George Mason University


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Class of 2019 prepares for Commencement

May 15, 2019   /   by Preston Williams

Commencement 2018. Photo by: Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University

George Mason University will honor its largest and most diverse graduating class at Commencement on Friday, May 17, celebrating a robust group that will drive the number of Mason alumni past 200,000.

The 52nd annual Spring Commencement begins at 10 a.m. Friday at EagleBank Arena. Doors open at 9 a.m. More details can be found here.

The Center for the Arts Concert Hall will carry a live broadcast of the ceremony and graduates’ family members and friends around the world can watch a livestream of the event.

This year’s Commencement guest speaker is United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, who was instrumental in drafting and implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to address global challenges. The university will honor several outstanding faculty members with the annual Presidential Faculty Excellence Awards. Former rector Joseph A. Heastie will receive the Mason Medal for his years of service in various capacities at Mason.

The 2019 class is projected to include 9,296 degree earners and another 698 students earning certificates. The nearly 10,000 students hail from 81 countries and 48 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Fifty percent of the 5,826 undergraduates are part of minority populations—a historic high for the university—and 34 percent of undergraduates reporting parental education level say they will be the first in their families to earn a four-year degree.

Mason produces the largest number of graduates in computer-related fields in the state, and that trend continues. Thirty-four percent of the 2019 undergraduate degree earners are in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and 26 percent of 3,296 master’s and doctorate degree earners are in STEM fields.

The top undergraduate majors are criminology, law and society; psychology; information technology; biology; information systems and operations management; and computer science.

The top master’s degree majors are curriculum and instruction, special education, data analytics engineering, education leadership, and business administration.

The top majors for the 306 doctoral candidates are education, psychology, economics, conflict analysis and resolution, and computer science. The university will also award 174 law degrees.

Mason President Ángel Cabrera will present the four endowed presidential faculty awards:

The United Bank Presidential Medal for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Frederic Paul Bemak and Rita Chi-Ying Chung, professors, Counseling and Development Program, College of Education and Human Development.

The Beck Family Presidential Medal for Excellence in Research and Scholarship: Tyler Cowen, Holbert L. Harris Professor of Economics and director, Mercatus Center, College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Excellence in Social Impact: Christianne Esposito-Smythers, professor, Department of Psychology; director, clinical psychology doctoral program, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

The John Toups Presidential Medal for Excellence in Teaching: Kathleen E. Wage, associate professor, Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering, Volgenau School of Engineering.

Topics: Graduation