2005: A Year to Remember

Posted: December 13, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The year 2005 was a landmark one for George Mason University, as the institution continued to grow in enrollment, programs, personnel and budget. In this two-part series, we’ll take a look back at some of the high points of the year.


George Mason maintained its status as the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with a fall 2005 enrollment of 29,728 on its three campuses. Named the most diverse university in the nation by the Princeton Review, Mason boasted 1,710 international students from 127 different countries.

Milestones in Giving

The past year saw the conclusion of The Campaign for George Mason University, the university’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign, which generated $142 million.

Ernst and Sara Volgenau donated $10 million to the newly named Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering.

New Campuses

In February, Mason announced plans to open a new campus in the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) in the United Arab Emirates. In September, Mason began its first semester of classes in RAK teaching students how to communicate successfully and comfortably in English in an academic setting.

Mason began offering classes at a site in Loudoun County, Va., and shortly thereafter, Greenvest LLC, a Virginia developer, donated land for the development of a new campus on 123 acres of property located near the intersection of Routes 50 and 659.

New Facilities

George Mason was awarded $25 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, for construction of a Regional Biocontainment Laboratory at the Prince William Campus in Manassas.

The year saw groundbreaking for the largest construction project ever undertaken on the Fairfax Campus, the Northeast Sector Project, which will mix housing for more than 1,000 students with retail shops, restaurants, a new dining hall and a fitness center.

The Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering launched a fund-raising campaign and announced plans for a new building for its growing school.

The Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study announced its purchase of a state-of-the-art brain scanning machine, significantly upgrading the university’s research capabilities by providing high-quality imaging. With this purchase, George Mason becomes one of two, alongside Princeton University, nonmedical schools with a cognitive neuroscience research institute to own functional imaging technology.

To run highly complex calculations in areas as diverse as bioagent dispersion, climate modeling and prediction and hemodynamics (a branch of physiology that deals with circulation of the blood), the School of Computational Sciences purchased an SGI Altix computer system as the foundation of a three-year initiative to build a high-performance computing center.

The Music Department finished construction on 15 new practice rooms in the courtyard of the Performing Arts Building, made possible through donations from Donald and Nancy de Laski.

Artificial turf and lighting was installed on Robinson Field on the Fairfax Campus for club and intramural sports. On the west campus, six new tennis courts were installed.

A full-service Damon’s Grill restaurant was opened on the Fairfax Campus by Sodexho, the university’s campus dining partner.

A second Jazzman’s Café opened on the Fairfax Campus.

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