University Day celebrates faculty and staff virtually

University Day 2020 awardees gathered for a photo shoot prior to the pandemic shutdown. To see more photos, go to the Celebration page. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services.

Each April George Mason University celebrates University Day, an event that honors individuals who have served Mason and/or the Commonwealth of Virginia for five through 50 years of service. The event is normally celebrated near April 7, which is the anniversary of the day in 1972 when George Mason College was formally separated from the University of Virginia.

This year’s ceremony was postponed until the fall semester due to the coronavirus pandemic. To continue to keep the Mason community safe during COVID-19 restrictions, the Mason Reward and Recognition team had to think outside the “stage.”

This year’s 600 awardees were celebrated in a different way: They each received a personalized celebration package in the mail and personalized thank you videos from President Gregory Washington and Lester L. Arnold, vice president of Mason Human Resources and Payroll, along with a special performance from College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean Rick Davis and Dewberry School of Music Director Linda Apple Monson.

“I know that this year’s celebration is unconventional, but I’m happy to say that there are some things that even COVID can’t spoil,” said Arnold in the video.

This year, Mason also has a faculty member, Jane Flinn, reaching the 50 years of service milestone. Flinn is only the second Mason professor to meet this milestone; English professor Don Gallehr was the first in 2016. 

The Reward and Recognition team encourages the Mason community to keep the celebration going! Arnold shares his ideas for how we can celebrate and recognize the contributions of these outstanding faculty and staff members here.

The team has also set up a celebration page where you can see the names of the awardees as well as photos taken earlier this year, before the pandemic.