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Discussion in 'George Mason Basketball' started by sleeperpick, May 21, 2020.
Dies at 78 of Parkinson's. RIP
Mason wouldn't be the university it is today without the leadership of Alan Merten. RIP.
Sad news. I enjoyed seeing him shoot tshirts at the old scoreboard in the Pat Center during his time as President. Even though he prevented the basketball program from seeking its full potential post final four, he certainly helped Mason as a whole.
Email from President Holton:
I am sad to report that Alan Merten, the university’s fifth president, died today in Florida. He was 78 and had battled Parkinson’s disease for some time.
Dr. Merten’s influence on the emergence of our university is immeasurable. During his 16 years as president, from 1996 through 2012, he guided a young Mason to unprecedented growth and development and founded many of the Mason pillars that we take for granted today, including the Science and Technology Campus and University Life, while transitioning a regional university to a residential institution with a global focus.
During Dr. Merten’s tenure, more than 20 major buildings sprung up on the university’s three campuses, including the Art & Design and Engineering buildings in Fairfax, the Biomedical Research Laboratory and Hylton Performing Arts Center in Prince William, and Founders Hall in Arlington.
Dr. Merten’s ambition was to “move George Mason from good to great” and raise the quality and visibility of a budding university. He did that and so much more.
Dr. Merten expanded the university’s research output so it could become a greater innovative force in the Washington, D.C., region and in Virginia. He sought to establish academic programs in new areas and consolidate competing academic programs, recognizing that smart and sensible combinations could be as innovative as new creations. That is a precursor to the multidisciplinary approach we take in so many of our endeavors today.
When Dr. Merten took over as president, Mason’s enrollment was about 23,000. By 2010, enrollment had swelled to about 32,500, with a sharp increase in out-of-state enrollment. When he retired in 2012, Mason had matured into a residential university, with about 7,000 students living on campus.
At the same time, Dr. Merten deepened Mason’s relationships with the Northern Virginia business, technology and arts communities and was the driving force behind a capital campaign that brought $142 million into the university.
His tenure included so many highlights that raised the profile and trajectory of Mason – hosting the 1998 World Congress on Information Technology, faculty member Vernon Smith winning the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002, and Mason’s miraculous run to the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four in 2006. U.S. News & World Report designated Mason as the “Number One University to Watch” in 2008 and on its first list of “Up-and-Coming Universities”—schools “that have recently made the most promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus or facilities.” That national recognition is part of the Merten legacy.
Dr. Merten remained an ardent supporter of Mason, with him and Sally endowing four scholarships among their many, many contributions to our university and Northern Virginia community.
We send our deepest thoughts and condolences to Sally and the entire Merten family, as well as his many friends and colleagues around Mason and beyond.
A big part of Merten's legacy....tweet from Doc Nix:
Michael W. Nickens
Alan Merten took a chance on me, and delivered when I needed him to. Rest well my friend, I am eternally grateful for you.
I’ll never forget seeing him attempt to lift the t shirt cannon his final year, only barely get it parallel with the ground, and absolutely perforate some poor guy in the first rows head. RIP to a legend.
I will always remember our talks to Richmond talking bball and what Mason needed to become Stanford of the East. Dr. Merten gave me alot of insight in how things worked in the real world. Despite being hungover most of the time, I will cherish his wisdom.
I'm still pissed at him for refferring to our FF run as the 'gift that keeps on giving'
I hate to pick on the person who wrote the caption, but its incorrect. You don't cut the nets down after the sweet 16.
it wouldn’t be an article from mason without some sort of typo or factual mistake.
On a lighter note, I remember watching mason Wichita state in feb 2006, and after tony hit the legendary 3 pointer I shared a nice high five with Dr Merten.
He always seemed to be quite the character. RIP.
Merten's obit in today's Washington Post print edition. Seven paragraphs related to the Final Four and the role of basketball at Mason, most of which are from an interview with Larranaga. Perhaps a counterpoint to the criticism of his post Final Four leadership in not maximizing, at least in terms of basketball, that opportunity. My sense is that Merten's focus was in using this lightning-in-a-bottle national publicity to build up Mason as an academic brand.
Can't be printed in the Washington Post unless there's a jab towards the right.
"Dr. Merten reorganized some departments and colleges, drawing pushback from faculty and students, who sometimes complained that he emphasized science and technology over the liberal arts and that he acceded too readily to a powerful and politically conservative board of visitors."
There certainly was criticism over the cancellation of Michael Moore talk, when the BOV made a lot of noise about it. Reportedly Phi Beta Kappa suddenly pulled Mason's application for a chapter over the issue.
Mason subsequently applied again a year or so later and was eventually granted permission to start a chapter.
They cancelled a speech by Moore? Wow. For all the noise made by the right about free speech on campuses, they oughta practice what they preach. Don't remember hearing anything about this.
I remember hearing this. Pretty sure it was my Freshman year in the fall of 04 or Spring 05. I gave zero F's about politics then so I dint pay any attention but I want to say the cancellation was due to students complaining.
We had a conservative BOV? Who knew
I mean, our rector is a former Republican congressman. I don’t know the political leanings of all of them but I would assume it’s somewhat balanced. They haven’t exactly taken the liberal courses of action with the outcry’s over Koch money or the Scalia stuff. Not to start another politics thread but I would imagine Mason is far more “balanced” than people on either side care think.