The George Mason University Board of Visitors announced the selection of Dr. Gregory Washington as the university’s eighth President. Dr. Washington is the Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at University of California, Irvine. He will join the university on July 1, 2020.
Dr. Washington is an accomplished researcher who specializes in dynamic systems, with an emphasis in the modeling and control of smart material structures and systems. He is the author of more than 150 technical publications in journals, edited volumes and conference proceedings.
“I am honored to accept this position and thrilled to lead Mason at this exciting time,” said Dr. Washington. “What attracted me to Mason was its reputation for having real impact, providing access and for its commitment to inclusive excellence. Those values are in direct alignment with how I operate as an academic leader. I look forward to helping continue to accelerate the trajectory of the institution. The Mason community has laid an extraordinary foundation and my job is take us forward and build on that success. I feel really blessed to have been given this opportunity and can’t wait to get started.”
At UC-Irvine, Dr. Washington launched a new graduate and undergraduate programs with the Paul Merage School of Business and the School of Humanities, and is leading the development of the Horiba Institute for Mobility and Connectivity to advance next generation advanced mobility systems with an $8.5 million gift from Horiba, one of the top 25 analytical and life sciences instrumentation companies in the world.
He established OC STEM, one of the nation’s first STEM ecosystems, in Orange County, which impacts more than 2,500 students per year and more than 250 K-12 teachers and administrators. He also established a citywide effort to help community college students transfer to four-year institutions.
Rector Tom Davis thanked the search committee for its outstanding work in helping find such an accomplished and diverse pool of finalists. “I’m particularly thankful for co-chairs Dr. Shannon Davis and Vice Rector Jimmy Hazel, who helped us navigate this comprehensive and nuanced process and ensured it was inclusive and thorough.”
“We had a very successful search for the next president at Mason,” said Hazel. “A number of highly qualified individuals from across the country applied for the position because of how impressed they are with Mason’s positioning in higher education and our location.”
“Dr. Washington has been recognized as one of the best deans in the country,” Hazel said. “While he is proud of his engineering success, he has a clear understanding of the importance of other disciplines such as the arts, humanities, and athletics as well as faculty issues and student life and that all of these are part of the Mason community.”
Dr. Washington is George Mason’s first African American president. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD at North Carolina State University.
“Gregory Washington is the Mason story,” said search committee co-chair and Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Shannon Davis. “His experience as a first-generation college student who rose through the ranks of higher education, coupled with his honesty and ability to bring people together, will enable him to connect with our community on a level that is rare for a president.”
Davis said the selection of Dr. Washington is an important victory for faculty.
Dr. Washington takes over at an exciting and historical moment for the university. Mason is the largest public university in Virginia, with 39 percent of its students the first in their families to attend college and 33 percent eligible for Pell Grants. Through the ADVANCE Program pathway and online education, Mason is creating opportunities for both traditional and nontraditional students to attend college. Mason has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for being both the most diverse university in the Common- wealth and the most innovative. As the state’s leading provider of tech talent, Mason is at the forefront of the digital age and is setting the pace for the future with its Arlington Innovation District and with its institutes focused on biohealth, sustainability and digital innovation.