Has someone ever described you in a way that was spot-on but in terms that you yourself had never considered? I had an experience like that recently regarding Mason. In a conversation with Virginia Senator Mark Warner, he said, “Every time I come to Mason, I feel like I’m looking at the new face of America.” So true!
The most salient impression for most people visiting Mason for the first time is the wonderful diversity of our student body. It is impossible to walk through the Johnson Center without running into people from just about every possible cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious background.
But what I find more remarkable, even if less visible, is the fact that we have virtually no achievement gap among ethnic groups, a rarity among research universities across the United States.
Diverse Issues in Higher Education recently listed the institutions that awarded the most science and technology degrees to minorities. We were ranked among the Top 50 in total Minority Bachelor’s Degrees, including in the top five in computer and information sciences.
In some ways, Mason is not only the new face of America, an increasingly diverse nation where people from around the world have come to find opportunity. It is the new face of success, a university where achievement is determined not by where one comes from but by one’s talent and commitment to learn and grow.