Today I finish my service as President of George Mason University and I have a last word of thanks for all the members of this amazing community.
I thank our students for all the lessons they have taught me over my seven years as president. Lessons of resilience and endurance, of ingenuity and curiosity; of courage to stand up and speak out. Lessons of leadership, of kindness, of service.
Mason students are a constant, beautiful reminder that talent has no gender, no race, no age, no wealth, no citizenship status. They are a living example of how we all win when we come together to break down barriers of access to education for everyone.
I thank our alumni for their Patriot Pride, for telling the Mason story better than anyone can, with their own personal stories. For being proud, not of what they’ve been given through privilege or luck, but of what they have achieved, here and elsewhere, through hard work. I thank them for lending a hand to those who come behind them, for helping their alma mater reach new heights.
I thank our faculty for their dedication to our students, for embodying our promise of access to excellence, for upholding our commitment to diversity of people and ideas, for their discoveries and insights into the world we live in. I thank them for caring deeply about Mason, for pushing me, all of us, to be better and to do better. I thank them for their belief in the power of education to make our world more just, free and prosperous.
I thank our staff for making this place work and do its magic. For their entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and grit. For being careful stewards of our precious resources. For doing more with less. For putting our students first. For making the university stronger every day.
I thank our volunteer leaders, visitors, trustees, advisors, and donors, for pushing us, supporting us, inspiring us. For understanding that an educated society is a better society. That our democracy can only work when we help more and more people grow and form a better informed, more nuanced, more critical, and more responsible view of our world. Thank you for sharing your evenings, your weekends, your holidays, your talent, and your savings with us. For believing in us.
I thank Beth, my life partner, for taking on this work with me. For sharing our life with this place. For putting Mason’s future ahead of her own career. For all the weekends, the evenings, the receptions, the committee meetings, the presentations. For listening to me. For keeping me sane and grounded.
A lot of work remains for all of us. In Fairfax, in Atlanta, across the nation, and around the world.
More people need to be educated.
More bridges need to be built and walls torn down.
More conversations need to happen between those who disagree.
More voices need to be heard.
More books need to be written, and more needs to be read.
More problems need to be solved.
More lessons need to be taught, and more be learned.
Our journeys part ways today. But our shared mission will keep us together.
Hasta la vista, George Mason University. Muchas gracias.