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George Mason University

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George Mason University
George Mason University seal.svg
MottoFreedom and Learning
TypePublic University
Research University
EstablishedOctober 1, 1949; 71 years ago (1949-10-01)[1]:5
Academic affiliations
Endowment$113.2 million (2019)[2]
PresidentGregory Washington[3]
ProvostMark R. Ginsberg (Interim)
Academic staff
2,609 total (1,260 full-time; 1,349 part-time)[4]
Administrative staff
2,497 total (763 administrative faculty; 1,734 classified staff)[5]
Undergraduates26,013 (2019-2020)[4]
Postgraduates11,201 (2019–2020)[4]
Arlington (urban), VA, US; Fairfax City-Fairfax County (suburban), VA, US; Front Royal (rural-exurban), VA, US; Prince William (suburban), VA, US; Songdo (urban IBD), Incheon (FEZ), South Korea.[6][7]

Coordinates: 38°49′52″N 77°18′29″W / 38.831°N 77.308°W / 38.831; -77.308
CampusMostly Suburban, 1,148 acres (4.65 km2) total across 4 Virginia campuses
953 acres (3.86 km2) Fairfax Campus (headquarters)
ColorsGreen and Gold[8]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IA-10
MascotThe Patriot Edit this at Wikidata
George Mason University logo.svg

George Mason University (Mason, GMU, or George Mason) is a public research university located in Fairfax County near Fairfax City in Virginia.[9] In 1956, the Commonwealth of Virginia authorized the establishment of a Northern Virginia branch of the University of Virginia[10] and the institution that is now named George Mason University opened in September 1957.[11] It became an independent institution in 1972.[1] It has since grown to become the largest four-year public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The university is named after the Founding Father George Mason, a Virginia planter and politician who authored the Virginia Declaration of Rights that later influenced the future Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. Mason operates four campuses in Virginia (Fairfax, Arlington, Front Royal, and Prince William), as well as a fifth campus in South Korea.

The university is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".[12] It is particularly well known in the fields of economics and law and economics. Two Mason economics professors have won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics: James M. Buchanan in 1986 and Vernon L. Smith in 2002.[13]

EagleBank Arena (formerly the Patriot Center), a 10,000-seat arena and concert venue operated by the university, is located on the main Fairfax campus. The university recognizes 500 student groups as well as 41 fraternities and sororities.


Timeline from center to college then university[edit]

Year Institution Name Institution Location Institution Executive
1949 Northern Virginia University Center of the University of Virginia[14] Arlington Director John Norville Gibson Finley[1]
1956 University College of the University of Virginia[15] Bailey's Crossroads Director John Norville Gibson Finley[1]
1959 George Mason College of the University of Virginia[16][17] Bailey's Crossroads Director John Norville Gibson Finley[1]
1964 George Mason College of the University of Virginia[18] Bailey's Crossroads (Jan. 1964 to June 1964), later Fairfax (beginning Sept. 1964) Director Robert Reid[19]
1966 George Mason College of the University of Virginia Fairfax Chancellor Lorin A. Thompson[20]
1972 George Mason College of the University of Virginia Fairfax President Lorin A. Thompson[21]
1973 George Mason College of the University of Virginia Fairfax President Vergil H. Dykstra[21]
1977 George Mason University Fairfax President Robert C. Krug[22]
1979 George Mason University Fairfax President George W. Johnson[23]
1979 George Mason University Fairfax, Arlington President George W. Johnson[23]
1996 George Mason University Fairfax, Arlington President Alan G. Merten[24]
1997 George Mason University Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William President Alan G. Merten[24]
2005 George Mason University Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Ras al Khayma[25] President Alan G. Merten[24]
2009 George Mason University Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William President Alan G. Merten[25]
2011 George Mason University Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Front Royal President Alan G. Merten[24]
2012 George Mason University Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Front Royal President Ángel Cabrera[26]
2012 George Mason University Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Front Royal, Songdo President Ángel Cabrera[26]

University of Virginia (1949–1972)[edit]

Aerial photograph taken in 1967 showing what was then called George Mason College
Decal from when George Mason College was a part of the University of Virginia

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville created an extension center to serve Northern Virginia.[27] "… the University Center opened, on October 1, 1949..."[1] The extension center offered both for credit and non-credit informal classes in the evenings in the Vocational Building of the Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, at schools in Alexandria, Fairfax, and Prince William, at federal buildings, at churches, at the Virginia Theological Seminary, and at Marine Corps Base Quantico, and even in a few private homes.[1]:5 The first for credit classes offered were: "Government in the Far East, Introduction to International Politics, English Composition, Principles of Economics, Mathematical Analysis, Introduction to Mathematical Statistics, and Principles of Lip Reading."[1] By the end of 1952, enrollment increased to 1,192 students from 665 students the previous year.[1]

A resolution of the Virginia General Assembly in January 1956 changed the extension center into University College, the Northern Virginia branch of the University of Virginia.[28][self-published source?] John Norville Gibson Finley served as director.[29] Seventeen freshmen students attended classes at University College in a small renovated elementary school building in Bailey's Crossroads starting in September 1957.[30] In 1958 University College became George Mason College.[28]

The City of Fairfax purchased and donated 150 acres (0.61 km2) of land just south of the city limits to the University of Virginia for the college's new site, which is now referred to as the Fairfax Campus. In 1959, the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia selected a permanent name for the college: George Mason College of the University of Virginia. 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.[31][self-published source?]

During the 1966 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, Alexandria delegate James M. Thomson, with the backing of the University of Virginia, introduced a bill in the General Assembly to make George Mason College a four-year institution under the University of Virginia's direction. The measure, known as H 33,[32] passed the Assembly easily and was approved on March 1, 1966 making George Mason College a degree-granting institution. During that same year, the 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 with the intention that the institution would expand into a regional university of major proportions, including the granting of graduate degrees.

George Mason University (1972–present)[edit]

On Friday, April 7, 1972, a contingent from George Mason College, led by Chancellor Lorin A. Thompson, met with Virginia Governor A. Linwood Holton at Richmond. They were there to participate in the governor's signing into law Virginia General Assembly Bill H 210 separating George Mason College from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville and renaming it George Mason University.[33] In 1978, George W. Johnson was appointed to serve as the fourth president.[34] Under his eighteen-year tenure, the university expanded both its physical size and program offerings at a tremendous rate.[34][35] Shortly before Johnson's inauguration in April 1979, Mason acquired the School of Law and the new Arlington Campus. The university also became a doctoral institution.[34] Toward the end of Johnson's term, Mason would be deep in planning for a third campus in Prince William County at Manassas. Major campus facilities, such as Student Union Building II, EagleBank Arena, Center for the Arts, and the Johnson Learning Center, were all constructed over the course of Johnson's eighteen years as University President. Enrollment once again more than doubled from 10,767 during the fall of 1978 to 24,368 in the spring of 1996.[36]

Governor A. Linwood Holton signs H‑210 separating George Mason College from the University of Virginia, April 7, 1972

Dr. Alan G. Merten was appointed president in 1996. He believed that the university's location made it responsible for both contributing to and drawing from its surrounding communities—local, national, and global. George Mason was becoming recognized and acclaimed in all of these spheres. During Merten's tenure, the university hosted the World Congress of Information Technology in 1998,[37] celebrated a second Nobel Memorial Prize-winning faculty member in 2002, and cheered the Men's Basketball team in their NCAA Final Four appearance in 2006. Enrollment increased from just over 24,000 students in 1996 to approximately 33,000 during the spring semester of 2012, making Mason Virginia's largest public university and gained prominence at the national level.[38]

Dr. Ángel Cabrera officially took office on July 1, 2012. Both Cabrera and the board were well aware that Mason was part of a rapidly changing academia, full of challenges to the viability of higher education. In a resolution on August 17, 2012, the board asked Dr. Cabrera to create a new strategic vision that would help Mason remain relevant and competitive in the future. The drafting of the Vision for Mason, from conception to official outline, created a new mission statement that defines the university.[39]

On March 25, 2013, university president Ángel Cabrera held a press conference to formally announce the university's decision to leave the Colonial Athletic Association to join the Atlantic 10 Conference (A-10). The announcement came just days after the Board of Visitors' approval of the university's Vision document that Dr. Cabrera had overseen. Mason began competition in the A-10 during the 2013–2014 academic year, and Mason's association with the institutions that comprise the A-10 started a new chapter in Mason athletics, academics, and other aspects of university life.[40] The Chronicle of Higher Education listed Mason as one of the "Great Colleges to Work For" from 2010–2014.[41] The Washington Post listed Mason as one of the "Top Workplaces" in 2014.[42] The WorldatWork Alliance for Work-Life Progress awarded Mason the Seal of Distinction in 2015.[43] The AARP listed Mason as one of the Best Employers for Workers Over 50 in 2013.[44] Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at the university in 2013.[citation needed]

In 2018, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit revealed that conservative donors, including the Charles Koch Foundation and Federalist Society, were given direct influence over faculty hiring decisions at the university's law and economics schools. GMU President Ángel Cabrera acknowledged that the revelations raised questions about the university's academic integrity and pledged to prohibit donors from sitting on faculty selection committees in the future.[45]

Dr. Ángel Cabrera resigned his position on July 31, 2019 and became president of Georgia Tech.[46][47] Following Cabrera's resignation, Anne B. Holton served as interim president until June 30, 2020.[47]

On February 24, 2020, the Board of Visitors appointed Gregory Washington as the eighth president. He started at George Mason on July 1, 2020. Washington is the university's first African-American president.[48]

On March 23, 2020, George Mason shifted to exclusively online instruction during the COVID pandemic. Hybrid instruction is planned for the Fall 2020 semester offering a combination of online and in-person instruction.[49]


George Mason University is located in Earth
Virginia Campuses
Virginia Campuses
Songdo Campus
Songdo Campus
George Mason University is located in Northern Virginia
Science and Technology
Science and Technology
Smithsonian‑Mason School of Conservation
Smithsonian‑Mason School of Conservation

George Mason University has four campuses in the United States, all within the Commonwealth of Virginia.[50] Three are within the Northern Virginia section of the Piedmont, and one in the Blue Ridge Mountains region.[50] The university has one campus in South Korea, within the Incheon Free Economic Zone of the Songdo region.[51][50] The university had a campus at Ras al-Khaimah, but that location is now closed.[25] The Blue Ridge campus, just outside Front Royal, is run in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution.[52]


Fairfax Campus
Johnson Center and Center for the Arts[a]
George Mason University is located in GMU Fairfax
Fenwick Library
Fenwick Library
Johnson Center
Johnson Center
Center for the Arts
Center for the Arts
EagleBank Arena
EagleBank Arena
Harris Theatre
Harris Theatre
Southside Dining
Southside Dining
Fairfax campus

The university's Fairfax Campus is situated on 677 acres (1.058 sq mi) of landscaped land with a large pond in a suburban environment in George Mason, Virginia, just south of the City of Fairfax in central Fairfax County. Off-campus amenities are within walking distance and Washington, D.C. is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from campus.[b] Notable buildings include the 320,000-square-foot (30,000 m2) student union building, the Johnson Center; the Center for the Arts, a 2,000-seat concert hall; the 180,000-square-foot (17,000 m2) Long and Kimmy Nguyen Engineering Building; Exploratory Hall for science, new in 2013; an astronomy observatory and telescope; the 88,900-square-foot (8,260 m2) Art and Design Building; the newly expanded Fenwick Library, and will soon reconstruct the academic buildings Robinson A and B;[55] the Krasnow Institute; and three fully appointed gyms and an aquatic center for student use.[56] The stadiums for indoor and outdoor track and field, baseball, softball, tennis, soccer and lacrosse are also on the Fairfax campus,[57] as is Masonvale, a housing community for faculty, staff and graduate students.[58] The smallest building on the campus is the 33-square-foot (3.1 m2) information booth.[59]


Fairfax City CUE Bus at Vienna, Fairfax, GMU station[c]

This campus is served by the Washington Metro Orange Line at the Vienna, Fairfax, GMU station as well as Metrobus routes.[60] The CUE Bus Green One, Green Two, Gold One, and Gold Two lines all provide service to this campus at 38°50′05″N 77°18′25″W / 38.8347°N 77.3070°W / 38.8347; -77.3070 (Cue Bus Stop).[61] This campus is served by the Virginia Railway Express Manassas Line at the Burke Center station.[62] Fairfax Connector Route 306: GMU–Pentagon provides service to this campus.[63] Mason provides shuttle service between this campus and Vienna, Fairfax, GMU Metro station, the Burke Center VRE station, the Science and Technology Campus, West Campus, and downtown City of Fairfax.[64]

George Mason statue[edit]

Map showing location of George Mason statue
Location of statue
Statue of George Mason on the Fairfax campus,[d] adorned with balloons

The bronze statue of George Mason on campus[e] was created by Wendy M. Ross and dedicated on April 12, 1996.[65] The 71/2 foot statue shows George Mason presenting his first draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights which was later the basis for the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights. Beside Mason is a model of a writing table that is still in the study of Gunston Hall, Mason's Virginia estate. The books on the table—volumes of Hume, Locke and Rousseau—represent influences in his thought.


Arlington Campus
Original Building, Van Metre Hall, Vernon Smith Hall,[f] and Hazel Hall[g]
George Mason University is located in GMU Arlington
Original Building
Original Building
Founders Hall
Founders Hall
Hazel Hall
Hazel Hall
Vernon Smith Hall
Vernon Smith Hall
Metro Rail
Metro Rail
Arlington campus

The Arlington Campus is situated on 5.2 acres (21,000 m2; 0.0081 sq mi) in Virginia Square, a bustling urban environment on the edge of Arlington, Virginia's Clarendon business district and four miles (6.4 km) from downtown Washington, D.C. The campus was founded in 1979 with the acquisition of a law school;[66] in 1998 Hazel Hall opened to house the Mason School of Law; subsequent development created Van Metre Hall (formerly Founders Hall), home of the Schar School of Policy and Government,[67] the Center for Regional Analysis,[68] and the graduate-level administrative offices for the School of Business.[69] Vernon Smith Hall houses the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, the Mercatus Center, and the Institute for Humane Studies. The campus also houses the 300-seat Founders Hall Auditorium.

The Arlington Campus is also the future home of the Mason School of Computing, a plan intended to double the number of computer science students to 15,000 over the next five years. As part of Amazon's HQ2 development in nearby Crystal City, Mason announced a slew of new changes to be made to the Arlington Campus. It committed to expanding the campus and replacing Original Building with a 400,000sq ft mixed use high rise which would developed in a public private partnership to allow for mixed use commercial space on lower levels. The university also announced the development of an Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA) to include labs, coworking and public programming spaces, ground-floor retail, a parking garage and a public plaza

The university has said they will invest $250 million at the Arlington Campus in the next five years, adding 1,000 faculty members and enlarging the campus to 1.2 million square feet, with an emphasis on computing programs and advanced research in high-tech fields.


Arlington campus subway stop

This campus is served by the Washington Metro Orange Line at the Virginia Square-GMU station, a campus shuttle service, and Metrobus route 38B.[h] The rail station is located one block west of the campus.[71] Arlington Rapid Transit or ART Bus routes 41, 42, and 75 also provide service at this location.[70] The campus offers one electric vehicle charging station, five disabled permit automotive parking locations, three bicycle parking locations, and one Capitol Bikeshare location.[71]

Science and Technology[edit]

Beacon Hall, Hylton Performing Arts Center, the EDGE, Life Sciences Laboratory, Discovery Hall, Occoquan Building, Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, Bull Run Hall, Biomedical Research Laboratory[i]

The Science and Technology campus opened on August 25, 1997 as the Prince William campus in Manassas, Virginia, on 134 acres (0.209 sq mi; 540,000 m2) of land, some still currently undeveloped.[72] More than 4,000 students are enrolled in classes in bioinformatics, biotechnology, information technology, and forensic biosciences educational and research programs.[73] There are undergraduate programs in health, fitness and recreation. There are graduate programs in exercise, fitness, health, geographic information systems, and facility management. Much of the research takes place in the high-security Biomedical Research Laboratory.[74] The 1,123-seat Merchant Hall and the 300-seat Verizon Auditorium in the Hylton Performing Arts Center opened in 2010.[75][76]

The 110,000-square-foot Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center is operated by the Mason Enterprise Center.[77] The Mason Center for Team and Organizational Learning stylized as EDGE is an experiential education facility open to the public.[78] The Sports Medicine Assessment Research and Testing lab stylized as SMART Lab is located within the Freedom center. The SMART Lab is most known for its concussion research.[79] On April 23, 2015 the campus was renamed to the Science and Technology Campus.[80]

In 2019, the university engaged in a feasibility study of creating a medical school at the Prince William Campus. The proposed medical school would be completed in 2022.[81][82]

Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation[edit]

Academic Center, G.T. Halpin Family Living & Learning Community,[j] Dining Commons[k]

The campus in Front Royal, Virginia is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the university.[52] Open to students in August 2012 after breaking ground on the project on June 29, 2011, the primary focus of the campus is global conservation training.[52] The Volgenau Academic Center includes three teaching laboratories, four classrooms, and 18 offices.[52] Shenandoah National Park is visible from the dining facility's indoor and outdoor seating.[52] Living quarters include 60 double occupancy rooms, an exercise facility, and study space.[52]

Mason Korea (Songdo, South Korea)[edit]

Data Center, Library, Guest House, Student's Hall[l]

Opened in March 2014, the Songdo campus is in South Korea's Incheon Free Economic Zone, a 42,000-acre (66 sq mi) site designed for 850,000 people. It's 25 miles (40 km) from Seoul and a two-hour flight from China and Japan, and is connected to the Seoul Metropolitan Subway.

The Commonwealth of Virginia considers the Songdo campus legally no different than any other Mason campus, "... board of visitors shall have the same powers with respect to operation and governance of its branch campus in Korea as are vested in the board by the Code of Virginia with respect to George Mason University in Virginia ..."[83]

Mason Korea students will spend the sixth and seventh semesters (one year) on the Fairfax Campus, with all other course work to be completed in Songdo. George Mason University Korea offers seven undergraduate programs: Management, Finance, Accounting, Economics, Global Affairs, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and Computer Game Design. Mason Korea also has two graduate programs: Systems Engineering and IB & ESOL.

Mason Korea's first commencement class graduated in December 2017.[84] Students from Mason Korea earn the same diploma as home campus students, with English as the language of instruction.



University rankings
ARWU[85] 66-94
Forbes[86] 177
THE/WSJ[87] 184
U.S. News & World Report[88] 143
Washington Monthly[89] 61
ARWU[90] 201–300
QS[91] 801–1000
THE[92] 251–300
U.S. News & World Report[93] 453

Mason offers undergraduate, master's, law, and doctoral degrees.[94] The student-faculty ratio is 17:1; 58 percent of undergraduate classes have fewer than 30 students and 30 percent of undergraduate classes have fewer than 20 students.[95]

Colleges and schools[edit]

Colleges and Schools of George Mason University
Historical name Current name
College of Arts and Sciences 1957 College of Humanities and Social Sciences 2006[96]
College of Science 2006[97]
School of Business Administration 1977, School of Management 1981 School of Business 2014[69]
School of Law 1979 Antonin Scalia Law School 2016[98]
School of Information Technology and Engineering 1985 Volgenau School of Engineering 2005[99]
School of Nursing 1985 College of Health and Human Services 1998[100]
College of Visual and Performing Arts 1990[101]
School of Public Policy 1990 Schar School of Policy and Government 2016[102]
Department of Public and International Affairs 1990
Graduate School of Education 1991 College of Education and Human Development 1994[103]
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution 1991 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution 2020[104]
Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study 1993

College of Health and Human Services[edit]

The College is located in the Peterson Family Health Sciences Hall on the Fairfax, Virginia campus.[105] Currently, the college is home to approximately 3,000 students.[106] The College offers 5 undergraduate degrees, 12 graduate degrees, and 11 certificates. Academic programs in the College are accredited by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA), Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), and Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).[107][108][109]


Between 2009 and 2013, George Mason saw a 21% increase in the number of applications, has enrolled 4% more new degree-seeking students, and has seen the percentage of undergraduate and graduate applications accepted each decrease by 4%. Law applications accepted increased by 10%.[94] Mason enrolled 33,917 students for Fall 2013, up 956 (+3%) from Fall 2012. Undergraduate students made up 65% (21,990) of the fall enrollment, graduate students 34% (11,399), and law students 2% (528). Undergraduate headcount was 1,337 higher than Fall 2012 (+7%); graduate headcount was 262 lower (−2%); and law student headcount was 119 lower (−18%). Matriculated students come from all 50 states and 122 foreign countries.[94] As of fall 2014, the university had 33,791 students enrolled, including 21,672 undergraduates, 7,022 seeking master's degrees, 2,264 seeking doctoral degrees and 493 seeking law degrees.[94]


The university enrolls 34,904[110] students, making it the largest university by head count in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[111]


George Mason University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) to award bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.[112]


George Mason University, an institution dedicated to research of consequence, hosts $149 million in sponsored research projects annually, as of 2019.[114] In 2016, Mason was classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education among the U.S. universities that receive the most research funding and award research/scholarship doctorates.[115] Mason moved into this classification based on a review of its 2013–2014 data that was performed by the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University.[116]

The research is focused on health, sustainability and security. In health, researchers focus is on wellness, disease prevention, advanced diagnostics and biomedical analytics. Sustainability research examines climate change, natural disaster forecasting, and risk assessment. Mason's security experts study domestic and international security as well as cyber security.[117]

Centers and institutes[edit]

The university is home to numerous research centers and institutes.[118]

  • Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine[119]
  • Center for Clean Water and Sustainable Technologies (CCWST)[119]
  • Center for Climate Change Communication (4C)[120]
  • Center for Collision Safety and Analysis[121]
  • Center for Excellence in Command, Control, Communications, Computing and Intelligence (C4I)[122]
  • Center for History and New Media (CHNM)[123]
  • Center for Location Science[124]
  • Center for Neural Informatics[125]
  • Center for Peacemaking Practice[126]
  • Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship[118]
  • Center for Regional Analysis[118]
  • Center for Social Complexity[127]
  • Center for Study of Public Choice[128]
  • Center for Neural Informatics, Structures, and Plasticity (CN3)[125]
  • Center for Well-Being[129]
  • Institute for Advanced Biomedical Research[130]
  • Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science[131]
  • Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study[119]
  • Mercatus Center[132]
  • National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases[119]
  • SMART Lab (Sports Medicine Assessment, Research & Testing)[133]
  • Stephen S. Fuller Institute [134]


Mason has established far-reaching research partnerships with many government agencies, non-profits, health systems, and international finance organizations. Among others, Mason researches computer systems and networks with the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA);[135] investigates climate issues with the National Aeronautics and Space administration (NASA);[136] explores underwater archaeology with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA);[137] partners on conservation and biological matters with the Smithsonian institution; studies brain neurons with The Allen Institute;[138] conducts economic research with the International Monetary Fund; and examines chronic illnesses and disabilities with the Inova Health System.

Student life[edit]


Benches painted by students outside the Fenwick Library
Map showing location of annually painted benches
Location of annually painted benches

Students will decorate the George Mason statue on the Fairfax campus for events, some rub the statue toe to bring good luck, and many pose with the statue for graduation photographs.[139] Between 1988 and 1990 Anthony Maiello wrote the original George Mason Fight Song, which was edited by Michael Nickens in 2009.[140]

Each spring, student organizations at Mason compete to paint one of the 38 benches located on the Quad in front of Fenwick Library. For years, student organizations have painted those benches that line the walkway to gain recognition for their group. With more than 300 student organizations, there is much competition to paint one of the benches. Painting takes place in the spring.[141]

Every year since 1965, George Mason University hosts an annual celebration called Mason Day. Mason Day brings food trucks, carnival rides, local artists, and notable performers to campus for the students to de-stress before finals. The event is typically free for students and $20 for the general public.

Student Body of George Mason University

Flag of Mason Nation
Coat of arms of Mason Nation
Coat of arms
Motto: Freedom and Learning
Anthem: GMU Fight Song [142]
CapitalFairfax Campus


Fairfax Housing
Liberty Square housing complex on the Fairfax campus
George Mason University is located in GMU Fairfax
Presidents Park
Presidents Park
Eastern Shore
Eastern Shore
Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads
Liberty Square
Liberty Square
Chesapeake Lane [143]
Chesapeake Lane [143]
Potomac Heights
Potomac Heights
Student Apartments
Student Apartments
Global Center
Global Center
Fairfax Housing

On the Fairfax campus the northernmost housing is technically on campus, but about a mile from the center of campus, about a half mile from the edge of the majority of the Fairfax campus in the housing area known as the Townhouses.[144] On the eastern edge of the Fairfax campus lies Masonvale, houses intended for graduate students and visiting faculty.[145] On the southern edge of the Fairfax campus you will find President's Park, Liberty Square, and Potomac Heights. On the western side of the Fairfax campus, near Ox Road/Rt 123, are the Mason Global Center[146], Whitetop, and Rogers.[147] The Student Apartments off Aquia Creek Lane were torn down in 2019. Closer to the center of the Fairfax campus are the residence halls along Chesapeake Lane, named: Northern Neck, Commonwealth, Blue Ridge, Sandbridge, Piedmont, and Tidewater, as well as Hampton Roads, Dominion, Eastern Shore, and the Commons. At the Science and Technology (SciTech) campus near Manassas, Virginia, 21 miles (34 km) west of Fairfax, Beacon Hall was designed for graduate student housing. 54 miles (87 km) west of Fairfax, the G.T. Halpin Family Living & Learning Community is on the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation campus. 6,961 miles (11,203 km) west of Fairfax, Student's Hall and Guest House are on the Songdo campus.[83][148]

Dining Options[edit]

On-campus dining halls[149]

George Mason University has seven dining halls in addition to its other restaurants and dining options.

  • Southside
  • Ike's
  • The Globe
  • Simply to Go
  • Randall's Cafe
  • Au Bon Pain
  • The Commons
Starship Robot

On-campus robot food delivery[edit]

George Mason University's Fairfax Campus is the first U.S. campus to include robot food delivery in its meal plans.[150] 25 autonomous robots were provided by the Estonian robotics company Starship Technologies to carry out meal deliveries.[151] The cost of a delivery, as of November 2019, is $1.99.[150]

Student organizations[edit]

Students participate in Lantern Day

Student organizations can have an academic, social, athletic, religious/irreligious, career, or just about any other focus. The university recognizes 500 such groups.[152]

Student Media[edit]

Mason sponsors several student-run media outlets through the Office of Student Media.[153]

  • The Fourth Estate: Website and weekly student newspaper, available on Mondays[154]
  • The George Mason Review: A cross-disciplinary, undergraduate journal.[155]
  • Hispanic Culture Review: Publishes creative writing, book reviews, narratives, and essays in both Spanish and English. Published annually.[156]
  • Mason Cable Network: A television outlet run by the students, for the students, that provides analytical, and entertaining programming.[157]
  • Phoebe: A journal that annually publishes original works of literature and art.[158]
  • So to Speak: A feminist journal that publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art each semester.[159]
  • Volition: Formerly known as Apathy, is George Mason University's undergraduate creative literature and art magazine.[160]
  • WGMU Radio: Broadcasts a wide array of music, talk, sports, and news programming. WGMU is also the flagship station for George Mason's Men's and Women's Basketball team, part of the Go Mason Digital Network.[161]

Greek Life Student Organizations (Fraternities and Sororities)[edit]

Mason has 41 fraternities and sororities,[162] with a total Greek population of about 1,800. Mason does not have a traditional "Greek Row" of housing specifically for fraternities, although recruitment, charitable events—including a spring Greek Week—and other chapter activities take place on the Fairfax Campus.[163]

Organization Letters Type Council Affiliation
Alpha Epsilon Pi ΑΕΠ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Alpha Kappa Alpha ΑΚΑ sorority National Pan-Hellenic Council
Alpha Kappa Delta Phi αΚΔΦ sorority Multicultural Greek Council
Alpha Kappa Lambda ΑΚΛ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Alpha Omicron Pi ΑΟΠ sorority Panhellenic Council
Alpha Phi ΑΦ sorority Panhellenic Council
Alpha Phi Alpha ΑΦΑ fraternity National Pan-Hellenic Council
Alpha Phi Omega ΑΦΩ fraternity Unaffiliated
Alpha Sigma Phi ΑΣΦ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Alpha Xi Delta ΑΞΔ sorority Panhellenic Council
Beta Theta Pi ΒΘΠ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Chi Omega ΧΩ sorority Panhellenic Council
Chi Psi ΧΨ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Chi Upsilon Sigma ΧΥΣ sorority Multicultural Greek Council
Delta Chi ΔΧ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Delta Phi Omega ΔΦΩ sorority Multicultural Greek Council
Delta Sigma Theta ΔΣΘ sorority National Pan-Hellenic Council
Delta Sigma Pi ΔΣΠ fraternity
Gamma Phi Beta ΓΦΒ sorority Panhellenic Council
Iota Phi Theta ΙΦΘ fraternity National Pan-Hellenic Council
Kappa Alpha Order ΚΑ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Kappa Alpha Psi ΚΑΨ fraternity National Pan-Hellenic Council
Kappa Delta ΚΔ sorority Panhellenic Council
Kappa Phi Gamma ΚΦΓ sorority Multicultural Greek Council
Kappa Phi Lambda ΚΦΛ sorority Multicultural Greek Council
Kappa Sigma ΚΣ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Lambda Pi Chi ΛΠΧ sorority Multicultural Greek Council
Lambda Theta Alpha ΛΘΑ sorority Multicultural Greek Council
Omega Psi Phi ΩΨΦ fraternity National Pan-Hellenic Council
Phi Beta Sigma ΦΒΣ fraternity National Pan-Hellenic Council
Phi Gamma Delta ΦΓΔ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Phi Kappa Sigma ΦΚΣ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Phi Kappa Theta ΦΚΘ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Phi Sigma Kappa ΦΣΚ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Pi Beta Phi ΠΒΦ sorority Panhellenic Council
Pi Delta Psi ΠΔΨ fraternity Multicultural Greek Council
Pi Kappa Alpha ΠΚΑ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Pi Kappa Phi ΠΚΦ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Sigma Alpha Epsilon ΣΑΕ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Sigma Chi ΣΧ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Sigma Gamma Rho ΣΓΡ sorority National Pan-Hellenic Council
Sigma Psi Zeta ΣΨΖ sorority Multicultural Greek Council
Tau Kappa Epsilon TKE fraternity Interfraternity Council
Theta Chi ΘΧ fraternity Interfraternity Council
Zeta Phi Beta ΖΦΒ sorority National Pan-Hellenic Council
Zeta Tau Alpha ΖΤΑ sorority Panhellenic Council

Spiritual and Religious Community Fellowships, Ministries, and Associations[edit]

George Mason University is a public government-funded university that has to comply with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.[164] The university, as being part of the government of the Commonwealth of Virginia, cannot endorse or establish a religion, nor can it impede the "free exercise of religion" of its students. Therefore, independent religious student-led organizations can register with the university in order to minister to the students at their own choosing. The registered student religious organizations are as follows:[165]

Student Organization Abbr./Letters Religion Denomination or Sect National Affiliation Type
4Corners Christian Fellowship 4Corners Christianity Fellowship
Access Islam Islam Academic/Theological
Ahmadiyya Muslim Student Association Islam Ahmadiyya Movement Appreciation & Philosophy
Align Fitness[166] Sports Ministry Fellowship
Anointed Vessels of Unity AVU Christianity
Apostles Campus Church ACC Christianity Anglican Church
Arise Campus Ministry Christianity Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),

Episcopal (Anglican), Presbyterian (USA),

United Church of Christ,

United Methodist (Wesleyan)

Wesley Foundation,

Canterbury Club,

Presbyterian House

Baha'i Club Bahá'í Faith Bahá’í Campus Ministry
Bridges International Christianity Bridges International Community Organization
George Mason Catholic Campus Ministry

(St. Robert Bellarmine Chapel)

CCM Christianity Catholic Works with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students

(FOCUS) | Catholic campus ministry

Fellowship & Church
GMU Chi Alpha

(Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship)

ΧΑ (GMUXA) Christianity inter-denominational local chapters Chi Alpha Campus Ministries

(Assemblies of God USA—national affiliate)

GMU Christians on Campus Christianity Christians on Campus Fellowship
Coptic Orthodox Christian Association Christianity Coptic Orthodox Christian Church Coptic Orthodox Christian Association Association
Cru (MasonCru) Cru Christianity interdenominational Cru (Christian organization) Fellowship
Delight Ministries Christianity Delight Ministries A College Women's Community Ministry
Disciples on Campus Christianity Disciples on Campus Fellowship
EPIC Movement (Asian American Fellowship) EPIC Christianity Cultural, Fellowship
Every Nation Campus - GMU ENC Christianity Evangelicalism Every Nation Churches & Ministries Campus Ministry & Church
Fellowship of Catholic University Students FOCUS Christianity Catholic Fellowship of Catholic University Students Fellowship & Church
Fellowship of Christian Athletes FCA Christianity interdenominational


Fellowship of Christian Athletes Sports Ministry Fellowship
First Love Church Christianity Fellowship & Church
Hillel Jewish (Religious Judaism) Professional Association
Immanuel Christian Fellowship ICF Christianity non-denominational (Evangelical-leaning) Immanuel Bible Church

(Servants Ministry)

Klesis Κλεσις Christianity Baptist Fellowship
Korean Bible Study of GMU Christianity Cultural,

Fellowship (conducted in Korean)

GMU [Make]New Christianity MakeNew Christian Fellowship Fellowship
Mason InterVarsity IV Christianity interdenominational (Evangelical-leaning) InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Fellowship
Muslim Leadership Development Islam Leadership Development
Muslim Students' Association Islam all Muslims
Halaqas (study circles)
NxGeneration Campus Ministry Christianity Young Adult/Youth Ministry
Orthodox Christian Fellowship Christianity Orthodox Christianity Fellowship
Patriot Christian Ministry Christianity Fellowship
Promises United in God Christianity Fellowship
Ratio Christi Christianity non-denominational Ratio Christi Apologetics
SERVE Christianity Community Services
Secular Student Alliance (GMU)[167] SSA Nontheism human-based ethics Secular Student Alliance Special Interest
Sikh Student Association Sikhism Association
Student Bible Study Christianity Bible Study
The Gathering Christianity Movement
The Impact Movement at Mason

(Black, African, African-American Fellowship)

Christianity Cultural, Fellowship
The Latter-Day Saint Student Association LDSSA Mormonism Latter Day Saint movement The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Gospel Study (Institute of Religion Class)
University Bible Fellowship UBF Christianity mainline evangelical Fellowship & Church
Young Life YL Christianity Presbyterianism Young Life Fellowship


Division I teams[edit]

Hofstra visits the Patriot Center[168] on January 26, 2005

The George Mason Patriots are the athletic teams of George Mason University located in Fairfax, Virginia.[169] The Patriots compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association as members of the Atlantic 10 Conference for most sports. About 485 student-athletes compete in 22 men's and women's Division I sports – baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, volleyball, and wrestling. Intercollegiate men's and women's teams are members of the National Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, the Atlantic 10, the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA), the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL), and the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A).[170]

Intramural Club Sports[171][edit]

In addition to its NCAA Division I teams, George Mason University has several club sports.[172] The club sports offer students a chance to compete at a high level without the time commitment of a D-I/Varsity team in sports including – badminton, baseball, basketball (women's), crew, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, football, ice hockey (men's and women's), lacrosse (men's and women's), powerlifting, quidditch, rugby (men's and women's), running, soccer (men's and women's), swimming, tae kwon do, trap & skeet, triathlon, ultimate frisbee (men's and women's), volleyball (men's and women's), and underwater hockey. Clubs have a competitive range from regional competition to yearly participation in U.S. National College Club Level Championships

Name Sport
Badminton Club Badminton
Club Baseball Baseball
Club Field Hockey Field Hockey
Club Football Football
George Mason Club Softball Softball
George Mason Crew Club Crew
George Mason Fencing Club Fencing
George Mason Men's Club Soccer Soccer
George Mason Squash Club Squash
George Mason University Running Club Running
GMU Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Jiu-Jitsu (Brazilian)
GMU Club Tennis Tennis
GMU Men's Lacrosse Club Lacrosse
GMU Men's Rugby Football Club Rugby Football
GMU Trap and Skeet Trap and Skeet
Log Rolling Club Log Rolling
Mason Equestrian Club Equestrian Sports
Mason Powerlifting Powerlifting
Mason Quidditch Club Quidditch
Mason Swim Club Swimming
Mason Taekwondo Taekwondo
Men's Club Ultimate Ultimate Frisbee
Men's Club Volleyball Volleyball
Men's Ice Hockey Ice Hockey
Underwater Hockey Underwater Hockey
Women's Club Basketball Basketball
Women's Club Ice Hockey Ice Hockey
Women's Club Lacrosse Lacrosse
Women's Club Soccer Soccer
Women's Rugby Club Rugby
Women's Ultimate Frisbee Ultimate Frisbee
Women's Volleyball Club Volleyball

Performing Arts[edit]

Mason Players

The Mason Players is a faculty lead student organization that produces six productions. This season includes two "Main Stage" productions, which are directed by faculty members or guest artists. As well as "Studio" productions, which are directed by students through an application process within Mason Players. There is also an annual production of "Originals", which consists of 10 minute original plays written by students. Full time students of George Mason University, both outside and a part of the School of Theater are allowed to audition for these productions. [173]


Koch Funding[edit]

George Mason University has been subject to controversy surrounding donations from the Charles Koch Foundation. University documents revealed that the Koch brothers were given the ability to pick candidates as a condition of monetary donations.[174] George Mason University altered its donor rules following the controversy.[175]

Sexual Misconduct[edit]

George Mason University has been subject to many accusations of mishandling sexual assault and misconduct allegations. In 2016 a male student won an appeal overturning his suspension for sexual assault.[176] The courts found that Brent Ericson, who had prior knowledge of this and previous cases against the student, did not give the student the ability to defend himself, as he suspended the student for prior, unrelated incidences. Brent Ericson has also been accused of sharing home addresses in a sexual misconduct case.[177]

The Title IX process at George Mason University has continued to be subject to controversy. Following the hiring of Brett Kavanaugh, students circulated a petition demanding not only the removal of Kavanaugh, but to increase the number of Title IX Coordinators on campus. The petition received 10,000 signatures and resulted in approval for funding for two more Title IX Coordinator positions.[178] However, as of 2020, George Mason University only has one Title IX Coordinator.[179] At least one student has publicly alleged that George Mason University mishandles Title IX investigations.[180]

Two professors have been accused of sexual misconduct at George Mason. In 2018, Peter Pober was alleged to have committed sexual misconduct during his tenure as a Competitive Speech Coach.[181] He retired while being investigated for misconduct.[182] In 2020, Todd Kashdan sued George Mason University for gender bias, after he was sanctioned for sexual harassment by Title IX procedures. The lawsuit was not upheld as Kashdan failed to show sufficient grounds for complaint, with the judge noting that Kashdan admitted to many of the accusations.[183]

George Mason University economist Robin Hanson stirred controversy in 2018, when he argued for “redistribution” policies for sex three days after the Toronto Van attack.[184] Further controversy was raised when archives of his previous writing, in which he argued infidelity is comparable to “gentle silent rape”, were read.[185][186]

Law School Name[edit]

In 2016, George Mason's law school was briefly named the Antonin Scalia School of Law. Following the realization that this would lead to an offensive acronym ("ASSLaw"), the school was quickly renamed to the Antonin Scalia Law School.[187]

Notable faculty and alumni[edit]

James M. Buchanan, Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist and namesake of James Buchanan Hall
Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist and namesake of Vernon Smith Hall
Gordon Tullock, co-founder of public choice economics



See also[edit]


  1. ^ from left to right
  2. ^ [53][54]
  3. ^ All four Fairfax city bus routes travel between the Metrorail Vienna, Fairfax, GMU station and the Fairfax campus.
  4. ^ another bronze statue of George Mason can be found at the George Mason Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  5. ^ another bronze statue of George Mason can be found at the George Mason Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  6. ^ behind, formerly the Metropolitan Building
  7. ^ from left to right
  8. ^ [70][71]
  9. ^ from left to right
  10. ^ Residential Facility
  11. ^ from left to right
  12. ^ from left to right


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    Sharrer, Emily (March 15, 2011). George Mason University 2012. College Prowler.
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  140. ^ Original:
    "Prof. Anthony Maiello". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2015. Hail to George Mason! Don your green and gold! We're going to sing for George Mason, Patriots brave and bold! We're going to cheer for George Mason, Proud for the world to see! We'll prove our honor and might, And we'll FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! As we march onward to victory!
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