Jack Wood Award Recipients for 2016
Elected Official or City/County Employee Category:
Joanna Ormesher, City of Fairfax Cultural Tourism and Marketing Manager, led an initiative to create a more visual “Mason” presence in downtown City of Fairfax through a lamppost banner program located in the Old Town Square Park area. In addition, she serves on the Town Gown Charrette subcommittee, works with Mason’s Office for Off-Campus Student Programs and Services to cross promote Mason/City events to the university and community, and actively engages Mason’s visual and performing arts throughout the community through the Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts program, Mason Improv and Comedy Club, and showcasing Mason art projects at “The Space” art gallery. She also hires Mason interns and is a mentor to Mason students.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) – this 501(c)3, founded in 1991 as a collaboration between the Fairfax County Commission on Aging and active area retirees looking for more intellectual and social opportunities in retirement, became affiliated with the university in 1994 and has been fulfilling the university’s strategic goal of extending its learning mission into the community ever since. The program fosters town-gown relationships between the university and older adult residents of Northern Virginia by offering these citizens more opportunities to share and develop their talents, explore new interests, and engage in intellectual, social, and cultural pursuits in a stimulating environment. We congratulate them on 25 years of service to the community.
Community Member Category:
Bob Buchanan, a long-time champion of the university, currently serves on the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees, as well as the Science and Technology Campus Advisory Board. He is constantly seeking ways to engage the university with the community. Last year Mr. Buchanan started an ambitious project to bring together leaders from across the Washington metro area, including the university, to discuss the diversification of our economy. Working with Mason Professor Stephen Fuller, they developed the Roadmap project to improve the economic activity in the region and create a plan for sustainable economic growth.
Bill Miller, Director of the English Department’s Creative Writing program, is being recognized for his involvement with the Fall for the Book regional literary festival since its inception in 1999 and serving as the executive director since 2001. Fall for the Book is a joint venture festival of George Mason University and the City of Fairfax, building community by connecting senior centers, book clubs, special interest community groups, libraries, bookstores, and many other organizations that are part of Fairfax and the surrounding community.
Student Category (awarded to an individual or group):
Mason Student Leadership Consultants Team, working with Godwin Middle School, a Title I school in Prince William County, has coordinated various efforts for community engagement at Godwin including leadership development workshops, a teen night, and a large-scale leadership conference. In addition, they have worked with the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia where they facilitated workshops focusing on leadership, communication, and conflict resolution that have been designed to develop both physical and social skills for young adults with special needs. The team members include Kayla Vaughan, Courtney Metcalf, Amber Falls, and Taylor Sprague.
Partnership Initiative Category (an equal partnership or program between a Mason entity and an external organization(s) that reciprocally benefits both the university and the community):
Meaningful Watershed Educational Partners – Mason’s Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center, Fairfax County Public Schools, and the Fairfax County Park Authority developed curricula and trained 75+ field interpreters (Mason students) to inspire youth to explore, understand, and improve their local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. This partnership has provided outdoor watershed education programs to over 25,000 seventh graders throughout the county since its inception in 2010. Accepting the award was Cindy Smith, representing Mason’s Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center; Myra Thayer, representing Fairfax County Public Schools; and Tammy Schwab, representing Fairfax County Park Authority.
Congratulations to all our award recipients. We greatly appreciate your leadership in strengthening the relationships between the university and the communities we serve.