The Building That Lives On

Front Page of Broadside Newspaper

The George W. Johnson Learning Center, as it is called, is the number one most recognizable location on the Fairfax campus, according to A History of Mason. A locational mix between casual meeting for students and academic achievement, this building has a vast history behind its formation. Begun in the early 1990s, the building would be known to become the University Learning Center before later being renamed after Johnson to honor and recognize him for his role in influencing Mason to the great extent that he did. Around the middle of the 1980s, it was becoming apparent that Fenwick Library, comprised of the original 1967 facility, did not have enough space to account for the growth in population; therefore, it was planned that additions would be made to the building. It was eventually decided that a new building would be created instead, which would contain a library, media center, movie theater, meeting room area, a restaurant, and a food court, among other things.[1] Replacing the Humanities Module, a classroom and lecture hall location home to 100-student lectures, the new building would be built starting in 1993. After the Learning Center was finished, it became notably almost two times the size of the Patriot Center and changed the atmosphere of the campus majorly. To credit George W. Johnson, after his announcement of retirement in 1996, the Learning Center was renamed in a ceremony on April 12, 1996, along with the unveiling of the George Mason Statue, which can be seen from this image of the Broadside Newspaper.[2] The building’s construction both figuratively and literally bears Johnson’s name[3], visible through the image of Johnson standing inside the center, found on the Introduction page. [4]

[1] “A History of George Mason University | 1978-1996: Emergence: The New Center of Campus: The Creation of the George Johnson Center.” Accessed March 3, 2020.

[2] Choochan, Gail. “Newly named center opens all doors,” BROADSIDE, April 15, 1996

[3] “A History of George Mason University | 1978-1996: Emergence: George W. Johnson: A Biographical Sketch.” Accessed February 29, 2020.

[4] Tolosa, Michael. George Johnson in the Johnson Center 12, 1996, George Mason University, Fairfax VA,;q:johnson%20center;sort:title%2Cdate%2Ccreator%2Csubject;lc:GMUDPSdps~38~38&mi=11&trs=67

The Building That Lives On