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From Our Readers

Academic Adventure

After reading the fall issue of Mason Spirit, I wanted to share my experience at George Mason. In fall 1966, I transferred to George Mason College: no dorms, no library, just four buildings around a small quad. Well, those four buildings were still there in spring 2008 when I returned after a 42-year hiatus to complete my senior year. It was as if I had been dropped onto a different planet—definitely a real learning experience! I am beyond even a nontraditional student, but I have found this to be a fascinating adventure, with a wonderfully diverse student body and some absolutely excellent professors.

I expect that the quality of the Mason experience will only continue to grow, and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of it.

Bette Peery Ries,
Class of 2009


I read Grace Cular Yee’s letter “Geared Up” in the fall 2008 Mason Spirit with interest.

Sorry, but I really don’t think Mason cares much about promoting Mason through such commercial endeavors.

I have academic shields displayed in my house from the other universities where I studied (MIT and UConn), as well as shields from organizations with which I have worked and places where I have lived.

However, when I tried to obtain one from the university bookstore they told me

They didn’t have any.

There weren’t any.

They weren’t interested in ordering any.

Apart from Mason Spirit, all I ever get from Mason are periodic begging letters for donations. So much for school spirit and organizational pride!

Ken Smith, DPA ’88

Homecoming Happy

What exciting news in today’s Metro section of the Washington Post! The new homecoming queen is a drag queen!  I love it that our solid, substantial, academically sound university has a wonderful sense of possibilities for all!

I graduated from Mason with an undergraduate degree in sociology in 1978, the same year I turned 40. One of my sons has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Mason, and I would be proud for any of my nine grandchildren to be Mason alumni. For the first time I am ready to make a donation to “my school”!

Mary Helms, BA
Sociology ’78

Join the Club

I am writing to tell you about an event that was held on December 16 at the Old Dominion Boat Club in Old Town Alexandria. The venerable Alexandria Sportsman’s Club hosted a George Mason Night. The guest speakers were Mason club football head coach Matt Dyson and his staff. It was my idea to have this event. I wanted to give the Mason Football Program some badly needed publicity. As former head coach Joe Pascale said in a local newspaper article, “We’re the best kept secret in Northern Virginia.”

In my introductory remarks I showed some newspaper clippings from the Washington Post and Washington Times in June 1992 about the establishment of the Mason Club Football Program. Coach Dyson and his staff then made their presentation. Everyone was impressed by Coach Dyson’s background (he played for the University of Michigan and the Oakland Raiders).

These are the types of events that Mason alumni need to organize to spread the word about their alma mater. I served as president of the Alexandria Sportsman’s Club in 2002. At that time, I arranged for basketball coach Jim Larranaga to be the guest speaker at our annual awards banquet. I am a loyal George Mason University alumnus. I am active in my community, and whenever I am interviewed by the local media, I always mention that I was a liberal arts major at George Mason University.

I enjoy the Mason Spirit magazine, especially the historical retrospectives. Keep up the good work.

Gregory G. Paspatis, BA History ’83