Gerald “Jerry” T. Halpin to Receive Mason Medal

The Mason Medal is the university’s highest honorary award. Those receiving this recognition have a record of service consistent with the level exhibited by the university’s namesake, George Mason. Gerald “Jerry” T. Halpin is one of the three recipients this year.

Ordinary people look at a piece of land and see what is; Mason Medal recipient Gerald “Jerry” T. Halpin imagines what might be.

The founder and former president and CEO of WEST*GROUP Management LLC, Halpin, along with his partners, is credited with creating the West*Gate and West*Park areas of Tysons Corner, Va., and with developing more than 14 million square feet of office, retail, residential, resort and industrial space in Northern Virginia and Maryland.

At the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) in Front Royal, Va., the G.T. Halpin Family Living and Learning Community—named in honor of the Halpin family’s $5 million gift to the university—provides LEED-certified academic, residential and dining facilities for conservation students.

The Halpin gift also established an endowment for the SMSC supporting undergraduate and graduate scholarships, curriculum and program development, and faculty research.

Halpin’s interest in and commitment to the environment—and to Northern Virginia—is deep and long-standing. A founding member of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, he has been a director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and a trustee of the National Parks and Recreation Association and the Wolf Trap Foundation.

“The generous gift by the Halpin family is having a life-changing impact among this new generation of conservation leaders and practitioners,” says Alonso Aguirre, executive director of the SMSC.

Students spend a semester living on the Front Royal campus studying endangered species and ecosystems. Smithsonian scientists, Mason faculty and colleagues from U.S. and international conservation organizations connect students to current work in the field.

“West*Group and the Halpin Family have been a part of Northern Virginia and Fairfax County for more than 60 years, and we have always been mindful of our obligation to give back to our Northern Virginia community,” says Halpin, a former member of the George Mason University Board of Trustees.

“George Mason has been such an important part of the continued success of Fairfax County and of the well-being and education of its citizens that we are pleased to have made this gift,” Halpin adds. “The conservation work that the university is doing in Front Royal, in association with the Smithsonian, is ultimately of terrific importance for us as citizens of a great metropolitan area, and as inhabitants of this planet.”