The 2016 President’s Circle Reception
Thank you was the message of the celebration as more than 300 friends and supporters of Mason gathered at the Center for the Arts on Sunday evening, December 11, for the 2016 President’s Circle reception. The annual tradition is an opportunity for the university’s leadership to thank its most loyal and generous supporters—those who have given at least $1,000 to further Mason’s mission in the past year, as well as those whose lifetime giving totals $100,000 or more.
The reason for those thanks is clear. “No university can do it alone,” said Janet Bingham, vice president for advancement and alumni relations as well as president of the George Mason University Foundation. “We rely increasingly on private philanthropic support to fulfill our mission to students and the community; we could not be more grateful that you have answered the call to advance Mason faster and farther.” Bingham noted that Faster Farther, the university’s comprehensive $500 million fundraising campaign publicly launched in fall 2015, is now more than 94% toward its goal.
The Center for the Arts sparkled in holiday red and gold for the evening as guests enjoyed conversation, laughter, and sweet treats handed out by two gaily dressed elves, Faster and Farther. There was also a selection of live jazz from the talented students and graduates of Mason’s School of Music, including vocals from class of 2017 undergraduate Ms. Sarah Moyers. Many guests went on to attend the Mason Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert in the Concert Hall, which began with seasonally appropriate Spanish and Spanish-inspired works for piano and orchestra and ended with a holiday singalong. The festivities were emceed by University President Ángel Cabrera, who also demonstrated his facility with the maracas on stage during the performance of Feliz Navidad.
Describing what makes Mason special, Cabrera said to the assembled guests, “Many schools boast about how selective they are. They think it’s an accomplishment to turn away as many students as possible. Here at Mason, we pride ourselves on the number of students we accept and help to achieve their dreams. That is how we measure success.”
President Cabrera added that some of Mason’s most outstanding accomplishments have come from students who could not afford a college education on their own. “Our students inspire me so much,” he shared, “and their success is one reason we celebrate with you tonight. As we build our university together, with your help, we can ensure that no one with talent is denied the opportunity for higher education.”
December 14, 2016 / RR & CM