On Aug. 1, 2019, Anne Holton became the seventh president of George Mason University, the largest, most diverse and fastest-growing university in Virginia. The former Virginia Secretary of Education is the first female president in Mason history.
Since May 2017, Holton has served as a Mason visiting professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government and the College of Education and Human Development. She is serving as interim president while a national search is conducted for a permanent successor to Ángel Cabrera.
Holton leads one of the highest-achieving research universities in the country as determined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. With 38,000 students, Mason is equally committed to providing opportunity, accounting for 64 percent of public university enrollment growth in Virginia from 2010 to 2018.
Mason’s mission of access to excellence mirrors Holton’s impactful career in education, law and public service, leading efforts on behalf of families and children. After earning her law degree at Harvard, Holton worked as an attorney for low-income families from 1985 to 1998 with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. She then served as a judge on the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court for the city of Richmond from 1998 to 2005, including a stint as chief judge from 2000 to 2003.
As Virginia’s First Lady when her husband, Sen. Tim Kaine, was governor from 2006 to 2010, Holton championed foster care system reform. Her program, For Keeps: Families for All Virginia Teens, helped find permanent families for foster children of all ages. Holton consulted on national foster care reform with the Annie E. Casey Foundation Child Welfare Strategy Group and later directed Great Expectations, a Virginia Foundation for Community College Education program that assists foster youth in pursuing a college education.
As Virginia’s Secretary of Education from 2014 to 2016, Holton worked to increase Virginia’s investment in public education, to promote innovation and teaching and learning in state schools, and to ensure every student has a successful pathway to the future, particularly children who live in poverty.
In addition to her work as a Mason visiting professor researching education, social welfare and urban policy, Holton is a visiting Fellow at Mason’s Center for Education Policy and Evaluation, which promotes equity and improved educational outcomes for all students by connecting research to policy and practice.
Holton’s commitment to equal opportunity in education started early. Her father, former Virginia Gov. A. Linwood Holton Jr., helped integrate the inner city schools of Richmond by sending his own children to Richmond city schools. Anne Holton’s three children, now adults, also attended Richmond public schools.
The Holton family also has a long history with Mason. Her father as governor in 1972 signed legislation that granted George Mason University its independence from the University of Virginia. That measure cleared the way for a state university to anchor the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., resulting in the vibrant Northern Virginia of today. Mason in 2016 named a plaza on the university’s Fairfax Campus in honor of the elder Holton.
Anne Holton’s awards include Outstanding Woman of the Year in Law from the YWCA of Richmond in 2006 and the Annie E. Casey Foundation Families for Life Award of Distinction in 2008. In 2017, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointed her to the Virginia Board of Education.
Holton, a Roanoke, Va., native, graduated magna cum laude from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1980 and earned her law degree from Harvard in 1983.
S. David Wu is Provost and Executive Vice President of George Mason University. Since his appointment in 2014, Provost Wu has launched important initiatives at Mason; including the establishment of the Science and Technology campus in Prince William County, the creation of campus-wide multidisciplinary initiatives, and the formation of comprehensive partnerships with Inova health system and UVA. Despite the climate of declining state support, he was able to build a world-class senior leadership team, streamlined academic administration, implemented a market-responsive budgetary system, while managing organizational changes and positioning the university for top quality research and education. In 2016, Mason entered the rank of Carnegie tier-one research universities.
Prior to joining Mason, Dr. Wu was dean of the Rossin College of Engineering and holder of the Lee A. Iacocca endowed chair at Lehigh University. Serving the deanship for over a decade, Dr. Wu led a period of unprecedented expansion and renewal for the college, recruited over 40% of the faculty, created over 12 new interdisciplinary programs, and built substantial academic and research space. At the conclusion of his tenure as Dean, engineering alumni established the S. David Wu Endowed Scholarship in honor of his accomplishments.
Provost Wu is an accomplished scholar in systems engineering and operations research. As a fellow of IIE, he published extensively and served as editor or editorial board member on several leading journals in his field. He currently serves on the board of overseers for Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, and the advisory boards for the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the National Taiwan University. In 2015, he was recognized with the prestigious Tien Educational Leadership Award.
Provost Wu was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and HKUST. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in 1987.
Dr. Robert Matz is the Mason Korea Campus Dean. He is responsible for leading and managing all aspects of Mason Korea’s programs and operations in close coordination with Mason’s Fairfax Campus. A faculty member at George Mason University for over twenty-five years, he has previously served as Chair of the George Mason English Department, as Senior Associate Dean of George Mason’s College of Social Sciences, and as Interim Dean of the college. He brings to Mason Korea this experience in academic leadership, his commitment to excellence in teaching and research, and his dedication to the opportunities for international exchange that Mason Korea offers.
An expert on English Renaissance literature, Dr. Matz received his Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University in 1986 and his Doctor of Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University in 1993. He has published essays on Shakespeare and on Renaissance poetry and poetic theory, as well as two books, Defending Literature in Early Modern England: Renaissance Literary Theory in Social Context and The World of Shakespeare’s Sonnets: An Introduction, which was selected as a 2008 Choice Outstanding Academic Title. His edition of two English Renaissance marriage sermons was published in 2016. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Association of Departments of English, and on the Executive Committee of the Folger Institute of the Folger Shakespeare Library. He teaches courses on sixteenth and seventeenth-century English literature, and on Renaissance drama, including Shakespeare.
Gbemi Disu is currently the Chief Business Officer for the GMU Korea campus where she oversees all finance, administration, operations, and external relations functions for the institution. Prior to this role, she was the Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives where she successfully managed the campus-wide process for updating the University’s 10-year strategic plan. In her role as Executive Director for Global Strategy, Gbemi was responsible for driving campus internationalization efforts, including study abroad, international agreements and institutional partnerships. She has also served as Special Assistant to the President where she supported key initiatives that were central to achieving the University’s strategic goals. Gbemi also teaches for the University’s School of Business and serves on the University’s Diversity Leadership and Global Leadership Councils.
Prior to Gbemi's higher education career, she worked for several Fortune 500 companies such as HSBC Bank and Chevron, as well as the Arizona State Legislature.
Gbemi received her Bachelor of Science in economics and international business from W.P. Carey School of Business and the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. She received her MBA in global finance and marketing from Thunderbird School of Global Management, where she was the recipient of the Barton Kyle Yount Outstanding Graduate Award. Gbemi also holds executive Certificates from Harvard Business School and Columbia Business School and is a Crans Montana New Leaders for Tomorrow Fellow.
Dr. John T. Crist is associate dean of our Office of Academic Affairs. He previously served for many years as the director of research at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Additionally, he held positions as the associate director of research for the Center for International and Regional Studies and the assistant dean for academic affairs at Georgetown University. He also brings more than an additional decade of leadership experiences from working at the United States Institute of Peace’s Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program. As a professor, he has more than 20 years teaching experiences at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, and Catholic University of America. He also published over 25 articles and presented at more than 30 conferences throughout his educational career.
Dr. Crist received his bachelor’s degree from Catholic University of America, and his master’s and doctorate from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Yorgun K. Marcel is associate dean of our Office of Student Affairs. Before joining us, he worked as the assistant dean for students, director for international student affairs, and managing director at College of Wooster.
Yorgun earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and his master’s degree in mass communication from Saint Cloud State University. He expects to complete his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of New England in 2018.
Kelley E. Chung boasts over 16 years of experience working in admissions, with over 13 years of experience working in college admissions. Before joining us, she served as an associate director of admissions at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, Columbia University, and Loyola Marymount University.
Kelley earned her bachelor’s degree in government at the University of Redlands and her master’s degree in organizations and leadership at Columbia University’s Teachers College.