Dear Parents and Family Members,
As we start the fall semester, the question I hear most often as parents and family members accompany their students to George Mason University is,“Where did the time go?”
We are privileged to witness many poignant moments as parents, family members and friends help our newest students settle in for the fall semester. Each student brings a unique perspective and history to Mason, and we look forward to their excitement and energy as we embrace their hopes and expectations for the future.
It’s also a time to reflect on how much the university has changed over the years, even though our guiding principles remain the same. Mason’s commitment to transformative learning continues as we embark on the Core Campus Project that will provide new, larger and more technologically enabled classrooms, as well as state-of-the-art learning and collaborative spaces at the center of the Fairfax Campus.
Our students have changed too: the majority of our incoming class of freshmen, part of the cohort popularly referred to as Generation Z, are both tech-talented and tech-dependent – they’ve not known a time without full connectivity. Generation Z is a large group, comprising about a quarter of the U.S. population, even larger than the baby boomers or millennials. Our students are multi-cultural; they are activists; they are experience-driven; they are entrepreneurial and innovative.
In many ways, though, our current and incoming students want the same things that most students want:
- a safe and open community, where they feel a sincere sense of belonging;
- a climate to explore concepts and ideas with curiosity, openness, and respect;
- academic programs that are intellectually challenging and engaging, and that prepare them to successfully pursue their passions, dreams, and future careers;
- opportunities to work with, learn with, or live with someone different than themselves, adding to the quality of their overall learning experience.
George Mason University strives to provide the very things that our students want and deserve. We are committed to building an inclusive environment that is focused on student well-being, and we offer many learning opportunities designed to build and capitalize on the resilience of each student. We know this is important to academic success, but it is also necessary as we prepare students to be citizens of the world. And a committed community of faculty and staff are here to support your student throughout their time at Mason.
We want the incoming class to know: ‘You Belong.’ All are welcome at Mason. In fact, we were recently named the most diverse university in Virginia by U.S. News and World Report. At Mason, your student is not only part of one community – they are a part of many.
Please visit ulife.gmu.edu, which will connect you to many university resources. I also invite you to watch Welcome to George Mason University,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRsZgYyxgxI, a short video that embodies our shared perspective of the inclusive community and the welcoming climate we seek to create here.
We will do everything we can to help your sons and daughters achieve their goals and aspirations. I look forward to meeting many of you at Family Weekend, Nov. 9–11, 2018.
Vice President for University Life