Mason alumni and friends gathered at the Fairfax Campus on Tuesday evening, October 19 to celebrate the impending investiture of Mason’s eight president, Dr. Gregory Washington.
A reception held under a festive tent on the Merten Hall lawn was a chance for many alumni to return to group gatherings, after months away from friends and colleagues due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jenn Robinson, JM ’02, associate vice president for alumni relations, welcomed guests back to campus.
The event was one of several held during a weeklong celebration of the university’s new era, which culminates in the formal presidential investiture ceremony on Thursday, October 21. Dr. Washington’s tenure began on July 1, 2020, but celebrations were delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“As we prepare for our 50th year as an independent university, one thing is clear. You all play a central role in Mason’s history, in Mason’s story, and in Mason’s future,” said Trishana Bowden, vice president of advancement and alumni relations and president of the George Mason University Foundation. “This is a time for us to celebrate our university, its history, and its importance to us. It’s a time to renew our commitment to Mason, its values and its goals.”
President Washington pointed out that not only is Mason the largest and most diverse university in the state of Virginia, it has also been recognized as the number one university in the nation under 50 years old.
“Great universities start and end with great alumni, with great supporters,” said President Washington, who was joined at the reception by his wife, Nicole Washington. “What you see here is a proud, passionate cohort of graduates who have led the institution to become incredibly successful. They support that institution, and they proclaim that institution’s worth and impact on their individual lives. That’s what we’re asking from all of you. Just keep doing the great things that you’re doing, and then make sure people don’t forget where it came from.”
Bowden struck an equally inspirational note. “As we look to the future and continue our tradition of access, diversity, and innovation, it will be our alumni who will lead the way,” she said. “You are not part of our past. You help to shape our present and our future. It is you all that carry our message and carry on our legacy.”
Rob Riordan, October 20, 2021