Go Mason, Go Patriots!

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

George Mason University is a college that we feel very "close". It is the university where our Jesica Umansky, founder of Sportlinx360, made her journey as a student-athlete, from 2001 to 2006, collecting many successes on and off the pitch. It was the moment in which she became aware firsthand of how much this experience can affect her 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.

Jesica has recently flown to the United States with a stop at George Mason University - to attend the NCAA men's volleyball finals - which is today the largest public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Headquartered in Fairfax County, in the Washington metropolitan area, it can now count on four different campuses plus an office 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 takes its name from the founding father of the United States George Mason an important figure of the American Revolution and the Philadelphia Convention, referred to - together with James Madison - as Father of the Bill of Rights.

THE FAIRFAX CAMPUS AND MASON'S STATUE - Fairfax is the main campus, the largest, extending over 274 hectares. 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, the Fenwick Library, has also undergone a restyling, another point of reference for students. Obviously, there is no shortage of sports facilities such as three gyms, the swimming stadium, the track and field stadium - both indoors and outdoors - and the fields for soccer, baseball, lacrosse and tennis.

On a particular note 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 the Virginia Declaration of Rights which was later the basis for the Bill of Rights of the American Constitution.

INVESTIMENTS IN RESEARCH - Speaking of campuses, it is certainly curious to know more about the branch 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. An enormous structure, an extraordinary potential that projects the GMU into an international dimension.

In terms of enrollment, 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 over 140 million dollars are invested each year in research and in particular on issues of health, safety and environmental sustainability.At the educational level, according to the niche.com website, George Mason University is at number 65 out of 270 as Best Colleges for Information Technology and at number 57 out of 695 as Best Colleges for Criminal Justice in America, but the level courses offered are numerous.

NOBEL AND PERSONALITY - The first we must mention are certainly the two Nobel Prize winners in economics who have taught at George Mason University: James M. Buchanan (Nobel Prize winner in 1986 who has long taught at GMU) and Vernon L. Smith (winner in 2002 together with together with Daniel Kahneman).Scrolling and browsing through the yearbooks, you will meet many other personalities who have completed their studies at GMU. We were also struck by the numerous sportsmen who have passed from GM: many NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB stars graduated here. Other “characters”? Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Justice, Pulitzer Prizes Pearlestein, Sherwin, Wilkins; Anousheh Ansari, engineer and first Muslim woman in space; Anna E. Cabral, US Treasurer under President George W. Bush; Denise Turner Roth, Administrator of the US General Services Administrative. 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. The most popular sport is certainly basketball, especially after George Mason managed to reach the NCAA Final Four in 2006. Tony Skinn, the most talented player of those times, has now become the head coach of the men's basketball team. On the bulletin board 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.In men's volleyball, the Patriots reached the 2023 Conference (EIVA) Semifinals, losing to Penn State in a close match. The women's team, today, is led by three-time NCAA champion Megan Shifflett Bachmann.

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