Nearly 13,000 members of the George Mason University community—alumni, faculty and staff, parents, students and friends—provided more than $70 million in philanthropic support during fiscal year 2015, exceeding the previous year’s total by nearly $16 million. This total represents the university’s best fundraising year to date, supporting financial aid and scholarships, research and teaching, student programs, and university operations.
“We set records this year and surpassed our 2015 goal; at the same time, we recognize we still have much to do,” said Janet Bingham, PhD, vice president for advancement and alumni relations and president of the George Mason University Foundation. “We continue to make progress because of our generous donors, and I can’t thank them enough for their support.”
Top gifts to the university included $10 million from the Peterson Family Foundation to support the College of Health and Human Services’ new building and scholarship and program support for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, $4 million from Allen and Tera Barnes to create a scholarship endowment, and $2 million from the Sterling Family Foundation to create the Donna R. and David E. Sterling Endowed Chair in Science Education.
Other notable gifts included:
- Former law professor John F. Witherspoon pledged $500,000 to support the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property in the School of Law.
- Late marketing professor Hale Tongren and his wife, Sally, bequeathed $500,000 toward the Tongren Marketing Endowed Scholarship in the School of Business.
- Bette Burch, BSN ’80, provided $100,000 toward the new home of the College of Health and Human Services.
More than 10 percent of funds raised were gifts and pledges to the university’s endowment. These gifts are critical, Bingham noted, since they help provide long-term financial stability for Mason.
“Nationally, state support for operational budgets in higher education is declining, and Virginia is no exception,” Bingham said. “Philanthropy helps make up the difference and allows us to work on keeping the cost of Mason accessible for a wide variety of students.”
Mason’s fiscal year ran from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015. All totals for fiscal year 2015 remain preliminary, pending the completion of an audit this fall.
“The success of our giving this year is a vote of confidence in Mason from those who know it best,” said Bingham.