John and Tracie Jacquemin’s gift for the Hylton Center extends a family commitment to philanthropy. Photo by Christopher Bobo.
Former George Mason University Board of Visitors member John Jacquemin and his wife, Tracie Jacquemin, have made a generous leadership commitment to support the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas.
The five-year, $1,000,000 pledge from The Jacquemin Family Foundation will support the Hylton Center building fund and the center’s long-term endowment. The Large Rehearsal Hall in the center’s Education and Rehearsal Wing, which opened in 2019, will be named The Jacquemin Family Foundation Rehearsal Hall in their honor. This room is the wing’s signature space, serving as an elegant recital hall and community gathering place in addition to its key role in hosting all types of rehearsals.
“We are so grateful to John and Tracie and their family for their transformational support of the Hylton Performing Arts Center,” said Rick Davis, executive director of the Hylton Center and dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “The Jacquemins have been passionate supporters of the arts in this region, and great friends to George Mason University. To see their family’s commitment to the arts through naming the Large Rehearsal Hall is a testament to the power of the arts to build community.”
John Jacquemin is a current member of the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees and served on the university’s Board of Visitors from 2012 to 2017. He is president and CEO of Mooring Financial Corp., a private investment firm based in Tysons, Va. that he founded in 1982. The couple’s oldest daughter, Juliana, is a 2014 graduate of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The Jacquemin Family Foundation, established in 1997, supports charitable causes across Northern Virginia and the Greater Washington region, especially in the fields of education, the arts, environmental conservation, housing, hunger, and early childhood education.
Both John and Tracie deeply appreciate the role of the Hylton Center as a vital gathering place for the region’s arts community. “The Hylton Center is a real jewel for this part of Virginia,” said John Jacquemin. “Making our support for it visible in this way represents the commitment I feel to Mason after all my involvement with the university.”
“How many students might not even be in college were it not for George Mason?” Jacquemin added. “Look at how many first-generation students we have—the first in their families to attend college. That’s something to be very proud of.”
The impact of the Jacquemins’ philanthropy at Mason extends well beyond the Hylton Center. The Education Abroad Scholarship, established by the family in 2016, provides support to study abroad for at least a dozen deserving Mason students each year. Jacquemin previously established a similar scholarship at his alma mater, Penn State. Born in France before emigrating to the U.S. as a child, he returned there as an undergraduate for his own year of study abroad. “I saw in my classmates who went how it could be a life-changing experience for so many people,” he said.
The Mason undergraduates are a group the Jacquemins enjoy meeting each semester when the students give presentations about their experience. “It may be only a $1,000 grant, but that money might have paid for their air fare, or given them spending money, so that they could enter the program,” said Tracie. Jacquemin. “Many of the recipients are from low-income families, so even a relatively small amount can make a big difference for them.”
The Jacquemins are also significantly involved with the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) in Front Royal, where they established a research fellowship to fund PhD candidates in 2018. The couple’s youngest daughter, Marissa, who studies sustainable agriculture at the University of California, Davis, attended the SMSC summer program while in high school. In an ongoing effort with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), the Jacquemins installed an antenna/receiver on their farm in Rappahannock County to track grassland birds that have been radio-tagged by SCBI researchers—one of only three such locations in Virginia. It’s a fruitful collaboration that combines John Jacquemin’s evident enthusiasm for wildlife and the outdoors with the family’s long-standing dedication to philanthropy, and to Mason.
—Rob Riordan, January 25, 2022