George Mason University

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George Mason University
MottoFreedom and Learning
TypePublic university
EndowmentUS$ 70.2 million (2014)
PresidentÁngel Cabrera
ProvostS. David Wu
Academic staff
Students33,917 [1]
Undergraduates21,324 (Fall 2013) [1]
Postgraduates11,873 (Fall 2013) [1]
Coordinates: 38°49′51″N 77°18′27″W / 38.8308°N 77.3075°W / 38.8308; -77.3075
CampusSuburban, 854.2 acres (3.457 km2) total across 4 campuses
677 acres (2.74 km2) Fairfax Campus
ColorsMason Green and Mason Gold          [3]
AthleticsNCAA Division IA-10
Sports22 varsity teams
MascotThe Patriot
(formerly "Gunston")
GMU logo.svg
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George Mason University
MottoFreedom and Learning
TypePublic university
EndowmentUS$ 70.2 million (2014)
PresidentÁngel Cabrera
ProvostS. David Wu
Academic staff
Students33,917 [1]
Undergraduates21,324 (Fall 2013) [1]
Postgraduates11,873 (Fall 2013) [1]
Coordinates: 38°49′51″N 77°18′27″W / 38.8308°N 77.3075°W / 38.8308; -77.3075
CampusSuburban, 854.2 acres (3.457 km2) total across 4 campuses
677 acres (2.74 km2) Fairfax Campus
ColorsMason Green and Mason Gold          [3]
AthleticsNCAA Division IA-10
Sports22 varsity teams
MascotThe Patriot
(formerly "Gunston")
GMU logo.svg

George Mason University (also Mason)[4] is the largest research university in Virginia and is based in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, south of and adjacent to the city of Fairfax.[5] Additional campuses are located nearby in Arlington County, Prince William County, and Loudoun County. The university's motto is Freedom and Learning.

The university was founded as a branch of the University of Virginia in 1957 and became an independent institution in 1972.[6][7] Today, Mason is recognized for its strong programs in economics, law, creative writing, computer science, and business.[8][9][10][11][12] In recent years, George Mason faculty have twice won the Nobel Prize in Economics.[13] The university enrolls 33,917 students, making it the largest university by head count in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[14]


The Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution in January 1956, establishing a branch college of the University of Virginia in Northern Virginia. In September 1957 the new college opened its doors to seventeen students, all of whom enrolled as freshmen in a small renovated elementary school building at Bailey's Crossroads. John Norville Gibson Finley served as Director of the new branch, which was known as University College.[15]

George Mason, (1725–1792) after whom the University is named.

The city of Fairfax purchased and donated 150 acres (0.61 km2) of land to the University of Virginia for the college's new site,[16] which was referred to as the Fairfax Campus. In 1959, the Board of Visitors of UVA selected a permanent name for the college: George Mason College of the University of Virginia. The school is named after American revolutionary, patriot, and founding father George Mason. The Fairfax campus construction planning that began in early 1960 showed visible results when the development of the first 40 acres (160,000 m2) of Fairfax Campus began in 1962. In the Fall of 1964 the new campus welcomed 356 students.

Local jurisdictions of Fairfax County, Arlington County, and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church agreed to appropriate $3 million to purchase land adjacent to Mason to provide for a 600-acre (2.4 km2) Fairfax Campus in 1966 with the intention that the institution would expand into a regional university of major proportions, including the granting of graduate degrees.

On April 7, 1972 the Virginia General Assembly enacted legislation which separated George Mason College from its parent institution, the University of Virginia. Renamed that day by the legislation, George Mason College became George Mason University.

In 1978, the George Mason University Foundation purchased the former Kann's department store in Arlington. In March 1979 the Virginia General Assembly authorized the establishment of the George Mason University School of Law (GMUSL) – contingent on the transfer of the Kann's building to George Mason University. GMUSL began operations in that building on July 1, 1979 and received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association in 1980. The ABA granted full approval to GMUSL in 1986.

Also, in 1979, the university moved all of its athletic programs to the NCAA Division I. Enrollment that year passed 11,000. The university opened its Arlington campus in 1982, two blocks from the Virginia Square-GMU station in Arlington. In 1986 the university's governing body, the Board of Visitors, approved a new master plan for the year based on an enrollment of 20,000 full-time students with housing for 5,000 students by 1995. That same year university housing opened to bring the total number of residential students to 700.

Through a bequest of Russian immigrant Shelley Krasnow the University established the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study in 1991. The Institute was created to further the understanding of the mind and intelligence by combining the fields of cognitive psychology, neurobiology, and artificial intelligence. In 1992, Mason's new Prince William Institute began classes in a temporary site in Manassas, Virginia. The Institute moved to a permanent 124-acre (0.50 km2) site located on the Rt. 234 bypass, ten miles (16 km) south of Manassas, by the year 1997, and is now known as the Prince William Campus. The university graduated more than 5,000 students that following spring.

While George Mason University is young compared to established research universities in Virginia, it has grown rapidly, reaching an enrollment of 33,917 students in 2014.

In 2002, Mason celebrated its 30th anniversary as a university by launching its first capital campaign, trying to raise $110 million. The school raised $142 million, $32 million more than its goal. The George Mason University logo, originally designed in 1982, was updated in 2004. The new logo did not depart entirely from the old, but included the name "Mason," per the informal nickname students gave the university. According to designers, the new logo "embodies the speed, strength excitement and energy of Mason athletics."[17][better source needed]

In 2008, the George Mason School of Management celebrated its 30th anniversary. Also, in 2008 Mason changed its mascot from the "Gunston" animal to the "Patriot".[18]

In 2014, the George Mason School of Management officially changed its name to the School of Business.


Fairfax Campus[edit]

The Volgenau School of Engineering building.

The main campus of George Mason University is situated on 677 acres (2.74 km2) just south of the City of Fairfax, Virginia in central Fairfax County, approximately 15 miles (24 km) west of Washington, D.C. The Fairfax campus is served on the Washington Metro by the Vienna station on the Orange line. A 15 minute shuttle in addition to the CUE bus, free for students with a Mason ID card, serves the students through routes from the Metro station to the University.[19][20]

Design and construction[edit]

In the early 1960s, four buildings were constructed around a lawn in Fairfax, appropriately named East, West, North (later, Krug Hall), and South (later, Finley Hall). The first four structures, today dubbed "The Original Four," "around a lawn" were understood as a clear reference to the buildings around The Lawn of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. In addition, in the words of the architects, the architecture of the buildings was meant to reflect Jeffersonian influence through the use of red brick with buff colored mortar, white vertical columns, and sloped shingled roofs.

Master plans were developed to incorporate further development, which saw new additions such as Fenwick Library and Lecture Hall. By 1979 master plan development was handled by the firm of Sasaki & Associates, which continued to work alongside the university in the years that followed. Student housing first became available in 1977. The 1980s saw the university expand with a new building being added on each year, including the Patriot Center. As well as the construction of the Fairfax campuses network of hot and cold water piping that provides power efficient, centralized heating and cooling for the university's buildings.

Recent years have once again brought a new construction boom to the Fairfax campus, which is currently undergoing a massive, $900 million construction campaign (between 2002–2013) based on the 2002 University Master Plan.[21] This has brought about a huge influx of new buildings to campus, and renovations of existing buildings, most recently:

Building Name / Type / Description – Completion Date

Housing and residence life[edit]

Fairfax is the only campus of George Mason University with on-campus student housing. The campus is divided up into three neighborhoods, which combined house approximately 5,400 students. A seventh housing area is currently under construction to house an additional 600 students and more dining facilities.[28] A biometric, iris recognition system is used for entry to the Fairfax campus.[29]

Shenandoah (formerly Southeast):

Liberty Square, an upperclassmen residence area which opened in 2003

Rappahannock (formerly Central):

A view of George Mason's Chesapeake housing area.

Aquia (formerly Northwest):

Former Buildings:

In summer 2008 the Patriot Village area was demolished to make room for the RAC (an on campus gym complex). Patriots Village consisted of dozens of permanent modulars located just outside of Patriot Circle, east of Ox Road, offering modular and suite-style units.

Notable campus buildings[edit]

Johnson Center[edit]

The George W. Johnson Learning Center, more commonly known as the Johnson Center or JC, is the central hub on campus, completed in 1995 and named after University President of 18 years, George W. Johnson. Located in the center of campus, the $30 million, 320,000-square-foot (30,000 m2) building was built as the first of its kind building on any American campus, acting both as a library and a student union. The ground floor includes a buffet style restaurant named the Bistro, the campus radio station WGMU Radio, a coffee shop named Jazzman's, 300-seat movie theater, and Dewberry Hall. The main floor includes the campus bookstore, a large food court with several fast food restaurants, a patisserie and the ground floor of the library. The second and third floors of the Johnson Center are primarily used by the library, with multiple group meeting rooms, computer labs, a news and media resource, and a full service restaurant named George's located on the third floor.

The Johnson Center serves as the center for student life with many activities and productions sponsored by Program Board and Student Government. In 2004 during the Democratic Primaries, Senator John Kerry, the eventual Democratic Nominee for President, visited George Mason University and gave a speech on the floor of the Johnson Center. In 2007, shortly after announcing on his website that he would establish a presidential exploratory committee, Senator Barack Obama gave a speech at the "Yes We Can" rally at the Johnson Center atrium. The next week he formally announced his intentions of running for president.

Robinson Halls

Robinson Halls A and B house many different classrooms and offices. One fun fact about this building is that on September 13, 1992 the first Komodo dragon was born into captivity.[34] Robinson Hall A is the home to many departmental offices around campus, including offices for professors of Mason's Global Studies program, along with offices for the College of Health and Human Services. Robinson Hall B is the home to George Mason University's English department, housing offices for professors.

Center for the Arts[edit]
George Mason University's Center for the Arts.

The Center for the Arts includes a 2,000-seat Concert Hall built in 1990. The concert hall can be converted into a more intimate 800-seat theater. Most Center for the Arts events take place here, including operas, orchestras, ballets, and musical and theatrical performances such as Kid Cudi in 2010. The Center for the Arts also hosted President Obama during his 2012 campaign for President. Its Provisions Library houses special collections focusing on social change and the arts.[35]

Patriot Center[edit]

The Patriot Center is a 10,000 seat arena, located on the Fairfax campus of Northern Virginia’s George Mason University, home court for the Men's and Women's basketball team. The Patriot Center is also host to over 100 concerts and events throughout the year, annually attracting major performers like the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Aquatic and Fitness Center[edit]

The 68,000-square-foot (6,300 m2) Aquatic and Fitness Center opened in 1998 at a cost of $11 million. The center includes an Olympic size swimming pool containing eight 50-meter lanes, twenty-two 25-yard (23 m) lanes, two movable bulkheads, and a diving area equipped with two 1-meter and two 3-meter spring boards, a Warm-water recreational pool, Locker rooms, a whirlpool, a coed sauna, and a family changing room.[citation needed]

The RAC (Recreation and Athletic Complex)[edit]

Encompassing 120,000 square feet, the Recreation and Athletic Complex (RAC) boasts three gymnasiums, racquetball courts, squash courts, and a two story fitness gallery. Recently renovated and re-opened in 2009, The RAC serves as the home for Mason Recreation programs, three intercollegiate sports (tennis, volleyball, and wrestling), ROTC Offices, as well as a classroom and offices for the School of Recreation, Health and Tourism. [36]

Fenwick Library
Fenwick Library[edit]

Fenwick Library was originally built in 1967, with additions in 1974, a tower in 1983, and renovations in 2005–2006. It was named for Charles Rogers Fenwick, one of George Mason's founders. Fenwick Library is the main research library at George Mason. Its resources include: most of the university's books, microfilms, print and bound journals, government documents, and maps. Electronic resources include networked and stand-alone CD-ROMs, the libraries' online catalog, a number of databases available through the libraries' membership in various consortia, and Internet access. Another important collection of research materials housed in Fenwick is the Government Documents collection. This collection includes both federal and Virginia state documents. Both sets of documents contain items from the administrative, legislative, and judicial branches of government, and constitute an invaluable source of primary source materials for students and faculty in political science, public policy, sociology, business and other fields. There is also a special GIS center in Fenwick Library which conducts GIS drop-in sessions every week.

George Mason University is a member of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, granting it access to resources of thirteen other libraries in the District of Columbia.

Currently Fenwick Library is undergoing a face lift to provide students with a more technologically advanced library. The roof will now sport a roof garden that is naturally rain irrigated along with adding new study rooms for students. The renovations are expected to be done in 2015 [37]

Mason Global Center and INTO Mason[edit]

In July 2010 George Mason University opened a 148 room hotel on its Fairfax Campus.[citation needed] The Conference Center & Hotel was LEED-certified Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council,[citation needed] and was the only full-service, upscale hotel in Fairfax and near George Mason University.[citation needed] The Mason Inn was operated by Crestline Hotels & Resorts,[citation needed] and hosted conferences, business meetings, scholastic events and area social occasions. Bringing the outside in, the public spaces and each of the 148 guest rooms at The Mason Inn were appointed in earth tones accented by shades of red and orange.

Each guest room featured a work area, sitting area and high speed wireless Internet access, as well as flat-panel TVs and in-room safes. Public spaces, including the 20,000 square foot IACC Conference Center, incorporated touches that are reminiscent of the spirit of George Mason. Carpet on guest room floors replicated the script of George Mason’s handwritten letters and a copy of the Virginia Constitution is displayed in the Lobby.

The Mason Inn closed in the summer of 2014. The facility is now the Mason Global Center and the housing unit of INTO Mason students.

RAC The Recreation and Athletic Complex[edit]

Re-opened in 2009, the Recreation Athletic Complex is one of the gyms at George Mason University. It encompasses 120,000 square feet in total space. It includes a weight training area, a cardio gallery, a martial arts/dance room, and a yoga/pilates room. There are numerous courts including 6 basketball/8 volleyball courts, 2 racquetball/wallyball courts, and 2 squash courts. The RAC is the site of the men's and women's basketball and volleyball practices. Freshens smoothie bar is located on the main floor. There are numerous classrooms for the School of Recreation, Health and Tourism. The ROTC offices are also located here.[36]

Arlington Campus[edit]

The George Mason University School of Law on the Arlington campus

The 5.2-acre (21,000 m2) Arlington campus was established in 1979 by the Virginia General Assembly for the newly founded law school. In 1980, graduate and professional programs were also offered in the building, a converted Kann's department store. Since then the school has grown to offer a multitude of graduate degrees. In 1996, Arlington's campus began its first phase in a three phase campus redevelopment project. In 1998, Hazel Hall was completed to house the law school, the Mercatus Center, and the Institute for Humane Studies. The second phase, to be completed in 2010, is underway for a 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) building named Founders Hall is to house the Schools of Public Policy, Education and Human Development, Information Technology, Engineering, Management, the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Computational Science, and the College of Visual & Performing Arts and academic and student supports services.[38] Arlington's campus is projected to reach an enrollment of 10,000 students by the completion of its redevelopment.

The Arlington campus is served on the Washington Metro by the Virginia Square-GMU station on the Orange line. The station is located approximately two blocks west of the campus.

Prince William Campus[edit]

George Mason's Prince William campus opened on August 25, 1997 in Manassas. It is located on 124 acres (0.50 km2) of land. The campus offers a high-tech/bio-tech and emphasizes bioinformatics, biotechnology, forensic biosciences educational and research programs in addition to computer and information technology. The campus also offers creative programs of instruction, research, and public/private partnerships in the Prince William County area.[citation needed]

Prince William offers an M.A. in New Professional Studies in Teaching, an M.A.I.S. with a concentration in Recreation Resources Management, a B.S. in Administration of Justice, undergraduate programs in health, fitness, and 'Recreation Resources', graduate programs in exercise, fitness and 'Health Promotion', and nontraditional programs through continuing and professional education in geographic information systems and facility management.[citation needed]

Prince William also boasts the 300-seat Verizon Auditorium, the 110,000-square-foot (10,000 m2) Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, and a 85,000-square-foot (7,900 m2), $46 million Hylton Performing Arts Center which opened in 2010.[39] Other buildings on the Prince William campus include the Occoquan Building, which houses various academic, research, and administrative resources including a Student Health clinic, Bull Run Hall, a 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) building which opened in the fall of 2004, and Discovery Hall, which was completed in 1998 at a cost of $20.4 million.[citation needed]And Beacon Hall, which is a graduate dorm opened in November 2012.

Loudoun Campus[edit]

In the fall of 2005, the university opened a site in Loudoun County, Virginia. Several months later, it announced the gift of 123 acres (0.50 km2) of land by Greenvest, LLC, to build a fourth suburban campus. The campus was scheduled to open in 2009. However, the proposal was voted down by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, as part of the larger Dulles South project. Greenvest rescinded the gift.[40] Committed to expanding its presence in Loudoun, the university has now proposed a possible joint campus with Northern Virginia Community College. The campus would be located in Broadlands, Virginia.[41]

Mason's current Loudoun site offers several graduate programs; an MA in Business Administration, Masters and doctoral programs in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), a graduate degree in nursing, and a Master of Science in telecommunications. The Loudon campus also offers five undergraduate programs; a minor in business and management, certificates in the College of Education and Human Development, a BS in health science, a minor in information technology, and an introductory course in social work. Other graduate level courses, such as those offered by the Department of Information and Software Engineering, are periodically taught at the site.[citation needed]

Mason Korea[edit]

In March 2014, Mason opened Mason Korea. The campus is in Songdo, in South Korea’s Incheon Free Economic Zone, a 42,000-acre site designed for 850,000 people. It’s 25 miles from Seoul and a two-hour flight from China and Japan. Matthew Zingraff is president and provost of Mason Korea. Students attending Mason Korea will earn a Mason degree just as they would if they took classes on Mason’s Virginia campuses. Mason Korea students will spend the fourth and fifth semesters (third year) on the Fairfax Campus, with all other course work to be completed in Songdo. Economics and management are the first course offerings and were specifically requested by Korea’s Ministry of Education. Future degrees include global affairs, conflict analysis and resolution and computer gaming.

The South Korean government approached Mason in 2008 about opening a Mason campus in Songdo. A $1 million grant in 2009 from the Korean government made it possible for Mason to begin detailed planning. The Korean government will subsidize Mason’s Songdo campus for at least the first five years, including free use of buildings and utilities.


The Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study is located on the Fairfax campus.

The university has strength in the basic and applied sciences with critical mass in proteomics, neuroscience and computational sciences. Research support comes to Mason faculty from such agencies as the National Institutes of Health, NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Likewise, the Center for Secure Information Systems is designated as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) as well as a Center of Academic Excellence in Research (CAE-R) in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency.[42]

Mason's Center for History and New Media attracts more than one million visitors to its websites every month.[citation needed] It curates such digital archives as The September 11th Digital Archive and The Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, which documents the records of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, and Hurricane Wilma.

The Fairfax campus also serves as the headquarters for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.

Mason's Center for Global Education's study abroad program has been rated highly offering dozens of programs ranging from one-week spring break programs to full year programs.[citation needed].

Mason's flagship Study Abroad experience is the prestigious Oxford Honors Program in which highly qualified students endure a rigorous application and interview process and, if selected, travel to the United Kingdom where they study for 6–12 months as matriculated students of Oxford University.

Mason was awarded $25 million in 2005 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, for construction of a Regional Biocontainment Laboratory at the Prince William Campus in Manassas.[43]

Rankings and distinctions[edit]

University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[44]138
Washington Monthly[45]199


US News & World Report Undergraduate rankings include:

US News & World Report Graduate program rankings include:

Other rankings:

Schools and Colleges[edit]

Research at Mason is organized into centers, laboratories and collaborative programs.[67] These include the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Education and Human Development, New Century College, the College of Health and Human Services, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, the School of Computational Sciences, the Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering, the School of Law, the George Mason University School of Policy, Government and International Affairs, the College of Science, and the School of Business. In addition, Mason's Office of the Provost includes research centers that deal with economics, global education and teaching excellence.[citation needed]

In addition to a business undergraduate major and minor, Mason's School of Business has graduate programs for the Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) with a wide variety of concentrations/specializations, an Executive Master of Business Administration degree (EMBA), a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA), a joint MBA/MSA degree and a Master of Science in Technology Management degree.[citation needed]

School for Policy, Government and International Affairs[edit]

In August 2014 Mason merged the School for Public Policy with the Department of Public and International Affairs to create the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs (SPGIA). It is one of the largest schools of its kind, with 14 degree programs, 200 doctoral students, 700 undergraduates, 1,100 master's students and 80 full-time faculty members. There are 13,000 alumni from the previous schools.

SPGIA prepares undergraduate and graduate students for leadership roles in public service in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Degree programs include PhDs in biodefense, political science and public policy; master’s degrees in biodefense, health policy, international commerce and policy, organization development and knowledge management, peace operations, political science, public administration, public policy and transportation policy; and two undergraduate majors in government and international politics and public administration.

SPGIA offers classes on Mason’s Fairfax and Arlington Campuses. The school’s faculty has offices on the two campuses. SPGIA's administration is headed by acting dean Mark Rozell, senior associate deans David Hart and Priscilla Regan.

School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution[edit]

Mason's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) was founded in 1981 as the Center for Conflict Analysis, later named the Center for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and began offering a master's degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution in 1983.[citation needed] In 1988 it became the first academic institution to grant PhDs in the field.[citation needed] The center rose to the status of "Institute," becoming ICAR in 1989.[citation needed] In 2010, after two decades of growth and development, including the introduction of the undergraduate program and graduate certificate programs, it became the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (commonly known as S-CAR).[citation needed]

Degree programs include a Doctorate of Philosophy, Master's of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and Bachelor's of Arts or Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Graduate certificate programs include Conflict Analysis and Resolution,[citation needed] Conflict Analysis and Resolution Advanced Skills, Conflict Analysis and Resolution Collaborative Leadership in Community Planning, Conflict Analysis and Resolution for Prevention, and Reconstruction and Stabilization, World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. A dual master's of science degree with the University of Malta is offered in Conflict Analysis and Resolution; there also is a master's of arts in Conflict Resolution and Mediterranean Security.[citation needed] S-CAR is a Peace Corps Master's International partner.[citation needed]

S-CAR's dean is Kevin Avruch.[citation needed]


Main article: George Mason Patriots

Mason's sports teams are called the Patriots. The university's men's and women's sports teams participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I and have been members of the Atlantic 10 Conference, or A-10, since the 2013-14 season. Prior to the A-10, Mason was a founding member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in 1985. In addition, the Patriots are members of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) and the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL).

The school's colors are green and gold.

Mason has two NCAA Division I National Championships to its credit: 1985 Women's Soccer and 1996 Men's Indoor Track & Field. In addition, the Patriots won 10 consecutive trap and skeet championships under the Association of College Unions-International from 1986-95. It’s no longer offered as a varsity sport.

Early History[edit]

George Mason’s athletic tradition began with the formation of the men’s basketball team in 1966-67, when the school was still known as George Mason College. Wrestling became the seventh varsity sport in 1972-73, along with women’s tennis, which became the first women’s sport at Mason. The Patriots began to move from NAIA and NCAA Division II status into the NCAA Division I ranks with men’s basketball in 1978-79. When women’s soccer came on board in 1982-83, the Patriots competed in 10 men’s and eight women’s sports.

Mason reached its current level of 22 sports with the addition of women’s lacrosse (1993–94), women’s rowing (1997-98) and men’s and women’s swimming and diving (1999-2000).

Final Four[edit]

George Mason University was catapulted into the national spotlight in March 2006, when its men's basketball team advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament by defeating the Michigan State Spartans, the defending champion North Carolina Tar Heels, the Wichita State Shockers, and the top-seeded Connecticut Huskies. Their "Cinderella" journey ended in the Final Four with a loss to the eventual tournament champion Florida Gators by a score of 73–58.[68] As a result of the team's success in the tournament, the Patriots were ranked 8th in the final ESPN/USA Today Poll for the 2005–06 season. The New York Times, The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and USA Today featured the story on their front pages, and was ranked by several publications as the "sports story of the year."

The Patriots, who had never won an NCAA tournament game before 2006, became the first team from the CAA to crash the Final Four and were the first true mid-major conference team since 1979 to do so (that year, the Larry Bird-led Indiana State Sycamores as a No. 1 seed, and the Penn Quakers as a No. 9 seed both reached the Final Four). As No. 11-seeds, the 2006 Patriots also tied the 1986 LSU Tigers as the lowest-seeded team ever to reach the Final Four.[69]

In 2008, the Patriots returned to the NCAA Tournament after winning the CAA Tournament. They were given a No. 12 seed and matched up against 5th-seeded Notre Dame. The Patriots were unable to make another miracle run, losing to the Irish by a score of 68–50.[70]

In the 2010-2011 season, the Patriots earned an At-Large bid to the NCAA Tournament where the Patriots defeated Villanova in the second round thanks to Luke Hancock's clutch 3 point basket in the final seconds.[citation needed] In the third round of the tournament the Patriots lost to Ohio State University ending the George Mason Patriots run in the Tournament.[citation needed]

The George Mason Patriots men's basketball team has made the NCAA Tournament a total of six times since 1979 when the university moved all of its athletic programs to NCAA Division I.[citation needed] Those trips to the NCAA tournament include the years of 1989, 1999, 2001, 2006, 2008, and most recently in 2011.[citation needed] The George Mason men's basketball teams record in the NCAA tournament includes five wins and six losses spanning those years playing in the NCAA Tournament.[citation needed]

Champions and Olympians[edit]

Mason has been very successful at the NCAA DI level with many of its programs. The men’s volleyball team has reached the NCAA Final Four championship round on three occasions, and the men’s and women’s soccer, baseball and women’s volleyball teams have advanced to NCAA regional play on numerous occasions.

In addition to the NCAA team Indoor Track and Field Championship, Mason has produced 28 individual NCAA National Champions (18 men, 10 women) in track and field. The program, which began in 1975-76, has produced numerous athletes that have gone on to accomplish Olympic, professional and world-class notoriety.

Diane Guthrie-Gresham was a five-time NCAA National Champion, a 14-time All-American and the 1994-95 Honda Award-winner as the top collegian track and field athlete in the nation. She was a member of the Jamaican Olympic team in both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Greg Haughton won three bronze medals, one at the 1996 Summer Olympics and two at the 2000 Summer Olympics for his country of Jamaica. His personal best for the 400 m was 44.56 seconds.


The baseball program began in 1967-68 at Mason and in its 46-year history the team has been led by only three coaches. Raymond “Hap” Spuhler was the inaugural coach and the stadium at the university's Fairfax Campus bears his name; Walt Materson was at the helm for two seasons (1980 and 1981) before current head coach and alum Billy Brown earned the position. Brown is one of the longest-tenured coaches in the country at one school, having been the head coach for the Patriots for the past 33 seasons.

In Brown’s tenure, the Patriots have had more than 30 players drafted by Major League Baseball and several others signed as free agents. A few notable alumni to reach MLB include Justin Bour, Shawn Camp, Mike Colangelo, Mike Draper and Chris Widger. Mason also boasts several alumni in front office positions around the MLB, including Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore and Royals assistant general J.J. Picollo.

Mason baseball has earned four conference championships (‘85, ’88, ’92, ’14) and made seven NCAA Regional appearances since 1985 (’85, ’88, ’92, ’93, ’04, ’09, ’14). The Patriots' best seasons were in 2009 (42-14, NCAA regional at-large bid) and in 1976 (42-14, NAIA World Series).


George Mason introduced the softball program in 1977-78. Before joining the NCAA DI in 1983, the Patriots won three straight Virginia state titles. In Mason’s first season in DI, first-year head coach Doug Wheelbarger led the Patriots to a 41-2 record. The softball program joined the Big South Conference in 1998 under new head coach Beth Fulcher.

After four years in the Big South, the Patriots joined the Colonial Athletic Association conference (CAA) in 2002. Stacy James was named CAA Rookie of the Year after leading Mason to second place in the CAA in its inaugural season. James went on to win CAA Player of the Year in 2003 and was named to the CAA 25th Anniversary team for her accomplishments at George Mason.


The men’s soccer program started in 1968 and in the 46-year history, the program has earned 11 NCAA Tournament appearances (’82, ’84, ’85, ’86, ’87, ’89, ’90, ’96, ’06, ’08, ’13). In their inaugural season in the Atlantic 10, the Patriots earned their sixth conference championship (’84, ’85, ’86, ’89, ’08 [CAA], ’13 [A-10]). The Patriots have three NCAA appearances under head coach Greg Andrulis and at least 10 wins in five of the nine seasons since he was hired in 2005.

Dennis Hamlett was drafted by the Colorado Rapids in 1996 inaugural Major League Soccer (MLS) draft. He also coached for the Chicago Fire. Ritchie Kotschau became the first Mason player to be selected in the MLS collegiate draft when he was the second overall pick in 1998 by the Chicago Fire, who went on to win the MLS championship that year.

Former Mason head coach Gordon Bradley was inducted into National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1996. He coached Mason to six NCAA tournament appearances and leads the program with most wins (183-113-35). Bradley died April 29, 2008.

George Mason introduced women’s soccer as a varsity program in 1982-83, becoming the eighth women’s program at the university. Just four seasons after its inaugural season, women’s soccer claimed Mason’s first-ever National Championship in 1985, defeating perennial power North Carolina for the crown. In its storied history, women’s soccer at Mason has seen 23 NSCAA All-Americans, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, three National Coach of the Year recipients, three Soccer America Freshman All-Americans, one Soccer America Player of the Year (Lisa Gmitter) in 1985 and one Colonial Athletic Association Championship in 1993.

Diane Drake was named the third head coach of the program prior to the 2004 season and enterd her 11th season at the helm of the Patriots in 2014. Hank Leung was Mason’s inaugural coach and guided the program for 10 seasons, compiling a 126-58-19 overall record and leading the Patriots to seven NCAA Tournament appearances. Joe Cicala took over the program for the 1992 season, leading the Patriots through 2003. Cicala posted a 139-93-22 overall record during his tenure with four NCAA Tournament appearances and a national runner-up finish in 1993.


The Mason wrestling program competes in the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) after leaving the CAA in 2013. Wrestling moved from DII to NCAA DI in 1978, after competing in the NAIA since 1972-73. In 1982 Paul Maltagliati became the first Mason wrestler to compete at the NCAA Tournament. A total of 52 individuals have competed in the NCAA Championships with 22 competing multiple times. Mason wrestling was crowned CAA team champions five times (1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001). In 1990, Scott Kirsch became Mason’s first NCAA All-American and Johnny Curtis in the only two-time All-American (1992, 1993).


Mason reached its current level of 22 sports with the addition of men’s and women’s Swimming and Diving in 1999-2000. The women found success immediately, winning the conference championship four straight seasons (2001-02 to 2004-05). Peter Ward has served as the head coach since the program’s inception and has garnered 2005 CAA Co-Coach of the Year, 2003 Men’s Coach of the Year and Co-Women’s Coach of the Year in 2003.

The Patriot swimmers have excelled at the national level as well, with NCAA and Olympic experience. Mary Campioli became the first diver to advance to the NCAA Championship (2003). Ashley Danner three-time All-American, placed second at NCAA Championships in 100 breaststroke in 2010, the highest finish ever by a Mason athlete at nationals. Tom Koucheravy earned All-American status twice at the 2006 NCAA Championships in 1650 freestyle and 500 freestyle. Danner, along with Eric Knight and Preston Wolter, participated in the Olympic trials.


Women’s rowing was introduced as a competitive sport at George Mason in 1997-98. Mason won the first-ever Colonial Athletic Association rowing championship in 2007 by virtue of placing first at the Kerr Cup. In 2008, the team repeated as CAA champs, both coming under the guidance of head coach Geoff Dillard. Rowing claimed its highest finish of fourth at an official championship in 2010 on its home course of the Occoquan Reservoir. In its inaugural Atlantic 10 Championship in 2014, Mason finished eighth.

Student Organizations[edit]

George Mason offers more than 200 clubs and organizations, including 16 fraternities, 15 sororities, 24 International-student organizations, 25 religious organizations, a student programming board, student government, club sports, debate team, and student media. In a 2004 survey of 357 universities Mason was ranked number one for diversity.[71] The Office of Student Involvement at Mason administrates Student Government, Program Board, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Recognized Student Organization (RSO), Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA), and Weekends at Mason (WAM).[72] Mason also offers an Army ROTC program, called The "Patriot Battalion." Mason's club sports include ultimate frisbee, crew, equestrian, field hockey, football, lacrosse, underwater hockey, fencing, and rugby.[citation needed] A new sport in 2013 is Quidditch.


The George Mason University Forensics program is one of the top ranked competitive speech teams in the United States and has achieved international recognition in the field of communication studies.[73]

The team was founded in 1970 and has won nearly 10,000 individual speech awards. From 2010 to 2012 the team placed 4th at the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament and has won the International Forensics Association Championship each of the last five years. The Forensics Program has been extremely active on the George Mason campus with an active Community Service Committee. Mason hosts the annual Virginia Is for Lovers collegiate speech tournament, the Patriot Games Classic (which in 2009 had over 1,000 entries), and hosted the 2011 Catholic Forensics League Grand National Tournament. Currently Dr. Peter Pober is the Program Director with Jeremy Hodgson as Assistant Director.[74]

Debate Team[edit]

The George Mason University Debate Team is a nationally ranked Policy Debate program. The team competes nationally as well as regionally, frequently attending the National Debate Tournament, the Cross Examination Debate Association National Tournament, and the American Debate Association National Tournament. The director of the team since its inception in 1975 is Dr. Warren Decker. In the 2012-2013 season, the debate team was ranked first in NDT-CEDA points for a majority of the season, ultimately finishing second behind Liberty University (See NDT-CEDA Rankings). In the 2013-2014, the debate team won a National Championship by finishing first in NDT points. The team is regionally and nationally competitive in the Novice, Junior Varsity, and Varsity divisions.[75]


Mason also sponsors several student-run publications through its Office of Student Media,[76] including, an online media and news convergence website,[77] the VoxPop, a feature magazine,Volition, an undergraduate student literary and art magazine, Phoebe, a graduate literary journal, So to Speak, a feminist literary journal, GMView and Senior Speak, an annual yearbook publication and video, New Voices in Public Policy, School of Public Policy student journal, and Hispanic Culture Review, a student bilingual (Spanish/English) journal on Hispanic literature and culture. Mason also sponsors several academic journals including, TABLET, the International Affairs Journal of George Mason University. Between approximately 1993 and 1998, the University was also the home of The Fractal: Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Mason offers one regular print publication, Broadside, a student newspaper. Mason also operates a Campus radio station, WGMU Radio. The online radio station offers music, entertainment, news, and public affairs relating to the University community, regional area and the country. GMU-TV is the university's professional Educational-access television station. GMU-TV is an award-winning leader in educational, informational and public interest programming. The unit offers a broad spectrum of content, ranging from public affairs and humanities to science, medicine and the arts. The Mason Cable Network, or MCN, is the student organized and operated station, and offers student produced entertainment and information on campus channel 89, available on the Fairfax campus of Mason.

Between 1990 and 2005, the underground newspaper Expulsion was distributed on the Mason campus. It also experienced a brief online resurgence in 2007.[78]

The staff of the Center for History and New Media produces a podcast called Digital Campus.

In fall 2008, the satirical online newspaper, The Mason Squire, premiered.[79] The site featured fake news stories criticizing the university. The newspaper's mottos were "Because fake news doesn't report itself" and "Fake news just got a whole lot sexier." However, the site has been inactive since late 2009.

Fraternity and Sorority Life[edit]

George Mason University does not have traditional Fraternity & Sorority housing or a "Greek row." For several years, three Panhellenic Council organizations had established "Living/Learning Floors" in the University Commons. Alpha Omicron Pi had a floor 2004–2010, Gamma Phi Beta had a floor 2006–2010, and Alpha Phi had a floor 2007–2010.[citation needed]

Officially, Mason refers to "Greek Life" as "Fraternity & Sorority Life" to avoid confusion with the Hellenic Society club, a student organization focusing on the people and culture of Greece.[citation needed]

Most organizations in the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council (PHC) hold one or two large charitable events each year. Most organizations in the National Pan-Hellenic Council(NPHC) and Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) hold a series of smaller charitable events throughout the year. The NPHC is also known for its annual Step Show.[citation needed]

The most well-known[by whom?] event associated with Fraternity & Sorority Life on campus is held each spring and is called Greek Week. This annual event includes competitive sporting and trivia events, charitable fund raising, and is usually ended with Greek Sing. Organizations participating in Greek Sing put together 10–15 minute themed shows which have included extravagant costumes, set designs, lighting displays, multimedia presentations, dances, singing, and more.[citation needed] Other Greek Week events include Shackathon where organizations construct shacks decorated to fit a theme. Greek swim is another popular Greek Week event in which organizations perform in a synchronized swimming competition.

PHC holds a formal recruitment each fall. Informal recruitment is held in spring. Many PHC organizations also offer continuous open recruitment (or continuous open bidding) after the designated recruitment period. IFC has a designated one-week rush period in the fall and spring. This week is regulated and monitored, but participants are not registered or tracked.[citation needed]

Presidents past and present[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


Government and politics[edit]

Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, President of Puntland
Kathleen Casey Commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Literary and media[edit]

Sports and entertainment[edit]


Notable faculty[edit]

College of Humanities and Social Sciences[edit]

Department of Economics[edit]

School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution[edit]

School of Public Policy[edit]

Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA

College of Science[edit]

School of Business[edit]

School of Law[edit]

School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism[edit]

George Mason University Press[edit]

George Mason University Press is the official publishing extension of George Mason University. GMU Press is distributed through University of Virginia Press.[citation needed]



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External links[edit]