(Even) Faster, Farther

The college's director of development offers an update of college initiatives within the university's campaign

by Kevin Augustyn

(Even) Faster, Farther

George Mason University is halfway through the public phase of its historic and ambitious $500 million comprehensive campaign, Faster Farther. As a university we are well on our way to achieving, and indeed surpassing, the fiscal goals of the campaign even before its official close in December 2018. Just as Mason has historically moved faster and farther than anyone has anticipated, so too has this campaign. As in all things Mason, however, we are just getting started.

The funds raised to date represent the same objective as the support that continues to come in throughout the remainder of the campaign: to build upon Mason’s storied past and surpass all expectations in the future. The university’s students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends have joined together to support Mason’s award-winning faculty, its diverse student body, and the facilities where the community learns and lives. Together we have created a world-class research university recently recognized as such by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

The Faster Farther campaign has provided important opportunities for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to create infrastructure and plans for a comprehensive and sustainable advancement approach in each of its departments, centers, and programs. These opportunities are bearing fruit in a wide variety of ways, and we would like to share some examples of new initiatives and important advances in providing funding for the great work that takes place in the college.


Mason’s Department of Economics has been the home of two recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences: Professors Emeriti James M. Buchanan and Vernon L. Smith. In November 2016, on the 30th anniversary of James Buchanan’s receipt of the Nobel Prize and the 15th anniversary of Vernon Smith’s award of the same prize, the Department of Economics launched the Buchanan-Smith Legacy Campaign for the Future of Masonomics.

The campaign is an effort to secure the legacy and expand the future success of the study of economics at Mason, recognizing the department’s profound impact on economics education and research as well as on the broader culture. As part of this effort, Mason’s Board of Visitors and President Ángel Cabrera renamed two buildings in these great scholars’ honor. Effective July 2017, Mason Hall on the Fairfax Campus will become James Buchanan Hall, and the Metropolitan Building on the Arlington Campus will become Vernon Smith Hall.

With a goal of $15 million, the department is seeking funds to attract and retain top-quality scholars remarkable for their research and classroom instruction, to assist with graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships, and to support various centers and projects.


Complementing its impressive research portfolio and public outreach, and with new funding from a variety of sources, the Center for Climate Change Communication’s Program on Climate and Health has recently helped convene the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health. The consortium represents more than 400,000 medical professionals and is a vehicle enabling them to speak with one voice about how climate change is harming Americans’ health today, as well as advocating for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and taking further steps that lead to sustainability. These professionals have committed themselves to becoming champions for climate and health in their communities, especially for the most vulnerable, who disproportionately experience the impact from climate change.


Two years ago, Mason alumni members of the Omar family established a university scholarship fund to honor Mohammed H. Omar, their beloved father and uncle. Because of the extraordinary generosity of family and friends, the fund has recently reached the required endowment level of $25,000 and will now be awarding a $1,000 scholarship in his name each year.

Thank you to the Omar family for your generous support!

The scholarship awards are based on financial need and academic merit, and will be given to an undergraduate student who is actively involved in activities in support of Palestine, with preference given to students of direct Palestinian descent.


Through the generous support of donors, the college launched the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at George Mason University in the 2016-17 academic year. Named in honor of the late American writer and cultural commentator who taught at George Mason University for almost 30 years, the Cheuse Center celebrates the art of creative writing as a means of international dialogue, education, and understanding. Using the methods of cultural exchange and diplomacy, the center is a dynamic institution enriching George Mason’s creative writing students and faculty, the broader George Mason community, the Washington, D.C., area, and creative writers and writing organizations around the world to foster the tolerance and understanding a more connected world requires.

The center’s immediate goals are to host visiting international writers for a one-semester residency and sponsor Mason’s creative writing MFA students to study abroad. As a nascent organization, the future of the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center is one of unlimited possibility.


Through the generosity of donors, the Department of History and Art History is paying tribute to the career and work of Professor Emerita Marion Deshmukh by establishing the Marion Deshmukh Faculty and Student Scholarship Support Fund.

Deshmukh, who retired in 2015 after 45 years of service to George Mason University, was Mason’s first Robert T. Hawkes Professor of History. In her retirement, she has left a strong legacy as an outstanding scholar, a beloved teacher, a dedicated administrator, and one of the faculty members instrumental in bringing the Phi Beta Kappa honor society to campus. While pursuing her own scholarly work and supporting her colleagues in a collective effort to the same, she also taught countless students to become scholars in their own right and has fostered the values of learning on Mason’s campus.

The Marion Deshmukh Faculty and Student Scholarship Support Fund will be used to pursue the same goals that Deshmukh worked so doggedly to pursue as a faculty member at Mason. The fund will be used to provide faculty members with the support they need to achieve their own intellectual goals, but will also include funds specifically for collaborative research projects between faculty and students.

This is hardly an exclusive listing of the efforts and successes of the college within the Faster Farther campaign. Other initiatives include:

  • the launch of a $100,000 campaign for the Center for

    Evidence-Based Crime Policy in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society, which will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary this coming year;

  • increased support for the Institute for Immigration Research, which infuses nonpartisan research into a hotly debated topic; and

  • the launch of an external advisory board for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, which has created new initiatives thanks to members’ generosity.

    With approximately one-and-a-half years to go on the campaign, much work remains to be done. With the participation and support of Mason alumni, students, parents, and friends, together we can move ever faster, ever farther.




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