George Mason University President Gregory Washington joined a group of Virginia government, education and community leaders at the General Services Administration in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to promote the commonwealth as the best site for the new FBI headquarters.
The group was making a final push to the FBI to choose the proposed Springfield, Virginia, site after officials from Maryland had made their site pitch to the GSA on Wednesday.
Washington said that Mason could help the bureau advance equity and mission, among the five criteria for choosing a new FBI site.
George Mason University “can provide the diverse talent the FBI needs for its future,” Washington said at the closed-door meeting, billed as the Virginia Consultation Session on FBI Headquarters Project.
Washington noted that Mason is the largest public research university in Virginia, the seventh-most diverse in the country, and one with no marked disparities in graduation outcomes.
“I can look at any parent of any group in the country and say your kid can come here and be successful,” Washington said.
At a press conference after the consultation session, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner highlighted Mason’s diversity on a national scale and how that would help the GSA meet its equity objectives for the FBI in choosing a site.
“Don’t believe me,” Warner said. “Go to the George Mason campus and walk around and you see the new face of Virginia.”
At the closed-door session, Washington cited several other ways that Mason would benefit the FBI relocating to Northern Virginia. Among them:
- Three campuses near the proposed Springfield site and the FBI Academy at Marine Corps Base Quantico
- Nationally recognized academic programs that align with FBI interests, including cybersecurity; criminology, law and society; and forensic science
- Facilities such as the Forensic Science Research and Training Laboratory on the Science and Technology Campus
- Mason faculty and adjuncts with FBI backgrounds
- The Clearance Ready Program that helps Mason graduates prepare to obtain security clearances
“We will be well-structured and well-positioned to support the bureau,” Washington said.
Marymount University President Irma Becerra also was on hand to share how institutions of higher education in Northern Virginia would help serve the FBI’s mission.
The first half of the nearly three-hour session included comments from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and U.S. Reps. Gerry Connolly and Don Beyer, as well as county officials from Fairfax and Prince William counties.