Schar School Student-Athletes Earn Academic Awards from Provost

A young woman in a black top and checked slacks holds a certificate while being flanked by smiling men in suits.
Lauren Ashton accepts her award with, left, Schar School professor Robert Deitz and George Mason University provost Mark Ginsberg. Photos by George Mason Athletics

Two Schar School of Policy and Government NCAA student-athletes were presented this week with the 2023 Peter N. Stearns Provost Scholar Athlete Award in a ceremony hosted by George Mason University provost Mark R. Ginsberg. Swimmer Lauren Ashton and cross-country runner Grayson Clark received awards in recognition of achieving a grade point average of 3.75 after completing three semesters at Mason.

Kentucky native Lauren Ashton, a senior government and international politics (GVIP) major, took home the provost’s award for the third consecutive time. A swimmer since the age of six, she was recruited by other universities—among them, Denison University, Emory University, Washington University in Saint Louis, and Kenyon College—but she decided to choose Mason.

“Out of all of the schools I could have gone to, Mason felt like home,” she said.

She swims the freestyle and backstroke events and finished consistently in the top 50 nationally last season. In addition to her studies and swimming, she will begin an internship on Capitol Hill this spring.

A young man in a suit jacket holds a certificate while being flanked by a woman and a man who are smiling.
Grayson Clark with acting athletic director Nena Rogers, left, and provost Ginsberg.

Cross-country runner Clark, also majoring in GVIP, is from Virginia and won the Times-Dispatch-Sports Backers Scholar-Athlete Award before attending Mason. Although he is a first-time provost’s award recipient, Clark hopes to make it a consistent event. As a member of the men’s cross-country team, he placed 21st nationally during the 2022 indoor season.

After his undergraduate studies, the sophomore has big dreams of earning a master’s degree in urban and suburban planning. Recruited by Virginia Commonwealth University and Radford University, he decided to make Mason his home after seeing “the amazing coaching staff” and renowned professors.

“The professors and coaches here at Mason have helped me realize what I want to do with my future,” he said.