“Mason has steadily grown its influence in the world of policy and government, showing Northern Virginia can be both a starting point and a destination for people who want to serve and make a difference,” said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. “Nobody gets that better than Dwight Schar, a driving force for the regional economy and a strong and valued supporter of the Commonwealth. Dwight is truly an inspirational advocate for education, and this gift ensures his legacy will endure.”
Schar and his wife Martha have been long-time supporters of the university. They established an endowed faculty chair for the public policy school in 2002 and have provided significant support for the school’s Center for Regional Analysis over the years. Schar served on the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees from 1986 through 1998, and received the George Mason Medal, the university’s highest honor, in 2003.
“This gift acknowledges the successes already achieved by Mason’s public policy school, and it signals our expectation that its great history is only the beginning,” said Schar. “But this is more than rhetoric; it is based on a palpable shared feeling among students, faculty, and school leadership that something very exciting is happening here. This is not the end of the road. I look forward to having a long-term relationship with the school and watching it grow and thrive.”
The $10 million gift, which is one of the largest in the university’s history, will be used to institute the programs and support the culture that will merit wide recognition as one of the great schools of its kind in the world, explained Cabrera.
“Dwight Schar’s gift will help bring the increased international acclaim the school so richly deserves. We anticipate a fruitful and ongoing relationship as we work to make the Schar School a world leader,” Cabrera added.
“A little less than two years ago, we merged the School of Public Policy and Public and International Affairs of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences,” said Dean Mark J. Rozell. “The merger has proven to be a great success, allowing us to break through the ranks of colleges of our type and put us on the path to enrich the offerings and elevate the reputation of the university and our school. We are thrilled to have Dwight Schar’s support as we strive to take the school to new levels of excellence.”
The Schar family has a strong connection to Mason, as well. In addition to Schar’s tenure on the Board of Trustees, his daughter, Tracy Schar, earned her bachelor’s degree from Mason in 1984 and is a current member of the university’s Board of Visitors.
The Schars’ $10 million gift represents another significant boost to the university’s Faster Farther comprehensive campaign goal of $500 million, which supports Mason’s campuses in Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William along with more than 6,500 faculty and staff and nearly 34,000 students.
The university’s Board of Visitors approved the renaming of the school at its May 5 meeting. Formal approval of the new name is also required from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).