Cabrera discusses vision and future of university with Mason community

President Ángel Cabrera speaks in Dewberry Hall (Photo courtesy of John Irwin)
President Ángel Cabrera speaks in Dewberry Hall (Photo courtesy of John Irwin)

As part of an ongoing conversation with the George Mason University community, President Ángel Cabrera is holding town hall sessions on all three campuses in hopes of developing a comprehensive vision for the university.

Over the past week Cabrera held a series of town hall meetings that were meant to spur discussion and allow community input into what a new Mason vision would look like.

“Everybody has invaluable perspective about what brought us here,” Cabrera said at the Fairfax campus town hall on September 24th.

Last week, Cabrera held similar events on the Arlington and Prince William campuses.

“Every chance I have I am learning all I can about this place,” Cabrera told the audience in Dewberry Hall.

Cabrera later spoke about the current state of the university, citing its innovation, diversity and the positive culture that he sees at Mason.

“I know that some of you…you may think this is normal,” Cabrera said. “It ain’t this good everywhere else out there. That’s going to be one of the keys to our future success.”

While discussing the future of the university, he said he believes that the university is already in excellent national and international college rankings that put Mason in the top 200 institutions in the world. He dismissed the idea that universities are only competitive when they have a more rigorous admissions process.

“Selective is another way of saying they are priding themselves on how many students they leave out,” Cabrera said. “We have been able to build a university without turning our back to the people we serve. We‘ve become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia in a mere 40 years.”

Following Cabrera’s presentation, the audience was given the opportunity to ask questions and provide ideas.

One audience member asked Cabrera about the possibility of a NCAA football team on campus.

“…It would be amazing,” Cabrera said. “But it would be so incredibly expensive. From building a stadium to bringing a super expensive coach...when you start adding the cost of that, it’s pretty significant. In most universities, most football teams are subsidized by whom? Students.”

The audience member then emphasized the importance of athletics in student and faculty morale, citing the camaraderie that accompanied the Mason basketball team's participation in the 2006 Final Four of the NCAA Basketball tournament.

Cabrera replied that he would not create a football team if it required additional fees and tuition hikes for students, but would consider it if there were other sources of funding.

Mason’s previous president, Dr. Alan Merten, also attended the event.

“I’m excited by the fact [Cabrera] is developing a vision for the future based on where we are now and what’s the next step,” Merten said in an interview following the meeting. “He wants to make us better. Maybe different, but different is fine.”

Cabrera will continue to meet with university faculty, staff and students over the next few months to further develop a new plan for Mason.

“By next spring I will bring to [the Board of Visitors] a vision of the next decade for George Mason University.”

C2M Administration Reporter Hannah Menchhoff contributed to this story. 



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