A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Board Appoints Mason’s Sixth President

By Mason Spirit contributor on December 15, 2011

The George Mason University Board of Visitors (BOV) has unanimously selected Ángel Cabrera to serve as the next president of George Mason University.

Cabrera, 44, is currently president of the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, ranked consistently as the leading school of international business in the world. He has served in this capacity since 2004. Prior to joining Thunderbird,Cabrera was professor and dean at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, from 1998 to 2004. IE is often listed by the international media among the top European business schools.

“George Mason University has gained distinction as a major teaching and research institution, thanks to the great leadership of Alan Merten and his wife, Sally,” says Ernst Volgenau, rector of the Board of Visitors. “Dr. Merten has been our president for more than 15 years. After he announced his retirement, a search committee, ably led by Lovey Hammel, and the Board of Visitors worked hard to identify someone with the skills, vision, and energy to build on Alan’s accomplishments. It is the unanimous decision of the Board of Visitors that Dr. Ángel Cabrera is that person. Dr. Cabrera is a renowned scholar and a proven leader, and he is ably complemented by his wife, Beth. We believe we have selected an individual who is not only perfect for where Mason is now but where we hope to be in the years to come.”

The native of Spain is the sixth president of Mason since the General Assembly granted the university independence in 1972 as a freestanding institution of higher learning.

“After eight wonderful years at Thunderbird, I am honored to have been asked to lead one of the most innovative institutions in American higher education,” says Cabrera. “I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of a great educator and leader, President Alan Merten, and I look forward to working with such a talented community of faculty and administrators.”

The press conference was held in the Mason Inn.

The selection of Cabrera follows an extensive search conducted by the BOV that began when Dr. Merten announced his intention to retire, effective June 30, 2012. Merten became Mason’s fifth president in 1996.

“As chair of the search committee that recommended Dr. Cabrera, I could not be more excited at the prospect that he will be our institution’s next chief executive,” says Mason alumna Lovey Hammel, BS ’88, who is also a BOV member and served as chair of the search committee. “The members of the search committee worked extremely hard as they reviewed portfolios of leaders from a range of fields, including education, the private sect,or and public service. The search was extensive and comprehensive, and the result, I am confident, is one in which all of us will take great pride. Cabrera brings with him an impressive global vision, an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in keeping with Mason’s, and an impressive commitment to collaboration.”

Cabrera is a recognized global leader and management educator whose work and expertise have been tapped by top international organizations. The World Economic Forum named him a Global Leader for Tomorrow in 2002, a Young Global Leader in 2005 and chairman of the Global Agenda Council for promoting entrepreneurship in 2008. In 2007, the United Nations asked him to chair the international task force that developed the “Principles for Responsible Management Education,” a voluntary framework to promote global corporate citizenship subscribed to by more than 300 business schools worldwide. He has been recognized by the Aspen Institute as a Henry Crown Fellow and by Financial Times as one of the top 20 business school leaders in the world.

An outspoken advocate of corporate social responsibility and management responsibility, Cabrera in 2005 inspired a student-led initiative that resulted in Thunderbird becoming the first business school in the world to formally adopt a professional oath of honor, a commitment to social responsibility and professional ethics taken by all graduate students. Also in 2005, the school established Thunderbird for Good, a philanthropic effort to provide business education to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Since then, several hundred women entrepreneurs have been trained in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, and Peru.

Cabrera met with members of the Student Media immediately following the press conference.

Dr. Cabrera earned his PhD and MS from Georgia Institute of Technology, which he attended as a Fulbright Scholar, and a BS and MS in engineering from Madrid Polytechnical University, Spain’s premier engineering school. He has also written numerous papers in leading academic journals and presented at conferences. His book Being Global: How to Think, Act and Lead in a Transformed World will be published this spring by Harvard Business Review Press.

Dr. Cabrera is married to Beth Cabrera, an organizational psychologist. They have two children.

By Daniel Walsch

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