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Lighting the Way

Longstanding Energy Provider WGL Invests in the Future of Mason Engineering Students

How does a 168-year-old corporation remain fresh and responsive to the needs of its community? For WGL, the parent company of WGL Energy and Washington Gas, an investment in George Mason University is among the answers.

Board of Trustees member Todd House ’90, who serves as WGL’s manager of economic development for Virginia, co-hosted a Mason Matters reception on November 7 with WGL president and chief operating officer Adrian Chapman ’82. Held at WGL’s Tysons Corner headquarters, the event marked a new partnership with the Volgenau School of Engineering: a commitment of $25,000 to fund student scholarships over the next five years. The company’s donation will support engineering students enrolled in the Dual Admission Compact established between Mason and Northern Virginia Community College.

“All of us in the WGL family are helping to shape the future of this region, and I know that George Mason and its alumni add tremendously to that effort,” said Chapman, announcing the scholarship. “The university has grown just a little since 1982, when I graduated, but in some respects little has changed. My Mason education gave me the singular opportunity to land my first job at the company I’m now proud to lead, and I know that many other WGL employees have a similar story to tell.

“I’m proud of WGL employees,” Chapman continued, “because they have helped provide safe and reliable energy for nearly 170 years. I know that Mason is also a place for growing leaders—and becoming central to the Virginia economy. It’s only fitting that we expand our relationship through the WGL Engineering Scholarship Program. This partnership with the Volgenau School of Engineering means that more students will have the resources they need to pursue careers across industries and drive economic development in our communities.”

“WGL’s support for our Dual Admission Compact will have an impact on engineering students for years to come,” said Kenneth Ball, Dean of the Volgenau School of Engineering. “Their generous gift promotes necessary access to education for a more diverse student population, including first-generation college students, underrepresented minorities, women and military veterans in the local community and beyond.”

Chapman also announced additional contributions toward academic enrichment: WGL will fund five students’ exam fees for the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, the first step in becoming licensed as a professional engineer, and it will establish a mentorship program between WGL volunteers and Mason students.

Reflecting on the promise that the WGL Energy commitment makes to Mason in the context of the Faster Farther campaign, President Ángel Cabrera noted the university's rapid ascent in a few short decades. “It’s remarkable that a university starting out in the 1970s now competes with some of the most established institutions in higher education,” Cabrera said. “For that progress to continue, it is essential that the drivers of economic growth in our region recognize Mason’s talent and potential—and invest, as WGL has done. We are in the business of creating the talent you need.”

—11/08/2016 MLH