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A Message from the President

Since the beginning of George Mason University's existence, one thing above all others that has characterized our institution is its people. Obviously, no college or university could exist without people. But in the case of George Mason, it has been and continues to be the spirit and very essence of our students, faculty, and staff that distinguishes us from our sister institutions throughout the United States.

In discussions about George Mason University, for instance, how many times does the word "entrepreneurial" pop up? In my case, I hear it quite often. In fact, I myself use it a great deal when I am addressing various groups, including George Mason graduates, prospective students, donors, legislators, and so on. To me, this word typifies both the nontraditional attitude of our faculty and staff and the independent, yet serious, commitment of our students. By exhibiting an entrepreneurial spirit, they all share a willingness to move beyond the traditional boundaries of education in order to, in the case of faculty and staff, better help students meet their educational goals, and in the case of the students themselves, expand their own knowledge base and horizons. The result, to which I know many of you graduates will attest, is that there exists a vibrant and dynamic environment at George Mason University that allows all who wish to flourish.

One of the primary reasons for George Mason's growing success is the great diversity that we enjoy on all three of our campuses. More than 120 countries are represented at George Mason by students, faculty, and staff. Collectively, the diversity they bring to our institution provides us with an immeasurable richness. George Mason University has been recognized nationally for its diversity and commitment to providing current and prospective scholars with opportunities for greater cross-cultural interaction and understanding. According to a recent survey conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education, George Mason is among the top 10 colleges and universities in the nation in the categories of number of minority students and number of students who study abroad.

At present, our total student enrollment is 24,180, of which 6,437, or 26.6 percent, are classified as minorities. To put this in perspective, in 1990, 3,317, or 16.3 percent, of our student population were minorities. Presently, we have enrolled 2,344 Asian American students, 1,333 African American students, 1,051 Hispanic American students, and 64 Native American students.

Since 1989, George Mason has grown by 22 percent in total student head count. To this day, enrollment increases continue to be higher among all minority groups compared to nonminorities. Since 1989, the number of African American students has increased more than 103 percent, Asian American student enrollment by 117 percent, and Hispanic American student enrollment by 143 percent.

Alan G. Merten

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