George Mason University is innovative and entrepreneurial in spirit and utilizes its multi-campus organization and location near our nationï¿½s capital to attract outstanding faculty, staff and students. George Mason will: Educate the new generation of leaders for the 21st centuryï¿½men and women capable of shaping a global community with vision, justice, and clarity. Encourage freedom of thought, speech, and inquiry in a tolerant, respectful academic setting that values diversity. Provide innovative and interdisciplinary undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses of study that enable students to exercise analytical and imaginative thinking and make well-founded ethical decisions. Nurture and support a highly qualified and entrepreneurial faculty that is excellent at teaching, active in pure and applied research, capable of providing a broad range of intellectual and cultural insights, and is responsive to the needs of students and their communities. Maintain an international reputation for superior education and public service that affirms its role as the intellectual and cultural nexus among Northern Virginia, the nation, and the world.
The Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution in January 1956, establishing a branch college of the University of Virginia in Northern Virginia. In September 1957 the new college opened its doors to seventeen students, all of whom enrolled as freshmen in a small renovated elementary school building at Bailey's Crossroads. John Norville Gibson Finley served as Director of the new branch, which was known as University College. George Mason, (1725ï¿½1792) after whom the University is named. The city of Fairfax purchased and donated 150 acres (0.61 km2) of land to the University of Virginia for the college's new site, which was referred to as the Fairfax Campus. In 1959, the Board of Visitors of UVA selected a permanent name for the college: George Mason College of the University of Virginia. The Fairfax campus construction planning that began in early 1960 showed visible results when the development of the first 40 acres (160,000 m2) of Fairfax Campus began in 1962. In the Fall of 1964 the new campus welcomed 356 students. Local jurisdictions of Fairfax County, Arlington County, and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church agreed to appropriate $3 million to purchase land adjacent to Mason to provide for a 600-acre (2.4 km2) Fairfax Campus in 1966 with the intention that the institution would expand into a regional university of major proportions, including the granting of graduate degrees. On April 7, 1972 the Virginia General Assembly enacted legislation which separated George Mason College from its parent institution, the University of Virginia. Renamed that day by the legislation, George Mason College became George Mason University. In 1978, the George Mason University Foundation purchased the former Kann's department store in Arlington. In March 1979 the Virginia General Assembly authorized the establishment of the George Mason University School of Law (GMUSL) ï¿½ contingent on the transfer of the Kann's building to George Mason University. GMUSL began operations in that building on July 1, 1979 and received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association in 1980. The ABA granted full approval to GMUSL in 1986. Also, in 1979, the university moved all of its athletic programs to NCAA Division I. Enrollment that year passed 11,000. The university opened its Arlington campus in 1982, two blocks from the Virginia Square-GMU station in Arlington. In 1986 the university's governing body, the Board of Visitors, approved a new master plan for the year based on an enrollment of 20,000 full-time students with housing for 5,000 students by 1995. That same year university housing opened to bring the total number of residential students to 700. Through a bequest of Russian immigrant Shelley Krasnow the University established the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study in 1991. The Institute was created to further the understanding of the mind and intelligence by combining the fields of cognitive psychology, neurobiology, and artificial intelligence. In 1992, Mason's new Prince William Institute began classes in a temporary site in Manassas, Virginia. The Institute moved to a permanent 124-acre (0.50 km2) site located on the Rt. 234 bypass, ten miles (16 km) south of Manassas, by the year 1997, and is now known as the Prince William Campus. The university graduated more than 5,000 students that following spring. While George Mason University is young compared to established research universities in Virginia, it has grown rapidly, reaching an enrollment of 30,714 students in 2008. According to a 2005 report issued by the university, enrollment is expected to reach 35,000 students by 2011 with more than 7,000 resident students. In 2002, Mason celebrated its 30th anniversary as a university by launching its first capital campaign, trying to raise $110 million. The school raised $142 million, $32 million more than its goal. The George Mason University logo, originally designed in 1982, was updated in 2004. The new logo did not depart entirely from the old, but included the name "Mason," per the informal nickname students gave the university. According to designers, the new logo "embodies the speed, strength excitement and energy of Mason athletics." In 2008, the School of Management celebrated its 30th anniversary. Also, in 2008 Mason changed its mascot from the "Gunston" animal to the "Patriot".
Muna Abu-Sulayman, Secretary General and Executive Director, Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation Yusuf Azizullah, consultant Erden Eruï¿½, president and CEO of the non-profit Around-n-Over and the first solo human-powered circumnavigator of the globe Zainab Salbi, President, Women for Women International Will Seippel, business executive Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association Martin Andrew Taylor, senior executive Corporate VP of Windows Live and MSN, Chief of Staff to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer