In a ceremony this afternoon we announced a $10 million gift from the Peterson Family Foundation that helped us break ground for a state-of-the-art academic building. That facility, at the north end of the Fairfax Campus, will become home for many of our programs in the health sciences and also will serve as a community health resource.
This new building, and the Institute for Advanced Biomedical Research that we opened in April on our Science and Technology Campus in Prince William County, advantageously position Mason to be a leader in the health sciences in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.
The generous gift from Milt and Carolyn Peterson and their family, devoted Mason supporters since the university’s inception, is one of the largest in the history of the institution. I liked how Jon Peterson, principal at Peterson Companies and a member of Mason’s Board of Visitors, in his remarks referred to his family’s support not as a gift but as an investment – an investment in the university and in the community.
The 160,000-square-foot regional center for healthcare research, education and practice will benefit students interested in the spectrum of career options in health care, from nurses to economists to public health specialists and many other fields. It also will serve area citizens as a valuable community resource.
Scheduled to open in 2017, the building will bear the Peterson family name. One-fifth of the Petersons’ gift will support the College of Visual and Performing Arts by establishing the Peterson Family Scholarship Endowment in the Vocal Arts and the Peterson Excellence Fund.
So the Petersons today lifted the already impressive capabilities of two of our colleges. We are tremendously grateful for all that they have done for us over the years. They’ve been integral to Mason’s swift emergence and are equally important to our promising future.
We also thanked the state legislators on hand today for their support in helping to secure more than $65 million in funding for this building during a time of significant budget constraints. The combination of public and philanthropic resources is necessary for the university to advance its mission. This project is a prime example of that teamwork.
We’re proud that so many public officials and private citizens believe in us. With smiles and shovels, we all took another major step today toward building Mason’s future, providing new opportunities for our students and faculty, and serving our community.