Feb 28, 2012

GMU turns 40

With a number of events in planning stages, George Mason University is getting ready to celebrate its 40th anniversary this year.

Although GMU originally opened in the early 1960’s as a northern Virginia affiliate of the University of Virginia, the anniversary marks action by the General Assembly in 1972 resulting in the creation of a stand-alone institution.

In August 1964, George Mason College moved to its current location in Fairfax. From an original graduating class of 52 students located on a 150-acre campus donated by the City of Fairfax, Mason has expanded the main campus to 677 acres and opened additional locations in Arlington as well as Prince William and Loudon Counties. GMU currently enrolls over 32,500 students, making it the largest university by “head count” in the Commonwealth.

To kick off the celebration, GMU has produced an “animated scrapbook” looking back at the university’s history. It can be found at www.vimeo.com/34041573.

Highlights of the video include the establishment of the GMU School of Law (1979), the opening of the Patriot Center (1985), university professors winning the Nobel Prize in Economics (1986 and 2002), the opening of the Center for the Arts (1990, and the amazing success of the men’s basketball team in 2006.

GMU’s reclassification as a residential campus last year also marked a turning point in the school’s history. For those who haven’t visited lately, the stunning new construction and campus reconfiguration are nothing short of spectacular.

In fact, close to one-third of Mason’s undergrads now live on campus reinforcing the development of a “neighborhood” atmosphere within the GMU community.

“We have the benefit of having a relatively young campus that has made a conscious decision to go in the direction of expanding our residential offerings,” said Jana Hurley, executive director of housing and residence life. “We’ve designed facilities and created an overall program that addresses the needs of today’s students, as well as anticipates the needs of future students 10 and 20 years from now.”

Happy Birthday GMU!

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