Celebrating 34 Years of History at the Arlington Campus

By Lauren Clark
September 11, 2013

It began as the home of a popular department store—with one of the region’s first escalators—but 34 years later the buildings of Virginia Square are home to George Mason University’s Arlington Campus. Earlier this summer, the students, faculty, and staff of the campus celebrated its history with a social and the unveiling of an exhibit of photos of the area through the years. The gallery is at Founders Hall.

The celebration’s historical program featured remarks from Bob Vay, digital collections archivist  in University Libraries Special Collections and Archives, who shared stories about the creation of the campus and its growth.

“I think it is important for students and all members of the community to understand their organization’s history and how it evolved over time,” Vay said. “It gives people an appreciation for what a lot of hard-working people had to do to make this happen—to achieve having a campus in Arlington.”

The Arlington Campus was created in 1979 when the university purchased the already-existing International School of Law (ISL). The purchase was of mutual interest to Mason, which had been trying to establish a law school, and the ISL, which wanted to be absorbed into a larger institution. Through this transaction, all the buildings, land, and programs belonging to the ISL transferred to Mason.

From that point forward, the Arlington Campus—once known as the “Metro Campus”—continued to expand over the years, becoming the modern and vibrant campus community that serves 2,700 students today.

The photography exhibit in Founders Hall is the result of a collaborative effort among faculty and staff at the Arlington Campus, University Libraries, and Creative Services. Arlington Campus Library’s Beth Roszkowski worked with a committee of faculty and staff to create the exhibit.

“We wanted to be sure we had representation of different programs and buildings across the Arlington Campus,” Roszkowski says, “so that viewers could get a sense of how the campus has evolved over time.”

The photography exhibit is open to the public and located on the first floor of Founders Hall.

(This story was reprinted from Mason News)