Significant Milestones

The university was founded in 1970 by two teachers who sought a way for adults in the workforce to pursue their doctoral degrees. Bernie and Rita Turner laid the groundwork for the university, in collaboration with Harold “Bud” Hodgkinson, a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley. One year earlier, Hodgkinson had published “Walden U.: A Working Paper,” an article that initiated the concept of a student-centered university. Brought together by a shared vision of a new kind of institution for higher education—one that focused on positive social change and allowed professionals to continue working while earning a degree—the educators named their institution “Walden University.”

1970
Walden is founded by Bernie and Rita Turner.

1972
Walden confers 46 Ph.D.s and 24 Ed.D.s at its first commencement in Naples, Fla.

1979
The Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board approves Walden’s request for licensure. Walden is allowed to grant Ph.D.s and Ed.D.s in Minnesota.

1984
The curriculum is restructured to emphasize how professions are affected by social change.

1990
Walden is accredited through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS).

2001
Walden introduces new programs: the M.B.A., M.P.A., and Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration.

2005
Walden celebrates 35 years of Inquiry for Social Change.

2008
The College of Education is named The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership in honor of the former U.S. Secretary of Education.

2010
Walden celebrates its 40th anniversary.

2011
President Bill Clinton addresses graduates at the 46th annual commencement ceremony.

2012
Cynthia G. Baum, Ph.D., is named the ninth president of Walden University.

  • Walden Timeline

    Learn more about Walden key milestones in this expanded timeline.

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