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George Mason University is a college that we feel very “close”. It is the university where our Jesica Umansky, founder of Sportlinx360, made her student-athlete career, from 2001 to 2006, collecting many successes on and off the field. It was the moment in which he became aware firsthand of how much this experience can affect sporting, human and professional growth. From that moment on, our project took shape, the desire to create a great opportunity for those who dream of flying to the States, to study and follow their passion (and ambition) in the field, grew in Jesica and in all the staff. Laura De Marzi, Alessia Del Romano, Hermann De Gennaro are other Sportlinx360 student-athletes who have proudly worn the Patriots jersey.

In recent days, Jesica has flown to the United States with a stop at George Mason University – to attend the NCAA men’s volleyball finals – which is now the largest public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Headquartered in Fairfax County, in the greater Washington area, it now has four different campuses plus one in South Korea, in the city of Incheon.

Originally founded in 1949 as a regional branch of the University of Virginia, it became an independent institution in 1972. It is named after the founding father of the United States, George Mason, an important figure in the American Revolution and the Philadelphia Convention, referred to – along with James Madison – as the Father of the Bill of Rights.

THE FAIRFAX CAMPUS AND THE MASON STATUE – The Fairfax campus is the main campus, the largest one that covers over 274 hectares. There are many buildings that characterize it such as the Johnson Center, the Center for the Arts which can accommodate up to 2,000 people in the concert hall, the Long and Kimmy Nguyen Engineering Building and the recently renovated Exploratory Hall for Science. The main library on campus, Fenwick Library, another reference point for students, has also undergone a makeover. Of course, there are sports facilities such as three gyms, a swimming stadium, an outdoor and indoor athletics stadium and fields for soccer, baseball, lacrosse and tennis.

Absolutely worth mentioning is the EagleBank Arena, the 10,000-seat sports hall. The bronze statue of George Mason on the Fairfax campus created by Wendy M. Ross in April 1996 is certainly another element to note in our notes. The statue shows the founding father of the United States presenting his first draft of Virginia’s Bill of Rights, which later formed the basis for the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.

INVESTMENTS IN RESEARCH – Speaking of campuses, it is certainly curious to know more about the headquarters created in South Korea, inaugurated in 2014 within the economic district of Incheon, which covers over 17,000 hectares and currently hosts over 850,000 students. A huge structure, an extraordinary potential that projects the GMU into an international dimension.

In terms of enrollment numbers, George Mason University is the largest in the Commonwealth of Virginia with over 30,000 students. There are 23 research institutes, from molecular medicine to the so-called SMART Lab specialized in medicine applied to sports: it is estimated that every year over 140 million dollars are invested in research and in particular on health, safety and environmental sustainability issues. On an educational-educational level, according to the website, George Mason University is ranked number 65 out of 270 as the Best Colleges for Information Technology and number 57 out of 695 as the Best Colleges for Criminal Justice in America, but the level paths offered are numerous.

The first ones we have to mention are certainly the two Nobel Prize winners in economics who taught at George Mason University: James M. Buchanan (Nobel Prize winner in 1986 who taught at GMU for a long time) and Vernon L. Smith (winner in 2002 together with Daniel Kahneman). Scrolling through and browsing through the yearbooks, then, you meet many other personalities who have completed their studies at GMU. We were also impressed by the many athletes who have passed through GM: many NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB stars graduated here. Other “characters”? Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Pulitzer Prize winners Pearlestein, Sherwin, Wilkins; Anousheh Ansari, engineer and the first Muslim woman in space; Anna E. Cabral, Treasurer of the United States under President George W. Bush; Denise Turner Roth, Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration. Just to name a few, the list is very long.

SPORTS AT GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY – George Mason’s athletes and teams are nicknamed the Patriots. In most sports, they compete in NCAA Division I as members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Basketball is certainly the most popular sport, especially after George Mason managed to reach the NCAA Final Four in 2006. Tony Skinn, the most talented player of his time, has now become the head coach of the men’s basketball team. There are also two NCAA championships won by the men’s track and field and women’s soccer teams, to which must be added the individual titles won in various disciplines by 23 GMU student-athletes. At the men’s volleyball level, the Patriots reached the semifinals of the 2023 Conference (EIVA) by losing to Penn State in a hard-fought matchup. The women’s team, today, is led by Megan Shifflett Bachmann, three-time NCAA champion.