Alan Merten

Merten to impart 'last lecture' wisdom

President Alan Merten will address students and other members of the Mason community Thursday with a talk on what wisdom he would choose to share if it were his hypothetical “last chance.”

BOV rector calls search confidentiality practice ‘infraction,’ not ‘violation’

Rector Ernst Volgenau responded at a recent Faculty Senate meeting to faculty concerns about the contractual nature of the Faculty Handbook, which outlines processes not observed in the selection of Ángel Cabrera as Mason's sixth president.

The remarks come amongst debate about confidentiality and whether or not closed search processes return "better" candidates.

Merten on the selection of Cabrera [WGMU]

George Mason University’s sitting president Alan Merten told WGMU that his successor Angel Cabrera “fits in the mode” of Mason’s accomplishments over the last 40 years, and that he is “encouraged” by Cabrera’s background that is “in many respects” similar to his own.

Merten reflects on freshman move-ins

President Alan Merten participated in his first freshmen move-in at George Mason University in August 1996. Fifteen years later – and in his last year at Mason – he's still helping out.

Merten reflects on university achievements, struggles

President Alan Merten applauds the men's basketball team during their 2006 NCAA Final Four run in Indianapolis. (Student Media file)

Few things about George Mason University have remained unchanged since 1996. Fifteen years ago, there was not an Aquatic and Fitness Center. There was not a nationally known basketball team. There wasn’t even a Starbucks.

But, 15 years ago, as now, Alan Merten was president.

“Being president of an institution for 15 years is a long time,” Merten admitted in an early April interview with Connect2Mason. “Especially when you take into account the fact that the average tenure for a university president is less than 10 years. I stayed because every three or four years I would look around and realize this [university] had become a very different place.”


Earlier this spring, Merten announced he would retire in the summer of 2012. Since Merten’s term began nearly two decades ago, the student population has nearly doubled and extensive construction has transformed the Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington campuses, and a fourth campus was opened in Loudoun County in 2005. 

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.

Merten credited the school’s extraordinary growth to long-term strategy—and a little bit of luck.

Mason to form task force on ‘interactions and experiences’ with University Police

Student and Mason community member testimony will play a central role in an official university task force formed to seek input on “interactions and experiences” with the University Police Department, the Office of the President announced on April 6.

In an e-mail sent to students and other Mason community members, the office said that the task force had been formed so as to “foster a community where respect for all is the hallmark.”