College of Humanities and Social Sciences

College Celebrates Alumni at Two Special Events

by Anne Reynolds

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George Mason University celebrated its annual Alumni Weekend on September 19-21 this year, and welcomed many Patriots from far and near back to Fairfax Campus. Among the host of activities planned for the weekend, the college was able to add to the festivities by entertaining its alumni at two distinct events.

Friday: Distinguished Alumni Reception 

On Friday, September 19, the college celebrated 19 of its most notable alumni at its annual Distinguished Alumni Reception. Nominated by their individual departments or programs, each of these individuals and their families gather at a special, invitation-only reception that recognizes the impressive contributions they have made to their fields and to the community.

This year’s distinguished alumni and their nominating departments or programs are: 

Christopher Anzalone

Religious Studies

Alejandra Bobadilla

Modern and Classical Languages


Hampton Brown, III

Bachelor of Individualized Study


Gilad Chen



Lee Glazer

History and Art History


Gerald Mazur

Criminology, Law and Society


Saverio (Sam) Meddis

Interdisciplinary Studies


Jennifer Mensch



Maricé Morales

Global Affairs


Kevin Pachas



Leonardo Pareja

New Century College


Ayana Reed

African and African American Studies


Alex Tabarrok



Roman Terehoff

Russian and Eurasian Studies


Shawn Turner



Thomas Vander Ven

Sociology and Anthropology


Cesar Vence

Latin American Studies


Deborah Willis

Cultural Studies


Karen Wolf 

Women and Gender Studies


Dean Deborah Boehm-Davis was impressed with the accomplishments of the group.

“They are truly remarkable,” she said. “Not only are many of them doing incredible things, but so many of them are contributing to their communities here and abroad, working with underserved populations and contributing back.

“These alumni, by their actions, are using their liberal arts backgrounds to build international relationships, to ensure housing for all people, to educate and enlighten others, and to help those without other recourse. They present a wonderful example for our students.”

Saturday: College's Annual Beer Tasting

The Distinguished Alumni reception has become a highlight of the college’s Alumni Weekend celebration, and another popular tradition is the college’s annual casual get-together for all humanities and social sciences alumni.

For the past four years, the college has hosted a beer tasting on the Saturday afternoon of Alumni Weekend. This year, the attendees sampled beers supplied by Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, Virginia, which were paired with foods chosen to complement them.

The nearly 90 participants enjoyed Downright Pilsner, Monumental IPA, Oktoberfest, and Porter, which were described in an informative and interesting narrative given by John Cicchetti, director of student outreach for the college. Cicchetti, who is affiliated with Port City and who serves as a “beer guide” for brewery tours, enjoys the collaboration between the college and the brewer.

“The college’s Alumni Weekend beer tasting event is a fun atmosphere for our alumni to reconnect over locally crafted beer,” he said. “I am quite enthusiastic about helping other people learn about and appreciate the craft beer culture, and the Alumni Weekend tasting provided the perfect venue to do so.”

But the beer was not the event's only draw this year. Staff from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, including the center’s director, Stephen Robertson, helped mark the center’s twentieth anniversary by sharing some of the popular websites they have developed that help bring history to life. Armed with the center’s laptops and tablet devices, participants were able to explore for themselves sites such as Histories of the National Mall, the September 11 Archives, the Papers of the War Department 1784-1800, and National History Day’s 100 Leaders Project.

In addition to the fascinating history sites, members of the English department contributed their own archive of yearbooks for a step back into a more personal history for the alumni. These, combined with the well-received refreshments and the great company of college alumni, created an event that was truly memorable.

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