All In The Family
Both my husband and I graduated from Mason, then called GMU, in 1980. My husband also got his MBA there in 1987. We have four children, three of whom chose Mason as their first college choice. We do have one renegade son, who graduated from James Madison University, but what can you do?
Our oldest daughter, Alexandra, a student-athlete on the women’s lacrosse team, graduated last May and is now there getting her master’s in education. Our second son, Nicholas, is a junior in the ROTC program, and our youngest, Victoria, is a freshman, who is also on the women’s lacrosse team.
So Mason is definitely in our family’s blood. It was a great school when we were there, and we can’t believe how it’s grown and how its reputation has blossomed. As my husband always says to our children, “This is not your parents’ George Mason.”
We are all proud to say that we are a Mason family.
Jennifer (Stone) Velesz, BA Government and Politics ’80
The other day, I went shopping with my cousin who’s preparing for his freshman year at Virginia Tech. The mall was filled with back-to-school sales. Besides dorm necessities, Seth purchased two VT items—he was excited about college and was already feeling the school spirit. But when I searched for gear from my alma mater, I came up empty.
We visited more sporting goods stores, and nobody had anything GMU-related. I have Mason spirit (Yes, I do!), and I’m one of many alumni in the D.C.-area who bleed green and gold. As [one of ] the largest public school[s] in the commonwealth and the only public school in the D.C. metro area, it’s disappointing to find nothing Mason-related whenever I visit a local retailer. Instead, I see VT, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Georgetown, and Maryland gear vying for fan dollars.
In 2006, when everyone enjoyed Mason’s run to the Final Four, the entire nation witnessed and felt the strength of Mason’s spirit. Mason fans were everywhere, and all of the sporting goods stores stocked up on Mason paraphernalia to meet the needs of buyers. Two years later, Mason fans are still around and are still proud of our school, but nobody sells Mason gear anymore. There are thousands of potential buyers who live in the D.C. area. What do you think caused this dwindling interest or apathy between Mason and retailers? If nothing’s occurring on the university level to educate or cultivate partnerships with retailers, then we’re missing out on an opportunity that would definitely unify our community and help us become more of a Mason Nation.
Grace Cular Yee, BA Psychology
Editor’s Response: Ms. Yee raises a great question and an ongoing point of frustration for the university and its fans and alumni. Christine Clark-Talley, associate vice president for alumni affairs, is one of the many at Mason who have lobbied local retailers to consistently carry university apparel. She notes that while Mason representatives continue to make the case to local stores, consumers still have the strongest say in what ends up on shelves.
“The two things people can do are to ask managers to stock Mason gear and then to buy it when they see it in stores,” Clark-Talley says. So keep showing your spirit, Mason Nation, and demand your green and gold.