George Mason University

News at Mason

Anne Holton, Mason’s seventh president, is driven by innovation, inclusion

August 1, 2019   /   by Preston Williams

Anne Holton, George Mason University President

Anne Holton, seventh president of George Mason University. Photo by Lathan Goumas.

Anne Holton today officially takes over as George Mason University’s seventh president and the first female president at Mason, Virginia’s largest public university.

Since the Board of Visitors on June 20 unanimously appointed her as interim president, Holton has been making the rounds at Mason, attending student, faculty and staff events to become even better acquainted with the university community. The former Virginia Secretary of Education has been a visiting professor in both the Schar School of Policy and Government and the College of Education and Human Development since May 2017.

Last week, at the MIX, Holton took part in former president Ángel Cabrera’s annual planning conference and the annual Board of Visitors planning conference. She came away impressed with the “collegial and collaborative” discussions about the university’s direction.

“I am fortunate to work with such a knowledgeable and passionate senior leadership team,” Holton said. “It’s an honor to meet and work with committed students, faculty and staff around the university who don’t look at issues through their own lenses but are thinking about the good of the whole. This entire university really owns our mission of innovation and inclusion.”

Inclusion, in particular, has been a continuous thread through Holton’s career in education, law and public service. She has been an attorney for low-income families, a juvenile and domestic relations court judge, and a leader and advocate for programs and policies that provide opportunities for children and young adults, particularly those most in need of a trampoline to life success through education.

As a visiting fellow at Mason’s EdPolicyForward, Holton promotes equity and improved educational outcomes for students of all backgrounds.

Cabrera is leaving Mason to become president at his alma mater Georgia Tech. He will serve Mason in an advisory role over the coming month before his Mason tenure ends Sept. 1.