Fielding to Honor Ronald Mason Jr., JD, as 2024 Marie Fielder Medal Recipient in Washington, D.C.
Fielding to Honor Ronald Mason Jr., JD, as 2024 Marie Fielder Medal Recipient in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Fielding Graduate University will honor an educational innovator, inclusion advocate, and visionary leader in the nation’s capital in July.

Ronald Mason Jr., JD, former president of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), will be awarded this year’s Marie Fielder Medal for Social Transformation. The award ceremony will take place during Fielding’s convocation on July 10 at 4 p.m. ET at UDC’s Theater of the Arts (1400 K St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20005).

Mason, who began his tenure at UDC in 2015, was the university’s ninth and longest-serving president. He stepped down on June 30, 2023, after leading the only public university in the nation’s capital and the only exclusively urban land-grant institution in the United States. UDC is Mason’s third presidential appointment.

While at the helm of UDC, Mason partnered with Fielding’s President Katrina S. Rogers, Ph.D., to offer the UDC-Fielding Urban Leadership and Entrepreneurship doctoral program, which launched in 2019. The first student cohort graduated in 2023. While the leadership studies and urban studies fields have made significant strides in recent decades, they have been mostly male-centric, white-dominated, and limited to narrowly focused topics like urban transportation, urban education, and urban planning. The partnered urban leadership and entrepreneurship doctoral program at UDC-Fielding seeks to produce a new generation of scholars and practitioners. Its first cohort graduated in 2023.

“I am humbled to receive this year’s Marie Fielder Medal. It’s a prestigious honor,” said Mason, who recalled previous awardees and those in the Fielding community “who believed in a moral universe and made it their responsibility to fight for justice both inside and outside of the academy.” He said Orlando L. Taylor, Ph.D., the former director of the Marie Fielder Center, and Fielding President Katrina S. Rogers, Ph.D., are among them. “I am grateful that my contribution to the cause allows me to be counted among their number.” 

The Marie Fielder Medal for Social Transformation is an annual signature award bestowed by the Marie Fielder Center for Democracy, Leadership, and Social Innovation. This award recognizes an individual for a lifetime of achievements devoted to efforts supporting educational access and success.

“We are honored to have President Mason accept the Fielder Medal in recognition of his career devoted to HBCUs and their students,” said Katherine McGraw, Ph.D., Director of the Marie Fielder Center for Democracy, Leadership, and Education. “His leadership at Jackson State University and the University of the District of Columbia has ensured opportunities for countless African American students to access and thrive in higher education. Nothing could be more appropriate to the mission of the Marie Fielder Center to advance social and educational justice and inclusion.”

Past recipients of the Marie Fielder Medal for Social Transformation include Dr. Orlando L. Taylor, former Distinguished Senior Advisor to Fielding’s President and former Executive Director of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for the Advancement of STEM Leadership (CASL); Dr. Walter Bumphus, President of the American Association for Community Colleges; Dr. Gary Orfield, Co-Director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA; Dr. Patricia Gurin, Nancy Cantor, Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Psychology and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan; American labor leader Dolores Huerta; and Professor Angela Davis, social justice activist, writer and scholar.

The award ceremony and graduation convocation will also be live-streamed on Fielding’s YouTube Channel:

Journalists are invited to cover the Marie Fielder Medal presentation, which will:

  • Feature remarks from Ronald Mason Jr., JD, this year’s awardee, and Katherine McGraw, Ph.D., Marie Fielder Center Director
  • Fielding’s convocation and graduate toast

Speakers will be available for interviews.

To learn more about the event, please visit To learn more about Fielding’s 50th Anniversary, visit

For 50 years, Fielding Graduate University has been educating leaders in pursuit of a more just and sustainable world. An accredited nonprofit leader in transformative education, our School of Leadership Studies and School of Psychology combine face‐to‐face and online learning, delivering a personalized graduate education that fosters individual development, community collaboration and societal engagement.

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