CEIE Announces $3M Hazel Distinguished Endowed Chair


Mrs. Eleanor Hazel (right) and daughter Mrs. Ruth Hazel Little

CEIE announces the Bill and Eleanor Hazel Endowed Chair in Civil Infrastructure Engineering, which, at $3M, is the largest endowed chair at George Mason University.  Mr. Bill 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 starting in 1958 and continuing through its period of rapid growth.  The gift honors Mr. Hazel and his lifelong partner and wife, Eleanor Hazel.

The centerpiece of the endowment is a $1M gift from the William A. Hazel Family Foundation as a legacy of Mr. and Mrs. Hazel’s commitment to education and the future.  The impact of their gift is multiplied by additional generous gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations united in their admiration of Mr. and Mrs. Hazel.

“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.  “The department has successfully recruited outstandingly talented junior faculty to enhance our gifted core senior faculty.  This endowment will be used to attract an outstanding senior scholar-researcher-teacher who will accelerate the growth of the university’s civil engineering program.”

The chair was envisioned by Mr. Sid Dewberry upon the death of Mr. Hazel in 2013.  Working with colleagues, Mr. Dewberry fueled excitement in creation of the chair, recognizing its potential to lift the civil engineering department’s trajectory to a new level, while underscoring values held dear by Mr. and Mrs. Hazel.  The endowment was announced at a celebration in May.  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.

The faculty search for the first Bill and Eleanor Endowed Chair in Civil Infrastructure Engineering will be launched in the coming academic year.