University Will Name School of Law Building after John T. Hazel Jr.

Posted: July 22, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Graham

Til Hazel
Til Hazel
Creative Services photo

The Arlington Campus building that houses the George Mason University School of Law will be named John T. Hazel Jr. Hall, the university’s Board of Visitors decided in a unanimous vote.

Hazel, commonly known as “Til,” is a long-time university supporter and visionary advocate for Northern Virginia. A prominent attorney and real estate developer, Hazel led the effort to help Mason acquire a law school in 1979.

“Til fought hard for the acquisition and accreditation of the law school in the face of considerable opposition throughout the state,” says Sidney Dewberry, rector of Mason’s Board of Visitors. “Over the years, he has worked diligently in support of higher education. His influence among business leaders has resulted in a boon for George Mason and all of Virginia.”

Hazel, 74, has had a nearly 50-year association with Mason, going back to 1957 when the institution was created as two-year satellite extension of the University of Virginia. Hazel, along with other community leaders, helped acquire the land in Fairfax on which Mason was built.

“Til Hazel has been one of George Mason’s strongest and most consistent advocates since our early days,” says Alan Merten, university president. “Much of Mason’s unprecedented growth in size and national reputation is due in large measure to Til’s unwavering support, not only of us, but of all higher education in Virginia.”

An event to officially honor Hazel is planned for later this fall.

Born in Arlington, Hazel attended Washington-Lee High School. A cum laude graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law, Hazel was instrumental in ensuring the law school at George Mason was accredited. He personally presented the case to the American Bar Association to establish the law school. He also served as an associate judge in Fairfax County Court from 1961 to 1965. After leaving the judgeship, he entered private practice, specializing in zoning law, and he was owner and chair of the board of the highly successful law firm Hazel & Thomas.

Hazel served as a member of Mason’s advisory board in 1963 and was active in the formation of the George Mason University Foundation in 1966. He was appointed a member of the university’s first Board of Visitors, serving from 1972 to 1983. He was the BOV’s rector from 1976 to 1978 and from 1982 to 1983.

He also served on the Board of Trustees of the George Mason University Foundation for 32 years, including 6 as chair. He currently serves as a trustee emeritus.

In 1987, Mason honored Hazel with its highest honorary award, the George Mason Medal.

In 1992, Hazel founded the Virginia Business Higher Education Council, a statewide group of influential business leaders who are outspoken advocates for higher education. The group spearheaded the passage of two higher education bond referendums, which made hundreds of millions of dollars in construction money available to each of Virginia’s two- and four-year institutions of higher learning.

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