Mason Moments

A lot happens in 50 years. When compiling this list, we tried to focus on events and discoveries that helped put George Mason University in a national spotlight. Enjoy a look back at some of our most memorable moments.

1972-04-07 00:00:00

A University is Born

On Friday, April 7, 1972, a group from George Mason College met with Virginia Governor A. Linwood Holton Jr. in Richmond. They were there to witness the governor sign into law Virginia General Assembly Bill H 210, which separated the college from the University of Virginia. With the stroke of a pen, George Mason University, as we know it today, was born.

1975-11-01 00:00:00

The Rat

The Rathskellar in Student Union Building I was the place to hang out when not in class.

1977-10-01 00:00:00

Student Apartments

The Student Apartments opened in October 1977 and was the university's first on-campus housing. It accommodated 496 students.

1978-01-01 00:00:00

George Johnson becomes president

George Johnson became president in 1978.

1979-01-01 00:00:00

School of Law

In 1979, Mason acquired the International School of Law and moved it to Arlington. A year later the school received accreditation from the American Bar Association. In 2008, the law school made the top of the U.S. News & World Report list of up-and-coming law schools.

1984-01-01 00:00:00

Clarence J. Robinson Professors Program

Created in 1984, the Clarence J. Robinson Professors Program embodies Mason's commitment to making high-quality education accessible to undergraduate students. Established through a bequest from the late Clarence J. Robinson, the program attracts preeminent academics and award-winning scholars dedicated to teaching undergraduates.

1985-01-01 00:00:00

Patriot Center

President George Johnson promised that the 1985 Commencement would take place in the Patriot Center “even if we all have to wear hard hats.” Since that time, the 10,000-seat arena, which was renamed EagleBank Arena in 2015, has been home to many Mason Commencements, as well as local high school graduations, concerts, and other events. Since 1985, more than 12 million patrons have visited the Fairfax Campus for more than 3,000 events that have ranged from ultimate fighting to the Harlem Globetrotters.

1985-11-24 00:00:00

Women's Soccer Championship 1985

On November 24, 1985, George Mason University women's soccer defeated North Carolina 2-0 to claim the first-ever NCAA National Championship at Mason. Mason was the host for the Final Four championship games, and the team played in front of a record crowd of 4,500.

1986-10-01 00:00:00

James Buchanan won the Nobel Prize

In October 1986, the media descended upon Mason when economist James Buchanan won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on public choice theory. Buchanan led the Center for Public Choice at Mason until his retirement in 2007. He died in 2013.

1987-01-01 00:00:00

The George Mason Medal

The George Mason Medal, the university’s highest honorary award, was established. Those who receive the award are characterized by a record of service to their community, state, or nation consistent with the level and quality of George Mason’s public service in his own time. Mason benefactor John "Til" Hazel was the first person to receive the medal in 1987. Since then, 39 people have received the recognition.

Mason Moments

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