A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Faster Farther

By Corey Jenkins Schaut, MPA '07 on November 5, 2015

To be the best-possible world-class research university, George Mason University needs to answer an important question: where do we go from here?

It’s a question that university leadership has been diligently working to answer. The 2014 strategic plan and the university’s effort to define its intellectual signatures have strengthened Mason’s sense of direction as an institution. Now, all that’s needed is the resources to get there.

Enter “Faster Farther: The Campaign for George Mason University,” a comprehensive fundraising campaign that celebrates Mason’s extraordinary growth as well as the university’s bold plans for the future.

The $500 million campaign that launched in September and continues through 2018 seeks to raise the funds for three critical priorities: to improve students’ access to higher education and to provide them with the best possible experience while they are here; to recruit, retain, and reward Mason’s stellar faculty and enable them to lead groundbreaking research initiatives; and to provide the university with long-term financial stability that can transcend economic uncertainty.

To reach the goal, Mason needs those who are closest to the university—the alumni, the faculty and staff, the parents, the students, and the long-time friends—to participate and to be champions for the cause. It won’t be just a few who move Mason faster and farther than anyone can imagine—it will be many coming together with purpose and pride to ensure Mason can achieve its highest aspirations.

Three Priorities, One Vision: A Stronger Mason

The Power of Access

Education transforms lives. For nearly 170,000 graduates, Mason has opened the door to new opportunity. With the university anticipating another 100,000 alumni in the ranks by 2024, now is the time to remove barriers to a Mason degree, whether those impediments are physical location or financial aid. Not only do students need to have the access to higher education, but once they’ve achieved that goal they need further access, this time to the job market. Once students are ready to graduate, the university can help them get a headstart on their careers.

The Faster Farther Campaign will help Mason:

  • Increase financial aid resources.
  • Expand online learning programs.
  • Strengthen career-support services for students and alumni.

The Power of a Distinctive Place

Mason started with the idea that a university would add to the intellectual and cultural life of the Northern Virginia region. Half a century later, our campuses do just that. Mason is a place to explore ideas and problems, wonder in the beauty of the arts, and cheer on the home team. It is time to deepen those already vibrant connections and expand them.

The Faster Farther Campaign will help Mason:

  • Create a new home for the College of Health and Human Services that will combine in one location healthcare, research, and practice.
  • Expand our impact in the arts through renovations to the Center for the Arts in Fairfax and a new education wing for the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Prince William County.
  • Ensure our student-athletes have the necessary facilities to compete at the highest level in the Atlantic 10 conference.

The Power of Ideas in Action

Almost everyone can name a teacher who made a difference in his or her life. Some of those changemakers keep their office hours at Mason. Whether that person stood at the front of a classroom sharing ideas that are puzzles for the ages or stood beside students at a lab bench exploring scientific mysteries, faculty lead the way to intellectual discovery.

Recruiting and retaining the best faculty is critical. That means having resources to reward and recognize innovation and excellence in both scholarship and teaching. It also means giving faculty the chance to pursue research that leads to both career-changing discovery and to sharing in-the-moment learning experiences with students.

The Faster Farther Campaign will help Mason:

  • Establish new endowed faculty chairs and fellowships, providing resources that aren’t subject to the volatility of the state budget.
  • Create opportunities and networks for innovation, collaboration, and business acceleration, which will further ingenuity among faculty and students and enhance Mason’s reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Build upon the already powerful culture of faculty-student research collaboration by expanding opportunities for experiential learning.

The Power of Gifts that Endure

When Bette Burch, BSN ’80, made her leadership gift to Mason last year, she noted that she hoped others would follow in her footsteps.

“[A gift] doesn’t have to be big,” she said. “Even if everybody gave $100, with the number of people who have graduated from Mason, it would be a huge amount when you put it all together.”

Without realizing it, Burch defined the power of annual giving to Mason. Annual gifts to Mason are those that meet the university’s most pressing needs in an era of rapidly decreasing state support.

When more alumni and friends give, it raises Mason’s profile. Strong giving participation makes Mason more competitive when the university seeks grants, and it increases the institution’s visibility to prospective students.

The Faster Farther Campaign will help Mason:

  • Encourage participation by the entire Mason community, knowing that alumni and friends have a stake in the university’s future and share in the Mason Nation’s pride.
  • Build a strong and secure future for Mason by growing the university’s endowment.

­Learn more and follow the campaign’s progress at fasterfarther.gmu.edu.

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