George Mason University
George Mason is proudly named for one of America’s famous founding fathers – and his seven foot statue in the center of campus is regularly adorned in Patriots garb. A relative newcomer as U.S. universities go, Mason (as students call it) was founded as a branch of the University of Virginia in 1957 and only became independent in 1972. Appropriately located in Fairfax, Va., just outside Washington D.C., the school attracts a highly diverse student body that is wildly fanatical for its basketball team, an A10 player that entertains opponents in the 10,000-seat Patriot Center. Mason Nation is so hooked on hoops, they actually moved Homecoming to February so they could celebrate during the fevered lead-up to March. At games, the Green Machine ensemble and Masonette dance team rock the house.
Nickname:
Patriots
Top Rivals:
George Washington University, Virginia Commonwealth
Style Facts:
In its relatively brief history, the school has had six mascots over the years – and what a cast it’s been. From the original man dressed in Colonial garb to the huge-headed, unidentifiable animal in striped pants known as Mason Maniak… from a short-lived gorilla to The Green Mask…and then the beloved furry green monster, Gunston, rumored to have been hatched from an egg the Anthropology Department found during an excavation at Gunston Hall. Alas, after its improbable and exhilarating run to the 2006 Final Four – in which it dispatched Michigan State, North Carolina and top-seeded Connecticut – the school chose a new mascot to celebrate its newfound spotlight. Enter The Patriot, a seven-foot, 240-pound cutup sporting a size-29 Patriot hat atop its green and gold head. Mason’s newest mascot embodies the school’s heritage while still stoking the Mason faithful.