Dr. Margaret F. Richardson Sloan, a 1994 graduate of Alice Lloyd College, currently serves as the Director of the School of Strategic Leadership Studies at James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA) and is a professor in the program.
She initially attended Vanderbilt University, but when her father could no longer support her education there, a beloved aunt in Hazard, Kentucky, recommended Alice Lloyd College. “ALC helped me when no other institution would and made a way for me to finish my undergraduate degree,” stated Margaret. At ALC, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English.
“My husband David and I married after my first semester at ALC and lived off campus,” Margaret shared. “We have many fond memories of attending convocations together (Sister Jean, the Ragtime Queen, and Laundry Fats was one of our favorites), and getting twenty-five cent pretzels in the snack shop on our afternoon campus dates were a real treat—money was tight!”
Margaret credits Mike Duncan, Chairman of the ALC Board of Trustees, who was the interim president at that time, for encouraging her. “Even with all his responsibilities, he took time for me,” she said. “He listened to my ideas and advised me when starting up Student Action for the Environment (SAFE) for recycling on campus. The experience and confidence of someone believing I had something worthwhile to offer has remained with me. It was affirming for me to be allowed to follow that idea and feel like I was making a positive difference for the campus community.”
The James Mongiardo Speech Competition was new that year, and Margaret was one of the first contestants. “After practicing for weeks,” she recalled, “getting up in front of a full convocation hall was still terrifying. That prize money was a huge help to us as a young couple just starting out, but more importantly, the experience gave me greater critical thinking and argumentation skills as well as confidence in public speaking.”
Margaret’s first student-work assignment was tutoring struggling first-grade readers at Caney Creek Elementary. “Because of that experience,” she said, “I was a literacy tutor for several years and was better prepared to later teach my own kids how to read.”
She continued, “My second assignment was working on the Pippa’s Song newsletter under the unforgettable Jim Bergman. I remember climbing up the stairs to Eagle’s Nest and always being warmly welcomed, encouraged, and challenged to improve my work by Jim and Teresa Grender continually. That opportunity to see my writing used in publications gave me a tremendous confidence that carried forward into my classes and later work life.”
“Jim Bergman was a great encouragement to me and made me a better person every time I got to hang out with him. Dr. Chris Holbrook and Dr. Roselee Bancroft, faculty in the English Department, fostered my love of writing and reading and helped me find a voice and perspective. Plus, Roselee was a great Scrabble player!”
Margaret received her first real job through her ALC connections. She cold-called Hilda Gay Legg, a member of ALC’s Board of Trustees. She told Hilda’s secretary that she was an Alice Lloyd alumnus and would like to meet her. After being invited to her office, about twenty minutes into their conversation, Hilda said, “So, you want a job. What am I going to do with an English major?” Margaret left that afternoon with a job and a life-long friend and mentor. “Mike Duncan was also an encouragement and support to me when I started my career at The Center for Rural Development,” she said, “and we worked together on launching the youth leadership program, Rogers Scholars.”
Margaret attended the University of Kentucky as a Caney Scholar and obtained a Master of Arts in English in 2002. She earned a Master of Public Administration in 2008 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Administration in 2010, both at UK, as well. Her dissertation was “Federal Funding of Nonprofit Organizations: Impacts, Oversight, and Accountability.”
Margaret’s professional accomplishments include multiple positions at The Center for Rural Development (Somerset, KY) between 1995 and 2000, as Assistant Director of Development at Morehead State University (Morehead, KY) from 2000 to 2005, and as Assistant Professor of Government at Morehead State University, School of Public Affairs, College of Business and Public Affairs from 2009 to 2011.
Margaret has been recognized for her contributions as a Faculty Member in Residence, Salamanca, Spain, in Summer 2017; for receiving the James Madison University Office of International Programs Emerging Scholar Award, 2009; and for the Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations Fellowship, 2005-2007, at the University of Kentucky.
She is a member of the ARNOVA, the lnternational Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR); the lnternational Leadership Academy (lLA); the Association for Public Budgeting and Finance (ABFM); and Academy of Management (Public and Nonprofit Division).
Margaret has authored numerous research articles, including recent publications: Taming the Tiger: Purposes and Tactics of Leadership in Systems, Journal of Leadership Studies (2022); A Rural Perspective on COVID Responses: Access, Interdependence, and Community, Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership (2021); and Capital Structure Determinants for Arts Nonprofits, Nonprofit Management and Leadership (2021).
In addition to her professional career, Margaret has also served in various charitable capacities, such as: Children of Anselm Incorporated, Shenandoah County Hope Pregnancy Center, and United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
A native of Monticello, Kentucky, she also has family roots in Perry County. Margaret has been married to David Sloan for 28 years, and they currently reside in New Market (Shenandoah Valley), Virginia, with their four children: Lochinvar, Willough, Dulcinea, and Daniel.
Margaret left us with these reflections: “I’ve been mightily blessed in my life with encouraging friends and mentors, opportunities for growth and development, and a wonderful, loving family who have supported me all along the way. God used my time at ALC to center me on His path for my life. I will forever remember that moment in graduation when so many of us raised our hands during the ceremony as the first in our families to graduate from college.”