African Americans in STEM: Speaker Series

The Libraries is pleased to announce a new speaker series, African Americans in STEM, resulting from a partnership between the Mason Libraries’ Teaching and Learning Team and NEOACM. This new series will commence in Spring 2022 and continue over subsequent fall and spring semesters.

The first two events, which will be virtual, will take place on Monday, April 25 and Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Think Black: IBM’s First Black Software Engineer, Monday, April 25, 6 p.m. EST, Register here.

Clyde W. Ford is a software engineer, a chiropractor, and a psychotherapist. He’s also the award-winning author of twelve works of fiction and non-fiction. THINK BLACK, Clyde’s most recent book published by Amistad/Harper Collins in September 2019, is a memoir about his father, the first Black software engineer in America. It is an examination of a father-son relationship that traces Ford’s story as a system engineer at IBM, and his father’s life as the first Black software engineer hired by Big Blue. The story is both a memoir and an exploration of the slow change in race relations, compared with the lightning speed of change in technology. 

Telling Robot S.T.O.R.I.E.S., Thursday, April 28, 6 p.m. EST, Register here.

Cameron Hughes, Software Epistemologist and author of eight software development books including Robot Programming: A Guide to Controlling Autonomous Robot published by Pearson Education, will be presenting about the obligations and challenges of a software engineer in an age of machine learning hype. The talk is presented from the perspective of those who must program computers and robots to engage in activities that are typically associated with human beings. The presentation will cover the moral and ethical obligations of software engineers when charged with implementing strategies for complex problem solving that interface with the public. The presentation will discuss laymen-level definitions of Artificial Intelligence,  Machine Learning, Autonomous Robots, and Computer Ethics.   

Oberle to receive 2022 Distinguished Library Faculty Award

The Libraries is pleased to announce that George D. Oberle III – history librarian, director of the Center for Mason Legacies, and assistant term faculty with the department of history and art history – has been selected to receive the 2022 Distinguished Library Faculty Award. With this award, he is recognized by his library faculty peers for his exemplary professional accomplishments and his dedication as a librarian, historian, scholar, and mentor.

In the snapshot that follows, you will find it no surprise that Dr. Oberle has been called “the most extraordinary librarian I have ever known,” esteemed for his “unflagging work ethic and amazing degree of intellectual curiosity,” and applauded for the literal transformation of Mason’s campus brought about by such projects as the Enslaved Children of George Mason and Black Lives Next Door.

Oberle is a longtime member of the George Mason University community. He began his career with the Libraries as a graduate research assistant in the reference department of Fenwick Library. Since then, he has held several librarian faculty appointments. Having earned his BA and MA in history at Mason, and his master of library science from the University of Maryland (College Park), Oberle returned to his history studies at Mason and earned his PhD in 2016, while working full-time in his librarian role. His dissertation focused on “Institutionalizing the Information Revolution: Debates over Knowledge Institutions in the Early American Republic,” and he is currently working on an adapted book manuscript, Forge of Learning: Institutions of Knowledge in the Early Republic.

By his colleagues in the Libraries, George is named “one of the best librarians I have ever worked with”; praised for never losing sight of the clear role and value libraries and librarians play; known for his “passion for primary source materials” and his consistently high research consultations numbers; and credited for his mentorship of many students, library staff members, and librarians.

By his faculty colleagues across the university he is known as a “distinguished scholar, an eminent practitioner in the field of library sciences, and a caring and devoted educator” committed to student success. His impact on both the instructional and research activity of the history department over the years is “difficult to overstate” and he consistently goes above and beyond, with the result that he is viewed not only as a contributor of valuable resources and information but as an integral and vital part of the history department being able to do their work. By his faculty colleagues outside of the Mason community, he is known as a “wonderful, supportive colleague whose passion for history and education has shaped the experiences of thousands of people.”

Dr. Oberle’s leadership contributed to the founding of the Center for Mason Legacies, which has been recognized at Mason and beyond on the regional and national level. Such work has culminated in his selection for the nationally competitive American Library Association’s I Love My Librarian Award earlier this year.

Please join the Libraries in commending George Oberle for his contributions to the George Mason University Libraries, the George Mason University academic community, and the broader scholarly community, and please join me in congratulating him on his selection by his peers to receive the University Libraries’ Distinguished Faculty Award in 2022.

The award will be presented officially to Dr. Oberle at Mason’s annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence ceremony, hosted by The Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning. This year’s ceremony is scheduled for May 2, 2022.

It’s Mason’s Time!

Next week marks a special week in the university’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebrations, and we hope you will join us! 

On Monday, April 4, the Enslaved People of George Mason Memorial will be officially dedicated at 1:30 p.m. on Wilkins Plaza. Faculty and students affiliated with the Center for Mason Legacies were instrumental in proposing and designing this memorial, and we are excited for our community to come together for this dedication.

On Thursday, April 7, the official 50th Anniversary Commemorative Celebration will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. RSVP for this special event and luncheon here.

April 7 is also Mason Vision Day – Mason Vision Day is an opportunity for our community to come together to identify and support a deserving initiative on campus. This year, Mason Vision Day centers on the Green Machine!

Center for Mason Legacies: research discussion + reception on April 22

The Center for Mason Legacies (CML) is pleased to announce an upcoming panel discussion and reception surrounding their research for Black Lives Next Door, to take place on Friday, April 22, 2022, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Fenwick Library, Room 2001.

The panel discussion will feature George Oberle (director of the Center for Mason Legacies, history librarian, and assistant term professor), LaNitra Berger (senior director of Office of Fellowships and associate director of the African and African American Studies program), Anthony Guidone (doctoral student researcher), Eliza Buckner (undergraduate student researcher), and will be moderated by Rosemarie Zagarri (University Professor). The keynote will be offered by Spencer Crew (Robinson Professor).

Black Lives Next Door is an interdisciplinary project and collaboration between faculty and students to explore the environs surrounding the early years of George Mason College and its transition to a university. Initially supported by a Summer Team Impact Grant award from the university in 2021, the work is ongoing, and CML welcomes inquiries and partnership opportunities.

The April 22 event is hosted by the University Libraries and sponsored by an award from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Intellectual Life of the College Committee.

New exhibition opening in celebration of Mason’s 50th anniversary: “We are Mason”

The Mason Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is proud to present “We Are Mason: A Student History” – a new exhibition which will run from April through December 2022, with associated programming to be announced.

“We are Mason” illustrates Mason’s first fifty years as an independent university (officially recognized on April 7, 1972) as well as the fifteen years prior that mark its development from a fledgling branch college (that first opened in 1957). The exhibition focuses on Mason’s students, who have always been the main reason our institution exists and carries on into the future.

The Bulletin, George Mason College of the University of Virginia, April 7, 1972. George Mason University Publications, The Bulletin, R0128, Box 9, Folder 9.

Images in the exhibit illustrate student life throughout the years as well as the growth of university traditions, expansion of the campus, and important milestones in our institution’s history. The images and physical objects in the exhibition date from 1957 to 2022.

Visitors are welcome to view “We are Mason” in SCRC’s exhibition space on the second floor of Fenwick Library, during our open hours (see Hours for more information). The Libraries will host a special exhibition reception later this spring.