Alan Merten
Alan Merten, 2008. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services, George Mason University.

College mourns loss of Dean Emeritus Alan Merten

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Alan G. Merten, dean emeritus of the Warrington College of Business, passed away on May 21 after battling Parkinson’s disease. He was 78 years old.

Merten was Warrington’s fourth dean, serving from 1986 through 1989. He also taught courses in information systems and operations management. Before coming to Warrington, Merten served for sixteen years at the University of Michigan teaching engineering and business as well as serving as Associate Dean for Executive Programs. Merten went on to serve as dean of the graduate school of management at Cornell before assuming his most recent role as president of George Mason University in Virginia. Merten served as George Mason’s fifth president for 16 years before retiring in 2012.

Merten believed in learning beyond the classroom, and felt it was important for those in leadership roles to be visible and available to students outside of class.  

“Through my academic career, I always felt a need and an interest in getting to know the students outside of the classroom,” he said in 2011. “When I was dean at Florida, my wife and I would invite students to our home. When I was dean at Cornell, it was the same. We’ve always believed that students’ experiences should extend far beyond a series of classes.”

Merten made a significant impact on George Mason University during his tenure, including opening more than 20 major buildings on the university’s three campuses and starting many student-focused entities.

Merten received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin, his master’s in computer science from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.