He may be 45 years old, but the new president at George Mason University has a lot in common with the thousands of freshman who just descended on the Fairfax campus. Dr. Angel Cabrera just moved in, too, leaving behind his last position at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, a top management grad school.
"It's so exciting. I feel like I'm a freshman," Cabrera told News4 as he watched families roll giant carts full of college gear from the parking garage to the dorms. "I tell them I know what it feels like because I was emptying my own boxes just six weeks ago and I have the same mix of feelings, exciting and scary."
Cabrera succeeds Dr. Alan Merten, who retired last spring after 16 years leading the university through enormous change and growth. Even though GMU became an independent institution just 40 years ago, it had Virginia's largest student enrollment the past two years. Almost 34,000 students are expected this fall.
Cabrera said his first goal is to make sure GMU offers each student a transformational experience.
"We only go to college once. This is a big deal," he said.
He's promised to provide the Board of Visitors a vision statement to guide Mason's next decade by spring. So far, students like what they see.
"He's already done things with Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook," said GMU student government vice president Jordan Foster. "He's into social media. You know where to find him and what he's doing."
And for a while, just like the freshman, it will be getting used to the new surroundings.
You can read more about George Mason University’s new president in tomorrow’s Fairfax County Times or on Fairfaxtimes.com.