Mason Family Flash

2019 Family of the Year – The Butler-Cefalo Family!

This year, New Student and Family Programs awarded one family the 9th annual Alan and Sally Merten Family of the Year award. This award was established to recognize the critical role families play in their student’s experience at Mason and to remind us that families are an essential part of the support network for our students.

During Family Weekend, Rose Pascarell, Vice President of University Life, presented the 2019 Family of the Year award to the Butler-Cefalo family. Abby Butler-Cefelo, a junior, Integrative Studies major with a concentration in Social Justice and Human Rights from Virginia Beach, VA, nominated her parents to receive the award. In her essay, Abby expressed the unconditional support that her parents have provided her during her journey at Mason even through the hard times. Abby also expressed how happy her parents are for her in being part of the Mason community. Below is an excerpt from Abby’s essay about her family:

“My family couldn’t be more enthusiastic that I am a part of the Mason Nation. I am a first-generation student (neither of my biological parents attended college, and none of my siblings attended college) and my parents are constantly talking about how I am in college and how great Mason is. The bookstore doesn’t actually have any “GMU Parent” themed things, only “mom” or “dad,” so for Christmas this past year I custom made them car decals that said “Proud Mason Parent,” and within hours they had it on their cars, ecstatic that our non-traditional family could finally be represented.”

Nearly 2,300 students and families participated in this year’s Family Weekend events. The weekend was comprised of more than 50 events, and highlights included the George Mason men’s basketball game, bus tours across the D.C. metro area, Mason’s Got Talent featuring student performances, 5K run/walk around the beautiful Fairfax campus, and Breakfast & Bingo with the Patriot. Mason students and families also collected food for the Patriot Pantry. Subscribe to to receive a notification once the Family Weekend recap video is uploaded and visit the George Mason Family Programs Facebook page to view photos from the weekend.

We hope your Mason family will join us for next year’s Family Weekend, which will be held November 13-15, 2020!

Amie Mbye
Graduate Student for Family Programs
New Student and Family Programs

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