Mason’s 2008 Commencement Has Record Number of Graduates

Posted: April 28, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

George Mason University will honor the largest graduating class in its history at the institution’s 41st Commencement on Saturday, May 17, at 10 a.m. in the Patriot Center. A total of 6,988 students will receive their degrees that day.

With this ceremony, Mason will have graduated more than 122,000 students in its history.

Norman Augustine
Norman Augustine

Norman R. Augustine, retired CEO and chairman of Lockheed Martin, former president of Martin Marietta Corporation and former acting secretary of the Army, will deliver the Commencement address.

Of the graduating class, 4,025 are receiving undergraduate degrees, 2,500 are receiving master’s degrees, 239 will be receiving doctorates, and 224 will be receiving law degrees.

The university will also be awarding the George Mason Medal to Milton and Carolyn Peterson, real estate developers and philanthropists. This is the university’s highest honorary award and is given by the Board of Visitors. The medal is designed to honor George Mason, the man. Those receiving the award have a record of service to their community, state or nation consistent with the level and quality of George Mason’s public service in his own time.

Milton and Carolyn Peterson
Milton and Carolyn Peterson

This year’s student speaker will be Marissa Herrmann of Richmond. She is receiving a bachelor’s degree in communication.

Norman Augustine, who will also receive the honorary doctorate of humane letters, was raised in Colorado and attended Princeton University, where he graduated with a BSE in aeronautical engineering, magna cum laude, and an MSE.

His career began in 1958 when he joined the Douglas Aircraft Company in California as a research engineer. From that position continuing all the way up to his retirement in 1997 as Lockheed Martin’s CEO, Augustine worked at different times in both the private and public sectors.

Following his time at the Douglas Aircraft Company, in 1965 he served in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense as assistant director of defense research and engineering. He returned to the Army in 1973 as assistant secretary of the Army. Two years later, he became under secretary of the Army, and later acting secretary until 1977.

Augustine has also served as chairman and principal officer of the American Red Cross, chairman of the National Academy of Engineering and as president of the Boy Scouts of America. He holds 22 honorary degrees and was selected by Who’s Who in America and the Library of Congress as one of “Fifty Great Americans.”

Milton and Carolyn Peterson have devoted much of their adult lives to shaping the landscape of Northern Virginia through Mr. Peterson’s career in residential and commercial real estate and through the couple’s philanthropic efforts.

Mr. Peterson has played a leading role in the development of such projects as Burke Center, Fair Lakes and National Harbor. Mrs. Peterson was the founding chair and has been a board member of Life With Cancer. The new LWC family center, to be known as Carolyn’s House, will open in 2009.

The Petersons were also early supporters of the arts at Mason. Mr. Peterson played an active role in the building of such projects as the Patriot Center and Center for the Arts. The couple has also established a number of scholarships in the Music Department.

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