Results of Philanthropy are Plain for All to See

Philanthropy at George Mason University was more visible than ever over the past 12 months. An impressive total of more than $97 million—shattering all previous Mason records—was received in gifts and pledges during the 2016 fiscal year, which ended June 30. That was an increase of more than 35 percent over 2015, which itself had been a record year. (Year-end totals remain preliminary, pending final reconciliation.)

The results of this generosity are plain to see across Mason’s three campuses. In Fairfax, the Peterson Family Health Sciences Hall, honoring a lead gift from the Peterson family, is rapidly rising on its site directly across from Merten Hall. Groundbreaking for the building took place a mere 12 months ago; just over a year from now, grateful students and faculty will fill its classrooms and labs.

In Arlington, two schools have new names—and brighter futures—thanks to transformative philanthropic support. Two gifts totaling $30 million, including $20 million from an anonymous benefactor joined by $10 million from the Charles Koch Foundation, will provide scholarships for about 280 students at the Antonin Scalia Law School. A gift of $10 million from businessman and philanthropist Dwight C. Schar will help the renamed Schar School of Policy and Government take a lead role on the national and global stage.

Doors are open wider at the Science and Technology Campus in Prince William County thanks to gifts in honor of Senator Charles J. Colgan at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts. Nearly $200,000 was raised in honor of Colgan, who recently retired as Virginia’s longest-serving politician after four decades. About half of the sum will benefit access by community arts organizations as well as scholarships for students with special needs.

This was the first year of the public phase of Mason’s comprehensive Faster Farther campaign, which was unveiled to the university community in September 2015. Thanks to the record-breaking generosity of donors, alumni, and friends, progress towards the $500 million campaign goal is coming even faster than expected.

“We received three of the largest gifts in Mason’s history this year,” said Janet Bingham, PhD, vice president for advancement and alumni relations and president of the George Mason University Foundation. “That means these numbers will be hard to top, or even match, in 2017. But that’s all right: our focus is on engaging every member of the Mason community in the Faster Farther campaign. We value every contributor and appreciate every gift, of whatever size.”

July 13, 2016 / RR