Alice L. Watts, academic coordinator in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), died Friday, Sept. 23, of pancreatic cancer. She was 65.
Watts worked at George Mason University for more than 25 years in a variety of capacities in the arts. While working on bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and English at Mason, Watts also volunteered for the Theater of the First Amendment, which was George Mason’s resident theater company. Her volunteer position soon turned into a wages position.
Just as she prepared to graduate in 1991 with her double major, an administrative job opened up in what was then the Department of Dance and Theater, and she jumped at the chance to continue her work at the university. As the arts grew at Mason, so did Watts’s responsibilities. Still she found time to continue her education and completed her MA in English with a focus on dramatic literature in 1997.
Helping students was her passion. As the academic coordinator of the college, Watts assisted with student recruitment and advising and helped plan the college’s convocation each spring. For her efforts she was recognized as an Employee of the Month in 2005. At the time of the award, she said, “The students make coming to work a pleasure. Seeing their growth from incoming freshmen or transfer students to confident, well-educated graduates is very rewarding.”
"Alice always gave 100 percent to whatever she did," said Rick Davis, CVPA dean, "whether that was working as an usher supervisor at the Center for the Arts, advising students, helping faculty navigate the thickets of policies and procedures, serving on university-level committees, tracking enrollments, you name it. And she did it with unwavering commitment to doing the right thing for the individual and the institution, while maintaining a sense of humor. It was a privilege to work with her for almost 25 years; we miss her every day."
She is survived by a sister, two brothers, six nieces and nephews, and her beloved Jack Russell terrier, Ariel.
The college has created the Alice L. Watts Memorial Scholarship in her memory. Donations to the scholarship can made to the George Mason University Foundation and sent to the College of Visual and Performing Arts, 4400 University Drive, MS 4C1, Fairfax, VA 22030.