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.
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.
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.