“I grew up with George Mason,” Jimmy Hazel (JD ’84) said, and he meant it literally. The George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees chair was speaking to a room packed with Mason supporters who had come together during Homecoming Week for the dedication of the James W. Hazel Conference Room in Merten Hall on the Fairfax campus.
The Hazel family, which helped to found the university, remains legendary around Fairfax. Jimmy’s childhood home was right near the intersection of Braddock Road and Rte. 123, a short distance from where the campus started. “I remember going out on University Drive one time when I was a teenager, and I held the stepladder while my dad pruned the trees,” Jimmy recalled. “He wasn’t satisfied with the way they looked,” so the elder Hazel—Jimmy’s father Til—just went out and did it himself.
Lesson learned. After gaining his law degree from Mason, Jimmy helped formed a lobbying firm and eventually became a key advisor in the Warner administration. Also a lifelong outdoorsman, Jimmy then founded Angler Environmental, one of the region’s top environmental consultants. He has previously served on Mason’s Board of Visitors and as the Alumni Association president. The former Mason Alumnus of the Year and his wife Sally established the Hazel Scholars Endowment Fund in 2011 with a gift of $2 million.
“I thank my Dad in particular because he instilled in me and in my siblings a belief that if you’re going to be part of a community, you need to dedicate yourself to doing something to make the community better than when you found it,” he told friends and family at the February 11 ceremony. “I chose to do that at George Mason and it’s been a real pleasure to do that over the years.”
February 17, 2016 / RR