FAIRFAX, Va.—A $50 million planned gift to George Mason University, the largest school naming gift in the 51-year history of the Northern Virginia-based university, will name its business school in honor of Donald G. Costello. School of Business Dean Ajay Vinzé announced the gift at the launch of Mason Now: Power the Possible, the university’s $1 billion comprehensive campaign.
“It is fitting that we announce this transformational gift at the launch of the Mason Now campaign,” said Mason President Gregory Washington. “As the most innovative university in Virginia, Mason leads the way in creating new academic programs to meet the evolving needs of the 21st-century economy. Mr. Costello’s success is a testament to his hard work, tenacity, and steadfastness—the same qualities we seek to instill in our students.”
The gift, which will establish the Donald G. Costello School of Business, reflects Mason Now’s fundraising priorities: student success, research, innovation, community and sustainability. The School of Business is taking steps to begin its transition and expects to officially adopt the new name later this year.
The planned gift establishes an endowment that will provide scholarships to undergraduate and graduate School of Business students to help prepare them for successful careers as entrepreneurs.
“This gift is a game-changer for the business school and the region,” Vinzé said. “We are deeply grateful to Joseph Contrucci, Trustee of the Donald G. Costello Trust, and Mr. Costello’s daughter, Sara Costello, for their confidence in our ability to extend the legacy of a forward-thinking entrepreneur whose creativity, hard work, and determination changed the lives of people around him.”
Donald G. Costello was born May 31, 1942, in Leesburg, Virginia. He graduated from Loudoun County High School in 1960 and trained as a forward observer in the U.S. Army. In 1976, he and a partner founded Century Stair Company, which grew to become the largest stair manufacturer on the East Coast. He died on July 21, 2017.
“Don and I have always seen George Mason University and its School of Business as a catalyst in fueling the Northern Virginia economy,” Joseph Contrucci said. “This gift will further that impact by creating career opportunities and new businesses for decades to come.”
Entrepreneurship and innovation at Mason are at the center of the School of Business strategic plan. The school’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship works with area entrepreneurs, city and civic leaders, businesses, and other colleges and universities to explore business partnerships and entrepreneurial training opportunities to benefit underserved youth.
The School of Business was founded in 1977 and currently enrolls more than 4,600 undergraduate and 650 graduate students, making it the second largest business school among public universities in Virginia.
With a growing physical presence that includes three campuses in Northern Virginia, Mason continues to drive economic growth in a region that extends beyond its host counties of Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Mason Now campaign will support that growth and enhance the university’s ongoing commitment to educational access, innovative research, and impactful community engagement.
About George Mason University
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls nearly 40,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility. In 2023, the university launched Mason Now: Power the Possible, a $1 billion comprehensive campaign to support student success, research, innovation, community, and sustainability. Learn more at www.gmu.edu.