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JMU President Jonathan Alger named winner of ACE Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award

jmuJonathan Alger, president of James Madison University, is the winner of the 2021 ACE Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award.

The Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award is bestowed annually to acknowledge the substantial role of mentors in the success of ACE Fellows Program participants. President Alger has mentored an ACE Fellow every year for the past six years.

ACE will be celebrating the recipients of the Mentor Award and other 2021 ACE awards online next week with video interviews and more.

Since its inception in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program has strengthened institutions and leadership in American postsecondary education by identifying and preparing nearly 2,000 faculty and administrators for senior positions in higher education leadership. More than 80 percent of Fellows have gone on to serve as chief executive officers of colleges or universities, provosts, vice presidents, and deans.

“Dedicated, authentic, and willing to help are just some of the words of praise from President Alger’s mentees,” said Sherri Hughes, assistant vice president of professional learning at ACE. “We greatly appreciate his commitment to strengthening the higher education leadership pipeline and are honored to celebrate him with this year’s Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award.”

Alger has served as the sixth president of James Madison University since 2012. Under his leadership, the public comprehensive university in Virginia with 22,000 students developed a bold new vision to be “the national model of the engaged university: engaged with ideas and the world,” and a strategic plan focused on engaged learning, community engagement, and civic engagement. This plan has included the development of ambitious new programs and initiatives across the institution, such as the Valley Scholars Program for first-generation students from local public schools, the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement, the Madison Trust to provide philanthropic support for innovative projects, a public service year program for recent college graduates, and a strategic partnership with the Republic of Kosovo, among many others.

Alger serves on the ACE Board of Directors, in addition to many other boards and councils, and is a nationally recognized scholar and speaker on higher education policy and law. Prior to coming to his presidency at JMU, Alger served as senior vice president and general counsel at Rutgers University, where he provided strategic leadership on a variety of issues and established a comprehensive compliance program. He had previously worked as assistant general counsel at the University of Michigan, where he played a key leadership role in the university’s efforts in two landmark Supreme Court cases on diversity and admissions and coordinated one of the largest amicus brief coalitions in Supreme Court history. He also served for several years in the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, where he was the point person on the development and implementation of national policies on race-conscious financial aid, racial harassment, and free expression.

“Fidelity is proud to continue to support the ACE Council of Fellows Mentor Award and we congratulate President Alger on his decade of accomplishments at James Madison University and his ambitious vision for the future,” said Debra Frey, head of Analytics and Marketing for Tax-Exempt Solutions, Fidelity Investments. “Mentors play a key role in providing guidance and support for the next generation of leaders, and President Alger is a tremendous example of how mentorship can have a positive impact on tomorrow’s leaders in the higher education community.”

Since 2008, Fidelity Investments has been a generous supporter of the ACE Fellows Program, enabling the Council of Fellows to provide support for the discretionary fund of the Mentor Award winner’s institution, as well as the Fellows Fund for the Future, which provides stipends to defray costs of sponsoring a Fellow for qualified institutions.


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