Founded in 1970 by two educators, Walden University established a way for working professionals 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.”
The first Walden classes convene in Naples, Florida, during the summer of 1971. They focus on helping students form their dissertation topics.
Walden awards its first degrees at a ceremony held in Florida. Dubbed the Ceremony of Honor for New Holders of Doctoral Degrees, 46 PhDs and 24 EdDs were awarded.
The Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board approves Walden to grant doctoral degrees, just the second institution in Minnesota to earn this approval.
Walden moves its headquarters to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Walden's mission of social change is formally integrated into curricula across the institution.
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges and Schools grants accreditation to Walden.
Bernie and Rita Turner retire from Walden, satisfied the university is well on its way.
Walden begins offering the nation’s first fully online master’s program in education.
Walden joins the Laureate Education network, becoming its flagship online institution.
Walden is ranked top granter of master's degrees and doctorates to minority students in the U.S. by Diverse magazine.
The Walden University Alumni Association is formed.
Walden receives reaffirmation of regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, which grants accreditation to Walden for 10 more years, the longest term possible.
Walden named a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.
Walden founds the Center for Social Change.
Dr. Ward Ulmer, a Walden alumnus, is named president of Walden.
Walden celebrates its 50th anniversary.