Mason’s Fairfax Campus turns 50!

George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus turns fifty years old this Sunday.  On September 14, 1964 George Mason College of the University of Virginia opened its doors to 356 freshman and sophomores.  The faculty, which numbered fifteen, comprised seven full-time and eight part-time professors.

George Mason College director, Robert H. Reid (center) confers with state Senator, Charles R. Fenwick (left foreground) and Buildings Superintendent, Richard Best (right) in late August 1964. Temporary sign (removed from the Bailey’s Crossroads Campus) stands behind Reid. George Mason University photograph collection #R0120 Box 1, Folder 16. Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

The four original buildings were named North (now known as Finley), South (now known as Krug), East, and West.  A fifth building, the Lecture Hall, was scratched from the original build-out because of budget issues and later added in 1968.  The weather on opening day was sunny and seventy-five degrees. The students and faculty were treated to air conditioning, a luxury they did not have at the Bailey’s Crossroads campus. Actually, George Mason College at Fairfax was the first educational institution in the Commonwealth to be built with central air conditioning.

Fairfax Campus, Spring 1965. George Mason University Photograph Collection # R0120 Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

Fairfax Campus, Spring 1965. George Mason University photograph collection # R0120
Box 1, Folder 11.  Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

 The Quadrangle, Fairfax Campus, ca. September 1964. George Mason University photograph collection # R0120 Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

The Quadrangle, George Mason College Fairfax Campus, ca. September 1964. George Mason University photograph collection #   R0120Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

During the early to mid-1960s students at George Mason College, following a University of Virginia tradition,  dressed up for classes to show respect for their professors. Men were expected to wear jacket and tie, while the women wore dresses or blouses (often with sweaters), skirts, and hose. The still image below, taken from a 1964 film of the Fairfax Campus, shows how the typical student dressed for attending Mason in 1964.

Student members of a tour group in the lobby of the North Building (now known as Finley), 1964.
Student members of a tour group in the lobby of the North Building (now known as Finley), 1964.