A record number of students from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University walked across the stage in grand fashion during their convocations on May 17 and 18, 2012. More than 2,500 graduating students were recognized for their efforts in two distinguished ceremonies.
Mason President Alan Merten was on hand on Thursday, May 17, 2012, as more than 500 students graduated with master’s and doctoral degrees at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate Convocation.
Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, delivered the keynote address. Three programs honored their first-ever graduates.
After the event, Matt Zingraff, associate dean for research and graduate programs in the college, praised the graduating class.
"We're pleased that we had the opportunity this year to award the first degrees in the political science PhD program in the Department of Public and International Affairs, the computational sciences concentration in the MAIS program, and the first master’s degree in the History of Decorative Arts program," Zingraff said. "The recipients of our graduate degrees are positioned well to move into the workforce, whether they enter an academic setting, a research setting, a government setting, or the private sector."
On Friday, May 18, 2012, more than 2,000 students graduated at the college’s Undergraduate Convocation.
Douglas Greenberg, Professor of History and Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, was the keynote speaker. The Green Machine band heartily welcomed the record number of graduating students, and the dean’s office recognized student winners of departmental awards.
Jamie Cooper, associate dean of undergraduate academic affairs in the college, later said he was amazed by and proud of the students.
"I had many memorable interactions with this year's graduates," Cooper said. "In addition to their impressive academic credentials and professional experiences, so many of these students were deeply involved in the evolution of our campus culture and the continued success of George Mason University as a whole. They have grown from these meaningful opportunities and are ready to share their diverse talents with the greater community."
Jack Censer, dean of the college, spoke at both convocations and emphasized the value of a degree from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
"Historically, humanities and social sciences are disciplines that give rise to theories, research, and very simply, ideas," he said to the students. "Today, more than ever, thinkers and idea-makers such as yourselves have become more important. We need your skill, innovation and forward thinking to help us meet the challenges that lie ahead."
He also spoke of the joy he experiences each year come graduation time.
"During my 35 years at Mason, it has been an honor to watch students, like you, graduate and move forward," Censer said. "The closing of this academic year marks the end of my sixth year as dean. I am honored to hold a position dedicated to ensuring that the people who can effect change in the future receive a world-class education today."
Photos by Evan Cantwell and Craig Bisacre, Creative Services, George Mason University.
May 30, 2012