The George Mason University Board of Visitors (BOV) last week approved the renaming of the School of Business to the Donald G. Costello College of Business to better reflect the unit’s size and stature. The business school was initially named in honor of Costello, a late Northern Virginia entrepreneur, in April, retaining the “school” designation.
Renaming it “college” aligns the name with Mason’s other large academic units, as well as business schools at the majority of public four-year universities around the state, said Patrick Soleymani, business school associate dean for outreach and strategic engagement, who presented the name alignment proposal to the BOV.
Mason’s School of Business, with about 5,200 students, has the third-largest enrollment of any Mason school or college and is the second-largest business school in the state.
The proposed name change must be approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, which is expected to vote on the change in October.
Costello, who died in 2017, specialized in stair manufacturing. Through his business partner and estate trustee, Joseph Contrucci, the Costello estate is supporting Mason with a $50 million planned gift to establish an endowment to provide scholarships to undergraduate and graduate business school students with a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation to create career opportunities and strengthen the regional economy.
The gift is the largest school naming gift in Mason’s 51-year history as an independent university.
“Mr. Costello was a very successful entrepreneur with entrepreneurial spirit,” Soleymani said. “His family, and Mr. Contrucci, really believed in the Mason story. It’s that story and that innovative spirit that really got us over the finish line to ensure that we could obtain this significant planned gift.”
“The gift is going to be revolutionary for the business school. It’s going to allow us to really be able to step up; provide our students with the support they need to be entrepreneurial and innovative.”
School of Business Dean Ajay Vinzé first announced the Costello gift in April as part of an event to launch the one billion dollar comprehensive campaign Mason Now: Power the Possible. Vinzé hailed the gift “as a game-changer for the business school and the region.” Mason launched the business school in 1977.