Photo of Alumni Donors

Photo (Caption Below)
Brian Drummond, JD '88, and Cathy Lemmon, BA '86 and MA '93, Alumni Association president and president-elect, respectively, with President Merten, center, at the luncheon preceding the Board of Visitors' meeting on February 18. During the luncheon, Campaign Chair

Sid Dewberry announced that the campaign had exceeded its $110 million goal.



The Mason Spirit: The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of George Mason University

Alumni Help Advance Campaign

By Denise St.Ours

The numbers prove it. Alumni are catching the spirit and making a difference in the ongoing success of The Campaign for George Mason University. The latest figures show that nearly half of the 40,060 campaign donors are alumni and their $4.9 million in gifts and commitments have helped push the total raised beyond the initial $110 million campaign goal 17 months ahead of schedule.

“We are excited about the number of alumni participating in the campaign and the important connections being established,” said university president Alan G. Merten. “Not only are George Mason graduates providing annual support, they are funding endowments, setting up bequests, initiating donor challenges, and volunteering their time. Alumni are engaged and involved, energizing the campaign at every level.”

To date, nearly $115 million in gifts and commitments has been received in support of George Mason's first comprehensive fund-raising initiative, including $15.3 million for the endowment and $76.9 million for current use. The campaign, which began July 1, 1998, runs through June 30, 2005, and all gifts and pledges received during this period are included in the total. During the final year, the goal is to exceed the initial fund-raising benchmark by a substantial margin to strengthen existing university programs and fund emerging opportunities.

The Campaign By the Numbers

  • $4.9 million - Alumni gifts
  • $114.9 million - All gifts
  • $17,973 - Number of alumni donors
  • $40,060 - Number of all donors
  • $42,362 - Number of alumni gifts
  • $83,817 - Number of all gifts

Figures are as of May 1 and include gifts and pledges received since July 1, 1998.

Alumni Impact

The impact of alumni on the campaign is evident in many areas. For example, George Mason University Foundation trustee Michael G. Anzilotti, MBA '83 and LHD '03, helped facilitate the creation of the First Virginia Bank Faculty Fellowship Endowment in the School of Management. Sunrise Assisted Living, cofounded by university Board of Visitors' member and former foundation trustee Teresa M. Klaassen, BS Business Administration '77, advanced the creation of an assisted living program—one of the first in the country—within the College of Nursing and Health Science (CNHS); former trustee and Board of Visitor member James W. Hazel, JD '84, and his wife, Sally, provided timely support to the Center for History and New Media endowment. Marilynn D. Bersoff, MBA '00, and foundation trustee Edward H. Bersoff, her husband, initiated a faculty fellowship endowment in the School of Information Technology and Engineering.

And, of the 70 scholarship endowments that have been established since the beginning of the campaign, 15 were initiated and funded by alumni and 9 were established in memory of alumni by former classmates, family, and friends.

Alumni are also challenging other George Mason graduates to join together to support particular initiatives. The CNHS Faculty Achievement Fund resulted from a challenge initiated by Camille T. Barry, MSN '86, DNSc '89, and PhD '92, to help raise awareness and funds for professional development and research opportunities. The Forensics Alumni and Friends Endowment Fund, which supports scholarships and activities relating to the forensics team, received strong support from alumni. In addition, the School of Law's We Help Each Other Fund, which helps offset hikes in tuition and fees, is the result of an anonymous student donation that inspired other classmates and alumni to give.

In the area of deferred giving, alumni are also making their mark, providing future support to the university through bequests and other types of planned gifts. Nearly half the members of the Legacy Society, which recognizes those who have made provisions for planned gifts to the university, are alumni. Regina J. Smith, BS Psychology '92 and MAIS '97, and her husband, foundation trustee Charles H. Smith Jr., serve as the Legacy Society's honorary cochairs.

Annual support among alumni is also increasing thanks to the launch last year of the Alumni Campaign, which prompted a record 286 alumni to make President's Circle ($1,000 and above) gifts and pledges totaling $1.1 million during fiscal year 2003. This initiative was led by Edward J. Newberry, BA Communication '84 and BS Business Administration '84. Robert P. Callahan, JD '86, heads the President's Circle this year.

Currently, the Spirit Phase of the Alumni Campaign is moving toward garnering contributions of any size from at least 8,000 alumni by June 30. These gifts are helping to broaden the university's base of support and are a factor in the U.S.News & World Report annual ranking of universities.

Getting Involved

Since its earliest planning stages, the campaign has benefited from the leadership of alumni in key volunteer positions. For example, Lovey L. Hammel, BS Marketing '88, as the then-chair of the university foundation, played a central role in the campaign's public kickoff in April 2002. And the leadership of the Alumni Campaign Steering Committee, made up of 25 George Mason graduates, helped coordinate the successful launch of the Alumni Campaign. Alumni also serve on the general Campaign Committee, the Annual Fund Committee, and various other unit committees and advisory boards.

George Mason graduates are directly involved in the campaign in other ways as well. They are participating in phonathons and thankathons in which they call fellow alumni to garner and recognize support. Alumni are also sending letters to former classmates to urge them to support the Spirit Phase of the campaign.

“I am grateful for the growing enthusiasm and commitment of our alumni,” says Merten. “This campaign, which is helping to advance our educational mission, is also creating a tradition that other, more established schools, have taken for granted. Go, Patriots!”

For more information about The Campaign for George Mason University, call 703-993-8850, visit, or e-mail

“Alumni are engaged and involved, energizing the campaign at every level.”

—President Alan G. Merten