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Lynches Donate $6.7 Million in Property and Funds

Edwin and Helen Lynch

Edwin and Helen Lynch, long-time friends of George Mason University, recently donated $6.7 million in property and funds to support the work of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) and to create an international retreat and conference center.

The gift includes the Lynches' Mason Neck home, Point of View, and contiguous 39 acres, which are valued at $4.2 million. The Lynches also are providing $2.5 million in funds to be used as seed money for the construction and maintenance of the conference center and for a five-year challenge grant to encourage further private support to assist the general programs and activities of ICAR.

A celebration commemorating the Lynches' gift was held on September 24, 2000, at the site of the planned center, which is located near George Mason's historic home, Gunston Hall. During the event, university president Alan G. Merten commended Ed and Helen Lynch for their foresight, philanthropy, and commitment to the university and ICAR.

"This gift is an inspiring example of the type of private support needed to build on George Mason's reputation for innovation, leadership, outreach, and excellence," said Merten. "The vision and hope that the Lynches entrust in this university challenge us to look ahead and continue our development as a pioneering academic and research institution, and an intellectual hub for Virginia, the nation, and the world."

Development of the property will proceed in several phases and will ultimately include a retreat and conference center, cottages for visiting scholars and distinguished guests, classroom and meeting space for small groups, and a state-of-the-art auditorium wired with interpretation and communications equipment.

"We accept the challenge of working with this spectacular piece of property and helping to transform the quality of life both locally and abroad," said ICAR director Sandra I. Cheldelin during the event program.

A Lifelong Dedication

The Lynches' generosity reflects their lifelong dedication to building a more civil society. The center will be used for retreat and learning purposes, and as a secluded place for negotiations to find rational, peaceful solutions to conflicts among individuals, groups, organizations, and nations. In addition, the facilities will be available to serve the greater George Mason community, as well as external groups.

For nearly two decades, Ed and Helen Lynch have invested themselves in ICAR's academic programs and its wide range of local, national, and international interventions and projects. As a George Mason University Foundation trustee and an ICAR advisory board member and chairman, Ed Lynch supported a framework of programs that have ensured a margin of excellence and distinction for the institute.

In 1987, the Lynches endowed ICAR's first chair and an annual lecture series in memory of Ed Lynch's parents, Vernon and Minnie. The following year, Ed Lynch helped establish ICAR's doctoral program, the first such program in the world. In 1996, Ed and Helen created the John W. Burton Endowment, named for one of ICAR's most distinguished professors.

The Lynches have been involved in other aspects of the university's development as well: Helen Lynch, as a long-time member of the Arts Gala Committee and member of the Mason Scholars Selection Committee, and Ed Lynch, as a member of the advisory board of the George Mason Fund for the Arts. Ed Lynch received the George Mason Medal, the university's highest honor, in 1995 for his exceptional service to the community, the commonwealth, and the nation.

A prominent Northern Virginia real estate businessman, Ed Lynch served as Fairfax County's sole member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1945 to 1947 and again from 1949 to 1954. Helen Lynch, an artist, has been involved in a number of community activities.

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