The Mason Spirit

Students dine in the Ordinary, which was located in the basement of Krug Hall.

Mason Celebrates Three Decades as an Independent Institution

  • From 4,166 students to 24,900
  • From 14 buildings to 67 on three separate campuses
  • From fewer than 3,000 graduates to more than 85,000
  • From an "up and coming" to an innovative leader

These hallmarks are among those experienced by George Mason University since 1972, the year when the institution was officially designated an independent member of the commonwealth's system of colleges and universities.

This year represents a milestone in the university's evolution; a celebration of its past achievements as well as a recognition of the challenges that lie ahead in what President Alan G. Merten calls "our second chapter." No longer, he notes, is the university "beginning."

The university's beginning occurred on April 7, 1972, when Governor Linwood Holton signed legislation that formally completed George Mason's separation from the University of Virginia. This independence followed 15 years of serving as a two-year branch campus of the University of Virginia. It was during those years that George Mason opened its campus in Fairfax, was given the name George Mason College, and began conferring undergraduate and graduate degrees.

- Daniel Walsch