Mason to Graduate 7,783 Students at 2010 Commencement

Posted: May 3, 2010 at 1:04 am, Last Updated: April 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm

By Daniel Walsch

George Mason University will graduate 7,783 students at its 2010 Commencement set for Saturday, May 15, at 10 a.m. in the Patriot Center.

Virginia Sen. Jim Webb will be the commencement speaker and will receive an honorary doctor in humane letters at the ceremony.

Former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton, who served as governor from 1970 to 1974, will be honored at Commencement with the Mason Medal.

The 2010 student speaker is Mickey Cox, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in history. Cox is a member of the university’s Forensics Team and competed for the speaker honor.

This year, a total of 4,381 students will receive undergraduate degrees; 2,972 will receive graduate degrees; 202 will be awarded doctorates; and 228 will receive law degrees.

The total number of students who have graduated from Mason is now nearly 140,000.

Sen. Jim Webb, Commencement Speaker

Sen. Jim Webb

Sen. Webb was elected to national office in 2006. A combat Marine in Vietnam, an attorney, a senior defense department official, an Emmy-award winning journalist, a filmmaker and the author of nine books, Webb has gained national recognition for the leadership role he played in the enactment of the nation’s new comprehensive GI Bill for those who have been serving in the military since 9/11.

He also distinguished himself by helping to create a Wartime Contracting Commission designed to bring accountability for fraud, waste and abuse brought about by the unsupervised contract processes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Presently, Webb is chairing a series of committee hearings and conferences to examine issues of mass incarceration and polices toward drugs. He has emerged as one of the strongest voices in both houses of the Congress on the need for top-to-bottom restructuring of the criminal justice system.

Webb received his JD at Georgetown University Law Center. He served in the U.S. Congress as counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and later led the fight for including an African American soldier in the memorial that now graces the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall.

In 1987, Webb became the first Naval Academy graduate in history to serve in the military and then become Secretary of the Navy.

Gov. Linwood Holton, Mason Medal Recipient

Gov. Linwood Holton

Gov. Holton is a key figure in George Mason University’s history. In April 1972, he signed the General Assembly legislation that established Mason as an independent member of the commonwealth’s system of colleges and universities. Also during his time as governor, Holton established the Virginia Governor’s School Program for gifted students.

Holton earned a BA from Washington and Lee University in absentia while on active duty with the U.S. Navy in the submarine force during World War II. He is a captain (retired) in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

In 1949, the native of Big Stone Gap, Va., earned an LLB from Harvard Law School. Most of his professional life has been spent in the legal profession as a partner and member of several prestigious firms.

Holton’s political career began in 1960 when he first served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention. While governor he chaired the Republican Governor’s Association, Southern Regional Education Board and Southern Growth Policies Board.

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