George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Endowed Chair Honors Eleanor and Bill Hazel

September 5, 2014

A new endowed chair in George Mason University's Volgenau School of Engineering will honor Eleanor and the late William A. "Bill" Hazel of Broad Run.
The Eleanor and Bill Hazel Endowed Chair in Civil Infrastructure Engineering in the Volgenau School will be funded through a $3 million endowment comprising gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations in honor of the Hazels' dedication to Northern Virginia and George Mason University.
The chair was established with a gift of $1 million from the William A. Hazel Family Foundation and supported with a lead gift from Sidney O. Dewberry, a longtime colleague, campaign leader, and friend of the Hazels.
"This endowed chair honors Bill Hazel's lifetime passion for civil engineering and infrastructure development – and his passion for education," said George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera. 
"Before his death in 2012, Bill was instrumental in the development and growth of Mason. He believed in the importance of education, and that Northern Virginia needed and deserved a great university." 
A distinguished faculty member in civil and infrastructure engineering will be named to the Hazel endowed chair, following an international search.  The gift will also support an annual symposium on forward-looking solutions to the infrastructure needs of Northern Virginia and the nation. 
Hazel was the founder of William A. Hazel Construction, a Northern Virginia construction company that built housing, office buildings, public institutions and roads throughout the region during a time of rapid growth.
"Bill was a real person," said Dewberry, former rector of the university.  "What you saw was what you got. Bill loved the land and he loved construction, and he knew how to do it. I could show him the plans, he would look at them and then go out into the field, and build."
Hazel began his business with a bulldozer and a pickup truck in 1958. Throughout the next several decades, the company would grow to employ thousands and Hazel would support numerous educational institutions and organizations.  
"The Hazel chair will help us realize the long-term vision for our department," said Dewberry Professor of Civil Engineering and Department Chair Deborah Goodings.  In recent years, the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering has successfully recruited talented junior faculty;  attracting an outstanding senior scholar to the Hazel chair will accelerate the growth of the university's civil engineering program.
"The school is grateful to Sid Dewberry for leading the effort to fund this professorship, the Hazel family, and the many donors who contributed to make this professorship a reality," said Volgenau School Dean Kenneth S. Ball.
The gift was announced at a celebration of the Hazels' impact on George Mason University and the Northern Virginia region. Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough served as the event's keynote speaker, focusing on the history of the Panama Canal: one of the world's great civil engineering achievements, and a source of inspiration for Bill Hazel.
View photo album of the event.