[Congressional Record Volume 168, Number 93 (Friday, May 27, 2022)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E558]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                        HON. GERALD E. CONNOLLY

                              of virginia

                    in the house of representatives

                          Friday, May 27, 2022

  Mr. CONNOLLY. Madam Speaker, I rise today to commend George Mason 
University's 50th Anniversary.
  In 1957, George Mason College was established as the Northern 
Virginia branch of the University of Virginia. Mayor John ``Jack'' Wood 
and the then-Town of Fairfax were instrumental in acquiring the 
original 150 acres of land for the Fairfax Campus in 1958. Shortly 
after, Rector John ``Til'' Hazel, Jr., helped acquire an additional 421 
acres of land to expand the Fairfax Campus in 1969.
  Fifteen years after its inception, on April 7, 1972, a contingent 
from George Mason College met with Governor A. Linwood Holton in 
Richmond to sign House Bill 210, establishing George Mason University 
as a free-standing four-year public institution of higher education. 
George Mason University now operates three campuses in the 
Commonwealth--including the Fairfax campus that is located in 
Virginia's 11th District.
  George Mason University is home to academically driven students and 
professors, as well as state-of-the-art facilities and programs. GMU 
Professor James Buchanan won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic 
Sciences in 1986 and Professor Vernon Smith won the prize in 2002, 
making them the Commonwealth of Virginia's first two Nobel Memorial 
Prize recipients. The university achieved R1 ``Highest Research 
Activity'' status in 2016, and 2018, from the Carnegie Classification 
of Institutions of Higher Education.
  GMU has worked to provide opportunities for all and break down the 
barriers that often keep people from achieving academic success. In 
2018, GMU and Northern Virginia Community College created the ADVANCE 
program, a partnership that assisted students as they transfer from a 
two-year program to earn a bachelor's degree, helping more than 2,020 
students through the pathway program. During the pandemic, 61 percent 
of GMU students received some form of financial aid, including almost a 
third of Undergraduates who received Pell Grants. A quarter of GMU's 
undergraduate students are first-generation college students, and 
approximately 1 in 12 GMU students are affiliated with the military, 
including veterans, active-duty personnel, military dependents, 
reservists, and guardsmen.
  George Mason University is the most diverse, fastest growing, and 
largest public four-year institution in the Commonwealth, serving 
39,134 students with close to 11,000 staff and faculty. There are more 
than 215,900 GMU alumni, including 135,300 currently in Virginia. The 
hundreds of thousands of alumni are reflective of the 70 percent six-
year graduation rate that has little to no disparity on ethnicity or 
economic status.
  Madam Speaker, I ask that my colleagues join me in commending George 
Mason University on its 50th Anniversary. GMU exemplifies the 
tremendous success that institutions of higher education can achieve 
when equity, diversity, and accessibility are of paramount importance.