For most couples, the “how we met” story is one they enjoy telling and retelling to friends and family, often accompanied by a little good-natured disagreement about the details.
While that’s true for Dan and Patty Wotring, they also have another option. The Mason stalwarts can now tell any interested friends: just go visit campus and read our plaque.
The newly-named Wotring Family Courtyard, dedicated on July 15, recognizes Dan Wotring, BIS ’97, and his wife Patty for their decades of service and generosity to George Mason University. As the dedication plaque reads, “In this courtyard in 1977, two students met for the first time—the beginning of a journey that led to love, marriage, two children, and countless memories for Dan and Patty.”
Located in front of Thompson Hall on the Fairfax Campus, the courtyard is indeed the place where more than 40 years ago the couple began their courtship. Thompson Hall and the other buildings facing the courtyard were the geographic, and social, center of campus when the pair were enrolled at Mason in the late 1970s (Dan returned to complete his degree in 1997). Both were student-athletes: Dan was a wrestler, and Patty played on the women’s basketball team.
As volunteers, donors, parents, and loyal alumni, the Wotrings have played a significant part in supporting Mason’s dramatic growth over the decades since. Their passionate support for Mason athletics has continued, and plays a central part in their lives. Together they have generously supported the wrestling team and other causes. In 2011, they established the Daniel R. and Margaret P. Wotring Wrestling Scholarship Endowment, the first endowed scholarship designated for men’s wrestling at Mason. Each year, the top wrestler at Mason receives the Dan Wotring Outstanding Wrestler award.
The Wotrings also provide an annual challenge gift for the Alumni-Athlete Giving Challenge, which typically raises well over $100,000 annually from 300 or more former student-athletes. Most recently, this year the couple made a generous five-year pledge to support the upcoming renovation of the wrestling room. A businessman, Dan is also a member of the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees, where he provides counsel for the university’s fundraising efforts.
The Wotring family tradition at Mason is a strong one, with four generations, including Dan’s mother and grandmother, having earned degrees at various points in their lives. Son Ray Wotring, BA ’05, continuing the tradition of service, begins a term on the Alumni Association Board of Directors this year.
Family and friends, including a large contingent of Mason alumni, were on hand to honor Dan and Patty at the dedication event.
“We could not be any happier or more proud to associate the Wotring family name with this campus,” President Ángel Cabrera said at the gathering. “You set the standard for the kind of alumni that we aspire to have … I know how much Mason means to you, but believe me, the Wotring name means just as much to Mason.”
July 17, 2019 / Rob Riordan