Campaign in Honor of Mertens to Raise $5 Million

Posted: October 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm, Last Updated: November 16, 2011 at 9:23 am

By Corey Jenkins Schaut

Sally and Alan Merten

A special scholarship fund to be called the Merten Scholars will honor President Alan Merten and Sally Merten. The Mertens have established four endowed scholarships during their nearly 16 years at Mason. Creative Services photo

With a little more than eight months left in their tenure as Mason’s first family, a major fund-raising campaign is under way to raise $5 million for scholarships and other university priorities in honor of President Alan Merten and Sally Merten.

“Scholarship support is a special cause for the Mertens,” says Marc Q. Broderick, vice president for university development and alumni affairs, noting that the Mertens have established four endowed scholarships during their time at Mason. “There really is not a better way to honor their work here.”

The effort will raise $4 million for university priorities, including unrestricted scholarship support. The remaining $1 million will endow a special scholarship fund that will be known as the Merten Scholars. This annual scholarship will provide recipients a four-year, full-ride award as part of the University Scholars program. University Scholars currently receive a scholarship that covers tuition only.

“Through the Merten Scholars, we’ll be able to enhance our recruiting efforts with an award that is competitive with the most comprehensive scholarships out there,” says Anthony Dyer Hoefer, director of the University Scholars program. “This award will ensure that an exceptional cohort of students will fully participate in the life of the university and continue the extraordinary development of our community.”

In August, James W. Hazel, JD ’84, and his wife, Sally, gave a lead gift of $2 million — the largest ever from a Mason alumnus — and pushed the campaign nearly halfway toward its goal.

Broderick says that the campaign is expected to wrap up by April 28, 2012, when a black-tie gala will celebrate the university’s 40th anniversary and honor the Mertens.

A committee of alumni, friends and faculty and staff members is charged with overseeing the effort over the next several months. Lucy C. Church, BIS ’81 and MPA ’86, and her husband, Randolph W. Church, will cochair the group. Both are former members of the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees and long-time friends of the Mertens.

Learn more about the campaign and make contributions online; donors are able to designate their gifts to the Merten Scholars Endowment or to other priority areas of their choice in honor of the Mertens.

Write to mediarel at gazette@gmu.edu