In the mid-1970s, Mark McGettrick, BS Business Administration ’80, was living in Laurel, Maryland, when he was recruited to play basketball for Mason. At the time, the team was transitioning from Division II to Division I, and McGettrick, a 6′ 3″ guard with an “okay” game, as he modestly described his playing abilities back then, hadn’t even heard of Mason, which 30 years ago was a small regional university serving mostly Northern Virginia students.
But, oh, how times have changed. Today, Mason has one of Virginia’s largest enrollments, a burgeoning global reputation for excellent academics and research, and an ever-growing inventory of buildings, with a new one seemingly sprouting up each semester.
“I need a map to get around,” says McGettrick, adding that the school had only four or five academic buildings when he was a student here.
Growing right along with Mason over the years—professionally, that is—was McGettrick himself.
Starting out as a service representative with Dominion Resources two months after graduation, he has held 16 different positions with the company over 30 years. Today, he is Dominion’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, keeping tabs on the utility giant’s many investments and coffers.
But more important to those who work and study at Mason, McGettrick is one of the newest members of the university’s Board of Visitors, appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell last summer to sit on Mason’s governing body.
“No one ever would have believed it back then,” he says of his time as a student. McGettrick adds that he feels quite honored.
McGettrick, who lives in Richmond, says his long and distinguished business background is what caught the attention of university officials when he was first posed with the possibility of being on the board. As a member of the board’s Finance and Land-Use Committee, he’s tasked with many of the same goals found in his job with Dominion, such as keeping the budget in check. He says other goals include finding ways to keep tuition costs steady and helping Mason continue to grow in an affordable manner.
For much of his professional success, McGettrick credits the academic foundation he acquired as a student in what was then Mason’s emerging business program. He says he hopes to use his position on the board to raise the stature of the School of Management, as well as entice more alumni to get involved in the school.
Raising the stature of Mason men’s basketball team is not necessary, McGettrick admits, considering its dramatic run to the NCAA Final Four five years ago. And while this former Mason hoopster is a big fan of the team (he attended one of Mason’s regional games during the 2006 tournament), he says Mason’s growing prominence can be attributed to more than a winning athletics program.
“We know Mason has a good basketball team,” he says. “But Mason is building its reputation based on what it is offering the students here: the size of the school, the quality of the education. I think it has done a lot more than build a good basketball team.
“And that’s something I am very proud of.”