Joe L. Allbritton made his fortune in media and banking, including ownership of eight television stations, the Washington Star Newspaper, and Riggs Bank. He also played a significant role in the founding of George Mason School of Law.
Allbritton was a board member of the International School of Law (ILS), which became GMUSL when it merged with the university in 1979. In the mid 1970s, the Kann’s Department Store in Arlington became available for purchase when the business closed. Allbritton signed a personal promissory note to secure a $3 million dollar loan to purchase the building and adjoining 14 acres.
Here is a 1979 photo of then law school Dean Ralph N. Norvell standing in front of the first law school building:
George Mason University , “George Mason University School of Law Dean, Ralph N. Norvell in front of the School of Law building ,” A History of George Mason University, accessed December 13, 2012, http://ahistoryofmason.gmu.edu/items/show/192.