40th Anniversary, Merten Tenure Celebrated at Gala
By Beth Johnson
Nearly 650 guests gathered April 28 at the Patriot Center for a night of recognition, dinner, and dancing as George Mason University celebrated its 40th anniversary as an independent institution. The 40 Years of George Mason University: A Legacy of Leadership gala also celebrated the 16-year tenure of Alan Merten, who will retire as university president at the end of June.
Guests included alumni, faculty, students, and members of the Northern Virginia community. Congressman Frank Wolf; Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton, JD ’92; former Congressman Tom Davis; former Senator Chuck Robb; Virginia State Senator Chap Petersen; Delegate David Bulova; Delegate Jim Scott; and many prominent state and local officials were among those in attendance.
Nicole Livas, BA Speech Communication ’90, co-anchor for WAVY News 10 in Hampton Roads, Virginia, hosted the evening’s program, which featured speakers Jim Corrigan, BIS Computer Users Interfaces ’81, former student government president; John “Til” Hazel, local businessman and philanthropist; K. David Boyer, community leader and a former member of Mason’s Board of Trustees; and Lovey Hammel, BS Business Administration ’88, current Board of Visitors member and chair of the recent presidential search committee.
The program also featured video segments highlighting Mason’s history and interviews with its founding fathers and distinguished leaders. At the program’s conclusion, Alan and Sally Merten were honored with the presentation of the Alumni Association’s Gold Medallion Award for Exceptional Service as well as a commemorative book containing notes and well wishes from members of the Mason community. The tribute concluded with a champagne toast to the couple.
“The 40th anniversary gala celebratory dinner was a most wonderful and joyous event,” said President Merten. “Normally, I am fully briefed on the details of upcoming major events, but the program that was put together was full of happy and very touching surprises.”
Fifty-five sponsors generously supported the gala. The net proceeds from these sponsorships enabled the university to exceed its $5 million campaign goal to honor the first couple and establish the Merten Scholars Endowment. The Merten Scholars will provide a four-year, full-ride award as part of the University Scholars program. The Merten Campaign, launched last year, also supports other pressing university priorities.
“Mason’s devoted donors and dedicated gala sponsors really helped make this $5 million goal a reality,” said Marc Broderick, vice president for university development and alumni affairs.
Photos courtesy of Risdon Photography.
You Make A Better Mason
Your support is essential in building a strong future for George Mason University. While gifts to all areas of the university are needed and welcomed, there are a few areas where you as a donor can make a significant and immediate impact:
- Scholarship support for Mason students
- Faculty and staff excellence
- Maintaining and creating outstanding facilities
When you click below, you can designate your gift to the area that is most meaningful to you. Thank you for Supporting Mason!