned Food Catastrophes: Mom’s Motorized Cart Odyssey” »

Celebrating Dr. Joanne Gabbin, Celebrating Lucille Clifton


Flickr image shared by permission of Joanne Gabbin

Joanne Gabbin read at Lucille Clifton's Celebration

When I first met Dr. Joanne Gabbin late in 2004, it was clear she heard a different drummer. Here was a woman who dreamed big, kept her feet on the ground, and made things happen in Harrisonburg. She is owner of Franklin Street Gallery, English professor at JMU, and the visionary behind Furious Flower Poetry Center at JMU.

In June 2009, Furious Flower sponsored a seminar with African American poet Lucille Clifton. Eight months later, February 2010, Clifton unexpectedly died. On Sept 21 2010, Furious Flower brought 73 poets and poetry fans together to celebrate the life Lucille Clifton, and the free event was attended over 1,000 people from all over the state and country.   Continue reading “Celebrating Dr. Joanne Gabbin, Celebrating Lucille Clifton” »

This post was submitted by Diana Woodall.

Sachedina to Focus on Furthering Relations Between Children of Abraham

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Professor Aziz Sachedina teaches at University of Virginia and will speak at Eastern Mennonite University on October 4th.

From 4-5:30pm on Monday, October 4, Professor Aziz Sachedina from the Religious Studies Department at UVA will be presenting, “Disenchantment” with “interfaith dialogue” for furthering better relations among the Children of Abraham.  The presentation will be at Strite Auditorium and will be followed by discussion.

In recent years Aziz Sachedina has had significant high level teaching roles and encounters in Iran. He is considered one of the foremost scholars on Shi’ite Islam in the world and he is at the progressive front for conflict transformation, medical ethics and human rights within the Islamic tradition. He is very interested in how the peacebuilding and conflict transformation education and training process has developed at EMU.  

The event is co-sponsored by Eastern Mennonite Universty’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and Abraham’s Tent.

Terrorist Victory? years after the most horrendous attack on American soil, we look back on that tragic September day and reflect on what has transpired since then. When those nineteen fanatics commandeered four jet airliners to use them as weapons against us, we were dumbfounded that our open society could be so vulnerable. The sense of horror and frustration soon gave way to anger, and under the leadership of President George W. Bush, we mobilized an international coalition of nations to take the fight to the terrorists. Continue reading “Terrorist Victory?” »

Then and Now: Dining Out

During my early years in the 1930’s and 1940’s, “Dining out” meant going to a friend’s house for supper or grandmother’s house for dinner after church on Sunday. While I’m certain there were one or two restaurants in Front Royal, meals in such were unknown to me although I do remember a place on Route 11 mid-way to Roanoke where we occasionally stopped to get “a foot-long hotdog” to be eaten in the car on the long drive to visit our grandparents and family. Continue reading “Then and Now: Dining Out” »

Then & Now: 1872 Rockingham Crime Reporting

Any visitor from another world checking the TV Guide might wonder at Americans apparent fascination with crime and the criminal mind. In one week’s listing TV watchers have an offering of good guys and girls vs. the bad on endless different one-hour shows. Among them are 48 Hours, NCIS, Law & Order, CSI: NY, Criminal Minds, The Evidence, The First 48, Without a Trace, Conviction, and Cold Case Files: Special Victims Unit—which runs four entirely different shows on Saturday nights.

But this is no new fascination. Continue reading “Then & Now: 1872 Rockingham Crime Reporting” »

Buy Your Downtown

The Laughing Dog is one of many locally-owned downtown businesses.

I grew up in Harrisonburg in the 60’s and 70’s. At that time there were no malls, cell-phones, Internet, remotes, gangs etc. It was a small town. JMU was for the most part a women’s college. The Cloverleaf shopping center “was” the mall!

Once, at the same time, these stores all existed downtown. They were profitable because the community had no where else to go. They were/are the Virginia theater, the State theater, Grants, McCroys, Woolworth, Klines, Glens, Alfred Neys, Joseph Neys, Charles Fauls, Leggits, Charles Mathias, Jack Collins shoes, A & N, the Arcade, Novelty News, Warrens Cut-Rate, Salts barber-shop, L & S diner, Jesse’s, Va. Ham, Downtown Grill, Julius’s, George’s, Peoples Drug, Hostetters, Western Auto, Schewels, Denton’s, Grand Piano, Advance, Hawkins Hardware, Sears, Sherwin-Williams, Cato’s, and a Singer sewing machine store.

The question remains, what happened? Continue reading “Buy Your Downtown” »

This post was submitted by Jim Purcell.

Go Skateboarding Culture!

Harrisonburg skateboarders recently celebrated Go Skateboarding Day - and "it was awesome".

Go Skateboarding Day is a national holiday, but unless you ride a skateboard on at least some of the other 364 days of the year, chances are you didn’t know that. Maybe, despite all the fliers posted around downtown, you didn’t know we celebrated it here in Harrisonburg. Well we did celebrate it at The Artful Dodger, and it was awesome.

The day began with the first day of Skate Camp at Westover Skate Park. From 9am til noon the owners of Wonder Skate Shop graciously volunteered their time to teach kids from 6-14 years old how to skate. Then, from 1pm until 5pm, Wonder Skate hosted a cookout in front of their store. They fed a ton of hungry skaters, parents and people just interested in the event. Continue reading “Go Skateboarding Culture!” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

Interfaith Peace Camp Starts at EMU

Today, over 40 children are beginning a week-long day camp at Eastern Mennonite University designed to build friendships and understanding between children of different Abrahamic faith traditions.

Interfaith Peace Camp, offered to rising 1st through 6th graders, is planned and staffed by an interfaith team of community members with the desire to provide low-cost, high-quality learning experiences for campers.   Continue reading “Interfaith Peace Camp Starts at EMU” »

OCP Lawn Jam Underway

Our Community Place, a downtown nonprofit focused on supporting hungry and homeless people by providing basic needs and community, hosted its 7th annual Lawn Jam today. Complete with food, a live auction, volleyball tournament, balloon toss, and a yard sale, all proceeds support the nonprofit.

A highlight of the event was the “Slowest Bike Race”, featuring a dozen riders trying to be the last to complete a 10 yard distance. Video below:

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Continue reading “OCP Lawn Jam Underway” »

Vengeance Is Mine, Hopeth The Pilk

Part II in a series by local writer Andrew Jenner about the South Africa 2010 World Cup and the meaning of life in Harrisonburg, Virginia (read Part I).

John Pilk says the Dutch are due.

For 36 years, John Pilk has been waiting on revenge.

Ever since that July day in 1974, when Pilk watched his beloved Dutch soccer team, the Oranje, lose 2-1 to West Germany in the World Cup final, Pilk has been hoping for another chance.

After the game ended, Pilk stepped out on his porch in The Hague and wept. He sounds as if he might weep again, telling the story, because Pilk is madly Continue reading “Vengeance Is Mine, Hopeth The Pilk” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

USA v England: Remembrance Of So Many Things Past

Part I in a series about the South Africa 2010 World Cup and the meaning of life in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

By Andrew Jenner

The older I get, the more time I seem to spend remembering – the World Cup no exception. I was seven when Roger Milla led Cameroon to the quarterfinals of the 1990 tournament in Italy. My family lived in Africa then, when Milla captivated the continent. The neighborhood kids and I spent most of the summer imitating the corner-flag hip-shake jig he danced after he scored the decisive goal against Colombia in the second round.

In ’94, I followed the US team with the religious devotion of a sixth-grader who fully expected to Continue reading “USA v England: Remembrance Of So Many Things Past” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

Elliott Downs: Prolific and Awesome

Elliott Downs is definitely one of the most talented, authentic and original artists calling Harrisonburg his home.  He graduated from Harrisonburg High School after taking as many art classes as he could under Jauana Brooks, also a highly talented local artists.
The immediacy of his style has earned him quite a bit of notoriety for being only 23 years old. It seems like everyone in town owns one of his stenciled records, if not one of his larger pieces of art. He’s done work for Gone Magazine, Skatan Worshipers, has owned his own screen printing business, has had several sold out art shows and has a documentary about him, this is quite a feat for an artist living and working in Harrisonburg. Why is he so successful, you might wonder, well I know the answer to that. Continue reading “Elliott Downs: Prolific and Awesome” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

The Preacher’s Paradox

The Rev. Franklin Graham recently reaffirmed his 2001 comment that Islam “is a very evil and wicked religion.” For this, he was excluded from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer. Many fundamentalist Christians believe his being banned is unfair. Most others do not.

Graham was expressing a deeply held belief, similar to the belief that some hold about the superiority of their own race. The notion that we are God’s chosen and everyone else is living in sin and ignorance creates a serious paradox in a society that prides itself on freedoms of speech, assembly and religion. How do we accommodate different belief systems when those systems tend to be non-accommodating and antithetical to freedom and tolerance?

Religion in America is probably unlike any other. Because we are composed of peoples from every part of the globe, and because our Founding Fathers were well aware of the blood shed over conflicting religious doctrines in the 16th Century, we have decided to be a nation that tolerates and accommodates. Still, there are those among us who only begrudgingly tolerate other religions because the one they practice teaches that theirs and theirs alone is the true faith. To say that the core belief of their religion is wrong denies the reality that there is no possible way to prove the truth or falsity of any religion. Therein lies the dilemma.

We want to be open and accommodating but we also want to be true to our faith. For some of us, that is a conundrum not easily solved. At what point do we exclude those who exclude us? What would have been the reaction of the Christian community if an Islamic cleric had stood up and called Christianity “wicked and sinful”? We all remember the Iranian slurs against Judaism a few years back, that it was a “gutter religion.” That set back progress for peace in the Middle East decades. Those of us who are passionate about our own brand of faith sometimes forget how easy passion can sometimes step over the line to zealotry. Passionate people can still talk to each other, zealots rarely negotiate with anyone, even divisions among their own.

I do not share Rev. Graham’s religious views. Whether or not his passion has crossed the line of zealotry is a close call.  However, just as our parents taught us, “if you can’t say something nice about someone, it’s better to say nothing at all,” perhaps Graham would have been better off to practice Christian charity and kept his mouth shut.  Another old saw teaches us, “the less we say, the more we listen, and the more we listen, the more we learn.”  To all who are absolutely convinced they alone know the “truth,” this is very good advice.

This post was submitted by David Rood.

Horse trading starts after UK Elections

As one of the most extraordinary General Elections in living memory comes to a close, the United Kingdom has woken to the news of the first hung parliament since 1974. Neither of the three major parties managed to secure the required 326 parliamentary seats to afford a controlling  majority. Negotiations are now underway to instigate a governmental structure that will hopefully allow the handling of the current fiscal crisis the UK faces.

Despite winning the popular vote and the most number of seats (307 versus Labours 250), David Cameron’s Conservative Party are now faced with the opportunity of forming a coalition with Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats Party.

Clegg set the election ablaze, with excellent performances during the countries first ever televised Prime Ministerial debates. Sadly for Clegg, his party failed to convert the tidal wave of excitement into votes and came in third place to Labour with 57 seats.

With low approval ratings, a swollen deficit, and a European wide economic crisis, Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s ruling Labour Party suffered dramatic losses in various seats around the country. This election was seen by many as a vote on the PM’s popularity. Brown is left now playing a waiting game as the various back room negotiations commence.

This election has seen a jump in voter turnout averaging 65% with many polling stations reporting participation rates exceeding 70%. Despite the predicted increase in number of votes cast, polling stations in Liverpool, Hull and Chester run out of voting slips for a time, and hundreds were unable to cast their vote as polling stations struggled to cope with the late evening surge of voters. Many were left angry and bewildered that their vote was not counted. The Electoral Commission has already indicated that there will be a thorough investigation into any wrong doing.

Our cousin across the pond has a busy weekend ahead. The civil service has been called in to assist with negotiations, utilizing lessons learned from both the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament. Cameron may well have to offer up  positions within a Conservative cabinet to the Liberal Democrats, to secure power within the House of Commons and oust Brown from office. Something former Conservative PM John Major described as “a price worth paying”.

With a looming financial crisis, the UK’s political leaders can ill afford to be complacent in the establishment of a stable government. The London FTSE 250 (more of a domestic indicator rather than the internationally biased FTSE100) index of shares reacted badly to today’s results loosing over 4%, and the the Pound ended the day at a year low against the Dollar. With any luck, before the markets open again on Monday, we shall see results from this weekends horse trading and the UK will be ready to tackle it’s most pressing issues.

Author James Carter is from the United Kingdom and lives in Harrisonburg with his family.

Alternative Health: One Mother Balances Through Belly Dance

Healing is the tendency of any system to return to equilibrium when equilibrium is disturbed. — Andrew Weil

In 2005, Rose Shenk was a happy, fulfilled stay-at-home mother of four boys living in Charlottesville. But her equilibrium was about to be disturbed. That spring, her husband was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Soon after, he was killed in a head-on car collision. Her father, whom she also relied on, died a week later from injuries sustained after being hit by a truck in Kenya. Shenk attended two funerals in two consecutive weekends: One for her husband and the next for her father.

“It was so painful,” she said. “I had to do what was best for my sons. I had to remain grounded.”

Shenk began to heal her grief using the traditional methods of journaling and talking to a therapist. But she needed another method. “I became super self aware of the extraordinary circumstances that were happening to me. I needed to get out of my head and find a physical outlet.”

While in a Charlottesville pizzeria, Shenk found a flyer for a belly dancing class held on Monday nights when the children were visiting with their paternal family. She was afraid to attend and considered not going. “When I went, I found that it was lots of single moms and women in their 40’s and 50’s. I wasn’t the the only widow,” she said. “I was stepping out of what I was comfortable with and realized that I can do it. It was feminine, beautiful, strengthening — and you didn’t need a partner.”

“My first teacher taught belly dance from a New Age, mystical point of view, stressing the sacred energy of the feminine. It was foreign to me but it stretched me,” she said. “Emotions, the body and sexuality are all part of the dance and those are part of a whole and balanced person. It didn’t fully connect with my Christian faith, but I could understand the attempt to balance yourself. Also, at this time, I did not have a sexual partnership. Belly dance was a sensual experience that was not damaging for me or anyone else.”

Shenk said that the basic belly dance stance is a lot like the martial art “horse stance”: feet apart, knees bent. “There is a lot of balance in that position. You are flexible. To be flexible and balanced allows you to do a lot in life that you did not know you were capable of. I am surprised at my own resilience.”

Shenk has been studying belly dancing for four years and teaching for a year and a half. “It took me about three years to get back my equilibrium,” she said.

Author Tracey Brown is a Harrisonburg resident and a Massage Therapist at the Beauty Spa, Harrisonburg, VA.

“There is a student in my class experiencing the slow death of her husband from cancer. We performed a dance at church on Good Friday. We used the imagery of healing in the dance. This was expressed through candles that showed light in darkness. We also used veils in the dance to express the things within death that are hidden from us. For me it was a prayer and an expression of sisterhood and community.”

Shenk now lives in Harrisonburg, and recently re-married. “It’s amazing how much we can bear,” she says of her experience. “You can get hit so hard like I was that summer. And you can still be okay, happy, survive–and sometimes even help carry other people.”

Shenk will be teaching a five-week fitness belly dance class at EMU beginning Tuesday, May 11. For more information contact the Fitness Center at (540) 432-4341, or email

This post was submitted by Tracey Brown.

Then and Now: JMU Presidents’ Controversies

“Spring Fest 1010” that took place off-campus but was hosted by James Madison University students led to police battles that headlined newsprint with each step into blame or fame heralding the school’s response. And the school newspaper’s invasion by a team of the local Commonwealth Attorney heightened the public outcry.

Students protesting in Wilson Hall and being arrested, circa 1970, before Dr. Ronald Carrier became the school's president. (Courtesy of JMU Special Collections, Carrier Library)

Since the school’s inception just over a century ago as an academy for young women, the five successive school presidents have each had visions of accomplishment and always faced the media chopping block. Any time something major and/or colorful went wrong, newspapers quickly front-paged the story.

For example, first president Julian Burruss felt, “The development of a strong, noble and womanly character is of first importance….” His rules were stringent but media ignored any small discrepancies such as one girl placed on a quarter’s probation for attending a dance downtown without permission, knowing she couldn’t get permission. Ditto when another was suspended for rudeness to a teacher.

But on certain matters Burruss could not hold the newspapers in check.  Banner headlines in the Harrisonburg paper for February 15, 1913, reported “PRETTY SCHOOL GIRL ELOPES FROM NORMAL.” Immediately below in smaller caps ran “MISS LILLIAN CAMPBELL, LEAVES DORMITORY BY MEANS OF IMPROVISED ROPE, JOINS LOVER AND HASTENS TO BE MARRIED—STUDENT BODY SHOCKED.”

The faculty was more shocked and faced a dilemma since no specific rule banned elopement!  Deliberating from afternoon until after midnight, the faculty finally voted to expel the young lady from school for “leaving without permission.” The groom’s sister was asked to withdraw as well and the other roommate suspended for a year. The story made the Washington Post and newspapers around the state—yet the school didn’t lose face on this one.

And so it goes, both problems and kudos make the news. Yet president Burruss made few errors and when offered the presidency of Virginia Technical Institute, he couldn’t refuse the step up to his alma mater. Newspapers applauded his success.

However, those same papers only halfheartedly welcomed the new president Samuel P. Duke. Harrisonburg’s Daily News-Record for July 23, 1919, simply stated the Virginia Normal School Board voted “7 to 5 in favor of Prof. Duke.” Clearly disappointed in the choice, the paper didn’t even accord Duke the title of state supervisor or list his many accomplishments. Their newsprint continued to evoke the vast local disappointment that Dr. Sanger, the local popular Valley choice, had not been given the position.

Yet Duke’s presidency ran smoothly—even when his Dean of Women Denise Varner bobbed her hair and numerous students followed this trend so absolutely forbidden in Duke’s rules of conduct. However, newspapers paid no attention as general student behavior toed the line under Duke at the newly named State Teachers College in Harrisonburg. While Duke’s list of restrictions seems ludicrous today, they generally extended ordinary rules enforced at students’ homes.

For 30 years Duke won only public accolades as he guided his faculty and students through the changing world in the Great Depression and World War II. Under his leadership, men were admitted as students for the first time and male athletic teams emerged. (The basketball team dubbed itself the “Madison Dukes” in hope Dr. Duke would fork over funds for basketballs and equipment—which he did.)

In 1949 a massive stroke ended Duke’s presidency. Soon designated President Emeritus, he and his wife were given the refurbished Zirkle House across Main Street (where JMU is now building its nearly-completed performing arts center) to be their home for the final six years of his life. And Gov. William Tuck appointed Dr. Tyler Miller to become Madison’s third president.

However, “The third time’s a charm” did not apply to third president Miller. While his first decade accomplished continuing growth with few changes, his last years were shadowed by the startling disharmony of the ‘60s and ‘70s. For example in 1967-68, student Jay Rainey came on campus wearing “hippie fashion” blue jeans, blanket ponchos, sandals, and flowing hair. Rainey refused to change and Miller refused his admission for next year. That decision drew wide press coverage when support on Raney’s behalf from the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia won in court and the school had to admit him.

Also, a campus underground organization, Harambee, objected to Miller’s firing of three sympathetic faculty members without apparent reason as they were quickly replaced. In addition, demonstrations on campus led to student arrests. Those events included students marching on campus, a one-night takeover of the administration building, and a later welcome for Vietnam protester and movie star Jane Fonda to appear on campus to encourage students to join the antiwar activists.

Looking back years later, fourth president Dr. Ronald E. Carrier candidly assessed:

Tyler Miller had been a good president, was a very fine man. But the world was changing—dramatically. You’d had the assassination of John F. Kennedy; of Robert Kennedy, of Martin Luther King. You’d had the Berkeley free-speech movement; you’d had Civil Rights issues in Selma, Alabama, and Birmingham. You had the Vietnam War, had just had Cambodia, plus we had Kent State. You had some trouble here which was really minor but turned into more of an issue than it probably should have been.

Dr. Miller was caught in the vortex of a changing world, didn’t really want to go into it but didn’t know how to get out of it. Yet he got out in time before it damaged him personally—no one asked him to quit—and before the institution paid the price.

Newspapers had a field day. And at times presidents #4 and #5 have run the same gauntlets. One example is Carrier’s firing of a physics professor popular with the faculty but yearly unable to attract enough students to the physics program to warrant his continuing. The faculty called for Carrier’s dismissal but the Board of Visitors disagreed. Carrier remained and the school continued to flourish with expanding programs in all academic areas.

And now President Rose responded to Spring Fest by taking immediate action to contact parents school wide with a letter of his assessment and reassurance of responsive actions ahead. No student uprising or parent ire has followed. Both parents and students applaud his timely response and strong leadership. That, however, has not made the off-campus news.

For more detailed description of the events of the first four presidents—Burruss, Duke, Miller, and Carrier, read detailed chapters in Nancy Bondurant-Jones’ book, Rooted On Blue Stone Hill, a history of the school’s first ninety years.

This post was submitted by Nancy Bondurant Jones.