While You Were Out: What You Missed at Mason over the Summer

Posted: August 29, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Many students and a majority of faculty members were away from Mason over the summer, but that doesn’t mean activities came to a standstill.

Here are a few highlights you might have missed; to read more, check the Gazette archives.


Donors Enable Mason’s Status as an ‘All-Steinway’ University. The Mason Music Department has added 16 brand-new Steinway grand pianos to the music practice rooms as a result of a donor initiative spearheaded by Sidney O. Dewberry, who was rector of Mason’s Board of Visitors at the time.

Mason and Professor Received Awards for Disability Support. The Arc of Northern Virginia presented a special Lifetime Achievement Award to Mason for its contribution to people with disabilities through its employment programs, the LIFE (Learning Into Future Environments) Program and other initiatives. Michael Behrmann, director of Mason’s Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities, received a Community Award for showing leadership in special education.

Albom and Lethem Headline Fall for the Book Festival. Northern Virginia’s largest and oldest literary event returns to Mason Sept. 23–28.

Mason Received National Honor for Maintaining Safe Campuses. Mason was awarded the 2007 Jeanne Clery Campus Safety Award, presented annually by Security On Campus Inc., “in honor of schools that have done extraordinary things to make college university students safer.”

Mason’s Writing Program Received National Recognition. Mason’s Writing Across the Curriculum Program is recognized in the 2008 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges as one of the nation’s top “Programs to Look For.”

Hurricane Digital Memory Bank Earned Award. The American Association of State and Local History recognized Mason’s Center for History and New Media and the University of New Orleans with an Award of Merit for Leadership in History.

A new collection from film, television and stage actor Robert Prosky joined the already extensive theatrical collection at University Libraries.


Workplace Coaches Help Employees Help Themselves. The new Workplace Coaching Program sponsored by Human Resources and staffed by trained Mason employees helps employees understand both what they expect of others and what others expect of them.

Mason’s World Ball Project was the result when Geography Department Chair Allan Falconer heard that Mason men’s basketball coach Jim Larranaga gave his summer camp kids geography quizzes.

Dining Services Adjusts Hours, Offerings in Response to Mason Community Input. This fall, new developments in Dining Services will change what the Mason community is eating, how they are ordering and picking up food and when and where they can dine.

President Merten Commits to ‘Climate Neutral’ Campus. President Alan Merten committed to sharply reducing and eventually eliminating all of Mason’s global warming emissions, as well as accelerating the research and educational efforts to re-stabilize Earth’s climate as he signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment along with leaders of 332 other institutions across the country.

Golf Outing Raises Funds for Rossell Endowment. The seventh annual Prince William Golf Classic raised more than $7,000 for the David W. Rossell Scholarship Endowment, named in honor of the former associate provost who passed away this summer.


Mobley to Assume Provost Post at Bennett College. Marilyn Sanders Mobley, associate provost for educational programs, left Mason in July to become provost at Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C.

Nobel Winner Smith to Depart; Mason to Continue Focus on Experimental Economics. Vernon Smith, professor of economics and law and 2002 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, plans to leave Mason in January 2008 and join the faculty at Chapman University. Mason will build on the research initiated by Smith by hiring additional scholars to be part of the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.

‘Doc Nix’ Makes Bobblehead Status. Mason’s new Patriot Pep Band director is the subject of a bobblehead figurine in a fund-raiser for Thomas Edison High School’s Marching Band.

Sharon Cullen was June Employee of the Month, Erica Hernandez was July Employee of the Month and James Gentry was August Employee of the Month.

Shukla Receives International Meteorological Prize. The Executive Council of the World Meteorological Organization awarded Jagadish Shukla, Distinguished Professor of Climate Dynamics, with the 52nd International Meteorological Organization Prize.

Alumnus Elected Chairman of Mason Foundation Board. The George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees elected Michael Anzilotti, president of Virginia Commerce Bancorp Inc., as its new chairman.

Tracy D. Lee, associate vice president for university development, was named interim vice president for university development and alumni affairs, and David Roe, chief financial officer of the George Mason University Foundation, was named acting president of the foundation.

Mason Announces New BOV Members, Reappointments. Terri Beirne of the law firm McCandlish Holton PC, and C. Gibson Dunn, consultant in psychiatry with Fairfax County Alcohol and Drug Services, were appointed to Mason’s Board of Visitors. Current members Byron Marchant, executive vice president, general counsel and chief administrative officer of Black Entertainment Television; and J. Knox Singleton, president and CEO of Inova Health System, were reappointed. Two Mason students, Bryan Painter and Kate Pisano, will serve as student representatives on the board.

Mason Psychology Students Win FAA Competition for Runway Safety Project. A team of Mason psychology students led by psychology professor Raja Parasuraman won a $2,500 prize from the Federal Aviation Administration for a plan to improve runway safety at the nation’s airports.

Ziegler Breaks Swimming World Record. Freshman Kate Ziegler broke swimming’s oldest world record in June, winning the 1,500-meter freestyle at the TYR Meet of Champions with a time of 15:42.54.

Fall Brings New Class of Distinguished Faculty to Mason. Outstanding scholars from all over the world join the faculty this fall.


Mason Astrophysicists Develop Technique for “Weighing” Black Holes. George Mason scientist Lev Titarchuk, professor of computational and data sciences, and his former PhD student and Mason alumni Nikolai Shaposhnikov have successfully tested a new method.

Brain Waves May Offer Insights on Aging. Mason’s Department of Psychology is using a brand-new noninvasive high-density EEG system to study perception and cognition in healthy young and older adults.

Mason Study Finds Virginia Residents Sharply Divided on Immigration. A survey by the Mason Project on Immigration in the Center for Social Science Research showed Virginians are reluctant to have the government provide additional services to undocumented immigrants. At the same time, racial, socio-economic and political factors draw severe lines in the public’s opinion on immigration.

Getting Down and Dirty: Professor Builds Wetland Research Area on Campus. Changwoo Ahn, assistant professor of environmental science and policy at Mason, is creating a high-tech outdoor wetlands research area in a dry pond basin near the intramural fields on the western half of the Fairfax Campus.

New Digs

New Building for Volgenau School. The first shovel went into the ground on July 17 for the new building on the Fairfax Campus.

Something to Celebrate. Mason’s Child Development Center held a grand opening celebration in June for its new facility in the northeast section of the Fairfax Campus.

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