The Mason Spirit

The Campaign for George Mason University Announced in Style

Photos from the Event

In the soaring atrium of the George W. Johnson Center, 260 alumni and university friends celebrated the launch of The Campaign for George Mason University on April 6. The black- tie dinner for major donors and community leaders kicked off George Mason's first comprehensive fund-raising campaign. The event coincided with the 30th anniversary of George Mason as an independent university.

Amid much applause, Lovey L. Hammel, B.S. '88, chair of the Board of Trustees of the George Mason University Foundation and president of Employment Enterprises Inc., announced the campaign's goal to raise more than $110 million in private support by June 2005. Funding priorities are student scholarships and services, faculty endowments, faculty research and project support, facilities support, community outreach, and unrestricted support.

"Imagine combining George Mason's entrepreneurial approach to higher education with significant private resources," said President Alan G. Merten during the kickoff program. "The result would be the truly great university that we know is George Mason's destiny."

Sidney O. Dewberry, campaign chair and chair of the Dewberry Companies, announced that $78 million has been raised already during the "quiet," or planning, phase of the campaign that began several years ago. Leadership gift announcements included a new $4 million gift of property from members of the Lynch family for the planned retreat and conference center at Mason Neck, Va., and the designation of a gift by the late Jim McKay and his wife, Ruth, to fund major endowments for scholarships and aquatic programs.

In addition, the acquisition of the one-millionth print volume for the University Libraries was announced. The symbolic volume is actually a collection of rare and historic works donated by Daniele C. Struppa, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Joining Merten, Hammel, and Dewberry as kickoff hosts was Edwin Meese III, rector of the university Board of Visitors and Ronald Reagan Fellow in Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation. Participants in the dinner program included student speakers and musicians, Mason Ambassadors, university cheerleaders, and the Masonettes. Among the speakers were George W. Johnson, university president emeritus, who led the university's growth from 1978 to 1996, and former Virginia governor A. Linwood Holton Jr., who signed the legislation officially separating George Mason College from the University of Virginia in 1972.

A 21-member Campaign Committee is directing volunteer fund-raising efforts. Alumni on the committee are Hammel; Michael G. Anzilotti, M.B.A. '83, president and CEO of First Virginia Bank; Katherine K. Clark, M.B.A. '95, cofounder of the former Landmark Systems Corporation; and James W. Hazel, J.D. '84, Board of Visitors member and special advisor to Gov. Mark Warner. Anzilotti, Clark, and Hazel are also University Foundation trustees.

More information about the campaign can be found online at