Harrisonburg is the county seat of Rockingham County. It was established in 1780 and was named for Thomas Harrison, who donated the land for the Rockingham County courthouse. Harrisonburg lies in the Shenandoah Valley about 115 miles (185 km) from Washington, Richmond, and Roanoke. The Blue Ridge Mountains are visible to the east and the Alleghany Mountains to the west. The city is the center of commerce and travel for the area. It is also home to three colleges and universities, of which James Madison University, with 11,500 students, is the largest.