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Volunteer Leadership Summit Highlights Mason Accomplishments—and Potential

George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera had a message for the community leaders who gathered last week at the 2018 Volunteer Leadership Summit.

“This is your university as much as ours,” Cabrera told the group. “By connecting Mason to the community, you are the reason for our success.”

The annual leadership summit brought together more than 100 Mason advisory board members, representing all the schools and colleges, with university leadership, faculty, and staff. The group heard brief, dynamic presentations from ten Mason faculty members and program leaders, followed by a reception where attendees could learn more about the subjects they were most interested in.

One highlight was a dynamic in-person performance by students from the Mason School of Dance, who treated the audience to an excerpt from “Within Reach,” choreographed by Yin Yue.

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Jay O’Brien, executive vice president and chief banking officer of Sandy Spring Bank and the chair of the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees, was an engaging master of ceremonies for the summit, which was held April 27 at the Fairfax Marriott in Fairfax. The Mason presenters were:

  • Olivia Blackmon, Virginia Serious Game Institute
  • Khaseem Davis, Early Identification Program
  • Jennifer Disano, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
  • Sean Mallon, Student Entrepreneurship Initiatives
  • Susan Shields, School of Dance
  • Laurence Bray, Bioengineering
  • Kevin Clark, Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity
  • Lisa Gring-Pemble, Honey Bee Initiative
  • Emanuel Petricoin, III, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine
  • Giovanna Chesler, Film and Video Studies

During a joint Q&A session, each of the ten presenters was asked to describe Mason in just one word. Their impromptu responses captured the spirit and diversity of the university: Collaborative. Innovative. Potential. Community. Accelerator. Cross-disciplinary. Artful. Inspirational. Family. Avatar.

In his remarks, Cabrera suggested that “Good societies do a great job of helping people to reach their potential. … We know that while talent is uniformly distributed, opportunity is not. That is our goal, our shared goal: how to make sure that opportunity is available to everyone.”

May 2, 2018 / RR