An Interview with Robert Cozzens, Mason Professor for 40 Years

Posted: April 18, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Colleen Kearney Rich

Robert Cozzens
Robert Cozzens

On Thursday, April 17, Robert F. Cozzens was recognized for 40 years of service to the university. This is the second year that Mason recognized this service milestone.

Also recognized for 40 years of service were George Mushrush, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and retired faculty member Martin Cohen.

For more than 30 years, Cozzens, a professor of chemistry, has been involved in research on the interaction of laser radiation with materials, including polymeric composites, metals, coatings, ceramics and biological material (especially the eye).

He has published and presented numerous research papers and has served as an expert witness involving patent litigation. More recently, his research has focused on the lethality of high-energy lasers on anti-ship missiles and the protection of eyes and sensors from laser radiation.

During his tenure at Mason, Cozzens has also served as a senior research scientist at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

He received a BS in chemistry and a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Virginia.

What brought you to George Mason College?

Convenient location and a new start-up college that looked like it would be interesting and challenging to be part of during its growth and development period. I was serving as a postdoctoral research associate funded by the National Research Council National Academy of Sciences.

What were the students like then?

Most were fairly good. Some of the best students we have had were in the department during those first few years.

Looking back on 40 years, what was the high point for you?

There are several. I served as the director of two self-studies by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for the accreditation of Mason. I also served as the deputy director of the George Mason Institute for Science and Technology (GMI) working directly for Dr. J. Wade Gilley, then the senior vice president under [Mason] President George Johnson. The goal of GMI was to establish ties between the university and its faculty with the high-technology companies that at that time were emerging and propagating in Northern Virginia. That was an exciting, interesting, high-growth period in Mason’s history.

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