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.”

Walden is founded by Bernie and Rita Turner.

Walden confers 46 PhDs and 24 EdDs at its first commencement in Naples, Fla.

The Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board approves Walden’s request for licensure. Walden is allowed to grant PhDs and EdDs in Minnesota.

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

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

Walden introduces new programs: the MBA, MPA, and PhD in Public Policy and Administration.

Walden celebrates 35 years of Inquiry for Social Change.

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.

Walden celebrates its 40th anniversary.

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

The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership and its educator preparation programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Walden celebrates its 50th commencement in Minneapolis.

Walden receives reaffirmation of accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission, which grants accreditation to Walden for 10 more years.

Jonathan A. Kaplan is named the tenth president of Walden University.

Walden introduces Tempo Learning™ and offers the nation’s first competency-based MS in Early Childhood Studies program using the direct assessment model. Walden becomes only the sixth institution with direct assessment approval by the U.S. Department of Education.

The School of Social Work and Human Services is re-named the Barbara Solomon School of Social Work and Human Services in honor of Dr. Barbara Solomon, in recognition of her impact on the social work profession and her service to Walden as a longtime board member.

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