George Mason University

News at Mason

Alumni Association marks 50 years with ‘We Are Golden’ celebration

May 21, 2018   /   by Rob Riordan

Attendees at the Alumni Association 50th anniversary gala on May 12, 2018 enjoy the exhibits in the History Hallway. Photo courtesy of John Boal Photography.

George Mason University’s Alumni Association marked its 50th anniversary on May 12 with a gala celebration at EagleBank Arena attended by more than 500 alumni, university leaders, and other members of the Mason community.

The Alumni Association honored the accomplishments of 50 “exemplars,” alumni who exemplify the Mason experience and collectively define what it means to be a Mason graduate. A diverse group that spans every decade from the 1960s onward, every school and college, and a multitude of professions, the exemplars illustrate how alumni have used their Mason degree to make an impact around the world. (Learn more about the exemplars here).

The class of 1968, which established Mason’s own alumni association rather than join the University of Virginia’s, was well-represented, with 11 of its 52 graduates in attendance.

Alumni Association president Brian Jones, MA International Commerce and Policy ’06, was master of ceremonies, with 20 past presidents of the group in attendance, the most ever gathered in one place.  

“From 52 alumni in 1968 to 187,000 today, we have seen unprecedented growth for an institution of our age,” Jones said. “In 50 years we have established a foundation through service, advocacy, and philanthropy to help Mason become the university that we are proud to call home.”

Guests at the event traversed a history hallway, curated by Mason’s Special Collections Research Center, that displayed photos and class yearbooks from the 1960s to the present.

The program included three videos produced by GMU-TV for the 50th anniversary, including one featuring a conversation with volunteer leaders Lovey Hammel, BS Business Administration ’88, and Jimmy Hazel, JD ’84. Music was provided by the Green Machine Ensembles, led by Doc Nix, and the George Mason University Guitar Quartet, under the direction of Matt Trkula, MM ’14.

Ted McCord, BA History ’68, MA History ’76, an associate U.S. history professor at Mason, described his classmates as “men and women who possessed a certain pioneering spirit, believing that they were the advance party of what would become a major institution.”

President Ángel Cabrera noted that Mason has become Virginia’s largest public research university because for decades it has refused to take no for an answer. Mason Patriots persevered and accomplished great things even when others said they couldn’t.

“We dream big,” Cabrera said. “We don’t mind the naysayers. We work hard.”

As part of the event, the Alumni Association presented check to the George Mason University Foundation for $78,540, money raised for the 50th Anniversary Scholarship Endowment.