Nearly 700 George Mason University supporters, alumni, faculty, and staff gathered Saturday evening, December 8, to celebrate the success of the Faster Farther campaign, which has achieved the biggest fundraising goal in George Mason’s history.
Calling George Mason “one of the most exceptional stories in higher education,” President Ángel Cabrera announced that over the campaign’s decade-long course, Mason has raised a total of more than $670 million to support students, faculty, research, and campus facilities. That number will continue to rise between now and the end of the calendar year, when the campaign officially ends. [Editor’s note: the final campaign figure reached $690 million].
“I wish I could somehow capture the spirit of this evening,” Cabrera told guests, “because this is the secret of the great American university: a community that comes together, that does whatever it takes to build a great institution for the service of everyone, today and tomorrow.”
Faster Farther was announced publicly in September 2015 with a $500 million goal—a goal that has been met and greatly exceeded. In 2016, Mason recorded its best fundraising year ever, $98.3 million, and that momentum has continued. More than 73,000 donors, including more than 26,000 alumni, have made gifts over the course of the campaign.
The black tie-optional gala was held in downtown Washington, D.C. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, its interior beautifully decorated for the evening and its exterior illuminated in green and gold. Rick Davis, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, served as master of ceremonies.
The program was highlighted by a performance by students from the Vocal Studies and Opera program, along with members of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. The event also included performances from Mason Music Productions, Mason’s Fife and Drum Corps, and a small ensemble from the Green Machine performing “Faster Farther,” an original composition by Andrew Velez, BM ’13, BA ’13, MEd ’16.
Tennille Parker, BA ’97, a scholarship recipient as an undergraduate and a past president of the Alumni Association, spoke on behalf of Mason alumni. “Mason opened the door for me and for so many others,” said Parker. “Scholarships open those doors for those of us who otherwise would have been unable to attend. For those who’ve heard of college, who’ve dreamed of it, but couldn’t make the gap between dreaming a reality.”
Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations Janet Bingham noted the many Mason achievements that philanthropy has contributed to. These include establishing nearly 300 new scholarship funds for students, the opening of Peterson Family Health Sciences Hall and Point of View, the success of the Antonin Scalia Law School, the naming of the Schar School of Policy and Government, and supporting Mason’s rise to tier-one research status.
“For all those accomplishments that we are very proud of, we’ve never lost sight of our fundamental mission of public service,” added President Cabrera. “…We are in the business of providing opportunity to every person of talent, no matter where they’re from, no matter what their background is. That’s what we do together.”