Schar School of Policy and Government graduating Government and International Politics major Tim O’Shea spent his time at George Mason University helping his peers become more engaged citizens in their community and state. In May his efforts were rewarded: George Mason President Ángel Cabrera and John Wood, son of Jack Wood, presented O’Shea with a John C. “Jack” Wood Award for Town-Gown relations. The award recognizes leaders building the relationship between the university and the community.
O’Shea, who won the award in the student category, served as the Mason Student Government’s Executive Secretary for Government and Community Relations. Among other highlights from O’Shea’s college career:
- He assisted Robinson Professor Steven Pearlstein with the “First Tuesday Speaker Series,” which hosted political pollsters, journalists, and campaign managers in timely discussions leading up to the 2018 midterm elections.
- He assisted in organizing the first Roger Wilkins Lecture, during which Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Forman Jr. gave a talk about the criminal justice system and the origins of American mass incarceration to an audience of 250.
- He designed and directed the creation of an online guidebook for civic engagement for students.
- He led members of Mason Student Government to make legislative appointments, created briefing books on legislators.
- He trained undergraduates in Government Relations 101 as a part of Mason Lobbies Day, an annual event that brings a group of students to Richmond to advocate for the university’s legislative priorities. The Mason students were recognized in the House and Senate, and met the Governor for a photo opportunity.
“I think that every Mason staff or faculty member I've ever met, in their own way, has always looked to the future of the university and the welfare of the community as a whole,” O’Shea said. “It always felt like, even if I was disagreeing with someone, we both had the same intentions in trying to protect and advance the students and community in general.
“I think it isn't until people graduate that they realize that level of support and camaraderie is special, and it's something many will miss and try to find somewhere else. Mason helped make me who I am, and I know years from now I'll realize that positive tendencies or beliefs I hold were instilled in me here.”
O’Shea plans to attend law school at Georgetown University in the fall.
The Jack Wood Award is a university/community-wide award program to recognize faculty, staff, students, businesses/not-for-profits, community members, and elected officials/staff who demonstrate leadership in fostering mutually beneficial relationships between the university and the community.
Jack Wood, former Mayor for the then-Town of Fairfax, was the driving force for arranging a campus to be located on land adjacent to the town and deeding it to the university, thus beginning the Town Gown relationship between university and community.
To learn more about the award and this year's recipients, visit: https://relations.gmu.edu/2019-jack-wood-award-recipients/