George Mason University
 

George Mason the Statue of a Man

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Beginning at Mason ››

George Mason, for whom our university is named, was one of the greatest of the founding fathers of the United States, yet he is among the least known. Mason drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which he wrote. The declaration later was a model for the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.

Mason already had helped to draft the first constitution for an independent state, his native Virginia, in 1776. The state constitution begins with the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which he wrote. The declaration later was a model for the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, as well as the famous Declaration of the Rights of Man, produced by the French Revolution in 1789.

Perhaps the most well-known landmark on the Fairfax Campus, the George Mason Bronze is located between the Johnson Center and the Performing Arts Building. It was created by internationally known artist Wendy M. Ross and is the first three-dimensional portrait of George Mason in the United States.

Seven feet tall, the statue portrays the great statesman presenting his handwritten first draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

The writing table on Mason’s right replicates the original, which can be found in the study at Gunston Hall, his home in Fairfax County, Virginia. The three books on the table—works by Hume, Locke, and Rousseau—depict the sources of his thoughts on individual liberty.

The statue serves as a constant reminder of the ideals most important to both the man and the university: freedom and learning.

Legend has it that rubbing George Mason’s toe before an exam will give students good luck!

 

More information about the history of George Mason University and George Mason the Man can be acquired from

  • The Visitor’s Center—offers a brief history of George Mason plus other information about visiting the university, landmarks, and useful information.
  • The Electronic Documentary History—in the Special Collections Archive of University Libraries offers scanned versions of actual historic documents whose originals are to be found in various locations around the state of Virginia.
  • Gunston Hall Plantation—is the web site of George Mason’s plantation estate, Gunston Hall, a 550-acre National Historic Landmark in southern Fairfax County, Virginia.