Spring has arrived! Leaves have greened, flowers have bloomed, and the academic year is quickly winding to a close. This is graduation season, where we have the great honor of celebrating the extraordinary achievements of our students. The days surrounding commencement and convocation are in many ways the most satisfying of my year; they represent the ultimate reason that so many of us chose to join the academy. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share some of my time during these days with you and am as ever thankful that you’re spending moments with us.
We enjoy nothing more than sharing the unique Mason perspective on economics and policy, an increasingly influential way of thinking that the world now refers to as “Masonomics.” In order to share our insights more broadly, during the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters we began to hold Community Economic Forums. Each forum features a specific Mason economist who shares his or her views on key economic issues. Audience participation is the key component of each forum; the goal is to share our thoughts and views in a way that is most helpful to those who attend. We are fortunate that three of Mason’s star professors, Tyler Cowen, Garett Jones, and Larry White, lectured in Arlington and Fairfax during the academic year. All told, several hundred people joined us at these free events. We are continuing these events in future semesters, and we very much look forward to seeing you there!
Our outreach efforts do not end with our Community Economic Forums. In addition, the summer months are filled with economic workshops targeted towards our local high school students. You may be aware that Virginia’s Governor McDonnell has targeted economics as a priority area for high school education, and we’re doing our part to help. A new Mason website, economicsknowledge.gmu.edu, includes all sorts of information about week-long summer economics workshops we offer for high school students. If you have a daughter or son that age, or know someone who you think might be interested, it’s a great way to spend a summer week.
It goes without saying that Mason economics faculty and students continue to achieve at the highest level and are great sources of pride. Especially noteworthy is Professor Tyler Cowen, who every year continues to add to his already extensive list of major accomplishments. Most recently, Professor Cowen was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the world’s top 100 global thinkers. This extraordinary achievement furthers our faculty's international reputation for creating visionary, outside-the-box economic ideas. The strength of our faculty and the students we produce has not been lost on the profession. Our doctoral students continue to receive offers to join our nation’s leading universities. I am proud that one of my own students, Sophia Pan, has accepted a research and teaching position at Harvard.
It has been a tremendous year in the economics department at George Mason University. Thank you for allowing me to share with you some of our pride! Best wishes to you and yours for a very enjoyable summer..