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Founder's Day Marks Law School's 20th Anniversary

By Daniel Walsch
On March 24, 1999, the spotlight will shine on George Mason University's School of Law when this nationally acclaimed arm of the institution celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The formal dedication of a new 140,000-square-foot academic building in Arlington will be included in the celebration of the law school's founding. The new $18-million facility will house the law school and a number of other academic units at George Mason, including The Institute of Public Policy's International Commerce and Policy Program, a portion of the James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy, the Institute for Humane Studies, and, eventually, offerings by the School of Management.

"This will be a special and exciting day for the entire George Mason University community," says President Alan G. Merten. "It gives us the opportunity to salute the School of Law, which has brought national attention through its tremendous growth in stature and size. We will also celebrate the completion of the first phase of George Mason's expansion in Arlington and our partnership with the community leaders that helped make this expansion possible."

George Mason's School of Law was established by an act of the General Assembly of Virginia in July 1979. In the past 20 years, it has gained accreditation by the American Bar Association and become a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Other distinctions include being named by U.S. News -- World Report as the top "up and coming" law school in the nation and, most recently, being honored in 1997 by the prestigious John Templeton Foundation for "its academic achievements and outstanding contributions to legal education."

A two-level parking garage complements the four-story building. The dedication of these facilities formally marks completion of the first phase of George Mason's comprehensive expansion plans in Arlington. The second phase will include an open plaza, additional parking decks, and a new classroom building.

The new academic building will be dedicated on March 24 at 4 p.m. Joining President Merten will be Mark Grady, law school dean, and an array of local and state officials. Also scheduled to speak at the dedication ceremony is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthonin Scalia.

Additionally, the law school will pay tribute to its first dean, Ralph Norvell; publisher and financier Joe Allbritton; long-time George Mason supporter and Virginia state senator Omer Hirst; and John "Til" Hazel, the primary advocate for the creation of the law school in the 1970s, when he served as rector of George Mason's Board of Visitors.

Lectures on a range of legal topics by George Mason law professors William Kovacic, Roger McClure, Robert Anthony, and Jack Costello, as well as Deborah Keene, assistant law school dean, will help round out the day's activities along with a Founder's Day dinner at 7 p.m.

For specific details on the 1999 Founder's Day Celebration, alumni should contact the School of Law at (703) 993-8000.

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