Marking 45 Years of Service and Innovation in Higher Education
San Diego, Calif. — The 1970s brought dramatic growth and change to colleges and universities across the United States, driven largely by the demands of baby boomers, minorities and veterans to gain greater access to education. There was, however, an overlooked demographic, which encompassed all of those populations: the working adult. In 1971, Dr. David Chigos, an executive from General Dynamics, founded National University to support the academic aspirations of an emerging population of adult learners by tailoring a flexible format that accommodated the needs of working professionals.
Dr. Chigos opened National University with a single campus in San Diego, and while the University began with only 27 students that first year, it has grown to be among one of the largest private nonprofit universities in California. The University houses four schools and two colleges – the College of Letters and Sciences; the Sanford College of Education; the School of Business and Management; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies. Currently, more than 100 degree and credential programs are offered at more than two dozen locations in California and Nevada and online.
National University’s School of Education was founded in 1980, producing its first class of five credential completers that year. Currently, the Sanford College of Education, which was renamed in 2015 in honor of renowned philanthropist, T. Denny Sanford, is among the top ten largest schools of education in the country and confers more education master’s degrees each year than other California university. The Sanford College of Education has earned accreditation by the esteemed National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and has produced over 100 county teachers of the year in California, more than 30 school district superintendents and hundreds of principals.
National University’s Cyber Security and Information Assurance program has been recognized nationally for its leadership in cyber defense education. The University is one of just six universities in California, and the only one in San Diego County, to be designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. The prestigious designation comes from the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security to recognize quality programs that prepare professionals to reduce vulnerabilities in the nation’s network defense.
Thanks to the leadership of National University System Chancellor Dr. Michael R. Cunningham and the vision of Denny Sanford, the Sanford Education Programs – Sanford Harmony, Sanford Inspire and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy – are being introduced in numerous states and creating increased visibility for National University’s programs and schools.
With Dr. David Andrews joining as National University’s fifth president, the emphasis is on providing an exceptional educational experience for every student that enrolls in the University. National University’s core values to help students adapt and adjust to the ever-changing world around us remains constant, which is why support resources such as the Student Concierge Service and Veteran Center provide comprehensive student services for all students as well as the military population, which represents a quarter of the University’s population.
National University’s pioneering work of serving adult learners in new and creative formats has opened the door to higher education for working professionals, veterans, and underserved populations. The success of our University has been shaped by many diverse factors, and there are many milestones to consider, all of which have occurred during times of incredible growth and change. Looking toward the future, National University will continue to develop innovative ways to meet the needs of non-traditional learners and support students in achieving their education goals.