Merten to resign in 2012

George Mason University president Alan Merten will resign in June 2012, the university announced on March 23.

“Today the Board of Visitors accepted Dr. Alan Merten's request to retire 
as President of George Mason University, effective June 30, 2012,” Rector Ernst Volgenau said in an e-mail sent to students. “The 
fifteen years of Dr. Merten's presidency have been remarkable and 

The university did not have any immediate plans for selecting Merten’s successor, but said it would form an advisory group whose job would be to establish the structure and timeframe within which a search committee would operate.  But the university does hope to find and begin preparing a new president within the coming year.

Volgenau offered praise for Merten as the incumbent president prepares to end his tenure.

“Because of [President Merten’s] leadership, George Mason University is the place where research in the fields of economics, life sciences, computer technology, 
and bioscience is changing the world,” Volgenau said. “It is a place that attracts talented faculty members…where grants now approach $150 million annually.”

Mason has undergone a period of dramatic expansion and heightened national recognition since Merten began his presidency in July 1996. Between 1996 and 2010 the university’s student population nearly doubled and extensive construction transformed the Fairfax, Prince William, and Arlington campuses, while in 2005 a fourth campus was opened in Loudoun County.

Mason overtook Virginia Commonwealth University in September 2009 to become the most populous institution of higher learning in Virginia.

In 2010 Mason passed another benchmark when the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classified it as a “primarily residential” campus. 

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