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.

Cynthia G. Baum, PhD, is named the ninth president of Walden University.

  • Walden Timeline

    Learn more about Walden key milestones in this expanded timeline.

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