Sara Looney Retires after 21 Years

Posted: May 3, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Many more people on campus have worked with Sara Looney than you would know–or they would care to admit. In the 10 years that she worked as the university’s first ombudsman, confidentiality was a large part of her job.

With a Ph.D. from the University of Denver, Looney joined George Mason 21 years ago to work in academic advising. After several years, she was approached to join the administration as a special assistant to then-president George Johnson and was very excited at the prospect. But the job of ombudsman came as a total surprise. “When [Johnson] introduced me at the next faculty meeting as the university ombudsman, I literally had to go look it up,” says Looney. “The nice part about working for Dr. Johnson is that I was able to keep things confidential. He didn’t want to know what the problems were, he just wanted them solved and for life to go on.”

After 10 years of solving problems, Looney returned to the faculty, first teaching in the Communication Department and then in New Century College. After years of spending more time on campus than at home (“thank goodness I only live three mile away”), Looney retires July 1. A reception in her honor will be held today at 3:30 p.m. in the Grand Tier Lobby of the Concert Hall.

“I’ve always thought that education is a very noble enterprise,” she says, “and to take part in it, to both teach and learn with George Mason students and faculty, has been a highlight of my life.”

Write to at