Mason Graduates 7,695 at Spring Commencement

Posted: May 12, 2014 at 5:01 am, Last Updated: May 9, 2014 at 4:17 pm

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By Colleen Kearney Rich

David M. Rubenstein, the co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group global asset management firm, is the speaker for George Mason University’s 2014 Commencement ceremony, which will be held on Saturday, May 17, at 10 a.m. in the Patriot Center.

A total of 7,695 students will graduate from George Mason this spring.

Of the 2014 graduates, 4,711 are receiving bachelor’s degrees, 2,512 are receiving master’s degrees, 187 are receiving law degrees, and 285 are receiving doctoral degrees. The top five undergraduate majors this year are psychology (311), biology (263), accounting (254), criminology, law and society (243), and information technology (228).

Gerald T. Halpin, the founder, CEO and president of West Group Inc.; Frank M. Pettrone, MD, Mason head team physician and orthopaedic surgeon at Commonwealth Orthopaedics; and Provost Peter N. Stearns will receive the Mason Medal at Commencement. The Mason Medal is the university’s highest honorary award. Those receiving the award, which honors George Mason, the man, should have a record of service to their community, state or nation consistent with the level and quality of George Mason’s public service in his own time.

This year’s student speaker is Zach Eisenstein who will graduate with a BA in Communication.

Rubenstein has practiced law, worked in the White House with President Jimmy Carter and helped start a private equity firm that today manages more than $176 billion in locations around the world.

He is chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and has served on numerous boards for nonprofit institutions in the arts, education, medicine and museums. He is also an avid collector who has acquired several historic publications: the 1297 Magna Carta; the “Bay Psalm Book,” one of the oldest printed books known; and copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Declaration of Independence.

Rubenstein is a 1970 magna cum laude graduate of Duke University, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated in 1973 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the “Law Review.” He will also receive an honorary doctor of humane letters from Mason on Saturday.

Halpin was, along with his partners, responsible for the development, redevelopment or construction of more than 12 million square feet of office, retail, residential and resort property in Virginia and Maryland. He’s developed and managed hotels and resorts across the mid-Atlantic region and in Wyoming, Texas and Arizona.

At the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) in Front Royal, Va., the G.T. Halpin Family Living and Learning Community—named in honor of the Halpin family’s $5 million gift to the university—provides LEED-certified academic, residential and dining facilities for conservation students. The Halpin gift also established an endowment for the SMSC supporting undergraduate and graduate scholarships, curriculum and program development, and faculty research.

Pettrone, in addition to being the head team physician at Mason for 20 years, practices general orthopaedics and specializes in sports medicine at Commonwealth Orthopaedics. He particularly enjoys caring for athletes and following their return to athletic performance. He is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Pettrone’s professional honors and awards include the Jack Rockwell Award (the U.S. Gymnastics Outstanding Physician of the Year) and the U.S. Military Sports Medicine Fellowship Physician of the Year. He also has participated as a clinical professor of orthopaedics at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Educated at Harvard University, Stearns previously taught at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Rutgers University and Carnegie Mellon University. He became Mason’s provost on January 1, 2001. During Stearns’s leadership as provost, Mason has more than tripled its level of funded research and tripled its number of doctoral programs.

Expanding global partnerships has been a hallmark of Stearns’s tenure at Mason. His efforts include a growing number of dual-degree programs and elaborate connections with students and universities in such countries as Brazil, China, Russia, South Korea and Turkey. He spearheaded the establishment of the branch campus in Incheon, Korea, and the collaboration with INTO to increase the number and diversity of students recruited from abroad. Stearns will retire as provost in June 2014 but will maintain a robust faculty schedule.

Student speaker Eisenstein is a native of Plymouth, Mass. Co-captain of the Mason Forensics Team and active in Student Government, he will be receiving a bachelor of arts in communication with a concentration in public relations and a minor in women and gender studies. Following graduation, he plans to spend a year doing public relations work in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area before continuing on to graduate school.

Write to Colleen Kearney Rich at

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