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    George Mason comes to Loudoun; provides more education options

    George Mason University’s new classrooms in Sterling. Courtesy Photo
    Loudoun County joins the George Mason family with the university's new location officially opening in Sterling on Aug. 18.

    The expansion means more in-county upper education options for residents.

    “What we are doing at the new Mason in Loudoun site speaks to George Mason University's mission of fostering innovative learning, collaboration and accessible pathways for students by partnering with Northern Virginia Community College,” said Una Murphy, director of outreach for Loudoun's campus

    GMU hopes the new campus will specifically serve the needs of the Loudoun community.

    “It means easier accessibility for [Loudoun] students to take GMU classes closer to home,” said Murphy. “We're interested in accessibility to students. We're interested in creating efficiencies…Having this new location…and it's connection to NOVA, we'll serve those needs a little bit easier.”

    The campus offers graduate and undergraduate programs and coursework in ethics and leadership, statistics, interdisciplinary studies, database fundamentals, information security and leadership theory and practice.

    It also offers executive, professional and continuing education.

    The relationship with NOVA comes as part of the community college's own plans for expansion. GMU offers guaranteed acceptance into NOVA as long as some basic requirements are met.

    Among the requirements include students' holding a minimum 2.85 cumulative grade point average upon application and earning at least 30 credits at a Virginia community college or at Rich Bland College.

    The relationship is geared toward helping more students at the community college transfer to Mason and earn their four-year degree.

    “I think we have a lot of opportunities available to us,” said Murphy. “With George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College's relationship right now, we've got a pathway for NOVA students to go to Mason.”

    The new GMU campus has facilities for computer classrooms, meeting spaces, four traditional classrooms, video-conferencing and two student lounges.

    The campus shares space and resources with the neighboring community college.

    The hope is that, as the relationship grows between GMU and NOVA, a partnership can be made in which the two schools share programming.

    Mason's Loudoun campus also serves as one of the locations for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a cultural and intellectual enrichment program for retired individuals.

    “OLLI-Mason members are thrilled with the move,” executive director Jennifer Disano said in a statement. “...Members continue to enjoy lectures, teaching seminars, volunteer opportunities and engaging social events for the 50 plus community in Loudoun County.”

    The first day of classes on Loudoun's GMU campus is Aug. 25.

    GMU President Ángel Cabrera and NOVA President Robert G. Templin Jr. will host an official ribbon cutting Oct. 27.

    “We're excited about the potential of the partnership,” said Murphy. “We're excited about the potential of co-locating…Hopefully, we'll increase the number of classes there…and we'll be able to offer classes and educational opportunities to as many people as we can in the region.”

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