George Mason University

Coordinates: 38°49′52″N 77°18′29″W / 38.831°N 77.308°W / 38.831; -77.308
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George Mason University
Seal of George Mason University
Former names
Northern Virginia University Center of the University of Virginia (1949–1956)
University College of the University of Virginia (1956–1959)
George Mason College of the University of Virginia (1959–1972)
Motto"Freedom and Learning"
TypePublic research university
Established1949; 75 years ago (1949)[1]
FounderUniversity of Virginia (original charter)
Virginia General Assembly (as independent university)
AccreditationSACS
Academic affiliations
Endowment$189.2 million (2021)[2]
PresidentGregory Washington[3]
ProvostKenneth Walsh (interim)
RectorHorace Blackman
Academic staff
2,133 (fall 2023)[4]
Students40,185 (fall 2023)[4]
Undergraduates27,160 (fall 2023)[4]
Postgraduates11,804 (fall 2023)[4]
Location, ,
United States

38°49′52″N 77°18′29″W / 38.831°N 77.308°W / 38.831; -77.308
CampusLarge Suburb, 953 acres (386 ha) (Fairfax), 1,148 acres (465 ha) total
Location of CampusesUnited States:

South Korea:

MediaFourth Estate (newspaper)
WGMU Radio (radio station)
Colors  Green
  Gold[7]
NicknamePatriots
Sporting affiliations
MascotThe Patriot
Websitegmu.edu

George Mason University (George Mason, Mason, or GMU) is a public sea-grant research university in Fairfax County, Virginia near Washington, D.C.[8] The university was originally founded as the Northern Virginia University Center of the University of Virginia in 1949 as an extension school and regional branch of the University of Virginia for mid-career working professionals and non-traditional students in Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. The university has since expanded into a residential college for traditional students with an emphasis on combining modern practice-based professional education with a comprehensive traditional liberal arts curriculum while maintaining its historic commuter student-inclusive environment at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels.[9][10] [11] Named after Founding Father of the United States George Mason in 1959, it became an independent university in 1972. The school has since grown into the largest public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[12][13][1]

The university operates four campuses in Virginia, which are located in Fairfax, Arlington, Front Royal, and Prince William Counties. It also operates a retreat and conference center in Lorton[14] and an international campus in Incheon, South Korea. The university's flagship campus is in Fairfax, Virginia.

The university is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity."[15] Two professors, James M. Buchanan in 1986 and Vernon L. Smith in 2002, were awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics during their time at George Mason University.[16]

EagleBank Arena, a 10,000-seat arena and concert venue operated by the university, is located on the Fairfax campus. The university recognizes 500 student groups and 41 fraternities and sororities.

History[edit]

20th century[edit]

George Mason in 1750 at age 25
Decal of George Mason College
Virginia governor A. Linwood Holton signs H‑210 separating George Mason College from the University of Virginia on April 7, 1972

In 1949, the University of Virginia created an extension center to serve mid-career working professionals and non-traditional students near urban centers in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.[17][1] The extension center offered both for credit and non-credit informal classes in the evenings at various pre-existing venues.[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 was 1,192 students.[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.[18][self-published source?] John Norville Gibson Finley served as director.[19] Seventeen freshmen students attended classes at University College in a small renovated elementary school building in Bailey's Crossroads starting in September 1957.[20] In 1958 University College became George Mason College.[18]

The City of Fairfax purchased and donated 150 acres (60 hectares) 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 (16 hectares) of Fairfax Campus began in 1962. In the Fall of 1964 the new campus welcomed 356 students.[21][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,[22] 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 (240-hectare) Fairfax Campus with the intention that the institution would expand into a regional university of major proportions, including the granting of graduate degrees.[citation needed]

In 1972, Virginia separated George Mason College from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and renamed it George Mason University.[23] In 1978, George W. Johnson was appointed to serve as the fourth president.[24] Under his eighteen-year tenure, the university expanded both its physical size and program offerings at a tremendous rate.[24][25] 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.[24] 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.[26]

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,[27] 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.[28]

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.

21st century[edit]

In a resolution on August 17, 2012, the board asked 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.[29]

On March 25, 2013, Cabrera held a press conference to 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 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.[30] The Chronicle of Higher Education listed Mason as one of the "Great Colleges to Work For" from 2010 to 2014.[31] The Washington Post listed Mason as one of the "Top Workplaces" in 2014.[32]

The WorldatWork Alliance for Work-Life Progress awarded Mason the Seal of Distinction in 2015.[33] The AARP listed Mason as one of the Best Employers for Workers Over 50 in 2013.[34] Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at the university in 2013.[35]

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.[36]

Cabrera resigned his position on July 31, 2019, to become president of Georgia Tech.[37][38] Following Cabrera's resignation, Anne B. Holton served as interim president until June 30, 2020.[38]

On February 24, 2020, the Board of Visitors appointed Gregory Washington as the university's eighth president, and he assumed that role on July 1, 2020. Washington is the university's first African-American president.[39]

On March 23, 2020, George Mason shifted to exclusively online instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hybrid instruction occurred during the Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021 semesters during which the university offered a combination of online and in-person instruction.[40]

Campuses[edit]

George Mason University is located in Northern Virginia
Fairfax
Fairfax
Arlington
Arlington
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.[41] Three are in the Northern Virginia suburbs of the Washington metropolitan area, and one is in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains.[41] The university also has one campus in South Korea, in the Songdo International Business District of Incheon.[42][41] Between 2005 and 2009 the university had a campus at Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.[43] The Blue Ridge campus, just outside Front Royal, is run in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution.[44]

Fairfax[edit]

The university's Fairfax Campus is situated on 677 acres (274 hectares) 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. The District of Columbia is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from campus.[a] 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,[47] the Krasnow Institute; and three fully appointed gyms and an aquatic center for student use.[48] The stadiums for indoor and outdoor track and field, baseball, softball, tennis, soccer and lacrosse are also on the Fairfax campus,[49] as is Masonvale, a housing community for faculty, staff and graduate students.[50]

Transportation[edit]

This campus is served by the Washington Metro Orange Line at the Vienna-GMU station and Metrobus routes.[51] 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).[52] This campus is served by the Virginia Railway Express Manassas Line at the Burke Center station.[53] Fairfax Connector Route 306: GMU–Pentagon provides service to this campus.[54] 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.[55]

George Mason statue and Enslaved People of George Mason Memorial[edit]

A statue of George Mason on the campus
Washington Metro's Virginia Square-GMU campus stop
The Johnson Center

The bronze statue of George Mason on campus[b] was created by Wendy M. Ross and dedicated on April 12, 1996.[56] 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.[57]

In 2021, an Enslaved People of George Mason Monument designed by Perkins & Will was installed near the George Mason Statue.[58] The memorial includes panels describing the lives of two of the enslaved at Gunston Hall: Penny, who was gifted by Mason to his daughter, and James, Mason’s personal attendant.[59]

Arlington[edit]

The Arlington Campus (renamed Mason Square in 2022[60]) is situated on 5.2 acres (2.1 hectares) in Virginia Square, a bustling urban environment on the edge of Arlington County, 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.[61] In 1998, Hazel Hall opened to house the George Mason University School of Law (now Antonin Scalia Law School); subsequent development created Van Metre Hall (formerly Founders Hall), home of the Schar School of Policy and Government,[62] the Center for Regional Analysis,[63] and the graduate-level administrative offices for the School of Business.[64] 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 Van Metre Hall Auditorium.[65] A new building, Fuse at Mason Square, is scheduled to be completed in 2025.[66]

Transportation[edit]

This campus is served by the Washington Metro Orange Line at the Virginia Square-GMU station, a campus shuttle service, and Metrobus route 38B.[c] The rail station is located one block west of the campus.[68] Arlington Rapid Transit or ART Bus routes 41, 42, and 75 also provide service at this location.[67] The campus offers one electric vehicle charging station, five disabled permit automotive parking locations, three bicycle parking locations, and one Capital Bikeshare location.[68]

Science and Technology campus[edit]

The Science and Technology campus opened on August 25, 1997, as the Prince William campus in Manassas, Virginia, on 134 acres (54 hectares) of land, some still currently undeveloped.[69] More than 4,000 students are enrolled in classes in bioinformatics, biotechnology, information technology, and forensic biosciences educational and research programs.[70] 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.[71] The 1,123-seat Merchant Hall and the 300-seat Verizon Auditorium in the Hylton Performing Arts Center opened in 2010.[72][73]

The 110,000-square-foot Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center is operated by the Mason Enterprise Center.[74] The Mason Center for Team and Organizational Learning stylized as EDGE is an experiential education facility open to the public.[75] 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.[76] On April 23, 2015, the campus was renamed to the Science and Technology Campus.[77]

In 2019, the university engaged in a feasibility study of creating a medical school at the Prince William Campus.[78][79]

Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation[edit]

Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation

The campus in Front Royal, Virginia, is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the university.[44] 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.[44] The Volgenau Academic Center includes three teaching laboratories, four classrooms, and 18 offices.[44] Shenandoah National Park is visible from the dining facility's indoor and outdoor seating.[44] Living quarters include 60 double occupancy rooms, an exercise facility, and study space.[44]

Mason Korea (Songdo, South Korea)[edit]

Mason Korea
Korea Campus
Songdo Campus
Korean송도 캠퍼스
Data Center, Library, Guest House, Student's Hall[d]
Data Center, Library, Guest House, Student's Hall[d]
Country South Korea
RegionSeoul Capital Area (Sudogwon)
Metropolitan City Incheon
DistrictYeonsu-gu
International Business DistrictSongdo
Postal Code
21985
WebsiteOfficial website

Opened in March 2014, the Songdo campus is in South Korea's Incheon Free Economic Zone, a 42,000-acre (17,000-hectare) site designed for 850,000 people. It is located 25 miles (40 km) from Seoul and a two-hour flight from China and Japan, and is connected to the Seoul Metropolitan Subway.[citation needed]

The Commonwealth of Virginia considers the Songdo campus legally no different from 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 ..."[80]

Mason Korea's first commencement class graduated in December 2017.[81]

Students from Mason Korea earn the same diploma as home campus students, with English as the language of instruction.[82]

Academics[edit]

Rankings[edit]

Academic rankings
National
ARWU[83]63-85
Forbes[84]91
THE / WSJ[85]178
U.S. News & World Report[86]105
Washington Monthly[87]61
Global
ARWU[88]201–300
QS[89]1001–1200
THE[90]251–300
U.S. News & World Report[91]453

Mason offers undergraduate, graduate master's, law, and doctoral degrees with an emphasis on combining modern practice-based professional education with a comprehensive traditional liberal arts curriculum.[92][93][94][95] 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.[96]

Colleges, schools, and accreditation[edit]

Colleges and Schools of George Mason University
Historical name Current name Accreditation and Academic-Professional Associations[97]
University-wide accreditations Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
College of Arts and Sciences 1957 College of Humanities and Social Sciences 2006[98]
College of Science 2006[99]
School of Business Administration 1977 School of Management 1981

School of Business 2014[64]

Donald G. Costello College of Business 2023[100]
School of Law 1979 Antonin Scalia Law School 2016[101]
School of Information Technology and Engineering 1985

Volgenau School of Engineering 2005[102]

College of Engineering and Computing 2021
School of Nursing 1985 College of Health and Human Services 1998[103] College of Public Health[104]
College of Visual and Performing Arts 1990[105]
School of Public Policy 1990 Schar School of Policy and Government 2016[106]
Department of Public and International Affairs 1990
Graduate School of Education 1991 College of Education and Human Development 1994[107]
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution 1991 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution 2020[108]
Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study 1993

George Mason University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.[109]

College of Public Health[edit]

The college is located in the Peterson Family Health Sciences Hall on the Fairfax campus.[110] Currently, the college is home to approximately 3,000 students.[111] 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). The College took the name College of Public Health in November 2022.[104]

Admissions[edit]

For 2023, George Mason had an undergraduate acceptance rate of 90%, did not consider high school class rank, and did not require standardized test scores, for admission. For those submitting scores the middle 50% had an SAT score between 1140 and 1350 or an ACT score between 25 and 31.[112]

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%.[95] 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.[95] 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.[95]

Enrollment[edit]

As of 2017, the university enrolled 34,904[113] students, making it the largest university by head count in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[114]

Academic affiliations[edit]

Research[edit]

George Mason University hosts $149 million in sponsored research projects annually, as of 2019.[115] In 2016, Mason was classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".[116] 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.[117]

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.[118]

Centers and institutes[edit]

The university is home to numerous research centers and institutes.[119]

  • Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine[120]
  • Center for Clean Water and Sustainable Technologies (CCWST)[120]
  • Center for Climate Change Communication (4C)[121]
  • Center for Collision Safety and Analysis[122]
  • Center for Excellence in Command, Control, Communications, Computing and Intelligence (C4I)[123]
  • Center for Humanities Research
  • Center for Location Science[124]
  • Center for Neural Informatics[125]
  • Center for Peacemaking Practice[126]
  • Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship[119]
  • Center for Regional Analysis[119]
  • 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[120]
  • Mercatus Center[132]
  • National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases[120]
  • Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media[133]
  • SMART Lab (Sports Medicine Assessment, Research & Testing)[134]
  • Stephen S. Fuller Institute [135]
  • Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security
  • Center for Security Policy Studies
  • Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy
  • Center on Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Social Enterprise
  • Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC)
  • Center for Energy Science and Policy
  • National Security Institute
  • Center for Government Contracting
  • Global Antitrust Institute
  • Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution
  • Center for the Study of Gender and Conflict Resolution
  • Peace and Conflict Studies Center Asia (PACSC Asia)
  • Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution
  • Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation

Student life and community relations[edit]

Traditions[edit]

Benches painted by students outside the Fenwick Library

Students have often decorated the George Mason statue on the Fairfax campus for events. Some have rubbed the statue toe to bring good luck. Many pose with the statue for graduation photographs.[136] Between 1988 and 1990 Anthony Maiello wrote the original George Mason Fight Song, which was edited by Michael Nickens in 2009.[137]

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.[138]

Housing[edit]

On the Fairfax campus, the northernmost housing is technically on campus, but about a mile (1600 m) from the center of campus, about a half mile (800 m) from the edge of the majority of the Fairfax campus in the housing area known as the Townhouses.[139] On the eastern edge of the Fairfax campus lies Masonvale, houses intended for graduate students and visiting faculty.[140] On the southern edge of the Fairfax campus are 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[141], Whitetop, and Rogers.[142] 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.[80][143]

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.[144] 25 autonomous robots were provided by the Estonian robotics company Starship Technologies to carry out meal deliveries.[145]

Student organizations[edit]

Student organizations can have an academic, social, athletic, religious/irreligious, career, or just about any other focus. The university recognizes 500 such groups.[146] One notable example is the nationally-ranked GMU debate team led by Dr. Jacquelyn Poapst.[147]

Student media[edit]

Mason sponsors several student-run media outlets through the Office of Student Media.[148]

  • Fourth Estate: Website and weekly student newspaper, available on Mondays[149]
  • The George Mason Review:A cross-disciplinary, undergraduate journal.[150]
  • Hispanic Culture Review: Publishes creative writing, book reviews, narratives, and essays in both Spanish and English. Published annually.[151]
  • Mason Cable Network: A television outlet run by the students, for the students, that provides analytical, and entertaining programming.[152]
  • Phoebe: A journal that annually publishes original works of literature and art.[153]
  • So to Speak: A feminist journal that publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art each semester.[154]
  • Volition: Formerly known as Apathy, is George Mason University's undergraduate creative literature and art magazine.[155]
  • 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.[156]

Greek life[edit]

Mason has 42 fraternities and sororities recognized by the university,[157] 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.[158]

Athletics[edit]

Division I teams[edit]

Hofstra visits the Patriot Center, now known as EagleBank Arena, in January 2005

The George Mason Patriots are the athletic teams of George Mason University located in Fairfax, Virginia.[159] 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).[160]

Intramural club sports[edit]

In addition to its NCAA Division I teams, George Mason University has several club sports.[161][162]

Performing arts[edit]

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. [163]

Cultural capital, political influence, and controversy[edit]

According to U.S. News and World Report University Rankings, George Mason University is ranked #1 in Social Mobility among universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia and nationally ranked #72 in Top Performers on Social Mobility. The New York Times Top U.S. Colleges with the Greatest Economic Diversity ranking ranks the university at #19 for advancing social mobility for its students and alumni and having socioeconomic status diversity through cultural capital.[164] The university is also ranked No. 8 in the nation for Freedom of Speech and protecting rights enshrined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution according to the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), FIRE also posits that the majority viewpoint of the student body leans politically liberal in the sense of modern liberalism in the United States,[165][166] although the political ideologies of libertarianism in the United States[167][168][169] and conservatism in the United States[170][171] are also visible on campus with the university stating that it strives for "comprehensive ideological balance," evidence including but not limited to the university being "home to both the Antonin Scalia Law School and the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution," named after a conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice (Antonin Scalia) politically appointed by Republican Party U.S. President and a liberal U.S. President (Jimmy Carter) and First Lady (Rosalynn Carter) who are members of the Democratic Party, respectively.[172]

Demographics[edit]

According to the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard, 44% of students have taken on Federal Student Loans, and in terms of socioeconomic diversity, 28% of students have received Pell grants reserved for low-income students. Among undergraduate students, 80% of students are enrolled full-time while 20% are enrolled part-time[173]

In terms of ethnic and racial demographics: American Indian/Alaska Native people make up 0% of the student body and 0% of the full-time staff; Asian people make up 22% of the student body and 14% of the full-time staff; Black people make up 11% of the student body and 5% of the full-time staff; Hispanic and Latino people make up 17% of the student population and 3% of the full-time staff; Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander people make up 0% of the student body and 0% of the full-time staff; Non-resident alien people make up 5% of the student body and 8% of the full-time staff; people of Two or more races/multiracial people make up 5% of the student body and 2% of the full-time staff; people of an Unknown ethno-racial demographic make up 3% of the student body and 3% of the full-time staff; and White people make up 36% of the student body and 65% of the full-time staff.[173]

Koch Foundation funding and Economics department[edit]

George Mason University has been subject to controversy surrounding donations from the Charles Koch Foundation, in particular to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences' Department of Economics,[167][168][169] which was seen as being allegedly influenced by libertarian political thought, evidenced by the political activities of the Koch brothers. University documents revealed that the Koch brothers were given the ability to pick candidates as a condition of monetary donations.[168] George Mason University altered its donor rules following the controversy.[174]

Law school[edit]

Antonin Scalia Law School

The naming of the Antonin Scalia Law School after the late conservative United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the hiring of conservative United States Supreme Court Justices Bret Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas as professors, the allegedly “lavish treatments,” speaking gigs, and "all-experiences-paid" travel arrangements they received, its close ties with the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, and the extensive provision of professional development and continuing education programs, as well as speaking engagements for sitting judges of lower and appellate divisions - in particular dealing with the topic of law and economics - has brought on controversy on the university itself, the Supreme Court of the United States, and the Federal Judiciary of the United States as a whole over the overt conservative political influence taking place at the law school and the university’s growing influence over the U.S. judicial system. The law school had also received some controversy due to its relationship with the overtly libertarian university-affiliated Mercatus Center[175][170] think tank which is known to have received donations from a conservative political donor group known as The 85 Fund-Judicial Education Project headed by conservative legal activist Leonard Leo.[170]

Public policy school[edit]

Headquarters of the Schar School of Policy and Government and the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security

George Mason University's public policy school and political science department, the Schar School of Policy and Government, was the subject of some controversy over its relationship with former intelligence agency personnel of the United States Intelligence Community. In particular, the 2009 hiring of General Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), and principal deputy director of national intelligence—Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the hiring of Robert Deitz, former general counsel of the NSA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), senior counsel to the director of the CIA, and the deputy general counsel for intelligence at the U.S. Department of Defense were controversial due to Hayden's and Deitz's alleged roles in mass surveillance including the NSA warrantless surveillance programs of 2001–2007 and other similar ethical criticisms.[176][177]

Former intelligence officers Michael Haden, Robert Deitz, and Larry Pfeiffer (who was chief of staff of the CIA), founded the university-affiliated Michael V. Hayden Center while working at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government. The center has a secretive, undisclosed board of advisors composed of non-academic "intelligence, national security, legal, corporate, and international security" communities who guide strategy.[178]

Historical hoaxes[edit]

The George Mason University's historical hoaxes were a group of internet hoaxes and a disinformation campaigns created by students as part of a class project for a course on "Lying about the Past" taught by history professor T. Mills Kelly, with the goal of creating an Internet deception that affected news media platforms.[179][180][181][182][183][184][185][186]

Sexual misconduct[edit]

In 2016 a male student won an appeal overturning his suspension for sexual assault.[187]

The Title IX process (which investigates sex discrimination) at George Mason University has continued to be subject to controversy. Following the hiring of Brett Kavanaugh as a visiting professor in the law school in 2019, 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.[188]

In 2018, Peter Pober was alleged to have committed sexual misconduct during his tenure as a Competitive Speech Coach.[189] He retired while being investigated for misconduct.[190]

Notable faculty and alumni[edit]

Faculty[edit]

Alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ [45][46]
  2. ^ another bronze statue of George Mason can be found at the George Mason Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  3. ^ [67][68]
  4. ^ from left to right

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