GIVING TO MASON: All gifts to the university can be designated to whatever purpose or cause the donor wishes, such as a specific scholarship fund, department, or program. Faculty and staff who wish to join their colleagues in giving can do so conveniently through payroll deductions, as well as by check or online.
More than one hundred Mason employees gathered January 31 at Dewberry Hall for the annual Faculty and Staff Donor Appreciation reception, a celebration of Mason’s growing culture of philanthropy.
Joined by President Ángel Cabrera and Dr. Beth Cabrera, attendees celebrated the successful completion of the Faster Farther campaign, which ended December 31 having raised more than $690 million since 2008 for hundreds of programs at George Mason University.
Mason alumnus David Atkins, BS Decision Science ’90, spoke on behalf of fellow faculty and staff who give to Mason. Atkins, who has worked at the university for 27 years, is director of licensing, marketing and administration in Auxiliary Services, where he directs the university-wide “Shop Mason” program. “I am inspired by the growth and success of George Mason,” Atkins said, “and I love telling the story when meeting with alumni and university business partners.”
Atkins was among the cofounders of the Black Alumni Chapter, which allowed him “to give back to Mason in a way that I found significant—that resonated with my core values.” With fellow members of the alumni chapter, he spearheaded the establishment of the Black Scholars Endowment Fund in 2011. The fund now stands at over $110,000 and has awarded six student scholarships, he said.
Encouraging his colleagues to continue their generosity, Atkins quoted Audrey Hepburn, saying “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
Picking up on that theme, President Ángel Cabrera said that because of Mason’s commitment to combining access with excellence, “we actually change lives, change trajectories. There is a before and after for students who come to Mason.”
Describing “the stories of grit, of determination, of success” that he often hears about Mason graduates from their parents and family, Cabrera challenged attendees to think about their impact today and in the future: “Twenty years from now, thirty years from now, other people will look back [on us]. It’s a huge responsibility. Our generation, we need to ask ourselves—what is it we did to make this place better? So far, I think we’re doing okay—I think we can answer that question with a great sense of pride.”
Nearly one thousand faculty and staff donate to Mason each year, Cabrera noted. That’s important, he said, because he can tell potential donors, “Join us in giving. We believe so much in this that we are doing it as well.”
Cabrera also told attendees humorously that, with each donation, “You actually cut a check to your own employer. That’s a little bit crazy. Stay crazy!”
Above: Staff and faculty of the College of Health and Human Services at the reception. Photos © Risdon Photography