Zingraff Named Interim President of Mason Songdo Campus

Posted: June 21, 2013 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: June 25, 2013 at 7:11 am

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By Michele McDonald

Matthew Zingraff

Matthew Zingraff

Provost Peter Stearns tapped Matthew Zingraff to serve as the interim president of George Mason University’s upcoming campus in Songdo, Korea.

“I’m really grateful that Dr. Zingraff has taken this on,” Stearns says. “He’ll oversee crucial steps in the development of our campus there and its coordination with Mason Fairfax. He also can expand work already under way on related research collaborations in Korea.”

The Mason Songdo Campus is slated to open in March 2014. Korea’s Ministry of Education is expected to give final approval soon. Mason’s initial courses of study include management, economics and global affairs.

Songdo is part of Korea’s Incheon Free Economic Zone — a 42,000-acre area designed for 850,000 people. It’s an hour away from Seoul and a two-hour flight from China and Japan.

“It is an urban mecca for R&D and high-tech work, and George Mason University will be right in the middle of it,” says Zingraff, who served as interim vice president of research and economic development for Mason until the recent appointment of Vikas Chandhoke, former College of Science dean.

Mason Korea will be part of the Songdo Global University Campus, joining the University of Utah, Belgium’s Ghent University and the State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook, which opened last year.

“There’s work that needs to be done to ensure we have an appropriate infrastructure in Korea to realize our vision,” Zingraff says. “I will oversee our Songdo launch, and in doing so will build upon the foundation created by a host of contributors at Mason Fairfax and in Korea over the last two years of planning. I will position us for future success and be a vocal advocate for Mason and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Mason is committed to bringing the same academic programs offered on its Virginia campuses to East and Southeast Asians and other students who want a U.S. education that’s closer to home, Zingraff says.

Mason Songdo students will spend the first two years in Korea, year three at Mason’s Fairfax Campus and return to Korea for the final semesters. Students enrolled at Mason’s Virginia campuses can also study at the Songdo campus or participate in internships.

“This is a remarkable opportunity for Mason U.S. students,” Zingraff says.

Zingraff also plans to reach out to Mason alumni who live in Korea, as well as Korean companies, to support the new campus and its academic and research programs.

Zingraff earned his PhD from Bowling Green State University. He is associate dean for research in Mason’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society. Prior to joining Mason in 2006, he served as associate dean for research and graduate studies and professor of sociology at North Carolina State University.

Write to Michele McDonald at mmcdon15@gmu.edu

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