George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Improving the Nation’s Infrastructure: Hazel Endowed Chair to Support Eminent Scholar

July 8, 2014   /   by Mary Frances Forcier

Bill and Eleanor Hazel

Bill and Eleanor Hazel

A new endowed chair in George Mason University’s Volgenau School of Engineering has been established that will support a distinguished faculty member in civil and infrastructure engineering, and an annual symposium on solving the infrastructure challenges of Northern Virginia and the nation.

The Eleanor and Bill Hazel Endowed Chair in Civil Infrastructure Engineering will honor Eleanor and the late William A. “Bill” Hazel of Broad Run, Va. It 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.

The chair was established with a lead 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. It will be awarded to an outstanding engineering scholar following an international search.

“This endowed chair honors Bill Hazel’s lifetime passion for civil engineering and infrastructure development—and his passion for education,” said Mason president Ángel Cabrera. “Before his death in 2012, Bill was instrumental in the development and growth of Mason. He believed that Northern Virginia needed and deserved a great university.”

In 1958, Hazel founded William A. Hazel Inc.; the firm built housing, offices, public institutions and roads throughout Northern Virginia through a time of tremendous 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.”

“The Hazel chair will help us realize the long-term vision for our department,” said Deborah Goodings, Dewberry Professor of Civil Engineering and department chair. Recently, 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 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.