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Holiday Celebration Thanks Supporters, and Kindles Community

“Everything we have accomplished at George Mason is because of someone who is here tonight in this room,” university president Ángel Cabrera said to some 300 supporters who gathered December 10 at the Center for the Arts for the 2017 President’s Circle reception.

With the building’s beautiful glass-enclosed lobby aglow with seasonal cheer, Cabrera highlighted Mason’s rise to becoming the largest public research university in Virginia—one that consistently ranks high nationally. “The quality of our students and the quality of our outcomes have never been higher,” Cabrera said, noting that Mason has joined the select ranks of Tier One research universities, and was recently listed by U.S. News and World Report as one of the 25 most efficient universities in the country. These and other accomplishments are made possible by the support of the Mason community: “Be proud of being part of this community,” Cabrera asserted. “Be proud of your role in it. And own the success, because it is yours.”

An eagerly anticipated annual tradition, the President’s Circle reception recognizes and thanks donors who have generously given at least $1,000 in the past year, as well as those whose lifetime giving totals $100,000 or more. The reception itself was a way to rekindle community, as the setting shimmered with silver and gold decorations, statues of reindeer leaping from tables, and a beautifully-lit ice bar.

Guests enjoyed sweet treats as they greeted old friends and made new connections, while a quartet from Mason Music Productions—comprised of current Mason music students and alumni—filled the room with seasonal classics. Guests also interacted with The Narrative Machine, an intriguing display of recycled musical instruments that have been transformed in a fusion of art, music, engineering, and digital technology. Many attended the Mason Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert that followed, which featured the orchestral music of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

As the year comes to a close, we take the time to look back, give thanks, and celebrate how far we’ve come. “What you do is life-changing for our students and our faculty,” Janet Bingham, president of the George Mason University Foundation and vice president for advancement and alumni relations, told President’s Circle members. Bingham praised the success of the Faster Farther campaign, which thanks to generous donors has surpassed its $500 million goal. With new targets set, the campaign will move forward so that Mason students and faculty can continue to pursue academic opportunities. “This university really wouldn’t be what it is without your philanthropy,” Bingham said. “Thank you so much for making a difference.”

December 12, 2017 / Kristen Greiner