Merten has been the president of GMU since 1996. He arrived at the school from Cornell, where he was dean of its graduate business school. In a letter to the university, Merten said that serving as Mason’s president was the “greatest privilege” of his career.
The 69-year-old has been credited with transforming the small commuter school into Virginia’s largest university. He has been recognized for bringing some of the world’s highest regarded scholars to the school.
Merten's last day at the university will be June 30, 2012. A committee is being formed to find a replacement.
In a letter to the school, Rector Ernst Volgenau wrote that Merten’s tenure had been “remarkable and transformative.”