Mason Wins TIAA-CREF Raise the Rate Contest; Walker First Winner of ‘Mason Spirit Award’

Posted: October 26, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: October 26, 2010 at 8:04 am

By Robin Herron

TIAA-CREF President and CEO Roger Ferguson joins the Patriot, Mason cheerleaders and President Alan Merten to present his company's Raise the Rate contest prize. Photo by Lori A. Wilson

In a surprise announcement at the close of the annual Mason awards ceremony on Oct. 22, Roger W. Ferguson, president and CEO of TIAA-CREF, told the crowd of awardees and supporters that Mason had won the company’s Raise the Rate Contest.

Nearly 170 colleges and universities participated in the nationwide contest. Members of the Mason community submitted the most ideas — 296 — to raise the U.S. personal savings rate. Utah State University was second, with 93 entries, and California Lutheran University had 83 entries.

At the ceremony, Ferguson presented President Alan Merten with a huge $25,000 “check.”

Linda Harber, associate vice president of Human Resources and Payroll (HR) said that the endowment will be used to help employees on tuition waiver purchase textbooks required for their course work. It will be a competitive $250 book scholarship for part-time and full-time Mason faculty and staff who are pursuing a degree at Mason.  Since the scholarships will be provided from the investment results of the endowment, the scholarship will be sustainable.  People can contribute to the endowment if they would like.

HR will hold a contest to name the scholarship.  Suggestions can be submitted to until Friday, Nov. 12.  The winning entry will receive a gift card.

Janet Walker receives the first Mason Spirit Award from President Merten for her many promotion efforts. Photo by Lori A. Wilson

Harber made another surprise announcement at the ceremony: Janet Walker, work life and communications coordinator for HR, was named the first recipient of the new Mason Spirit Award for her efforts on promoting the Raise the Rate contest as well as her many other efforts to promote Mason and its services.

Other award winners honored at the ceremony and not previously announced were

  • Dann Sklarew, associate professor of environmental science and policy, who received the Sustainability Hero Award
  • Ron Shayka, associate athletic director of business operations for Intercollegiate Athletics, and Lauren Huston, administrative assistant for business services in Intercollegiate Athletics, who received the Safety Recognition Award
  • Judy Meade, University Police sergeant, who was named Outstanding Supervisor by the Staff Senate.

Write to gazette at