President's Blog

A welcome to Dr. Scott Ralls, new NOVA president

George Mason on Friday formally welcomed to the Mason Nation family the new president of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Dr. Scott Ralls.

In his remarks to our leadership team, he described our two institutions as “siblings” with complementary missions and capabilities and a history of exemplary collaboration.  He also highlighted how, by further strengthening our relationship, we can create even more opportunities for our students. I couldn’t agree more.

RallsAtMasonOur longstanding partnership with NOVA has benefited tens of thousands of students from northern Virginia.  According to SCHEV, Mason is the leading destination for community college transfer students in Virginia, and the majority of those transfer students come to us from NOVA. In 2013-14, the most recent year reported, more than 11,000 students transferred from a community college  to a public four-year institution.  One in four of those students came to Mason, the majority of them from NOVA.

Before coming to NOVA last month, Dr. Ralls was president of the 58-college North Carolina Community College System.  I have no doubt that his experience will help us find new and creative ways to serve students better.
NOVA and Mason fulfill complementary missions and share a deep commitment to accessibility, affordability, and excellence. With a student population of more than 75,000 students, NOVA is one of the largest community colleges in the Nation.  Like Mason, it is also extremely diverse.

Mason and NOVA have participated in a transfer admission agreement since about 1990, long before Guaranteed Admission Agreements were established in Virginia. Mason accepts and fully articulates the Associate of Science in General Studies degree from NOVA, unlike most of the public universities in Virginia.

The award-winning Mason-NOVA Pathway to the Baccalaureate program, a consortium of public school systems, NOVA and Mason, assists first-generation college students in fulfilling their dream of earning a bachelor’s degree. Mason has enrolled and graduated hundreds of Pathway students since 2007.

Mason and NOVA frequently collaborate on new curricular ventures such as the Bachelor of Applied Science-Cybersecurity program and the Momentum Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Welcome, Dr. Ralls! I know that Mason, the largest public research university in Virginia, and NOVA, the largest educational institution in Virginia, can continue to work together to bend the trajectories of eager students of all ages and backgrounds.