A member of the interdepartmental Albert Schweitzer Program in the Humanities for undergraduates at New York University, John G. Mason was active in the Students for a Democratic Society and other university student organizations of the 1960s-1970s. Like many other students of the period, Mason was involved in organizations which were funded and/or organized by the university, and also in organizations which were external to the university and self-funded.
Mason was strongly affected by his matriculation in the Schweitzer Program, which was established by New York State in 1965 and given an endowed chair. The Schweitzer Program was led by Dr. Conor Cruise O'Brien from 1965-1969. Dr. O'Brien, a Left-opposition politician in the Republic of Ireland (Eire), and a longtime contributing editor to the Atlantic Monthly, had a significant intellectual influence upon Mason and other members of his student leadership cohort (see the general history of NYU contained within the collection).
In his collected correspondence Mason also attributed a portion of his political views to his experiences in Paris, France, which he visited in 1968 in the aftermath of the "Paris Commune" and the national students' strike, which strongly affected French educational policy through the mid-1970's.
After his involvement with NYU and the student movement as an undergraduate, Mason went on to get a M.A. from NYU's Politics Department and then a Ph.D. from CUNY.
From the guide to the John G. Mason Papers, 1963-1978, (New York University Archives)