President's Blog

Attached at the hip

The secret of a successful, long-lasting partnership is a shared vision about the future.

Ever since the City of Fairfax donated the original land for George Mason University more than a half-century ago, we have built a sturdy “town-gown” relationship with local residents and public officials. The City has been integral to George Mason growing into the intellectual and cultural hub of our region.  And the University has been integral to Fairfax becoming one of the best cities of its size to live.

Together, we’re always looking for new and better ways to serve our communities. This week there is an ideal opportunity for you to take part in the process. Mason and Fairfax officials are gathering Thursday through Saturday for a three-day “charrette” in partnership with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and a panel of experts, consultants and guests.

Fairfax Mayor Scott Silverthorne and I would love for you to join us to share your ideas and thoughts about short- and long-term projects the university and city can tackle together. We’d also like to hear your suggestions about how we can work together more efficiently. No reservations are required.

A world-class university like George Mason University enriches its community culturally and economically, and a thriving community helps a university grow and succeed.  Mason and Fairfax do that for each other. When Mason is named one of the top 200 research universities in the world, that’s a recognition for the City of Fairfax and the surrounding area as much as it is for the University itself. When U.S. News & World Report selects us as one of the top up-and-coming universities, that’s a victory for the City of Fairfax and the surrounding area. We thrive together.

The amenities in Fairfax help Mason attract high-caliber students, faculty and staff from around the country and around the world. It’s part of our appeal. When newcomers arrive at Mason, I suggest that they treat Fairfax as their new hometown. Volunteer off campus. Eat at the City’s many terrific restaurants (and don’t miss Woody’s world-famous ice cream!). Browse the shops. Visit the parks and recreation facilities. Use public transportation.

We have students from 130 countries and all 50 states, and we have set a goal of producing 100,000 career-ready graduates in the next 10 years to help drive economic growth in our region. Many of those graduates will make this area their home. It means the world to us and to our students that Fairfax residents and officials make them feel so welcome here.

As you can see, the successes of George Mason University and the City of Fairfax are intertwined. We are, as they say, attached at the hip. Always have been, always will be. May the charrette this week provide the groundwork for many more shared accomplishments!